Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Soul & Funk Jacket

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

Nanette Lepore Soul & Funk Jacket Can I just ask: why do so many of the models in the Saks’ blazer section look like androgynous aliens? No matter — the point worth focusing on is that Saks is having a pretty great sale right now. Take, for example, this Nanette Lepore “Soul & Funk” jacket. I like the shawl collar, the fabric details on the collar and pockets, and the fact that I think this would be a hugely versatile jacket (for both soul and funk purposes). It was $378, but is now marked to $264 (and with four sizes left, too). Nanette Lepore Soul & Funk Jacket

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

Psst: A lot of previous Splurge blazers are on sale right now also — check ’em out at the Corporette Bargains page!


  1. Austin Advice :

    Re-posting from the weekend because I think I posted too late to get many responses:

    Looking for advice about things to do in Austin, TX. I will be there for a few days this month for work, but will have one whole day free, as well as one afternoon. I will be staying downtown near the Appeals Court on San Jacinto Blvd. Any advice for fun things to see like museums or places to eat? TIA.

    • Cornellian :

      Despite the handle, I’m also a longhorn, so this is my take:

      -the student library is about a 25 minute walk north of you on the south side of campus, and worth a look. It’s also cheap enough that if you just have an hour to spend it’s probably still worth it.
      -there’s also an archive with a gutenberg bible and lots of cool other original texts, which is free.
      -go running/biking/stand up paddling/etc on Lady Bird Lake. I don’t think the turtles will be out yet, but you may see a couple turtles sunning themselves on the tributaries, which is super cool. This can be combined with…
      -swimming at Barton Springs! I think it’s still free this time of year, or it’s $3. Depends a bit on the weather, but the springs is a fixed temperature so there will be people there every single day of the year. If it’s not warm enough to swim, I still think it’s worth taking a book and dipping your feet in.
      -Austin’s museum of modern art is on Congress. It’s neat, sort of small, but if that’s your thing.
      -check out a movie at one of the alamo drafthouse locations. It’s like a restaurant meets a bar meets a movie theatre. You write down your orders on little slips of paper and bent over waiters run through to pick them up, then come and drop off your food/milkshake (highly recommended)/drinks as you’re watching some popular or arthouse movie. They also have neat singalong and other features if you’re a devotee of a certain film.
      -drink all the margaritas.
      -hang out on east sixth street (you can take a pedicab from where you are, tip maybe $10? all done by tips) and eat food truck food.

      So jealous. Have fun and be prepared for probably mild but sort of unpredictable weather. My first December there I went swimming in 90 degree weather at barton springs and then got stuck in snow the same day.

      • OMG yes! How could I have forgotten to include the Alamo Drafthouse!! Make sure you get to the movie about an hour early. Instead of doing the usual stupid movie quizzes and ads pre-show, they put together a whole clip reel filled with clips of movies similar to the one you’re going to see, interviews with the actors, funny clips from old PSAs, etc. Missing it is like missing part of the show.

      • Cornellian :

        I meant student art museum. not library.

    • Will you have a car? If so, go to Mi Victoria on Burnet (pronounced BURNit, btw) and get breakfast tacos. Make sure you get some of the salsa verde to go on them. Take a stroll down South Congress and poke in the shops there. For lunch, check out the food trucks on South Congress, or head over to the east side and go to the food trucks on East 6th. After all that heavy food, take a run or a walk along the river at Zilker park. Or, if you feel up to it, swim in Barton Springs — a natural spring made into a public pool that stays exactly the same temperature year round. You can also rent kayaks, canoes, or bikes in the park. In the evening, get to the 6th St bridge to see the bats fly out for the night. Then walk along 6th St (on the west side) and stop in at any bars that have live music that sounds good to you. If you have a car and some time, hop in your car mid-morning the next day and drive to Lockhart for barbecue. Black’s, Smitty’s, and Kreuz’s (pronounce “krites”) are all terrific (you’ll smell the barbecue before you even get into town). By noon most places have a line out the door. If you can’t leave town, try Franklin’s. You have to get to Franklin’s EARLY. They’re wildly popular and once they sell out of barbecue for the day, they shut down. If you want a snack later in the day, try kolaches. They’re czech buns filled with sweet or savory fillings and there are lots of kolaches shops all around Austin. For museums, UT’s Blanton Museum is an excellent art museum and the Museum of Texas across the street is definitely worth your time.

    • anon in tejas :

      here’s my advice. I live/love Houston, but my husband is Austin born and raised. So, we’ve spent a ton of time there.

      — south congress (fun shops, food, drinks, people watching, Amys ice cream)
      — trudys for mexican martinis, queso and other delicious food
      — lbj presidential library (if you’re into that sort of thing)
      — texas capitol (beautiful building and session starting this week, would be nice to walk around a little bit if you want to stretch your legs)
      — franklin’s bbq (or salt lick if you can’t make franklins)
      — you’ll be really close to town lake– take a run or walk.
      — bats on congress bridge, they come out, it’s kinda cool
      — UT Austin campus (you’ll be close to it, but honestly, I think that there is nothing too remarkable)

      as for food, Austin has great tex-mex, bbq and burgers. some ethnic food, and a good food truck culture.

      It is likely waaay to cold to consider barton springs, but Austin is also a very active/outdoorsy town.

      • In the Pink :

        I second the bats! Great from the park/walkway behind the Four Seasons hotel…might be coldish and rainy…but amazing.

    • Don’t know if this is your style, but LadyBird Johnson started a wildflower place about an hour outside Austin.

      I’m a vegetarian, but even I took my parents to Salt Lick when they came to visit me in Austin.

      The Hill Country is close by and you can do some great hikes there.

      Lots of people like Barton Springs, but my favorite for lapswimming was Deep Eddy. There’s also a heated pool on the south side of the river, East of Congress

    • Anon in ATX :

      My favorite Tex-Mex is Guero’s on S. Congress. Frozen margs are excellent! Across the street is Home Slice which is very good pizza that is super-cheap if you are eating by the slice. We like to peruse Vulcan Video around the corner from Guero’s if there is a long wait for a table.

      Alamo Drafthouse now has all reserved seating, so purchase tickets in advance for best seat choices. check out there website, they have some really unique shows.

      If you have a car, and like shopping, check out the Domain, which is north from Downtown on HW 1 (Mopac). They also have some great restaurants, I like NoRTH and Sushi Zushi the best.

      • Goosebumpy :

        Second Guero’s. The fajitas are fantastic. Be on the lookout for celebrities–I’ve heard Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey are fans.

    • I don’t know a lot about the museums in Austin not sure I’ve ever been to one. One of my favorite things about Austin is Ladybird Lake. There is something to do for everyone – if you’re very active, go for a run or a walk the loop is 10 miles total, but there are smaller 3, 4, or 5 mile loops as well. It is very highly travelled, and there are maps along the way to help you. You can get on the water as well with canoes/kayaks, etc.

      If you like coffee shops, I’d suggest Mozarts, which is also on the lake. I highly recommend the espresso, the empanadas, and ANY of the desserts.

      If you’re into music, it just so happens to be free music week here in Austin, so I’d suggest checking out the Austin Chronicle website for a list of shows! There is definitely something for everyone.

      If you like high end shopping and dining, I’d suggest the second street district in downtown – boutiques and trendy restaurants. I love Second Bar + Kitchen.

      Finally, the South Congress area is a go-to when I have people visit me for the funky shopping and the food trucks that serve just about anything.

      Right now, it is quite cold here! I actually had to pull out my wool coat the last few days (at least in the morning). The sun usually warms everything up for the afternoon though. Of course, if you’re visiting later in the morning, it’ll probably be bordering on hot again!

  2. Always a NYer :

    Not feeling this jacket much…

    Who else watched and loved the return of Downton Abbey last night?! I spent the last four days watching seasons 1 and 2 in time for the start of 3. My *own* copy of Season Three arrives at the end of the month and I’ll probably finish it in an afternoon, two days at most.

    Who’s up for a game of MFK, Downton-style? For me, I’d f-ck Kemal, kill Thomas, and marry Branson. Now your turn!

    • Me me me!! I watched it at 9 then fell asleep while it repeated itself on my tv….
      f-ck Branson, marry Matthew kill Thomas

    • Equal opportunity MFK... :

      F- Mary, marry Sybil, kill Edith.

    • f*ck Branson; marry Bates; kill Thomas

    • Purplepear :

      Am I the only one who’d like to try out Thomas? I know he’s gay but let’s pretend he’s not. I’d marry Matthew and kill Bates.

  3. Come on, do you have to make fun of the models? We are all beautiful and she can’t help the body she was born with.

    • She can control the “I have come to your planet to destroy you” look on her face.

      • More like, the creative director or whoever’s running the fashion shoot needs to stop telling the model to make that expression. And whoever is going through the raw photos should stop picking the ones with “WILL DESTROY YOU” face.

      • I think it’s mostly that her eyebrows are so light. That’s been a huge trend in modeling. Can’t tell whether hers are naturally that light (common for many blondes) or intentionally lightened.

        The same expression with darker eyebrows would probably not seem as striking.

        • http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374306422153&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446401303&R=641233908246&P_name=Ali+Ro&N=306422153&bmUID=jMlxB9o

          Click the middle photo

          The brunette alien invader from Planet Zod BEGS TO DIFFER! DEATH RAYS ENGAGED!

          • Haha. This made me chuckle. Perhaps my alien paranoia is dangerously low… #firsttogo

      • “destroy you”? I think she looks like she’s saying “really? This jacket? You want me to wear this stupid jacket with this top? Whatever. Moron!”

  4. NYC Advice :

    If you had 3 hours in Times Square area around lunch on a Saturday, alone, what would you do? I’m up for a great lunch restaurant suggestion (esp. one with a bar where I could eat) or I could happily eat street meat if there is an activity/attraction I could do instead.

    • Cornellian :

      Go up to top of the Rock 7 blocks north, maybe? It’s a tourist heavy area and I don’t know any awesome restaurants despite working here. Bricklane Curry is good. You’re also very close to the diamond district if you like shopping for jewelry.

    • Walk a little way to Hell’s Kitchen and go to kyotofu and make sure to get the dessert tofu!

      Honestly, I’d probably do something embarassingly touristy like ice skating (walk to Central Park or Bryant Park or just go to Rockefeller).

      • Second for Bryant Park. The ‘wichcraft sandwich kiosks have good food, and even if you don’t skate it’s a nice place to hang out. Stop into Kinokunia (it has a small cafe on the second floor that overlooks the park) for bestsellers, excellent Japanese paper and office and craft supplies, and lots more.

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          If you are going to Bryant Park, go to New York Public Library, and then eat at either Kati Roll (39th & 6th) or ‘wichcraft (but it’s overpriced). The celsius bar right next to Bryant park is fun, but not really an afternoon activity.

    • Stick your head into the Church of St. Mary the Virgin – behind an utterly unremarkable facade, there’s a crazy beautiful neo-Gothic interior.

    • If you want a splurge-y meal, go to Aureole or Lambs Club. Another nice restaurant is Osteria al Doge. If you want a more casual meal and the weather is nice, you could go to Bryant Park and eat at Wichcraft (tomato soup is delicious, as are the sandwiches). I think the skating rink and some shops are still up in Bryant Park. There is also a Le Pain Quotidien just off Bryant Park (you can sit inside).

