Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Sophie Print Silk Blouse

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

Equipment Sophie Print Silk Blouse, Nature White/Black Last Call has a number of deeply marked down Equipment silk blouses, including this nice black and white sheer silk blouse. I know that sheer blouses (with only a bra beneath) are all the rage right now — but for work I will always vote that you should have a white or black thick-strapped tank top beneath a blouse like this. It was $218, then marked to $99, but with the discount it comes down to $49.50. Equipment Sophie Print Silk Blouse, Nature White/Black

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

Psst: Check out more great deals at the Corporette Bargains page!


  1. DC Wonkette :

    Immediate TJ (apologies). Has anyone borrowed against their retirement to help with a down payment for a house? We have a low inventory of places on the market in the city, and sellers are often demanding a minimum of 20% down. My boss and several of my coworkers have borrowed against their Thrift Savings Account (gov’t equivalent of a 401K) and recommend it, but I can’t help thinking it’s a bad idea. Any advice?

    • Cornellian :

      How old are you and your partner? Do you have an IRA (or other savings) as well? Children?

      I pulled about 10K from my IRA for a down payment (which I’ll be posting about in a moment below), but I am 26 (more time to make up), have little other debt, and also have a 401(k) with my work. I’d been contributing slowly to the IRA since I was 18, so it was hard to let go of, but I decided it was worth it.

      Depending on your answers to the above questions, I would probably caution against it. the power of tax-deferred and tax-exempt savings is so huge over a couple decades.

      • DC Wonkette :

        I’m 30, he’s 40. No kids yet. I’d only be looking at touching my account (which incidentally has much more saved in it).

        • Cornellian :

          Maybe I’m missing something, but why wouldn’t he be borrowing, as well? I guess it depends on teh balances. I got comfortable with taking out 10K/70K I had invested for retirement. And it does give you more freedom to get in to bidding wars

    • Can you find a lender that is willing to work with you and give you a loan for less than 20% down? A pre-approval letter from your lender might put the seller’s mind at ease that you are a qualified buyer. We recently were able to get a first mortgage at the conventional cap and a HELOC for the remainder without putting 20% down…

      • Cornellian :

        In DC/NYC? Just out of curiosity. There were probably 1/3 of the places I looked at that wanted at least 50% cash, and maybe 1/3 of those wanted 100% cash.

        • Not in DC/NYC, both of which appear to be unique markets. I can understand a seller not wanting to get caught up in a financing contingency, but as long as a buyer can bring a lender to the table, the seller still gets out. We did up our earnest money to show good faith/solvency. We just didn’t want to cannibalize our retirement savings with the mortgage interest rates being so low.
          I guess in a seller’s market, people can be picky. I would want to get my own appraisal before plunking down all cash.

          • Cornellian :

            Yeah. I guess what the mortgage lender is comfortable with is not always the same as what the sellers/building/co-op board want.

            I lost my dream apartment yesterday to someone bidding 5K less with a bank that needs twice as long as mine to close because I had a 20% down payment versus a 50% down payment. Boo.

        • I’m sorry, I may be misreading, but in DC they’re demanding over 20% down?!?!

          • They= sellers. Not mortgage lenders.

          • I spend lots of time on Redfin :

            @Cornellian: Never bought a home but in the market now… I don’t understand why sellers care if you’re putting down 20% or 50%. If you have financing arranged, they get their monies either way. Can any one explain this to me?

      • DC Wonkette :

        Thank you for the suggestion. I’m talking to lenders now and will bring this up!

    • Cornellian :

      Oh, also worth noting… look in to the mechanics of how borrowing against your account works. I’m in the private sector, but when I considered it with my 401(k), i found out you can borrow only up to 50% of it, and some mortgage lenders discount it, as it isn’t cash. Lenders are super tight right now, in my experience… I actually had to sell 90K of medium-risk investments in to low-return municipal bonds, and then totally in to cash, taking a huge hit, as they won’t count even low-risk municipal bonds towards your down payment.

      The worst would be if you took out a residential loan against your account, didn’t close, and couldn’t put the money back in on the tax-privileged basis.

      • I think some of this might depend on your geography. I am putting 20% down in central Virginia (cash), but I just locked in a phenomenal interest rate last month on a conventional 30 year loan even though I’ve only been with my current employer for 7 months and have a 4 month period of unemployment within the last 2 years. I was able to get that same rate from more than one lender.

