Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Milano Rib Blazer

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

Women's Regular Milano Rib BlazerThis jacket looks a bit dowdy on screen, but 101 mostly glowing reviews tell me that it’s worth a shot.  I like the blue and the red (the “Mazarine” blue, pictured, is very on trend this season) and the promise of a comfortable rib knit sweater jacket that still holds its shape.  The price doesn’t hurt, either:  it was $94, but is now marked to $35 (select colors only) — and it’s available in regular, petite, tall, plus, and petite plus at Land’s End.  Women’s Regular Milano Rib Blazer

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  1. Super cute, it looks like a better quality one of the gap version from a few months back.

  2. I have a deeeep distrust of Land’s End sizing. Go two sizes down (unless your other clothing is also similarly vanity-sized). You’ve been warned…

    • This bugs me especially because they often don’t even offer anything smaller than a 4, and their 4 is really about an 8. I am a perfectly normal sized person and it irks me that I can’t buy this blazer.

      • I think that it’s less about vanity sizing than it is about customer base. I remember reading something about how companies generally make a “medium” that is the median for their general customer sample. I recently noticed it with BB mens’ line. I don’t think men have the same vanity impulse to go for a medium over a large, for instance, but the BB “large” has gotten larger in the past year – my SO always got their pajama pants in this size and the last two pairs have been bigger on him even though his weight has stayed basically the same.

        • Yeah, I have the same problem with tall ranges as well. Few retailers make their smallest sizes in a tall because there simply isn’t a large enough market.

          I always love the Land’s End coats people post here, but have sadly resigned myself to not buying them for a while…

        • Research, Not Law :

          This. Manufactures set their sizes to their customer base. There’s no gold standard for sizing. You may not like it, but it’s a reasonable system.

          Fit of clothing also matters. Their intended fit is looser than other stores, so yes, you’re going to have to size down quite a bit for a slim fit. Again, it’s about their target market. When I was younger, I wanted a body conscious fit. Now I want a looser fit. My physical size hasn’t changed, but I have to go up one or two sizes at the stores where I shopped when I was younger which intend their clothes to be tight.

          • Same here, and at 51yo with limited shopping options (the usuals discussed here are too young, too tight, too whatever for me), Lands’ End’s fit is a RELIEF.

      • kerrycontrary :

        Agree with lands end, and then even LLBean too. I’m a normal sized person and I’m swimming in their smalls.

      • It sucks to not be able to buy something you want, but that’s also how those of us in the 14-16 range feel about some 75% of the clothing featured here, and those larger about more than 90% of it.

        • this.

        • Thank you. Yes.

        • +100. Esp at 16. 14 is better, having recently put myself back into that size. There is very little at 16+, and I would have been swimming in 16W sizes.

        • little advice :

          seriously. different retailers target different markets–what’s wrong with that?

          • Sizes are not about different markets!!!!!!! Maybe older fashion clothes, yes, but it is ridiculous that I can’t fit by butt into ANYTHING at J.Crew at 5 foot 4 and 155 pounds. And I am sorry but there is no way that Mrs. Obama, with her fabulous hips, just waltzes into J Crew and buys off the rack because the only clothes in the store are small and extra small. I will say, however, that I gained forty pounds after I quit smoking and once I hit 170, I realized that I would not be able to shop anymore in regular stores. That was enough to get me on a diet. But, I don’t see me losing much more weight and I have more money than I ever did to shop. So, STORES! Start carrying more 12 and 14 clothes!!!

          • Cornellian :

            As much as it sucks to be on one end or another of a company’s market, I think little advice is correct. Different stores target different markets. They don’t have some abstract moral obligation to carry average sizes, or small, or extra large sizes. They carry what they think makes a profit for them.

            That said, it does seem strange that I’m a 2 and XS at many stores, when I’m 131 lbs or so. My poor 4’10 85 lb sister has no hope.

          • I would guess that Michelle Obama is a size 8T. She definitely buys off the rack at J Crew.

          • I would say Michelle O almost certainly can buy off the rack at JCrew (and perspective is interesting — I find a lot of JCrew stuff I try on to be absurdly vanity sized so I appreciate hearing your viewpoint that it’s cut small) but, while she may do that, she 110% has everything she wears tailored. And that is 3/4 of the reason she looks so great in them (the other 1/4, of course, being that she’s Michelle Obama). It was a big wake up call to me to realize that celebrities have EVERYTHING tailored, even simple white tees, and helped me realize why nothing ever hangs as nicely on me as it seems to on celebrity bodies.

          • Well, if by off the rack, you mean online :) Jcrew tall sizes are only available online.

          • Off-the-rack is a turn of phrase that just means that it is a size that comes ready-made from the retailer. Not that you literally have to buy the size on a rack.

          • locomotive :

            I’m 5’2 and 150s lbs and can buy off the rack at Jcrew (size 6-8 and S/M) so I seriously doubt MO can’t buy off the rack there…

          • Midwest Transplant :

            She looks great, but as a gal with a similarly shaped waist, butt and hips, MO must get them altered. I love JCrew clothes, but all dresses and skirts have to be taken in at the waist, and forget about the pants, too much work.

            No issues with companies making clothing to fit their customers though. I know the brands and styles from those brands that work for me and try to stick with those.

          • The problem is that so many clothing manufacturers aim for certain populations, while many others are routinely ignored. Aiming for different age brackets makes sense, and Country Outfitters sells different clothes than Urban Outfitters. However, regardless of size and shape, it is a cultural expectation to cover our nakedness, and in a professional setting, to dress appropriately. This can be quite difficult. As a tall woman, I used to be confused at the lack of options because tall is a dominant gene. At some point I realized that tall as a dominant gene is more commonly expressed in a woman who is 5’7″ than 5’11”.

            It seems like if certain clothing manufacturers focused on typically-ignored sizes and shapes, they could be quite profitable, as long as they’re not aiming to be the next [insert major brand].

          • I am not suggesting that Michelle Obama is large but the cut of their clothes is very boyish. I have a hard time seeing how a size 2 woman with hips fits into their clothes. I do get the idea that older women want a different cut though. I like Hilfiger and JCP t-shirts because they fit on my shoulders but don’t hug my belly.

        • Agree

        • Sing it!

    • They are very much hit and miss. I generally go down a size and to a petite.

    • YES. Wish I knew this when I bought one of my favorite winter coats from Land’s End. I truly love it, but it was bigger than I expected when it arrived. To add to just the general larger sizing, it was during my heavier stage while in the midst of law school, when I was about 20 lbs heavier.

      • Cornellian :

        Same. I got a nice Lands’ End coat in a 4 (I usually wear a 6 in dresses and jackets as I have wide shoulders and a pretty muscular back) and I SWIM in it. It worked out okay, though, as I can wear sweaters underneath easily.

  3. It looks very dowdy in the picture! I think this probably would work only if you generally like Land’s End clothes. For me, they are way too frumpy on, so I doubt this would be any different.

  4. Hi Ladies, I bought the Land’s End dress based on recommendation here a few days ago (google “Women’s Regular 3/4-sleeve Knit Faux Wrap Drapey Ponté Dress”) . The dress arrived yesterday, the fabric is quite substantial and love the green color. It was a great deal at $25 (now it is $19) Definitely size down, I got an XS and the top part is a bit loose and deep but I can wear with a cami underneath, the bottom actually fit me really well with my pear shape. I am usually XS on top and 4-6 in bottom for AnnTaylor/BR. Happy with the purchase !

    • Cornellian :

      I ordered one too! I hope it arrives today. I got an XS, and am generally a 2-4 in pants, 6 in dresses, athletic shape. Looking forward to seeing if it works on me!

    • Mine is arriving soon! I got the red for a relatively casual Saturday night wedding in the NW. It looked post-pregnancy shape friendly and nursing friendly. I figured for 22 bucks it was worth a try.

    • I’m convinced! Off to buy the dress!

      • I bought it in green as well and love it! Their whole line of those dresses have been great. I love them because they do not wrinkle at all and for business travel it is such a plus! I have three more other than the wrap one that I just really adore.

        • Paralegal :

          Turns out I just missed out :( I was trying to coordinate with my mom so we could order $50+ and get free shipping and all the smalls sold out.

        • Chicago Lawyer :

          Sold! Just ordered the green (and the blazer).

          I have a somewhat general question about wearing green/other colored dresses and skirts – what color tights/nylons do you do with green? I’ve been trying to do brown tights with green and other colors (such as camel) but can’t figure out what color shoes to wear with them. Maybe I just need to give up on brown tights?

    • Anonymous Poser :

      Hey, I’m tempted by the Land’s End dress. Those of you who have tried it and are gifted with (ahem) large tracts of land on an otherwise average frame, I’d love to hear what you think. I’m a 32F, with narrow shoulders, to boot. TIA!

      • Cornellian :

        Well, if I love it with my athletic frame, small breasts and broad shoulders, I bet you’ll hate it, haha. I’ll post when it arrives!

    • I have two of the LE wrap dresses – one in black and one in tomato red; I think I got them for $28 each on Cyber Monday. I’m usually in low plus sizes, but the LE XL fits me perfectly. It’s a very forgiving dress, both in terms of the nice thick fabric and the cut, and always gets me compliments. I’m on the busty side, and the top is great for me because it’s very adjustable – I can position it in a way that’s flattering for the girls and it stays that way. I always wear a camisole underneath; it’s possible that the fabric of the camisole is part of what makes the top of the dress stay put.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I was the original poster, and I absolutely love the dress on. I am wearing it in the green today, with a black cami under it, black tights, black heels and a black scarf around my neck. I got a compliment the second I walked into the office.

      And because I am BFing, it has plenty of room in the chest area. I am a tiny bit concerned about fit once I stop BF, but for now, it is perfect.

  5. I like it, but it looks a bit slouchy to me. Is that just the model not having the correct size?

  6. Paging Miss A! :

    Sorry for the immediate thread jack y’all, but I’m hoping Miss A is reading this morning, who so kindly recommended a rental agent for NYC when I posted a couple weeks back that I’m moving to the city. Miss A, I tried emailing you at the address you listed, but it bounced back each time. Would you be so kind as to post it again (or send it to dissident1L at the gmail) so I can contact the agent? We are supposed to meet with an agent from Anchor Associates tomorrow but she is being super flaky and ducking our calls as we are on the train to NYC this morning. Panic! Any and all advice welcome, and thanks for being so kind, all of you!

  7. I love the color, but not the way the blazer is shaped. The arms look too wide and not sharp, the waistline is vaguely defined and kind of baggy.

    Separately, this woman is amazing and inspiring– I was listening to this story this morning, and very much in awe of Emem Isong and wanted to share the link to the NPR piece on her:

    It’s not enough that she’s made her way and been successful in a very male-dominated industry (in a very male-dominated country), but she’s also trying to get her country (Nigeria)’s film industry more visibility in the rest of the world, and trying to create more opportunities for women.

  8. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies,

    Query for those of you with bangs, I have a hard time with my bangs in the winter – they get matted down, staticky and fall off my forehead with my part – I can’t get them to lay flat across my forehead as usual. Any tips? Particularly with wearing hats? I am not sure what to do with them these days!

    • Try to find a loose beret that you can wear above the bangs, kinda like this:
      A structured or fur hats are bad for bangs.

    • It’s the battle of my life. I tend to bring a comb and hairspray and restyle when I grt to the office in Winter and avoid hats as they are almost always unfixable under a hat.

    • I haven’t had bangs for years, so this may be outdated advice, but I used to pin them up and then put on a hat. That way they wouldn’t be matted down, but would instead have a bit of fluff that would settle nicely after half an hour or so. I also used to throw a dryer sheet (weird, I know) into the top of the hat to eliminate static.

