Coffee Break: Gilded File Holder

gilded file holderI always like things that are pretty and functional, and this gilded file holder looks like a great way to keep some files or notebooks close at hand in a minimal, clean way. (It’s been a while since we talked about how to organize your office — but I always liked to have one folder full of docs, readily available, for each major task I was working on or supervising, so I could grab it easily for a meeting or phone call — readers, any other organizing office hacks to share?) The file holder is $20, exclusive to CB2. gilded file holder

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  1. This is a strange question… I thought about posting to the moms site but I’d actually really like the responses of the more general audience, and specifically non-moms, here… I am about to have my first child, and have a strange mental hangup about breastfeeding… I’m planning to do it, but I have to admit – and this is hard if not impossible to say to anyone in real life – it’s so strange to me that these body parts of mine that have only ever been non-existent (as a child) or in some way S3xualized as I got older, have an entire new purpose. Now, I know this is what their evolutionary purpose is, but I find something off-putting watching a baby lick around its, ahem, target. It makes me feel like a bad/unworthy woman, if that makes any sense, but I still feel it. Is there anyone else who feels/felt this way? Does it just go away? Or do I have to really mentally adjust? Will I ever feel like they are lady-garden-party items again?

    • Anonymous :

      Someone asked this same question here or on the moms page recently. The consensus was that b-feeding is not s*xually stimulating at all, once you wean you will eventually get back to normal use during LGPs, and of course b-feeding is a choice and it’s perfectly ok to give your baby formula from Day 1 if that’s what you’d prefer.

    • Anonymous :

      Did your mom do it or did you grow up around it? I did not – my mom bottle fed each of my siblings and me and I don’t have any memory of ever seeing or hearing about any female relatives doing it. Which I think added to my general discomfort with it. That said, when baby arrived, it just felt really normal and natural to me. Not sure my experience was normal, but IME, the “weirdness” of it did fade.

      • Same here. I’ll admit that I wasn’t into gardening during the months I was BFing. It was more of a hormonal thing than a mental hangup, though, and the s3xual feelings returned as soon as my hormones leveled out.

        It’s OK to have some nervousness about the whole process! A lot of us grew up without seeing it all. Most of the moms I knew bottle fed. If they nursed, it was always behind a closed, locked door. It wasn’t a normalized thing at all. When my babies arrived, all I can say is hormones are one heck of a drug because I found myself really wanting to nurse (despite some major challenges with my oldest kiddo).

    • Anonymous :

      Your worries are totally normal. I was weirded out about the idea of bf’ing before the birth and hated everything about it after the baby arrived, but mostly because I didn’t like the loss of bodily integrity that bf’ing entailed. Regarding your specific concerns, it is so incredibly painful at first that any other thoughts/associations will evaporate almost immediately.

      Whatever you do, don’t let doctors, lactation consultants, hospital nurses, or your partner bully you into doing something you aren’t comfortable with. It’s your body.

    • I agree with the above that the weirdness just fades away. It’s worth noting that when you’re learning how to do it, you’re not feeling the least bit s3xual or like you can even imagine ever being s3xual again (you can, just not then!). And, in my experience, when I stopped nursing, the sense of them as s3xual came back in pretty short order. (I know that a lot of people like to take the attitude that they are primarily a feeding device and shouldn’t be s3xualized, but I don’t agree with that.)

    • anonforthis :

      There are a lot of things that seem off-putting when other people’s kids do them that you probably won’t be bothered by with your own kid. For example, I wasn’t grossed out by my kid’s diapers or other bodily fluids, but other kids runny noses could totally make me gag. So you may be surprised how you react when actually in the situation and it may not take much conscious effort on your part. Between healing, nursing and being generally tired of being touched, some areas of your body may be off limits for a while. But yes, you will get those back and enjoy adult activities again.

    • Anonymous :

      I was worried that I would feel like that but it was totally separate for me once baby actually arrived. Try watching nursing/BF instructional videos – Dr. Jack Newman has good ones. That will change up some of the images you associate. It’s a different thing and you can also feel the milk as well so (for me at least), it actually felt totally different.

      For gardening – I generally preferred to wear a racy sheer bra and asked DH not to focus on that area. Leaking milk was not a turn on for me so I didn’t want that to happen during.

      Post- BF since two years and totally back to how I felt about the girls pre-baby.

    • Anonymous :

      So much of new motherhood is bizarre. I loved bf’ing my girls, but almost as soon as it was over I felt like it was crazy weird to think of either of them bf’ing from me. Try to keep an open mind and just go with it. Bf’ing can be difficult and for some people it never works for them. But for most it just does. Plus, it’s not just any baby that’s going to be involved. It’s YOUR baby.

    • Anonymous :

      The idea makes me uncomfortable. That is one of many reasons I don’t want kids. My body is not a food machine.

      • Perfectly acceptable viewpoint. Mine is that my body is not currently a food machine. And is not generally an incubator. But I can choose to incubate when I desire to do so. And I have the ability (and choice) to provide sustenance to my babies like any other mammal. And those choices are the miracle of being a woman in the 21st century.

        • Hear, hear!!

