Kat’s Favorite Coffee Break Accessories

In keeping with the theme of yearly look-backs, these are some of my favorites from the accessories recommended here this year…  Some of these are still available, including:

Kate Spade Thelma pumps (shown below in purple)
– The Jones New York t-strap pump, the Helkie (shown below in black and beige)
– the flat(ish) wedge boots, Boutique 9 Zanny boots
– and, of course: the YSL Muse Oversized Dome Satchel Bag (shown below in red)

Readers, which were your favorite pieces recommended for Coffee Breaks or Hunts in 2010? Any favorites from the commenting threads?

(I didn’t get a chance to do this in 2011 due to technical difficulties, but you can check out the round-up from 2010 as well, if you’re curious…)


  1. Follow-up to yesterday’s rant since I didn’t check Corporette after I got home and whoa, all the responses:

    I called my parents after I left work, and basically just said “I’m going to a mattress store this weekend to look at mattresses, and then I’ll make a final decision on the bedframe, but I’m not going to sleep on an air mattress anymore.”

    The response: “I think that sounds like a good idea.”

    Yes, I was also face-palming all the way to the L stop.

    I have to say that I do think that part of the problem is that my parents agonize before purchasing anything, and what I probably need to do is just…not discuss these things until after I’ve made the purchase. It’s what I did with my last couch, and worked out a lot better.

    • sweetknee :

      I have kind of learned the hard way just to make my own decisions and inform my parents about it once it is done, if I chose to inform them at all. I know that you are in a somewhat unique situation in that they implied that they would help you with the purchase, but I valued my independence and not having my life dictated by the casual offhand comments of my parents more than I did the occasional bit of financial help.

      Hang in there.

  2. Looking to get some outfit advice:

    My SO and I will be spending New Year’s Eve in Park City, Utah. We are going to a bar called “Downstairs” for the NYE celebration, but given the weather, I cannot figure out what to wear. The forecast for the night is 8 degrees (the high that day is 22). Any ideas on what I can wear that will still be NYE festive (although I suppose in Park City that is a different standard than here in NYC-any insights on that?), but that is weather appropriate? My other concern is if I am very warmly dressed and the bar is very heated that I will be too hot inside. What do people wear for NYE in Park City?

    Any ideas or advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Not sure about NYE but when I was in Park City a few years ago the look was very Rockies Chic — Uggs, leggings, puffer jackets/vests, shearling, oversized (but cute) sweaters, fur vests. Also when we were there, the weather was technically cold (teens maybe? twenties?) but so dry and with such bright sun that it rarely felt cold. I’ve definitely been MUCH colder in NYC.

    • CrimsonClover :

      I’ve never been to Utah, nor would I go out at all if it were 8 degrees (eek!), but I would assume that a bar full of people in a place where these temps are the norm would be running your regular 72+ on a hopping night like NYE. Working under that assumption, I’d say where whatever you want that’s not bare-legged (even tights with a pair of pants over them for the trip there, or the ever-popular fleece lined) and whatever outer-wear you’d need to compensate for the cold (many layers, down duster, etc.).

      Have fun either way!

    • Paging Kanye East… this would be your area of expertise!

      • It’s been cold this week. Unusually cold, for Park City–it’s usually quite mild here, especially compared to any place in the northeast. We’ve had single digits at night lately, and it’s been dumping snow the last few days, so it hasn’t been as sunny as it normally is during the day, which keeps the daytime high temps down. But I think this storm is going to blow out in a few days, so this cold snap probably won’t last long.

        It’s a mountain town, and it’s Utah, so the dress code is very relaxed. Anywhere you go, you’re going to see a big range of different looks, and no matter how “fancy” the occasion, there’s always at least one guy in fleece and corduroy. Nobody’s going to judge you for what you’re wearing (not even during Sundance). Dress to stay warm, and don’t give your giant hat or furry boots or your ankle-length poofy coat a moment’s hesitation, if that’s what you want to rock. I saw a lot of fur and jeans and fairisle sweaters in old town on Christmas.

        Sensible footwear is my only advice. It’s going to be icy and slippery out there.

        • PS: for whatever it’s worth, 99% of the people you’ll see out in Park City between now and April will be tourists, and most of them will be from the Tristate area, Texas, or California. So most of the “fashion” you’ll see is tourists’ ideas of how to dress in in a small mountain town in the winter time (which–no comment on whether that’s better or worse than Utahns’ ideas of “fashion.”)

    • I’ve never done NYE in Park City, but people dress more casually/comfortably than elsewhere, and the “Sundance Catalog” look is really big up there. What about something like this (lacy dress, tights, and boots)?
      It should be a pretty regular temperature inside the bar, and TBK’s right – Utah cold is not nearly as biting as East Coast cold, because it’s so dry.

    • We did NYE in Park City a couple years ago. I wore a plaid shirt, skinny jeans, and I think Ugg boots. I fit right in. Definitely go for warm & comfy.

  3. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies, think good thoughts for me today! I have my review at some point today (probably at 4:30 pm, they like you to wait maximum time for maximum agony). And yes, it was just scheduled yesterday. Rrrrrrrrrgh!

    • Good thoughts! 2 days after Christmas, that just seems cruel.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      That timing is terrible, as is the small amount of notice, but I am sure you will do just fine. Sending good review vibes your way!