    • Just know that if your employment terminates you either have to payback the outstanding principal within approx. 30 days or you will receive a 1099 and be penalized for an early withdrawal on top of being taxed on that amount. It is considered a loan default if you do not pay it back in a lump-sum and decide to take the penalty, does not effect your credit.

      Realize that you will not be earning investment income on the money taken out on the loan. However you will be paying an interest rate that is being credited back into your retirement account. It isn’t a bad idea but just read the loan document carefully. Do not do it if you don’t plan on being employed there for the full term of the loan.

    • My friend did this with her TSP and had to pay taxes on it as income, which was really painful because she wasn’t expecting it.

      • You only have to pay taxes on it as income if she decided not to pay it back or switched jobs.

    • Sellers are demanding 20% down? In DC? Are you looking at condos or co-ops that have minimum financing restrictions? Otherwise, that’s nuts – sellers typically don’t look at the down payment, only how stable the financing is and whether it might kill a deal.

      • Cornellian :

        I’ve seen both in NYC (and in DC via my friends buying there). Co-op and condo boards sometimes have minimum down payments, but inventory is so low that sellers can wait for 30, 50, 100% cash offers. I think that having more money available for a down payment also is seen as an indicator of being financially mature or responsible (although I feel like if you’re young and have more than the minimum, it’s probably your parents’ money, and you may actually be LESS mature and independent).

        • Maybe I am dumb, but can someone explain to me why a seller would care about any amount less than 100%? Regardless of whether the downpayment is 10/20/30/50%, they’re getting a check for what they’re owed at closing. Then it’s the lenders problem, not theirs. What am I missing?

          • The more money you have for a downpayment, the less the likelihood of any issues coming up with your financing. E.g., if my downpayment is 50%, it will be easier for me to get a mortgage even if we, say, get a low appraisal, than if my downpayment is 10%. All other things being equal, a seller will prefer someone who can pay more out of their own pocket and in a bidding war having that extra money can be that one item that seals the deal.

            And, as someone else mentioned, some co-ops just require more upfront (as a measure of purchaser’s stability). In that case, it can actually result in some good deals for a buyer because the pool of purchasers in a building that requires 30 or 50% dp. is necessarily narrowed, thus often resulting in a lower asking price.

          • the higher the down payment, the less the bank appraisal matters so a deal is less likely to fall through for lack of financing. bank appraisals tend to be less than sale prices in hot markets so the ability to pay more down matters.

          • Okay, the issue with appraisals makes sense. Thank you both for the explanation! (I live in an area where no one wants to live, me included, so no one puts 20% down and the lenders push FHA loans like it’s their job. Hence my confusion.)

    • Senior Attorney :

      One of the hazards of borrowing against your retirement is the market risk. I borrowed against my 401(K) many years ago and paid it back in a rising market. So I ended up with far fewer shares of the mutual fund than if I’d just let it sit. I wouldn’t do it again unless I were in dire straits and had absolutely no other options.

    • Are you looking at SFHs or condos/co-ops? We really want to buy in the next couple of years, but the 20% down is chanllenging to come up with in this area (b/c the housing prices are so high), though we could afford the monthly payments on a higher loan, and our rent is also high. Maybe that means we can’t afford to live in the area (also in DC, only interested in good school districts), or in this general. Recently the desire to move is exacerbated by the fact that a new (LOUD) neighbor just moved in upstairs, and I can’t wrap my head around moving to yet another rental.

      Sorry this turned into more of a whine than anything else.

      • DC Wonkette :

        I’m selling my co-op, and we’re looking for SFH. I know it’s blaphemous, but we’ve started to look in Virginia because the prices are becoming so high (even in “up-and-coming areas”) in the city. These are the times when being a grown up is less than awesome.

        • Late to this, but if you need the scoop on where doesn’t suck in VA, I’m happy to give you my two cents. Lifelong VA resident.

          • I’d be interested in hearing about this! Particularly if these areas are relatively close-in and more affordable than NW DC…

          • DC Wonkette :

            Def interested! We’re thinking Alexandria — preferably Old Town-ish but open to other suggestions… If you want to reach me via email it’s DCWonk e t t e 2013 (brought to you by our friends at gmail).

