Coffee Break: Soutache Wide Stretch Belt

Soutache Wide Stretch BeltIf you’re a fan of White House | Black Market, do note that they’ve got one of their big sales going on right now — including an additional 50% off many sale prices on accessories. This wide belt was $80, then was marked to $29 — with code 96266 it comes down to $15. Nice! These kinds of belts can be great to wear on top of sheath dresses or cardigans, and at this price it’s hard to go wrong. Soutache Wide Stretch Belt

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  1. Styling help for a winter wedding? :

    I am getting a navy velvet dress made for a wedding I’m in this weekend. It’s going to be a crewneck, long-sleeved, below-the-knee dress that is pretty form-fitting. I’m going to wear with navy velvet pumps. Does anyone have suggestions for big statement necklaces, bracelets, or earrings (or combo) to wear with it? Also, what bag should I bring?

    Thanks in advance!

    • With a crew neck I’d skip the necklace in favor of dramatic earrings. (Drop pearls might make a nice textural contrast with the velvet.)

      • +1 I like a bigger earring, no necklace and a statement bracelet or ring for a nice evening look. Drop pearls would be nice, or even a rhinestone/sparkly earring that includes a drop pearl.

        What I don’t like is dangly earrings AND big necklace – you see it all the time on real housewives and the like, but you don’t see it on the red carpet – for a reason.

    • If you’re okay with a bit of color, I might go for a bright yellow clutch. I love the combo of navy + yellow.

      • I love green, and emerald symbolizes hope. I’d wear these earrings:

      • Senior Attorney :

        Or metallic. I think rose gold would be lovely with navy.

      • Ooh! How about a satiny yellow clutch? I love the super lush look of velvet which is why I’m pushing playing with different textures in the same outfit.

    • Styling help for a winter wedding? :

      Thanks all! I like the bright color recommendations. And rose gold.

  2. Has anyone used Havenly to decorate their place? There’s a deal on guilt and I’m tempted to try it.

    • I love that typo/autocorrect spelling of Gilt :P

    • Anonymous :

      I bought a deal back in August and finally completed all the profile info (For some reason I thought it required room measurements and I kept forgetting to ask SO to help hold the measuring tape. We finally did it over the weekend and I log on and see there’s nowhere to put them! D’oh moment).

      Our designer will start on it next week so I can’t really give much of a review, but I will say that after several months of being on their e-mail list, they have deals ALL the time. So you can always catch another one if you don’t get much info on here before the Gilt deal expires.

      The one thing that was a bit of a pain for me (but I understand the desirability/necessity of it) was uploading inspiration photos. I don’t use Pinterest and mostly “like” design photos on Instagram to the extent I do any decorating browsing. I didn’t have those likes organized so I had to scroll through every post I’ve ever liked to pick them out and screenshot. Though now that I think about it, all of my other likes are dog pictures so maybe that wasn’t so bad after all–it just took a while because I’d get distracted! ;)

    • Anonymous :

      I have a longer reply in moderation if you check back later.

      One thing I’ll add—I didn’t really agree with the results of my style quiz and wasn’t too enamored with my designer matches. I felt like a lot of the images on the style quiz were “I like this, but not that” within the same image so it wasn’t very precise. I browsed recent projects and found a designer that way…again, caveat that I haven’t seen our design yet but I really what other projects and inspiration I’ve seen from her that had a similar aesthetic goal. If you decide to do it, I recommend spending a little time to browse all the designers rather than accepting your matches.

    • I have used Havenly twice for rooms that were oddly shapen. (Long living room with many windows and annoyingly large master) We have loved our results. I wasn’t crazy about the stuff the designers had picked out for their portfolios, but they were great at meeting our needs and understanding our style better than we did! You also get a few iterations, so if things are way off, by the time the project is complete, we have always been thrilled. Highly recommend!

  3. Cherry Bomb :

    I’m interested in the hive’s thoughts on this. Heads up that this is definitely a first world problem.

    I just found out that my MOH purchased the most expensive item on our wedding registry (it’s around $400). There are lots of other gifts left, so it’s not like this was her only option. I honestly wasn’t expecting the wedding party to give us gifts (though I have not explicitly told them that – invitations/registry info just went out last week).

    DF and I are paying for the wedding party ‘s outfits, hotel rooms, hair/makeup because we really want participating in our wedding party to be an honor and fun, not a burden. That said, I know there are going to be inevitable costs for her related to the wedding, bachelorette party, and shower (eg: she will be flying for all of these things!). I just feel like the financial, time, and emotional aspects that being MOH involves is enough – she doesn’t need to give us a physical gift, especially such an extravagant one.