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Love Toloache–at 50th and 8th–has a great tequila bar with good margaritas.

    • On a Saturday at lunchtime, Times Square is packed with tourists traveling in packs. I’d hop over to Ellen’s fave Lord and Taylor (5th Ave & 38th St) for some shopping and have a Cuban sandwich, tostones, and a mojito at Havana NY (38th btwn 5th & 6th Aves).

    • NYC Advice :

      Thanks so much for the great suggestions. Keep them coming.
      I actually have two windows of time there, and expect to be back, so taking all ideas and will try to pack in as much as possible.

    • If you have 3 HOUR’s, I would NOT sit around in time’s square, tho there is a great Steak place you can eat nearby called Ruth Chris a few block’s NORTH that is open on Weekend’s!

      I would also think about goeing to Rockefeler’s Center, where there are alot of places to eat and to see thing’s! If you go soon, there is ICE skateing. Yay! I went once and my dad said Rosa and I looked like balerina’s. He would NOT say that now. FOOEY on him.

      I had to WALK to work today, b/c of the fitbit, and then run down (by SUBWAY) to calender call. 6 cases and 5 dismisal’s under 3211! YAY! These lazy guy’s dont even know when NOT to show up! How dumb is that! Roberta will be thriled. The last guy was there and he said he NEEDED more time to prepare his case! I said to the judge that the case was pendeing for over a year so the judge gave him 1 week. We will be back next week, and I will RENEW my motion to dismiss b/c he does not apear to be disabeled. One thing I learned on day 1 is that the pleaintiff has the burden of PROOF! YAY!!!! Which means he looses if the judge like’s my case!

      The judge said I looked good today, and aksed if I got a nice rest. He was off and looked tanned b/c he went to Aruba. It’s a good life I told him, but I stayed in New York City all vacateion! He said I should go to Aruba b/c he goe’s every year! I do NOT want to even think what he look’s like with a batheing suit on! (He is a little guy with a big belly!).

      The manageing partner is goeing to talk to the supermarkit guy’s again. One brother, Phil, does NOT want hourley billing, but when I told the manageing partner how he was stareing at my leg’s the whole time I presented my POWERPOINT, he think’s he will go for hourley if I have another presentation and I wear my new black dress and black 9 west 3 inch closed toe pumps. Those are CONSERVETIVE and that is a good thing! Yay!

  5. http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/01/tory-burch-is-now-a-billionaire-thanks-to-chris.html

    My god, Chris Burch looks way too much like Graydon Carter here. (do a google images search for Graydon Carter, as I can’t post another URL without stupid auto-moderation kicking in.)

    They are twins, separated at birth.

    • Uncanny!

    • Very similar but Chris Burch’s hair isn’t quite as crazy!

      • OK, OK, so they shot that photo of Chris Burch during a “good hair day.” They’re still twins. ;-)

    • are we sure they aren’t the same person?? Has anyone ever seen both of them in the same room at the same time? With Bruce Wayne? Huh? Just sayin…..

  6. Networking :

    How do you keep track of your professional contacts? How often do you follow up with them? I have met a ton of people this year as a result of being the “new person” at my company, and would like to keep in touch with them as they may be helpful down the line. But I don’t work with many of them directly, and don’t really see them very often, so I’m not sure how to keep the lines open. We are not that close that they would want an “update on what I am doing” every 3-4 months like a close mentor / boss would. Thoughts?

    • S in Chicago :

      Invite on LinkedIn. It’s amazing how many folks I’ve ended up connecting with on a deeper level down the road as positions and responsibilities change over the years. It also gives a chance to brag every once in a blue moon about speaking or writing or other big projects without being too obnoxious.

    • Just off the top of my head : Make a lunch date ? Say hi when you see them logged on to the company’s chat platform (if your company has such a thing) ? Get involved with the company’s sports teams ?

      • AnonInfinity :

        Yes! These are all great ideas. Also watch for any kinds of accomplishments that any of them have (employee awards, big case wins if you are a lawyer, promotions, etc.) and email them congratulations.

  7. Also in Academia :

    So, we have just joined the ranks of CostCo members. Any tips or tricks to maximize the value of such a membership? I think we’ll break even fairly quickly (although my husband did have to restrain me from creating a spreadsheet to compare costs with our supermarket), but if I’m going to brave that place once a month I want to get the most out of it. We are a family of 4, including a baby and a toddler, if that changes your advice.

    • Not sure why your husband didn’t want you to make a spreadsheet.

      It’s a lot easier to see if you’re actually getting a better price if you do make a spreadsheet.

      Heck, I’d think a spreadsheet where you compare the cost of say: N diapers (unit cost) purchased at the supermarket vs Costco would have been how you arrived at the decision to join in the first place.

      Does the Costco you are nearest to also have gas (for your car)? Some do, and some don’t, and I have heard that the ones that do offer a nice discount compared to nearby gas stations. I know folks who have that option to fill up at Costco have saved a lot of money.

      • Also in Academia :

        And that is why I love it here, because you all understand my desire to make a spreadsheet. And the hubby wouldn’t really care, he just said it wasn’t important to him :)

      • Specifically related to babies, we love the Kirkland brand wipes bc they are huge and unscented, Kirkland formula is good and they have super cheap Hanna Anderssen pjs. Seasonal items are much cheaper Their electronics prices are good generally and they sell some nice bundles (laptops, DSLR cameras, etc). We’ve had good luck with their meats, especially the Prime beef. Kid-friendly snacks abound, freeze dried fruits, individual hummus, yogurt. Oh, and this is random, but we have gotten some surprisingly nice furniture from there.

    • Go when they have snacks.

    • Diana Barry :

      We go to costco a fair amount, but I don’t really try to maximize value. That said, my list of essentials includes:
      – TP
      – paper towels
      – kleenex
      – seltzer
      – juice (large naked juice)
      – greek yogurt 12-packs (our kids love it)
      – starbucks instant
      – boursin
      – green beans (NOTE – I don’t buy a ton of produce there bc it is hard to go through it all unless you have a party or sthg)
      – organic chicken and ground beef
      – carter’s sleepers for the kids, but only if they are $8 or less
      – infant tylenol and advil
      – toothpaste
      – shampoo, if they have a brand I like
      – diapers and pullups (note, the prices may not be as good as amazon for these)

      • Diana Barry :

        Oh, and we go around lunchtime or dinnertime and get pizza slices and a smoothie for my DH. I remember when there were 4 of us and the kids were toddler/baby, we could eat for $5.77. Now the older two demand their own slice, so it is more like $8 or $10. :)

      • I agree with all of these things, especially over-the-counter drugs like Advil. They have insanely cheap generic Claritin, multi-vitamins, Nyquil and the like, etc.

        Their organic beef and chicken are excellent, too.

      • Yeah, our list of CostCo essentials is similar. In addition to TP/Kleenex/diapers/formula/laundry and dishwasher detergent, etc, I’d include:

        WINE – so, so, so much wine
        Cheddar, Parmesan, and Mozzarella cheese
        Bags of brussels sprouts, broccoli, cartons of apples (this is really the only produce I buy there because it’s hard with just three of us to go through it)
        Frozen smoothie mix for breakfasts
        Chicken Stock
        Cans of diced tomatoes and black beans
        Dried pasta
        Coke Zero
        Dog food
        Flea and tick repellent for the dogs
        Individually packaged raw chicken breasts (two per package), which we freeze
        And we always fill the car with gas when we go

    • Experiment with Kirkland-brand products. Costco will only make a Kirkland-branded product if they determine that there is a gap in the marketplace where the existing products don’t meet consumers’ needs. Some particularly good Kirkland products:
      – Toilet paper
      – Green tea
      – Olive oil and vinegars
      – Wine/booze if your store carries them (usually white labeled from excellent producers)
      – Diapers
      – Frozen lasagna
      – Dog treats

      I also like to get fruits and vegetables from Costco. The prices are great and the produce is high quality, plus having that much will encourage you to eat lots of produce.

      Also, just wander the store sometimes and see what they have that would be overpriced at the regular grocery store. I buy a lot of bulk nuts (especially pistachios!) from Costco because they are so expensive at the grocery store.

      Their birthday cakes are quite good, too, if you’re ever having a big party for your kids.

      • My dad works at lasagna and recommends the lasagna very highly. Also the torta rolls, which freeze well and are reallyyyyy good.

        • Wow. I’m not awake yet this morning. He works at COSTCO, not at lasagna! Although that sounds delish.

          • I would love to work at lasagna. Sign me up. Though it would probably have to come with a gym membership.

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          I don’t know why, but this made me laugh out loud. I love you, thank you!

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Costco (Kirkland) Vodka is very good….

    • Man I love Costco. Think outside the box with them — they have great deals on electronics, jewelry, patio sets. Obviously don’t buy it if you don’t need it, but if you’re going to make a more major purchase, investigate whether Costco has something good.

      I’ve found them a great value for (1) men’s pants (Dockers for $20) (2) workout tops ($10) (3) sports bras (4) kids’ books (seriously awesome for presents) (5) batteries (6) razors (7) OTC drugs and (8) contact solution. Seriously, the savings on (8) is a dollar or more per bottle.

      • PharmaGirl :

        Also, eyeglasses! They have great prices on frames and lenses.

        • Yes, and you don’t even have to be a Costco member to see their eye doctor and buy glasses from them! Just walk in, and tell the card-checker you’re going to optical.

          My one tip for Costco: Don’t go on Sunday afternoons. Weekdays if you can.

      • Second checking out the sports bras and workout tops. One of my favorite finds at Costco recently was wool base layers for $17. I think between my SO and I we bought six of them!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Heh. Funny you should mention “electronics, jewelry, patio sets.”

        We got our TV, our wedding rings, and our patio furniture at Costco.

        The thing to know about Costco is that it’s not so much a place to get cheap stuff as it is a place that has great prices on expensive stuff. Like diamond rings and 70-inch televisions.

    • The majority of what we buy there is household stuff, but I think some of the better deals we’ve seen are on non grocery store items. Getting plants and dirt there was substantially cheaper than buying plants at a Home Depot or equivalent, photos (even passport photos) are quite cheap, and I regularly buy WaySpa gift certificates at 20 or 25% off (ie, a $100 gift certificate for $75). Looking at what they have available online is also worth it–for example, I was surprised to find that they carry a very reasonably priced serger (a type of sewing machine). Their very flexible return policy makes it especially attractive to buy electronics there if you find something that you’re looking for anyway.

    • I am a Costco maven. Paper goods/plastic bags/trash bags, cleaning products, seasonal items (wrapping paper, bulbs, fertilizer), batteries, light bulbs, nuts, organic 1% milk, restaurant/movie/spa gift cards, organic ground beef, filet (buy the big untrimmed one, clean it, slice it up, and freeze 2 per freezer bag), produce (we entertain a lot), OTC drugs, toiletries (including DH’s razor blades – those buggers are expensive), DH’s noniron shirts, dog food and flea/tick treatment, and presents for my nieces and nephews. and BOOZE.

