More Sales – Sephora, ASOS, Ann Taylor, CUSP, Tory Burch, and more…

It seems more and more sales are ramping up…

Sephora has a rare 20% off sale going on: of the lots and lots of gift sets already marked down, take an extra 20% off. You can buy some for gifts for friends, sure, but you can also buy some for yourself. Personally I loaded up on eyeshadow sets to play with…

ASOS’s reductions have hit 70% off…

Ann Taylor is offering 50% off your entire purchase (but exclusions apply)

Bloomingdale’s has increased their sale — now save up to 75% off original prices through Jan. 2.

CUSP (by Neiman Marcus) is offering an additional 25-33% off all sale merchandise, for savings of up to 60% off

Nordstrom is offering Winter Savings up to 50% off on women’s and kids’ styles (and the men’s Half-Yearly Sale is on)

Reiss is offering up to 60% off

Tory Burch is offering an extra 25% off all sale items





  1. I wish I had extra dough to spend on after-Christmas sales this year! RRRG!

  2. I know! I blew all my money on Black Friday sales!

  3. Delighted with my new iPad (thanks all for your advice on which to get) — it’s been awhile since we discussed apps people love. Anyone have a favorite to recommend? (Some that may be popular that I already have: Netflix, WSJ, Pandora, Angry Birds (obvi), Tripadvisor).

    • I’d love to hear recommendations as well. Bring ’em on!

      • Cooking apps are awesome on the iPad. I like Epicurious (free) and Mark Bitman’s How to Cook Everything (worth the upgrade to pay version). Martha Stewart’s are also fantastic and truly beautiful.
        The NYTimes & the New Yorker (if you subscribe) have great apps.

        The kindle app
        Scrabble and/or Words with Friends; Tetris; Scramble
        Urban Spoon for restaurant recs (also Immaculate Infatuation if you’re in NYC)
        Scout Mob (for deals in major cities)
        White Noise (if you like sound machines)
        Findmyiphone (if you have one)
        Tooncamera (best $2 ever spent)
        For anyone with gmail, gmail authenticator is great for added email security (but better to download this on your iPhone)

        • Do you also have a hardcopy of his cookbook? I have the hardcopy and am trying to figure out if buying the app is redundant.

          • I have the green vegetarian cookbook, not the red one. FWIW, I find the app a bit easier to use — the book is amazing, but also overwhelming. What’s nice with the App is you can search by ingredient, save favorites, and see the variations in the recipe. I’d download the free version and see if you like the format.

          • Good point—the book is good but overwhelming. It would be nice to highlight the text for the variation of recipe I’m using so I don’t have to read the unnecessary steps.

      • If you have Time Warner cable, their app lets you watch live TV and set up your DVR.

    • Angry Birds Seasons (I think it’s better than Angry Birds)
      Mahjong Deluxe Free – about 40 levels of matching mahjong
      Oregon Trail (takes off where the old school game left – you build your own city)
      Google (all google apps are within the app)
      Overload (for library books)
      One Pot (cooking app)
      Bon Appetit (it’s free)
      Your banking app

    • Small threadjack – can anyone recommend crossword puzzles or Scrabble apps that you can play alone?

      • You can play Scrabble by yourself – you play the computer or you can do a “pass and play” where you play both sides (but then you know the tiles of your opponent). I have the one from Electronic Arts (EA)/Hasbro.

        • Oh really? I read in the reviews that there was no single player option but I guess I will download it and see for myself. Thanks!

          • You have to get the paid version to play the computer. I mentioned this above, but of you like word games, scramble is a fun free option. It’s particularly good for taking short breaks because each game is 2-3 minutes.

          • Stop by Starbucks–the have a free app card for Scrabble right now, and I can testify that yes, it does have a single player option.

      • My sister plays Boggle nonstop and I’m addicted to WordWrap (Word Mix on my droid). Seriously, I’m on vacay at my parents this week and I’ve spend several hours each day playing Word Mix.

      • Equity's Darling :

        NY Times Crossword app.

        Love it, because where I live, the NY Times as a paper is very very hard to come by, so I can’t get the crossword that way.

        So worth the subscription price- I paid maybe $15 or something for the whole year?

        And yes, Scrabble has the single player.

        • Thanks for the suggestions. I have the NYT app, but their new updated version doesn’t work. I’m ticked off b/c I also pay $15/mo for a subscription (it’s per month, not year).

    • Anonymous :

      GeoDefense… it’s a strategy game with lasers/bad guys. It’s fun (and addicting!)

    • Thanks everyone! I’m definitely going to try out some of these — will check back later in the weekend in case others contribute to the list!

      • I love StumbleUpon. It always links me to one or two things I find fascinating.

    • I am obsessed with the NYtimes crossword app. It’s amazing. Also the kindle app is good. With that you can check books out from your local library. Finally, I love the NPR app. I listen to NPR non-stop.

    • Kindle, TED (you can save talks to iPad), Flipboard, Dropbox, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, ABC Player, Evernote, Nightstand (iPad doesn’t have alarm clock), Google Earth, Nordstrom, McSweeney’s, BeejiveIM (only if it goes on sale — not worth it full price), Pandora, Skype, Yelp

      iPhone apps I have on iPad: Cooks Illustrated, CVS app, Fandango, iStat

  4. Always a NYer :

    Do any of you ladies have the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette? It’s finally available at Sephora and I really, really want it. The colors have cool undertones and it looks like the perfect travel palette. My only hesitation is that I don’t like when eyeshadows are too shimmery and/or have lots of glitter. Are these shadows like that? TIA, from me and my wallet.

    • Not sure about the Naked palette specifically, but Urban Decay shadows in general have a lot of shimmer to them. I find that the shimmer spices up their more conservative shades, though, so I like it!

    • Marie Curie :

      Here’s a review with swatches:
      Looks like most of them are shimmery.

    • Makeup Junkie :

      I have the original Naked palette. It’s really glittery although the colors are neutral. A little too much fallout, so I’m not bothering with this one.

  5. Threadjack! anyone have any hints on how to keep jeans tucked into boots nicely? I get so excited for jeans day, and to wear my new brown boots, but my jeans arn’t super super skinny, just straight leg, and they’re kind of bunchy at the knees, and on this oh so slow friday before a holiday, that’s about all i can focus on!

    • I channel my inner junior high student and roll them like I did in the 80s. :)

      I tend to gather the extra fabric in the back below my calf so the front view is smoother. And I pull them down as much as I can to avoid excessive knee-bunching.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      I’ve “pegged” them like I did as a kid. But I also have these bands that drug stores/TJ Maxx, etc sell that are kind of like little velcro bands that you put around your calf. They’re good for keeping jeans tucked in, but sometimes they’ll get uncomfortable after a long day.

    • I fold the extra fabric around so it’s behind my calf, and then tuck them into my socks :)

    • Tuck them into your socks!

    • This won’t work for every outfit or situation, but honestly the best solution is jeggings. I got a dark pair with jeans-like seaming, and they are teriffic. They are very tight in the lower leg, so they don’t ride up, and the stretch mitigates the bunching around the knees. I do wear them with a butt-covering top, and not at work, but they really make the jeans-in-boots look a cinch to wear.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, I haven’t found anything that worked except skinny jeans. Otherwise there is too much extra fabric bunching up around the knees. But maybe you are more talented than I am and can make it work!

    • Anonymous :

      Skinny jeans! And not just skinny jeans but ones that are up a length size (regular if you’re petite, extra-long if you’re regular). Put your socks on, then your jeans and let the jeans cover your heel. It’s almost like stirrup leggings from back in the day.

    • I’m probably too late to this thread to be helpful, but I find J Brand jeans are the best for tucking into boots. Many of their cuts are very skinny, and the fabric is not as heavy as many jeans, so they tuck in comfortably.

  6. Okay, this may be the most OCD question of the century, but I’ve semi-recently made the switch from cable to Hulu/Netflix/Amazon streaming. What’s been driving me crazy is a way to keep the shows I want to watch organized (like the way I could when I would DVR things). Has anyone found a good way to queue shows up (I know how to on Netflix, obviously, but Hulu and Amazon are more confusing) in a way that I can keep a better tally of what new shows I want to watch?

    I realize this may be a dumb question. :)

    • You can queue shows on Hulu. When you add a series to your favorites list, Hulu automatically puts new episodes in your queue. Hulu also has an option to send you an email when you have new items in your queue.

      Not sure about Amazon. And I’ve not heard of a way to keep up with it on all three.

    • I made this switch too! So glad that I did!

      (I only use Netflix though, so I cant help with your question, but I have found that with Netflix it is always easier to search online & then watch on the TV, than to try and search it on the TV)

      • Is it possible to get everything you want with these three? I love certain HBO and Showtime shows – do those come out real time on one of these services? I was thinking I would lose access to some of my current shows if I did this.

        • As far as I know, you can’t get the current season of certain shows–particularly HBO/Showtime stuff–from these services. Netflix has some Starz shows available right away, or at least it used to. I think you can rent or buy them from iTunes or (maybe) Amazon, though.

          • you can sometimes stream networks on tvpc dot com if you’re willing to watch at their air times and many shows can be found on

            hope it helps!

        • MeliaraofTlanth :

          HBO is notorious for not allowing their shows, current or past seasons, to be streaming on subscription services like netflix and amazon prime. You can buy individual episodes on amazon streaming, but it’s not included in their prime service. I believe I once read a statement from them that was basically “because we’re so good, we don’t need to.”

          Which is probably true. HBO is the only reason I still have cable. If they had an online-only subscription option, my cable would be gone. All my other shows are online.

          • Anonymous :

            Check out Roku. It’s kind of like a connected bluray player without the ability to play DVDs, and it has access to HBO! I think it costs from $50-100 and is currently the only hardware that offers access to HBO. There is a rumor that new Samsung wireless TVs will also be getting access to HBO, but I am not sure when that is going to happen.

          • Thanks! This is what I thought and why I haven’t made the cable-free leap yet. I’d probably just do it, but my husband is harder to convince. The tip about Roku is very helpful, but Showtime might still be a problem. Of course, buying 4 episodes of Californication or Shameless is cheaper than $180/month.

          • MeliaraofTlanth :

            Wait, how does Roku work? I thought you bought the box and then still had to pay for the individual services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, which meant you could get HBO Go on it, but you still have to subscribe to HBO through your cable provider to get HBO Go.