    We’re very close and typically I can tell her anything (hence the MOH pick), but I feel so weird about this. I’m not sure what to say to her, if anything (besides thank you, obviously!). Fwiw, I think we both make similar incomes (very good, but not outrageously flush with cash). She will probably be getting engaged soon and I can give her a $400 gift when she gets married.

    • Two thoughts: are you sure she didn’t chip in together with the entire party to buy a “group gift”?

      Second, even if that is not the case and she just got you something generous, the only thing you can say is thank you, and be equally generous at her own wedding.

      • This! It may be your bridal party’s gift to you, split however many ways. And just say thanks :)

      • Anonymous :

        You don’t need to be equally generous at her wedding if you can’t afford it. If you can afford it, and want to get her a $400 gift, that’s great. But she has made her own choice to spend big on you (possibly because you are covering so many traditional wedding expenses, which is super nice) and you are not obligated to reciprocate if it would be a financial hardship.

        • I agree. I have been the MAID OF HONOR at 3 of my freind’s wedding’s, and in each case I ALWAYS got the biggest gift on the registry, b/c Dad said I should be generus with my freinds, particularly b/c I have been very fortunate in my JOB. He is right. Of the 3 women, 2 have already been DIVORCED b/c their husband’s have cheated on them, but at least they were happy when they got my gift from the registry. I always wondered what the people do when they divorced with the gifts? Dad says they keep the gifts and divide them. In my case, I wound up giveing them dining room silver settings. How do they divide that up? Has anyone actually split them evenly? It would seem to Dad that the female should keep these b/c it relates to the home, as opposed to men, who would keep tools. I disagree, as I have no culinary talents. What does the HIVE think? Am I right or not on this? Dad says no, but I say FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      You say thank you! That’s it. Write her an effusive note. Call her. That’s all.

    • Anonymous :

      $400 is certainly on the high side, especially if you live outside of NYC, but it’s common to give more to close friends and it sounds like you’re a very generous bride since you’re paying for outfits, hotel rooms and hair and make-up, so she’s spending a lot less on this wedding than she probably expected to. Your friend can afford it, and I think you should just be appreciative and grateful.

      Fwiw, when my husband and I both attend a wedding, we typically give $100 to a couple we’re not super close to and $150-200 to closer friends. My maid of honor gave me a ~$250 registry gift when I got married, and I gave her a similar gift ($200 cash and a smaller physical gift). In both our weddings, the bride paid for the bridal party’s hair and makeup but not the outfit or hotel room.

    • You are a great bride/person to be so considerate of your friends in taking care of the expenses.

    • Don’t say anything except thank you! My family is the WORST at receiving gifts and I speak from experience when I say that there’s nothing worse than buying someone a gift and having them act weird/uncomfortable about the price. I think being a gracious recipient is hard but important!

      It’s awesome that you are being so considerate about costs. Just continue to do that, and buy her an amazing gift for her wedding.

      • Betterandbetter :

        This, Gretchen Rubin I think has a mini podcast about the Amish community accepting gifts of toys from people outside of the community that Amish children typically wouldn’t use because its against their values after the West Nickel Mines School shooting where a man shot 8 little Amish girls, killing 5. They did this because they realized that the people were giving the gifts as part of their process of dealing with the tragedy and that accepting the gifts would itself be a gift to the givers.

    • For something like this, I do my most sincere thank you. I would probably call or text when it arrived saying something to the effect of: “Wow, we are so touched! You already go above and beyond for us and your friendship is gift enough, but we love it and are so touched by your generosity. Thank you!” Then I would write an actual thank you note that focuses more on the friendship but includes the gift (as opposed to the standard “thank you for the blender and for coming to my shower”). In other words, elaborate: “Husband and I love the blender! Thank you for such a generous gift and above all- thank you for your support. I have so appreciated our friendship these past 10 years and sharing our milestones together. You have always been a sincere and devoted friend, and I’m so grateful for your love and support. I am honored to have you as my MOH, and I’m so excited to share these next few months as a bride with you!”

    • Anonymous :

      For a deeply beloved BFF, I would buy the world. Accept the gift as a token of her love for you!

      • Pen and Pencil :

        So much this. If it weren’t for the number of weddings I had this year (5, MOH for 2) I would have probably gotten both people I was MOH for something in the $300-$400 range, especially if I had zero to no expenses besides traveling for your wedding! She knows she doesn’t have to give you anything, but she wants to!