    • Not everything is cheaper at Costco, but generally everything is better quality (some exceptions, of course).

      My biggest tip is shop with a list, and limit impulse buys. Otherwise you will spend WAY more than you expected.

      And at our Costco, if you see something seasonal you like/want/need, buy it. It may not be there the next time you shop.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes! The number one rule of Costco is “buy it when you see it” because it may well never be there again.

    • I think making a spreadsheet is probably a good idea, especially if that will help you see how much you would otherwise pay for things.

      We get a lot of frozen stuff: veggie burgers, stir fry veggies, burritos, and salmon. Salmon is an easy example. We know how much it usually costs at our grocery store and what a good sale price would be, so we are pretty confident that it’s a good buy from Costco, plus having frozen salmon fillets in the freezer makes for easy, healthy meal options (we get the Kirkland brand frozen sockeye fillets).

      I think you have to be careful about buying stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily buy because it seems like a good deal. Yes, Naked Juice is cheaper at Costco than at the grocery store, but we never buy it from the grocery store, so we’re not exactly saving money buying it at Costco.

      Also, be careful with canned goods; they all seem to have a lot of salt added, so we buy beans, etc. in bulk at Whole Foods (they generally offer a 10% case discount).

      • I forgot to add, their own brand of peanut butter is excellent. Hopefully they will start stocking it again. I also like their shampoo and conditioner.

        And it took me a little while to get used to their generous return policy, but now it allows me to try stuff (like a giant bottle of shampoo) without worrying about not liking it and being stuck with it.

    • Costco has the best prices on lamb – legs and racks. Good deals on cat food & litter, paper and feminine hygiene products, and yes – diapers; frozen fish portions, frozen appetizers that you bake, fancy cheeses and nuts, hummus in snack packs.
      Vitamins for kids and adults; other supplements e.g. fish oil.
      I prefer to buy wine, olive oil and vinegar from Trader Joe’s – I like to switch oils and vinegars and Costco’s bottles are just too large.
      I rarely buy produce except berries and fruit, for both cost and space considerations.

    • anon in tejas :

      Remember that they have a great and generous return policy. We’ve returned cheese that’s gone moldly before it’s use by date, clothes that didn’t fit right, frozen food where something was ruined/thawed, etc.

      We buy a ton a CostCo
      — sodas
      — cheese (cheddar and parmesean- our go to cheeses)
      — lunch meat (more expensive but better quality)
      — hummus (pita pal!)
      — chicken
      — beef (grind our own)
      — port (make our own sausage)
      — brussel sprouts, asparagus, butternut squash (really good prices, and we’ll eat 1-3 times during the week)
      — mixed greens clam shells (worth it even if you eat salad once or twice and the rest go bad in comparison to grocery store prices)
      — milk
      — soy milk
      — butter
      — high end yogurt (fage!)
      — frozen fruit (we drink fruit smoothies in the morning)
      — all perscriptions
      — my allergy medicine (zyertec D, but costco brand)
      — fiber1 bars
      — kirkland marinara
      — nuts (almonds, pecans, etc.)
      — orange juice
      — gatorade/vitamin water (kirkland brand)
      — falafel
      — frozen dinners (amy’s indian, french onion soup)

      • anon in tejas :

        body wash
        paper goods (on sale only!)

        • style advice needed... :

          Any recommendations for winter hats that will not fill my hair with static and ruin it for the day? Of course, professional/stylish appreciated. I have long straight hair, that I sometimes wear up (which makes hats even more awkward…).

          Links appreciated!

          My ears are cold…. Maybe just ear muffs?

          • Cornellian :

            not my style, but I’m posting a link below. I’ve seen women wearing these sort of headband/hat hybrids, and I bet they’re better for your hair.

          • Cornellian :


          • Add more conditioner. I wipe on an extra dollop of regular (not leave-in) conditioner as a creme after my hair is already dry. It’ll keep the fly-aways to a minimum.

            I know this is a fashion blog, but it’s winter. Your head deserves to be warm.

            I live in a cold area, and the hairstylists give us haircuts that look cute under winter hats.

    • Kontraktor :

      I would say to get things from Costco that are the most expensive things in the grocery store and/or the things that you use a lot of. For us, this tends to be stuff like paper towels, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, olive oil, coffee/coffee beans (but only if they have the brand we drink). We drink carbonated water (no soda) and go through that like air, but unfortunately Costco doesn’t carry that- but if they did, we’d buy a ton of it just because it is a bit pricey at the store. Another thing there we like is the frozen fruit- we make smoothies every morning and plain frozen fruit is just mounds cheaper there than at the grocery store. Costco consistently has Fage yogurt cups at about 20 cents less than the cheapest store price I’ve seen. I really like to buy their big jars of parm cheese and pesto to have around, since they are so much cheaper and you get so much more than if you were buying from the store (also, cheese and pesto are nice random condiments to have around) So, those sort of expensive items we use frequently are things we buy regularly at Costco.

      I think if I had a family to feed, I would definitely get lunch meat, bread, cerreal, milk, giant boxes of apples, granola bars, etc. there to fill my kids’ lunches with, just because that stuff really does add up quickly at the store (for example, a pound of deli turkey usually runs about $7-9, and Costco sells giant packs of lunch meat that are at least 2lb for about the same price, maybe $9-11). If you *are* eating and using that much of it, it seems worth it to me to buy the large quantities at a time and you will save money.

      Second the promotion of the random things like under-ware/layers/socks/etc. They do have very good prices on OTC drugs if you use a lot of them. We like to buy wine and nicer cuts of meat there when we need them (ie like over holidays) or nice cheese selections if we are having parties/bringing things to others’ parties.

      We’ve also found the occasional home item there when needed, things like awesome bath mats, a large pack of towels (to have around as spares), a spare sheet set for the bed (that was like 500+ TC no less). This sort of thing tends to be better quality and a lower price than a similar ‘discount’ places like Target or B3.

      • Oh man, I forgot how cheap their granola bars are! You get 36 in a pack, but they’re 40% less than the grocery store.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Agreed. I buy the bulk stuff and pack my kids lunches. I get better quality and am able to better manage portions etc…

        Their prices on organic milk tend to be much better than the grocery store as well.

    • Oh, how I love Costco. Gas is the number one thing I get there – I drive a car that “perfers” the higher octane gas, and it’s usually significantly cheaper there. As for food items, this is my usual haul: frozen salmon/mahi mahi burgers are great to have for last minute dinners and WAY cheaper than the grocery store; sandwich thins (I freeze the extra 2 packs); steaks; frozen salmon and chicken that are individually wrapped; salad/lettuce mix; and their bakery cakes are an absolute steal if you ever need one for a party. Kirkland brand workout clothes, socks, and men’s button down shirts are excellent too. I’ve also found random stuff in the clothing department, although it’s usually men’s – Lucky brand jeans ($35) for my husband, and more recently, Nautica PJs for something insane – $15? If you have pets, definitely look into the Kirkland flea and tick treatment – it’s a fraction of the cost of Frontline.

      The return policy is amazing. Enjoy!!

      • Their prepared food is very good quality. Stocking up on appetizers for a party is really easy. Veggie/cheese trays are good. I recently got some zucchini patties and stuffed peppers there and have been eating on them for weeks. Healthy and yummy!

    • We’re a household of two in an apartment, so we have to be careful to not buy things that will go bad before we can eat them all, or excessively bulky items. Groceries: cereal, Fage tubs, Kirkland butter (freeze extra), mushrooms (the only veggie we can get through fast enough), apples, pineapple, blueberries and strawberries when in season, Niman Ranch bacon (freeze extra), Kirkland sliced turkey for sandwiches, Parmesano Reggiano, rack of lamb, Cliff/Luna bars, Kirkland’s fancier olive oil, and buffalo mozzarella for a fun splurge. Costco also has the best prices for chanterelle mushrooms when they appear. Other regular items are wine (several times, the price was lower than being a member of the winery!), Kirkland trash bags, toilet paper, and paper towels, Tide (when on coupon), Cascade (when on coupon), Kirkland vitamins, OTC Kirkland meds, Tampax, razor blades (when on coupon), contact solution (when on coupon), movie tickets, printer paper, tires (when on coupon). Costco cakes are delicious and great for parties. We always check Costco when we’re in the market for an electronics item or household appliance, like our Dyson vacuum (on coupon). LOVE Costco’s generous return policy and have used it several times, such as the previous vacuum that died after only 6 months, or returning a new TV within the 90 day window when we decided to switch models. No hassle, no problem, thanks for coming, thanks for your business. Costco.com also has amazing deals, like absurdly low prices for Spanish saffron.

    • Kirkland 550tc sheets, Kirkland brand vanilla, dishwasher detergent, Kirkland brand laundry detergent (“free and clear” or something like that), batteries, magazines (though I’ve curbed that somewhat due to subscribing to Next Issue), wine, steak, and those frozen chicken breasts in the two packs.

    • lucy stone :

      I am a Costcoholic and take a cooler when I go visit my parents so I can stock up. We’re getting one much closer next year and I’m so excited. My favorites:

      -salsa, hummus, spinach and artichoke dip
      -tenderloin (my parents have started making this for holidays, it’s awesome)
      -presliced mangos
      -organic greens
      -toilet paper and kleenex
      -medicine, especially if you take allergy medicine regularly
      -deoderant, shampoo, razors
      -garbage bags, sandwich bags, dishwasher tabs

      I also have two TVs from there as well as a laptop and a bluray player, and we got all the flowers for our wedding reception there. I think we paid $99 for enough hydrangeas for 30 tables.

    • another anon :

      I love Costco – and I live in Kirkland, the home of the original costco.

      Right now, ours has Kirkland brand yoga pants, tops and zip jackets that look like Lululemon and the Customer Service people told me that they are in fact made by Lululemon. My daughter loves them because they hold up even better than the original fabric – no pills, no stretching. She has four pairs and gave a friend a pair for christmas. Pants are $19.99!

      My favorite products that save $$$:

      Printer ink
      Computer paper
      Grain-free dog food
      Chicken 2-brst packets
      Amilu’s chicken meatballs – love the cranberry/jalepeno seasonal ones
      Aidell’s chicken meatballs and sausages
      Tillamook cheeses
      Parmesan cheese
      Wholly Guacamole (I could bathe in this stuff)
      Sabra hummous
      Frozen shrimp, cod, mahi mahi
      Coffee pods for Kourig
      almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios
      beef or turkey jerky
      Advil, Claritin
      Canned diced tomatoes, garbanzos

      I used to buy Frontline flea treatment but the vet has it cheaper. We’ve also gotten great prices on sheets (Egyptian cotton for $45/set queen size) bath sheets/towels and rugs. Their furniture is great. Just got a storage ottoman for the tv room in December and a whole wall of bookcases in 2012 for our study.

      Oh, i could go on forever about costco.

  8. I’m a student, so my nicest clothes are from places like J.Crew and Ann Taylor. My MIL gave me a $250 gift card to Neiman Marcus for Christmas. For fun and curiosity, I’d like to know, if you were me, what would your first $250-splurge-y wardrobe addition be?

    • No suggestion, but you have one awesome MIL!