      • No Problem :

        Yes, this. I have sideswept bangs, and my stylist recommends pinning them back to the opposite side of my head while commuting, especially in the summer with the humidity and sweat (though I imagine the same would apply to winter static and hat hair). So since my bangs fall on the right side of my forehead, I would pin them back and to the left. I imagine the same would work with bangs that fall straight onto your forehead.

      • The Manageing partner does NOT want me to comb my hair in front of my face or eyes. That is why he forbid’s BANGS. He also dos not like me in an up do so I can onley wear my hair down and some times in a pony tale. He is not big on my scrub hiss either. FOOEY b/c I have a lot of colors I was hopeing to wear with my color outfit’s!

        So I got one of the 2 supermarkit guys to send over 15 cases. The other is going to think about it. He is big on alternate billeing arrangement’s. FOOEY if that means less money for the firm. Since I am not a partner I could.not comit to anything and the Manageing pArtner decided to take Margie to the boat show instead of helpeing me! Yay b/c the supermarkit guys were telling off color jokes, but I could Handel the DOUBEL entenders.

        Yay for fruegel Fridays but dad has frozen my clotheing expenses. That is also good for the Manageing partner but NOT for me. DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • I usually stick a dryer sheet in my hat to avoid the static.

  9. Legally Red :

    I finally jumped on the bandwagon and ordered the Lo&Sons OMG and TT. Trying to decide which to keep… :)

    • Are those bags still on sale? My OMG must have fallen off Santa’s sleigh.

      • Legally Red :

        Alas, no. I’m not sure when their bags tend to go on sale. I felt like I’d always just missed the sales until now.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          shopping notes dot com
          is a great way to stalk an item on a particular website. It updates you when the price changes, and you get to set parameters as to how much of a discount will land a notification in your inbox.

  10. I just posted yesterday about how much I love the Land’s End ponte pencil skirt so I’m not going to say everything they make is awful. But this particular blazer looks like it’s meant for their older client base (and I say this as a 47 year old), particularly with the big patch pockets. It looks like something my mom would love to pop on for running around town doing errands. She’s 73.

    In fact, I might get her this for her birthday.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I agree. I always read the age category of reviews.

    • I’ve been wanting to get a black pencil skirt so I just ordered the Lands’ End ponte one (and the dress discussed above). Thanks for the rec, Mamabear!

    • lawsuited :

      Agreed. I have been looking for a comfy ponte blazer, but the patch pockets, buttons and boxy shape of this one means I’ll just have to keep looking…

  11. Can I wear leopard print shoes with a red dress? The dress is more of a brick red, not a Christmas/Valentine’s Day red.

    I always wonder if wearing animal print with red makes it look like I went hunting, killed the animal, and the blood spurted all over my dress, thus turning it red. But maybe I’m the only one who thinks this…

    • Personally, I think of it as an older woman look. I prefer leopard with colors other than red (like emerald green or cobalt blue). It does not make me think that you killed the animal and are covered in blood, though.

    • a passion for fashion :

      of course! you can wear animal print with just about any color. i treat animal print (and particularly leopard) as a neutral. You have to be a little more careful than normal when it comes to prints, but otherwise go for it.

      • Agreed. And I wear the red combo you describe a lot.

      • I agree. I think rich jewel tones look great with leopard. Just keep everything else rather basic so that the whole combo isn’t too busy.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I am firmly on Team Leopard is a Neutral, and I particularly love leopard with red. And green. And, you know, polka dots…

  12. AnonForThis :

    Relationship TJ – So I’ve been with my current SO for about a year and things are going great. But I can’t seem to get over this creeping insecurity that he doesn’t really want to be with me, or doesn’t want to do the things that I do but does things like going to the movies with me and holding my hand because he’s trying to be nice.

    I know logically this is ridiculous and doing things just to be nice isn’t him at all, but for some reason, I’m scared of losing him and I just feel a little insecure.

    Has anyone else felt like this? Is this the type of thing that goes away with time? We’re talking about getting engaged before the end of the year and I know he cares about me but that doesn’t stop the insecurity…

    • goldribbons :

      It doesn’t go away with time. My advice would be to either: have a very honest discussion with him about this if you feel you’re capable of expressing ALL of your concerns, and/or start some therapy. You need to feel like this man is going to be your biggest cheerleader, and a ring doesn’t change any insecurities you have. I suggested therapy because this could be a hesitancy YOU have about the relationship or about him, and you really should unearth that before getting married. Being married is no walk in the park, and you need to feel that this is the man you want with you when ALL THE SH!T hits the fan later in life. Good luck, and [[[hugs]]].

    • Honestly, I would recommend a few sessions with a counselor/therapist. There may be more facts which you have not described in your posting, or you may be gun shy from a prior relationship, but your insecurity does seem to be internal and not based upon his actions. A counselor can really help you work through these issues, and I’m guessing you would feel a lot better after a few sessions. Best of luck to you!

      • +1000 If you’ve never felt like this in other relationships, then it’s possible there are signals you’re subconciously picking up on that are making you feel insecure. But if you haven’t had (m)any long term/serious relationships before or you’ve had bad experiences (getting dumped seemingly out of the blue, for example) in the past, then that’s something to figure out before you get engaged.

    • Hard to tell if your concerns are justified or not, but if you are young and in a serious relationship for the first time, it may help to know that we had a lot of emotional episodes that year when I was in my first serious relationship at 23. In hindsight, many of these were prompted by my own insecurity and desire to know where our relationship stood … oh … every couple of days ? Luckily my bf was older and not so easily rocked off his balance. We’ve been married nearly 20 years now, and the confused weepy emotional storms of that first year have never recurred.

    • Apparently :

      Being happy (in a relationship or otherwise) is largely dependent on internal factors. Once you find your perfect partner, you can still make yourself miserable if you fail to *choose* to be happy and content.

      I read an article in Forbes called “Key To A Happy Marriage: Be Delusional.” I tried it in my own marriage: I am normally a cold, rational, pessimisstic robot-b!tch, but I forced myself to become “delusional” and drop my paranoia of my husband straying. It worked! I’m happier, and no longer constantly jealous, and even my husband noticed that I’m happier. And now *he* is happier (and more affectionate, mainly because I no longer interrogate him like a bad police drama).

  13. I love these “What They’re Wearing At…” columns in the WSJ. My favorite piece in this one is that DVF dress (of course, worn by an ex-model). But I don’t love any of the other female looks in this round. That fur blazer at the end is a bit much, especially with the shoes. What are the weather conditions that require strappy shoes but a furry sweater?

    • especially because all the men except 1 or 2 are in suits! My favorite was the lady in the Dana Buchman jacket – although too “old” for me right now to wear without playing dress-up, she looked womanly, not like she would clash with the homes she was showing, and still fit in with the men in traditional attire. Least favorite is a tie between fur cape and the brightly patterned long coat with fishnets.

      • I loved Diane Ramirez’ outfit. I want to look like that when I am her age.

        • I concur about DR except that the pants looked to0 big/ baggy around the midsection; I think a more tailored fit would look more polished.

    • I love that feature too and concur that the women’s outfits weren’t nearly as good as the men’s. I thought the woman in the last slide looked way too casual. I also thought it was interesting how many of the folks were former actors…

    • I liked Diane Ramirez’s outfit. I think she looks fabulous.

      As for the ex-model, I can see why her old job would be useful to her new job– because it’s just like her new job– by changing clothes, she can change personae.

      It seems that she changes her style depending on which client she’s dealing with. And I’m not surprised it’s working for her. It just makes me subtract a few points from humanity, because it reminds me that a lot of people are egomonsters who want to see their own style mirrored by the agent, because they need that much validation.

      In modeling, the play-acting is out in the open and official– “today, you’re the biker!” “tomorrow, you’re the edgy nerd”, “and on Saturday, you’ll do the ballerina look!”, etc. At work, it would come across as weird and fake to me if I felt like I needed to look like a hipster one day, then a formally-suited corporate type, and then 70s rocker-chic just to “connect” with my client.

      • Yeah, it’s cynical, but as a business model, I’m sure it makes perfect since to dress to the client’s expectations/with the property in mind.

        I do like the red DVF and the Dana Buchman jacket, but agree with the others that the guys really outshone the ladies here.

    • I have that DVF dress in grey! It’s my favorite work dress.

    • The guy who works in Dumbo has some pretty insane style. OMG.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I love the first outfit — Eve Penson! I have a skirt that color and I would totally wear that look from head to toe!

      LOVE the shoes on Jim Gricar!

  14. SF TJ: I’ll be in SF Sun through Thurs for a conference. Is it warm enough (even at night) for a trench coat instead of a wool coat? I’ll be in sheath dresses for the most part and will be out and about during the day and at night, with some walking possible.

    • We’re having a particularly cold spell right now, though it might rain again on Saturday. If you’re out and about in the evening you may be chilly in your trench coat (unless it’s lined) but you won’t get frostbite or anything. It depends on your comfort level with being a little chilly. SF is chilly year round because the air has a high moisture content and you feel the cold more.

      As an example, yesterday I went out around 3:30 in the city wearing no coat, but a wool cardigan and a cashmere scarf. It was fine until about 5PM. Then I started really wishing I had my coat.

    • I think so. I’d bring a scarf and sweater for some layers, but it’s not that cold right now. I’ve been wearing a blazer (wool) over a sweater and socks with my shoes (to AEK’s question, shoes without socks and a sweater are SF appropriate about 70% of the time here). It is supposed to start raining again on Sunday so keep that in mind.

    • Thanks! Sounds like a trench and scarf will work, esp with the rain forecast Sunday (and my coat has a lining, although not a “Lining”, if that makes sense – no thinsulate, etc.). I don’t mind being a little chilly but don’t want to be cold.

      • Don’t forget a sweaternof some sort, A sheath dress sounds cold to me and our indoors aren’t overheated the way that cold weather city indoors tend to be. Have a fun trip!

    • It’s been getting to the low 40s/high 30s at night recently. It was 38 degrees when I was going home from dinner two days ago. Definitely bring gloves and a scarf at least.

      • SF Bay Atty :

        Also tights if you’re going to be wearing skirts/dresses. I wear a wool coat these days and am STILL cold without gloves and leg protection.

  15. applesandcheddar :

    TJ: I’ve been with by SO for about 4 years or so, and now we are considering moving in together. This will be a major adjustment for me as I live in the city and he lives in the suburbs. Needless to say, I will be mourning over city life quite a bit. However, we plan to move back to the city in 1-2 years as soon as he can rent out his house or sell it.

    Other than this adjustment, I’ve been a pretty spoiled person living on my own for 5 years now. Can anyone offer some things you wish you knew or discussed with your SO before moving in together?

    • Talk about finances and division of chores before moving in. Those are often the big sticking points. Also, think about and talk about the adjustment of living alone and having independence vs living with another person, how much space (physical, mental, etc.) you need for yourself.

      • I was living with my husband, then pregnant, then married, then had a baby before he even considered putting our money in one pot. At the time, he made twice what I did as I was fresh out of law school. My salary has steadily gone up and I am now the major breadwinner. He wasn’t being selfish: he payed 2/3 of the rent when we were just living together, but he didn’t want to give up control of the finances. NOW! He won’t take the bill responsibility back if I begged.

        • I let my then-husband pay our bills, etc. and he totally f-ed it up. Thank goodness I was able to get back on my feet financially after my divorce. I am now ultra-careful about keeping track of my finances.

    • Finances. Pet peeves. If you hate water splashed all over the sink, tell him that so you aren’t stabby because he floods the vanity counter every morning. To that point, having separate bathrooms is really awesome and I highly recommend it if the house allows. Same for closets. Also, have a talk about division of labor for chores and the tolerance for mess. How much alone time do you need each day? Some of these things you have already experienced if you have done any traveling together or overnight visits. So you probably know what the sticking points will be.

      • GirlMeetsWorld :

        Yes to separate bathrooms!! Now if only I could have a separate kitchen.. So yeah, relative cleanliness is a big one.