    • karenpadi :

      I add shows and movies to my wishlist on Amazon. It does get a little confusing because I also have books on my wishlist. But at least it’s better than nothing.

      Now, if Amazon would only remove items from my wishlist after I purchase them. Grumble, grumble.

      • You can also set up multiple wishlists on Amazon (may have to do it through the website?). That would at least separate out books and media.

      • “Now, if Amazon would only remove items from my wishlist after I purchase them. Grumble, grumble.”

        This drives me nuts too.

  7. Ballerina Girl :

    How is Bloomingdale’s with returns? I bought a wallet online but had signed in as a guest and then stupidly deleted the confirmation email AND threw away the receipt. Any hope?

    • They may be able to look it up by credit card.

    • I’d call them and ask if they can track down the email/record of your purchase. You paid with cc, I’m assuming? IME many stores can track a purchase very easily by your cc number.

    • I had a problem with some old orders and they tracked everything down, even though I had no email or receipt info. Call them, it shouldn’t be problem.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      What about if I took the tags off the wallet? I’m such a dope! :)

    • Betty White :

      Update: I called customer service and can send it back!

    • Anonymous :

      Did you really “delete” it? Lots of online email servers hold your deleted emails until you delete them a second time. I’d start with another search of your emails.

      And you can always say it was a gift — that’s how I return receiptless items.

  8. I just bought this mascara sampler from the Sephora sale. I’ve been looking for a new mascara and this set has 10 popular mascaras for about $26.

    • I really like Clinique’s thickening mascara. From your set, the bare escentuals is pretty great if you want a natural lush look.

  9. Threadjack.

    Does anyone know offhand if it is a crime to interfere with a records subpoena?

    For example, hypothetically, Lawyer A is suing Lawyer B. Lawyer A subpoenas documents from Bob. Lawyer B calls Bob and tells him that he can hand over documents X and Y, but not to turn over Z because it is incriminating to Lawyer B (Z falls under the category of records in the subpoena).

    (I am not any of the above parties.)

    • I don’t think it’s a crime. Seems more like an ethical and/or discovery violation.

    • Not sure if its a crime, but it is sanctionable, I think. If the lawyer doesn’t want to hand over records, s/he should move to quash.

    • Not a crime (that I know of), but there are certainly spoliation and ethical issues. I would definitely move for sanctions if that is what happened.

    • I think Bob would be breaking the law by disobeying a subpoena, and Lawyer B may be committing obstruction of justice. Lawyer B is almost definitely committing an ethics violation.

  10. Oh, boy. My assistant (who’s really fab and I consider her a friend) rushed by my office yesterday late afternoon and said that the police were at her house and she doesn’t know what’s going on, but she was leaving to find out. Of course, I said go. Checked in on her this morning and asked if everything was alright, she said no, I asked what was going on, she said “domestic”, I (never one to know to just leave things be), asked “was it your neighbors?” (I guess I assumed that since she hadn’t been home and she has no kids, it wouldn’t be her household.), she said “no, my husband.” Me: Oh, is everything OK?” (OMG, Lyssa, shut up and myob!) “No, I’m moved out and filing for divorce next week.”

    So, I said that I was sorry and asked if there was anything that I could do, and then proceeded to feel really, really bad. Now, I come from the school of “I’m the luckiest girl in the world and don’t understand these people who are always saying marriage is hard because my husband is just fantastic”, and I guess I’ve never really dealt with divorce of someone close at all (oddly enough, I’m to some degree a divorce attorney).

    Anyway, she wants to go to lunch next week and tell me everything that’s going on. She’s also getting locks changed, so I assume that it’s pretty serious. I told her that she shouldn’t feel obligated to if she doesn’t want to discuss it, but she said that she wants to make sure it’s all out in the open, which I understand.

    But, what to say to her? If you’ve gone through something similar, what could people say to you to make you feel better/help out? I feel like I should be able to do something to help, but I have no idea what. I suddenly feel terrible about bragging about the pretty earrings my husband got me for Xmas and our various activities together.

    • Don’t feel terrible for being happy in your own marriage – happiness isn’t a zero sum game and your happiness doesn’t take away from hers.

      I think that the most you can do is be supportive, while maintaining a professional relationship. Offer to refer her to a good attorney to handle the divorce (if she asks, you could also discuss with the partners whether your firm could represent her , although this may lead to a conflict of interest plus then all of her coworkers would know her dirty laundry). If she needs referrals for other social services, help her get those too. Let her take personal days as needed to handle the divorce. If she goes to counseling, let her take personal days for that too. And try to be friendly, within the bounds of a professional relationship – bring her a casserole so she doesn’t have to cook, give her flowers, etc.

      • Ditto what J said. She may also just be looking to unload and the best thing for you to do is listen. Just listen and be available to her. In situtations like this, she may not feel comfortable speaking to her family and friends but you could be the objective ear that says nothing, which can be invaluable to her. Good luck to both of you.

    • If she’s in a potentially abusive/dangerous situation, you should discuss with her if building security should be notified/have someone walk to her car/etc. Dangerous people don’t necessarily stop due to proximity. Hopefully none of this is applicable to her situation.

      • This. A client of my boyfriend’s was killed by her ex-husband when walking to her office parking garage after work one day. Hopefully this doesn’t apply in her situation, but you can never be too careful, particularly when all of this is still fresh.

        I hope everything works well out for her.

      • SO THIS. If there is a serious security issue, you need to do some safety planning with her around the office. Sometimes the fact that something is “private” prevents people from really dealing with DV issues. Ideas include: giving a picture of her husband to building security to keep an eye out, make sure he isn’t hanging out. Put him on the “no entry” list for the building. And letting people who are in the main hallways and such know to keep an eye out for him (perhaps with a picture) so that they can warn her.

        Finally, provide as much emotional support as you can. Get her a good referral to a lawyer for the divorce. Make sure if she’s filing for a restraining order that she has someone to go with her to the court and that she understands the forms.

        One of the biggest problems DV victims can face is that domestic troubles are viewed as privacy issues so that they don’t feel they can communicate about them with others. But if someone else were facing the risk of assault from a stranger, we wouldn’t pause to consider security issues. So try to make her feel comfortable talking about it and be an ear if she trusts you.

        • As someone who went through unpleasant divorce several years ago I would like to offer a different angle. She is lucky to have an understanding boss as yourself but I would think twice about representing her. You should also define (to yourself first) how much listening is not too much for you. Some friendships did not last the state of mind I was in at the time. I was miserable but the responsibility is mine. I cannot blame people for not being able to stay in touch with me while all I could think of was how that my life was becoming a mess. When crises happen today (domestic or not) and I need to talk to people, I see a professional or ask people outright to tell me if its not too much for them to listen to.

    • When I told ALAN to leave, he was DRUNK, and I had to get the building SUPER to eviect him. That is NOT the same as the police but it was embarasing to me b/c my whole building heard him when the SUPER ejected him.

      • Ellen or fake Ellen, it’s one thing to post things like this in certain topics but entirely inappropriate to do so in threads dealing with serious sensitive issues. I know some people are tired of your shtick, but if you are going to continue doing it at least be respectful.

    • It’s not about you at all, so your marriage happiness or lack of or the color of your shoes isn’t important here.

      In a way, the details she’ll tell you don’t even matter.

      What DOES matter is that she needs to say the words and she needs someone to validate her feelings. Listen to her, ask her questions that are appropriate, and continue to tell her that she is strong and smart and that she is going to succeed. Temper these affirmations with acknowledgment that this time must be incredibly difficult. If you feel comfortable, offer to have lunch with her once a week so she has something to count on during this topsy-turvy time in her life.

      Don’t give advice, just give support, unless you are explicitly asked.

    • Seattleite :

      I was divorced last year. My boss was willing to listen, but never pried. And, frankly, I didn’t want to talk about it with him; it blurred the line too much, and I wanted to have work be the one place where my failed marriage simply didn’t matter. That said, he was unfailingly kind and patient when I was distracted, allowed me the time off I needed to see attorneys/financial planners etc., and let me know his door was open IF I needed to talk.

      And I love watching and hearing about happy marriages. It give me hope that although mine was never particularly happy, they are possible and might be within my reach next time around. As long as you aren’t smug, I think you’re fine.

  11. Pretzel_Logic :

    On the same note as the Sephora sale…so, I’m a law student (2L), and my New Year’s Resolution is to remember that everything I buy, I’m paying back with interest in about two years. Ugh. I LOVE Sephora-level stuff, but sadly, student loans are kind of saying I can’t really afford to spend $60 a trip once a month there anymore. (After fixed costs, the remainder gets scarily small, and in all likelihood I’ll be working for free/minimum wage this summer.) So I’m trying to figure out where to make sacrifices, and I wondered if any of you use drugstore-level foundation that lasts most of the day and won’t make my face turn into a giant breakout. I’ve been using Lancome Teint Idole Fresh Wear, which is awesome, but of all my makeup that’s what I go through the fastest.

    Also, I’m in love with Smashbox mascara, but $30 for some black junk to put on my eyelashes is ridiculous. What’s the best of the best on the Maybelline level?

    Thanks to the hivemind in advance, reading the comments from other ‘rettes is my preferred coffee break activity!

    • CoverGirl LashBlast in the orange tube is the best drugstore mascara I’ve ever found. I have a friend who is a total makeup snob and even She-Who-Never-Touches-Drugstore-Comestics uses it.

      • Always a NYer :

        I concur with the drugstore mascaras. I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a makeup snob and I have found that the mascaras with the plastic-like applicators showing in the package (think CoverGirl, Maybelline, Rimmel) work the best and don’t clump.

        As for your Lancome foundation, if that’s your HG item, could you cut back on all your other cosmetics and continue to splurge on that?

      • I’m a big fan of Maybelline’s Full and Soft line, because i find it’s the most versitle – you can pile it on for going out, but one coat is perfect for daytime

        • Pretzel_Logic :

          Thanks for the responses ladies. I am kind of thinking of sticking with the foundation just because my skin turns into a 15-year-olds at the drop of a hat sometimes…ew.

          (Man, having a 99% budget with a 1%’s wants is LAME. Oh well, it’s all about managing debt load…)

          • I agree with NYer – foundation is probably the most important for your skin and look. Keep that, cheap out on other stuff. I like Almay if you are breakout prone (I use an Almay cream blush). You already have suggestions for mascara. I think shadow and liners from the DS are pretty good. I think my friend that uses a liquid liner likes one from maybelline.