    • My first thought was something practical like some of the Cole Haan shoes people are always talking about on here, but on second thought I would probably do a splurge purchase just this once. Maybe a nice wallet?

    • I’d go shoes or purse route.. get more wears per dollar. Or something in good-quality cashmere.
      Your MIL rocks.

      • On the cashmere point, the NM house brand is my favorite cashmere — soft and thin enough for layering, but still thick enough to feel luxe and look opaque. With the post-holiday sales going you could probably get 2 or 3 sweaters for $250.

        $250 also goes a long way towards Ferragamo shoes (which run 300-500) – they are my personal favorite for being a professional but feminine power heel (I think I got a style called Carla for about $400).

      • Ditto shoes or cashmere. I’d go for something classic and high quality (so you’ll wear it for years).

    • MaggieLizer :

      What do you have/want in the way of jewelry? I think my first splurge was pearl earrings. Not sure if you can use your gift card at Last Call, but you might get more bang for your buck there. It looks like they have a bunch of Majorica pieces (which I now WANT) for under $250.

    • purse! or a really nice coat!

      • This. Definitely a wardrobe staple that you will use for years. To me, that means a purse, a coat, a watch, or other simple jewelry. Possibly boots if you are a boot person. Fabulous MIL!

    • frugal doc :

      How nice!

      When I was in a similar situation and was given a gift certificate to Nordstroms, I bought a beautiful pair of Dolce Gabbana classic design, perfect sunglasses. I wear them every single day, and they will last me forever. It is probably the only “luxury” item I have bought full price.

      Your timing is great, as you can now take advantage of the post-Christmas sales.

      So my recommendation is to buy something that you would never buy for yourself at this point, and that potentially could last.

    • NM has a great sale section on line. Their cashmere is great quality and $250 would be enough for a nice purse or coat. Two suggestions:
      There are also plenty of classic shoes in the sale section. NM shops for free and you can return to brick and mortar stores within 30 days.

    • Thanks for all the thoughts! And, yes, I think my MIL is pretty fantastic!

      I’m probably going to drive myself crazy mulling over options for the next few days, but that’s all part of the fun of it for me!

  9. emcsquared :

    DH and I are thinking of a trip to St. Lucia; I think somebody on here was talking about Ti Kaye resort, and that is the front runner, but DH is unhappy that it is not “all-inclusive” (although it looks like you can buy an expensive meal package). Is the meal package worth while, or would we be better off skipping it and eating in town or buying groceries for some meals?

    Also, does anyone have a favorite all-inclusive in St. Lucia? DH wants someplace that offers “adventure” activities like ziplining and jungle hikes, and I want somewhere that is updated, clean, and feels a bit luxurious. I’d like to either stay somewhere beautiful (preferably with a beach), or in a town where there are restaurants and shopping nearby.

    For reference – we stayed at a Sandals in the Bahamas on our honeymoon, and I was seriously grossed out by the dust bunnies and musty smells everywhere (and our toilet leaked the entire trip). The beach was good, but DH claimed to be “bored.” So we’re looking for cleaner and more exciting.

    We’d like to do the trip for around $5K for both of us in March, fwiw. Thanks in advance!!

    • Is Sandals one of those vacation-packagers that try to enforce “hetero couples” only? (This is allegedly to prevent 2 female pals from avoiding the dreaded single person surcharges, but I don’t believe them.) If so, another reason why they suck.

    • S in Chicago :

      I haven’t been to St. Lucia personally but just had a good friend return after a trip over the holidays. Even though they stayed at an all-inclusive, she regretted not booking at least a couple of restaurants prior to the trip. Not sure if it was the time of year, but apparently many were requiring at least a week’s notice and they got really tired of what was on hand pretty quickly. (She’s a bit of a food snob, so take with a grain of salt.) At any rate, something to at least think about if you’re planning a few evenings away from the resort.

    • I’ve posted about Ladera a few times. It is another resort where you can add the all-inclusive option, so it may not be to your liking. I priced out the cost ahead of time and thought it was too expensive, but looking back at it, we should have just gone for it. I wanted to go out for dinner but we never bothered, so we ate all our meals there. Breakfast was complementary so we were only paying for dinner and drinks, but we still spent close to the all-inclusive cost, and we could have eaten lunch and had a few more drinks to get our money’s worth. The food is great, though. No regrets, I just wish we had tried a few other places too.

      It’s not a traditional upscale hotel, but Ladera is incredible. It has one open-air wall and a “plunge pool” in every room. Everything in our room was extremely clean and in great condition. Ladera is in the hills overlooking the Pitons and you absolutely cannot beat the view; plus they offer free beach access with shuttles so it’s the best of both worlds.

      In Soufriere, we went to the botanical gardens, Diamond Falls, and toured the volcano. You can hike Gros Piton, but you have to hire a guide and Ladera only arranged it one day a week and it was on a day it was pouring, so we decided not to go. Down at the beach, we saw lots of people going diving, snorkling, and renting banana boats.

    • Anonymous :

      When I went to St. Lucia, we rented a villa (we are not all-inclusive fans). Groceries there are super expensive, so we found it basically a wash between cooking and eating at restaurants. There are many great places to eat, my favorite was Jambe Du Bois in the big fort/park in Castries. When I was there, the locals were feuding with the Sandals resorts because all beaches are supposed to be public under the laws there and Sandals had fenced off the beaches in front of their resorts — not sure how it all resolved (or if it even has) but it put a bad taste in my mouth regarding the big all-inclusive chains. Anyway, my vote is to rent a car, explore the island, and eat at local restaurants for dinners and some lunches, and get stuff at the grocery store for breakfasts and the other lunches.

    • St Lucia Lover :

      That was me!

      We chose to add the meal plan for only a few days of our honeymoon. We stayed at Ti Kaye for 8 days and had the meal plan only 3, I think. We were diving off site and did a couple of the excursions (Soufriere tour, Pitons hike, zipline, etc.), so we paid our own way on those days. One thing is for sure, you will not be “bored” at Ti Kaye.

      The package we booked at Ti Kaye included our daily breakfast, we had a cheese and fruit basket (have it delivered day 1 so you can eat it all week), and so we generally just shared a small sandwich from the beach bar each day we were on resort. We also found the dinner portions generous, so we didn’t generally feel we needed all that was incldued in the all-inclusive.

      I liked that we could pick and choose the days to add the meal plan because on days when we did excursions, we didn’t feel like we were wasting our all inclusive. We also had a few late mornings where we ate breakfast at 10:30-ish and did early dinner so never really needed a 3-full-meal day on resort that often.

      I should have added a couple of recommendations. If you are there on a Friday, the whole resort generally goes into Marigot Bay for their Friday night fish fry. We ate dinner there, and it was out of this world. I danced the night away with locals playing, and my husband (usually a non-drinker) had fun chatting with other guys from the resort while drinking the local beer called Piton (pretty good!). For reference, we got amazing fish tacos for $.50 each.

      Another night, we went into Marigot Bay to a resaurant called Rainforest Hideaway, I believe. It was expensive but the food was excellent and it had a cigar bar and a decent wine list. You sit out over the water and get to enjoy the sounds and all. We would do that over again as well.

      I, too, have been to and stayed at Ladera (as well as Anse Chastanet – don’t even consider that one). I would say that, hands down, Ti Kaye would be my choice. Ladera was nice, beautiful views, etc., but there was just something about Ti Kaye that felt more homey, relaxing and welcoming than Ladera. We also prefered the flexibility of Ti Kaye’s policies and their efforts to accomodate our excursion/diving preferences. Again, highly recommend.

    • emcsquared :

      Thanks!!! This is all very helpful.

  10. For anyone who remembers the Bed Saga from a couple weeks ago, here’s an update:

    The weekend after I groused here, I went out and bought an actual mattress, which was delivered the next day. In no way, shape or form do I miss the air mattress.

    This morning, I took deep breaths, got out the Room & Board gift card, and bought a bed frame, which will be delivered next Saturday. I’m not sure how I’ll deal with actually being off the floor again, but I’m figuring it will be awesome.

  11. Calling ExcelNinja! :

    Did your husband make it back from his bike ride ok? That seemed like a long time for a 40-miler, so I’m hoping that everyone is ok.

    • ExcelNinja :

      Hey! Not sure if you’re the same person as on the other thread, but yes he did!! It was very hilly, with a 1-hour drive on either side, AND his tire went flat halfway up a big hill so it took him a while to get going again. Thank you so much for your concern, it’s super sweet!!

  12. DH and I are trying to plan for a trip to Europe. I realize this will vary quite widely depending on different itinerary options, but I’m trying to get a feel for approximately how much money this will run us. 2 of us, shooting for 10 days, hoping to do 2 large, expensive cities for 3-4 days each and the south of France for a few days. We’d like to do nice dinners but are fine cheaping out on lunches and breakfasts (or swapping a nice lunch for a cheap dinner). Nice but not five star hotels (AC and a safe, convenient neighborhood are main requisites). If anyone wouldn’t mind posting estimates/past experiences I’d greatly appreciate it! I haven’t been to Europe since I was in college studying abroad, and the hostel and bus route was quite different than what I’m shooting for this time. TIA!

    • I think it varies most by when you go. If you go during the off season, prices for both airfare and hotels can be about half less than they would be in warmer months. So my first question to you would be when do you want to go? Also, to lower costs, consider how you want to get around – you can reduce travel costs once in europe by booking small local airlines to fly among european cities.

      • Since you did ask for estimates, our past trips to europe for similar durations in places like Italy, France, etc., averaged somewhere around $5K. These were not off season per se, but we also never travel during peak tourist season so depending on when you go, it may be a bit more or a lot less. You can get a lot more bang for your buck outside of the London -Paris -Italy equation. One of the least expensive and most awesome trips we took recently was to Madrid.

      • There is a really good high-speed train network in West Europe which may end up both cheaper and faster if you take transfer to/from the airports into account. Plus, no security checks, no baggage limitations, slightly more interesting view etc.

        I did a round trip in BeNeLux almost two years ago, stayed in OK hotels for between 80 and 130 €/night. The 130 €/night obviously being in Brussels on a weeknight. Hotel prices go up with like 50% when the lobbyists and Eurocrats roll in, so aim for Fri-Sun if you want to go there. (Chocolate! Beer! Waffles! Comics! The Atomium! Beaux-Arts! Horta! World record for the longest time without an official government! (They do have one now though.))

    • goldribbons :

      Since you asked for cost estimates, I just priced out a 5 day trip to Paris for DH and myself, and it came to a little over $5k. It was a very rough estimate and I’m not sure what sort of sightseeing you might be interested in. I also priced out Prague (which I realize is not, as you requested, an “expensive” city), and it was about $4k. Hope that helps.

    • We usually average 100 – 120 euros for 2 with wine in bistros/ trattorie in Paris or Rome, maybe 2/3s of that outside the capital and at least double if there are Michelin stars involved. I think city-centre low-frill hotels are do-able at 150 – 200 euros, much lower outside Paris (unless by South of France you mean the Côte d’Azur in summer) and somewhat lower outside Italian cities (but not a lot lower for some strange reason). I’ve also paid much more and much less than this for rentals over the years but I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re hoping to do 3 destinations in 10 days.