    • Of course good thoughts!! The managing partner wants me to meet 2 POTENTAL CLEINTS he has recruted from the Lambs club. He wants ME to breif them about WC litiegeation technique’s in NYC CIVIL COURT! I have no speceific pointer’s except to wear clotheing that the judge likes and ALWAYS to stand when addresing the bench.

      But the Manageing partner wants these cleint’s who are in the supermarkit business and are VERY FAMOUS!

      He said if I land these two cleint’s that I will get an extra bonus!! Yay!!

      But I need to get a pair of black pumps b/c my Ann Klein’s got caught in the storm drain during SANDY. FOOEY!

    • SoCalAtty :

      That’s terrible. Good thoughts good thoughts! The good thing is…the weekend is almost here!

  4. I got the zanny boots on amazon for under $100 yesterday.

    • Thank you! Just ordered them for 119. The reviews have not been good but I love the look so fingers crossed.

  5. i love every single thing on the list!!! especially the red bag (dying to have a bag that shape) and the purple necklace… now if only they fit into my budget ;)

  6. Any recommendations for veggie cookbooks? I’m trying to force myself to cook / eat properly in the New Year and thought a cookbook with beautiful photos might serve as inspiration.

    • 101cookbook’s Super Natural Everyday. It’s awesome. I got it and I’m not vegetarian in any way.

    • Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson. I’m not vegetarian but mostly eat that way because the cost of meat sometimes makes me want to faint when I’m in the grocery store.

      Some of Heidi’s recipes are my favorites, regardless, and she takes gorgeous photos.

    • What kind of cooking/flavours are you into? If you’re into Middle Eastern flavours, try Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (or other cookbooks – Jerusalem and Ottolenghi – not vegetarian but strong focus on vegetables).

      You might also want to check some food blogs.. 101cookbooks.com (vegetarian), smittenkitchen.com (not exclusively but often vegetarian), seriouseats.com (search through recipe archives).

      I agree with you — I love looking at the photos in cookbooks for inspiration too. Good luck!!

      • “Plenty” seconded. I love that cookbook. Recipes are clearly written and the photos seriously tempting.

        I also recommend “World Vegetarian” by Madhur Jaffrey. I have used that one frequently for years now. One of the things I like about it is that it is organized by ingredient. So, say, if you have a couple of eggplants in your fridge and are trying to figure out what to do with them, you just flip to the eggplant section, and voila! Dinner done.

        • viclawstudent :

          I got Plenty for Christmas and I’m so excited to start cooking from it!

          Websites/blogs, I like veggienumnum.com.

    • I got Lynn Alley’s The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker for Christmas and while I can’t attest to the tastiness of any of the recipes, it had some lovely pictures. There’s also a good cross-section of flavors (Middle Eastern, Indian, Mexican, French, Italian).

    • The Moosewood Cookbook doesn’t have pretty pictures, but it does have some delicious recipes. You might want to check out an Indian cookbook as well – I can’t remember the name of my friend’s, but I know there are some good ones.

      • I second Moosewood — I have “Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites” and “Moosewood Restaurant New Classics”, and the food is way fab. Very few pictures, but a lot of info, like freezing tofu to make chewy crumbles.

        Indian veg cuisine is great, but can be intimidating. I love Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks (esp “World Vegetarian”), but they are also light on pix. Warning, not all her books are vegetarian.

    • I’ve cooked out of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison almost every day for the last two or three years. There aren’t very many photos, but there are hundreds and hundreds of accessible, inspirational recipes, and it still gets me excited about cooking when I open the book. (I’m not vegetarian, I’d just rather spend my money on veggies than on meat.) I would highly recommend it!

      I’m not a fan of World Vegetarian, although I know some people do like it. I cook quite a bit from Heidi Swanson’s blog, particularly her soups. I find some of her other recipes are high maintenance for me (even though I live in an area where specialty groceries are relatively easy to find), but her cookbook is still on my wishlist!

    • I recommend Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.” Great for sides and also vegetarian entrees.

      • Cosign Deborah Madison–I am a carnivore, but whenever I make recipes from this to take to friends who recently gave birth, I get major rave reviews! Her stuff is yummy and she has some excellent explanations on how to handle certain less common vegetables in terms of cooking techniques. I love her explanations.

    • Miz Bizcuit :

      True Greek cuisine has tons of fabulous, healthy vegetarian dishes due to all the Orthodox fasting days. They turn beans into manna. It’s a shame that Americans think Greek food consists only of gyros and moussaka.

      If anybody can recommend an authentic Greek cookbook (doesn’t have to be vegetarian), please do!

      • I'm Just Me :

        The Country Cooking of Greece by Diane Kochilas. Actually, any of Diane Kochilas’ books. Her recipes are closest I can get to replicating my dh’s grandmother “a pinch of this” “a handful of that” and “cook until done” recipes.

    • hellskitchen :

      Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is my all time favorite – simple easy recipes from all around the world. As a life long vegetarian who doesn’t think of salad as a main dish, I appreciate that he doesn’t fill his book with just salad recipes, but hearty main dishes

    • Rise Elliot’s Complete Vegetarian is wonderful. The first half alternates between a photo spread of brassicas or pastas or legumes or some other category, and then a spread describing the items on the preceding page–how to buy them, basic ways they’re used, perhaps a basic way to use them. The second half is a ‘normal’ cookbook with recipes for appetizers, soups, side dishes, etc and has pictures of some of the prepared foods as well as 2pg spreads showing a full meal, with menu & page refs. I’ve had it for years and absolutely love it! Added bonus is that it helps when you’re trying to talk about food across a language barrier.