  2. New Clueless Summer :

    Hat tip to (former) Clueless Sumer and apologies for sort of usurping your monkier.
    I mentioned yesterday that I’m a summer associate at a mid-sized firm in a rather large city. I found out this morning that last night, my sister was checked into a mental hospital. I also have very exciting personal news that I was planning to tell my parents in the next few weeks. I’m at work and feeling kind of numb. Any advice on any of this? How to keep myself professional at work? How to deal with horrible and good news at the same time? Thanks ladies.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Congrats and I’m sorry all at the same time. This is easier said than done, but I think you need to train yourself to not think about these things while at the office. Use work as an excuse to distance yourself from some of the things happening in your life. And remember that while what is happening in your sister’s life is pretty terrible right now, your parents are also your parents and they will likely be happy (and relieved) that you have good things happening in your life.

    • Happy/Sad :

      I’m in this boat, too. Learned my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the same week I learned I was pregnant (after a miscarriage). I haven’t told my mom yet because I’m waiting until she really needs the good news. Maybe when she starts chemo. I’m thinking of it as a nice counterbalance. A reminder that wonderful things happen all the time. Good luck to you.

      • Seattleite :

        Trust me, she really needs the good news now, too.

        FWIW, chemo made me fuzzy and sort of … numbed … me. I wanted desperately to be present emotionally for my family and friends but just couldn’t pull it together. The thought of my daughter sharing such happy news while I was in that state and unable to bring my full self to it just made burst into tears. (The pendulum has clearly swung the other way.)

        Just my two cents. Such happy, happy news for you all. Best wishes!

    • I would take comfort in the fact that your sister is receiving medical care, and I would wait a week to say anything on your end with your parents until the dust has settled a bit, both for your own emotions (being able to enjoy sharing your exciting personal news) and for their emotions (being able to enjoy receiving your exciting personal news).

  3. Cornellian :

    I posted yesterday that I was outbid on my favorite apartment. About 6 hours later, my lower bid on my less favorite place was accepted. I think I’m excited, but am having a hard time letting the old place go. I think getting pumped about the new place and thinking about what furniture I need/have would help, but I should probably focus on work instead.

    I also have put my finances on hold saving aggressively for the down payment (I saved about 40% of my pre-tax paycheck, 60% of my post-tax paycheck) and lived super frugally, and I feel like I can finally start to think about replacing my watch, getting my haircut, etc. I need to drill it in to my head not to spend any of my cash until teh deal is done, and also to keep living super frugally!

    • That’s good! Can you take a quick cruise through the place? Once you have a fresh image in your head you’ll be able to start planning.

    • We ended up with the cheaper house too. Think about the price difference and all the great ways you can spend the money on the cheaper place that you would not have been able to with the more expensive place.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Congratulations on having your offer accepted!

      Definitely keep up the frugal living — you will want cash on hand once the deal closes so you can fix up the new place!

  4. I am probably the most fuddy duddy person around but I simply cannot get my head around sheer blouses or shirts at work. Even with a cami. It just looks too unprofessional and ” look at me” at work.
    I am in my late 30s trapped in the mind of an 80 year old , I guess….

    • Cornellian :

      I’m in my mid 20s and I can’t comprehend it, if that makes you feel better. It also somehow reads late 1990s to me… I feel like 12 year old me had a few of those.

    • Right there with you – late 30’s and can’t get behind sheer blouses at work, even in my business casual office. And the number of women who do them WRONG is staggering. Like the young lady I saw a few weeks ago that was wearing a sheer blouse without a cami so you could see the floral pattern of her bra through her shirt. Not ok ever (IMO), but especially at work!

    • I’m wearing a blouse right now that is a bright yellow so not extremely sheer but sheer enough I wore a cami under it. Hope no one is giving me the stink eye!

      • TO Lawyer :

        I think it can be done well and work at the office. (Or maybe I’m completely inappropriate)

    • Early 30s and in the casual Bay Area, and I am also absolutely and totally against sheer blouses at work.

      • Cosign what SFBayA said. Same age, same geography, same “fine to wear out but please don’t wear to work” thoughts when I see blouses like that. Sorry.

    • I’m a total prude and can’t get my head around them anywhere but at a bar. Even when people are wearing camis underneath I want to tap them on the shoulder and be like “excuse me, I can see your underwear.” But if people wear a tank top outside of work, it doesn’t bother me unless I can see their bra straps. I blame my mother for this weird non-logic.

    • NYC law and love my [sheer] silk blouses. Often they come with a color coordinated cami. I really think it’s about how it’s done.

    • Blair Waldorf :

      Uh oh, I wear a fair amount of sheer-ish blouses. Not quite as sheer as the one posted, but I probably wear one every other week or so,with a blazer over it.