        • Anonymous :

          Sweet humblebrag on your popularity!

          • That was rude and unnecessary.

          • What a difference perspective makes. I didn’t see that as a brag AT ALL but immediately thought what a burden! Glad to be an Old where where weddings now usually just as a guest…

          • Anonymous :

            Same! I remember the days of 5 weddings/summer. So glad they’re over and I can actually use my time and money on real vacations (and I don’t think I have a particularly large circle of friends — it just happened everyone got married within a few years of each other).

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      What a lovely friend! Graciously thank her. Then give her whatever you’d like when she gets married. She’s not setting you up for a tit-for-tat.

  4. NYC dinner suggestion? :

    Posted this in the recipe thread, but posting here as well in case this garners other responses:

    Hi there – I’ll be in NYC tonight and will be meeting up with my younger cousin for dinner. He is open to anything. I’ll be staying by E 33rd and Park.

    He says he has no Manhattan restaurant recommendations. I’m open to anything – looking for someplace we can have a good conversation, some good food on a cold day, and is not too, too heavy -really open to anything. Would like to treat him to a great meal that’s not too heavy (nothing too fried or fatty, so no pub food, but open to anything else.) We like both vegetarian and nonvegetarian stuff.

    Any ideas on a place that would be delicious and we’d be able to walk into tonight around 6:30 not too far from my hotel? Thanks so much.

    (When I search the blog, I come up with too many hits that don’t relate to this – any search tips are welcome too :) )

    • I just responded on the other thread (Penelope, on 30th and Lexington). Quiet, light, low key, delicious.

    • Barbounia, 20th and Park. It is mediterranean.

    • If you’re still reading, Hangawi is amazing Korean vegetarian food on 32nd between 5th & Madison. It’s a lovely room, with low tables that you sit on floor pillows at, and your legs go into a pit below. I was there on a similarly cold night last winter, and it was transporting.

  5. Sloan Sabbith :

    I’m collaborating with someone (he’s in the “lead” position) to lead a particular community organization. He’s driving me CRAZY. He cannot make a decision. The organization is a community group but he’s very much been leading it for the last year or so without much input. He asked for help, so I stepped up, but he won’t make any decisions that allow me to be useful.
    “How about we do X? Reasons A, B, C.”
    “We’ll for sure talk about it.” No follow up despite me bringing it up.

    I mocked up the front page of a webpage for us using a platform I’m familiar with that’s very easy to use. “Well, I also might want platforms A or B.” I’m literally offering to rebuild an entire website on a platform I know and he can’t decide.

    “I created a Slack and a Trello board.”
    “Great! We can use those to streamline what we’re doing and planning.” I input a lot of tasks, goals, etc.
    “I don’t like Trello. I switched to Monday instead! Just testing it out. Maybe we want to use Asana!”

    DUDE. MAKE A DECISION. Indecisiveness is such a huge waste of everyone’s time. There’s making hasty decisions and there’s being incapable of leadership. Even when I take initiative he can’t decide if he likes it.

    • Anonymous :

      Is this required for your job? If not, quit. You’re already struggling, don’t make this your problem too.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      It’s not required for my job, but it’s a phenomenally gold resume builder for the jobs I’m looking to move into. I am going to pull back, though- trying to convince him to do things is a waste of time. I’ll go to meetings with the larger leadership team but he’s difficult to work with. He’s a great person but he apparently just can’t make a decision professionally and that does not work for me.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        To expand a bit, my mentor is part of the greater leadership team for this group, and his department will be hiring soon (and he’s making the hiring decisions, in part). He’s an excellent boss (he supervised me a few years ago for internships) and working with him again would be a dream. He and I still keep in close touch, but I want to be able to show him more than what he helped me become, if that makes sense.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        More detail in mod.

        • I agree. I have been the MAID OF HONOR at 3 of my freind’s wedding’s, and in each case I ALWAYS got the biggest gift on the registry, b/c Dad said I should be generus with my freinds, particularly b/c I have been very fortunate in my JOB. He is right. Of the 3 women, 2 have already been DIVORCED b/c their husband’s have cheated on them, but at least they were happy when they got my gift from the registry. I always wondered what the people do when they divorced with the gifts? Dad says they keep the gifts and divide them. In my case, I wound up giveing them dining room silver settings. How do they divide that up? Has anyone actually split them evenly? It would seem to Dad that the female should keep these b/c it relates to the home, as opposed to men, who would keep tools. I disagree, as I have no culinary talents. What does the HIVE think? Am I right or not on this? Dad says no, but I say FOOEY!