    • Thanks for all the great recs. Off to the library to see what they have available.

  7. I want those cage heels. Too bad they are long gone.

  8. Sugar Magnolia :

    Just wanted to share: I purchased a dress from Lands’ End on Friday, and paid $5 for two day shipping. Due to handling time, the dress will just be delivered today. I was disappointed in this, and just did a chat with customer service.

    They are refunding the shipping cost. What excellent service. I can’t wait to try on the dress. It seems very functional (and doesn’t need dry cleaning!). It is the Women’s Regular 3/4-sleeve Knit Faux Wrap Drapey Ponté Dress in Malachite (green).

    I am a size 18 since I just had a baby 10 weeks ago. The reviews seem very positive. Fingers crossed. I will review once it arrives. You can’t beat the price on it. Only $23.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      Here is the link to it http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-34-sleeve-knit-faux-wrap-drapey-ponte-dress~245295_58.html

      I ordered the tall to avoid it being inappropriate. (I am 5’9″)

      • I have that dress and it is beautiful. I’m 5’6″ and the regular comes to just at my knee. The green is a fantastic color. Great price too! Have to love Lands End customer service.

      • Love it! I think I’m going to order it. It says they run large. I’m on the small side of size 10 — do you think I should get the small? I usually wear a medium in dresses/bottoms (small for tops).

        • Their smalls are 6-8 and mediums 10-12. I recently got this dress and love it. http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-elbow-sleeve-flocked-ponte-shift-dress~246200_59.html
          I’m an 8 and the small petite fits great. Their dresses tend to be long too. A petite hits me at the knee and I’m 5’4″

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I’d size down. I have a small from them that is a tad too big and I’m normally a medium at other stores.

        • Concur with sizing down. I’m a 14 in most places but I always order a Medium at LE.

        • Miz Bizcuit :

          LE does run big, but is not proportioned for generous curves. I ordered 2 styles of their knit dresses last month (straight skirt styles, non-wrap). Both clung shamelessly to my b00bs and bum, but were loose everywhere else (waist, shoulders, arms, hips).

          Also, the V-neck was too low to wear without a cami.

    • Thanks for recommendation, I ordered one in green too. Really hoping it fits well.

  9. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, ‘r e t t es! I’ve missed you all lately as work has been keeping me too busy to spend time on my favorite website. Wishing you all the best this holiday season!

  10. Anonforthis :

    This morning I submitted an application for a job that I think I would love. I’m trying to put it out of my mind — if they call, they call, if not, whatever. Also, hey, it’s Dec 27 and no one’s probably there to even look at the application. But given the fact that I hate my current job and I think the new job would be great, plus it’s dead quiet and I have no work to keep me distracted, it’s so hard!

    • BrendaPatimkin :

      Good for you. When I was job hunting after graduate school I would sometimes apply on websites. Like you, I knew there was a strong chance that my application wouldn’t be looked at closely. However, I think the act of taking the first step of applying is a giant step forward.

      Crossing my fingers for you!

    • Good luck! I have an interview tomorrow, if you can believe that anyone is around to be doing that! I’m trying to put it out of my mind too, because now that they’ve shown some interest in me I’ve discovered I really want it! I’m slow too, so not much distraction here, and I too need to get the heck out of my current situation.

      • Anonforthis :

        Thinking good thoughts your way for tomorrow! (But, yeah, who does interviews on Dec 28?)

    • Anonforthis – i’m in the same boat…waiting to hear on jobs – three of which are “perfect”. Sigh. i know there are many jobs out there i just have to be patient and work at it.

  11. Sallie Mae rant: I paid off one (of many) loans with my bonus last week, and somehow ended up with a $4 credit. I called to get that $4 put toward one of my other (many) loans, and the answering-bot told me that there were SO many people calling and some other weather emergency, and I really should just call back later. I stayed on the line…and my call was answered immediately. Jerks.

    • lucy stone :

      Sallie Mae is a snitch. Congratulations on being one loan closer to getting out of her clutches!

  12. Looking for some thoughts on how to handle a husband who always gets close, but not quite right, when it comes to presents. As an example, I wanted perfume, I normally wear very floral scents (and he knows this, he’s commented on my perfume before, the bottle is on top of my dresser easily accessible for him to sniff, etc.) but he gave me a very heavy formal scented perfume (a very nice Chanel, but nonetheless, not me). I never want to break his heart so I just use whatever he gets me, but sometimes I just wish he would get it right you know? I wanted a new bathrobe. I LOVE his bathrobe – which is a Pottery Barn, spa like quality, white waffle weave robe with terry cloth. I’ve commented many times how much I would like a robe like his. He got me this giant light blue plush thing. Kind of a monstrosity of a robe – all nubby and fuzzy. And like baby blue – the color of something you would give a little boy. One year he got me a necklace that had a heart pendant. I wear it, but I have NOTHING in my entire wardrobe, jewelry collection, or accesories that has hearts on it. I’m not in to hearts. Zero interest in jewelry with hearts in the design.

    He tries so hard, and he is a wonderful loving husband, who does listen and pick up on clues on gifts to get me, but it’s always just a bit off. I never want to sound un-grateful, and I appreciate how much he does try. I’m wondering if I should say something? Or maybe I’m just being petty and should let it go. Or, I could try to get MORE descriptive when dropping gift hints?