          • Anonymous :

            I have tried many expensive foundations but I like Cover Girl Oil of Olay Ageless Foundation. It is great.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Ditto CoverGirl LashBlast. I love it. I do buy a lot of Sephora level make-up, but never mascara. I go through it quickly and try to throw away frequently since I wear contacts and it just never seems financially worth it to buy nice mascara. That said, I too am curious for drugstore brand foundation recs.

      • I LOVE CG LashBlast – the orange tube is better than the purple IMO.

    • CG Lashblast is great, as K already mentioned. I also recently got a mascara from the Boots line sold at Target that is really nice. I can’t remember the name of the exact product.

      Mainly I just wanted to say you are absolutely doing the right thing by slashing costs here. You will not regret it. Many of my law school friends would give anything to go back in time a few years and reduce the amount they took in loans. Is there any way you can reduce any of the fixed costs? Like by moving somewhere cheaper/getting a roommate? Also, if you’ve been hanging on to any books to sell later, sell them asap before a new edition comes out and/or the market is flooded. Random, I know, but it could save you hundreds.

      • Pretzel_Logic :

        I thankfully go to school in a low cost of living area. I am slashing cable as soon as March Madness ends (this is my one major stress relief HAHA) and probably picking up Netflix. A big part of the reason it’s so tight is that I took out the lowest amount of loan money I thought I could get away with, accounting for a little tuition hike. If I can hit this budget out of the park I should, barring catastrophe, graduate with less than six figures of debt.

        In a pinch, I have been blessed with parents who did the law school thing themselves and are ready (and able) to help me out, but I want to do everything I can to meet my set obligations. I mean, I hate asking for help financially, but if I have to, I want to be able to say it’s because of a legitimate expense rather than…I did too much retail therapy.

        As for books…I think I’m going to rent. What a racket.

        • a good option for books is buying them on amazon then trading them back in for gift cards on amazon – i basically recycle my books every term thru amazon that way…you can find some used ones really really cheap right about now btw. terms

    • I’ve been pretty happy with Neutragena’s foundation line. It’s on the high end of drug store ($11, last I checked), but works almost as well as the fancier brands, IMO. I got into a thing where I was trying to switch over to dept. store brands a while back, but wound up deciding that the difference between them and the Neutragena was not worth it, and switched back to it. Seems to be pretty good for the skin, too.

      I’ll echo the books stuff – In LS, I bought almost all of my books at, ebay, or amazon marketplace, and then re-sold them as soon as the test was done, usually for around 80% of what I paid. (Setting them up for sale online was actually a sort of fun, brainless de-stressor for right after finals when the brain feels like jelly.) Saved me literally hundreds of dollars.

    • Jacqueline :

      Try L’Oreal Lash Out! I’ve heard it’s being phased out, so you may find it on sale — it’s in a gold tube with a burgundy stripe on top. It’s cheap and makes your lashes look a mile long without clumping.

    • D-Train South :

      I have breakout-prone skin and have been happy with CoverGirl AquaSmooth for years. For more coverage and longer wear, I’ve used Revlon ColorStay to good effect. Finding the right color in these is key, especially with the Revlon, as it is definitely full coverage. That said, I am stepping up to better makeup now that I can finally afford it. You might consider trying something less expensive and, if you like it and it doesn’t make you break out, using it as your daily, then keeping a bottle of the good stuff for more important days/events.

    • Drugstore mascara is definitely great. I actually prefer it. Used to use Dior Show, but feel like I get much better results with L’Oreal Voluminous.

      I haven’t found a drugstore foundation I like though, and I think if it’s a matter of breaking out, stick to what works for you even if it is Lancome. My advice is to wait to buy it in a dept. store when there is a free gift with purchase. You can get lots of nice extras (blush, shadow, make up remover) that will save you money elsewhere. Also, some outlet malls sell Lancome so look into that as well. You can get it there for a bit cheaper, esp. so when there’s a promo. Sephora is great for not being bothered and trying lots of stuff, but it doesn’t always have great deals.

      • Anonymous :

        Love L’Oreal Voluminous! I also use L’Oreal’s Beauty Tubes mascara, which does not budge. one. bit.

        If you like Lancome foundation, I would stick with trying the drugstore foundations from L’Oreal (which owns Lancome, as well as Maybelline and a whole bunch of other cosmetic companies). If you live near a CVS, the makeup usually goes on sale in a three or four week cycle, and you can return. RiteAid and Walgreen also have good sales on similar cycles, but I don’t know the return policies there.

    • sunshinecr :

      I am able to save money and get some higher-end products by checking on ebay from time to time. I keep a list of all the products I like, then post a calendar reminder in my phone to check ebay once a month. If it isn’t a great price on ebay, then I substitute with drugstore items. At my local Walgreens, I always walk through the makeup aisle to see if my fav eyeliner (almay liquid) is on sale, and the clerks at cosmetic aisle often have an envelope of coupons. If you ask, they’ll tell you if they have a coupon for what you like.

    • This is late, but even in college I couldn’t use drugstore foundation, foundation is one thing to invest it, and it lasts a while. I have oily skin and like mac studio fix. Also, Mary Kay’s foundation is like $14 or $15 and it is awesome, it gives an amazing finish. I use the medium coverage because I have oily skin, but they have a formula for dry skin.

      I don’t know what you look for in mascara (volume, length, staying power) but I would go drugstore for that. I like maybelline full and soft.

      Also, I use maybelline unstoppable eyeliner now, it’s amazing, I used to use make up forever.

  12. Family Money??? :

    Hi hive,

    I’m hoping that you fab ladies might be inclined to weigh in on my situation.

    I have been dating my boyfriend for about a year. He is a wonderful man, but I am considering breaking up with him for financial reasons. In a nutshell, his parents, who were BOTH trust fund babies and retired around 40 from their non-serious jobs, spent down the millions they inherited and are 100% dependent on him. He makes a good salary, but supporting two households IN STYLE in a major city means that he has zero ability to save. To add insult to injury, his parents feel entitled to this support. If we go out to a nice dinner, his parents will make a snark comment and then go out to a nicer, more expensive dinner, themselves – which of course he effectively pays for. They insist on luxuries that my own retired parents would never dream of, after having actually WORKED for a living.

    I am an only child from a very modest background. I make a good salary of my own, and I save about half my salary. I’ve dealt with the spectre of financial insecurity my whole life and I am afraid that if I commit to this guy I am signing up for more of the same for the rest of my life. I am also 100% unwilling to have my earnings go to support, directly or indirectly, the sickening irresponsability and continued demands of his parents.

    Any advice you might have will be very appreciated.

    • Have you ever told him how you feel about his relationship with his parents?
      Have you asked him how he feels about supporting them?

    • I say this without any judgment of what he is doing, what his parents are doing, or what you are considering:

      Tell him you won’t be able to commit to him if he continues to support his parents in this manner. It’s not an ultimatum, it’s a statement of fact. No malice, no passive aggression. It just is. Make sure you mean what you say.

      Give him a chance to realize he is making a decision bearing on whether or not you will stick around. (He may not know this.) Let him think about it and give a coherent response. If he says he will stop/change but then doesn’t, actions trump words and you need to break up with him. Otherwise, be open to the possibility that you can work it out.

      • Family Money??? :

        Thank you for your replies.

        1. He obviously is not pleased about supporting them, but does not feel that he has any other choice. They are not employable. They have no other means of support. They sunk every last penny they had into making their home fit for royalty – and would lose it all if they sold their house, since nobody would pay for all the highly custom stuff they did. I do admire him for accepting the situation so gracefully, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept the fact that we/I may never be able to retire or take a more desirable, lesser paying job, due to his long term support of them.

        2. I suppose I can give him a plain statement that I cannot commit to him while this endures, but I sure would feel like a coldhearted b***h in saying so. What right do I have to dictate how he spends his money? It is HIS money, after all, not mine. So far his parents have been very nice to me, but I think that would change quickly if I tried to reduce or cut off their support.

        I feel terrible for him. He is in a no win situation.

        • I feel you, truly. That’s why I said it wasn’t an ultimatum, just a statement of fact (as to what you need). I understand why you admire him and why this is very hard.

          For what it’s worth, I did something like this once, and also felt terrible about it. My position was essentially,”I will love you and support you whether you continue to take your psychiatric medication or not. However, based on my experience with you being off of it, I cannot stay in a relationship with you if you decide to end your medication.” What a terrible thing to say to someone you love, I thought! But it was what I needed to do. I said it, I meant it, and we are now friends because indeed, I had no business making his decision for him. He chose an option that I could not work with, but there was no resentment on either side.

        • My in-laws are currently dealing with a similar situation: my mother-in-law’s parents basically spent themselves into destitution on frivolous stuff (the grandmother had to *completely* redecorate her house every year, at least), and now they are supporting them. It really is a situation where if they weren’t supporting them, the grandparents would be out on the street.

          That being said, the money my in-laws give come with giant strings attached. They made them sell the house. Yes, it was at a loss, but it made no sense to keep spending the money each month for the upkeep. After a lot of number crunching to determine the minimum amount appropriate, the grandparent’s lifestyle has been completely scaled back, and they are (almost) living within their means.

          I know it was a very difficult discussion for my in-laws to have with the grandparents, but the in-laws refused to put all of their retirement plans on hold simply to support this unsustainable lifestyle.

          I’d suggest telling your boyfriend why you are so uncomfortable with this situation, why it makes you think twice about committing to him long-term, and offer some concrete examples as to how he can change it. At that point, you will have done what you could and it will be up to him.

        • You can’t dictate how he spends his money, but you can dictate how his spending will affect your lifestyle for the foreseeable future. His parents *do* have options , but none of them are going to seem appealing when a son is financing a lavish lifestyle. They would not “lose it all” if they sold their house. They’d still get some money which would presumably help them live modestly for some time. Again, that is a decision only your boyfriend has to make, but you are not a coldhearted b***h by refusing to play a role in your boyfriend’s enabling behaviors.

        • 1. Could he give them a predetermined amount each month (or whatever would be a good time period). I don’t know how much fixed costs they have with the house, but it seems like he could give them a set amount for food and other essentials that would not cover extravagant dinners, and then gradually reduce that amount over time as they learn to live more frugally. I also think that he might need to cut back on his contact with them a bit. If they do not appreciate going out to a nice dinner with you and him, then you should not take them to dinner for a while.