      I always wear either a black, white, or nude cami (if the shirt is barely sheer) and always match my bra so it looks like there’s just one strap. Hopefully I’m not making a big fashion faux pas! When done correctly, I’ve always thought it looked work appropriate. I’m in my late 20s.

  5. My friend’s boyfriend broke up with her this morning, and she’s really sad and working from home. I’ve talked to her on the phone but I can’t get away from the office and I really want to do something for her. I’m in NYC. Any ideas for something I can have delivered to her apartment? She’s been trying to eat healthy so my usual go-to for something like this (cupcakes) is probably a bad idea.

    • Cornellian :

      Hmm… do you want to stay with food? edible arrangements or the equivalent with fruit? Food delivery for a couple meals this weekend?

      If you are considering something other than food, maybe send her an online gift certificate for something indulgent like a massage or manicure.

    • DVDs of her favorite series or a Netflix subscription, if she doesn’t already have one. Alternatively, one of my friends got me a one month membership to a women’s boxing gym after a breakup. I didn’t stick with boxing, but for that month, it actually really helped me release a lot of emotion by pretending the bag was my Ex’s head.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Flowers? Seamless gift card? Do you know what she likes as comfort food? Or, maybe forgo all of that, and go to her apartment tonight after work.

    • I would show up after work with a bottle of wine and some ice cream (yes cliché but for a reason!) And possibly some takeout? Maybe it’s just me but I couldn’t fathom staying on a diet so soon after a breakup.

      Also second the idea of DVDs or Netflix or something – watching episodes of TV after my breakup really helped me distract myself.

    • I agree with CORNAELLIAN. If your freind for the ex-boyfreind, she will probabley like to do something nice for herself, mabye something from from Elizabeth Arden like a massage or make over mabye, if NOT something to eat like a gift cerfificate from Fairway’s or from WHOLE FOOD’s. When I broke up with my ex-boyfreind Alan, I wound up eateing alot of chocolate muffin’s, and it all found it’s way to my tuchus, and stayed there. Alan is even thinner then he was back then. I do NOT understand why we get bigger and they get smaller. FOOEY!

      I really love this silk blouse, and it is very FRUEGEL at $49.00 for FRUEGEL FRIDAY’s! YAY! I am goeing to meet Dad soon, he is commuteing into the City alot this week, almost like the old day’s he says, when he was one of “the big KAHUNNA’s” on Wall Street. He once showed me the buildeing where he used to work, but it was NOT a new buildeing and his company is NOT even there any more. He said he worked there in the 1970’s before I was EVEN born!!! I guess he did OK b/c he was a BIG KAHUNNA! YAY!

    • These are all great ideas, thanks so much. I think I’ll send flowers and/or a massage gift certificate and then stop by after work with wine. :)

  6. My husband and I had a fight that started last night and is really just sort of cooling off now (via email while at work — fun). He says he get frustrated that at a certain point when we’re having a fight (or a conversation that seems like it’s going to become a fight) I just shut down and refuse to keep going. I think I just feel overwhelmed and start to feel like we’re not hearing each other any more, and that anything I can think of to say would only escalate the fight. So I stop talking and withdraw. This makes my husband more angry and frustrated because it seems like I’ve just unilaterally ended the fight. We’re going to try calling a ten minute time-out and see if that helps. But does anyone else have any suggestions? Has anyone else dealt with this?

    • Subscribing because I am interested in the responses. We have this problem as well. Once I get worked up, there is no longer any productive argument/discussion, but my husband hates leaving things unfinished.

    • Different fighting styles are common. I also shut down after a certain point. I feel like I have made my case and I shut up and sit down. This bothered DH for a long time and I have to remind him that you don’t get to argue forever. There is a stopping point and you have to accept the result (why yes, I am a lawyer). DH on the other hand, tends to storm off when he gets really steamed. I had to accept that it isn’t his having a tantrum as much as he needs to remove himself for a cooling off period. Once he comes back into the room, he’s calmer. I jsut had to learn to wait him out. Our having discussions about our fighting styles has minimized some of the hurt feelings that used to result. I also think that you need to remind each other that you are on the same team and trying to do what is best for the team, albeit with different strategies. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you are both arguing your positions.