    • we plan to move back to the city in 1-2 years

      If I had a nickel for every friend that said that 5 years ago..

    • 1. HOUSEWORK!! (Not a general “oh, we’ll both share it equally!” but what does each person think are the household chores that need to be done, how often, and how will you decide who does what when. Factor in not only cooking and cleaning, but also grocery shopping, taking out trash, lawn work, paying bills, car maintenance, pet care, calling/dealing with plumbers etc.)

      2. How much alone/w. out SO time does each person think is okay. If you go out with friends 2-3 nights per week, how does he feel about that? Do you need to discuss it with the other person before committing to plans?

      3. If one of you has a more flexible schedule than the other, will that person always be the one to wait for the cable guy, pick up the clothes from the dry cleaner, etc.?

      4. Money (duh) Assuming you’re not combining finances (I don’t know many unmarried people who do that), you’ll have private little pots of money to spend however you each want. If there’s a big difference between your incomes, how will you deal with that? (Is it okay for you to spend $1,000 on something you want for yourself if SO only has $100 of personal money to spend on himself?)

      5. Houseguests. Does family stay with you when they visit, or do they get hotels? (This was HUGE for us. I’m from a family where relatives would NEVER stay in a hotel. It would be insulting to ask anyone to do this and it would be insulting to the hosts to not stay in their house. Mr. TBK is from a family where staying at someone’s house is seen as a huge imposition and guests should always try to get a hotel first.) How much notice do you need to give the other if you’re having a houseguest? How long can a houseguest stay? (I have friends, from another culture, whose in-laws/parents visit for 6-8 weeks at a time. In my and my husband’s culture, 2-3 nights tops is about right, absent something like coming to help care for a newborn.)

      6. Is dinner always a joint venture? Or if one person wants pasta and the other wants chicken, can you eat make your own dinner?

      7. We didn’t live together before getting married, but I know a lot of friends who’ve moved in with SOs without a clear plan for the long term. Do you plan to get engaged soon? Have you even talked about it? Not that you have to have plans, but you should at least be on the same page so no one is surprised in a year or two by the other wanting/not wanting to get married (or worse, having one person fine with things as they are while the other feels like it’s an endless limbo).

      • One more little piece of general advice: make sure you’re in a place where you can each tell the other when something is bugging you without sitting on it or letting fester, and without undue drama. Resentment is an evil, evil little monster that can creep in for the first time when people start living together.

        • +1 Cosign everything TBK has said here. OP, print this out and talk to your SO about it. :-)

          • I’m a few years away from this, but TBK, I’m making a mental note to come back to this someday. Great advice :)

      • 2. How much alone/w. out SO time does each person think is okay. If you go out with friends 2-3 nights per week, how does he feel about that? Do you need to discuss it with the other person before committing to plans?

        Yes, this one. And in addition, whether you expect to check-in if you’re not coming home per your usual routine for some reason (like you need to go shopping one night). It’s helpful to check in–not for permission–just so the other person isn’t sitting there expecting you to walk in the door any minute. This was an adjustment for both of us though.

      • I agree with #7. My DH and I moved in together well before we were thinking of getting engaged/married, but we were both fine with it, so it worked. If you/he expect this will lead to an engagement in the near-term, you should discuss it.

        I also think that you need to talk about everything, as things arise. There’s no need for “serious talks” every single time, but both of you need to be clear about what it is that each of you wants. Passive-aggressive behavior is annoying. A simple, “hey, hon, dirty dishes in the sink gross me out. Can we put dishes in the dishwasher after every meal?” is sufficient. And it’s also important to (nicely) follow up if there are slip ups. Recognize that it takes a while for ingrained habits to go away.

      • +1000 (and some additional comments)

        #1 – Housework is important and for us, laundry was a huuuuuuge issue. My mom is nuts about laundry being done just so and my husband only did his own laundry and never his mom’s or sister’s so he didn’t learn about checking labels or delicates bags and we had a major fight about a week into living together because he threw everything in the dryer.

        #2 – Discuss how to have alone time in your shared space. I think it’s easier to say “I have plans with Carol on Saturday afternoon” than “I really want to watch sappy rom coms on Netflix and paint my toenails tonight, do you mind?” Trying to have alone time while you’re both at home can be tricky at first but I’ve found that usually if I say I want to veg out and do stuff I know he won’t like/isn’t interested in, he can find other ways to amuse himself.

        #4 – We agreed upon a monthly amount we would both contribute to a joint household account and the rest of our paychecks we kept separately. This was nice because we accounted for rent, utilities, groceries, household items and jointly eating out and it was just a direct deposit we each set up once. Then he wouldn’t pay the cable bill and ask me for a check or vice versa.

        #6 – I love to cook and my husband does not. I plan the meals and the grocery list but he gets veto power. Sometimes my love of food blogs or tendency to eat the same thing for weeks on end doesn’t mesh with what he wants to eat and he’s encouraged to tell me when the menu doesn’t sound good to him.

        Above all, you’ve got to communicate with each other and allow for an adjustment period. When we first moved in together, I had a hard time asking him to do things. I love that now I can ask him to empty the dishwasher and he’ll either do it or tell me when he plans to. If it doesn’t mesh with my timeline, i.e. I want to run the dishwasher before we leave the house, we can discuss it. Same thing with him asking me to do something. It took us a while to get there and I really hope you allow some time for growing pains. We had “pretty much” lived together for a year already (I stayed over at his place all the time) but it still took us some time to get used to living together.

        • “We had ‘pretty much’ lived together for a year already…but it still took us some time to get used to living together” +10,000!! Also, remember to have s3x. (really.)

    • Talk about how you will spend your time as well. My now-DH and I had an adjustment period with that. He has many hobbies and thought that once we moved in together, we didn’t need to make plans or spend time going out doing things together because we could see each other all the time. That setup didn’t work for me, though. We worked it out and it turned out fine, I just needed to communicate my needs.

    • People on here have mentioned before that you and he should make sure you agree on how you see the step of moving in together. If one of you thinks you’re doing it to save money or because it will be fun, and the other thinks it’s the next step toward engagement within a year, problems will arise, and it will be even harder to deal with them once you’re living together.

    • applesandcheddar :

      Thanks for all the advice. I am incredibly nervous because I am a really independent person and really like “me” time. I could spend days alone and not be bored. My SO on the other hand needs people around to be entertained, which I find a bit annoying, and I am worried he is going to want me to entertain him.

      The other sticking point is that I don’t have a car and don’t drive, and his place is about 2 miles from the nearest metro stop. He says we can work around only having one car (but I still need to learn to drive, unfortunately).

      • We only had one car when we first got married, and lived far from public transit, and it was a really big deal. You can’t divide and conquer when it comes to running errands, if one person wants to go out with friends the other person is stuck at home, you wind up dragging him along shoe shopping (because otherwise he’d be stuck in the house) and you then get dragged along for his [insert store he loves but is stab-your-eyeballs-out dull to you], you find yourself bumming rides from friends which was fine when you were 16 and only one of your six friends had a car but is less awesome when you’re a grown up. Is there at least a bus to the Metro?

      • Anne Shirley :

        The no car thing would be a huge issue for me. If he’s really committed to living together, why does it have to happen in his home? Why can’t he move into the city? I think sometimes we are too accepting of logistical issues. If he got a dream job in a new state, would he turn it down because of his house?

        • MaggieLizer :

          It’s a little weird for me that he’s OK with renting out his home but will do that in 1-2 years, not now. Is there some compelling reason he can’t rent it now, like he’s in the middle of renovations or something? If moving back to the city is really important to you, just make sure you both have a clear plan about how that’s happening.

          • Big Dipper :

            This. Some posters made the comment above that many people move out of the city into the suburbs intending to move back in, and never do. It sounds like you are really attached to living in the city. The “I’ll rent it out or sell in 2 years” plan would make me nervous. Unless there’s a really valid extenuating circumstance, this sounds like he’s not interested in moving into the city. It seems like a way to get you to move out of the city, and he’s delaying the return is that he has 2 years to convince you that suburban life isn’t so bad.

            Also, second the Zipcar rec

          • Big Dipper :

            Sorry, accidentally sent too soon. Zipcar can go along way to making you feel more independent if its available in your area. Or something comparable, like WeCar.

          • Leslie Knope :

            Thanks, Maggie, I was trying to find the right words to communicate that. What is the logic behind moving twice in two years? If there’s an overriding reason that you both agree on, then great! If not….I would think hard about everyone’s motivations.

      • As a fellow independent person, is is feasible for you to ride a bicycle or take a bus to the metro stop? Is it reasonable to take a cab as needed? Having one car and not being able to drive while living in the suburbs can be a big challenge for independent people.

        Do you have the time and money to take a driving class and buy a car? If so, I highly recommend it.

      • Anastasia :

        Is the 2 miles away metro stop in a “downtown” area, or is it a commuter metro stop? Another fellow independent person, I now live about 2 miles from downtown-y metro stop and the mini-downtown is sufficient for me to feel like I can still get out easily. It’s not the same as walking a block or two for everything or being at the heart of the metro system so you can get anywhere pretty quickly, but bus or bike gets me to the mini-downtown in 10-15 minutes, so you may not have to mourn your city life TOO much!

        I’ve shared 1 car in the suburbs for the better part of the last 2 years, and it’s not that bad, as long as you have some entertainment and public transportation you can get to without it. DH and I sometimes spend a lot of time together on the weekends doing errands that otherwise we would divide and conquer, as TBK mentioned, but extra time together’s not a bad thing. We also have to discuss our plans for the evening to deconflict or find alternative transportation if we both need to drive somewhere, but extra communication’s not a bad thing, either. I think I could count on my fingers the number of times we’ve been seriously inconvenienced by having only one car. You can work around it — especially if your SO is committed to thinking of it as the household car instead of “his.”

      • Buy a cheap bike! I did this and was shocked at how much freedom it allowed me for small things (grocery runs, pedicures, getting to the train). 2 miles is totally doable, even in cold or hot weather (sounds like you might be in D.C.?). I spent 100 bucks on my bike, it’s not very good, but i use it to get 3 miles or less and for that it works great.

        • Als0- does your city have zip car? I have been using zip car for the past 5 years and i love it. its enabled me not to have a car and its perfect for running errands. really easy to join and use, and very affordable.

      • Are you SURE you want to move in together? You’ve been together a while without living together, and it sounds like you’re pretty apprehensive about it. I have often thought that if I could somehow stay married to my husband but live in separate apartments, I would do it in a heartbeat! I need my alone time, but he just doesn’t, and our apartment is tiny, and it really grates on me.

        It sounds like you are the one having to make all the adjustments–leave the city, learn to drive, etc.–what’s your boyfriend giving up?

        • Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton do this, I think. She bought one house, he bought the one next door, and I think they built a connection between the two.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          Co-sign! I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes the idea of separate apartments. :-)

          I’d rate myself as somewhat independent, and living with someone else who has so much say (more than, for instance, a roommate would) over the living space still grates on me, TBH. ‘Burbs + not knowing how to drive + 2 miles from public transportation +1 car sounds…like a lot to deal with.

          • My mom and stepdad have separate bedrooms and it works for them. They both need their own space. We all need a room!

          • Oh my god, if I could just like, buy a duplex and each of us have one side of it, I’d be ecstatic.

            I think the one car thing is going to be a HUGE GIANT DEAL given you don’t know how to drive. I would no way move in until you can drive.

  16. Has anyone paid someone to help with laundry? I am trying to hire someone to come to my home once a week, do 3-4 loads of laundry and fold/hang the clean clothes. My cleaning lady doesn’t have time to do it. If you have done this, did you pay per hour, load, visit, or something else, and how much? Any other tips? TIA!

    • This intrigues me. I wouldn’t want to pay by the hour because there is a lot of down time in wating for things to wash and dry. I can get the clothes clean, but I would love to hire a laundry fairy to fold everything and put it away.