          My body is not a food machine either – it is my body that has been many things to many people over the years, including the source of sustenance for my child. Most important, it is MINE to use and do with what I see fit as long as I am not hurting someone else (I draw the line at the idea that a pregnant woman has the right to drink and do drugs.)

          People who do not want to have children should not have children. People who do not want to BF should not BF (although I encourage everyone who can to try; the science may not be as strong as La Leche would have you think, but it is still there, not to mention to health advantages for mom). I would request that people who have made either choice not be dismissive toward women who made a different one.

      • Anonymous :

        I am sorry but that is not a normal viewpoint. We are, in fact, mammals. But, I agree not having babies for people who think that way is a good idea.

    • The truth is that once women have babies, things change simply because we no longer have enough time to deeply contemplate a large number of things. I grew up in an environment where my mother and her middle class friends did not breastfeed. At the time they looked at it as something one would do only if she could not afford baby formula. Then my ultra-practical, emotionally healthy best friend went to PIECES when she had trouble breastfeeding. Flash forward to my pregnancy in 2002 when NPR ran almost daily pieces on the merits of breastfeeding to the point that my husband said, “You really need to give this a try.” So, I was pretty neutral about the whole affair. My baby was a breastfeeding champ. It sounds corny but watching her grow and thrive felt like one of my most powerful moments. I would give it a try and see what you think. You can always quit if you do not like it or it does not work out.
      WARNING: One thing they do not tell you in the brochure is that it basically kills your sex drive. As in, things just did not work for me. So be prepared for that until the baby starts eating food and no longer breastfeeds exclusively.

      • One more thing – it burns an insane amount of calories. It was super fun to eat like a field hand and super hard to real in that habit when I stopped. :)

        • Anonymous :

          Breastfeeding does burn calories but there’s some evidence that in many people it slows your metabolism way down and causes you to cling to extra weight. I dropped most of the baby weight very fast, but could not get rid of the last 5-7 pounds. When I weaned, they finally disappeared. Many of my friends had the same experience.. I’m very glad I breastfed, both for health and bonding reasons, and I didn’t mind the extra weight, but it is definitely not this magic weight loss thing for everyone.

    • I don’t have kids yet, but I get what you are saying.

      My take: it’s the 21st century. Formula is a thing. The studies on BFing are… neither as clear nor as definitive as BFing proponents would have you believe. There likely are benefits, but they are small.

      It’s your body and psyche, too. The baby needs your womb to grow from a zygote to a newborn, but if you struggle with other aspects of motherhood – that’s fine. If you just want your body back – that’s fine. If you love BFing – go, you. If you struggle with BFing but do it anyway, go you.

      I’m bothered by the way mother’s preferences are written out of the discussion surrounding BFing. Really bothered.

      • Anonymous :

        And the mother’s TIME. Newborns can easily spend 6 hours per day feeding. If you’re breastfeeding you are the only person on earth who can put in those hours. My husband changed pretty much all the diapers and did so much rocking/calming a crying baby but I still felt like I was doing everything because of all that time spent nursing. The lactation consultants love to say “formula is expensive, breast milk is free!” But it’s only free if women’s time is worthless. (And also nursing mothers eat an insane amount – even without formula our grocery bill was noticeably higher those months, so it’s not really free in the conventional sense either.)

        • “But it’s only free if women’s time is worthless. (And also nursing mothers eat an insane amount – even without formula our grocery bill was noticeably higher those months, so it’s not really free in the conventional sense either.)”

          THANK YOU. Those statements always bothered me, but I could never exactly figure out why.

          Being an engineer, I would say “Basic laws of thermodynamics – it isn’t ‘free,'” and I have the sense that creating nutritious food out of breast milk requires input of those nutrients into the mother’s body, but I love how concisely you put it. The point about completely devaluing a new mom’s time is… brilliantly put.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I didn’t feel the way you do, but I did feel very self conscious about BF’ing at first (mostly just figuring out the logistics of feeding without flashing anyone). I felt a lot of sadness about not being about to nurse my first child due to latch issues, and was thrilled that nursing with my second was a breeze. This is purely anecdotal of course, but I found it much easier to bond with my second in large part because of the nursing. I understand your queasiness but once you give it a try you may feel very differently. I felt like a superhero kicka** for being the sole provider of food for my child. It’s hard to fully describe, but nursing my second was one of my favorite aspects of early motherhood. Good luck whatever you decide.

      • Anonymous :

        I’ll just second the kick-a$$ superhero comment. I was not super sold on BF-ing and was very open minded to the idea of formula, but I ended up having an excellent nurser and not needing to supplement until closer to a year. When we started solids at 6 months, I remember being really really sad when she took her first bite of food and thinking – “that is the first food in her life that didn’t come from me.” It was really empowering to feel like I had single-handedly fed this other being for 15-ish months.