      Hope this ad-hoc info helps – the nice thing about spending time in these places is that I come back far too relaxed to tot up a final bill :) Enjoy yourselves !

    • You can save some $$ by renting a small apartment instead of a hotel if you are staying in one place 3-4 days. Added benefits are – you can breakfast in and/or have dinner of wine, cheese and fruit… especially if there is a balcony with a view.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I read “shooting for 10 days” as you wanted to do a lot of hunting on the trip.


    • Kontraktor :

      Hm, some of these estimates seem a little high to me. Airfare will presumably be the most expensive part, but it depends where you are flying from obviously. Hubs and I used to fly BA from a big east coast city to London for about $600-800pp RT if we booked early enough. Maybe consider using credit card points/miles to make the price a bit cheaper (we have been doing that a lot with recent trips)? You can take the train to get to Paris from London, I think booking early maybe that was $60-120 each way per person? Can’t remember exactly but it wasn’t horrific. We stayed at B&Bs that were deifnitely less than 100E a night and we tried to find places that served breakfast so we could avoid paying for that meal. We used trip advisor a lot to find these little independent hotels/B&Bs. In Paris, we stayed at the Port D’oree (probably spelled that wrong) metro stop, which wasn’t that far from much, but wasn’t like, on top of Notre Dame. In Rome, I stayed less than a mile away from St. Peter’s in a small B&B that was maybe 50E a night. Nice, but budget is doable if you search a little more and go a little off the beaten path.

      As far as eating, we’d usually make lunch our big meal because lunch prices are so much cheaper than dinner ones. We’d try to find a prixe fix meal that would maybe be 3 courses for 25E each. Wouldn’t necessarily get drinks. Then, for dinner, we’d just pick at random cafes/coffee shops/grocery stores/etc. We would try to do maybe 1 or 2 big fancy meals per trip, but certainly not every one. We used public transit everywhere we could, bought metro passes, bought museum/tour type passes if there were any, things like that. I think it’s possible to do big cities on a budget if you plan early and search a bit for good B&B/lunch deals.

      • I had a similar approach to food while travelling in Paris and Rome. Lunch was the main meal of the day, and then dinner was some sort of assortment of bread, cheese, fruits and veggies (in Paris) and pizza or a prosciutto sandwich plus fruit and veggies (in Rome – usually from a supermarket. You pick the type and gesture how much, then they’ll warm it in the oven). Having little picnics was sort of fun, and dinner was usually between 5-9 euros this way (depending on whether I splurged for fancy cheese,nutella, etc.)

      • Agree it is possible to do the big cities on a tight budget but OP mentioned convenient hotels with AC and nice dinners, not B&Bs beyond the peripherique and ‘1 or 2 fancy meals per trip’. A multi-stop metro or bus ride to the centre twice or more a day, on top of airports/ train stations every third or fourth day, is going to feel like a lot of time spent in transit during a 10-day trip.

    • hellskitchen :

      We went last summer so just a couple of tips about Nice and South of France. I didn’t do my research and bought train tickets at the Paris station for Nice… it was super expensive. I think we spent $1000 just on train tickets and spent 12 hours traveling (roundtrip). So learning from my mistake, I’d suggest either booking tickets ahead of time to get the best deal or book a cheap flight. In Nice, we stayed at the Beau Rivage hotel which was not very expensive, right by Old Town and 2 blocks from the beach, but not smack dab in the middle of Old Town (so not as noisy).

    • We did 10 days in paris last summer and it was a little over 5k. 3k of that was airline and we rented an apartment instead of a hotel. also, we ate almost exclusively street food/grocery store food (picnics in the park/river/ on our balcony) …probably would have spent quite a bit more eating in nice restaurants every night. Other than food, we bought the 4 day pass to the main attractions, passes for the metro, train to versailles, and a few small souvenirs.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      My family went to France a few years ago. We spent 3 days in Paris and then 3 days in a little town in Cote d’Azure called Villefranche-sur-Mer. It had been written up in the NY Times a few months before.

      We all agreed that if we went again, we’d skip Paris and just hang out in Villefranche. It was amazing. Walkable, with a beach in town, and fantastic restaurants. We stayed at the Hotel Welcome, which had a balcony, and we just sat there and watched boats coming in all day, drinking wine. An easy train/bus ride from Paris. Some family members took a day trip into Lyon.

  13. Thanks for all TTC support I got from you ladies on Friday. It definitely helped. Especially since, over the weekend, I got a lecture from my mom on the effects of age on fertility (like I called her and was comiserating over needing to call the doctor on Monday for next steps and she says “well I’m glad you’re trying because you’re born with all the eggs you have and now let me spout off every statistic on age and fertility I’ve ever heard or read for a full ten minutes”). WTF, mom?! Who thinks that’s a good response to “hey I’m feeling down because it’s been seven months and I’m worried because I just turned 35.” Anyway, called the OB this morning and am waiting to hear what she recommends for next steps.

    • Good luck, my dear.

      I think sometimes when parents do that, it’s b.c. they’ve been sitting on an “I told you so/I’ve been wanting to nag you two to produce me some grandbabies already, but I haven’t so I’m about fit to burst” type of brainfart.

      • Um in my mom’s case, no. She’s been on about grandchildren for about 15 years now. My mom just has zero sense of what’s appropriate to tell people. She tends to equate empathy with lecturing people. Just her being her, and she’s not going to change at her age, but still not fun.

    • Anon for this :

      I didn’t have a chance to read that thread until late last night. Very sorry that you’re having trouble TTC. There were a few posters who mentioned difficulties conceiving as they grew older. I’m inmy mid 30s, DH is almost 40, and we were fortunate to get pregnant the first month that we tried. I am NO expert but I thought I would share some things that I think helped me (I’m sure you already do some of these things, but just in case).

      – Get your body primed and healthy. Cut out processed food, eats lots of fruits and veggies, cut out soda and alcohol, and aim for some physical activity every day. If you are overweight, try to get to a healthy weight to the extent possible.

      – Try accupuncture. Some therapists are very, very experienced dealing with fertility issues. I went for about 9 months before pregnancy, about once a week. You can go to a community clinic to save on costs.

      – Read TCOYF and do the basal thermometer thing.

      – Go see a repro endo if you haven’t already. If you’ve been trying for more than 6 months, don’t delay on this. My mom works for a OB and always tells me how aggressive you need to be about getting on Clomid or other medication to speed up the process.

      Again, none of this is mind blowing info but thought I would pass along what worked for me. Good luck and hang in there.

      • hellskitchen :

        Second this. I knew I had thyroid issues so I made sure to get those checked out and got a prescription. Thyroid has a huge impact on ovulation and hypo-hyper thyroidism often go undetected so it’s important to get your OB to test this. I also gave up alcohol for the entire time we were TTC, simply because alcohol does have a slight impact on hormonal activity. I probably would have been fine drinking but I didn’t want to take any chances. Also cut out as much processed food as I could

      • Third all of this. TCOYF was key for us getting pregnant, and I did both basal body temping and the ovulation prediction tests suggested below. Temping gave me an idea of what my typical cycle was like, confirmed that I was ovulating and when it was happening, and showed that the various phases of my cycle were of sufficient length for me to get pregnant. When I finally went to a dr, I brought my charts with me and she found the info very helpful (it saved us time and certain tests). Although they don’t provide quite as much info, I also used ovulation prediction tests – for me, they were like back up/reconfirmation and that made me stress less about the temping (temping, although invaluable, became a source of stress for me). You can buy generic ovulation prediction tests for cheap (~ $0.50) online. They’re significantly more expensive if you get brand name and/or buy them in the drug store. Oh, and I gave up alcohol some of the time – it messed with my temperature, so I avoided it around ovulation and in the second half of my cycle.

        I didn’t understand how hard all of this was until I went through it myself. Good luck!

        • Oh I’ve been doing the thermometer, checking all the other signs, etc. etc. etc. I have the books. I have months and months of charts. I tried the pee sticks but couldn’t figure out what was a line or wasn’t (I asked my OB friend if the lack of a line meant I wasn’t ovulating but she said that if I was super regular — and I am, 28 days like clockwork — then it’s highly unlikely that I’m not ovulating). Anyway, waiting to hear back from the ob now on next steps.

          • The cheapie OPKs are really hard to read. When I was TTC, I bought a Clearblue Easy Fertility monitor. It was not cheap (around $200, but you can use FSA/HSA money to buy it), but it is very clear in showing when you high fertility days are and when you are ovulating. I got pregnant my first month using and my cousin and sister-inw-law both got pregnant their second month using it (after trying for a long time before that). It is worth a shot for the confidence of determining if you ovulated. Good luck!

          • Reading those lines is like reading tea leaves to me. I did have luck with the Clearblue Easy fertility monitor, because it reads it for you and has some kind of algorithm built into it for prediction once you use it for a month or two. Sorry you’re having trouble. All of my troubles tended to come after the pos preg test rather than before, but nonetheless I can completely sympathize with the universe being uncooperative with family planning.

          • ha, jinx eh230. :-)

          • Ooh, I didn’t even know about monitors. I’ll look that up. Thanks!

    • I also don’t want to tell you anything you’ve already been doing, but what really worked for us was the ovulation test where you check your morning p** every day. It turned out I ovulated _way_ later than I thought. We were sort of TTC for a few months before that, but the month we did that it worked — and I’m 34.

      Oh, and any lecture from anyone (including your mom or magazines) is just not appropriate. What are some of us supposed to do, get pregnant by our BFs when we’re 23 just because it might be easier then?

      • I Second – the ov. predictor kit is helpful – so at least you can get your cycle timing down. Amazon has packs of the Clear Blue Easy ones on prime shipping. Also, did you read “The Impatient woman’s guide to getting preg”? She does a nice job of telling you why a lot of the classic statistics are wrong … may make you feel better. :)

    • mintberrycrunch :

      I also didn’t read your post until too late last night, and I have absolutely no advice, but I do have commiseration! We have been TTC for a few months now, and the uncertainty of it all is KILLING me. It sucks.

    • kerrycontrary :

      Has your husband been tested? I read that the majority of fertility problems are because of men, not women. I’m sorry you are going through this though :(

      • Mr. TBK testing is part of the next step in the process. His dad had issues (which is why it took five years for my in-laws to conceive my husband) so that’s definitely on our radar. The silver lining to all this is that Mr. TBK is showing his true colors as the best husband anyone could ever have. He’s 100% supportive and wonderful. It’s not that I had any doubts, but it’s when things are [email protected] that people have an opportunity to really come through for you and he’s pulling out all the stops. :)

  14. Anybody ever buy from new online retailer, Oasap? I’m browsing their coats and some of the styles really appeal to me: http://www.oasap.com/3-coats-jackets

    They aren’t US-based, or else, they wouldn’t call themselves a purveyor of “high street” fashions, that’s more a UK/Commonwealth term.

    I ask not because I’m a rah-rah “only buy American” type, but because I’m wondering about shipping time, but it doesn’t look so bad: Australia, USA, Germany: 5-12 working days.

  15. Started the Couch-to-5k program again for the new year* and I love the way your muscles are a little achey the day after you exercise. Makes me want to run again today!