    • I’ve been on the other side of this – I’m the one who’s more open to discussing things and my ex(es) just shut down. It’s crazymaking. Try to think about what point in the conversation you start feeling anxious. Does he unwittingly trigger this reaction by being too confrontational/aggressive/matter-of-fact/etc.? If so, talk to him about that and suggest ways that he can approach you more constructively. You can even try having a kind of “safe word” to let him know that he’s triggering an anxiety response in you and he needs to back off. Also, if he’s the type to just kind of go on a tangent and leave you in the dust, you can try setting a time limit for each person to speak – you clock in and out, or pass the talking stick, or whatever works for you – and he is not allowed to speak while you say your piece.

      If, on the other hand, you notice that you start withdrawing as soon as there’s even a hint of discord, that’s something you need to work on. You can’t be so conflict avoidant that you shut down and agree with anything he says just to get out of an argument, but then secretly harbor resentment about the subject of the argument. It’s your job to avoid being resentful, and it’s his job to listen when you voice your position.

      • I’m a litigator. I’m okay with conflict. But I also don’t see the point in beating dead horses. Especially when tempers are high.

        • Ok that sounds like it’s more a matter of talking in circles than a problem with you shutting down, then. I find it helpful to back off of what I’m trying to say and state SO’s position to let him know that I’m hearing him. Then ask him to do the same. If you both know that you “get” what the other is saying, it’s much easier to focus on the points of disagreement, even if the only solution is just to agree to disagree.

          • You know, let me walk that back a bit. I’m fine with rational conflict. But I’m not good with emotions. I tend to be very detached and cool-headed. But I think I get emotional overload because it’s not a rational fight, it’s a fight between spouses and so the emotions – both my own and his – overwhelm me and that leads to the shut-down. That’s something I hadn’t realized before.

          • anonymous 2 :

            I like Anonymous @12:36’s suggestion. Each person summarizes the other’s position and solutions offered, if any, then agree to talk about it again at [time, day]. Then you know you’ve heard each other and aren’t just unilaterally refusing to hear more.

            My H shuts down similar to what you’ve described, and I keep talking — especially when he shuts down because I felt like he didn’t care and/or wasn’t getting it and/or was unilaterally ending the convo. After explaining to me a couple times the actual reasons he shuts down (feels like I’m condescending by talking in circles — yes, I can get dictatorial in tone — or doesn’t see the point in repeating our various points of conflict and solutions), I had an “aha” moment during the next argument: he shut down, and I thought, oh, there he goes shutting down, and all it means is he has heard our points and I am possibly getting bossy in tone. So I said, okay, it’s fine if you want to stop talking about this now, but just be sure we get each other, [summarize the conflict & solutions], and I love you.

    • I’m the one who shuts down at certain points in heated discussions. One thing that really helped us was to talk about “fighting fair” when we were not in the middle of a fight and could lay some ground rules about how to “fight.” I needed him to understand that I need time to cool off and process and that I still loved him during that time. We also talked about hot button issues for fighting (e.g. saying “you never” or “you always” or bringing up past issues) while we were cool headed. I can’t say that it always makes it easier but I think it has helped.

    • No advice about fighting styles, but I’ll pass on something that helped me feel ok about fighting in a general sense: if there’s no fighting, there’s no communication.

    • Anonymous :

      When we first started dating my DH would do this. Do you tell your husband you want to take a break from the fighting? Or do you just literally shut down? I think its really unfair to just shut down, but totally acceptable to say “Ok. its late and I feel like we are going in circles. I know we are both mad- but I love you. I would like to table this discussion until tomorrow after work, is that ok?” Then it feels like you are both agreeing to shut it down, rather than one person being like, its done! you dont get to talk anymore!

    • I read the book ‘hold me tight’ and it completely changed the way I approach disagreements and arguments – cheesy title but I can’t recommend it enough! Here is an overview:

  7. Has anyone hand washed their Equipment blouses before? How did they turn out? Specifically wondering about the “Signature” ones that are kind of a brushed silk texture. Thanks!

  8. Sasquatch, Esq. :

    Extremely frivolous threadjack (and a bit of a longshot, I know): can anyone speak to the difference between Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream and Ultra Facial Moisturizer? I got a sample of the Ultra Facial Cream at Nordstrom’s and fell in love (especially since the Neutrogena stuff I’ve been using for the past 10 years doesn’t seem to be cutting it for my mid-30s skin). However, I can’t really justify buying a moisturizer at this price point (even with the 20% Google offer I just got) that doesn’t contain sunscreen. The Ultra Facial Moisturizer does come in SPF 30, so I thought about trying that out, but it doesn’t even have any user reviews (although the reviews on the sunscreen-free version are generally positive). Thoughts?