    • anonforthis :

      BFing was really hard for me emotionally. I had similar feelings as you, and I went forward with BFing anyways because I felt like I had to. I hated every minute of it, and about 2 weeks after my twins were born I would uncontrollably cry the entire time I was nursing them (I am generally not a crier). I switching to pumping, so I could cry out of their sight and not cause them distress. I went back to work, and found my crying/pumping sessions were really cutting down on productivity, and also realized I was a miserable human being. I had no desire to play with my kids. I had no desire to talk to my husband or friends. I marched though working, working out, and taking care of my family like a robot. My husband finally convinced me to switch to formula – and a couple days after I quit, I became myself again – happy, interested in life, and no more crying. I like to share my experience because there are a lot of pressures on new moms to BF, but it isn’t the right choice for everyone.

    • I felt weird about it generally before having the baby, but honestly something just mentally clicked for me and it felt very natural and nurturing to nurse my baby – it helped that I had a fantastic nursing experience with easiness of latching, a hungry baby, and no issues like mastitis or anything. I continued to wear a bra during intimacy but that was more for my own sake (didn’t want to leak), and somehow I could mentally separate it. Once I finished nursing, everything went back to normal! So – if you can keep yourself open to the idea through the first couple of weeks of nursing, you may surprise yourself with how you are able to handle it.

    • I don’t know if this will make sense but it’s almost like a totally different experience from what you’re used to, at least for me. Like all of a sudden learning to write with your feet. I was ambivalent about it when I gave birth – I wasn’t against it but I also didn’t think of it as some beautiful experience I had to have. But honestly the reality of childbirth, even when it goes well, is so surreal that by the time you have the baby out and placed on your chest, that is the least weird part of your day. And then when your milk comes in and you can actually get it all to work it’s just an enormous relief because you are literally sustaining life in that moment. For the most part I really liked the whole experience, with the exception of the pressure of being the exclusive source of nutrients for the first six months or whatnot (but that’s a separate issue).
      I also agree that you forget it almost immediately after weaning, or at least I did.

    • I am almost four months pregnant and feel EXACTLY the way you do. I’ve told myself I will give it a shot, but I’m not going to kill myself trying. My bro and I were formula fed (my mom’s milk never came in, and this was pre-lactation consultants, etc. so they didn’t go to great lengths) and the fact that we are both totally fine probably also colors my view. I am not going to force myself to do it for X amount of time – I figure I’ll do whatever I can, and if that doesn’t work, formula is a perfectly good alternative. Almost all of my friends have BFed (often up to a year) so I know I am in the minority but to each her own!

      • I think that’s the best attitude to take. The cool thing about breast feeding is that it’s not a commitment – try it, if it doesn’t work out great for you at any point in the process, formula is literally always available.

    • Another point. BF’ing is super convenient for you when you’re with baby on maternity leave or weekends or middle of the night. You never have to worry about bringing formula with you or keeping it refrigerated or warming it up. There’s no waiting for baby to get it’s meal. Just find a place to sit, put on the nursing cover and go. Especially when baby is little and doesn’t try to lift the cover. The hardcore will BF standing or walking around. Parenthood in general is about giving up privacy. DH likes to complain (in good humor) that he can’t go to bathroom by himself anymore.

      Unlike some of the posters here, my mom BF me and my sister. And I was old enough to remember when she BF my sister. My aunt did too and I remember it with the younger cousins. It was all ordinary course of business.

      • Wow – thank you SO much to everyone who posted. I’m the youngest in my family by a fair amount so I was never around BFing when I was a kid – and everyone in the pre-natal community is all about it which made me feel so much of the odd woman out, so it was really reassuring to hear all of this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Full disclosure – I BFed until my child was almost 2 and loved it after an initial rocky six weeks that included intense pain and a bout of mastitis that was way worse than being in labor. That included pumping at work until she was 12 months old. I had to commit myself 100% to get through that first six weeks and so refused to even contemplate supplementing (although I hasten to add that I did not have a supply problem and also to say that is a me issue – not a judgment on other people). I nursed as long as I did because I went back to work when my daughter was 4 months old and found that nursing was a great way to reconnect at the end of the day By the end, I was only BFing twice a day.

      My sense of myself as a s*xual person came back well before I stopped BFing and was more tied to my recovery from childbirth and the ability to sleep for more than five hours at a stretch then the status of my b**bs. To be honest, that took almost a year. I was just so tired that nothing sounded better than sleep when I had the time. The leaking, etc. pretty much solves itself after a few months (at least for me).

      A final note, one poster mentioned the pain. Without in any way implying that was not her experience, that is not universal or inevitable. I had a lot of pain including literally raw n*pples in the very beginning, that a consultation with a lactation consultant fixed in literally five minutes (it was a latch issue). After that I did not have any pain. As with so many other things related to pregnancy, child birth and infancy, this is something on which individual experience varies A LOT. It is also a good reason to have the name and number of a really good lactation consultant before you need one.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Bit late here but I wanted to say that lots of women feel as you do, OP. Lots of them get past it or change their minds once they have a baby.

      I had literal nightmares about breastfeeding as far back as my 20’s (when I was nowhere near having a baby). I did not want to do it when I was pregnant. I looked down at my perfect newborn and thought that I would happily take a bullet for him but even in that moment, the idea of latching him to my breast made me feel physically ill. So, I bottle fed.