    *I did it two years ago, and it totally works — get on board, if you’re not already!

    • Way to go – I am definitely an indoor runner in the winter, hoping to lace up my sneakers later this week. I didn’t quite finish C25K last year, but ran/walked two races – goal for this year is to run a full 5K.

    • Me too! Well, I’m waiting for sports bras to arrive that fit my new nursing frame but I am eagerly looking forward to running again. I was running pretty regularly before I got pregnant and love how strong and happy it makes me feel. Couch to 5k was how I got running the last time.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      Yay for C25K! I did 3 weeks and then my knee rebelled. But I’d do it again!

  16. a different type of overachieving... :

    We’re expecting our first this spring and I have a question –

    My husband and I both work super-full-time jobs. I’m planning to br**stfeed and pump at work, if possible, until 6-9 months. My workplace is very on-board with accommodations for this. I’m pretty realistic that this might not pan out that way for that long, especially considering that I’ll be pumping at least 3x/day, but this is one my ‘priority’ list to try my best at.

    My husband (who is the only man I’ve ever met who held an opinion on this), really, really wants to cloth diaper. He’s into the idea for both environmental and, mostly, economic reasons – especially since we plan to have 3-4 kids. We’re going to be using full-time care, and we’ve asked, and two of our top three providers are okay with cloth diapering, and with the third, if we went with her, would have disposables at the sitter and cloth at home. I would say cloth diapering is his top priority.

    My question is – are we trying to outdo ourselves? My husband has agreed that if I am handling pumping/feeding, that he will take sole responsibility for doing diapers. But, I am unable to find anyone in real life who both has a two full-time job family and both cloth diapers and breastfeeds. Actually, I can’t find anyone IRL who works outside the home and does either, individually, in the area I live in. Any advice from those who have tried either or both?

    • I just can’t see cloth diapering being easier or cheaper. There is a reason so few people do it! I think your costs will go up with how much washing you have to do, plus I think you will end up buying more cloth ones than you think.

      • Right, and then where does it end? If you don’t use disposable diapers, you use cloth. If you use cloth, you have to wash it because you need to remove the poop. If you wash it, you have to be careful of using environmentally “approved” detergents. Even if you use environmentally “approved” detergents, you have to be conscious of not wasting too much water trying to wash out all the poop and suds.

        This is how I can see being environmentally conscious can leave one feeling backed in a corner. Where everything you do has a carbon footprint, and there’s no escaping it other than what the really extreme environmentalists, and well, James Bond villains want: mass extinction of people, which would reduce carbon footprint in a significant way.

      • This. I don’t have kids but a friend of mine recently had a baby and tried the whole cloth diaper thing. She gave up within a month. And she did not work during that month. She said she just couldn’t handle the amount of laundry it required and she felt the impact on the enviroment was offset by the amount of laundry she was doing to keep up. Not to mention that cloth diapers are not cheap and you need to have a lot on hand unless you are constantly there to run the washer, which it doesn’t sound like you will be.

    • Diana Barry :

      I do pump – I pump at work 3-4x/day. I pumped at work until 15 months with kids #1 and #2 and anticipate doing the same with #3. It is a PITA to lug the pump parts around, but nursing is easy for me and so pumping is a priority.

      We did not cloth diaper. I didn’t want to be handling poo again and doing poo-y laundry after having already changed it once. I did get some gdiapers (with the flushable insert) but they leaked like crazy.

      However, if your husband is willing and able to both change the diapers AND DO THE POOPY LAUNDRY, then more power to him! :)

      • oh my god. do you just throw them in your washingmachine? I feel like my clothes would never feel clean again. I did not know people did cloth diapering

        • This is what I want to know. I literally shuddered at my desk. Ick.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            Everyone I know that does it either throws them in the washing machine or has a diaper service. It didn’t gross me out (it’s your clothes, whatever) until one of my friends decided to wash them herself and she lives in a large apartment building with COMMUNAL laundry facilities. Shudder.

        • You rinse the poop out in the toilet first, and then throw them in the washing machine on hot with bleach. (Based on what my mom did in the 80s)

    • I appreciate your comments so much – I should clarify that by “environment”, I don’t think my husband gives a cr*p about the water/detergent and laundry (no pun intended). He is just IN LOVE with the idea of his baby having cotton all around his little baby man parts all day, instead of the gels, etc in disposable diapers. Which I think is sort of cute and funny, but only if he is in love enough to be committed to doing a load of laundry every other day for the next 30 months.

      • DC Association :

        I didn’t cloth diaper but….I imagine it is actually NOT more comfy for baby. The disposable diapers nowadays accommodate SO MUCH liquid and it is wicked away from baby so fast and well…that baby remains more happy when diaper is full. Certainly not the case for cloth diapers.

        I would imagine that cloth-diapered babies have higher cases of diaper rash b/c their bums are wetter for longer. That’s just my no real-life opinion on the matter as I didn’t cloth diaper.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          A friend who is doing it says the discomfort actually made it easier to potty train her (now two year old, potty trained 2-3 months ago?) daughter since the feeling of “wet” isn’t nice, so the baby is more likely to try to avoid it and potty train earlier.

          • Yes!
            Whatever type of diapers you use, an easy way to prevent rash is to let the kiddo go bare for a while, once you know his schedule so you aren’t having to clean the couch. Letting little boys go in the yard supposedly helps potty training immensely.

      • Based on the rate my baby was blowing out clothes, spitting up on burp cloths, spitting up on himself, and the like, if you include cloth diapers in the mix, he’ll be doing laundry every day. I can’t imagine cloth diapering when my newborn was going through a diaper an hour. You’re already going to be breastfeeding every two hours or so (which actually takes about 45 minutes…so you really only have an hour and 15 minutes of time in between). Then add in washing cloth diapers in to that hour and 15 minutes….

        Also, if you’re on maternity leave at home with the baby, and nursing, and your husband is at work, you are–de facto–going to the be the person doing the cloth diapering.

        I get wanting “all cotton” around a baby’s bottom, but check out Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive diapers and wipes. We used those and had no problems. And, the wetness indicator was a God-send to two new parents that never knew when a diaper might be barely wet or not.

        As for pumping, I pumped until my baby was 8 months after a 3-month maternity leave. It’s a PITA, but it’s doable. I began to enjoy those breaks when I knew no one would bother me. The most annoying thing is just always having to wear a pumping-friendly wardrobe to work.

      • Seattle Freeze :

        Except his little baby won’t have soft cuddly cotton all around his baby man parts all day – he’ll have sopping wet, smelly, heavy cloth around his very sensitive skin which will quickly respond with diaper rash. This equals a very unhappy baby.

        • No, only after he wets. Most of the time, they are dry. Then they go, and you change the diaper.

          • Once they start sleeping longer or through the night, they’ll be in the wet with the wetness next to their skin for longer. And they may overproduce for what snappies can handle. So add in some wet laundry (an issue for larger babies who sleep longer at times, even with disposables).

            Also, it can be tricky to fold cloth diapers, so the ones that do newborn sizes might be a good idea (so many sizes of diapers over time). The diaper service people can really help with this.

            FWIW, I used cloth when I was beginning to potty train, but gave it up in favor of heavy cotton training pants (so all of the wet yuckiness of accidents, but without having to fold the diaper, which on a skinny tall girl, just looked funny).

      • I have friends who work outside the home and BF and cloth diapered. In addition to the post someone linked below email me at tntkate AT gmail. I have all the research one friend did that’s been passed around.

      • Senior Attorney :

        If he doesn’t much care about the environment, then I highly suggest you get a diaper service. Yes, the trucks have a big environmental footprint, but at least you won’t have to deal with the laundry.

      • Your baby needs your time and daddy time and that includes time that daddy will spend with the damn diapers.

    • I don’t have kids yet and haven’t decided yet on cloth vs not, but I thought this post from Young House Love on cloth diapering was interesting and informative… doesn’t look too scary: http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/08/the-much-requested-cloth-diaper-post/

      • Sweet as Soda Pop :

        So glad you posted this. It’s all I know about cloth diapering, and I was going to go find it. John and Sherry have had a very positive experience with the cloth diapers.

      • I believe the blogger elefantitas alegres has also posted on her (successful) experience with cloth diapering.

      • A caveat in that I don’t have kids (yet), but in my view – I wore cloth diapers and my sister wore cloth diapers – so if our mom could do it, why can’t I? Plus I’m certain that cloth diapers have come a long way since what we wore….

        • Erm, I don’t mean this facetiously — isn’t part of the idea that cloth diapers *haven’t* changed much over the years?

          • Well, they seem to have all these fancy, multiple-layer, pre-molded cloth diapers now, whereas when we were babies they were more or less just folded pieces of cotton.

        • Did your mom have a full-time job outside the home? That would be the big difference for me. I barely have enough time to do my own laundry once every three weeks. Ever day, with a baby? No way no how.

    • I breastfed my two youngest children and pumped until each was a year old while working full time. It was not too bad, but my job as a lawyer is fairly flexible and I can really manage my own time. I just scheduled time to pump once in the morning, at lunch and in the afternoon. Keep spare bags and pump parts in your office. Learned that lesson the hard way :)

      We also cloth diapered both children. However, my husband works on a part-time/contract basis. It really was not much more work. We just threw a load in every other day. Honestly, with babies and growing families, you do a lot of laundry. So we didn’t notice a huge difference. We have an efficient washing machine and did not notice an increase in our bills. We hung to dry as often as possible, but also used the dryer fairly often. I do think we saved by not having to buy disposibles often. (We used them if we went out of town.) Then we potty-trained each child at around 18-20 months and were done with it all!

      Let me know if you have more questions. It just takes a good routine to manage it all. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing (both breastfeeding and cloth diapering). A combination of formula (after your supply is well-established) and disposibles can work too.

      • This sounds like my SIL’s experience- she and husband both worked, and she cloth diapered and breastfed. She said they were doing a load of laundry a day anyway, so it didn’t really matter.

        I think for them it was the cost savings- total cost for them for the life of the child was about $2K, while in disposable diapers, you could probably spend that much in the first year alone.

    • Aiii! A friend bought some sort of environmentally-friendly disposables and used those (they were tannish). Many day cares won’t do cloth. If you do do cloth, do yourself a favor and use a cloth diaper service (with the pail). I was a cloth diaper baby and, as the older child, have vivid memories of this with my younger sister (you can pre-flush a cloth diaper in a toilet, but DO NOT let go and then fling it into a diaper pail immediately). But even my mother used disposables when we went out (not cool to keep your poopy stuff at restaurants or overnight when visiting family friends, even with the strongest wet bag). And it will take forever to dry cloth diapers in the dryer (we use them for burp cloths) — I think that the environment loses either way. Babies are wonderful, but a lot of work — do whatever keeps you sane.

      FWIW, I pumped for 1 year for each baby and work a crazy big law job. If my husband had insisted on cloth diapers, he would have been welcome to have done every last bit of work in that department (which isn’t practical — I wouldn’t have wanted to have been home on maternity leave surrounded by poopy diapers waiting for him to get home).