    I’m probably being ridiculous but I really want to LIKE his gifts – not just kind of like them, and pretend they’re great. Anybody else wish they could fine tune their husband’s gift giving?

    • petty. My God.

      • B-tchy. My God.

        • Fair enough. But OP is basically saying, Hey those things you spent time on? They’re not ENOUGH. It’s nice… but not nice ENOUGH.

          A heart necklace? OP can’t just accept it as a special token of love, nope, has to “match” what other jewelry she has.

          So yeah, I do think it’s petty and all this training of the husband to pick out the exact right thing.. why even get presents from someone else at all if it has to be exactly perfect?

          • I don’t read it that way. I want to give gifts that the recipient will like and appreciate, and I feel bad when I receive a gift and don’t genuinely like it, especially when it’s pricey. When I’m in a situation where I am exchanging gifts year after year with someone (family, good friends, etc.), I think it’s worth trying to guide them so they don’t spend their money on something I would rather regift or donate. Especially when my husband and I exchange gifts, I don’t want either of us to spend a lot of our (shared) money on something expensive if it’s not really what the other person wants.

            I posted a while ago about whether or not my husband and I should tell my mother-in-law that her generous and very thoughtfully chosen gifts were things we would never use. He ended up gently telling her that we planned to return the items (she was going to see the credit on her card with this particular vendor, so there was no option to return without her knowing).

          • To be fair, I think the OP recognizes/appreciates the thought and effort that goes into her husband’s gifts. But she can’t help that she just. doesn’t. like them.
            Personally, I kind of look at this from the husband’s perspective. He probably puts all that thought and effort into it because he really wants her to have something she’ll love. So imagine how crappy he’d feel if he somehow found out that she didn’t like it? My guess is that he’d rather she have something she really loves/wants, than her just quietly accepting his “special token”. By (gently) giving him clearer suggestions of what she’d like, she’s doing them both a favor – he’ll give her a gift that she really does love and she’ll actually want what he gives her.

          • I have no one to give me presents (other than parents/sisters) so have no leg to stand on, but it seems to me like hubby is trying to give a happy surprise, instead of simply refilling the perfume bottle that’s always out or unimaginatively order a robe exactly like his. Why not ask for gifts where his creativity is appreciated, and take the 2 min online to order the stuff that’s already 100% figured out?
            My gift-requesting strategy tends to be the opposite of yours; I explain what hole I’m trying to fill and the parameters that are important to me, and wish the giver would spend the time searching for just the right thing. No one has wanted to do that yet, but it sounds like what DH would respond to well.

    • Don’t pressure yourself to keep the things he gives you. He probably will not get offended if you tell him that the scent is not right for you. You’ll get what you want and he’ll learn more about your tastes. My DH is not a great gift giver and it used to bother me but I’m ok with it now. His heart is in the right place but the taste is questionable sometimes. ;-). Now I give him specific suggestions and he’ll add in a smaller surprise that he picks, usually chocolate or flowers.

      • SoCalAtty :

        Perfume is hard – everyone’s skin reacts differently to it. Just tell him that it reacts funny with your own chemical makeup and you love it, just not on you. He shouldn’t be offended.

        We’ve only been married for 5.5 years, but we’ve been together for 15, and DH rarely attempts to surprise me and when he does it is something I’ve hinted at or we’ve shopped together for and then I either just didn’t get it or we decided to put it off. For holidays, we’ll usually be walking through a store and he will see something and say “ok, get me this!” I do the same thing.

        My dad is like this. Close, but always just slightly off the mark. Now that my mom isn’t around to give directions, it’s getting pretty bad. I just say thanks and find a place for everything.

        • My Dad is like this too. He heard Ugg boots were in season one year (I think he spent too much time chatting with ladies in the shoe department) and bought me a pair of fire engine red ugg boots. I lived in Southern California at the time (when would I ever need boots like that there) and I have size 11 feet. I looked like Ronald McDonald. On that one I just gave up and told him they weren’t my style and went in and exchanged them.

    • Bewitched :

      I’ve been married 20 years and so take this with a grain of salt: I email my hubby a bunch of specific items in the 3 weeks before Christmas, and tell him these are all things I would love to get as a gift. He picks a few out and gives them to me, along with one or two things of his own choosing. The items he chooses are a special treat, but I’m SOOO much happier getting exactly what I want for the other items, instead of something close. Note, I don’t think I’m petty or that I’m picky-I just buy a lot of stuff for hubby and the kids and tend to “skimp” on things for me, so it’s really nice to have him splurge on my behalf! I wouldn’t buy these items if it were up to me-even though most of them are relatively low cost ($100 range). I think my hubby is happier too that everything is a home run.

      • This. Seriously. My family emails a very specific list of things they each want–including hyperlinks to stores where they are purchased from. If someone left out a detail like color/size/etc, I will email or call to clarify (my dad often forgets to specify a color). For example, instead of “new dishes”, I asked for “Round, plain, white bone china dishes. 8 settings. For example, this set at Store (insert link), you can use my coupon code AAA123 and there’s free shipping with code ABC111.”

        • My family did extremely specific lists too. I hate it. If you already know that you want xyz item in blue, size medium from abc store, then you may as well go buy it yourself. Other than using my money, I’m not involved at all. Why go through the farce of me pretending to be thoughtful when all I did was click through your Amazon wish list and check out? The highly specific lists are one of the many reasons I was pleased to marry into a family that does not observe Christmas.

      • This completely. I RARELY shop for myself. The biggest “splurge” items I buy myself are a good cut and color every 4 month, and a pedicure here and there. Thus, I know he wants me to view the gifts he get me as splurges on myself – which is hard to do if they aren’t really what you were looking for.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        I’ve done this, or kept a running list or the last 13 years…..

    • If you want something specific, tell him exactly what you want. You asked for a robe, he gave you a robe. If you wanted the Pottery Barn women’s version of his robe, it would be easier to just tell him that’s what you want.

      You might want to also examine your expectations. Perfume is an extremely personal thing – I think your husband’s heart was in the right place but honestly, imo, perfume is not a great gift. It can smell different on each individual person, which is why you always read that you should try on perfume and wear it for a few hours before you buy. All that to say that I think it’s unrealistic to expect your husband to buy you the exact right type of perfume.

      I’ve also heard of some boutiques doing gift registries, kind of like a wedding registry. Is there a jewelry store or other local boutique you like? Start a registry there so that your husband can go pick something for you that you’re guaranteed to love, but that way there’s still the element of some surprise because you won’t know exactly what you’re getting.

      • Another idea if you’d like him to buy you perfum is to go to Sephora or a department store and try a bunch yourself. Then pick 3 or 4 you’d be happy with and give your husband that list. Then he can go pick his favorite for you; you get a scent that you know you’ll like, but he still gets to choose something for you (and his favorite so you will smell nice to him, too).

        • This is a good idea because he does like the idea that he “picked it out for me.” He wants to have input, but wants me to like it. I think if I gave him a few options or examples of scents I like, it might go over better.

          • Sounds like some sort of wishlist would be your best bet. Combine that with several specific suggestions if you want a certain item like perfume. “Husband, I created an Amazon (anthro, jewelry store registry, etc) wishlist this year, here’s the link. I’d also love a new bottle of perfume; I really like scents A, B, and C at Sephora.”

      • viclawstudent :

        What about something like an Amazon wishlist, where you could put on your wishlist a bunch of things (robes, say) that fit the type you want, so he has a visual aid that he could refer to when going out to pick one out himself? So if you had 5 white waffle-weave robes on there, he’d get the idea that white was the colour of choice, or so on.

        • Yes I think the wishlist suggestions are definitely the way to go. The more examples the better it will probably come out.

    • I can relate to your disappointment, and I don’t think it’s petty to want to try to hone his skills a little bit more. (For the record, though, I think perfume is practically impossible to get right, so you may want to abandon that gift suggestion entirely and just stock up on what you like.) I haven’t mastered this with my husband yet, either, so I will be interested to see the responses. Sometimes, my husband does a fantastic job (Kindle, amazon gift cards last year) and sometimes it’s pretty off the wall stuff (satellite radio for my car, just out of the blue.) I sent him links this year and he bought be one of the things I asked for, and a few surprises that he did really well on. I am hopeful for the gift-giving occasions in the future!

    • Mr. TBK doesn’t even give gifts (not Christmas, birthday, anniversary) so one or two small items he’s picked out for me (heavily guided by my MIL) are like gold. I can’t imagine what it would be like if he actually went to the store and tried to pick out something based on things I’d said in the past! But seriously, I think you’re expecting your husband to act the way a lot of women act. My husband would never, ever, ever, everevereverever!! be able to tell the difference between a floral perfume and a formal one. And he would NEVER think to sniff the perfume on my dresser and try to find something similar at the store based on his memory of the perfume he sniffed at home. (I doubt he’s noticed I own perfume. I sincerely doubt he realizes that there are different styles of perfume. They all smell like “perfume” to him.)

      I think you need to be really, really mind-bendingly specific with him. As in saying in early December “Honey, there’s a new perfume at Nordstrom I tried today. Here’s the little sample card with the name on it. I love it and would love to have some someday.” Then he takes the card to the store and gives it to a lady in the general area of the cosmetics/perfume and says “my wife wants this for Christmas” and the lady directs him to the right person who helps him through the whole purchase. Or “Honey, I love your robe from PB. I would love exactly the same one. It’s listed in the catalog that came today — here it is. I think the small would work on me and I really like the white.” Most men want to buy great gifts for their wives but these subtle differences are really lost on many of them.

      • lucy stone :

        Agreed. My husband tries hard and was often a bit off too. I keep my Amazon wishlist up to date now and he asks my mom for help with the other things.

      • I think your suggestions are great.

        I also do the “hey, what do you think of this splurge thing that I’m thinking of getting?” and then he says, “get it. that’s my __ gift to you”.


        Although I luck out in that he shops at places with wonderful return policies. I kept his first present, but then when he overspent on earrings I would never wear, I made him take it back, worried that he wouldn’t get me future jewelry, but then he got me ones that I go with his first present that I wear every day now.

        • Yeah, that’s actually how we do gifts. We each pick something we want and then go out and buy it for ourselves, or we decide we’re going to go away for a weekend and make that our gift to each other. While getting a surprise would be nice sometimes, I don’t really mind. For example, he proposed without a ring so I could pick it out myself. He got me to give him a photo of exactly what I wanted, then took the photo to the jeweler and said “make exactly this ring for my fiancee.” And, hey, I LOVE my engagement ring! I still admire it every day.