      It is all good, OP. There is more than one way to nourish a baby and your feelings count in the decision making process.

    • Anonymous :

      It is very pleasurable but not sexual. When your baby cries, you can feel the milk let down in your breast. You will be connected to your baby in a way that is not felt with any other person. Give it a go.

    • No disrespect intended to all the nursing mothers out there. Just my POV, I did not to breast feed and my children. At the hospital the nurses tried very hard to shame me into it. Didn’t find it appealing at all. My husband and I both thought it was cow like (hate me all you want but I am being honest). My kids turned out just fine.No illnesses, no learning problems, nothing. Do what works for you and what you are comfortable with.

    • Anonymous :

      I posted on the moms site last week about how I exclusively pumped for my twins. For me it was the best of both worlds– I felt like they were getting the minor immune benefits of breast milk, but we fed them with bottles and my husband did his half. We always mixed formula into it to raise the calorie count so I felt no guilt about stopping pumping the minute I wanted to stop. I tried BF while they were in the NICU and hated it. I couldn’t tell if they were getting enough (one was dangerously underweight), and frankly they were terrible at it so it was less comfortable to me than the pump. Try it a few times, try pumping if you want to, but it’s your body and a modern world. Some women find it really empowering, some find it uncomfortable and offputting, and neither group is wrong as long as they don’t try to put limits on the other group. There are a lot of benefits to breastfeeding but a lot of benefits to formula feeding and they each meet baby’s needs.

  2. DH and I will be travelling from the west coast to a friend’s wedding in New Jersey (about an hour north of Newark). We aren’t familiar with the area and will have about 2 half-days to kill, right after we fly in to Newark airport on a Saturday (from about 8-3) and right before we fly out of Newark airport on a Monday (from about 12-5). Any thoughts on what we should do?

    Since we will be flying on those days, would prefer anything that does not involve sitting. Any ideas for what to do in Newark or north of Newark? Breakfast place, early dinner place? We like to walk/hike, like the outdoors, and like exploring. Would not be opposed to a spa-like activity or something.

    We have kids but will be alone, so looking to take advantage of the time!

    • Anonymous :

      Newark has the largest Portuguese community outside of Portugal and Brazil — if you like the food, check out Newark’s ironbound neighborhood.

      And see if there is a Newark Bears game (minor league baseball).

      Northern NJ pizza is the best!

    • Anon in NYC :

      You can go to Palisades Interstate Park for hiking/walking. There are also a lot of smaller state parks in Northern NJ, if the Palisades is too far out of the way.

    • Anonymous :

      Will you have a car? Where are you staying? Everything here is so densely packed that there are lots of options within an hour north of Newark, especially for restaurant recs…

      Not a whole lot to do in Newark itself – though there are some great Portuguese places in the Ironbound, if you’re into that. Ringwood, Wawayanda, and High Point are parks in northern NJ with good hiking, if you’re going to be more to the west. Crystal Springs has a fancy spa and is near High Point/Wawayanda and is supposed to be pretty nice, though I’ve never actually been. Ramapo Valley County Reservation is in NE NJ.
      Bear Mountain is in NY, but not far from northern Bergen County, and has beautiful Hudson Valley vistas. Closer to Newark, Liberty State Park isn’t hiking and is much more urban, but it’s neat to walk or bike around, with amazing views of the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty. It is also accessible by public transit, whereas the other ones are not. Jersey City also has tons of great restaurant options if you go that route.

      • Thanks for the recommendations! We will have a car. We are staying at the location of the wedding and doing wedding-related stuff Saturday night through Sunday morning (it’s near Ringwood State Park).

    • You can get trains from Newark Airport right into Manhattan. Why not spend a couple of nights in the city?

    • Anonymous :

      Sojo Spa Club for relaxation and a great view of NYC

    • Park near the exchange place path stop in Jersey City (not easy but doable), walk along the water and take in the views of Manhattan, take the ferry over to the World Financial Center in Manhattan, walk along battery park for while and then have a meal at Hudson Eats.

      • Anonymous :

        Proud North Jersey resident here. Do not go to Newark. Some parts fine some parts not. Do not be that clueless tourist that ends up in trouble.

  3. I agree with the above that the weirdness just fades away. It’s worth noting that when you’re learning how to do it, you’re not feeling the least bit s3xual or like you can even imagine ever being s3xual again (you can, just not then!). And, in my experience, when I stopped nursing, the sense of them as s3xual came back in pretty short order. (I know that a lot of people like to take the attitude that they are primarily a feeding device and shouldn’t be s3xualized, but I don’t agree with that.)

  4. I have a pair of Rothys that I love (was having foot swelling due to a neuroma / aftermath of a cortisone shot). I wear them with skinny jeans.

    Can you wear them in winter? I can’t picture them looking good with tights (which I need b/c I freeze easily).

    Rothys are very cute but I hesitate to buy a second pair b/c I will still need comfy shoes when it is cold.

    • Anonymous :

      I mean, I wear mine with tights. But if you don’t think they look good with tights, then you don’t think they look good with tights. Don’t know how to help you there. They’re not warm shoes by any means.