    • Can you address this with him semi-directly? “Of course it’s good to look at options, but we don’t want to spend all our time on research and not make any progress toward goal. Let’s set a deadline for making a decision.” Alternately, take over a project, and tell him that you want autonomy on the project to keep things moving forward.

    • anon a mouse :

      I like a negative option for things like this. Basically say, our best options are A and B. I think A is better, but let me know by COB tomorrow if you strongly prefer B, otherwise I will proceed with A. It’s in everyone’s best interest to get moving on this.

  6. Anonymous :

    Fun NYC date ideas? That aren’t eating, drinking, or a museum.

    • Anonymous :

      Sleep No More! It’s an interactive theater experience, I just went this weekend and it was a ton of fun. Also, you’re encouraged to split up during the show, so it gives you a lot to talk about together after.

      • I got grabbed twice in the butt during this show. It was horrible. I know most people like it but I left sobbing.

      • Anonymous :

        I think it’s not a great date precisely because you do end up getting split up during the show. Maybe a good date for established couples who can catch up afterwards, but not a good “getting to know you” date. I also found it weird and uncomfortable, it wasn’t my cup of tea at all. You have to do some research about what you’re getting into and if either person is at all wary, I wouldn’t do it.

    • Ice skating
      Massage and a day/night pass to one of the spas in Korea town (I like juvenex). You can hang out in a jade igloo and then relax in a pool
      Russian/Turkish baths
      Coney Island – fun in the summer, but also very moody and romantic in winter, especially after a recent snow fall
      Bronx botanical gardens
      Space Show at the Planetarium

  7. Temporary hair color? :

    I’m about 4 months into growing out my salt & pepper hair, which I’ve colored for the last twenty years. I work remotely with occasional travel. I have some upcoming travel and while the current look is fine for working from home, it’s not something I want to sport in an in-person setting. My stylist has been doing highlights and lowlights, but it still looks like what it is — growing out the greys. I’m not even sure I want to commit to this, it’s mostly an experiment, but I am loving the dollar/time savings!

    So would anyone have a recommendation for color that is a)very temporary and b)realistic looking?

    • Honestly, I suggest pulling back into a low ponytail and doing a dusting of dark hair fibers (insert “Hair Fibers” on Amazon) or Loreal root touch up on the salt and pepper portion so you don’t have to put any dye on your head.

    • I have an anti-recommendation. I tried temporary dyes (they’re supposed to last 6 weeks) and they still really changed my hair (by changing the porosity, my stylist told me). I’m going to try a gloss next and see how it goes.

  8. sick- yuck. :

    I almost never get sick and I’ve been sick twice in the past month, including now. Super hard chills (every muscle I have aches from this) and then major hot flashes, so far 2 days of this, making me unable to sleep for the past 2 nights too.

    I adore living on my own but man, do I wish I had a partner or a mother when I’m sick. I hate feeling like that as it makes me sad, on top of being sick. Ugh.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Fever? The flu season is TERRIBLE, so if you’ve got any of the other flu systems, call your doc.

      • sick- yuck. :

        don’t have a doc and the free clinic is only open Thursdays and they’re booked for this one coming up. I got the flu shot but I’m immunocompromised so I guess I just have to, uh, wait this out? I swear, my abs are stronger after rounds of 3 hours of chills. Had to move the bed away from the wall last night as it kept hitting. I just wish I could sleep til it’s gone but so far, nothing.

        Sorry, I’m being whiny. I just want to be hugged and loved on and taken care of. It makes me sad to be so single and parentless when I’m sick. Then it makes me sad to feel so weak and cruddy about things. sigh.

        • Flats Only :

          You sound very ill. Google “urgent care” in your zip code. There will be one, and they will undoubtedly see you in the morning. Even without insurance it will only cost a few hundred dollars (not nothing, I know). Try NyQuil or something similar to see if that will knock the fever down until the morning.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Agree with Flats Only. Go to the ER. If you’re in the US, they have to provide you emergency care regardless of your ability to pay. If your fever is that high, you’re probably dehydrated. Thursday is way, way too far away, especially since you live alone. Financial assistance is available at most hospitals.

          You’re not whining. You’re very sick, alone, and miserable.

          Even a CVS care clinic or a Target pharmacy could run a flu test. Please, please go.

  9. CrowTRobot :

    Anyone deal with stonewalling from their SO? When my husband is angry with me, he just goes ice cold. It lasts for hours, and it’s painful. One-word answers and seeming indifference. When it’s over, it’s over, and he does not want to talk about the original issue. He says that this is how he is, and he finds talking about the issue just makes it worse. Even when I am wrong, he doesn’t want an apology.

    I have told him this is all very hurtful for me, and that I need some sort of closure in an argument. Unfortunately, I am unable to articulate what that closure looks like. I’m scared that if we keep going with this fighting style, I am going to resent him for this seemingly childish behavior. I know he isn’t being manipulative, and it is rooted in a rough childhood. I also understand the need for a cool-off period… But hours??

    I try hard to learn from arguments, but I think all I am really learning is how to tiptoe around a temper.

    • Anonymous :

      Therapy. Stat.

    • I’d recommend posting again tomorrow for more responses, but is he willing to go to therapy? He’s essentially giving you the silent treatment, which just isn’t healthy. That isn’t something I’d be able to handle in a relationship and would be a dealbreaker if he isn’t willing to work on it.

      My advice changes and there may be some way to compromise if this is more of an issue of him needing time alone to decompress after an argument. If that’s the case, I think you need to decide whether you can respect that. If not, you’re back to deciding whether it’s a dealbreaker. But from your description it feels to me like punishment.

      • I’m revising this because I didn’t originally notice that you said he never wants to discuss the issue even after the stonewalling. That’s just not okay and that isn’t something you can work around in a relationship. If he isn’t willing to work on this, I’m afraid your relationship is not going to work.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      He might not be doing it purposefully, but he IS manipulating you. If you’re worried or afraid of his stonewalling/silent treatment reaction, then you won’t bring up issues. If you don’t bring upnissues, he gets his way. That’s manipulation. I would not be okay with this. Therapy. For you and for him.

      • Agreed. Please read the book Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. He addresses this type of behavior.

    • I think you should articulate to him that whatever closure looks like (hard to come up with a generic definition that fits all situations), it is something you arrive at mutually, or as close to mutually as possible, not by one person dictating the terms by which issues are addressed (or not addressed).

      One thing I will say in his defense is that a cooling off period of a few to several hours doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me. However, I would expect that the cooling off period is used for exactly that – getting control of his emotions so that he can discuss the issue in a reasonable way. Right now, it sounds more like he uses the cooling off period to punish you, and then when he decides you’ve been punished enough, he wants the whole thing to be over.

      I can also understand how he would adopt this approach if he grew up in an abusive household. From his perspective, he probably sees punishing someone through silence and withdrawal, followed by moving on and never speaking of it again, as much much better than lashing out in anger (physically or emotionally) or holding grudges for a long time. He probably feels that he is doing a good job of controlling his emotions by suppressing them for several hours and then forcing himself to let them go. Feeling like you are in control of your emotions can be a big deal to people who grew up with parents who never seemed to be able to control theirs.

      All this to say… therapy therapy therapy!

    • Anonymous :

      Why are you still dating him? He’s a jerk who is mean to you, and controlling you with his temper. You can’t fix it because you aren’t the problem.

    • Senior Attorney :

      No, no, no.

      This is not okay. I was married to this guy for 15 years and it was miserable beyond belief. A relationship stands or falls on its worst moments and this kind of bad moment is not ever going to be okay in my book.

      He says this is how he is: Believe him. If this is not okay with you (and it most definitely shouldn’t be), then think long and hard about whether you are willing to live like this forever. (Spoiler alert: I’ve tried doing that and it’s not a viable option.)

      And for starters, most definitely individual therapy for you to figure out why you are willing to consider staying in a relationship where you are treated this way.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Longer reply in mod, but check out the writings of John Gottman and how stonewalling is one of his Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in marriage.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Oh dear. From someone whose loved one (parent) does the stonewalling thing (and it lasts for days), do the counseling thing. Go by yourself if the SO won’t join at first.

      As a child, the only conflict “resolution” I saw was my parent doing the stonewalling. So as an adult, I have to actively work against that tendency in my own relationships. I’m much better at it now and am lucky to have a SO who went to counseling with me, is vocal about his needs, and is patient with me. But even with all that, I still can’t explain why I sometimes want to stonewall. Even when I am stonewalling, I am so frustrated and angry with myself. So, if your SO says they can’t explain themselves…know that it could very well be true.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      My ex used to do that, for the 5 years of our relationship. I’m so glad he’s my ex now, and that behaviour will always be a red flag for me now.

  10. I am so into these wide belts right now. I have a few of them myself. I wear mine with my sheath dresses as well as my over-sized sweaters!!!! And it’s on sale too! Winning!

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