          2. While it’s his money right now, you’re right that if you want to be more serious with him long-term, you will have shared financial issues, even if you don’t combine finances, and it would be really hard for me to seriously see myself with someone who is in a financial position I would never want to be in without any plan to get out of it.

        • If I were in his shoes, I’d give the parents a monthly allowance that I can afford, and nothing more. If they have to sell their house at a loss, so be it. I do think that one has a responsibility toward one’s family, but he can’t afford to compromise his future (and the future of his potential kids and spouse) in order to support his parents’ extravagant lifestyle. Once he’s made sure their needs are met, he has no further obligation.

          I have crazypants older relatives that sound a lot like his parents and I know how hard it can be to deal with them, especially for their daughter in-law (who is an amazing woman – I can’t believe their son found a woman who can deal with his parents, really). I wish you the best of luck.

        • Yikes. I am dealing with something similar, though not as bad.

          My SO has put his parents on a set allowance. I’m not sure regarding the amount, however, and remain cautious about the entire matter.

          Hugs to you and good luck.

        • 1. Even if they wouldn’t make back the money they put into the home, they would make something. Maybe what they’d have to do is sell it and live in a condo, maybe they’d have to do that, eat ramen, and be trained to work at mcdonald’s. So what?!

          2. You’re for sure not a witch here. You’re not telling him he’s awful, you’re not taking money from them that is theirs, you’re telling him that you won’t commit to someone who makes such financial choices. He can take that info and tell you to kiss off, decide not to continue to support them, or continue with his parents with the realization that he’s losing his own life.

          We all have dealbreakers. If this is yours, be strong in yourself. Hopefully he’ll be willing to either cut them off or set up a plan to taper off over time or to give them some set amount and be done with it.

          love for you and support in your strength!

        • In search of Bunkster's Bark :

          I understand that it would feel bad, but you would not be dictating to him how he should spend his money. You would be telling him there is a consequence to his choice to spend his money that way. Keep on mind too though that there will be a consequence to you for taking this stand – no him. Are you okay with that?

          Is there a middle ground you could live with? an amount you’d be okay with on an annual basis but no more? It sounds like part of the issue is that you don’t find is parents ‘deserving’ because of their choices. That’s your right. But what if they were to need help in the future because of illness? Maybe you’d SO could fulfill his sense of obligation by putting money aside for the day when they might ‘really’ need it.

          • I would be so out of this situation! I don’t think you should feel bad at all about finding the nearest exit. It’s a scary situation to be roped into, and it would take a lot of work and a small miracle for it to improve enough for you to feel okay with it.

            You may admire your SO for dealing with the siutation “gracefully” but he is enabling his parents. They may be a lost cause at this point. But I would draw up the boundaries for sure. I would not want to get involved. Ugh. Nightmare.

    • I don’t know how he’d be able to suddenly cut his parents off. But you’re right, you are looking at a future of directly or indirectly supporting his parents – when your savings are used for the down payment for anything or emergency expenses or whatnot. This is hard – good luck, yo.

      • He doesn’t necessarily have to “suddenly cut his parents off.” I.e. it doesn’t have to be sudden, nor does it have to be total–unless the OP sees this as the only solution. I think in her shoes I probably would be willing to think through compromises or incremental strategies.

        • Agreed. It sounds like the parents have no reason to budget right now. BF could adopt a strategy of “Mom and Dad, I can give you $X per month and no more.” The parents can then spend the money as they like, but when they’re out of money, he’d have to stand firm and not give them anymore until the next month. Additionally, I bet their house fit for royalty is very expensive to keep–taxes, maintenance, etc. While they probably couldn’t get all of their money out of it, they could certainly sell it, get a lot of money out of it, and go live somewhere much cheaper, which would decrease the financial burden on boyfriend (both because they’d have some money and because their monthly expenses would be lower).

          I respect people who take care of their older parents, but I don’t think that needing financial support gives parents the right to use their kid as an unlimited piggy bank. If they drained their own trust funds, they will drain boyfriend’s funds unless he puts some strict limits on them. The best way to do that is probably not by saying they should not go out for expensive dinners; it’s by saying they have a certain amount of money to spend each month on all of their expenses and they can do with it as they wish–isn’t that what we all do? We all spend based upon our paychecks minus our expenses?

          Good luck. I hope you guys can make this work. Good for you for protecting your savings.

        • I agree with you. It does seem pretty devastating though. From personal experience, relatives dependent on another family member for financial support will always be dependent and it just hangs over the entire family. Maybe the OP could open up a financial planning discussion with her SO, asking how he’d finance his future – kids, purchases, whatnot and have him involve his parents. He can only make a finite amount. Maybe they would be more amenable to decreases in financial support if they felt like they were part of the decision-making process.

          FM?, even if your relationship doesn’t end up working out, you’d be doing him a great service in helping him plan for the future. His current situation isn’t very sustainable; things have to change for his sake.

    • Anonymous :

      Stand with your head high either way.

      Financial actions and attitudes are fundamental to who we are. Because actions and attitudes reveal identity and values. Help him see that or don’t feel bad about your moving on.

    • karenpadi :

      You have to do what’s right for you. I don’t think that you are a b–ch for refusing to sacrifice financial security to be in a relationship.

      I was in a similar relationship where my ex had co-signed a ginormous mortgage on his parent’s house during the boom. They refused to let it go into foreclosure and he was trying to make the $2k+/month payment on his small salary. I was seriously thinking about not actually (legally) marrying him (but staying with him) to avoid becoming liable for this debt. The relationship had bigger problems (this was but a symptom), so I left.

      I would ask deeper questions: does he prioritize sending money to his parents before taking care of his own needs? Did his parents help him out with school payments? Would he pay his parents before paying for your children’s needs? Does he expect his own children to support him in the future like he’s supporting his parents? Is he able to stand up to his parents?

      I hate, hate feeling financially insecure and this was a tough thing for me to deal with too. Some cultures require that children support their parents (like my ex’s).

      It sounds like this is a “price of admission” in your relationship. The only question that remains is, do you want to pay it?

    • I am sorry – this sounds really hard. I really don’t see why your bf should support them for more then basic expenses – groceries, electricity and heating for part of the house. I think people say they have no choice when they don’t want to make a choice. Stand your ground and best of luck.

    • Wow. i’m late to this thread and haven’t read the rest of the comments but just wanted to say 3 things:

      1) IF you marry, you should obviously try to keep financial matters as separate as possible. This can be done to a certain extent via separate accounts, a prenup, etc. However his debts will become your debts and vice versa, and as far as I know there’s no legal way out of this.

      2) IF you have children (whether or not you are married), the whole situation get even more complicated. I’m sure you realize that. So while it’s one thing to spend your joint vacation money on XYZ for his parents, it’s quite another to spend the kids’ college fund. Something to think about.

      3) If you’re really committed to the guy but can’t solve the financial issues I’d suggest you don’t get married. Live together, have a co-habitation agreement, a commitment ceremony .. whatever but don’t tie yourself legally to him.

      Good luck.

    • Family Money??? :

      Hi everybody.

      I just wanted to thank you again for all your comments and support. Lots of food for thought and excellent ideas in this thread! I’m so grateful to be part of this community! I think I’ll be taking the weekend to think this all over and then have a major heart to heart with the BF.

      Happy 2012:)

    • Your feelings about this situation are completely valid. My husband’s parents have behaved similarly to your boyfriend’s — they decided to retire at 50, despite having no savings whatsoever. Thankfully, my husband and I are entirely on the same page about how to handle the situation. I honestly can’t imagine how difficult it would be if we were not, so your instincts that this could be a big issue for you and your boyfriend are right on. Lots of good advice has been given already, so I’ll just add a few additional thoughts based on my own experience.

      It’s extremely unlikely that your feelings about your boyfriend’s parents’ behavior will change. This isn’t because you are a bad person or obsessed with money, but rather, because the decisions that they have made are from all appearances irresponsible and irrational. So, any choices you make from here on out should be made with the understanding that these are your feelings (i.e., don’t tell yourself that you’ll probably get over it eventually, or maybe it won’t bother you as much over time, etc.). It doesn’t sound like you are telling yourself that, but I just wanted to mention it because it’s easy to do in situations like this.

      The truth of the matter is that it would not be the end of the world if, for example, his parents had to live in a cheap, not-so-great studio apartment in order to drastically cut their expenses. I realize that’s likely no one’s dream for their parents (and certainly not your boyfriend’s parents’ dream for themselves), but this doesn’t sound like a situation where there are truly no options, just that the options are unpalatable to those involved.

      Ultimately, what matters here is what you think is reasonable, and what your boyfriend thinks is reasonable. Among other things, it sounds like there are some boundary issues that need to be addressed (i.e., what is and is not reasonable for his parents to expect, what is and is not reasonable for your boyfriend to feel obligated to). You know better than we do whether your boyfriend recognizes that there could be problems, is open to talking about it, would be willing to consider counseling on these issues, etc. At minimum, a serious conversation (involving lots of “I feel…” statements and avoiding “Your parents are totally batty!”–though I understand that feeling!) is in order.

      • Seattleite :

        Complete agree with the boundary issues. Your BF feels like he has no choice but to support two able-bodied adults? Healthy parents don’t expect their child to support them. Their sense of entitlement likely warped how they raised BF, and thus warped his view of what is reasonable to expect.

        Please encourage your BF to talk this over with a pro. Identifying, naming, and facing those destructive unspoken codes we grow up with is hard, but oh-so-important.

    • I have some in laws that live unsustainably above their means but my husband does not support them financially yet. We agree that while they will never be put out on the street, neither will we support them in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. A 1 or 2 bedroom apartment in a safe but modest area of town is more like the level of support, plus obviously any health needs not covered by insurance or later medicare.
      It is not selfish to save for your own needs nor to take care of yourselves. Your boyfriend’s parents have a very warped idea of the world!

  13. PT Lawyer :

    How does the boyfriend feel about supporting his parents, and their spending style?

    Money is a big cause of issues in relationships.

  14. Equity's Darling :

    Hunger Games = Amazing.

    I’ve bought a lot of books over the past 6 months, and perused them slowly over a few weeks. This is the first book in so long that I’ve actually read in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I was skeptical when a friend suggested it, and I am so glad I just listened to her.