    • Two Cents :

      I actually prefer wearing them with tights because they stink to high heaven when I wear them in the summer without tights. While they aren’t warm, I think they would be fine to wear in the fall when it’s not too cold, with tights.

  5. We’re heading to Paris next month. It will be the first time ever to Europe for both husband and me, and we’ll mostly do the typical tourist-y stuff. Any advice about what to wear? I assume that it will be hot and we’ll be walking outside a lot, so are shorts and a t-shirt (or a sundress for me) with sandals or sneakers going to be fine most of the time? Should we change before any but the nicest dinners? Any other tips?

    Also, what does one wear for first-class air travel overnight? I’m thinking leggings?

    • I don’t dress differently based on the class of service I’m traveling in – I typically fly in leggings and a tunic-y top. For overnight flights, I really want to be as comfortable as possible to increase the odds that I’ll sleep, so that means bringing socks (even if I don’t put them on until I take my shoes off) and wearing something that is as close to pajamas as possible while still being acceptable for being outside my house. You may have a lie-flat bed in first, so just think about if that changes what will be comfortable for you to wear.

      I also like to bring moisturizer (because skin gets dry) and to make sure I have my glasses so I can take out my contacts during the overnight part of the flight.

    • You may want to be very careful with your personal belonging’s when walking in Paris. Rosa got her pocketbook stolen by a group of small foreign urchins who distracted her then sqeezed her and then ran away b/f she knew it, the pocketbook was gone. It was a Kate Spade bag, and she had all her stuff in it, including credit cards, cash and passport. Ed had to go with her to the Embasy to get her a replacement. FOOEY on small foreign urchins. She said she will NEVER carry her passport on her in Paris again!

    • First and business class on the plane have bigger bathrooms in which you can change before going to sleep if you want.
      I like to wear leggings, cute sneakers, a moto style jacket, a fitted tshirt, and a giant scarf. Put compression socks in your bag and put them on immediately before boarding, or right after you get on the plane. Bring a spare pair of undies, and a spare tshirt to put on when you arrive.

      Slather on a bunch of Skin Food before you take off, drink lots of water, and have fun!

    • For walking around, I’d do jeans and dresses with casual (non-athletic) sneakers and sandals. Plain/dark colors help you fit in if that’s something you’re concerned about (no neon). It can get chilly/breezy at night.

      Plane-wear for me is black leggings, black leather sneakers, tunic, black long sweater, and giant scarf, plus extra fuzzy socks for taking off shoes on the plane.

    • I was just in Paris last month, right in the middle of a hot spell. Women wore a lot of tanks and breathable shirts with cropped wide legged pants or midi skirts and usually some kind of walking shoe. Wrap and t-shirt dresses were everywhere. I was on a 2-week trip across multiple locations and a 55 degree temperature spread so I made jeans and a nicer tank work each day and I didn’t feel out of place but I never saw any true shorts anywhere (again, it was May). I want to stress how important the shoes are, even indoors. There is so much walking that you need to be sure you have a great and supportive pair.

  6. Tired Litigator :

    For people who burned out on litigation careers, what did you do next?

    • Anonymous :

      Kept litigating. Even after burnout.

    • biglawanon :

      Related question-I am burned out as a biglaw litigator, but not as a litigator in general. I am finding it hard to find a government litigation role. Tips?

      • Why not boutique lit firm, midlaw, or small law? It’s tough to move into any government role.

        • biglawanon :

          That is what I plan to do if I cannot find a government role in the next year or so. I am fairly senior, and would prefer to go to something where I don’t have to worry about business development. I also am personally more interested in working in the public sector, but get it can be hard and I’ll need to be flexible. I really don’t want to go in-house, but if I just need a job, would obviously consider that too.

        • biglawanon :

          Thinking about this, I am different than a lot of people on burn out. I am not burnt out on hours (my hours aren’t even bad – rarely work nights or weekends)- I am burnt out on the environment. I get excellent reviews, but I feel that I am not being given responsibilities commensurate with my experience, not going to court/depos on a regular basis, doing very low level tasks, being talked down to by other associates, etc. I recently interviewed for a gov trial-heavy position, and am (im)patiently waiting to hear back. I don’t mind working long hours if I actually get to be a lawyer.

          • Fair enough. I can totally understand not wanting to do biz dev. But it does seem that a lot of the problems you list could be resolved by being at a different/smaller firm. Fingers crossed that you get the job!

  7. I am in an ouroboros of wedding planning and have no idea how to break out of it. I can’t get a catering quote without venue information and an exact date; I can’t figure out how much money we have for a venue without knowing how much food & drink will cost; and somehow in the year two thousand and freaking eighteen no one in the wedding industry has prices on their websites. (Bless the 2% of vendors who do.)

    • Can you hire a wedding planner? Best money I’ve ever spent. She probably saved us at least as much as we paid her with both bargaining for us and ideas for cheaper ways to do a few things. Not to mention the dollar value attached to the time and headache savings. In my city the standard rate is $2500 for wedding planning. That’s for her doing most of the work on planning, and doing all the running around/coordinating day of.