      • Do you want to pay me to come to your house dressed as a fairy and do your laundry? Becuase I might.

        • Yes, a laundry fairy!! Exactly what I need.

        • Yes, when can you start? Fairy costume is optional, but the ability to neatly wad a fitted sheet is a plus.

          • Why are fitted sheets so hard?? I can never get them really “folded” so I just fold everything up as much as I can and then hide the whole set in one of the pillowcases. Tada!

          • Putting the set into the pillowcase – genuis!

        • A laundry fairy and a dishes fairy would be amazing :)

          • Are there any vacuuming fairies out there? Laundry and dishes I can handle. Vacuuming is my least.favourite.thing.ever.

          • My roommate just got a Roomba for Christmas. Next best thing to a vacuuming fairy!

    • Do you have a wash-and-fold nearby? I live in NYC, and I often send my laundry out. They charge by weight and at many places you can get same-day service.

      • Good idea. I have one < a mile away, but I have heard that they are harder on clothes. Is that your experience?

        • There are certain things that I no longer give my current place, like delicates. I found that all of my bra hooks were getting mangled. However, I’ve been sending out my laundry for years and this is the first place where this has ever happened. (I stick with them because I have a drop off right in my building, which is way more convenient than taking my laundry elsewhere).

          You might be able to provide them with certain detergents/fabric softener. I don’t do that now, but at one point I thought I was having an allergic reaction to certain detergent and they were happy to accommodate me.

          They might be slightly harder on my clothes than if I were doing all of my laundry, but I haven’t noticed any greater wear other than the delicates issue.

      • I did this for a while (not in NYC) while my house was being remodeled and I was without a washer and dryer. A local dry cleaners near me did it. It was awesome, because all I had to do was drop off a big pile of laundry and it came back clean and folded more neatly than I would have done had I done it myself. I don’t recall it being outrageously expensive either.

        • I did this too when I was first starting out and did not have a washer/dryer. Best investment (where time > money) ever. At the time (10 years ago) it cost me about 20 bucks a week for mine and my son’s regular clothes.

          I ended up instructing them not to bleach or put on hangers as that was my preference. I loved getting my basket back all folded and put together.

    • Wash and fold service is by the pound (usually). I use a service (DC) that picks it up from my apt building or work and will drop it off again. It is amazing and not super expensive. Also a number of dry cleaners offer this service. Go to yelp and look around for your city or post where you’re at; I’m sure plenty of people could recommend a place (or twenty).

    • I pay my housecleaner to stay longer and do this plus clean. Costs a little more but sooooo worth it.

    • My cleaning people do this for me, and charge me an extra $20 when I have them do it because of the extra time. But I will leave a laundry basket or two of clean clothes up on the bed with hangars, and they hang up everything and put it away. It’s great! Not everything goes exactly where I would put it, but close enough for me.

    • I pay a wash-and-fold place $1/lb to do my laundry. It may be slightly harder on my clothes, but on the other hand, they fold it 100 times more nicely than I ever could so there’s that. It barely comes out to any more than paying for the crazy expensive coin-operated machines in my building and I don’t have to scrounge up quarters, so it’s completely worth it.

    • Maybe post it on Taskrabbit? For example, when I was a student with quite a lot of free time, that’s the kind of job I would have loved (I also like doing laundry). You can pay per task, not per hour.

      • This also reminds me of living in Tokyo. There was a locker for each apartment in the lobby of our building, and we would simply put our dirty clothes in a bag in that locker, and a day or so later they would magically reappear beautifully clean and tidily folded. Once a month there would be a bill in the locker. We never saw who picked up and dropped off the laundry. It was like magic!

      • This was actually a taskrabbit blog post a bit back. Some guy in SF compared the cost of doing his on laundry to getting it done by someone on the site, and said the cost wasn’t even that different (he did not have his own washer). I’ve used task rabbit before for other things and I’d absolutely recommend it. Everyone I’ve hired through it has been great.

  17. Anon for this :

    I posted about this over the holiday, but obviously not many people were here.

    Is anyone prescribed adderall or a similar drug for ADHD? I was prescribed it earlier this week after resisting it for a year, and am curious about other peoples’ experiences and thoughts. I had a very negative take on it, in part because it felt like “cheating” (and truly, a large portion of the population does perform better in the short term on it), and in part because I saw my special ed-teaching mother’s students medicated in to the ground when parents or the school system didn’t have time or energy to deal with them. I’m on a low-medium dose, and have noticed a few differences, but am still struggling with this all.

    • I took stratterra while in college and my 2L year, then couldn’t anymore because of lacking of insurance. I also was on adderall for a bit in my early days. I had all kinds of weird differences, ranging from sleepiness in the first few weeks, just that general space cadet feeling, then after a while that faded. After that, my side effects were mostly a fast heartrate, some digestive issues (probably because I had ZERO appetite, wouldn’t even think of eating for a whole day) and an overall meanness, or so my bff said (in more direct, blunt langauge!)
      I sometimes felt like it was a little bit of an advantage in taking it with school, but I literally couldn’t remember to do anything. I worked in retail, and I’d be putting together a display, get distracted by a customer, and forget I had been doing the display for HOURS. It was like things just fell out of my head. It’s really hard sometimes to live a normal life when you can’t remember things, or focus long enough to get through a conversation, so if there’s something that can make your life easier, or make you a better teacher, why not try?

      • anon for this :

        Yeah, things are definitely falling out of my head. Up until this point in my life I think I basically just moved quickly to make up for it, but with my new job, I just can’t. My family members and friends and doctors had often mentioned ADHD and medication, but when I got a mediocre review and a question about ADHD or something related, I figured it was time to throw in the towel. My biggest side effect so far has been heartburn/nausea, but this is the fourth day on it, and it’s already lessened quite a bit. My first day I was actually pulling my trashcan over in the office, just in case. I’m a distance athlete, so i’m curious to see what, if anything, it will do to my heart rate.

        • I wouldn’t worry too much about the heartrate, I think that might be something more to do with me and my sensitivity to stimulants and caffiene. Make sure you’re eating, that is something I hear is a common side effect, and maybe could lead to heartburn.
          I know it’s hard to admit to yourself that you have problems focusing or at work, but there are LOTS of people who take ADHD meds. You’re in good company :)
          After about two weeks, I think you’ll start to feel normal physically, and try to really look at what your head feels like. I remember reviewing for a test my jr year in college and amazed about how much I felt like was still in my brain! It was like someone finally turned on the lights.

        • Also, someone posted about the pomoadora technique…I’m probably buthering the spelling, but check that out. I’ve been meaning to start that myself, at work.

          • anon for this :

            Yeah, I have played around with that and should probably do more. I also definitely exhibit some symptoms more typical in childhood ADHD: actual physical fidgeting, running around, inability to sit still, etc. Those are harder to treat with techniques like the pomadora, unfortunately.

    • Don’t have it, but I would encourage you to reframe the way you’re thinking about medicine. If you had high blood pressure and were doing all the non-medical help (exercise, healthy diet) to lower it, you wouldn’t feel bad about combining a medicine with it, would you? Mental health is no different than physical health. Sure you can drug yourself into oblivion, that can work, but most people need a balance. So work with a qualified physician/specialist on non-pharma options you can do to help improve your ADHD, in combination with your low dosage. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

      • anon for this :

        Yeah, I suppose that’s a good point. My psychiatrist is med happy, but I knew that going in, and maybe I should also find a therapist or specialist to learn other ways to manage ADHD.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have it and think I responded the first time. If you want to chat about it off line email me at projectmundaneart at gmail.

    • I am going to be on the other side of the fence here… I took it and hated it. It made me feel off- nausea, heart rate, headaches at the end of the day, a hard time sleeping.
      I did feel more focused though, almost like my brain was a radio btwn stations normally & the medication made me feel like I was tuned into only 1 station. Also, as a non-related plus it kills your appetite & my apartment was obsessively organized.
      I took it to get through law school & the bar & then stopped. I just didn’t feel like me when I was taking it and I felt like if I needed to take drugs to get through something, then maybe I shouldn’t be doing that thing.
      Just a different perspective.

  18. Hi ladies – any NoVA readers live in Crystal City? I’m looking to move there for a year in summer 2013 with SO for one year. Short commutes for us are probably highest priority – this location gives us good access to our respective Metro lines as well as easy commutes should we need to drive to work. I know the area quite well, but I don’t know condo/apt living – does anyone have any recommendations for a 1BR/den or 2BR apt/condo rental community with decent amenities? Budget is $2500. Thank you!

    • Hi! Try the apartments in Pentagon Row. One of my friends lived there and really enjoyed it.

    • If you want to post an anon email address I’m happy to give you my recommendations!

    • applesandcheddar :

      A few years ago I lived in the Crystal Towers (I think… everything is called Crystal something there) on South Eads. It is right across from the Crystal City Shops and I think the Marriott. You also may want to check out the River House Apartments in Pentagon City. I’ve known a few people who have lived over there and really like it.

      • Without going into two much detail the Crystal property (if its House not Towers) there are two; was literally the worst experience of my life. I can’t walk by there without getting angry.

        River House is awesome, though it changed management recently.

        But clearly we are practically neighbors (and love cheese :))

      • Second these recommendations – I lived in both in my DC/Nova time :)

    • Also check out the apartments along Crystal Drive (Crystal Place and Waterpark Towers) — they are older (some remodeled apartments), so run a bit cheaper than the others in the area, but are well maintained, well staffed, and quiet. It’s a bit of an older crowd than the other “Crystal” buildings on Eads/Jeff Davis. Also, all have W&D in the apartments.

    • Thank you! I knew this was the place to help me get started – appreciate all the leads and opinions.

    • Anon for this :

      The Meridian at Pentagon City is really nice, too. I have a large (little less than 1,000 sq ft) apartment with in unit laundry, 1br+den, plus one car garage parking and a storage unit for $2350. No complaints about the building.

  19. SV in House :

    Can anyone recommend someone (preferably in San Francisco/Bay Area) who can help me revamp my resume? I’m in a corporate legal environment, hoping for a career move. Thanks!

    • I met two career coaches at the CLUB SV holiday lunch (thanks everyone for encouraging me to join!):

      Elena DuCharme (
      Julie Sara Kramer (

      BTW, Bay Area Women, consider joining the Club SV (

      • I am going to apply this weekend!

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        K-padi, I’m seriously thinking about applying too. Has your experience been good so far?

        • Mary Ann Singleton :

          And is it worth the $350/year membership fee? Do they do reduced amounts for those of us who are just lowly associates?

        • Yay!

          I went to the holiday party in December and had a great time. It’s a lot of IP lawyers and a good-sized group of women who have been around the Valley for decades. The tragic shooting in CT occurred during the lunch and no one knew it had happened–because no one was checking their phones.

          We have a goal-setting event coming up in about two weeks. It scares the sh!t out of me because I’ve been struggling with this over the past year. But it’s something I have to do.

          Downside–the dues are expensive but I was able to use my firm’s CLE/professional development budget to cover it. Upside–for now, they allow each member to bring along a free guest to the events to attract more members. So it’s kind of 2-for-1. I don’t have a guest yet for the January event, email me if you want to go.

      • SV in House :

        Thanks, k-padi! One of these days I’ll make it to a meet up and thank you in person!

  20. Lots of people have talked about shopping bans/limits/budget, and somewhat in that spirit, I thought I would post my cumulative clothing spending for 2012. This includes all purses, belts, other accessories, jewelry, clothes, shoes, and sometimes skincare and makeup (although I wasn’t as good about tracking that). I used the same template as Jean from Extra Petite – I basically went through each month and logged in everything that I kept and I returned. Here is her spreadsheet:


    – Spent $3400 total. About 1/3 of that was maternity clothes (mostly higher end boutiques, which I found to be worth it because they were really cute and the clothes have really lasted). In 2011, I spent about $2400, so I chalk up the increase to my maternity spending.