    • No kids of my own, but my friend and her husband was like your husband – cloth all the way. They even had a big stack of them all ready to go. That lasted for about 6 weeks when my friend decided that she was tired of (a) washing diapers every.single.day because the baby went through so many, and that (b) washing POOPY diapers every.single.day. She thought the cleanliness factor would be OK since they had a “diaper” setting on their washing machine, but then she realized that (1) it was basically an hour-long wash cycle in boiling hot water, every day, and (2) she would have to bleach the diapers somehow, that the environmental impact of that is probably more than proper disposal of a disposable diaper. So she switched.

    • I don’t have kids and haven’t changed a diaper in probably 15 years so consider the source. But, if you guys decide on cloth, aren’t there diaper services that pick up the poo-y diapers and drop off clean ones so you don’t have to do sixty-eight loads of disgusting laundry every week? Whatever those people charge, they’d be worth every penny to me (although this probably negates any financial advantage to using cloth, but you can’t have it all!).

    • I babysat in college for a working couple who had a toddler and they used cloth diapers. She was past the bottle stage, so I don’t know if they breast fed earlier (I’d guess yes). They weren’t rabid about cloth diapers, but it really wasn’t that big a deal with an older kid. Basically, any p**p from old diaper got dumped in the toilet and then diaper got thrown in diaper pail to soak.

      Are there diaper services near you that would do your diaper laundry? Is there a diaper store near you that offers cover-ups, inserts, and helpful hints from people who have done this? Our local diaper store offers a newborn trial program that covers the first 90 days and lets you decide if you like it.

      If your husband wants to do this, then I wouldn’t say no without trying it unless you’re wary of the costs.

    • My husband and I both work in biglaw, and we have the same two priorities (cloth diapers and breastfeeding). We are expecting out first this spring, and I feel ok about it. We have a washer/dryer in our apartment, and it’s not too hard to do laundry. We are planning to use the one-month trial pack we found online (where you pay like $20 to try a full set of new cloth diapers, and then return for refund or keep them) to test it out. If it ends up being too much, we’ll switch to disposable diapers. (We’re going to use an in-home nanny, who will be able to help with diaper laundry after I return to work.)

      I would just say that I obviously haven’t done this, but I have a huge family of people who have (in varying types of jobs – some low key, some not), and they all universally encourage me to give it a shot. If its not working, you can change your approach. True of most things in child-rearing.

      Good luck!

    • If my SIL couldn’t handle cloth diapering, no one can. Well probably someone can, but she is super environmentally-minded, stay-at-home mom, indignant about her kid playing with anything that’s not made out of natural products and was dead set on using only cloth diapers. She lasted for about 2 weeks with them.

      OTOH, I know many women with full-time jobs who pump, and did so for at least 6 months.

    • I think everyone i knew in Portland/the NW who did cloth diapers (where cloth is very popular) used a diaper service. Didn’t do the laundry themselves. Also, in lieu of baby shower gifts, all of the friends/family would contribute to their account with the diaper service, to save up many months of credit before they even had the baby. I think that way it ended up being a lot cheaper then you would think.

    • We are expecting our first child in a few weeks and plan on cloth diapering. I’m in BigLaw, DH is in a pretty high demand job as well. Caveat is that I’m taking a 6 month maternity leave. We would never have considered this a viable option, but ended up talking to a friend (also in BigLaw) who did it for 3 years and made it sound pretty do-able. We are not using a diaper service because we don’t have any in the area, so we are doing this at home. Couple of thoughts:

      1) Sign up for an intro to cloth diapering class in you area if you can find one. If you live in Boston, Diaper Lab has an amazing intro class. We just went this past weekend and learned so, so much about what to do/what not to do. If you guys are going to do it, my advice is to stick with the all in one diapers or the pocket diapers (not the pre fold ones, which look like too much work). Before this class, we have no idea what the various options even were.

      2) Recognize that you will be using some disposables as well and have a stash ready

      3) I was surprised that lots of daycares do cloth diapers (ours does).

      This is our plan, in a nutshell – we have installed one of those diaper sprays to our toilet and will rinse out the poopy ones (supposedly you don’t have to do this when they are newborns bc there isn’t much there, but I feel better about spraying everything down). These diapers will then go into a 13 gallon trash can with a diaper liner. Every 2 days, we will do a cold rinse of all the diapers to get them clean, and then a hot rinse with detergent. Evidently this two step process gets the diapers completely clean and non-stained.

      Bottom line, we think there are huge benefits, based on our research and after talking to others who have done it: much, much cheaper (savings thousands of dollars overall), more environmentally friendly (takes several hundred years for disposable diapers to decompose), quicker potty training, and less chance of diaper rash. To us, these benefits outweight the annoyance of the laundry.

      BUT, this is all hypothetical of course – we’ll see when the baby actually get there! HTH.

    • I haven’t read through the comments, so I apologize for anything that is a repeat. YES, I have known multiple people who did this. They were very very organized. Most breastfed for at least a year and cloth diapered through potty training. I personally tried cloth for about 2 days before realizing the reality that I am horrible at doing regular laundry, let alone dirty diapers.

      Check out j baby thoughts blog (just do a search, and it is the first search item that comes up). She has lots of great tips in older posts, and is always very helpful if you have questions or need advice.

    • I couldn’t do it, because I was a single mom, working and writing a dissertation. I nursed for several years (didn’t plan it that way, but it happened) and found nursing easier than formula, even though pumping was a pain. We started a diaper service but they used so much bleach and other chemicals I didn’t see the point. My son’s godparents did, through 2 children (2nd one born at home). They washed all the diapers at home. He’s on a 2-yr sabbatical/research leave with several fellowships and grants right now, and she’s no slouch either.

      I think it will help immensely that you have already divided up the chores. Remember to stay flexible and support each other if one of you can’t meet your own goals.

      • Oh, and a lot of this will depend on the baby. Reading through these comments, I think mine got on a schedule pretty fast and dirtied his diapers less than other kids. We also almost never used the extra clothing I faithfully dragged with us every day for nearly a year. Each kid has their own challenges, so you’ll have to see who you get.

    • My 3 kids are almost 13, 10 and 7. When my youngest was little was when I noticed cloth diapers making a comeback, and I often though I would have invested in some if he was my first. However, I would have used disposables for the first few months, until baby started eating ‘solid’ food and their poop got more solid as well. EBF babies have super runny poop and can poop as much as every hour. That is a lot of poop. Cleaning up blowouts that happened with disposables was bad enough. I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with that. At all. However, like I said, if I had known more about cloth (and if the cute cloth diapers they have now were available back then) I could see myself wanting to invest in a bunch when my oldest was past the super-runny-poop stage.

      However, after babysitting a cloth diapered toddler when I was a teen who had HORRIBLE diaper rash, if you do cloth diaper make sure you change that diaper very, very frequently. You can get away with longer between changes with disposables because they have that gel that locks away moisture.

      As for making potty training easier – I think this really depends on the kid. When I trained my last 2 (oldest was a breeze) we did the 100% cold turkey switch to absorbent cotton training pants (not pull-ups) and even though they were old enough and I KNEW they were physically able, they just didn’t care if they were wet. Or poopy. Yeah, that was an adventure & a story for another thread.

    • My friend used compostable diapers. Expensive, but another option.

    • Grumblegrumble posting to quickly. In short: been there/done that. Worked well for us. Still pumping 8 months in; abandoned cloth diapers around 4 months in a crisis of travel / illness / work overload. Hoping to re-start cloth diapering nights & weekends sometime soon.

      We found that it became impossible to divide the labor into inputs by me / outputs by him within a week. Sometimes diapers need to be washed and I’m the one available to handle it; sometimes pump parts need to be sanitized and he’s the one available to handle it. We support each others priorities.

      Good luck to you!

    • I pump. Well, I pumped for 11 months with my first and when I got back to work with this one, I’m planning to pump again. We use disposables. With the first, I got a diaper service initially but it was quite frankly, a lot of work, and we gave up.

      If your husband wants to be 100% in charge of diapering and the related chores, I personally wouldn’t tell him no. We just found that as a family, pumping is a lot of work, and that while I was the pumper, my husband supported me in a lot of different ways — washing pump parts, bottles, etc. Also he did the bulk of other chores — laundry, cooking, etc.

      It’s ultimately up to you and maybe you’ll get into a rhythm that means it doesn’t feel like a ton of extra work. You can try cloth and if you don’t like it, switch. FWIW, the disposables work really well (with all the chemicals, etc) and keep them pretty dry. My first son literally never had diaper rash.

    • First off, congrats to you both, and hooray for two parents who are already involved and thinking about all these sorts of things. I’ve been there (two kids, two FT lawyers, big city, etc. etc.). My main advice is to hope for the best–that you will be able to do what you want and it will be feasible–but don’t feel bad or get sucked into a guilt-cycle if it doesn’t work out as you thought it would or should.

      BFing is great if it works for you. Pumping at work is doable but it can get rough (I was always thinking that the 30-45 minute breaks were time I wasn’t billing and time I wasn’t with my kid, which is such a bummer). There was often this witching hour around 4 when everyone was settling down to crank out some writing/research, partners are dropping of their end-of-the-day missives, and I’d be uncomfortable/in pain because I so.needed.to.pump. Some people have a harder time with the BFing generally–latch issue, supply issues, and so forth–and I have watched several awesome alpha ladies get taken to low places when this one thing doesn’t work out the way they envisioned. I was lucky and BFing was the path of least resistance for me and the kids, but that was for us: every mom and child are different. So my plea is be kind to yourself and your kid; don’t be afraid to supplement if that is necessary or even if it helps because it gives you a break and the ability to leave work a little earlier and see your baby a little more.

      As for cloth diapers, I didn’t even consider it because I knew time was always going to be the resource we had the least. I have one friend who swears by it but wasn’t working FT and had a washer-dryer. I guess if you can get hooked up with a service it might be a lot better, but babies are just so messy that you’re going to be doing more than you want of clothing-rinsing; I think if I also had to rinse out diapers I’d go insane. Plus the environmental benefits aren’t so clear-cut when you take into account the energy needed to wash, have the necessary hot water, and so forth. And for sure my kids’ bums would have been permanently rashy; it was bad enough with the super Pampers. One incident with a kid who has been screaming for hours and whose rash is so bad that the skin is breaking and you’ll do anything to avoid getting to that situation again (to say nothing of the fungal infections). (Sorry; this isn’t selling parenthood.)

      But mostly hope for the best, but don’t beat up yourself if you end up doing something else. Mental sanity is more important that you realize (or at least more important that I realized when I started on this parenthood thing). Be okay if you don’t reach the high bar you’ve set for yourself, and remember that everyone (really, everyone–don’t be fooled) cuts corners to make it work (or they go batty).

    • kerrycontrary :

      My coworker did cloth diapers with her first (both parents worked full time, and breastfeeding at work–we have a mothers room). She had to stop once she went back to work though because daycare wouldn’t accept cloth diapers. She had to start using disposable. What are your child-care plans? If you have a daycare picked out you should check with them. You could always do cloth until then. But honestly….You’ll use a lot of water doing cloth. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me.

    • a passion for fashion :

      OMG use disposable diapers!