    • I have a copy sitting on my bookshelf, unread. I’ve been saving it for my next plane ride in a few weeks but now that I’m hearing so many good things about it, I’m tempted to read it already.

      • me too! thanks for reminding me that this has been recommended over & over & on my shelf to read . . .

      • Equity's Darling :

        So good, read it! I’d tell you all the reasons why it was so awesome, but then I’d be ruining your fun:)

      • LinLondon :

        Read it now and get the sequels for the plane!! They’re amazing! :)

    • Anonymous :

      I may or may not be halfway though the third one after starting the series yesterday around noon :-)

    • me too :) But didn’t love the ending of the third thought it ended to soon (maybe I just wanted more haha)

    • I bought them for my 10yo but loved them unashamedly!

    • Yes! Such an amazing book. It sat unread on a shelf for AGES because I bought it in paperback rather in eReader format (my go-to format these days because I love my Nook), but once I started reading it, I could not stop! I was literally pulling it out at stop lights to squeeze in a couple of pages.

    • If you like Hunger Games, try Divergent by Veronica Roth.

      • Anastasia :

        Thanks for the rec! Googled it real quick, and now it’s on my hold list at the library.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I couldn’t put them down either when I read them early this year. I bought the ebooks recently and plan on re-reading them on our honeymoon. Yum.

  15. Thanks, everyone, for your input. I thought that something didn’t seem right. I will look up the obstruction of justice statute later to see if it applies.

    (My apologies if this posts twice. I got the “posting too quickly” message.)

  16. Relationship threadjack: I’ll be married for three years this spring and feel like sometime starting this summer my marriage hit a big rough patch that it has yet to come out of and it’s getting to the extent that I’m worried about the d-word.

    Emblematic of the issues is the fight my husband and I had this morning: I had a headband and a couple hairholders stuck over the door knob of our downstairs bathrroom. My husband said it looked messy since guests move that bathroom and that I should move it and I said I disagreed. It rapidly spiraled down into him saying that I’m not keeping our house up but in more *colorful* language (I agree our house is on the messy side right now but with a baby and a FT job I figure things may just have to be messier) and my saying that he wants everything done his way, and that he needs to cut down on the bad language, especially in front of our daughter. (He’s also an engineer so is all about being “logical” in EVERYTHING and also lived alone for many years while I’m much less particular and rigid about doing thing around the house in a certain way which is where 95% of our disagreements stem from.)

    He did come to one counseling session with me a few weeks ago; I felt the session itself went pretty well but don’t know how much improvement I’m seeing outside it. We have another session scheduled in a couple weeks but he hasn’t committed to coming to it yet.

    So… from the hive, I guess I’m just looking for any wisdom or at least people who have been through similar things in their marriages. Other than my mom and very close friend I don’t have anyone to discuss or compare notes with on it since I don’t really want to discuss how bad it can get (borderline emotionally abusive) with most people. TIA

    • You need regular (weekly), consistent counseling for a long period of time. Borderline emotional abuse is not something you can tolerate. It is bad for you and, perhaps more importantly, it’s bad for your child, who will pick up on it. If your husband won’t go, then go to counseling by yourself and discuss your husband’s refusal to go with your counselor.

      Arguments that don’t cross the line to disrespect are normal and healthy in most relationships. Name-calling, rudeness and emotional abuse are not.

      • Agreed. My husband and I disagree about cleaning house (his biggest pet peeve is the fact that I don’t put my shoes away in the closet and just kind of leave them where ever I take them off). Though he sometimes comments on it and gets annoyed (and if he’s already in a bad mood, he might even swear) — he generally just picks them up and puts them away. And I try to remember to put them away. But he would never yell at me or call names about it…or about anything.

        I think the most concerning part of your post is this: “It rapidly spiraled down into him saying that I’m not keeping our house up but in more *colorful* language”. It sounds like your relationship is unhealthfully misbalanced — he expects YOU to keep the house up to HIS standards or he yells at you. That’s not healthy at all.

        So I agree, you need to get counseling. If you feel emotionally abused, you probably are. Also, talk to your friends and family about this! I know its hard, but all too often people suffer through this sort of thing in silence and frankly it makes it worse.

    • Anastasia :

      Oof, this reminds me of some of my relatives. She – job + kids = messier house, which she is fine with. He – NO, everything must be just just so, and if not, heads will roll. This spiraled into him being resentful and emotionally abusive toward her and the kids for introducing disorder into his life. They are still married after nearly 20 years, but I believe that is only because they never could have afforded a divorce, and that she plans to leave as soon as the youngest child leaves home. Luckily, their kids are sweet, resposible young adults who seem to have emerged from that home life no worse for wear… But they join their mom in complaining about their dad, and I always find it kind of painful and sad that they all talk so badly about him.

      My point is, this may not only be a phase brought on by a new baby (which is always stressful), and you may want to consider what you will do if he turns the same behavior on your child. I hope that your relationship improves; it sounds like regular counseling could be very helpful, and I hope your husband commits to future sessions.

      • The kids may seem fine now, but growing up in a house with any kind of abuse can result in latent problems.

        Seriously, it’s bad for the kids, infinitely worse than divorce. I come off as sweet and responsible, but honestly, I have spent a LOT of time in therapy working out a lot of crap, and I’m still not over it. And my sisters and I were not the ones abused.

        I visited my family before the holidays, and it reminded my that for my own mental health, I really do need to continue living far, far, far away from them.

        • As someone who grew up in an emotionally abusive household (never directed at me), I implore you to think about your kids. Growing up, I begged my parents to divorce so I wouldn’t have to listen to their terrible exchanges. I’m working out issues in therapy and (no surprise) my parents’ marriage has spiraled into extreme disfunctionality. In my parents’ case, once the boundaries of respect were crossed they were permanently tossed aside. If you can’t work it out now, it will only get worse.

      • While I appriciate the concerns expressed by Anastasia and Anon, please do not get divorced simply because you think that he would speak like this to the child.

        Unless he is one of those people who decides he doesn’t care about seeing the kid after the divorce, he’s still going to act the way that he acts, you just won’t neccessarily be there to see it, and the kid will deal with the stress of that as well. This is not the level that would put a damper on his parental rights.

        To the OP: I agree that you have some problems to work out and that he needs to accept some of the changes in your home, but I don’t think that this is a reason to even be thinking about divorce. Sit down with the counselor and start addressing the things that set these things off, and how to avoid them as issues.

        • Agree – please don’t think about divorce right now. It’s been a tough six months, but focus on working out your issues, having more patience, and communicating better with each other.

          Fixating on imaginary divorce scenarios is a waste of energy and ultimately can make a tough but fixable situation, much worse.

        • Child of Divorce :

          Agree. As a child of divorce, my parents divorce was much more stressful on me than if my parents had stayed in their terrible marriage. My mom was infinitely better off after having left my father, but my siblings and I suffered terribly for it. Personally, I view most divorces as a selfish option for the parents to get out of their problems and heap them on the kids. Sorry if that offends those of you that think it is better for the kids to shuffle back and forth than to live in a home with a less-than-perfect marriage. Especially if one parent is emotionally abusive–that parent will get worse after the divorce and take it out on the kids.

          • My parents did not divorce when I was growing up. (They will have their 35 year anniversary this spring). My mother, however, would have been justified in leaving my father any number of times. Now that I am adult, I can appreciate that she did have that choice and made the choice to stay. For our family, it was the best decision for lots of reasons. For example, even though she no doubt would have had primary custody, I can’t imagine how visitation with my dad would have been without her there to run interference when he was being unreasonable. (My dad has boderline personality disorder.) Now that we’re adults, my siblings and I have learned how to have a good relationship with him, even though he sometimes treats my mom and us poorly. I believe I am a stronger, better person for my experiences, thanks mainly to my mom.

            My point? There’s no automatic “right” answer in these situations. I have no doubt that divorce is the better of the options for the kids in plenty of situations. But if parents are capable of coexisting and treating each other with respect, IMHO, staying together even when there’s not romantic love between them anymore is worth considering. I have no idea if this is something that would be appropriate in the OP’s situation. Just my two cents.

      • Another Anon :

        I agree with Anon. My mother has a high tolerance for emotional abuse, but as a sensitive kid, I did not handle it well whether it was directed at me or not. I moved to the other side of the country for college on purpose and refused to study abroad in a neighboring country because it would be too close. My 20s were a mess in the failure to launch sense and I am relieved to finally be able to afford the mental health care I have needed for a long time. However, I still have problems due to my father’s outbursts several times per day over minor annoyances.

        This is not to say that divorce is the best answer. Healing is necessary for all regardless of whether you stay together or not.

        My father has a thyroid problem. Medication reduced his outbursts by about 50%. Also, since this is corporette, can you use money to alleviate the problem? Can your family hire a regular housekeeper?

    • Relationship counseling is a lot of work. You need to go weekly and stick with it. You wouldn’t expect to see results at the gym after one work out, don’t expect relationship counseling to show results after one session. That said, make sure you think the counselor is good and someone you want to stick with. I found three months of weekly sessions made a world of a difference but you both really need to want to make it work.

    • How old is the baby? I can’t tell from your timeline whether maybe the problems appeared when the baby was born. If so, it could just be your husband’s (unhealthy, dysfunctional) way of dealing with the stress/adjustment period. Did he ever act like this before? Either way, regular counseling may help. It’s good that he went with you once. See if he will go more regularly (like weekly or at least monthly).

      I think you should make a fair and honest effort to get the marriage back on track. If it doesn’t work, it might be best to accept the “d word” and move on.

      For what it’s worth, I’m married, but for less time than you and I haven’t had these kinds of issues. My husband and I fight from time to time (and did all through the 6 years we dated prior to marriage), including yelling and sometimes cursing- we both curse a lot generally anyway. But it’s not often and it doesn’t last. We’re quick to apologize and move on. I will say 90% of our fights are about stupid stuff on the surface, but bigger stuff underneath- like the argument you described about hair clips on the door handle, which is really about cleaning the house in general. So that, at least, is fairly common.

      • Anonymous :

        This sounds like me and my husband too. You may also want to consider whether or not you think you or hubby may have mild postpartum depression. My husband and I had an extremely difficult time adapting to parenthood and our baby was colicky for 5 months. I went into therapy when the baby was six months old, and husband refused to go because he does not want anyone knowing his “private” thoughts. I still continued to go and started antidepressents when the baby was just over a year. The therapy and the medication have helped tremendously, and my husband and I are almost back to the relationship we had prebaby. It doesn’t help that I work full-time and husband works part-time and watches the baby. It makes him fixate on things that make him crazy (in our case me leaving a glass in the sink instead of putting it into the dishwasher). I try to be more aware of what I am doing and basically ignore him if he is unreasonable. We just moved and I started a much less stressful job, so that has also helped.