    – Most useful/favorite purchases:

    1) My first “grown up” purses, one Coach and one Kate Spade. I love them and I take care of them because they were expensive for me ($130 and $220, respectively)

    2) Tumi wallet set, which keeps my bag much more organized

    3) $40 Tahari sheath dress purchased on super sale at Nordstrom. Always get a ton of compliments when I wear it

    4) Leopard print Ivanka shoes

    5) Maternity shift dresses from Seraphine (super flattering, comfortable, very work appropriate)

    – Stupidest/most useless purchases

    1) Went crazy at the outlets this past June and spent almost $800 in one month. Bought a lot of mediocre tops and dresses from BR outlet, Ann Taylor outlet. Not the best quality and I was too lazy to drive back to return anything. I won’t make that mistake again and am really annoyed with myself that I did that.

    I’d love to see what others spent in 2012 and how, if you don’t mind sharing. Thanks!

    • Cornellian :

      Thinking about summing this all up makes me very anxious. I bet I spent 4 or 5K, without maternity clothes. I did start my first job and move to a climate which is on average 30 degrees colder than my last one, though. :/ Bad Cornellian.

      • I know what you mean, which is why I like the format Jean uses. It helps to keep you accountable. In the comments section, I started writing out why I was keeping something so that I could justify the purchase – for example, if I really loved the cut of the dress or if I needed some new black heels or I finally needed/wanted a grown up purse, etc.. And if I didn’t love it, I put that in the comments section and (usually) ended up returning it.

    • Interesting post! I track my purchases on Mint and ended up spending about $4K on clothes last year. In BigLaw, 5th year associate, loans paid off. DH thought that this was excessive (he probably spent about $2K, mostly in suits from Nordstrom). I’m very good about returning everything unless I love it, so at least my purchases are those that I use/love/wanted.

      • I track clothing purchases with Mint as well and add a note to each transaction (so for a Nordstrom’s purchase: “Camel pencil skirt”, etc.). I like being able to check how much of the monthly budget I’ve spent, and if it seems like an unusually high amount, I can click through the notes to see if there’s anything I haven’t worn that could get returned.

    • anonypotamus :

      This is a great idea – I have been tracking my general spending over the last few years to get a handle on finances and figure out where I can cut back to increase savings, and I have definitely had a few months where I’m like, “I spent how much on clothes?!?” But I really like the detailed list of exactly what was purchased and returned and why. I’m adding this to my list of resolutions :)

    • hellskitchen :

      I’ll play. I keep a similar spreadsheet and after I have worn something a few times I go back and record in the spreadsheet whether this was a good buy or a bad buy so I can learn from my bad purchases. I spent about $1100 this year on clothes, shoes and accessories. My fav purchases this year were a Tahari dressy coat for $40 and a Rachel Roy for Macy’s dress for $35.

      I also noticed that when I started tracking in Jan, I had a lot of small purchases but in the latter half of the year, I was spending only on quality items. This has been a great tool in curbing impulse purchases and spending on “fast fashion.”

      • Yes, exactly! Seeing how much I spent on fast fashion at the outlets was a real wake up call, given how cheap/not that great the clothes were. I am now committed to buying higher quality items, I just end up wearing them so much more.

    • espresso bean :

      I am slightly obsessive about my finances, so I track everything I spend in Excel spreadsheets. Looks like I spent about 2K on clothes last year. I work at a casual office, so I can wear everything I wear to work on the weekends, too, which definitely helps. Biggest purchases:

      *New pair of boots, which ate up a decent chunk of the budget but are proving invaluable in my chilly city
      *Lo & Sons OMG, which I was very hesitant to spend on but am so glad I did

      Purchases I most regret:

      I own way too many longish, open cardigans. They just look sloppy on me. I need to stop!

      Purchase I got a surprising amount of use out of:

      TopShop’s high-waisted skinny jeans in non-traditional colors and Joe’s dark cranberry high-waisted skinny jeans. Both function as neutrals and work well with all my grey, black, and taupe sweaters.

      Things I wish I had bought more of:

      Dresses and skirts. I have succumbed to my casual dress code to a frustrating degree. I miss looking like a lady!

      Purchases that surprised me most (both positively and negatively):

      Banana Republic merino sweaters do not hold up well at all. I bought two last winter, and they’re so pilly and ratty looking already. Disappointing!

      Forever 21 is very, very hit or miss, but it can be great for party attire. I got an adorable party skirt there that looked much more high-end than what it was.

      • I buy way too many sweaters (cardigans) and boots. I live in the south and, although I can wear some sweaters in the summer (and I do – it’s cold in the AC), I love winter clothes and I want all of the sweaters and boots. When I was doing my end of the year finances, I saw a charge to Anthropologie and could not remember for the life of me what I had bought. Sure enough, I sweater that had gotten lost in my closet and forgot I had. Yikes!

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Mint says I spent $3200 on clothes, but I did not have any maternity or anything. I also started my first job, but did not move anywhere for it.

    • I love this. Mint caused me too many hassles, but I went through my credit card statements for 2012 and did a rough estimate – what I know I purchased for myself, returns, and things I bought with my cash/the account that only goes back 6 months. I think I’m under 3K for clothing, shoes/accessories, and beauty stuff. My biggies this year were my Clarisonic Plus (love) and a $275 Hobo bag that I adore. My cheapest winners were an open cardigan and a couple of dresses from Target. I definitely regret some of my Old Navy purchases that I never wore but never returned. Since I’m getting married this year, I’m using that as an additional reason to better track my spending for 2013.

    • I started a spreadsheet in September, but the budget officially started in October because I made the decision mid September. In my spreadsheet, I track clothing, book, and miscellaneous purchases. I have a budget of $250/month on clothing, $100 on books, and $150 on miscellanea.

      My 4-month total on clothes was @ $920 and books came in at @ $365. My most expensive purchase was a cashmere cardigan from Haute Look for $86. My favorite purchases were tall suede winter boots from Zulily for $57 and a maroon Calvin Klein sheath dress for $59.

    • I spent $10k this year. I gained 60+ pounds in the last 2 years, kept putting off shopping because “I’ll just lose some weight”, and faced reality. Due to a medical issue, I had to buy all new shoes too.

    • No Problem :

      Ha, I was thinking yesterday about starting a thread on this. I started tracking my expenditures in June of last year and spend just over $2k from June-December. I would estimate that I spent around $2,500-3k last year, since I didn’t buy nearly as much in the first few months of the year.

      I was frankly shocked when I saw the total. My salary is solidly mid-5 figures, so this is a lot of my disposable income that is going to clothing and accessories. However, I also bought some much-needed business professional and other wardrobe staples that will probably stick around for awhile and will not need to be replaced soon:

      2 suits, plus a skirt to go with a suit jacket I already had, plus a blazer
      3 dress shirts/blouses
      at least 4-5 summer dresses (pretty much all I wear in the summer is dresses)
      at least 4-5 pairs of shoes, including running shoes
      4-5 cardigan sweaters
      3 new purses, including an everyday purse that still looks brand new and a leather Coach wristlet
      winter coat (ok, Mom paid for that, so it’s not in my total spent)

      After reviewing these purchases and the content of my closets/dressers, I am setting a $200/month budget for clothing. I am also itching to do a thorough purge; I need to ditch at least 30 items to make up for the 30 or so items of clothing I purchased since my last purge in July.

    • I keep track of my spending on Mint, with a clothing budget of $300/month.

      I used to be really bad at impulse buying (*cough* Anthropologie, I’m looking at you…), but since instituting a budget early last year, have curbed that quite significantly. I now keep a list of “Allowable Shopping Items” on Evernote, and every time I purchase an item of clothing I have to enter it on that document, along with its price. Fairly similar to what Jean does, just a lot less structured. If the item was one of my permitted items, that item gets crossed off the list, and I note the date and the cost of the item. If the item wasn’t one of my permitted items, I still list it – I find it very handy to be able to see at a glance what I have been spending my money on.

      • hellskitchen :

        I once spent a Saturday afternoon listing every single item in my closet and categorizing the list by type of outfit (pants, skirts etc) and then dividing them up by Neutrals/Basics and Trendy. It made me realize that I had way too many black dresses and bright colored skirts but not a single black skirt and not enough work tops. I created a “Allowable Shopping List” based on what was already in my wardrobe. I also tried to create outfits from things that were not used enough and realized I was missing key pieces to create an outfit, so that stuff went into my shopping list. This has made shopping so much easier!

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I only spent $1,200 last year. And that includes maternity clothes. I think this is attributable to buying a huge lot of maternity stuff on Ebay for $120, which was the lion’s share of my spending in that area.

      I also only bought one purse, a Fossil that holds my ipad, which was on supersale at Macy’s for only $30.

      Now that I am carrying around this extra 11 pounds post-baby, I have bought a few things for the interim period that hide my tummy. I will sell those items on Ebay when I am done with them (hopefully in a few months)

  21. Sigh, I feel like I post this question constantly, but any words of advice/encouragement for trying to get back into the habit of working out?

    I’ve basically accepted that I am never going to be a morning work-out person, but going after work is so hard because I’m usually starving and exhausted by the time I leave work. And I don’t even leave that late!

    I know, excuses excuses. Encouragement please! :)

    • Encouragement and commiseration! I worked out a lot….back in 2006-2007.

      I’ll be paying extra attention to this thread.

      My excuse is: I’m a bear wearing a human costume in order to fit into society. If only the crazy humans in my company would just let me hibernate until Spring, I’d be in good spirits, and ready to be twice as productive as ever, and willing to exercise.

    • Cornellian :

      Can you get by on two intense weekend workouts Saturday and Sunday, and one midweek one? Accepting that I can only work out once M-F and that it may have to move, depending on work, etc has made me much happier. Then you can take a lunchtime class during the week, or go running if you happen to get up early one day, etc. It’s also easier to feed yourself well after a serious workout on the weekend, at least for me.

      • I like this idea a lot. I think I just need to be stricter with myself on the weekends and do it. Because during-the-week workouts are just too hard. I hate that I’m not active all week long but it’s tough. I was thinking about maybe getting off the subway two stops early on my way home and adding a 20 min walk in every night. Something’s better than nothing, right? And I can use that time to chat with my family on the phone!

      • I think I’ll try this. I do have time on weekends, and I’m just being a lazy hibernator when I don’t manage to work out on weekends.

    • I hear you. I need to be more of a morning exercise person. I actually love working out in the morning. It’s the waking up that I hate! Can you be a mid-day exerciser?

      I’m not sure what your hours are, but if you think you could work out around 6:30-7pm, I’d eat a snack around 4:30-5ish. Maybe something like half a sandwich with avocado and turkey or a banana with peanut butter, so that you’re not starving before the gym.

      Also, maybe if there’s something that you love doing (yoga? spin?), schedule a class for right after work. This way you have to go. Or, can you walk to/from the office?

      Also, I tell myself that all I need is 30 minutes a day, 4x a week (including weekends). I can spare 2 hours out of my life!

      • I could do that. I should probably just plan to leave work a bit early on the days I plan to go to the gym, but I rarely do and then suddenly I get home and it’s 7:30 and I don’t feel like going.

    • I love working out at lunchtime for a variety of reasons. Is that an option for you?

      • I would love that if it didn’t involve the whole showering/make up/hair thing. I feel like that just takes up too much time and is too disruptive midday. But I’m with you–maybe I could make that work.

        • MaggieLizer :

          I just walk at a brisk-for-me-pace on an incline when I work out midday. It’s not such a strenuous workout that I feel like I need to shower or do more than touch up my make up, and it still burns a little over 350 calories. I do my regular workout in the morning, but on days that I just can’t manage it, at least I’ve done something.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Not exactly working out, but is there a way to incorporate some walking into your commute? Like get off the subway a few stops early and walk for at least 20 minutes? I find that when I don’t have time to work out, I feel better knowing that I am at least walking a good 30 minutes every day with my daily commute. I think the reality is that working out is just tough sometimes, and it’s much better to be active in ANY respect on a regular basis, even if it’s just walking.

      • Anne Shirley :

        Since the Path has not been working I’ve lost 5 pounds from the additional walking in my commute. Only upside.

    • phillygirlruns :

      honestly, just do it even if you don’t want to, even if you’re starving and cranky, even if there are a million justifications for why it would make sense to skip it. chances are you’ll be happy that you did it, and then you’ll keep doing it.

      • Yeah. Honestly, this is the only thing that works. Sorry.

        I do think it’s helpful to have something external to keep you accountable–could you get weekday afternoon/evening appointments with a personal trainer? Or pay for a block of classes?

        But really you just have to get yourself in the habit and rhythm of going, no matter how tired/cranky/hungry/insert excuse you are.

        • Yep, that’s just it. I think I need to find a system that works first, though–say, going after work once or twice a week and then on the weekends–rather than failing at all these other systems (midday, morning, etc).

          • You are on the right track–finding a system that works and sticking to it. I am a dedicated, looong time runner (as in 35 plus years). I injured my back (herniated disc) over Thanksgiving, and have had to not run. It is hard for me to get up and go to the gym in the cold mornings, even though I would gladly get up and run outside in the cold.

            Anyway, whatever you come up to get yourself to do it–I listen to books on my MP3 player and that always elps motivate to motivate me (even long-time runners don’t always want to get out and do it). Now that I cannot run temporarily, I am wataching Downton Abbey while I use the elliptical machine. I look forward to that only b/c of the TV show. I basically hate exercising inside, but this is working.

            Also, the Nike promo is right JUST DO IT, even when you don’t want to, even whenyou don’t feel like it, etc. You WILL be glad you did. The snack idea is right on–eat a little something so you will feel up to it at closing time.

            I’m awful about staying late at the office and then not wanting to d my weight workout, so JUST LEAVE. Believe me, your health will thank you, and your office probably wont’ anyway!

      • Research, Not Law :

        Having a snack about an hour before you leave the office helps. I pack a small snack for the commute home, too.

        Evenings aren’t convenient until it becomes your routine. Force yourself to maintain a schedule for a month. I agree also the with the suggest to pack in larger workouts on the weekends.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. I hate getting up early but I can. not. fit. an after-work workout into my schedule, so I do 6 a.m. most days. I’ve posted this before, but when 5:40 Senior Attorney is cranky about getting up, I remind her about how happy 6:01 Senior Attorney is going to be after she’s worked out, and it works surprisingly well!

        Also, it helps to find a workout that you LOVE.

        And last thing, schedule the workouts so that it’s automatic and you don’t have to think about the schedule, you just have to go.

    • espresso bean :

      The only way morning workouts work for me is if I am in bed (not getting ready for bed or thinking about going to bed) at 10 PM the night before. If it’s past 10 and I’m still up, I accept that the morning workout isn’t happening, and I plan for a post-work workout.

      Can you pack a decent-sized snack to get you through the afternoon workout? The most important thing that helps me go through a workout after work is packing a snack for around 4:30/5. It has to be a good snack that I look forward to. I bring some combination of cheese and crackers, edamame, fruit, red peppers and hummus or those addictive TJ’s peanut-butt-er-stuffed pretzels for a semi-filling snack to tide me over until dinner. Planning the snack into my day really helps because I know I won’t be running on empty at the gym. I’d never get through the day without it!

    • Greener Apple :

      You can do it! :)

      Have you thought about a personal trainer? I buy a 12-session package when I need to get myself motivated again to do something more than just log time on the treadmill. She pushes me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise try, which makes it fun. :)

    • A few things that work for me (I am the master of finding excuses not to work out):

      1) Going straight after work. There’s a 5:30 class at a barre studio near my house and I pack my clothes when I leave for work in the morning, so I have no excuse not to stop and work out on my way home from the office.
      2) Make plans with a friend. I will schedule workout “dates” with friends or coworkers to do a yoga or barre class. Knowing there’s someone counting on me to show up is helpful.
      3) Sign up for a monthly “unlimited” package of classes somewhere. Occasionally, when I have a relatively free month, I’ll pay a flat fee to take as many barre classes as I want in one month. Knowing I’ve already paid for the classes motivates me to go, so I don’t waste money, and then I enjoy seeing how low I can get the “cost/class” down to. My frugal side motivates me. :)

    • I had the same problem, was never motivated to get up in the morning and too lazy after work. Is it possible for you to go workout directly from the office instead of going home first? Once I get home in the evening – no way I am getting out anywhere.

      I found out gyms were not my thing, I got bored on the treadmill/elliptical after 20 minutes, so I joined a place with only fitness classes and I really hit it off. For example, there will be kettleball one day, kick boxing next, barre, yoga, zumba, abs etc, this really worked for me somehow. I loved the class format and variety. There is someone telling me exactly what to do every moment and I don’t have to put any brains into it. The music and 10-20 other people in the room just makes time fly away. Within 2 months of going 4 times a week, I needed to buy new jeans in lower size. This is the first time in my life I have done anything fitness wise, I didn’t play much sports in school and was never into running either. I am a lazy couch potato as always, so I was surprised this actually worked for me.

      I have started bringing snacks to work, such as fruits. granola bar, baked banana/carrot bread, soaked almond/walnuts. I eat them between 4-5 pm and it gets me through workout classes around 6-8. When I get home, I am hungry and exhausted but in a good way.

      Hope this gives you some ideas/tips, good luck.

    • anon in tejas :

      What about structured work outs on Sat/Sun (1-1.5 hrs at the gym doing serious stuff), and then one lighter one during the week? And then also changing some habits during your day that will make you a bit more active (i.e. taking the stairs, walking one day during lunch or 15 minute break, etc.)?

    • I do not go to a gym to work out. I just can’t make it work, unless it is literally on my way home from work–like, I have to drive past it to get home. I don’t always have much of a routine, so I try to work in workouts at home whenever it’s convenient. I recommend Jillian Michael’s Shred videos if you’re into a hard-core routine, but my favorite these days is yoga. It’s both exercise and relaxation, so it’s perfect after work when you need to just wind down. Also, if I’m suuuuper lazy, I’ll get on my stationary bike while I watch tv.

    • I don’t k owhow feasible it is for you, but I had a flexible-ish schedule as an associate (in that we worked long hours, but no one particularly cared exactly when we were there). I loved going to the gym at 4 or so, and then went back to the office to finish up. I felt like my hair/make up coud be less polished, as by the time I got back, other people were starting to leave. Also, what do you do for exercise? Is where you do it convenient to home or work? I’d pay for convenience.

    • goldribbons :

      It’s probably a little late, but what really helps me (I *HATE* working out in the mornings) is to 1) try to enjoy my extra time in the morning when I’m *not* working out, and then in the evening, tell myself that if I don’t work out at night, I’ll set the alarm and go in the morning. It helps a bit. Good luck!

  22. super anon for this :

    anyone have experience with recurring UTIs? i take all of the precautions before and after LGPs but always end up sick. i have had 6-7 of them in the last 9 months and everytime i go to the doc they just give me antibiotics. i feel like this could be something else. any advice?

    • Cornellian :

      There are more drugs than you think that can make UTIs more common. I’d try checking out any drugs you’re on first. I was on a totally (I thought) unrelated drug that made them more common in women.

      I’ve gone through periods like that, and it sucks. Obviously drinking water and going to the bathroom ALL THE TIME helps, but I’m sort of useless beyond that. I know that there’s information out there about keeping the pH of your urine in a certain range by controlling what you eat and drink, maybe that’s worth looking in to?

    • One of my roommates in undergrad (whoah, this is a long time ago…) used to drink cranberry juice every single day b.c. of its effect on the PH of urine, IIRC. (I am not a doctor, but merely reporting what she told me.)

      She always kept lots of cranberry juice in the fridge and I asked her if it was her favorite drink and she said, “not really, but it helps me stave off the UTIs after I went through a phase when I had them 5 times.”

      • I have no experience with this, but I’ll just note that if you go down this route, be sure to get 100% real cranberry juice. Ocean Spray is mostly sugar.

        • Trader Joe’s has a great one! I rarely get them, but whenever I feel a twinge, I down about a liter of this & it always seems to help.

          • Oh I’ve also heard wearing synthetic undies & thongs can lead to problems for some people.

      • I am a banana. :

        There are cranberry supplements in pill form which can do the same thing without the sugar…and without drinking the juice, which I despise (because I only drink it when I have UTIs, go figure). They help, I take some when I feel one coming on or when I go camping.

    • Interstatial cystitis, maybe? I’ve gotten a number of UTIs and I take acidophilus tablets. I think it helps somewhat.

      • Cornellian :

        oh, yes, acidophilus tablets! or yogurt with it! I had forgotten about that tip a doctor gave me once.

    • I take cranberry supplements made for just this purpose. Available OTC. Seem to be working thus far, fingers crossed!

    • I find I can get them just from being dehydrated, and I get unexpectedly dehydrated during the winter (dryer air and maintaining my workout schedule). Make sure you drink a ton of water, and I second the comment about 100% cran juice. So foul, but better.

    • Try switching to a stronger/different antibiotic. I went through that in college, and they gave me multiple cycles of the same antibiotic. Which, of course, knocked out the symptoms, but not the infection completely, so it would come back. When they finally gave me a different, stronger antibiotic (Cipro?), they finally went away for good.

    • UTIs are the worst :

      I had one partner where I got UTIs all the time. The doctor insisted that it was not related to my partner but I’ve never gotten a UTI before or after. I think it was a weird mix of our body chemistries?

      The only thing that solved it was getting up to pee immediately after sex. Also, keep a ton of the OTC UTI pills on hand. Also, find out where your closest minute clinic is. Going to the doc all the time got to be a big drag.

      Good luck! UTIs really suck.

      • +1. I used to get UTIs all the time too. Over a dozen times. Sometimes so bad that I needed Cipro antibiotics, not just the regular kind. The only preventative measure that works consistently for me is to get up to pee immediately afterwards. Not the most romantic move, but absolutely essential for my health.

      • This. I think it’s partner-specific. FWIW, it was was with partners who had less-than-ideal hygiene and thicker/longer-hair-down-there.

      • UTIs are the worst :

        my partner was actually a total neat freak. who knows, bodies are weird.

      • +1 for peeing directly after sex. I also drink a glass of water so that I’ll have to pee again pretty soon after.

        I was told by my doctor that the goal is to flush any bacteria out of your system, so I don’t bother with the cranberry juice and just drink a lot of water instead.

    • You could also talk to your doctor about suppressive abx — some women find that if they take a single pill immediately after LGPs they avoid infection. It’s a little bit of an unorthodox approach because in general every one’s leary of random abx out in the community but for some women it’s the only and best treatment.

    • I had them about once a month for a while. It was really awful. I made sure to always go pee after s*x and I started taking cranberry pills. My doctor eventually suggested the next course of action would be that I take a daily low-dose antibiotic if they continued and then of course I didn’t get another one! I also noticed, looking back, this was a very stressful year and so I don’t know if that also had something to do with it (immune system down or something.) Anyways, definitely talk with your doctor about it.

  23. Quick poll – for conferences where you’ll be in meetings all day and the men wear “suits with personality” (e.g. Euro cuts, colorful socks, etc.), are sheath dresses with short sleeves appropriate enough, do the dresses need a jacket over them, or would you expect to see women in suits? The sheath dresses are Tahari generally so good quality, nice fitting. SF is the location.

    I don’t mind being a little casual but I don’t want a “what is she thinking” or “not professional enough” vibe.

    • I’d do a sheath with a jacket (not necessarily a suit blazer).

      • Agree. Bring a jacket because conference centers tend to be cold if nothing else!

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks! I took a (more conservative) coworker out at lunch and bought a black l/s drapey cardigan. . . she no longer has reservations about my dresses. Hopefully that helps!

    • Honestly, I think SF is one of the easiest places to dress in as there isn’t a universal “that’s right/that’s wrong” asthetic here, like I sense there is in cities like DC (at least that’s what I’ve picked up from reading this board). There’s a lot more room for personal style. I can’t think of an outfit that would seriously make me do an eyeroll other than something dirty, extremely ill fitting or totally inappropriate (like club gear/glitter).

      • Anonymous :

        I agree, based on my visits there. This is a major national conference though, filled with finance and executive types.

        • Perhaps you can google around for conference pictures of earlier years to see if there’s a dress code within this particular ‘tribe’ of attendees ?

  24. Anyone work in the legal department of a 401k company that would be willing to talk shop about something?

  25. Therapists? :

    How did you find your therapist? What qualifications/degrees did you look for? How important is a PhD? Forgive me if this has been discussed before (and please point me to the post!). I’m considering starting therapy and I just don’t know where to begin. I don’t have a regular PCP to give me a referral, the doctor finder on my health insurance website doesn’t include mental health professionals, and no ‘ r e t t e s live in my city afaik. I know I would need to see an MD if I wanted to start meds; I’m not crazy about the idea of meds and I don’t want to be pushed in that direction just as a matter of course, but I’m open to trying meds if they would really help me. TIA!

    • PsychologyToday has a great therapist finder on their website. You can go see a “regular”/non-MD therapist, an MFT for example, and they can refer to a psychiatrist should you want to try meds. I would also try Googling “MFT in Your City” – lots of licensed therapists have their own websites.

      • Thank you, I was actually looking at their site but didn’t know how trustworthy it was, so it’s super helpful to hear about it from someone else!

        • I’ve had good luck with it in the past and my mom, who is a reputable MFT, is listed there, along with many of her colleagues.

          Obviously I can’t vouch for every therapist it lists, but it seems pretty legitimate to me. Just make sure whoever you’re seeing is licensed or accredited (though you can typically see MFT “interns”, who are supervised by a licensed MFT, for a discounted rate).

    • Research, Not Law :

      I know someone who found theirs on a listing of therapists associated with their religion. If that’s important to you, it’s an unconventional resource.

    • Greener Apple :

      I went through a few therapists before I found one I liked–now I’m pretty happy with mine, largely because I think of him as a life coach even though he’s actually a psychiatrist.

      I found him through Google, actually–he has a website & has published work I looked at in advance. Whether or not you want meds, I think it’s worth it to talk to a couple of different doctors before you commit to one.

    • Your needs may vary. My criteria is linked with what I was trying to accompAlish:

      1) I wanted to find a good balance in how to protect myself firmly from people who were emotionally manipulative, bullying, or users, but also to not freeze out good people.

      2) A therapist who could teach me how to handle confrontation well (with the appropriate amount of force) and how to back down from confrontation gracefully and effectively was what I was looking for.

      3) I wanted a set of tools to take with me and use for the rest of my life. I wasn’t looking for a “just a neutral listener” or pressure valve for me to go gripe and unload and then go right back to what I was doing. I wanted it to be very clear that I wasn’t going to be a patient for life or even for the long-term.

      So this had nothing to do with degrees. Any therapist that I “tried out” would be nixed from the list if I sensed at any point that they had a problem with #3 (I’d suspect they just wanted an annuity and didn’t actually want to help me solve my problems). Additionally, some well-meaning therapists just don’t understand corporate life, working in certain environments, or, how office politics work. Inability to grok real life was also a dealbreaker because if I don’t think you know what you’re talking about, I don’t respect you and then you’re not helpful to me as a therapist.

      • “accomplish” not sure how a capital A got stuck in there.

      • These are all great points, thank you. I wouldn’t have even thought to bring up #3 but it will definitely be helpful when I’m beginning to interview different therapists.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Family lawyers can be good sources of referrals to therapists because they often share clients with therapists! I found my awesome Dr. Shrink through a family law judge of my acquaintance — she’d seen him in court and seen the results from his work with families and felt very confident recommending him.

  26. Well, guess this isn’t the month I get pregnant. :( It’s been seven months now. I’m going to talk to my doctor, but any words of encouragement? This sucks.

    • Research, Not Law :


    • I am right there with you! I can completely commiserate – I never thought something like trying to get pregnant would be the most lonely, sad, frustrating, etc. experience ever. Keep in mind that its supposed to take about a year. I forget this often, especially when it seems like friends are getting pregnant so easily.

      • saacnmama :

        I’ve heard 1 to 2 years.

        • Ugh. I’m 35. 1 to 2 years isn’t encouraging, especially if we want more than one. (And, yes, I’m aware of all the data about not “waiting” until you’re mid-30s to start. Some of us didn’t find the right person to marry, despite very much wanting to, until around mid-30s.)

          • Don’t worry. Things happen for a reason. People keep putting pressure on me and my husband to start having babies, and there’s a lot of societal pressure, too. But, we both know we’re not ready yet–not in terms of our careers or our relationship. Don’t feel bad that you’re just starting to try now.

    • *hugs*

      *tea & sympathy*

      • No wine? (Hey, that’s the upside, right? Wine with dinner for me tonight!)

        • ha! I think that someone mentioned that my *tea & sympathy* thing makes them not think of me as a 30-something career woman, but as a creaky old lady. I took that as a compliment! So, if I offer you wine, I think it’ll have to be port.

          Maybe *port & cigars*?

        • I would go with “hard liquor and sushi” as my best wishes in this situation.

          • +1 Awesomeness. I don’t think you live in my state, but if you were, I’d want you to be my doctor.

    • HUGS. I’ve been there and it’s NO FUN. So, MORE HUGS.

      I don’t know your age, and I don’t want to freak you out. (There are 12 bazillon websites for that.) Have you talked to your gyno? If you have, and she has said, give it time (as mine did) and you’ve given it time…..make an appt with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I tried (without the RE) for almost 5 years and nada. The RE can check for physical blockages (hysterosalpingogram? sp?) as well as the more well-known causes of IF. Turns out that I had uterine polyps sitting right in front of my fallopian tubes, so no matter how much I “relaxed” or tried, it wouldn’t have happened. (Also, uterine polyps are associated with really bad cr*mps, which I had had AND had told the gyno about, so if this matches your description, you may want to ask.)

      And more HUGS. xoxo

      • Bewitched :

        +1 on the RE suggestion. I think the 1-2 year recommendation is for those under 35. I believe the suggestion is to proceed to more specialized evaluation more quickly if you are 35. However, there are some things a regular GYN can try too. I was irregular and a few rounds of Clomid did the trick, but if your cycle is regular, then the suggestion re checking for blockages etc is an excellent one. Good luck, and more HUGS, I can relate to it being a very, very difficult process.

    • hellskitchen :

      Lots of hugs! I have been there. It is very isolating and frustrating… you feel like your entire life revolves around the “green week” and then the waiting to figure out if it worked this time. Definitely make sure your doctors runs all the tests sooner rather than later… my doctor didn’t propose running ovulation tests etc. until I expressed how frustrated I was. Luckily I got pregnant right after that so didn’t do the tests but made me realize I should have expressed my urgency to the doctor sooner. Also someone gave me this advice on this board – just forget about TTC and enjoy the s*x. The month I got pregnant I made a conscious effort to put TTC out of my mind and just relax… and it worked for me

  27. Ladies, I need to practice saying “no” to lunch with my boss. He’s lonely because he’s up here and his family is home in Texas. He comes to our desks at about 11:30 and suggests we all go out for lunch. This happened 2 weeks ago and it happened today. I brought lunch today and I was going to go to yoga class, but I don’t know how to say no.

    • Cornellian :

      is the same guy who’s staying with a coworker of yours, or am I mixing up stories? If so, creepy! Can you pass it off on to someone who would actually enjoy going to lunch with him? a la “You know, John, I already booked a yoga session today! but I bet Steve would be happy to go.”

    • You have your no already — you’ve planned a yoga class and you brought lunch. Plus, if he’s asking more than one person it should be even easier for you to pass.

      Since he’s your boss, you probably should go now and then, but there’s no reason to make it a regular thing.

    • You have the easiest no in the world “oh that sounds great! sorry I can’t make it, but I already have a yoga class today.”

      Also asking the group out once every 3 weeks is not a big deal, I would try to go once in a while.

    • Yeah, I know. I had my answer and I actually said it, but he looked so hangdog…

      And I think I should go sometimes because he is my boss, but he’s not paying. Next time I resolve to say “no”.

      And, yes, this is is the same guy. He moved out of my co-worker’s house after 5 weeks and is now staying in a hotel while he looks for an apartment.

      • Be careful, Bunkster!

        He sounds so fricking needy and without appropriate boundaries that he might try to join you, or worse, get all your coworkers to join you at your yoga class. I’m only half-kidding.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Is he still living in your coworker’s basement?

    • Can you just say, “Not today, I have a yoga class – but what about next week?”

    • Anne Shirley :

      Once every two weeks seems like you should be saying yes. More often I think a no is fine.

  28. update - spouse on long trip :

    Hi everyone,
    A brief update on the situation. I had a really cr*ppy day at work yesterday (in part due to my husband’s pre-departure refusal to arrange something for me that would have made my work day go much more smoothly – being deliberately vague here for anonymity reasons) so when my husband called, I blew up at him even though I had planned to wait until he got back. I didn’t have a chance to get through all the reasons I’m mad at him due to technological constraints (again, deliberate vagueness), but he was surprised to learn that I was upset because, according to him, I’ve been such a good sport about the whole trip. He was genuinely apologetic, but, as I realized after we got off the phone, didn’t offer to do things he could have handled remotely (e.g., I complained that he hadn’t asked his sister (who doesn’t work and lives 15 minutes from us) to watch our kid for a few hours on the weekends so I could catch up on work or just have a break (due to weird family politics, I don’t feel comfortable asking her). I do feel better having vented about some of my issues and we agreed that the next time we talk we would proceed with the next installment of “how you s*ck.” That said, whenever I’ve complained about relationship issues in the past, he is always shocked, concerned and apologetic, but nothing ever changes, so I think I am going to demand counseling in the hope that a neutral third party can suggest ways to move forward.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Instead of waiting for him to connect your complaint with an action item he could do to help, can you just email him a “to-do list” that is not up for discussion? I envision it looking like this:

      I’m glad we got to talk for a bit today. Obviously, we still have more to discuss but I feel a little better knowing that we have started working on this. Here are the things I need you to do. Call your sister and tell her you need her to watch the kids a few hours every weekend starting this weekend. That is the only way I am going to be able to get my work done. Please do this today. Please also . . . (and continue with 2 or 3 more things). Save the less urgent things for a future list.

      • I think it’s a bit inappropriate to tell your sister in law you need her to babysit, or put your husband in that position. Just because she is unemployed does not mean you can tell her how to use her time. Fine to ask if she would be willing, but should not expect it. If it’s every single weekend you need to hire a babysitter.

        • Agree. He should ask her but you can’t tell her to. I would also work on hiring a babysitter, house cleaner, etc to help until he is back

          • I have a cleaning lady. The suggestion to email my husband is a good one, but he can’t get email due to technological issues.

            I never said I would tell her to or suggested that my husband tell her to. I said “ask.” I have had repeated issues with literally every single one of my five babysitters canceling numerous times over the past few weeks and I just can’t deal with the added stress of looking for a new babysitter right now. So I need someone reliable to step in so that I can just get caught up on some of my work without pulling yet another near-all-nighter. And I apparently can’t handle mean blog comments right now, as you two have just reduced me to tears in my office, so I’m getting off of this site. Thanks to everyone who was sympathetic and made constructive suggestions.