      Husband and i both work full time at big lawfirms in a major city. i nursed/pumped w/ both kids 6-9 months. One thing i learned is that you have to take some help where you can get it. As an example, i really, really wanted to try to make my own baby food, but ultimately realized that something was going to ahve to give and there are some very good organicn etc brands of bby food out there.

      If your husband still really wants to the cloth, see if you can compromise — use X amount of cloth, X amount of disposable. Oh, another thing to consider is your child care options. This is not true for everywhere, but we could not use cloth diapers at our day care center

      • Yeah, I made baby food for exactly three weeks. Then I realized there are some awesome organic baby foods out there that did not involve continuously buying, washing, peeling, steaming, and pureeing produce. No shame in that.

    • I pumped for a year and cloth diaper. I am a biglaw associate and spouse works full time. It’s NBD if you have a washer and dryer; yes, it’s more laundry but I consider laundry an easy chore because you start it and can do other stuff. Our daycares (we’ve moved) both have cloth diapered, no problem. I’m swamped at work today but if you post an anon email address I will email you later this week. We’ve saved so much money by cloth diapering; our total diapering expenditures from birth to potty training will be about $400. Yes, I know water/electricity/detergent cost money, but not enough to make up the difference.

      • I created an anonymous email address just to get your input: It is [email protected] Thank you so much!

        • I needed a break, so I sent you a ridiculously long email. Hope it helps and congrats on your baby!

          • Could I ask you to forward me this email? I am expecting my first child in March and would like to cloth diaper, too, but am worried how much work it will be. The email address is directx666 at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

          • Done!

    • Ladies who pumped – was that all that your baby drank? I was home the entire time I BF my son, and he ate every two hours during the day. He slept great at night and was/is at the top of the growth chart. I can’t imagine he would have been satisfied with what I could pump while at work (along with his morning/night feedings), especially since the baby stimulates production way more than a pump.

      I’m expecting number two and will be working, so it’s encouraging to know that others were so successful with pumping.

      • My kids were onto solids/cereal when I went back to work, and I supplemented with formula for no. 2. I learned that it was easier for me to not have the stress of needing to pump during or after a full work day, even if I technically could–and did so with no. 1.

        So it certainly is possible to pump and have an exclusively-BF, especially if you’ve got good supply and get the pump breaks down to a science. I think many ladies find that pumping doesn’t totally drain them the way a baby does, so they experience a slight decrease in their supply. It helps a lot to try to build up a supply in the freezer so you have some insurance for crazy days (for example by pumping on one side while nursing on the other.) This might be totally a me-thing, but when I had no. 2, when my supply came in it was waaaay to much for the wee one. My theory is that my body was all, “We’re doing this again? We’re doing this again!!” and returned to where it left off: producing enough milk for a 13 mo. old. So I was able to get a good start on the freezer stash due to this body quirk.

      • Yes, that was all my first baby drank for the first 6 months and then almost exclusively for the first year. I was a horrible pumper, too, so what she did was ‘reverse cycle.’ This means that she drank 12 ounces of milk at daycare and then nursed a bajillion times at night. Sleep deprived was my name. I thought that I’d get some relief when we introduced solids but she didn’t want anything to do with them. At 11 – 12 months I transitioned to formula/milk at daycare because I just couldn’t take it any longer. She continued to nurse until she was 3. Today she is a somewhat picky eater but doesn’t have the strange food issues that the pediatrician predicted she would have.

        As I mentioned, I was a horrible pumper (12 oz a day no matter what) so having a meager freezer supply was key for days I missed a pumping session or was sick, etc.

        • This is similar to my experience. Both kids drank only breastmilk for the first 6 months and then we started adding in solids. I was able to pump just enough to keep up with my son, sometimes having to use the freezer stash. With my second, she refused to take a bottle and would wait all day until I came home to nurse and then would nurse all evening/night. We took her to the dr and they said this was fine from a nutritional/growth standpoint. Eventually (after about 6 weeks) she gave in and would drink a bit from a bottle or cup and at 6 months started some solids. But I had a huge freezer stash since it built up over the first 6 weeks I was back to work. Anyways, both kids got breastmilk while I was at work until they were a year old. At a year, I stopped pumping but continued to nurse once I was home until age 2.

      • Baby #1 was early and jaundiced and while technically not a premie, she seemed to tire out and not be a vigorous nurser. I didn’t have the greatest supply and when I could quantify that by pumping (recommended in hospital to make sure my milk came in), it was enough to make me question whether she was getting enough (her weight dropped in the hospital enough to have a serious talk about whether she could go home, since the jaundice is worsened by not eating well, which worsens the jauntice). I supplemented about a bottle a day until I got pregnant again at 7 months, at which point she got two formula bottles a day in addition to what I pumped.

        Baby #2 was not early and came out very hungry. No problems with supply at all (and I have the chest of a 11 year old boy when not lactating and not much more than that unless engorged).

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Yes until 4 months and then we added rice cereal until 6 mos. nursed/pumped until 1 year with both.

      • Saacnmama :

        From birth to 6 mos, my son had one drink of water & 1 bottle of formula. Then came a babysitter who fed him rice cereal once a day for a couple months. Then another sitter who made baby food for him. Both of yhem also gave him milk I oumped. We were amazingly in synch wrt production/consumption–my output & what he ate usually matched oz for oz. At home he did nothing but nurse until he was able to eat from my plate. Around 1.75 yrs he began to eat saag paneer and pad see ewe in local Indian and Thai restaurants. He started eating stack Bell around 2 years of age. By the time he started the commercial food, he was sharing dinner with me regularly.

    • I have no first-hand experience, but also plan to cloth diaper when the time comes (2-lawyer couple). My concerns are both environmental and skin-related (I, and everyone in my family, has terribly sensitive skin, and I’ve heard that cloth diapers are helpful in this regard).

      Here’s a post from another blog that goes into great detail that you may find helpful: http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/08/the-much-requested-cloth-diaper-post/

      Essentially, I’ve heard that the laundry is a lot, but not so much as to offset the diapers going into landfills.

  17. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Does anyone have any recommendations of good one-day tours of Napa Valley from San Fran? I’ve found a whole bunch, but if someone has done a really good one, would love to hear about it!

    • mintberrycrunch :

      I’ve been on Platypus Tours twice, and I enjoyed them both times. It’s definitely a bit of a younger, more relaxed crowd (everyone is definitely pretty tipsy by the end of the day). They’ll pick you up from your hotel or you can meet them at certain locations, and I found both guides to be really knowledgeable and interesting, but not pushy or wine snobby. Definitely recommend!

      • mintberrycrunch :

        Sorry, just saw that you needed advice for a tour leaving from SF. I believe that Platypus *might* also do that, but we were already in Napa, so I have no specific advice going from SF. Good luck though – Napa is wonderful :)

  18. Photo Facials for Roseacea? :

    Has anyone done these? I used to think I had bad permanent sun damage on my nose and nearby cheeck surfaces that would get neon when I ate spicy foods. Nope! Will this (or anything else) get the rest of my skin back to vanilla pinky beige? Thanks!

    • S in Chicago :

      I’ve done IPL . It did wonders to remove tiny veins along my nose and cheek and improved overall uniformity of skin tone (I had a lot of redness and some splotchy spots from past acne). I 100 percent would recommend it to others. But I’m not going to lie–it was painful. They put cool gel on your face first to numb it, but then for about a half hour you feel little stings as they move the laser. Where there is darkness, such as a sun spot, it stings worse. Like a bee sting. For a few days afterward, your skin will probably look worse. Any sun spots or acne scarring temporarily darkens and then sheds. I had a few areas afterward where there were tiny bits of brown–like coffee granules for a few days–nothing a little makeup couldn’t handle. As part of the treatment, the asethetician I saw included a chemical peel about a week after IPL to take care of any dead skins that was left. It is no joke though. I had it done at a derm’s office by someone who has a lot of experience. I wouldn’t trust any old med spa. If you google, you will read some real horror stories.

      A year later, my skin continues to be a lot less red and more even in tone. But I also know it isn’t permanent. I was told to expect to need treatment every year or two. It also isn’t cheap. One session was $300, and it took three sessions.

  19. recent grad :

    Have any of the ‘rettes tried Insanity? Is it worth it? I am thinking I may be more disciplined with working out if I don’t need to leave my warm house in the freezing cold weather when I know I am going to have to wait for every treadmill/elliptical/machine at the gym I go to. Thanks!

    • e_pontellier :

      My sister did it and LOVED it. Lost a lot of weight, looked great, felt great. She said she had to prep a lot of meals and that doing the meal plan with it was great. I have no idea how expensive it was though.

    • I’ve done it, the workouts only not the meal plan. It is definitely a hardcore workout, not one that I would recommend for someone who is not athletic already. I really liked it as a winter workout that I could do at home with only a yoga mat and nothing else.

    • I love Insanity. I’ve done a couple of rounds of it, and I’m always at my most fit / most ripped when I’m doing it. I’ve never done the meal plan though, just the workouts. It is a lot of jumping, so I wouldn’t do it if you have downstairs neighbors!

    • I had great results with Insanity as well. I didn’t lose any weight but went down at least a full clothing size. All the jumping was hard on my knees.

  20. Quite pleased to report that two (female) co-op students arrived in my office this morning and they are both quite appropriately dressed! Looks like I won’t have to tell anyone that leggings are not office appropriate attire this year, thank goodness.

    • Hooray!

      When I was in court the other day, I saw a student wearing a fully see-through white lace t-shirt with a white bra and a mini skirt. I wanted to take her aside, but what does one say?

      • “Put some proper clothes on.”?

        Seriously though, unless she was someone that I would see/interact with regularly, I honestly don’t know that I would say anything. I genuinely hope someone does say something to her if this is her regular way of dressing – but I think hearing that you’re dressed wildly inappropriately from a complete stranger would be absolutely mortifying.

  21. Reposting cause I’m stuck in moderation:

    I know a ton of you ladies live in the DC area, so I figured one of you might have experience – I scored tickets to the inaugural ball, and the event is (of course) black tie. I assume for me this means actual long gown and not a dressy c*cktail dress, so I ordered a few to try on. But for my husband, do you know if this is the kind of black tie where he can get away with wearing a black suit, or is it real black tie and he needs to rent a tux? I figure its tux time for him, but if anyone has been to such an event in the past, maybe you’ll know if his satin lapels will be missed and can save him a trip to Men’s Warehouse.

    • I have been to one inaugural ball, and it was no where near as glamorous as you might think. Long, long lines for everything, and “black tie” interpretations that were all over the map. Enjoy your long gown (easier to hide flat shoes underneath!) and don’t worry if DH doesn’t have a full-on tux.

    • Very cool that you’re going to a ball!

      You can check out what people wore last time by looking at old news footage. That is awesome.

    • Which ball is it?

      • Ditto to what cfm said. Depends which ball it is. Some states/groups are known for having much more formal events that others. My guess is that a suit is fine for 90% off the balls.

    • Thanks all! The ball I have tickets to is “The” Inaugural Ball – there are only two this year, one for members of the armed services and their families, and “the” inaugural ball, which had limited tickets for members of the public. I’ll try to find some old pictures, that’s a good idea! Thanks, all!

  22. So…. BB creams. Are they the greatest things since sliced bread? