Coffee Break: Multi Blender Massager Brush

We were just discussing e.l.f. products on CorporetteMoms last week — the affordable brand is lots of places, from Target to Amazon. The brand’s own site has a nice “best sellers” list so you can see what people are liking the best — this multi blender massager is on the list. It looks great for blending bronzer, blush, and all of those new illuminating powders (I’ve gotten like three different samples in the past few weeks) — and for $12 it’s certainly affordable. You don’t get free shipping until you buy $25 worth of product — readers, what are YOUR favorite e.l.f. products? Anything you absolutely adore? e.l.f. Beautifully Precise Multi Blender Massager

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!


  1. Help with banks :

    One of our banks has taken $3k from me / my husband.

    I accidentally deposited a check twice, with two different banks. It was $3k, from my husband. Both of my banks (Capital One and CitiBank) cleared the check, which was withdrawn from my husband’s TD account twice.

    This was in April and has been a mess ever since. Both Capital One and CitiBank removed the funds from my accounts. CapOne reversed the check, but CitiBank (after weeks of phone calls) sent a nebulous letter that they debited my account “at my request.” TD claims they have only received the reversal from CapOne and have only credited my husband’s account once. So, we are missing $3,000. We have been missing it for over a month.

    TD says Citi has the money and there is nothing they can do. Citi says TD has the money and there is nothing they can do. We have appealed multiple times with both banks, who have both conducted “research investigations” and issued letters that they don’t have the money.

    What can we do? Do we have to go to small claims court? This is a LOT of money for us to be missing and I don’t understand how the banks can mess up so badly. My gut says Citi debited my account just because I “requested it,” rather in the context of the check. Can they do that?

    • Coach Laura :

      Options: Call the local newspaper/tv news station and see if they have a “fixer” like Jesse Jones of KIRO tv in Seattle.

      Call/email the FDIC complaint office assuming both banks are FDIC regulated. Or call the state banking commission (different states use different names) and file complaint.

      Look online for ombudsman phone numbers for either/both banks.

      • Approaching regulators is a good idea, although Citi and TD are national banks, so you want the OCC’s customer assistance group and/or the CFPB (state banking regulators don’t have jurisdiction over national banks and the FDIC doesn’t handle consumer complaints for national banks). The other option (or maybe an additional option) is to find a lawyer in your state who knows check law and have him/her send a nastygram. The rules on processing and credit of returned checks are complex so you’ll do best if you can find someone who knows this area. What state are you in?

        You could go to small claims court but I’d try getting someone to send a letter first, because small claims court is a pain and you’ll have to enforce the judgement. Plus, you may be required to arbitrate this claim – you should pull your deposit account agreement and see what it says.

        • Coach Laura :

          Thanks cbackson. I’m on my phone and didn’t have time to get into OCC versus fdic logistics.

          • I’m that lame person who knows the prudential regulators of the major banks by heart, which says sad things about me :-)

            Meant to add that your suggestion on reaching out to a local media problem solver might actually be the easiest way to get this fixed. Every other path to resolution probably takes a long time (which is crappy).

    • anonlawyer :

      I’m confused. Your husband gave you a $3k check from his TD account. That should have been deposited into one of your accounts. His TD account would have been $3k less, and your account would be $3k more.

      But instead, it was deposited into both your CO and CB banks. So each of those accounts got $3k and TD was debited $6k. CO then reversed it, so TD account was credited $3k.

      Doesn’t this put you where you want to be? With husband’s TD account being debited $3k and one of your accounts being credited $3k?

      • I think Citi also reversed it but the funds haven’t returned to TD.

        • anon a mouse :

          Is there a TD branch local to you? Show up, ask to speak to the manager (they may let you make an appointment). Get the TD manager on the phone with Citi. They need to be talking to each other rather than through you.

          • I think that you should ONLY deposit a check once. That is why you are haveing all of this trouble. But I agree that if you got $6000 out of 1 check worth $3000, then you would have been ahead $3000, and them takeing $3000 away should equal $3000, which is what you were suposed to have? If you want, I can ask my dad to call people at Citibank as he has an account with them and knows peeople there.

      • I think the problem is that Citi reversed the account credit but didn’t send the $3k back to TD, so the TD account is down $3k but the Citi account is not up $3k.

    • Complain to your congress person or senator. That sometimes works. Also try the CFPB.

    • Anonymous :

      File a complaint with the CFPB online. You will get a response within 15 days. They are nice to work with and it is amazing how fast the banks will suddenly get their shit together.

  2. Anony Mouse :

    I like E.L.F.’s primer. The price ($6 in my area) is good, though you don’t get a whole lot. If I use it everyday, one bottle lasts about a month for me.

  3. That was quick. :

    Hasta luego, Scaramucci!

  4. What’s your favorite tradition you have with your children?

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      No kids yet, but one of my favorite traditions my parents had was hosting an open house for everyone we knew on New Year’s Day. It would start mid afternoon giving everyone plenty of time to sleep in. We had fondue for everyone, but people would bring potluck food. It was a great way for everyone to nurse their hang overs and it always felt amazing seeing your whole community to kick off the year.

      • One of my faves was me, my sister, and my dad would go have Chinese food on New Year’s Day; mom would stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet.

        It started one year when my mom was nursing an epic hangover and she could barely get out of bed, so dad took us out. It stuck! Now, my DH and I–no kids in our future–do a variation on this: we get dim sum on NYD.

    • anonymous :

      Buying a new board game as a family and playing it together on the fall equinox to kick off winter.

      • Anonymous :

        Isn’t the autumnal equinox the start of fall/autumn, not winter?

        • anonymous :

          I guess to be technical it stands for ” kick off the time of darkness and the fact we will be stuck inside and not playing outside as much.”

          • Anonymous :

            Ah…so more of the “days are going to be getting shorter faster” sort of thing.

      • Love this! We are a big gaming family so this is a fun tradition.

    • Anonymous :

      Someone asked about family traditions a week or two ago and got a lot of good responses. My dad made us biscuits every Sunday morning. Just from a mix, nothing fancy but they were tasty and I loved having that (+quality time with dad) to look forward to every weekend.

    • Pizza and Movie Sunday evenings.

      • My mom was a single mom who wasn’t home much because of her job, but one of my best memories is the Friday nights we’d get delivery pizza and watch a movie. It really is the simple things!

    • Anonymous :

      1) our annual beach vacation
      2) marking their height on the wall on their birthdays
      3) making Christmas cookies for the neighbors every year

      Sorry it’s hard for me to pick just one!

    • Lots of vacation stuff but the game “what’s your favorite?” is our dinner table tradition. Someone says what’s your favorite ___ (color, candy, day of the year, movie, etc) and everyone answers it. Then the next person asks a what’s your favorite.

      We used to do this to keep them still at the dinner table but now it’s just a great way to talk to your teenagers. When their friends are over for dinner we play what’s your favorite and they love it too.

      • anonlawyer :

        we do this and my kids love it

      • Senior Attorney :

        My son and I used to do something similar we called “Top Five.” As in, “name your top five movies.” “Top five bands.” “Top five books.” And so on.

        I need to do that again when I see him next weekend…

      • TO Lawyer :

        I am so surprised this is a game. I hate when I’m asked this question on dates… it feels like so much pressure! My mind always seems to go blank when I need to choose my top 5 favourite anything…

        • Senior Attorney :

          I love how people are beautifully not the same! :)

        • Anonymous :

          Plus I don’t have particular favorites for most of those things. Do that many people have a favorite color?

          • Anonymous :

            This must be a great personality indicator. I can’t imagine naming a superlative thing. I mean, Favorite color for what? Sheets? A winter coat? Roses? It’s all so complicated. : )

        • +1 TO Lawyer. I hate trying to name a superlative. I have things I like right now, but “favorite” is so much pressure. Also it’s really on the spot and my mind also goes blank. Get me talking about fun things I did lately and you’ll probably get a sense of what I like.

          I once had a bf ask me what my favorite color was. I told him I didn’t really have a singular favorite, because there were too many to choose from. And started talking about some of what I was liking at the moment. And then he repeated “But, what is your favorite?” This was towards the end of a 1+ year relationship that was most marked by our inability to communicate. I hope his current wife has a favorite color. (Btw, he couldn’t name a favorite color really, except for black. Which is boring and not a sufficient answer imo.)

        • Senior Attorney :

          Since this has become a discussion, I’m coming back to say we enjoy “Top Five” because the point is to name your top five at the moment. My top five songs today aren’t necessarily my top five songs tomorrow or last week or next year. It’s just fun to see what’s on our minds at any given time!

    • Anonymous :

      My favourites from growing up what I would like to pass to my children:

      -Every year since I was tiny my mom gives me a Christmas ornament, now I have a big collection for my own tree -Opening 1 present on Christmas Eve
      -Crepes for breakfast Christmas morning
      -Going grocery shopping with my dad on weekends to give mom a break, we would always stop for donuts
      -Disney World

  5. Maternity Leave - Private Contract? :

    Have any of the hive ladies attempted to and/or successfully negotiated a private contract for maternity leave with an employer that does not offer it as a general policy? I work for a tiny (4 person) organization that does not qualify for FMLA and offers no paid maternity leave on its own. Because of a number of circumstances unique to my position within the organization, I would like to negotiate a private, paid maternity leave arrangement/contract. I’ve seen discussions here about negotiating during the hiring process for this sort of thing, but I’m an established employee. We have no organizational review process for raises, bonuses, or anything related to compensation packages so I won’t have any opportunity to make this happen other than a written proposal and frank conversation directly with the Man In Charge. Has anyone done this before? Is this hopeless or are there arguments I can make to improve my chance of a successful proposition?

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      What’s your leverage? This could be hard to negotiate when you already work for them under the existing conditions.

    • I know someone who tried to negotiate paid mat leave on hire and instead got a salary bump that made up for theoretical leave being unpaid.

      Also, where are you? California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave protections kick in at 5 employees and I think the state PDL and PFL payments may not have employee count requirements. Maybe your jurisdiction has something similar?

    • I’ve done this. Luckily, the Man in Charge at my employer was a stand-up guy — our org was slightly larger, maybe 8 people, but exactly the same deal. Are you worried about being turned down cold? I feel like you have nothing left to lose by asking, and if they say no, well, then you know your value to the company and can act accordingly. How does your company treat people otherwise? Are they generally kind to their employees?

  6. Anonymous :

    What are your favorite salad mix-ins combinations? I’m always buying salad for lunch, but I realize that I can make everything myself, I just never can seem to keep all the ingredients handy.

    • Anonymous :

      Following as I have this problem too. I love salads and never make them.

      • My go to for the summer has been tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, roasted red peppers & dill, with some feta or goat cheese, salt & pepper and a bit of olive oil. If I have avocado on hand, I’ll add that too. I’ve seriously gotten addicted to this salad and because it has no lettuce, it’s a good option to pack for lunch.

    • Apple, especially granny smith. Crunchy and sweet!

    • Baconpancakes :

      BBQ tofu chunks on a bed of finely chopped kale and brown rice mix with feta, lightly roasted and charred broccoli, pita chip crumbles, pickled onions, chickpeas and/or corn, with green goddess dressing.

    • I keep packages of thin sliced almonds, salted sunflower seeds, these fried little jalapeño things, and croutons in the pantry. I find I’m much more likely to make a salad every day if I have a few bites of salty crunch alongside all the veggies.

    • Nuts, especially walnuts. I buy them from the baking section (not the “snack nut”) section so they are raw rather than roasted/salted. They help me stay full through the afternoon when I have a salad for lunch.

      I also like dried fruit for a little bit of sweetness, particularly cranberries.

      • alexisfaye :

        I buy pre-cut peppers and red onions, and whatever else (like radishes) that strikes my fancy. Although more expensive than chopping, it’s still cheaper than eating out.

        I keep sunflower seeds, a variety of cheeses, avocados, and fresh cilantro on hand. I used to use tortilla chips/crispy noodles but I’m doing low carb.

        I salt my salad (makes a huge difference) and only use oil/vinegar because most dressings add sugar/fat. I LOVE toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Also enjoy olive oil and red wine vinegar. I skip balsamic because it has a lot of sugar.

    • I like fruit and nut combinations. Chopped apples and walnuts; pecans and pears; strawberries or blueberries and almonds; pistachios and dried cranberries etc. Add to mixed greens with a balsamic dressing or other vinaigrette.I keep it simple but I do like to toast the nuts, when I remember to do it. I sometimes toast a cup or so of nuts so I have enough for several salads.

    • Anony Mouse :

      Roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds.

    • Costco has a cranberry/sunflower seed/pumpkin seed mix that has been fantastic lately when I don’t feel like thinking. Otherwise I typically add whatever I have on hand from my fridge or garden. Tomatoes, cucumbers, cooked quinoa, onion, celery, cheese, etc.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Pine nuts make everything better!

    • KateMiddletown :

      Yesterday I stopped @ TJ’s and bought premade baby beets, premade lentils, shredded carrots and a small thing of crumbled goat cheese, which I intend to eat for lunch and dinner for the next few days.

  7. Anonymous :

    I’m going to be taking a 12 week maternity leave this winter and then returning to work. My mom friends at work have all told me that dropping by the on-site daycare to nurse is easier and more pleasant than pumping at work. However, baby will be at home with my husband (who is on paternity leave from a different company) for the first six months after I return to work and our house is about 5 miles from work. I could maybe go home for lunch, but going home more than once per day isn’t possible when I’m in the office. I’d like to work at home at least a couple of days per week so I can nurse those days and don’t have to deal with pumping and cleaning pump parts at work every single day of the week (though obviously I will still have to deal with it some of the time).
    The nature of my work is very conducive to working from home (very solitary work and I don’t need anything except my brain, email and word processing software). I do usually have meetings two or more days per week and would suggest that my WFH days be flexible and scheduled around my meetings. I have a dedicated home office and we have a multi-story house so I’m not worried about interruptions. My husband and I are completely on the same page that during working hours I will be working (except for nursing breaks) and he will be doing childcare. However, I don’t want people to think I’m asking to WFH so I can hang out with the baby all day. I feel like nobody would think that if I said I would be working at home while a nanny watched the baby, but I’m worried that people won’t perceive my husband watching the baby as full-time childcare (which I think is unfair, but I’m still worried it’s something people may think). Any advice? Either about asking for WFH arrangements generally or specifically in my situation?

    • Just tell them you have in-home childcare. You do. You’re not obligated to tell them it’s your husband or a nanny or who it is.

    • I didn’t enjoy pumping but even on days I worked from home, I kept it up (vs taking a nursing break) because it was too disruptive to my husband’s and then nanny’s schedule. As they got more aware, it also became hard for the babies to have me come and go.

    • YMMV, but my baby is/was also watched at home for the first year (ending next month – sob!) and while pumping is awful, I found it easier than leaving my son multiple times a day versus leaving him once. It was emotional for me and I definitely preferred pumping.

    • FWIW, I think pumping is easier to schedule than nursing. You never know when the baby will take a long nap or want to cluster feed. My first son was in daycare starting at 12 weeks, and even though it was near the office, I could never get the timing right to go nurse him. Pumping took less time (no transit) and meant that his daycare providers had bottles they could feed him whenever he needed them, and I could plan my workday and pumping schedule around each other.

    • If you do decide to pump at work, you don’t necessarily have to deal with cleaning parts at work. I took several sets of parts to work and washed them all when I got home. I had a private office with a lock to pump in, but I didn’t want to wash parts in either the bathroom or the common kitchen. (I also had 3 sets of parts already because I had to pump after nursing for the first couple of months, and I wanted to be able to go from 11 pm to 7 am without washing parts.)

      Some people don’t wash parts between pumping, which probably is NBD. I believe Medela also makes special wipes for pump parts.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re nursing then you aren’t working. Full stop. I just don’t think it’s appropriate.

      • How is it different than if she were working in the office and taking breaks to pump?

      • If you’re peeing in the bathroom then you aren’t working. Full stop. Down with bathroom breaks! Down with stopping to say hello to a coworker! Down with humanism! I just don’t think it’s appropriate.

    • Anonymous :

      5 miles is close to the office, but there’s no way that’s not taking less than 10 minutes each way (esp. when you figure in getting to wherever your car is/parking, etc.). This to me would be way more disruption to my day than it would be worth. Pumping is not fun, that’s true. But as said above, it’s way easier to schedule than feeding a baby.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh yeah definitely not practical to go home for nursing when I’m at the office. On the days I’m in the office I would just pump.

  8. Hot chocolate as a family on the first snow fall.

  9. For those of you who do jewelry making:

    Where do I buy the wire for wire wrapping? I have a wire-wrapped pearl bracelet that I have now broken for the third time by snagging it on something. I can send it back to the jeweler and she will cheerfully repair it no charge, but ideally I’d like to be able to fix it myself and avoid the post office (not to mention bugging the jeweler for something that is my fault)

    How do I tell what gauge the existing wire is? And is there an online source for the wire? Can I buy it on Amazon?

    I’m reasonably certain I can accomplish the wire wrapping myself. I have some history of jewelry making (but not wire wrapping) so I have the tools, and I am crafty.

    • I buy wire for this kind of thing at Michael’s. If I can’t find the exact metal I want at Michael’s, I’ll bring the bracelet with me to match the gauge of the wire, and then order the wire on Amazon.

    • Etsy is my default for craft supplies now. I was just looking at necklace chains this morning. I don’t buy wire, but often stores will have very good measurements.

    • Anonymous :

      Fire Mountain Gems

  10. Has anyone experienced anxiety with PMS? This seems to have come on for me in the last 3-4 months. 2-3 days before I get my period, I have a fair bit of (functional) anxiety, which results in stomach pain, decreased ability to focus, etc. As I say, it’s functional but obviously bothersome. Wondering if there are any natural ways to deal with this? i have recently made some dietary changes (cut sugar, gluten, grains, alcohol) but it hasn’t stopped the anxiety this month. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      You can’t solve anxiety with restricting your diet. Talk to a doctor.

    • Anonymous :

      Gluten or sugar do not cause anxiety. Going on hormonal birth control did wonders for helping my PMS.

    • The only thing “natural” that I have found that helps my emotional issues during PMS is exercise – an intense workout first thing in the morning helps all day.

      This is true all month long, as I generally struggle with mild anxiety and depression, but becomes very critical while I’m PMSing.

    • Thisperson1 :

      OMG, me, today. Absolutely shaking with anxiety, which is not normal for me. I’m trying to keep it in check, but I feel like a drunk person trying to act sober. Usually I just get a night or two of insomnia.

      • KateMiddletown :

        It is so refreshing to hear that I’m not the only person in the world who does this. I have full blown insomnia then cry because I can’t explain PMS to my husband.

  11. What do you do if your boss starts hitting on you? Let’s say it’s a “named partner of a mid-sized law firm” type boss, and let’s say it’s the “I think I’m in love with you” type of assertion (as opposed to generic tone-deaf harassment). I thought I was laughing this off and shutting it down well until stranger things started to happen, like standing too close and “innocently” touching my arm or lower back.

    I work directly with this partner 95% of the time. I’d have to change my practice entirely to avoid working with him–a move that would probably not be feasible at this firm–and because we staff lightly and travel extensively, it would be almost impossible to avoid being alone with him if I stay the course. Is there any way to shut this down while continuing to work together? I am sick over this and am struggling to get past any option that isn’t “quit as soon as possible.”

    • Anonymous :

      Find a new job.

    • Document document document and go to HR.

      • I guess I’m struggling to see what this would accomplish. HR would fire him? The guy is a rainmaker and the firm would likely go under without him. HR would give him a stern talking-to? That just makes my relationship with him unbearably awkward and leads me back to option 1: quit.

        But I’ve never been in this position before. Am I missing something?

        • 1) you don’t want to get retalliation-fired when you officially tell him to cut it out
          2) you want to prevent this happening to anyone else
          3) perhaps you can work in a different area

          This exact scenario happened to a woman I worked with (the I’m in love with you business. The guy was married. Charming) and she finally went to HR. She got a lateral reassignment. He did not get fired. She finally left the company with VERY hard feelings, but was able to leave on her own terms and was able to wait for the right opportunity.

          I still find it frustrating that he didn’t get fired. And he didn’t deny any of it. It wasn’t he-said she-said.

          • anonymous :

            Yeah I have to say to the exact scenario thing — I think the “I love you” bit is a cover that throws off *everyone* involved. This isn’t textbook harassment, and he’s claiming googly-eyed, cant-keep-my-hands-off-of-you love. I think it’s much more unlikely for him to get fired because people may pity him, they may feel they understand the situation because they’ve “been there”, or they may just get confused.

            If point 2 (prevent this happening to anyone else) is important to you, my gut, from my own experiences, is you’re better of quitting and telling people, point blank, why you left. But it’s most important for you to take care of yourself, and if that means you eventually find another job and quietly leave, that’s ok too.

          • Regarding Anita Hill, from aba paper on gender gap by Lynn Hecht Schafran

            ” she was vilified, for example, for her failure to file a sexual harassment complaint. The traditional insistence on a ‘prompt report’ in sex crimes has always been the bane of rape victims. There is a wholesale failure to understand that victims of any kind of sexual abuse feel so deeply and personally violated that they resist disclosure, fearing that they will not be believed and that their humiliation will be compounded.”

        • I can’t imagine that a law firm would stand up for an associate over a partner (especially a rain maker partner) based on my experience. Anon at 4:18’s post is what *should* happen. That doesn’t mean it will. OP, if you know someone that you trust (deeply) at your firm who can advise on whether HR will be your friend, talk with that person. But please don’t assume that HR will be on your side- HR exists to protect the firm. It’s much easier to get rid of a complaining associate than a rainmaker partner.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          An advantage of documenting it, is, as Anon above says, if he gets frustrated with your continual refusals and starts to undermine you, or you (rightly!) snap like, “ugh eff off!!!!” and he tries to fire you for that, or *whatever* bad thing happens, you’ll have some power in your hands.

          They don’t want to look like they’re firing you because you complained about being harassed at work. Complaining is the thing that gets you there.

          Yes, it will burn bridges and make it hard for this to be your Forever Job, but no job should require you to put up with this at all. Ever. If their business model requires people to tolerate sexual harassment from the rainmaker, their business model sucks.

    • Anonymous :

      I get such a lot of joy out of yelping and backing away when people touch me without permission. “Oh! Your hand on my back really startled me!” is the sort of thing that tends to attract bystanders’ attention and kind of shame the toucher.

      • Anonymous :

        This is too indirect. OP, if you haven’t already told him, without laughing it off, that he needs to stop because it’s making you really uncomfortable and you do not return his feelings, do that. You need him to respect your personal space and not to touch you, innocent or otherwise.

        And look for a new job.

    • anonymous :

      I was there, but at a much younger (I assume) age. I have made a promise to myself to quit next time. If you are at a point where this is a viable, attractive (to you) option, I just wanted to let you know I support you. You will find something else, and you will immediately feel better.

  12. Autoimmune Disorders :

    Anyone else dealing with an auto-immune disorder? Any tips on dealing with work during flare ups? I hate feeling 95 when I am only 28.

    • I have lupus and it can be rough. Luckily my work is quite flexible if I’m not teaching. My strategy is to make my physical space as comfortable as possible. In the midst of a bad flare, I will go to work, come home, eat dinner and go to bed. A week or so of that, while a bit depressing, can provide enough of a reset to help me out of the flare.

    • Following because I have no answers…

    • Coach Laura :

      I have a minor autoimmune disease but struggled for decades undiagnosed. The only coping mechanisms I have are rest and getting support – most likely from friends/family not from coworkers.

      Keep stress low. Practice yoga/meditation when you’re not in a flare. Put precooked meals in your freezer and staples in your pantry so you can minimize cooking, shopping and prep work in a flare. Be kind to yourself and find things that bring you joy.

      For the job issues, you could read “Women Work and Autoimmune Disease” though it might be dated. Might be available at your local library. Posting here might be more valuable.

    • I have occular myasthenia gravis. It’s nothing that *knocks me out, can’t work* bad, but when I flare, I’m tired and have headaches (along w/ the eye droop). Fun! Be kind to yourself and rest when you need to.

  13. Anyone have tips on how to clean a beige colored upholstered dining room chair? It’s not a super expensive chair so I don’t really want to shell out money for a professional cleaning. The material is polyester over foam. TIA!

    • LondonLeisureYear :


      Its a miracle cleaning substance. I can’t wait to get access to it when I move back to the USA. It got sharpie out of my rug. Its meant for rugs but I would use it on my furniture and clothes too.

    • Incredible

    • Anonymous :

      Put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Mist the chair and run with a pink kitchen sponge (pink is for delicates) – this also works well on microfiber.

  14. I’m way behind on the Lo and Sons train. Any input on the TT or the O.M.G bag? The O.M.G. bag looks like my dream, especially with the shoe storage. My only worry is that it’s an “overnight” bag…is it too bulky for every day use? They’re both on sale, but the TT is considerably cheaper. I just need someone to tell me which one to buy!

    • OMG is day-to-day bag sized for me. OG is definitely bigger and more of an overnight/travel bag. I think TT is considerably smaller, right?

      • Looking at the TT, it’s so skinny, and I’m a storage freak. I do love the OMG’s features but I’m so petite, I just wonder if I’d look like a gnome carrying the OMG day-to-day.

    • Anonymous :

      I use the OMG as a weekend bag. It’s much too bulky for daily use in my opinion.

    • I have the OMG and love it, but I saw the TT at a conference last week and was immediately jealous of its similar functionality and slimmer profile. The OMG just encourages me to add extra stuff — it’s perfect for travel, but if you already have a good overnight bag, I’d definitely steer you to the TT.

      In fact, now that I know it’s on sale…

    • I have the OMG, and it was perfect for an everyday bag when I was carrying things back and forth from work. Now that I rarely work from home and don’t have a work-issued laptop, I use (and love) it for travel.

    • I use the OG as my daily bag (usually carrying a laptop/cords and gym clothes/shoes) and use a wristlet as my wallet. While I wouldn’t want the bag to be any larger, it’s not “too big” for me (5’8″, broad shoulders), so even if you’re petite it’s unlikely that you’ll find the smaller OMG unwieldy.

    • I’m petite and use the OMG on a day-to-day basis and love it.

  15. Baconpancakes :

    Is there an etiquette for whether or not to ask a coworker if you can see her clearly visible tattoos a little more closely, or even comment on them? A coworker wore a sleeveless shirt today (totally fine in my office) and I saw that her arm is covered in what look like really cool tattoos. I wanted to ask her if I could see them, because while they’re visible, I don’t want to just stare at her arm without warning, but wasn’t sure if even commenting on them might make someone uncomfortable.

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t. Why. Just don’t.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a visible tattoo and I wouldn’t have gotten it if people commenting on it made me uncomfortable. If people can see it, they’re going to ask! I appreciate it when people say “Can I ask you what your tattoo means?” instead of touching me/trying to see it.

      • Baconpancakes :

        The one I wasn’t sure about looked like it might have been Sailor Moon in her ballgown, but I wasn’t sure, and I really wanted to ask. I figured she wouldn’t wear sleeveless if she didn’t want to to show them off, but I didn’t want to assume. And ew why would anyone touch you without asking???

        • Mine is on my neck/back and people often come up behind me and touch my back which always startles me!

          • What? No. I can’t believe people do that!

          • +1 I have a fully tattooed back and I get touched all the effing time.

          • pugsnbourbon :

            Oh yeah. I have two on my shoulders and my younger sister has started a sleeve – happens all the time. If had one on my neck and people touched it I’d be liable to slap them – I startle easily.

    • You can tell someone her tattoo is pretty the same way you can tell her that her hair looks nice. If you don’t know her well enough to comment on her hair you probably don’t know her well enough to ask about her tattoo.

      But yes, if you know her well enough, ask away. Most people with visible tattoos love talking about them.

      • Baconpancakes :

        This is perfect – I was wrestling with it because I was comparing tattoos to jewelry, and thinking I would compliment a stranger on a piece of jewelry so why not a tattoo, but that felt weird. Hair is a perfect comparison. I would tell a coworker if her hair looked great that day but not tell a stranger off the street.

        And lol no, I didn’t want to see it up close, I just noticed it in a meeting across a 10 foot conference table, so I could barely tell what it was.

    • I don’t know that I would ask to have a closer look, but you can just generically ask about it. “What does your tattoo mean?/Is that Sailor Moon?” I have one on my ankle and coworkers ask about it occasionally and I’m always happy to explain it. If someone said “Can I take a closer look at your tattoo?” though I might be like, um, that’s a weird request ….

    • I wrote this on a previous comment thread about asking about tattoos:

      It varies a lot from person to person because people get tattoos for a wide variety of reasons. Also, lots of people seem to forget their manners when pressing for details about tattoos.

      The best way to explain it is to think of tattoos as something of a cross between jewelry and a scar. For some people, they are purely decorative (closer to jewelry) and for others, they are a deep and permanent reminder of a specific thing or period of their life, which they may have complicated feelings about. I think for most people, it’s somewhere between the two.

      It’s hard to tell where on that spectrum someone is, so it makes it tough to assess what is polite vs prying. You certainly wouldn’t say to someone, “Wow, you’ve got a scar on your arm! Roll up your sleeve so I can see it better. I bet that hurt! What happened?” Even with jewelry, if you commented on someone’s beautiful ring and they said that it had been their mother’s without elaborating further, you wouldn’t ask, “Oh, it was your mom’s? Why did she give it to you? Are you guys close, or did she die or something?”

      Even if a tattoo is visible, that doesn’t mean someone necessarily wants to talk about it – they might have put it there so they can see it themselves easily, or because the location has some other symbolism to them.

      All this to say, it’s not necessarily rude to ask about tattoos, but know that it might be sensitive and have your emotional intelligence antennae out. Generally steer clear of questions about the meaning or why they got the tattoo – if they want to share that, they’ll tell you.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        This is a smart response. Awhile ago, I commented on someone’s semi-colon tattoo. I had only seen those in the crohns and colitis community (if you lose part of your colon, you have a semi-colon) and had no idea it had become a mental health thing. It was definitely an awkward conversation. The person with a tattoo was like ugh, it’s a mental health symbol. And I was like oh, I thought it was a CCFA symbol, and I’m a member. but it was clear they didn’t want to discuss their mental health with me.

  16. The Important Conversations :

    What are the things you wished you had discussed with your partner prior to getting married?

    BF and I are both head over heels after about 6 months and have talked about so many things in details (kids, religion, finances, holidays, geography, etc.) but I’m wondering if we’re too much in dreamland to consider important things, including those kinds of things that are small but add up over time.

    We’re both in our early 30s so we’re comfortable moving pretty fast. We’re thinking he’ll move in in about 6 months and we’ll get engaged after that. We’ve taken an international trip together, met the families (mine for an extended period of time), and survived long-ish periods of busy work travel for each of us.

    Should I just stop thinking and enjoy this, or are there things you wish you had talked about early on? TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      Enjoy it! It’s okay for relationships to be easy.

      • Agree with this :) Are you spending weekends at each other’s places? Housekeeping/cooking might be another thing to think about, but overall I don’t think everything has to be A Thing – enjoy being happy!

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’d find a solid premarital counseling class near you and go with your BF. It’s important to have some kind of impartial third party working with you, because they can dive into the details of things that you might not immediately think to explore (or have talked about, but not in depth), and they can bring up other areas that are important (how will you handle in-laws?, etc). I remember talking to my therapist and she said that a good exercise to do with a counselor is to have each part of the couple come up with what their expectations are for what married life looks like for them (finances, attraction, happiness, sex, career, etc). She said a major problem she encounters is that people say, “I except my marriage be A, B, and C, but I’m only getting B and C so I’m not happy.”

    • Anony Mouse :

      It may be a little difficult since you’re still in the early stages of your relationship, but don’t shy away from frank discussions about housekeeping and daily habits. My husband and I both knew from the beginning that we have very different housekeeping styles, but it wasn’t until we started living together that we really began to realize how that affects us. We’re making good progress in terms of compromising, but we’ve found we have to have regular, direct conversations about where we are now and what we’d like to change.

    • Anony Mouse :

      My longer comment is stuck in moderation, but the bottom line: Talk about housekeeping, being honest both about your ideals and your day-to-day reality.

      • Yes. It is CRITICAL for you to make sure he is NOT a slob, before you move in with him. If he is at your apartement now overnight, make him do the dishes, and make sure he does NOT leave the toilet seat up when he pee’s. My Alan NEVER did the dishes, and ALWAYS left the toilet seat up so when I walked in there, I was greeted by BOTH a seat up as well as pee all over the bowl. That is NOT what you want to have to deal with every day and night in MARRIED life. I was lucky to have dumped my ex– I see that with you, right now all is well, but make sure you are NOT overlookeing things like this which will annoy you. You also want to make sure he will help with the laundry, and NOT just put his underwear sometimes filled with his poopie in with your fine washables, and expect for your housekeeper to clean them for him. FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      Stop thinking and enjoy it! It sounds like you’ve discussed plenty for the stage you’re at. Once you’re formally engaged and planning a wedding, I would recommend some counseling either through your officiant or elsewhere. We were married by a rabbi and although it wasn’t called “pre-marital counseling” we had to talk about lots of these issues with her and each other and I found it very helpful. A lot of it will probably be repetitive but it’s good to talk through this stuff again right before marriage with a third party around to supervise. (I’m not sure about the advice above to go now. My husband would have totally freaked if I’d suggested pre-marital counseling before we were engaged, even though we had had lots of conversations about the timeline for getting engaged/married and were on the same page about it).

    • Anonymous :

      One question we had in our premarital class (with a pastor) was “Would you rather be liked, or respected?” Or also “Do you want to be right or be happy”.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Getting a therapist to do premartial counseling to challenge you both and bring up tough topics is never a bad idea.

      Things that my friends have gotten married and then realized that they don’t see eye to eye on:
      1) Having a parent/sibling need housing or help and one partner expected that the sick/mentally unstable/broke/addicted person could move in with them
      2) Not actually seeing eye to eye religion wise. Like they got married without religion (the ceremony had no religious ties) but then when they had a baby one person wanted it a baptism or a bris
      3) What happens if one person wants to move for their career and the other is happy in their career
      4) What happens if one person wants to stop working to “find themselves”
      5) What happens if a job moves them to a very rural place or across the world
      6) Time commitment with families – who will you spend holidays with. Will it only be the holidays or once you are married does one party expect to see their family on a weekly basis?
      7) What happens if you can’t have a kid naturally? Will you adopt? Try IVF? Not have kids?
      8) How much should you financially support family if they need it?
      9) How much time will be dedicated to hobbies or sports? My one friend married her husband and realized he wanted to spend a full day every weekend watching a sport (football/hockey/baseball/golf) and this is been a huge grudge
      10) Housework. Housework. Housework.

      • Anonymous :

        The typo of “premartial” instead of “premarital” is probably more accurate…and hilarious!

      • +1
        Also – views on charitable giving, major current events and frequency of lady garden parties!
        And entertaining – (more so when one is an introvert and the other extrovert) and the impact it has on your lifestyle!

        But yes by all means enjoy this stage. and congrats :)

    • This might sound obvious and is somewhat covered in the items you described above, but talk about the kind of lifestyle you want to live. Is is important to your partner to work 80+ hour weeks to make six/seven figures, but your quality of life suffers somewhat, or is work/life balance more important to one or both of you? What are your savings and spending styles? What’s important to you in terms of how you spend your money and your time? What’s gotten DH and I through some stressful times and big decisions is that we both agree on and want to lead the same kind of lifestyle, which makes it easier.

      Also, come up with some ground rules for your relationship. One of our big ones is “no yelling”. We’ve decided that in our family, we don’t yell. We’re allowed to disagree, have conflicting views, and express anger, disappointment, or sadness, but we don’t raise our voices at each other. It makes fighting and resolving conflict so much easier, and it feels good to know that we have these core values and “rules” that we both prioritize and agree on.

      • I second the figure out your arguing or fighting styles. I am a yeller (and come from a family of yellers) where yelling really is normal – no one gets upset by it, etc. Someone once asked my mother why she yelled at her kids all the time and she promptly responded it was because we didn’t hear her otherwise (which was likely true). It wasn’t mean, just loud. My husband is not from that type of family and does not respond well to yelling (he basically powers down like a robot) and is very conflict-avoidant. I’m trying to yell less, he’s trying to be less upset when I do, and it’s an ongoing point in our marriage that we are working on. I nearly cheered the other day when he actually engaged in an argument and yelled back at me, and he was similarly thrilled when I managed to hold off to discuss something later that day rather than have a blow-out over it immediately. When we were dating but before we moved in together I don’t think we had a single argument, so that was kind of surprising.

    • We got married in the Episcopal church and we had to do a few sessions of pre-marital counseling with the priest ahead of time. One of the most helpful things she had us do was an exercise where we were supposed to discuss our goals and our deal-breakers around five or six topics– money, s*x, dealing with our parents, children, etc. It was very helpful. I also love books by Gottman. Very useful info on disagreeing productively and being kind and respectful.

    • How do you each handle conflict? Even if you don’t “fight,” you will have significant disagreements. The way you communicate during conflict is extremely important.

      You’ve covered a lot of the “big” stuff. But, as LondonLiesure’s list demonstrates, it’s impossible (and probably unhealthy) to plan for everything. It’s more important that you can approach everything–big decisions, everyday housework, life’s sorrows–as a team.

    • S*x. You need to talk about s*x. Being s*xually compatible or not can make or break a marriage. How often? What is a non-starter? Needs? Kinks? What is considered “cheating”? What do you think about p*rn? What if someone’s drive drops?

    • Ideal lifestyle! How important is career vs. leisure time vs. money? If you have a great work opportunity that involves some travel, is your spouse going to be supportive or resentful (and vice versa)? Where do you want to live? Are either of you open to moving? What would you do if one of you got a great job offer in another area?

      How do you like to spend your leisure time? If one of you likes to spend it with friends, or on hobbies, or on going to do stuff, and the other person loves watching TV and being a homebody, that can create a lot of friction.

      Where do you see the role of family, friends, and community in your life and are you on the same page? I’m super close with my family; my husband is not that close with his family. He likes my family well enough but doesn’t want to spend lots of time with them. It’s something that we’ve managed to work out to our satisfaction, but I could see it being a huge issue depending on the personalities and expectations involved.

      How much time do you spend together/apart? Some people are very comfortable spending lots of time apart, and others expect to have dinner with their spouse every night. I’ve noticed that sometimes people have expectations along these lines that don’t surface until after they’re married.

  17. Any suggestions on books/blogs/etc for a new home owner? Just bought my first place. It is an old Victorian, in excellent shape

    • anonymous :

      You might find this book useful: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House

      • I loved that book. So informative. And you can take what is useful and leave the rest behind. I’m a nerd so I read the whole thing cover to cover.

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          Right there with you :-)

        • Me too, it was actually a good read! When I travel, I remember how she contrasted her grandmothers’ Italian (open windows, sunlight everywhere) and English (keep the outside out) styles of housekeeping.

    • I don’t have a good suggestion but congrats! I am selling my first house (built in 1922) and buying another (built in 1905). I love old houses!

    • my husband bought this for me:
      What’s a Homeowner to Do? 455 Ways to Keep Your House in Tip Top Shape
      by Stephen Fanuka

      it’s obviously not exhaustive, but a cute little quick read – has 2-3 pages on run of the mill things, but also more in-depth topics. Even if you aren’t going to fix your roof yourself, it’s fun to understand what you’re facing when you call the roof guys..


  18. Can you ask a coworker to stop whistling? I hate the sound of whistling. It’s like nails on the chalkboard for me. A coworker has recently moved into the office next to me and he is a huge whistler. So far I have taken this as my problem, and I grit my teeth or put on headphones. But is it really ok to whistle all day in a professional environment?

    • Anonymous :

      Personally, I don’t think it is too much to ask- but I also find it to be really grating. It’s frowned-upon the same way singing under your breath would be frowned upon.

      I think it’s okay to make the ask “Hey, Coworker, would it be possible to stop whistling or at least whistle less? I find it really breaks my concentration and can interrupt my work. Thanks :)”

      Though, I have a coworker that chews ice and I just stick on the headphones. But it’s only a couple times a week, usually in the afternoon, so it’s not an ever present threat of happening.

    • Of course you can ask them to stop. It may be unconscious and you may have to ask several times.

      I have a coworker who used to mindlessly sing along to his music while wearing headphones. After I asked him to knock it off a few times, I started tossing small objects over the cube wall at him. He eventually broke the habit.

  19. CARDIGANS from Diana Barry :

    Ladies, I have several cardigans that I would love for you to take off my hands. I never wear them and it would be great for them to find a home with someone for whom they spark joy! :)

    Colors are lemon yellow, kelly green, navy, orange, and a couple more I can’t remember, all size M. Please email me at dianabarry r e t t e at g mail and I will send you pictures.

    • Suggestions for good work snacks? I’m not concerned with them being healthy, but don’t want to have chips or oreo cookies. I don’t have access to a fridge, so only things that can be stored in a desk drawers. Thanks!

    • What brand are they?

  20. Exposed Zipper :

    Has anyone had good luck covering an exposed zipper with sharpie, nail polish, or something else? I recently bought a black pencil skirt on steep discount but it has a short gold exposed zipper on the back. At my office wearing the skirt as-is would be fine, but I’d ideally like to make the zipper black to stand out less from the rest of the skirt.

    • Did you save enough on the deal to afford to have a tailor switch out the zipper? A permanent marker would do a temporarily okay job, but there’s no way to keep the teeth of the zipper black. The marker will rub off from the friction of using the zipper.

    • I had boots that had a bright silver detail that I sharpie’d out. I had to re-do it every 2 months or so, but it looked fine if your nose wasn’t right up staring at the buckle. It can’t hurt and it might work, so give it a try!

    • Exposed Zipper :

      I should note that the zipper isn’t really necessary on the skirt. The fabric and waistband are stretchy enough that I can pull it on and off without zipping and unzipping it.

      • Coach Laura :

        If the zipper is not needed have a tailor or dry cleaners remove it and sew up seam. Much easier and cheaper than replacing a zipper.

  21. Baby Gift :

    Am I a grinch for not going in on a baby gift for a coworker with the rest of my department? For context, I’ve only met the father-to-be once and he’s not someone I work with on a regular basis.

    • Anonymous :

      If everyone else in your department is doing it, you might be seen as grinch-like. Can you just chip in $5 or $10?

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, kind of. If only his close friends are contributing, presumably you wouldn’t have been asked. If the entire department is being asked to contribute, it’s grinch-like to decline even if you don’t know him well. I second advice to give $10.

  22. Relationship advice.
    OK. At the risk of virulently negative comments.

    I’m a single mom (35) with three kids (12, 9, and 7). I’ve been dating a wonderful but younger (31) man for just over a year. We get along like a dream. It’s soooo easy. He gets along well with my kids (they met around 6 months) and my kids really like him. He things my kids are well-behaved, and likes how I parent. He knew from the outset that I had kids, and I knew he wanted his own. We tentatively agreed we were ok with that/would see how it went.

    We used to talk about “future” stuff, early on. We say I love you. And I know he loves me (acts of service/quality time). But as we’ve gotten more serious, he’s gotten more apprehensive about a future. He’s not sure he can step-parent 3 kids. I think he has some unrealistic ideas about what it means, and I’ve explained my needs (one ‘family’ dinner a week, present at their ‘big’ events, be there as an ear if they need him, try to build independent relationships). He doesn’t think they’re unreasonable, but is still “I’m not sure…”

    He’s not a good talker (acts of service/quality time). And he knows he needs to “figure this out.” But am I just postponing inevitable heartbreak? Due to known work commitments he will be moving in a year. We had talked about what it would look like for us to make that move together, but lately he can’t seem to have these conversations. But he introduces me to everyone (including to his colleagues as his better half), travels with me, plans things in the future…I’m confused.

    So I guess the question is what to do. I’d like to spend my life with this person. I think if he’s inclined, he’d be a great fit as a step-parent. Does it completely de-value me to just wait and let him work through some of this? Should I just call it quits, since he has swung from planning a life to “I don’t know what to do…”? Am I worrying about this too early? Overreacting?


    • I’m sorry… to me, the change from planning a life to “I don’t know” is a pretty clear sign. It sounds like he’s ready to be with you as a woman, but not really with you as a mom.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. I think this is a clear indication that he isn’t ready to commit to taking on you and the kids as a unit.

    • I’m confused — he doesn’t want to commit to step-parenting but wants to commit to parenting? Or is he now saying he doesn’t want kids?

      • This part is understandable to me. He wants his own kids. He likes my kids just fine as people, but going from 0 kids to 3 kids (who aren’t yours) is a lot. I think that, and they’re my kids.

        I guess I hoped if I gave him enough time, he’d eventually be ok with it. I suppose that’s foolish.

        • I don’t think you were/are foolish. He may have genuinely believed when you started out that step-parenting would be something he could manage, and now that you’ve been together a while and he’s preparing to move, reality might be sinking in. It happens. Doesn’t make you a fool.

    • Anonymous :

      Find a middle ground. You can give him sometime to figure it out, but you can’t move with him and uproot your children if he isn’t sure.

    • This sounds to me like someone who has realized that he isn’t yet ready to settle down, TBH.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I have never been in this exact situation but I’ve been in the situation where we go from planning our lives to him saying “I’m not sure”. It has never gone well. Generally, in my experience, he is having second thoughts and doesn’t have the guts to admit it so he skirts around the issue until I brought it up directly.

      I would end things. He may love you but not enough and my feeling is that it needs to be enough. I don’t want to have to talk someone into having a life with me, whatever that may entail. I imagine I would feel this more strongly if I had kids to protect.

      I’m sorry – this is really hard. I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh or flippant.

      • +1. I think this is exactly right.

      • Two Cents :

        I tend to agree. OP, so sorry. This is really really hard.

      • +1000 here. It sounds like he does love you but is realizing this is not the right future for him. For perspective, my ex was telling me he loved me and that I was the most important part of his life/his better half until the night before he broke up with me. He kissed me goodbye in the morning before he left for work, and when I got home that night, he broke up with me and said our lives were “too different.”

        I would just be direct with him and ask if that is what is going on. Not in a combative way, but in a practical way. You love him, you want to be with this person, but you need to understand clearly if you should be starting to move on, since it seems like he is dragging out what sounds like an inevitable breakup.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Agree with TO Lawyer.

        The right person isn’t going to have to be talked into being with you. He is going to be moving heaven and earth for the privilege of being with you.

        That said, if you are enjoying your time with him I don’t see anything wrong with staying together until he moves, as long as you are clear that you won’t be going with him.

      • Delta Dawn :

        Agree with TO Lawyer, and am so sorry for this situation.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m so sorry. It must be dashing a lot of hope even to have to lay out this scenario and ask this question. The part that concerns me is this: “He’s not sure he can step-parent 3 kids. I think he has some unrealistic ideas about what it means, and I’ve explained my needs (one ‘family’ dinner a week, present at their ‘big’ events, be there as an ear if they need him, try to build independent relationships).”

      It sounds like maybe you’re trying to reassure him that you’ll be doing the parenting and his part of it isn’t as big as he might be imagining? If I were dating a guy with custody of his three kids, I absolutely wouldn’t buy that. I’d know it wouldn’t just be one family dinner a week, and the big events (assuming you have custody). I’d know I’d be living with three kids every day, and dealing with all that comes with that. Normal sibling arguments and “how was school” and “get your homework done” and this kid is sick so we can’t go here and that kid has a thing, so we can’t go there and I need to step in and pick up child B because something happened with child A. In short … parenting, with me in the step-parent role, which also means (I assume) navigating a life-long relationship with the children’s other parent. That’s a lot, and I’d be looking long and hard at the whole package before I stepped up and said, Yes, this is the life I want. You WANT him looking long and hard at the whole package and whole-heartedly signing on for all of it, or not signing on at all.

      Since he’s a fundamentally decent guy, is he maybe looking for a way to say “no” to a single mom and her three likeable kids without feeling like the biggest jerk of the century?

      • Anonymous :


      • +1

        I feel like the right guy is ready for the commitment of 3 kids and wants to HELP you as a mother. Not waiver or be unsure. That kind of instability can be catastrophic not just for you but for your kids. Its hard but on the bright side, Mr. ABSOLUTELY RIGHT can’t come into your life until Mr. Maybe gets out of his seat! :) So it’s hard, but I would let go now, with him moving it helps – because it’ll be a cleaner break. Sending you hugs! Its totally possible that you will find someone who is elated at the prospect of being the best step dad he can be.

        • Senior Attorney :

          This is so true. Don’t settle. I stayed with Mr. Wrong for 15 long years and it was only after I found the courage to leave that Mr. Ridiculously Perfect showed up.

      • I agree. My husband’s step-mother has said that if she had a do-over, she wouldn’t choose to be a step-parent again. It’s a tough role, and at least for some people, not as rewarding as being a parent. (She has two (grown) children of her own, whom she adores and is 100% devoted to.)

      • Agreed. I don’t see any reasonable way for a step-parent’s involvement to be limited to your list of needs, unless you were non-custodial and the kids were only with you once every other weekend (but even then…).

        Basically, he’s told you that he doesn’t think he can step-parent three kids. It seems like you’ve tried to give him a step-parent lite option as a way to meet respect that boundary. But I think he realizes that step-parent lite isn’t realistic, long term. I’m sorry. This sounds very, very hard. Ultimately, though, you deserve someone who is all in for you and your family.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. Plus I think the fact that you had to sort of set out the minimum expectations for him is troubling. If I were dating as a single parent I would want someone who was ALL IN on parenting my daughter, who was even more excited about family dinners than I was, not someone who was begrudgingly sort-of-agreeing to one dinner per week.

        I also kind of disagree w/advice above about staying together til he moves. I think that would be a fine plan if you were both childless and he was wavering on commitment, but with kids in the picture I don’t know. If they like him, they’re presumably getting more attached by the day and they don’t understand that the relationship has an expiration date the way you do.

    • To Annony, From Potential Future Stepparent :

      In case you check back here – I left you a comment on this morning’s thread!

  23. Suggestions for good work snacks? I’m not concerned with them being healthy, but don’t want to have chips or oreo cookies. I don’t have access to a fridge, so only things that can be stored in a desk drawers. Thanks!

    • I recently bought a bag of Double Chocolate Chunk granola at Target on a whim and it’s been a life saver to keep at my desk. I’m under no false pretenses about how “healthy” it is (it’s not), but it has enough substance to keep me full and enough chocolate to kill a craving.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Target has EXCELLENT snacky options. I love all their different types of trail mix.

        I also keep a jar of almond butter and a spoon in my desk.

    • Anony Mouse :

      I like to keep around snacks with protein: nuts, trail mix, and the occasional energy bar. I buy nuts/trail mix in bulk and portion servings out into snack bags so that I don’t overindulge.

    • Bean chips, jerky, different nuts, fruit snacks, belvita biscuits, peanut butter and pretzel chips

    • Emerald nuts 100 calorie bags. (Try the cocoa and cinnamon almonds or the dill pickle cashews.)

      Mini 100 calorie bags of microwave popcorn – I prefer PopSecret.

      Pouches of tuna for when you miss lunch and are absolutely starving.

      • I need to know more about dill pickle cashews. Are they at all sweet? I wanted so much to like the sriracha cashews but they were unpleasantly sweet.

    • Thanks all!

  24. What color Cuyana tote should I get? I’m leaning toward the sky blue, but wondering if I’ll regret not getting a more neutral color like stone…

    • Anony Mouse :

      I’ll always vote for neutrals, but I only own 2 purses….

    • My concern with light-colored purses is less the lack of neutrality and more that they get marks on them and show wear faster than darker colors.

  25. Rolling my eyes at the timing of a House staffer that just posted “Just another Saturday at the White House!” pics of her and a friend at the Truman bowling alley on facebook.

  26. Tooting my own horn :

    SO just found out I got awarded not one but TWO scholarships ( I am in business school), however, since I am graduating early, I can’t receive them. They are allocated for the next fiscal year. But as some one who has struggled in the past through school, for me this is epic, a sure sign of my hard work and I am thrilled.

  27. Cutting Off Communication with ONE Parent :

    I have come to the hard realization that I need to cut off communication with my mother. I am mid-thirties and realize that regardless of what I do, she and I will never have a functional relationship. I have come to grips with this and am ready to move on and cut her out. She was emotionally abusive to me since I can remember and was occasionally physically violent. She continues to put me down, blame me for her problems, and even when my husband and I do something kind for her (a gift or a visit) find fault in it.

    Perfect example of typical behavior I will not tolerate any longer: I invited my parents to visit for a holiday, and she made the entire visit miserable (tons of screaming, complaining about activities we were doing even thought she agreed to them, tantrums in public, lying that she was sick, throwing and breaking my personal property). There was so much noise, a neighbor came to our condo and told us to keep it down or the police are getting called. My father and I couldn’t get her to stop yelling and throwing and breaking things, and she managed to hit my in the face with a stoneware dinner plate, so the police came. My mom yelled at them too, and I persuaded them not to arrest her even though my face was swollen and bloody. (I should have let them arrest her….) My father and I spent the entire night awake and crying, and my husband had to come home from visiting family across the country to help me manage the situation. I spent 3-4 months emotionally recovering from this to the point I could sleep through the night.

    Every time my husband and I visit my parents, I have extreme anxiety in the preceding months and the months after. Nightmares, just feeling anxious and worried, dreading it, etc. She’ll call me and I again will need many days to recover from any call from her. It’s just not OK anymore.

    What makes cutting her even harder than it should be is that she and my father are still married. I am close with my father (although not as close as I want to be because of her) and I don’t want to cut him out too. I have tried to talk to my father about it, and he agrees with me that she’ll never have a functional relationship with me. He said that she seems to hate me and he has no idea why. He also shared he has tried to talk to her about it, it resulted in a massive fight (again, screaming and breaking things), and he needs to stay out of it. I haven’t talked to my dad about cutting her out, but I am sure this will not come as a surprise.

    But my question for you all is how do I do this logistically? How do I cut out one and not the other? They live together, share a phone/email/tablet, and my dad won’t leave her alone because she has “health problems.” The only thing I can think is for me to buy him his own phone and to convince him to visit my family without bringing her.

    Thoughts from the hive?

    *I have already made the decision to cut her out after trying for decades to foster a relationship with her and agonizing over it. So while I appreciate some people make think this is terrible and too harsh and have advice on how to mend the relationship, I am sorry but I would appreciate if you could skip those comments.

    • Senior Attorney :

      It’s late in the afternoon so I’d suggest re-posting this in the morning for more replies.

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this! And I think you are doing the right thing by cutting off contact with your mom. Yes, I definitely think you are going to have to get a separate phone for your dad. But be prepared for him to stick with her and you may lose most of your contact with him as well. He has to live with her (or he thinks he does, anyway), and I can’t imagine it would go over well with your mom if he continues a relationship with you while she is cut off.

      I really thing therapy would be really helpful to help you walk through this difficult transition. Sending support and best wishes to you!

      • Cutting Off Communication with ONE Parent :

        Thanks, I was sadly in moderation for a good bit of the day. Will repost in the am, but thanks for the support. It is such a crappy situation.

      • Cutting Off Communication with ONE Parent :

        Also to add, I appreciated the “thinks he does, anyway.” I know different people have different types of marriages, but I don’t understand why he hasn’t left her. She threatened to leave him when I was 8 years old, and even then I felt like “please let it happen and my dad to get custody of me.” They don’t appear to have a healthy relationship, and he just avoids her by staying outside or in the basement. Even when I am visiting, she yells at him frequently. It is frustrating beyond belief to see him exist in that way, but I get that their relationship is not really something I can do anything about.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m so sorry you had to go through this! And I absolutely agree that you need to cut her off. In my (very similar) experience however, the other parent will suffer more unless they are cut out too…meaning the parent you need to cut out will retaliate at their partner because they are your favorite etc. So I have no tips for how to cut one out but not the other, but something to consider is how to shield the non-abusive parent from retaliation if you continue a relationship with them. Bottom line is that the non-abusive parent lives with their abusive partner 24 hours a day and while you can cut off contact, they don’t have that luxury, so I would do what would make their life easier. Maybe try to maintain a secret relationship and see how it goes, but I would be afraid if the other parent found out. Definitely talk to your dad about this and see what he would prefer, establish safe methods of contact, etc.

      • Cutting Off Communication with ONE Parent :

        I sadly tend to agree with the fact it is going to be hard to maintain a relationship with my dad. I imagine if I cut off contact with both of them though, she’ll blame him for causing the problem anyways. So either way he loses.

  28. Anonymous :

    Do you know if she is violent with your Dad also? Men can also be victims. Maybe he is scared to leave or doesn’t know how. I am sorry you are going through this – it’s so hard when your family is not functioning well.

    • Cutting Off Communication with ONE Parent :

      I’d say yes. When I was a teenager, I tried to talk to her about being nicer to my dad (misguided I know, but I was young and meant well). So I knew there was a problem then. I have also seen her throw things at him.

      I wish he would just leave, but I am pretty sure he says out of guilt and habit. They have been married almost 50 years. If he got the cajones to do it, I am sure he would agree to a 50/50 split so she could support herself (even though they are not in a community property state and she never worked).

      • Hi There,

        I agree, post in the morning for more feedback but I want to tell you I SUPPORT YOU 100%!!! Been there done that and you, nor does anyone else deserve to live this way. She is 10000% toxic and you do not have to continue to put up with it. If she will not respect you cutting contact threaten a restraining order. Its awful, yes, but you having to go through all this is even more awful. Sadly, we cant choose our families, but we CAN choose who to share our lives with and what not to put up with! sending you hugs! It will be hard at first but its for the best. I recommend a few sessions with a therapist also that can walk you though this time and reassure you that its for the best.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Thank you for commenting. On the off chance that your comment goes to moderation, note that a moderation message will only appear if you enter an email address. If you have any questions please check out our commenting policy.