    • another anon :

      Not a long term solution, but can you get a maid to come in once a week, at least while the baby is still small? This obviously does not solve the underlying issue, and I agree with the other posters who say you should go to counseling, but it might at least take some of the pressure off and make your life a bit easier while you two are working things out.

    • My experience – we both had to learn to let go. If he’s being crazy, then ignore it or gently acknowledge it and move on. If he brings it up again, then treat it like a real problem and sit down and work it out, calmly and politely. Remember that you love each other, and probably really want to make each other happy. Sometimes my husband gets hung up on things that I find baffling, but it means a lot more to him then it does to me. And vice-versa. End result in our house, he now does his own laundry, we plan meals in advance, we got a gym membership to escape the baby-stress when required, and we’re still looking for a maid (but have accepted our wonderfully messy house in the meantime).

      You know that doorknobs are not legitimate storage areas. He knows that your guests won’t think you’re dirty people if you keep personal things out in your own space. If your issue is post-baby stress, then you guys need to attack it like a real problem and find ways to reconnect and channel this frustration into good times as a family. The baby stage won’t last long, and you’ve got the rest of your lives to clean the house.

      • You said you disagreed when he indicated (logically, imho) that it’s not appropriate to store your things on the doorknob. What did you say, exactly? And what was his response?
        You’re making it sound like you were totally reasonable and he lashed out. I don’t think you’re consciously lying or anything, but maybe you should reexamine how you yourself are approaching him. Imagine if a roommate asked you to move that stuff – would you really disagree? Couldn’t you have just moved it? Imagine, by the same token, that you informed your husband that he shouldn’t leave his guitar picks on the coffeemaker, or something. How would you feel if he dismissed your concern, and said it was fine? I know I’d be pretty damn irritated.
        I hope you take this in the intended spirit. Indeed, I actually think things aren’t as dire as you are thinking – rather, I think you have more control over the situation than you think. Best of luck to you.

        • a – good point. I can definitely (and probably did this morning) react overly defensively.

          I just struggle with always going along with what my husband wants (because it’s much more important to him than it is to me 99% of the time) when the very few things that are important to me (that he signs up for health insurance at work or doesn’t swear in front of our daugher for example) he only does if I completely put my foot down or still goes ahead and chooses to not do.

          • Ann Landers used to say, if the couple is arguing about the toilet paper…chances are the conflict is about way more than the toilet paper. Respect helps ease conflict.

            If it really is about keeping the house clean – hire a maid/cleaning service and see if that’s really what it’s about.

            There is also a great TED talk by a female executive that mentions making your partner a FULL partner in the relationship, including cleaning and child care. How full is your partnership, because I’m hoping your list of what you want from him is short due to hyperbole. You require more.

            He comes across as controlling, by my read. Don’t let him control the health of your partnership, the WE of you both manages it. Keep going.

    • Thanks to everyone for their responses. And to answer some of your questions:
      -Had a housecleaner, she was a college student who graduated at the semester so I need to find someone else.
      -The baby is 11 months. Prior to her arrival, my husband and I still had differing viewpoints but it seemed like we were to deal with them more constructively. I don’t believe I have PPD (have had depression in the past so I feel pretty confident I would be able to recognize the symptoms if I did).
      – I do think my husband might be struggling somewhat with fully adjusting to fatherhood. I also think that that I make more money and am on somewhat faster career track have given him someone inferiority feelings that comes out in telling me I’m not doing things correctly around the house.

      It’s sobering to hear how situations like this have had long-term impacts on those involved, especially the kids, but it is helfpul to have reaffirmed that the reactions I described above are not appropriate. It was also good to be reminded that counseling won’t be a quick fix but something that we will both need to commit to for a while.

    • I’m a therapist, so take this for what you wish…

      1. Therapy has to be a consistent and weekly occurrence, sometimes double (couples and independent for each person). In addition, there is often homework that has to be done. Counseling won’t work if you’re not both working on it.

      2. Are the issues basic housekeeping where making a chore chart or hiring a college kid to clean going to make things easier and you’re both snippy on other things or is this a consistent communication issue?

      …I was writing as I was reading but I got to the end and now I wonder whether this is safe for you and your child. Typically, an emotionally abusive person doesn’t change without a ton of personal work. In other words, he either needs to be going to therapy weekly (and maybe attending anger management courses) to a place you can call to verify his attendance, or you need to begin to prepare to get out for your own and your child’s safety.

      Regardless of everything else, your daughter is going to grow up learning how she should be treated. If this man, the #1 man in her life, is emotionally abusive toward her and/or to her mother, she is exponentially more likely to choose partners who mistreat her because this will be her version of normal. Even if you can’t see that you deserve better, she does… and luckily, doing what you have to so she has better also means you’ll have it.

  17. Ugh. Need to vent:
    Dear boss, don’t get on my case if I misunderstand your gibberish comments that are so illegible that you can’t even decipher them.

    • Oh, I hear ya.

      • Yep, me too. My boss writes everything as though it were a signature- letters missing/not fully formed. Ugh.

    • Equity's Darling :

      I’ve taken to asking the lawyer’s assistant when I can’t decipher things. Or our document processing department. Both are very good at reading writing that absolutely no one else can read.

      I agree about the not getting on your case though, that’s ridiculous.

    • I used to work for a man who used one symbol to represent 6 different letters.

  18. MeliaraofTlanth :

    How can I be supportive of a friend going through a rough time who is literally on the other side of the world? One of my best friends moved to Asia a few months ago for a new job opportunity. He called me this morning and is having a really tough time (one of his grandparents is really sick and it’s causing family conflict, he’s having a hard time adjusting to actually being in the same city as his girlfriend–they were long distance for years until he moved–and doesn’t think it’s going to work, he’s having a hard time adjusting/meeting new people in his new city (and doesn’t speak the most widely used language), and because of the economy, his job may not be as great as it seemed, though it’s still a little early to tell). He sounds awful and I just want to give him a hug. Because of the time difference, it’s hard to find times we’re both free to actually talk on the phone. What else can I do to help him through this?

    • Can you set up a time to skype? seeing a familiar face might really lift his spirits and feel more personal than talking over the phone. You still have to find time to do it though.

      Otherwise, maybe send a good old-fashioned care package with some of his favorite things from home. It’s kind of cheesy, but I’m sure it would totally make his week.

    • you can record him a greeting – essentially read him a letter and record it on your computer, and then send him an audio file. That way he can hear your voice, and tell him how much you want to give him a hug – and no one has to worry about being awake in the middle of the night to connect.

      • I’m someone who moved across the world and ended up in a similar situation. Besides skype and a.k.’s suggestion, maybe both install whatsapp on your phone – that way you can text for free. Also, tell him to go to his embassy’s/consulate parties (most have monthly get-togethers) and join an expat group. Irish bars (honestly, I’m serious) are usually the place in Asia (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) where a lot of the expats gather as well – since they’re all in the same boat, friendships tend to form pretty quickly. Hope this helps!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      How about opening up an email dialogue with him? I live across the country from a couple of my great friends and even the 3-hour time difference and weird work schedules makes it difficult to talk on the phone. Email definitely isn’t a great substitute, especially when there is emotional stress, but it really can help fill in when it’s just too difficult to coordinate a call. My friends and I get through things via email for awhile and then when the stars align for a phone call we jump at the chance and continue from there.

    • These adjustments are a lot more challenging than many people think. If he is keen to meet new people and/ or get out and about a bit more, some ideas include alumni association (does his university have alumni in his new city whom he can get in touch with?), sport (is there something he plays and does his office/ apartment building field a team in it ? ) or local language lessons (his teachers should be able to put him in touch with conversational partners once he has advanced a bit – usually local students trying to practice their english).

      None of this replaces the need for the occasional heart-to-heart with his old friends of course but they may help him enjoy his new city a little more.

  19. Feeling better :

    I just have to have a place to do some anonymous horn-tooting!
    My husband’s business had a rough year last year and we had $60k in credit card/credit line debt in Oct. 2011. By the end of that year, it was down to $45,000.

    This year was a good year for both of us. As of today, we have no unsecured debt, have paid off our second mortgage and refinanced the initial one at a lower rate, have less than $30k left on my student loans, and outright own both of our newish vehicles and a small airplane he uses to travel to work around the country. Four months ago, we closed all of our credit cards (except one that we kept open, but cut up the card) and our credit lines at the banks.

    We have a month’s worth of savings built up and within the next 30 days, should be able to pay off the student loan and have a years’ worth of savings, based on money we have coming in.

    We are 32/33 and our goal has always been to pay off our house and be completely debt free by the time we’re 40, while continuing to fund our retirement. For the first time in our 10-year marriage, I feel like that is possible.

    Such a good feeling. Sure, the money is nice, but the security and peace of mind is really the best feeling.

    In addition to not being able to tell anyone in my real life about this (my parents would die if they knew I had that much cc debt in my life) I wanted to give some hope to people who are in that predicament now that things can turn around and small changes can make a big difference.
    Happy new year to us!

  20. Congratulations!

  21. Just a small, insignificant vent:

    Please do not call sunglasses “sunnies”!! I don’t know why, but this drives me CRAZY!!

    That’s all…Happy New Year!

    • That is so hilarious. I just saw that for the first time on a website this morning and thought it was odd.

    • Of course not! Sunnies are fish. :)

    • Always a NYer :

      You can thank Rachel Zoe for that ;)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      There is a university that releases a list of words and phrases that people shouldn’t say anymore that is pretty funny. My pet peeve phrase of “at the end of the day” isn’t on it, but some of the suggestions are entertaining. I’ll post the link in a sec to avoid moderation.

  22. Thought I’d tell you all about the project I’ve been working on for the past 2 days. I’m on vacation, but I’m working on a project for my dad’s birthday. He’s turning 70 next month.

    I basically stole this idea:

    But I don’t have a printer. My dad has one, but it’s hooked up to his laptop and that would basically give the game away. So I got business cards printed up with the instructions at Staples. They do postcards, but it was quite expensive and they wouldn’t sell the blank postcards so I bought blank index cards. I put numbers on them with colored sharpies. I’m going to print out the labels on his printer when he goes out to the hot tub as usual.