          • My comment was just adding to Blond lawyers list, not your comment. The way replys work is by the lines. I was agreeing with Blonde Lawyer, just adding that it should be an asking. Did not mean to be mean, and I don’t think Susie did either. I responded to your original post with a lot of sympathy, I really feel for you and hope the situation gets better.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            My response to this fell below. I am failing at the internets right now.

        • The OP used the word *asked* and if there are weird family dynamics why can’t she ask or tell her husband – I need a break, can you ask your sister to watch the kid for a few hours is not a big deal. The point of the suggestion was to email him a list since clearly he has a history of not following through.

          • OP, Susie and cfm’s responses were not “mean blog comments” — they’re anonymous strangers clearly trying to help, and I’m surprised that you’d react that way.

        • lawsuited :

          Disagree. I think it’s appropriate to ask your husband to ask for help that may be available to you. Sister-in-law can say no if the help is not available.

      • Anastasia :

        This is a good suggestion. Your husband’s reaction reminds me of my husband’s if I vent similarly. I really believe my husband will do anything he can to make my life a little easier, but he’s just not good at identifying these things on his own or remembering them. If I make him a list (bulleted in an e-mail is best, so he can check it on his phone), especially one with deadlines or time suggestions like “on your way home from work, please stop at XYZ”, everything gets done.

        Good luck! I hope this gets easier for you — I could tell from your original post a few days ago how frustrated you are (with good reason!), and I’m glad your husband at least says he wants to help out from afar.

        • Yup, same here. I have to make a list of very simple, very discreet tasks. When he does it in a way that is different than I expected, I have to clearly re-define what I wanted (for example, rinsing a dish off means actually making sure it no longer has stuff on it, not simply splashing water on it). When I remember to do this, things usually go a bit smoother.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Crap! Sorry for the mistake in my post. OP said “ask” SIL not “tell.” I’m home right now with an awful headache and can’t even nap so I figured I’d kill some time on here. Reading comprehension fail. OP, the negative comments I believe were aimed at me, not you. I fully accept the criticism but I will say that there are rare occasions where we really really need help and we should expect to be able to rely on our close friends and family for that and be able to say I need you to please please please do this for me.

        I fully expected OP’s husband to ask his sister, not order her but for him to use his brotherly guilt to make clear how desperate they need help and for OP to use strong language with the hubby to make clear how desperately she needs help.

        Sorry to much up your post, OP! Hang in there!

    • I am sorry :

      I haven’t commented earlier, but I want to say hang in there. Out of all of the personal situations that people post here, this honestly seems like one of the worst that I’ve read. I can’t imagine being stuck with this, with the kids, over the holidays.

      You deserve lots and lots of cookies and wine. I would definitely see if you could get a baby sitter tonight or tomorrow to just give yourself some time to relax.

    • goldribbons :

      If you get back on this site later today (which I hope you do), I just wanted to chime in on the idea of a “neutral third party” helping out. My DH is quite a bit like this – genuinely shocked when I tell him about a problem but does nothing to fix it. He also refuses therapy. I seriously recommend therapy for yourself, and then being more direct with your H and even putting him on the spot (“So, H, how can we fix this? How can we ensure it doesn’t happen again? How can we better protect our marriage?”). Good luck, and HUGS.

  29. You guyz, I need to get over my procrastination!

    I hate where I am living, do not have a decent job, know that to get out of here I have to find work more along the lines of my degree or at least close to that level. Once I get a little track record, I can start applying elsewhere and get out of here. I know this perfectly well.

    But I can’t get myself to *do* it. There is a position here that would suit me well, but I keep freaking out over how I could do it when I can’t get the energy to keep our house and lives in order now. (Again, rational me says that I’d like that job and it would give me the energy to conquer the rest, but some other part of me keeps putting it off). It’s just so depressing to apply for anything here, even though I know I have to in order to get out of here.

    How can I motivate myself?

    • BTW, I haven’t always been such a sad sack. Most of my life I’ve been a “high achieving chick” just like in the blog’s subtitle. But something went very wrong in my personal life, and I just can’t get myself back together, even though it’s time to do so. I feel like living here is holding me back, but that’s a catch-22, because I can’t get out of here without getting myself going even in the muck.

    • What you’re describing sounds a lot like depression.

      • Anonymous :

        It could very well be a situational depression. If it was a chemical imbalance, I’d have to think about correcting it, but I don’t think it stems from anything physiological. I recently started on hormones for hypothyroidism, was hopeful they’d give me the energy, but it doesn’t seem to be happening.

        I can picture my old life and the life I want. It feels just like I’m watching a tv show, and no amount of telling myself the steps I need to take to get back to it seems to make any difference.

        • Ain’t nothing wrong with addressing situational depression/anxiety with drugs. I’m doing it right now: After six months of the roughest personal/family life series of events I’ve ever experienced, I finally knuckled under and got some medication (after talking it over with my counsellor, of course).

          The results are unbelievabley positive. I can function and make decisions like a normal human being again. I’ll likely continue the meds until the personal/family situation dials down a bit.

          I think the key is… is your mental state hindering your ability to function? It sounds like for you, the answer is yes. So take whatever action you need to take.

        • Why wouldn’t you try to correct a situational depression too?

          There are lots of things to try for depression, including taking things — OTC (SAMe, etc.) or Rx — and trying things — light therapy, meditation, talk therapy, etc.

          If you’re really unable to _do_ anything, meds might be just the thing to help you get started. Talk to your doctor, see what she says.

          Even if you’re not technically depressed, some of the (non-medical) depression-treatment techniques might help you.

        • goldribbons :

          Someone here once suggested that when they’re feeling particularly un-motivated, they imagine what a super-productive person would do in their shoes, whether for an hour, a day, or a weekend. They say it helps them remove the “self” aspect that seems to be the hangup, preventing them from getting started, and it resonated with me as well. Perhaps you can try this weekend? Hugs! We’re all rooting for you.

          • Anonymous :

            That sounds like my old teaching strategy–on days when I really wasn’t into it, or could tell I was losing the students, I’d channel Professor Kingsfield. Worked like a charm!

            I do have a to-do list, now I need to invent an alterego for it ;)

    • You say “our house and our lives.”

      What is your living situation and who do you live with? SO/partner/spouse? Any kids or pets? Any relatives you’re caring for, or live with?

      I ask because this may both be a burden (all these people making more demands when you’re already feeling stuck) and a blessing (all these people may help motivate you, and if they are willing to help out with chores and things temporarily while you try to regain your equilibrium). Can’t figure which they are unless we know more and how they impact your life.

      • Saacnmama :

        Just me and 1 kid who wants to see mama do well but is too young to remember my “past glory” or to take on real responsibility (other than for chores and not draining my energy with discipline issues, about which we’ve recently had a serious conversation). No family nearby.

        Can an endocrinologist prescribe antidepressants? I see her again in a few weeks. I’ve tried a therapist, but she really didn’t “get” what’s going on at all. I might try focusing on exercise, not work-related stuff, for a while to get endorphins started. Not like the hrs at the screen are productive anyway.

        Thanks for replying. I have never been this isolated in my life.

        • Anonymous :

          So much for going anon!

        • *hugs*

          I think I’m generally a happy person, and yet there are times when I feel overwhelmed, trapped, and pulled in too many directions. I tell the DH that I feel hemmed in, and demoralized. So I can only imagine that you’re working through much tougher stuff, and I commend you for holding it together as well as you have.

          When you say you need just a little track record– how many months/years do you need to stick it out at the current job?

          Not sure if this will help you, but I find it useful to break down a year’s worth of tasks into a number of things that need to be accomplished each month, and figure out roughly what needs to be done to get these tasks squared away. It then feels manageable and even *easy* (even if it’s not!)

          Also, it may seem counterintuitive, when you already have a lot of demands on your time, but is there something you really like doing that’s affordable? Like, say, drawing? Buying a $5 drawing pad (or even just using a regular cheap notebook) and doodling a few minutes a day– taking a few minutes to do something enjoyable for yourself, can be very recharging.

          Even better – is there something you can do that’s related to something you enjoy, perhaps a hobby that might tie into your future work? Then you can be playing, but also building on yourself for the future, too.

          Finally, if your therapist isn’t cutting it, drop her and go find a better one. There are good ones out there. And be upfront with what you want — a solution that the therapist will work out with you in SPECIFIC STEPS to get you out of the malaise, and not just a paid listener to quotidian gripes.

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t have a therapist, but maybe I need to read the advice upthread about finding one.

            I wish I knew how long I’d need to be at the job to get one elsewhere–I have a pretty specific goal in mind, but don’t know anyone who works in that place or exactly that field. The job here is related, as is an organization I might volunteer for. But right now I don’t have the kind of job that would count as experience for the one I want. I’m supposed to be doing the application for it right now!

            You hit the nail on the head with “pulled in too many directions”. Right now I’m trying to focus on the house, because the shape it’s in really messes with me in so many ways. Little one and I have been sick this week, so I’m trying to find someone who will help organize and clean without charging an arm and a leg. But then I worry that I won’t get the job here if I’m not working on the application. So I turn to it, but the messy house drives me nuts. Ad naseum.

            I had planned to really get going on exercise, finally, after taking a couple of months to get the home gym close to operational. Took my cold meds, put on the lycra, was all set the other day and…little one seems to have carried off a piece of equipment I needed.

            The big thing we were dealing with in the family seems to be over, but it’s all this little stuff that’s making it feel like I will never be able to get up and get going. It’s been like this since summer, at least.

            To-do list for this weekend:
            get the trash and recycling out
            finish job app and send to friends for comment
            steam mop/vaccuum floors and rugs
            paint wall with chalkboard paint
            at least one workout–without that equipment

            Ought to be easy enough to handle, and little one could probably take care of half of it alone, but I wonder if I’ll get it done.

            Thanks for your help, all of you!

  30. Since there are so many world travelers on this site I thought I would ask for some opinions on a trip I will be taking this May. I am going on a Danube River cruise with a friend and the cruise starts on a Tuesday in Budapest.( We actually spend 2 and a half days in Budapest at the start of the cruise.)

    We are coming from California, so it is about 15 hours of travel time getting to Europe, and we are thinking of taking a red-eye on Friday, spending the weekend somewhere and then going on to Budapest sometime Monday afternoon. We are looking for someplace that isn’t too far from Budapest as far as travel time and cost, so we are thinking of either Zagreb and then a train to Budapest, or Berlin and a plane. We already have Vienna and Prague on our itinerary, so they are covered.

    Do any of you have any experience visiting Zagreb? I know plenty of people who have been to Berlin, but I would love to hear more about Zagreb.

    • Eh, I found Zagreb mildly interesting for a day or so, but I loved Split and Dubrovnik, and even Sarajevo wayyy more than Zagreb- it’s a perfectly nice city, it just wasn’t my favourite in the region.

      Honestly, how much time are you spending in Vienna on your itinerary? If it’s anything less than like 3 days, I’d spend the extra time there- it’s really close to Budapest, and I *loved* Vienna, I could have easily been entertained there for a week+. There’s also a ton of countryside trips in Austria that are worth doing- wine tours, salt mines, hiking, etc.

      Also, spend one of your extra days at turkish baths in Budapest, I’ve never had such a cheap and amazing massage, and it was so relaxing.

    • I’m Hungarian so I’m a little biased, but I would just fly into Budapest, and either take a train or rent a car and drive down to Lake Balaton. Perfect if you only have 2 days!

    • Thanks! This is really helpful.

  31. locomotive :

    I agree this is awkward but don’t think it’s so bad if it’s just 2 lunch invitations in that span of time. Some people really like going out to lunch… I would acquiesce once in awhile and get some networking done and make it a real ‘work lunch’. Otherwise… I would make it clear that you do lots of yoga classes at lunch so that in the future when he asks, he already knows that you might be doing those things!

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