        • This. Over Thanksgiving, I gave my mom, her husband, and her parents “thanksgiving weekend” with trips to Alcatraz, Napa, etc. when they came out to visit me. They loved it and I was done with Holiday shopping! My brother got a plane ticket over Thanksgiving as his Christmas gift and, in return, he helped host Thanksgiving weekend. Best gift ever!

      • Haha too funny – they all smell like perfume – probably so true!

        Maybe for my Birthday I will be more specific and start sending links. Because like I said above, he likes having input in to it, picking it out himself, but does want to get me something I like that feels like a splurge.

        • My mother is the world’s worst gift picker. I have the best luck when I pick out a specific gift with a couple options to choose from. For example, I needed a new suit for swimming laps. I sent her a weblink that I wanted a particular suit in Medium and she could pick out the color. Luckily she prefers to get specific lists and recognizes that her surprise gifts usually miss the mark.

      • I was laughing so much reading TBK’s post, because I can’t even imagine what would happen if I asked my SO to differentiate between types of perfume! There’s just no way.

        I do very specific lists with family, but I also really like surprises and my SO will typically get me something that’s not on the list. The trick to surprise presents that work, it seems, is that he’s at least somewhat knowledgeable about what he’s buying (for example, one year he bought some parts to make my bike easier to ride). I shudder to think of what I’d get if he tried to get jewelry or perfume! I’ve started doing the same for him as well — one year I got him a camera tripod which I spent a bunch of time researching but turned out to be not quite what he wanted, this year I got him a custom suit jacket and I’m much better able to judge what makes a great jacket than a great tripod.

        Experience gifts also work really well, because even if it’s not quite what I would have picked for myself, we typically have fun doing it. One year he got me a gift certificate for a weekend glass blowing course (I sucked at it, but it was awesome!), this year he booked a cabin for a weekend snowshoeing trip.

    • I know that some people love surprises and love giving people surprises. But personally, I prefer to know precisely what a person wants so that my gift will be money well spent. I also really hate receiving gifts that are not what I want, because I’m a pretty picky person and also because I hate feeling like my loved one wasted money on me. I usually ask for gift cards, but I also have an Amazon wish list with stuff I’d like to receive on it (admittedly, usually the things I want are practical items – I don’t like to receive clothes, cosmetics, perfume, etc because I’m so particular). That seems to work well because I can be surprised within the parameters I set for what I want.

      My family also just isn’t that into surprises. Most years I flat-out ask what someone wants for a gift and get that for them. Maybe it’s boring, but everyone ends up happy.

    • I hear you. My husband always comes close, but never quite seems to grasp what I am looking for. I generally just smile, thank him, and then go buy what I want later.

    • anon in tejas :

      it sounds like he’s not paying attention to the same details that you are. he may be under the impression that he’s getting you what you want (i.e. asked for bath robe, got bath robe). I’d suggest that when you make the request focus on what you like about it (i.e. I really like the fabric of this bathrobe), and offer to send him some examples. He can pick one out of the ones that you like or see the similarities and eventually go off script.

    • This year I e-mailed my husband that if he needed Christmas ideas I really wanted an UnderArmour ColdGear top & running tights. I told him my size and gave him the name of a local store that had a wide selection.

      On Christmas Day I opened a present and I had the running tights and top I wanted in the color he chose.

      It feels like a win to me.

      I’ll agree that sometimes the worst gifts are when they *almost* get it right.

    • emcsquared :

      This is a bit off topic – but have you read The 5 Languages of Love? It sounds a little like you measure your husband’s love for you by the gifts he gives…and maybe that isn’t how he expresses love.

      Anyway, sorry for the totally random thought. I second everyone who says that if getting the perfect gift is important to you, you need to let DH know what the perfect gift might be (specifically, down to the store and color and size). Most husbands are terrible mind-readers!

      • DH and I have given each other plenty of “almost right” gifts over the years. We’ve also given each other the exact same gift (one year brought 2 Wiis under the tree) Not surprisingly, gifts rank towards the bottom of the list for both of our respective love languages. We either have to give each other really specific lists or we get a joint gift that we both pick out. Everyone wins then.

      • Oh I don’t think the gifts he gives me have anything to do with how much he loves me. In fact, quite the opposite, I think they are totally unnecessary because he does an AMAZING job of supporting me everyday. He is the kind of husband that will unload the dishwasher without being asked, suggest he pick up take out for dinner when he can tell I’m too tired to cook from a long day of work, and even plan things like romantic little staycations with a couples massage. I posted this above – but essentially, he (and I) view the gifts we give each other like little splurges we wouldn’t do for ourselves. So he wants to get it right, because he knows I would not go out and just spend $150 on perfume for myself. Which is why I want to like it also, because I don’t really splurge on myself.

        • No no, that’s not what she is saying. It doesn’t have to do with HOW MUCH he loves you, but how you each express love (everyone expresses differently, and wants different things. To be lame but does anyone watch real housewives? Vicki gets a greeting card every single day and it means the world to her. other people would be like ugh gag.) It sounds like you value gift giving as a way of expressing love. So you want him to get it right, and he knows that so he wants to get it right. On the other hand I would be fine if my DH never got me another gift. I value different forms of love expression. If you both value gift giving as splurges, just do the wishlists.

        • Right. Unloading the dishwasher and picking up takeout are “acts of service” love if I remember correctly. I like those acts a lot. I also like when we do weekends away or any other “quality time” connection. Both of those rank high on my love languages as expressions of love, much more than his just giving me an actual gift. My husband and I both tend to just buy ourselves whatever it is we need.

      • viclawstudent :

        I think pretty much everybody in the world is bad at mind-reading for gifts (the person I know who is far and away the most perceptive about people and what they want and need in everyday circumstances is still pretty bad at gifting), so this advice would go for pretty much everyone – if you have someone that you want to get the perfect gift from, and the situation is such that you aren’t doing a gift card exchange or a “I’ll go buy it and put your name on the ‘from’ part of the tag,” probably best to be more detailed.

        Or maybe suggest things you want as gifts where you’d be happy with a really wide range of selections – you have a specific type of perfume you like, so that one might be hard; but if you really enjoy spa days, for example, and aren’t picky about which spa, it’s easy for husband to satisfy with a gift of a spa day.

      • SoCalAtty :

        For me it is more like I hate to get something I will never use, and I feel bad re-gifting. One of the biggest things I am trying to do in my life is cut out “clutter” (like…”hey, why do I have 2 (or 3 or 4) of these? I only need one! Off to Good will…) so if it isn’t something I use, my new declutter rules say it has to go. Part of that is my 700-ish square foot house. It shows clutter really fast!

      • Yup, I’m a gifts person (but pretty low maintenance overall, which I think is why Christmas & birthday gifts mean so much to me) and dh is a ‘words’ person. I agree with the detailed list advice. Once dh realized how important gifts were to me (after a few years of marriage) he started really appreciating the lists I give him. Sometimes he ventures off the list, and sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes a miss (one year he got me a Bosch kitchen mixer that I love but I had NO CLUE about, another a winter coat that totally surprised me) but I try to remember his heart is in the right spot.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      Does my husband lead a double life, and is buying gifts for both of us? Seriously, this happens constantly.

      I never ever wear pink, and my hubby got me the warm mittens I wanted, but in a brown, yellow and pink plaid. (Yes, you read that correctly!)

      We are broke, and it sucks for him to buy me something and have me not wear or use it. I really want him to pay more attention and “get” me…the actual material item isn’t the issue really.

      The past few years, I will really point out stuff when we are in the store together that I like, AND (this is important), stuff that I really HATE. It usually helps.

      I can’t complain much though. This year he “gave” me the baby we both have been wanting for years, and she is exactly perfect. I really don’t need anything else! :)

      • SugarMagnolia – congratulations on the beautiful baby girl! And btw – your sentiment about getting hubby to “get” you is exactly my frustration too. After 26 years. Gah.

    • girl in the stix :

      I just accept the fact that my husband is just my favorite gift, and anything more he gives me is gravy–even though this is the third year in a tow that he has given me a mp3 player, and the second year that he has given me (really, us) a dvd/blu-ray player. He did get the one present that I sent him the URL for–so all is good. Generally we splurge on a big thing for us. This year it’s a trip to South Carolina. Give your boy points for trying!

      • sweetknee :

        Cool ! I live in SC ! When are you coming ? Let me know if you need any recommendations for places to eat/stay, etc.

    • We pretty much just tell each other specific things we want. We celebrate Hanukkah so we do at least 8 gifts for each other, working our way up from small gag gifts at the beginning to major gifts at the end. The gifts at the beginning are silly, cheap things we each pick out but for the mid-range and expensive gifts we usually consult with the other person and send each other suggestions for specific things we want, up and including links & coupon codes (because its not a gift if he buys me a bag I want but doesn’t use a 30% coupon code I know about). Not as romantic, sure, but a lot more effective. We also do a lot of what we call “promise” gifts, where he’ll tell me (or give me a card that says) “I’m getting you a massage at such-and-such place” or I’ll tell him “I’m taking you to any [insert cuisine I don’t like] restaurant of your choosing.” So the other person has come up with the idea but hasn’t actually spent any money and if the recipient isn’t into that idea, they can suggest something similar but slightly different.

      I also think its possible for gift-giving intuition to develop. One of our first holidays together he got me perfume and I was pretty upset because I’ve never worn it (and am actually pretty allergic to all that stuff). This year, my favorite gift was actually one he picked out all by himself. So guys can learn :)

    • SoCalAtty :

      Just a side thought – if you’re of the “keep it and like it” school, what do you do with it if you really don’t use it? Let it sit on a shelf forever? What about an appliance that is maybe a duplicate of something you already have? Or an item of clothing that you will never wear, due maybe to size?

      Like I’ve said before, my house is only just over 700 square feet. If I kept everything I’d be in over my eyeballs.

    • YOU ARE NOT A PETTY AND YOU ARE NOT A BITCH!!! It is okay to come on here, anonymously, and say whatever is bothering you and expect a kind response. That said, you may have to suck it up. Or, maybe hint about things that don’t really matter!!! I actually told my husband — who was spending a lot of money on gold that was not my taste — that I love costume jewelry. He thought is was cheap. I said that the good costume jewelry is expensive but I think it is frivolous to spend 80 plus dollars on a fake necklace but as a gift, I would love it. So, I now have a decent collection of cute costume jewelry, some of which I wear more often than others.

    • My SO was sooo excited to give me two heart shaped jewelry presents. It’s not my style. At all. But he was so excited to give it to me, I smiled, said I loved them and will wear them anyway. I’m not sure this is the best tactic but I can never bring myself to return gifts.

      To his credit, he also gave me non-heart shaped earrings that are perfect for the wedding. So one giant win cancels out the 2 misses. And I realize I got three jewelry gifts so I can’t complaint. At all.

    • I’m late to this one, but I agree with Bewitched. If you want gifts you like, you have to tell him what to get you. I’ve been married to my husband for 13 years and asking him to suddenly start knowing exactly what I’d like would be like asking him to become a ninja. It’s not going to happen.

      He’s a pretty good husband and I’m planning to keep him, so I just send him an extremely specific gift list with many items on it, hoping that he’ll just pick out the ones that he thinks are particularly “me.” To my delight and embarrassment he usually buys all of it. I get some for Christmas, some for my birthday (January) and some ideas he even carries over to the next year.

      Make the list, give some options, and get over it. Really.

      • I would SO hate to get gifts from a list! To me, the whole point is that someone thought of me, and then took the time to observe carefully and figure out just what would work. I guess I’ve just never been broke enough–not even the short periods when I’ve gone dumpster diving behind a grocery store–to want someone else to get me a specific item. If I can’t afford it then, I’ll prioritize and get it eventually.
        My family tells me I pick out good gifts. When I was in high school, my mom broke down crying at a present from me, said it was the first time anyone in our family had ever really thought of her (umm, the jewelry that Dad gives her would make most women cry for joy, I think). Lately I’ve given a lot of clothing, but my dad really liked the books my son & I selected for him, and Mom was totally into having people sign the guest book at their Florida house and she was really happy at the little seashell pen stand I got her, so it’s not just thank know their sizes.

        • But some of us are just NOT good gift givers. I am a horrible “surprise” gift giver. I also am not wealthy enough to spend money on something for someone that they don’t want. I inherited this trait from my father, who is also spectacularly bad at gift giving. I hate scary movies. What do I get every year for Christmas? A scary movie. I wish he would just not spend the money. I don’t even like movies!! I certainly don’t need any and it’s silly for him to spend the money to get me a surprise gift that will never get used. Now when I can send links to a few things, he can decide if he wants to get me something and know it will be something I like. I guess I just don’t get wanting to buy a present for someone without knowing that they will like it. I would love to be the greatest gift giver on the planet, but I’m not. I don’t want someone to feel obligated that they have to use/like a present I gave them just because I gave it to them. I want them to have something they want and like!!

        • “Never been broke enough to want someone else to get me a specific item”

          This seems to be missing the point. I doubt that the various posters who prefer gift lists do so because they are “broke”. I know the reason I provide a list is because the giver asks for it.

          • Saacnmama :

            Sorry, but I think asking someone to buy a gift I specify misses the point of a gift. Why not just get it yourself if you’re going to pick it out & everything?

          • I understand if you like the idea of spontaneous unassisted gift selection. Other folks do it differently without “missing the point of a gift” and there are many posts above trying to provide useful ideas for NovaAtty.

            I post only because I don’t understand why you bring in the idea of “broke” – is it because you feel that people only offer up gift suggestions if they are “broke” ?

  13. How lame is being at work this week? I decided to go splurge on my favorite lunch, especially since everyone will be working on eating better in the new year, and the place wasn’t even open! I don’t blame them because pretty much no one is at work, but wah! I have to be here and can’t even get my favorite lunch!

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      Awwww…that sucks! You should still treat yourself to that lunch next week, to give you something to look forward to.

    • TBK – I completely identify with being at work and wanting to get in that last treat before New Year’s resolutions (mine or other people’s) get in the way. And i have to work because my boss sux.

    • SoCalAtty :

      It’s pretty lame. I had court this morning, and I’ve got a demurrer and some discovery to finish up before the end of the day tomorrow. It’s hard to keep working!

    • Lame, but less lame than flying cross-country at holiday prices to spend time with my family (who I see once a year) and having to work 14 hour days the whole time I’m here because my cases all blew up the day I got here.

    • It is SO LAME. I am one of only two people in my office again today, and it’s so hard to get the momentum to actually do things. Plus, it’s freezing in here, so that makes it hard to concentrate, too. I hope you get some kind of treat for yourself, TBK!

    • LAME – finding out today that my client f^%$* up a settlement agreement and having opposing counsel tell me 4 days before the agreement was supposed to be finalized (when they knew over a week ago).
      My headache’s getting worse…

    • anon in tejas :

      this totally happened to me a few years ago. I end up bringing my lunch this week. First because it’s a short week. second, because I can and do just leave for coffee in the middle of the day/morning and that’s cheaper. Third, coffee place is always open. Lastly, it gets me started on healthy eating for the new year, even though I’m only mitigating damage since I’m still kinda enjoying the holiday.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Lamest thing ever: Flew in on Sunday after three weeks of the Best. Vacation. Ever. and had to work Monday (yes, that was Christmas Eve) and W-Th-F. Argh. So jet-lagged I can’t even see straight.

  14. omg someone sniffing is driving me insane. its every 3 seconds a big wet sniffing sound. im the only other person around too so I just need to vent that I am cringing every time it happens

  15. AIMS? Are you reading? How did he like the wildcard Dude Sweater?

  16. Okay, so I was wrong. My Dad didn’t comment on my hair or my shoes, but my stepmother gave me a lecture of the state of higher education, which was, well, really unnecessary.

  17. in terms of top accessory recommendations, I have to vote for the tri-colored cashmere scarf because I bought that one! It was a great deal.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      Me too! I love that scarf!

      (I also like the purple necklace but don’t own it)

  18. You are now able to fully use the site’s community features. Decide on the possibility Present concealed information, folders and drives. I figured, why not.