    My brother and sister said they’d help, but it’s been just me, with some assistance from my mom. I think my dad will like it, though.

  23. Jacqueline :

    Ladies, I’m curious about your thoughts on 401(k) investing when your company does not provide a match. I recently changed jobs and went from a company that gave up to a 5% match to a company that gives no match. However, I also got a significant raise at the new job, so I have a lot more money to invest in my 401(k). Should I still max it out before moving my remaining spare cash at the end of the month to other savings vehicles (like a Roth IRA), or am I better off having more liquid funds, or maxing out the Roth first, or buying individual stocks… or what? I know there isn’t really a right answer to this, but it would be helpful to hear how others handle it. For what it’s worth, I am debt-free and already have an emergency fund and plenty of liquid savings, so I don’t need to build that up at this point.

    • IMHO i would 1) max out the Roth, assuming you still qualify for it, and then b) max out the 401(k), assuming you like the 401(k) investment options themselves. Sounds like you don’t need more cash sitting around, and buying individual stocks is rarely a good idea for most investors.

      The Roth is a good savings vehicle assuming your tax rate in the future will be higher than it is now, and the 401(k) also has valuable tax benefits which are still worthwhile even without the match. Again, assuming the investment options are good and expenses are reasonable.

      • Check if your work has a Roth 401(k) available. Then you don’t have to set up a separate Roth and you can make out your 401(k) in a Roth vehicle, with the taxes prepaid.

        There’s always a debate on whether it is better to use Roth or a tax-deferred vehicle. However, assuming that your tax rate in retirement will be higher, it is better to pay taxes now and use a Roth. It is hard to predict tax rates, but have you looked at our deficit recently? And pre-1986 tax rates (much, much higher than today)?

    • Suze Orman says…

      if your company has a match, fund your retirement there up to the max, then stop. from there (or if your company does not have a match), fund a Roth IRA.

      Ideally, you want that maxed each year plus zero credit card debt, 8-12 mos of living expenses in savings, and then pay down/off student loans (which typically have a lower interest rate than any other loan).

      Hope this helps!

    • karenpadi :

      If you can, I’d still max out the 401(k). Above a certain income, people are no longer eligible for Roth IRAs and taxes become a much bigger deal. A 401(k) is just a way to shelter some money from taxes until retirement.

    • Like the others, max out both your 401k and your Roth (if you qualify). It’s all tax free (at some point). Then invest in the indivudal stock market – maybe just a variable CD to begin with.

    • Jacqueline :

      Thanks, all! That’s what I was thinking, but it helps to have it confirmed. I probably need to do some further investigation about the expense ratios on the funds available in my 401 (k), but assuming they’re decent, I’ll try to max it out along with a Roth.

      • Money-grubber :

        I work in biglaw. There is no match. The way I do things is, (1) max out my Roth 401(k) (can’t open, but can convert) (I max this first because generally once your employment is terminated/you receive your last bit of salary, you can’t contribute anymore (until you have a new employer that sponsors a 401(k) plan in which you are eligible to participate), and I am always nervous about layoffs given the past few years, or just being asked to leave). (2) Then, max out my Roth IRA. (For both cases, Roths because I presume taxes will be higher when I start dipping in, both because taxes need to be higher and because I presume I will be in a higher bracket.) (3) Then put money into a mutual fund. (Biglaw says we aren’t allowed to trade individual stocks, and I am happy to put my money away and not have to think about what to buy/sell.) (0/4) I also have about $20K in a savings account. (I am in a pretty lucky living situation; my monthly expenses are about $800/month + food, so this is quite a safe amount for me.)

        Right now, all of these things are basically losing me money or at best breaking even (except the savings account money, which has maybe 0.1% interest? Something piddly). But I figure that over the long term, either they will get better and I will start making money on these stupid investments, or things in the world will get so bad that it doesn’t matter what I do with the money right now, so why worry?. Every once in a while, I investigate whether I should be doing something besides contributing to a mutual fund like a lemming, but then I am reminded that the next step is less liquid investments, like real estate, and I don’t like money enough to start looking into things like that.

        Also, if you aren’t making enough money to contribute fully to an IRA and 401(k), then it might make sense to contribute to one more than the other based on matching status. But if you have >$20K to save per year, you should absolutely contribute to both. They are both ways to save for retirement while avoiding some tax, so if you are saving $X, you might as well save it in a tax-efficient way. Even if there is no matching, there is still a decent-sized benefit to you.

        • ? huh? can you tell us more about the law firm’s ban on investing in stocks? how can they tell you what to do with your private money? my company has a ban on selling our company stock during certain periods for corrurption prevention purposes, but beyond that i’ve never heard of this, so curious.

          • This is pretty common in law firms. Big firms work on so many large companies including M&A work, that the risk of inadvertent (or even intentional) insider trading is just too large. Even in firms that don’t ban trading you might have to clear trades with some sort of ethics committee first. It is sort of like the issues you have at your company, times hundreds or thousands of clients being handled by the firm.

          • got it- interesting- thanks.

  24. Anyone have tips on starting a blog that remains anonymous? Best format- blogger? wordpress? I want to transition to a niche practice of law different from my current employer, so no competition, but also plan to do it in my spare time and don’t need them to know about it. Anyone (besides Kat!) do this? TIA !

  25. Sydney Bristow :

    I need some online dating advice please! Hopefully this is different than what has been discussed before, but if it has please feel free to let me know/direct me to the old threads.

    One of my goals for 2012 is to get out there and start dating again. For now, I’m going to be using OK Cupid. Does anyone have any advice for how to decide what to include in the profile? I feel like everything I try to write comes out sounding so generic and boring. Specific advice or other sources to look at (blog posts, books, articles, etc) would be awesome.

    I’m definitely going to try out the advice that’s been given before about going out with lots of people that I talk to, not getting trapped emailing back and forth forever, etc. I’m excited to put myself back out there after quite awhile of focusing on other things in life.

    • good for you! while i’m not familar with OK Cupid specifically – IMHO, the best way to write an online profile is
      1) read thru a bunch of other profiles (male and female) to get a feel for it
      2) jot down 5 or 6 personality traits/hobbies/characteristics you think are important for someone to know
      3) invite a good friend over, crack open a bottle of wine, and
      4) start writing.

      the ideal profile is brief but funny, witty (if you think you’re witty), free of grammatical and/or spelling errors, and has a few unique things that give prospective date-rs something to write/chat to you about.

      and just as importantly (like it or not) – the photo. include 2 or 3 flattering photos, at least one of which shows you doing something other than [standing around at a party posing for a photo].

      i agree with the advice others have given about dating lots of people and not wasting too much time on the emails before meeting in person.

      my last piece of advice – which may seem contradictory: don’t take it personally. really. people you contact won’t email you back, some guys will go out with you once and then not again … whatever. don’t burn energy wondering why this guy didn’t do that thing. doesn’t matter. the beauty of online dating is you can move on to the next one.

      good luck!

    • Jacqueline :

      First of all, good luck! It’s exciting that you’re going to give online dating a try. I used OK Cupid this summer, and while I didn’t find anything serious, there were some good guys on the site, especially if you like the creative types.

      As for what to include in your profile, I can empathize with the challenge… it does seem like after awhile, everything feels cliched and boring. And while music/book tastes don’t really tell you that much about a person, everyone seems to include them! I would add a paragraph about what you’re looking for/hope to get out of the site (it can be pretty general, but be sure to say if you’re looking to just meet people or if you’re hoping to find something more serious).

      Also, don’t be afraid to have a close friend or two review it before you post. I thought I had a decent profile, but after having several friends review it separately and give me similar feedback, I realized it was a little too serious and didn’t reflect my offline self as much as I’d like.

      Lastly, give yourself a time limit and then just decide that whatever you have is going live. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! Getting a decent profile up is better than agonizing over one for months in hopes of getting that just-right turn of phrase.

      Good luck, and have fun out there! Post updates if you can.

    • There’s some research about how to construct personal ads that gets touched on here (scroll down):

    • I find that ok cupid is hit or miss, so be specific in what you’re looking for so you don’t get tons of marriage-seekers if you want casual hookups or vice versa. Also, the site only seems to put you on people’s lists if you spend a lot of time on it, so don’t expect to be passive.

      I tried to join match but they billed me twice. When I disputed one charge, they froze my account and said they’d rather refund me the other than unfreeze it, so I’m done with that.

      I do kinda wish though that we had Corporette dating of some sort… I’d bet people here have tons of attractive (and obviously professional) colleagues who just isn’t the right fit for them. Wish we could trade and set each other up!

      • DC Kolchitongi :

        I wish there were Corporette personals, too! I’m happily married, but my brother could really use them. He likes smart, driven women and has a hard time meeting them in his current location of small-town North Carolina. I would be so happy if I could put him on a dating site full of Corporettes!

        Kat, can you make this happen please? :)

    • My sole piece of advice would be not to say that you’re looking for a “partner in crime.” For some reason, everyone on online dating sites seems to include that line.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Thanks all! I’m taking the advice of getting it up instead of waiting for it to be perfect and will be putting it up tomorrow. Choosing my username turned out to be the hardest part!

      • Yay! you could always revise it if you think of a better way to express something along the way. You’ll get a better feel for the profiles as you use it. I haven’t used ok cupid, but used eharmony, and made some tweaks to my profile in the process, especially after dud dates.

    • I second the advice to just put something together and post it, without agonizing too much over the details. I had the same resolution as you, and jump-started it a few days early. I also agree that you should have friends look at it — both male & female. Mine was too serious at first and didn’t really reflect who I am, but it was easy to fix after the fact. I set up my profile on OkCupid just before Christmas and already have 5 dates lined up for this week and next. More excited about some than others, but you never know! Good luck!

  26. Another “what to do I wear in this poorly-defined professional situation” question: I’m meeting a contact over coffee to discuss a position I’m considering applying for. A suit would be overkill, and it’s a holiday, so I can’t claim I’m headed into work later. Would I be okay in dark jeans, heels, and a nice top, or should I wear something more business-y?

    I don’t know his exact position or role in the hiring process (and the usual googling/company website checks haven’t helped), but I want to be sure I make a good impression, of course! I’m not telling anyone IRL that I’m looking at other positions (which is an issue unto itself), but I’m really glad I have Corporette to lean on! Thanks in advance, ladies!