    • I’ve never used either product, Nordstrom or Sephora will make a small sample of whatever you’re interested in trying. I would do that and see which one you like better.

    • I have used both of them. I started with the moisturizer and it worked well, but then I switched to the cream because I liked the consistency better (its not liquid-y). If you really want the SPF then go for that option. I use a separate SPF (skinceuticals, because it’s physical sunscreen), so it wasn’t an issue for me.

    • Kiehl's addict :

      Kiehl’s vendors are supposed to be generous with their samples. They used to do secret shoppers to verify this and it was a huge deal that they make sure to highlight when L’Oreal bought them out. Ask and see! I used to use one of the SPF ones (but it overwhelmed my oily skin).

    • I can’t speak directly to this question, but it’s F&F weekend at Kiehl’s and you’ll get 20% off online with the code “FAMILY”. so try both? :)

  9. Can anyone recommend a nice cologne? I want to get my husband a new scent for father’s day, but I don’t know where to start. I want to avoid something that is so popular that the scent is immediately identifiable, but at the same time I want it to be good. I know the best way to choose cologne is to try it on, but that’s not possible if it is to be a surprise. Any thoughts?

    • Not a shill but I love the Sephora fragrance sampler (for men; there’s also one for women) as a gift because it allows the recipient to try on a variety of perfume samples and then exchange a coupon for a full-size of one of them. Have given both men’s and women’s versions as gifts with a great response each time.

      • Was also going to suggest getting a few sample sizes from sephora because you can’t truly know whether it’ll be a good scent until the person wears it around for a few hours/day.

    • I like Chanel Blue. It’s very good (I think) but not as common as some others. Allure from Chanel is also very nice, I think, though I had to nix it for my SO b/c an ex of mine wore it and it creeped me out when we got close…

      L’Homme by YSL is very popular and almost universally liked, but it is an annual best seller so probably not to uncommon. On the other hand, it’s not the type of scent that is immediately identifiable (think: Davidoff Cool Water or Fahrenheit by Dior), but more of just a generally s*xy male scent.

    • Kenzo Homme, in the blue bamboo bottle, is wonderful and you don’t smell it on every other guy.
      Many retailers, including Nordstrom and Sephora, have great return policies, so if your husband does not like his gift, he can return it and get something else.

    • My husband is not a cologne kind of guy at all, but he wanted one and after a long sniffing excursion with me he chose Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose. It’s very obscure, kind of fruity. I think it’s good for a man who cracks up laughing at cologne ads and just doesn’t take himself that seriously. Appealing but not trying all that hard. I guess as a recommendation this is a bit of a wild card though! You know who you’re shopping for :)

      • So I take it it’s now official – yay! How was the wedding??!! So nice to see you around these parts again!

        • And congrats to you and hubby, of course!!!!

          • Oh! Thank you! Yes, it’s been a crazy 6 weeks or so and I’ve been reading off and on here but without much time to comment. (Still definitely practicing my use of the H-word–did I pull it off?)

            The wedding was what we wanted and felt true to us, which was an uphill battle along the way but totally worth it in the end. I’m realizing that probably every bride gets lots of compliments on the food, decor and ceremony, but in this case I hope they were sincere! I was ambushed by a surprise rap/song performance by my siblings and friends–that was the high point. I also walked home in flats with my groom, in the middle of the night, and got blessings from strangers.

            The whole experience has certainly complicated my feelings about wedding vs. no wedding and marriage vs. non-married partnership. I feel like everyone deserves to feel that special for a day, and it’s unfair that it doesn’t apply to more people, events and relationships. Generally when I said these things people told me to stop thinking and just enjoy myself–but there it is. The complexity of my thoughts on the topic didn’t go poof just because I did it.

          • I’d always been a supporter of marriage equality, but I wasn’t passionate about it until after I was married myself. Like you, I really felt like I wanted other couples to be able to feel the degree of support, love, and celebration that I felt on my wedding day.

          • It sounds like a perfect day! I am so very happy to hear it (and the wedding rap sounds amazing).

            I think marriage, like all relationships really, is complicated and it’s very thoughtful of you and CBackson (and others) to bear in mind all of its politics and impications. I was reading some feature in the free paper (Metro) today about gay dads & father’s day, and it broke my heart a bit to casually read about these two men and their adopted kids who considered moving back home to NC to be closer to family but are afraid of giving up all of NY’s protections for their union and family identity. Even without getting married to my SO, I realize just how lucky I am to even have this choice. But all that aside, there is no reason you should not take this time to enjoy your special day and time now. There is always injustice to fight, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the time to celebrate the blessings that we are given. So many people are out there fighting for this, you should absolutely take the time to cherish it.

            And, as for the H word, you used it perfectly! Congrats again!

      • Pamplemousse! That would crack me up too.

    • I don’t know what your budget is, but I like anything from Clive Christian.

    • I love love looooove Armani Mania. Any scent by Creed smells AMAZING (and pricey but oh wells).

  10. Thanks everyone (OP, Susie, MOA) for the insightful discussion on internships yesterday. I hadn’t thought about or come across the issue (I know, which planet have I been on! in my defense, it’s very uncommon in my field) and while I’d probably have started from the “let the market decide” opinion, I found the counter-argument convincing.

    • Cornellian :

      I was thinking about that discussion late last night, too. It seems like the position of “my parents worked their behinds off as immigrants, sacrificed, learned English and supported me/my siblings” is convincing in that the parents deserve to do well, but being born is so much of a lottery, I don’t believe children deserve their parents’ wealth. Children who grow up advantaged (either in intelligence, connection or money) already come out of high school with such an advantage, allowing them to just widen the gap with unpaid internships others can’t afford seems way too aristocratic/old world to me.

      • I’m very torn. On the one hand, I totally get the market argument. I think it’s ridiculous for the government to step in and insist that a company pay for certain work if someone is willing to do it for free, especially since that means not that every internship will suddenly be paid, but that a lot of internships will just disappear. On the other hand, I went to prep school on a heavy scholarship. My friends all had unpaid internships during the summer, which looked fantastic to colleges, while I had to earn a certain amount of money to give to my parents just to help out with rent, groceries, etc. I thought it was extremely unfair that even going to the same school as my classmates wasn’t enough to close the gap between us.

        One solution might be simply to create more “scholarships” for internships. We’re okay with the fact that attending school is unpaid, right? If internships are educational and/or they’re similar to a degree in that it’s the only way to get your foot in the door sometimes, why not have more programs (including expanding student loan programs) to provide stipends to people who would otherwise be unable to do an unpaid internship?

        • Anonymous :

          But, again, the issue is that these internships aren’t for educational benefit. They allow for profit companies to skirt the minimum wage laws by getting people to do for free what they would otherwise need to pay for. I look at it as stealing from all of us- they aren’t paying payroll tax or contributing to social security, which cones back around to all taxpayers in the end.

          • It’s a bit unrealistic to think that any of the internships with for-profit companies are actually just for “educational” benefit. That’s why the proposed DoL guidelines are laughable. If a company is offering an internship that has no value to the company, it’s actually arguably illegal for the company to offer it (at least, without shareholder consent). So in order to have internships, the companies have to benefit. In some cases, that might mean that they get to screen potential employees, or it might mean they get good PR for doing something “educational.” Mostly, it means they get free work. But, that’s not to say that, absent the interns, they’d hire similarly inexperienced 20 year olds to do the same work. They might simply pile the same work onto existing staff. Or it might mean they’d insist on 3 years of experience, leading to that old job-hunting question of “how can I get experience to get a job if I can’t get a job without experience?” I’m sure there are plenty of companies that, given the job climate, have found they can simply replace paid workers with unpaid and if they could no longer do that, they’d be back to hiring paid workers at above minimum wage. But I think cutting off unpaid internships altogether may simply result in less opportunity for young people.

        • Cornellian :

          Just as a bit of a thought experiment, what about a German-style subsidy for young people?

          • Cornellian :

            Whoa, jumped the gun there. It’s certainly more feasible to find a part-time job to close the gap between, say, 300/month income and the 1000 you need to rent a tiny room and eat than between 0 and 1000. I’m not necessarily an advocate, but it could level the playign field and allow unpaid internships to continue without such disastrous effects on income and opportunity inequality.

        • I was a scholarship/work-study colleges student at a school that provided funding for unpaid internships. That, combined with living with an aunt for free, allowed me to pursue an unpaid internship.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        The conversation we had yesterday was really interesting. It reminded me of an exchange I had with a friend a couple of weeks ago.