    • Anonymous :

      I really didn’t find it that hard? I picked a government owned heritage site so prices were easily googleable. The caterer was mainly concerned about head count and menu, not the date. Then ordering cakes was a breeze, the rate was standardized and I just filled in the form on the website.

    • If you can give a city and budget for food, venue, linens, alcohol, etc., some readers can probably give you advice.

      I’m going for an all-inclusive venue. Rental fees are posted prominently. Alcohol consumption is per person (yay, since at least half the guests are children or do not drink). Buffet menu is set by the facility and has plenty of options for vegetarian, gluten free, etc. (I’ve been a vegetarian since the ’90s and want guests with dietary restrictions to have plenty of options, not just “here’s an asparagus spear.”) Facility does set up and take down of chairs, tables, linens, plates, dance floor, etc.

      • You’re brave for inviting that many kids. There’s no way I could do that!

        • Probably about fifteen kids and a few dozen teetotalers, but thank you. :)

          Most of my friends are coming in from out of town, so it’s far and away the best thing for them. And if someone wants to hop on a plane for my wedding, I’ll make life easy on them.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Most venues will give you a price list once you contact them. Sometimes they’ll try to force you to do a tour before they give you the prices or their date availabilities, which is dumb because we knew which dates we wanted and they weren’t available on those dates. But just have a form email ready, and rapid-fire send it to every venue you’re interested in.

      Food price is legitimately based on the options you choose, so I understand why they won’t give you costs. If you do a vegetarian meal, costs will be WAY lower than steak and shrimp. Buffet is cheapest for service costs (which is factored into the “per head” calculation), next is family style, then plated, but family style costs for serving dishes will be higher.

      But generally? If you don’t want to do a budget option like BBQ or pizza or a food truck, but would prefer “normal” wedding food, guestimate $50 per person for food and $50 per drinker (so ignore kids). If you are in NYC, want fancy or complicated food, or want a plated dinner, add $20 per plate.

      If you’re not already, check out A Practical Wedding, both the book and the website.

    • Anonymous :

      The very first thing you need to do is to create a guest list. There is no point at looking at venues and figuring out dates until you know if you’re going to have 80 people or 320 people. Because that will drive everything else! Once you have that, the next step is venues. Find a place that can accommodate you if every single person on your invite list rsvps yes. They will absolutely give you price per head, and tell you what that price entails.

    • Anonymous :

      Just pick a hypothetical date to get some ballpark quotes so you can start getting a sense of the range of costs in your area. Or ask the caterers for a range. It’s very hard to compare apples to apples with this kind of thing as every place includes different things (even different caterers price things differently). I generally came up with total prices for venue + catering when comparison shopping since some venues require their own in-house caterer.

    • I feel ya. After 3 venues, 4 caterers, we finally put together the jigsaw pieces to get a rough total price for each potential combo. This took about 6 months but we are planning for 1.5 years out so I’ve not felt rushed and have enjoyed it for the most part.

      Agree, solidify a guest list and make up a date. Check out r/weddingplanning and search the wedding recaps to get real people wedding numbers regionally if you really want just ballparks.

  8. 1) Tour venues –

    2) Find your top couple venues and what caterers they work with or if they are open to any caterer

    3) if they require you to use specific caterers ask what the individual price range of the caterers are

    3) See what dates the venues have open for the time period in which you are hoping to have the wedding.

    4) evaluate pricing info for known caterers and then search the knot, etc for other caterers that strike your fancy.

    5) call the caterers that have made you short list and see their availability for the dates from the venues. tell them your anticipated head count. ask for a range of prices depending on what you are consider (buffet v. plated, no booze v. wine and beer v. open bar, etc.) and then go from there

    6) talk through the caterers and venue options with your SO over a bottle of wine and go with your gut

    You got this.

  9. Do I need to officially break up with my friend? Courtney and I were bffs in college. After a lot of self reflection, about a year ago I decided let us grow apart. About every six months, she’ll reach out with a party invite for a life event (showers, graduation party etc.). If I can, I go but it’s really awkward and not fun for me. This last week she sent me an invitation for her, I believe 10 year, wedding anniversary party. I’ve had a lot going on in my life, the details of which are unimportant here, but the gravity of it is I’m receiving support and friends are sending me meals. I failed to RSVP for her anniversary party (which TBH, I feel like was the RSVP). She sent me a text full of meaning and contempt. I apologized for not officially RSVPing, explained I plan on being out of town with my family and can’t make it. She seems to be really upset by this–but is acting angry and not just disappointed, if that makes sense. Do I have an obligation to officially spell this out for Courtney? “We haven’t been close for years, in fact, we’re so distant you had no idea I’m going through X, Y, Z. I don’t fault you for that, but that is our reality. I’m sad about our friendship’s status, but after years of trying, this is where we are.” Or am I letting my mind be clouded by the other stuff going on and affected by her response. FWIW, I do wish we could reconnect, but this isn’t the right season of life for us, especially not *right* now.

    • Anonymous :

      You’re making drama. Just ignore her. You should have RSVPed. Idk what even is “full of meaning and contempt” but once you’ve apologized once did not RSVPing move on. And no, ignoring an invite does not count as an RSVP that’s rude and you know it.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I think sending that kind of message will probably burn the bridge. If you want the possibility of reconnecting later, just stick with your regrets for the party and that you’re sorry for not RSVPing.

    • Maybe she overreacted to your not RSVPing. But just as she doesn’t know the full reason why you can’t go, maybe you don’t know the full reason she overreacted. Let the apology stand, and try to move on.

    • Of Counsel :

      I think you need to divide up two separate issues: (1) not RSVP’ing for her party and her reaction and (2) the desire to fade out of her life. In the first case, you should have responded. The fact that you did not is completely understandable given your health issues, but you cannot fault her for not knowing about those when you have not told her and not been in close enough contact (through your choice) for her to find out. She is angry because you did not respond, and probably a little because she has been putting effort into staying in touch and you are not reciprocating. Honestly, I would suggest sending her a quick email letting her know about your condition and that you are currently overwhelmed and not in a good place for socializing.

      The second issue is an entirely different one. You don’t want to be friends with her anymore and have been responding to her invitations for some reason other than a desire to see her. Again, she does not know that and has continued to reach out to you as a friend – albeit a distant one. Unless she did something unforgivable, my suggestion is to continue the fade. Let her know you have been ill and are not in a position to socialize, turn down any assistance she offers (“thanks but we have that covered”) and wait until you are in a better place before you burn a bridge you might want to cross again someday. I would hesitate to make any irrevocable decisions while your mind is “clouded”.

    • highlighter :

      I’d leave it. I mean, you haven’t shared your personal hardship with her yet, and this doesn’t seem like the right motivation. Don’t open up and be vulnerable while she’s mad. Plus maybe you don’t want to make the decision to tell her goodbye forever while you’re not in a solid place. If you leave it as is, you could check in later to catch up if you want to … or just decline future RSVPs until she stops inviting you, or tell her later. Take care of yourself and don’t worry about it right now!

    • hollywoodland :

      If you want to salvage the friendship one day, I’d tell her. You don’t have to give her full details – I do think you are being clouded by that, but you can say that you are having some major life situations right now and are sorry but that’s what it is. If I was Courtney in this situation, I’d be more inclined to check myself if I knew something than if you just dropped me. I still am sad by some old friends I’ve lost over the years without any (seeming) reason. If something was going on with them, I wish I could know and be supportive. I hope all is well with you – or will be soon.

    • Anonymous :

      Wow, that’s quite the contortion to make it seem like not RSVP’ing was okay!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I’ll be a voice of dissent. Yes, you should have RSVPed. No, she should not have sent what sounds like a nasty text in response to your lack of RSVP. But beyond that – you’ve said you already decided to grow apart and that spending time with her isn’t fun. It doesn’t sound like you want to be friends with her, at least not right now. So yeah, I think you should break up with her. I’ve done it. It feels pretty weird. But just like breaking up with a SO, it lets everyone know where they stand. “Courtney, I’ve valued our friendship over the years. We haven’t spent as much time together lately, and we’re growing apart. I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent together, but I think we’ve run our course for this stage of our lives.” Add details as you wish. And I think the likelihood of you being friends with her later in life is slim if you break up with her now, but it doesn’t sound like you care that much about that.

    • It sounds like you expect your friend to passively accept whatever form you want this friendship to take. Are you aware that she has feelings as well? And is probably hurt and confused by your actions, and also, yes, angry (not just disappointed) that you didn’t RSVP to her party? And will also probably have some feelings about whether she wants to resume your friendship whenever you decide it’s the right “season” to reconnect?

      You can decide to end a friendship, and you can feel hurt that she’s been unaware of problems you’ve been having, but you have to accept that she has her own feelings about this as well, and those feelings are just as valid as yours. She is not a mind-reader, and it sounds like she would have had no reason to know about your recent difficulties since you have decided to fade out the friendship. She is a human being feeling hurt by the actions of someone she considered a friend.

      It sounds like you don’t actually want to be friends with this person, and yet you want her to be aware of and sympathetic about things going on in your life. You need to make up your mind and take some responsibility for how your actions affect others.

    • I’m with OP on this. Throwing yourself a 10-year wedding anniversary party is a bit self-indulgent, and it was perfectly fine for you not to RSVP. She had no reason to be this upset. Say nothing and move on.

      • Please. Yes, a 10 year wedding anniversary party is self-indulgent. But that doesn’t mean it’s fine not to RSVP. That’s completely illogical.

      • Oh I know! People don’t even realize that it’s not rude AT ALL to completely ignore invitations to events you think are silly. Like, the other day, my mother said, “Oh, it’s ‘mother’s day’ on Sunday and I’d like to spend the day with you kids,” and I was like “I’m sorry, throwing yourself a party for being a mother?? THAT’S a little self-indulgent,” so I just ignored her, and now she’s all MAD or something.

    • “I failed to RSVP for her anniversary party (which TBH, I feel like was the RSVP)”

      That’s the exact opposite of how RSVP’ing works. You know better than that.