    • Anne Shirley :

      Last time I did that I wore jeans, heels, a blouse, and a blazer, which I think is formal enough to show that you’ll dress okay on the job.

      • I like the jeans+blazer idea, but I don’t own a casual blazer (I’m kind of ashamed to admit that here!) Maybe it’s time I did a little after-Christmas shopping. Thanks!

        • Me either! I can’t find a nice petite one that is tailored (not boxy) and in a reasonable price range. I’m on the constant lookout though…

          • I feel better knowing I’m not the only one! If you find a good one, please share – the boxiness has been a big problem for me, too.

    • I second the jeans + casual blazer suggestion.

    • dc 'rette :

      I think a sweater is fine instead of a blazer. I’d wear jeans or cords, a top that’s neither a t-shirt nor sparkly/shiny/going-out-ish and a cardigan.

  27. Maternity clothes: update for non-Canadiennes.. I’m 4 months pregnant, been piecing together a wardrobe here for corporate wear with mixed results in Seattle. Went to Vancouver for a few days for fun, on the way out of town today checked a second-hand maternity/kids shop, and VOILA: whole new brands of nice stuff! Things from Paris, Australia, and a brand called Thyme I don’t know where is from. Point being: sad that we don’t have access to this stuff in the US- it is better than Motherhood crap- but glad I live near the border now that I know. If only I’d made the rounds while in Montreal last fall, bet they have some nice stuff.

  28. Seeking suggestions: I’m expecting a healthy bonus this year, but most of it needs to go to debt reduction and unexciting household needs. I have wanted nice diamond stud earrings for years, but I still can’t justify the price tag. I’d like to try good quality CZ, and the period after bonuses are disbursed is a perfect time to roll out some new fake jewelry credibly. Can anyone recommend a seller? I’ve looked online, and Mystique of Palm Beach looks good, but it’s hard to tell. And does anyone know if good quality CZ will look sufficiently real?

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t do it IMHO. Save for the real thing. CZs are easy to spot (if such things matter to you).
      Ideal-cut diamonds that have inclusions and a yellow tinge make great earrings and are quite affordable (no one will closely inspect your earrings, they just notice the sparkle).
      Or if you want fakes look at Swarovski studs. Way cheaper, same effect.

      • Well, I do want the earrings to look real. It seems ideal cut real diamond earrings with inclusions and a yellow tinge, just over 1.5 tcw, will run me nearly six grand on Blue Nile. That’s a lot of money, to me. Maybe I just need to wait a few more years.

        • FWIW, go to a jewellery store and try on. “H-I-J” diamonds are so much more expensive than “K-L” diamonds (Blue Nile doesn’t sell them) with an I1-I3 and the difference is really tough to see for earrings and pendants.
          Also, a .75 carat stone is frigging huge so I’m wondering if you’ve tried them on? (Just asking, different stones for different body types and regions of the country).
          The thing with fakes is they’re often poorly set and mounted — dead givaway of cheap jewellery (sometimes that’s OK). Well crafted CZs are great but I’d bet the people you work with will be able to spot the difference. Buy what you love and makes you happy.
          You’ll likely be able to get a pair of .94 TW studs (with some resale value) for well under $1000 if you look around. HTH

      • These ones (for fifty bucks) look really nice IRL:

    • I don’t have suggestions for where to buy but I love my CZ earrings. My husband wanted to get diamonds but my cheapskate practical side just can’t abide that kind of expenditure for jewelry. I am no discerning jewelry shopper but they look real to me. YMMV. I don’t really care if people think they are real or fake or whatever though.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      For anyone buying diamonds this article is extremely interesting:

      This is probably harsh, but after reading this, I honestly will judge everyone for buying real diamonds. They are like Uggs. Your desire for them, and their price is completely manufactured. Why should you pay more for them than for CZ?

      • I don’t mind if you judge me. Ethically sourced diamonds mined by union aboriginal workers can and do change lives in remote communities. I’ve seen it, and I’m proud to wear the product.
        But to each their own.

  29. Happy New Year!

  30. Happy 2012, everyone!

    I almost started the year by ordering this suit from BR (see skirt here: Whoops! So glad I looked at the back view. WTF are you thinking, BR??? I know people’s opinions vary on exposed zippers, but seriously, this is one accident away from disaster, no? ;)

    • dc 'rette :

      I’m not against all exposed zippers, but an exposed zipper that also goes the entire length of the garment strikes me as pretty overtly sexy. Also, I’d be concerned that, if it can be unzipped from the bottom (as opposed to just having a decorative zipperhead there), it could accidentally be unzipped and make the slit in the skirt really high. My jacket unzips from the bottom, and it regularly unzips itself when I twist around in it.

      • My fear exactly! Also, not that this is the case for ALL exposed zippers, but one that unzips the whole length down your a** seems unnecessarily suggestive, no?

  31. I’ve finally gotten tired enough of not printing out my digital pictures that I’m going to start making photo books for every year. The problem is that the choices are overwhelming. One thing I would really like is to have the year of each book – 2011, 2010, etc. – printed on the spine. It doesn’t seem like a huge request, but I can’t seem to figure out which services offer that. Also, I would like to be able to make my own pages without templates so I can add a text box or picture wherever I want. I know Snapfish won’t do either of these things. Any suggestions? I also care about quality, of course, so if it appears there aren’t any good choices with these features, I will just pick the highest quality.

    Thank you in advance!!

    And happy new year!

    • dc 'rette :

      Shutterfly! I just made photobooks for a friend and they were very affordable, with options to design your own or to use a template, and you can customize the cover and put the title on the spine.

    • don’t know, except, NOT snapfish for anything! Just ordered prints- they are awful quality, it was a pain from flickr, and they are spamming me despite unsubscribing 3x already.

    • I used recently to print digital photos for framing and was blown away by the quality. It puts anything I’ve received from Shutterfly or Snapfish to shame. Plus, the prices are incredibly reasonable.

      I think Mpix has a book option, but I haven’t looked into it. I don’t know if it fits your exact needs, but it’s worth considering.

    • I can’t recommend MyPublisher highly enough! I just finished a photobook myself and it turned out great. The quality of the finished product is fantastic and the software is the right mix of easy to use templates and customization.

    • I’ve had great results with Blurb. Layouts are adjustable, or you can choose blank pages, add text boxes, headlines, etc. We did wedding photo albums for the parents who just LOVED them.

    • Classof2011 :

      I second my publisher. I chose it to make a photo book from my wedding for my parents. High quality all the way.

      Here is a good run down of the top online photo book sites:

      This really helped me make my decision. All the sites run specials all the time, so you can always save your project and order it when a good promotion comes along.

  32. screwedup :

    I need advice! How do you deal with a terrible mistake you made at work? I started a job a short time ago and am still getting used to it. I really need this job and need to do well in it. Unfortunately, I made a stupid assumption I shouldn’t have made and a clerical error resulted. A deadline was missed by a few minutes. I have looked into it and the mistake can probably be fixed but worst case scenario is that it costs the company a lot of money. I am going to speak to my boss about it as soon as I go back to work but I am terrified about how to approach the subject. You ladies always have such good advice. Please help!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Be direct and own the mistake. Go in with a corrective plan of action to rectify, as well as your plan of action to avoid this happening again. Everyone makes mistakes. Fix it, learn from it, and move on.

    • Another Sarah :

      As my boss says, if you make a mistake and it’s fixable, it’s ok – it means you’re doing something. People who don’t do anything also don’t make mistakes. You know how to fix it, and even if it costs the company a lot of money, you probably won’t make the mistake again. So own up and say, “I messed up, but I fixed it, and it won’t happen again.” :-)

    • Do you have clients, or will this directly cost your company money? If this is something that would cost a *client* money, your firm/company is likely to eat the cost. Not awesome, but at least it doesn’t damage the client relationship.

      If it’s your company that will be directly on the hook, then figure out what the costs will be (best-case, worst-case, middle-case), and try to also guess how likely each outcome is. Present that to your boss, taking full ownership for the error.

      • screwedup :

        Thanks for the advice, all. My plan is to explain my mistake, apologize, explain what I will do to ensure it won’t happen again, and suggest a solution to the problem.

  33. Anyone feeling blab with their makeup? I am on the fair side and all of a sudden all my makeup seems beige and dull. Anyone have subtle face brightening or makeup favs they love? Thinking I need a foundation that is uber moisturizing with a pinky hue. Any pretty eyeshdows you’ve seen lately?
    Happy new year!

    • *blah

      • A light application of bright peach or pink blush will perk you right up. I’m a big fan of Lorac. Lorac Exposed is a nice peach blush and Lorac Flaunt is a bright pink. Revlon’s Berry Flirtatious cream blush is nice for a more subtle but natural glow.

    • I’m fair as well and absolutely love the Laura Mercier kit in “Nude.” The eyeshadow colors are great, it comes with a nice eyeliner and great blush and highlighter. It’s now my one and only for makeup needs (just need the mascara separately) which makes it amazing to travel with.

  34. new poster :

    Hi–I just wanted to say thank to everyone who helped with advice about a down jacket for my January Chicago trip. I ended up buying the one I saw at Loehmann’s. I just tried it on again inside my apartment, and was immediately so hot that I had to take it off. So I think it should be good for the trip! Thanks and happy new year!

  35. Fashion Faux Pas :

    Any suggestions for a top to wear under the Nanette Lepore constellation top (I’m not posting a link to avoid moderation.). It’s very sheer and I always struggle with what to wear under sheer blouses. TIA!

    • I normally wear beige camisoles under tops like this. Beige is similar enough in color to the top so it doesn’t scream “exposed undergarment”, especially if beige is at all close to your skin color.

  36. Anon-a-boot :

    Okay, hoping the collective wisdom here can help with a rather embarrassing wardrobe issue. I live in a city that necessitates wearing boots to/from work at least 4 months of the year. My commuting boots are amazing — weatherproof black leather that looks decent enough that I could wear them at work (but usually I do change into heels when I get to the office).

    The problem? Smelly smelly smelly. This isn’t a usual issue for me except in boot weather, and I’ve tried cleaning the inside of the boots, using odor-killing sprays, etc., which seems to work…until I wear them again, at which point it’s back with a vengeance. Please help!!

    • Always a NYer :

      Are you wearing the boots barefoot? I’d think if you were wearing socks or knee-highs that could cut down on the odor issue.

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