        She told me, “I had always just sort of had this feeling in my mind (even though I didn’t tell people, since it would have been offensive) that people who were depressed should just snap out of it. They should just make a decision to be happy, and just be happy. After all, I’ve been sad and depressed plenty of times in my life – I’ve had such rough experiences, and I always just found a way to be okay. I just had no sympathy for people who said they couldn’t get out of bed – life is a choice, you know? I thought they should just choose to be better.”

        I asked what changed her mind and she told me, “After I went on Accutane [which, FYI for people who don’t know, can cause depression] I was depressed. Like… actually depressed. All of a sudden, doing anything as simple as putting on shoes just required this extraordinary effort. Even when nothing would be wrong, I would sometimes start crying. I would assume everyone was thinking horrible things about me. And even though I kept telling myself to snap out of it and be normal, I just… couldn’t. So I got off Accutane and I just feel so much better. And then it occurred to me – my depression was caused by a medication I could get off of. It was horrible and exhausting and it didn’t matter how much I *wanted* to feel better – I just couldn’t. And I realized, not everyone’s fix is so easy as going off a medication. It was this problem I didn’t even think was a real problem, until I experienced it, and even then, my solution was incredibly easy, compared to other people. I suddenly just had so much more sympathy for people struggling with it.”

        For me, that sort of crystallized in analogy why it’s hard for me to think people should just do everything the way I do it. After all, I’ve been reasonably successful, I’m pretty happy – I think it’s easy to think we have all the answers when our lives have gone pretty well. And it’s difficult to understand why other people CAN’T do those things, when we only have our own frame of reference to work off of. It is hard – but I think it’s so important and honestly, if we try to understand these things, I think will lead to a better world.

        That’s my Pollyanna thought of the day, anyway.

  11. I bought this dress in black –

    And am trying to find a wide black or gold belt to wear with it (dressy, for weddings/fancy events). Any suggestions??

    • Check out anthropologie. They have tons of belts like this. I like this one:

      • Oooh pretty! They have a lot of nice options. Do you know if they tend to have a decent in-store selection of belts, or will most of these be online-only?

        • Some are online only and it tends to really vary store to store, but try it (and don’t forget the sales section, they have a bunch in bins sort of hidden there but you can find really cute ones for around $20).

      • Oh I like that one, and it’d be perfect with that dress.

  12. Other than therapy :

    Other than therapy (for a lot of reasons, right now it’s not an option), does anyone have tips for dealing with a parent who play the victim card? In every situation, it is always “woe is me” and I have to fight my reaction to scream/yell/point out that decisions have consequences. I am sympathetic (I promise), but if I give an inch, they take a mile. This is probably compounded by the fact that I have a grandparent, who I am actually close/sympathetic towards, but who is basically at the point where aging is making day to day life difficult.

    Basically, other than counting backwards from 50 in my head during phone calls, I need suggestions on how not to explode and to *try* to be open-minded without automatically going “victim card” in my head.

    Limited communication is in play, as best as humanly possible, though I’m not sure if it makes it better/worse.

    • Parents are….parents. Take my parents for example – they’re monsters (as am I). Dealing with them is not easy. If you choose to continue to interact with your parents, maybe treat each interaction as a business meeting, with a specific agenda (not that they have to know what it is). When a coworker makes ridiculous comments, you deflect them and try to focus at the point at hand. Get to your point and get off the phone.

      Otherwise, I hear telephone bingo is a fun way to ignore the annoying behavior.

    • Read this book:

    • I deal with a similar issue and have found the following to work for me 1) limiting communication in general and also to times when I think I can handle the response/I myself am not looking for emotional support, in a bad mood, feeling overwhelmed. 2) deciding in advance what my action options are and what limits to my actions I will place (eg, not bending over backward) and 3) giving myself permission to not do something the other party wants if it is going to really stress me out. In all cases this is about managing the communications, not expecting them to improve. Ultimately you cannot control the circumstances, you can only control how you deal with them.

  13. "Racist" Dating Anon :

    So I caught up with yesterday’s threads and I felt really bad for the Anon who posted yesterday. I don’t know if you’ve ever come to any of the NY thissite meetups but there’s a whole variety of people who show up. If that seems too intimidating, I’d love to meet up with you (I’ve made some amazing BFFs from thissite). If even that seems too much, feel free to email me. Let’s be friends.

    You can reach me at my tumblr (hijabeng dot tumblr dot com) or email (hijabeng at gmail dot com).


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