      It sounds to me like you unilaterally decided to drift apart, without explaining to your friend that this is the course you were taking and why. You can’t blame her for not being sympathetic to your tough stuff when you didn’t tell her it was happening. I also think it’s crappy that you’re trying to say “hey, look we’re SO distant that you didn’t even know I was suffering,” when it was entirely your choice to become distant and not tell her! You can’t blame her for the distance that YOU created. You sound so full of yourself, like you’re deigning to even speak to her anyway.

      • This is so harsh. Like you’ve never ignored someone’s facebook invite to an event that you’re pretty sure you were lumped into as part of “friends who also went to UW” group? Come on, people! How does all this faceless communication require anyone to do anything?!

        OP, chill out and let this one die. Sounds like you’ve got enough to worry about. I understand your knee jerk reaction to fight back guilt trip with guilt trip but you need to resist. The best way to protect your emotional well-being is not to engage.

        • Holy projection. She doesn’t say it was a Facebook invite, she said she was sent an invitation. She didn’t say she was part of a group of college friends that get lumped together, she said they were best friends in college. It also sounds like this woman invites OP to pretty much every major life event, which is terrible for OP for some unknown reason.

          OP is wrong.

        • Reading comprehension, please. This didn’t sound like a bcc all friends FB invite.

          OP sounds like an infant who doesn’t know how to treat people with basic respect. She created drama and is now asking for a free pass to “protect her emotional well-being” by ignoring the fact that she hurt someone’s feelings. Does she even respect this person at all? Can’t even put herself through a teensy bit of discomfort to say to friend “hey, I’m sorry, I’ve got stuff going on and think I need to take a step back”? Her friend is probably wondering why she’s being so distant and what happened. She’s probably hurt. She doesn’t know that OP’s dealing with tough stuff or that OP has intentionally decided to back off, because she’s not a mind-reader. (Seriously, how can you justify trying to *guilt* someone about not being close to you or knowing what’s going on in your life when YOU cut them off and didn’t tell them what was going on?) And OP is so lame that she can’t even give her friend the courtesy of cc’ing her on the memo about the changes she wants to make to their relationship?

      • Anonymous :


        I feel bad for OP’s friend.

  10. No More Patent Lit, Please :

    I am a mid-senior litigation associate. I spend about 75% of my time on patent lit, and 25% on other litigation (contract cases, copyright, trademark, advertising, trade secret). I have a technical background, which is why I initially focused on patent lit. But the other 25% is a lot more interesting (or maybe it is that patent lit is dreadful), and I want to shift my practice towards various other types of litigation I have been working on.

    My MO has been simply trying to get more work from the other litigation partners, and I have been fairly successful on that front. But I tend to get smaller projects with them, rather than being staffed on full-fledged cases. Any tips from the hive on making this transition? Or do I need to be more patient?

    • Anonymous :

      If you want to make a change, I think you just need to be direct with the partners who do that work. That said, part of the issue may be that there is not as much large work in the other types of “soft” IP litigation. Those cases are often smaller and not the bet the company matters of patent infringement. There just may not be large cases to be staffed on…

      • No More Patent Lit, Please :

        Thanks for this – and yeah, i get that. I comment made me realize that part of the reason that I like the work more is because these are smaller cases – smaller teams, more opportunities to actually write briefs, go to court, and take depos. Versus source code review and making claim charts

  11. AnonTechie :

    Workplace drama-
    So a coworker shared, rather dramatically, in a team building/ coaching session with no management present that she HATES all of her job- and hates not getting validation for her projects and sorta ranted about how my projects and another peer’s get all the attention. She ranted long and loud about attention, validation and how it was sort of beneath her level of expertise and skill to be working on something so irrelevant and non-central.
    TBF, her project is peripheral to the company’s core business, and while revenue-generating currently, barely pays half a full-time employee’s salary and does not have much upside. However, the salesperson supporting the product, who arguably has a harder job is making the best of the situation despite revenue goals
    The company is a super young but well-funded startup and the revenue potential/defensibility of product-moat is more important than current revenue generation.

    She is now planning to throw a full blown tantrum with our manager about her “seniority” and how she is has nothing to learn and grow (we are all sub-6months into a new job, new industry combination).

    Should i be worried about having to swap products/projects or having to deal with her working along on mine? I was hired for a specific mandate (the rest of the team are generalist ) and really don’t want to have her working on the same project because it has taken much effort to get to a friendly working relationship with her.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d let this play out some more, before you start worrying about anything. As much as you can, maintain peace and stay out of the drama while it does.

    • I don’t think you should be worried, but if you want to feel slightly productive about this, you could just jot down some notes to support how you are very effective working solo on your product/project and you would not like to swap or share with her, thankyouverymuch. That way, if someone says, “Soooo we were thinking that maybe Jemimina could take over your project…”, you can have your response at the ready that is very fact-based, like “That seems counter-productive. I spent the past four weeks researching the widget types and putting together specifications and am tracking to a successful completion in six weeks – I don’t see what the benefit would be of changing roles/adding another person.”

      Be ready to point out that you have been effectively managing all the projects under the status quo and you would be concerned that changing things would result in reduced effectiveness.

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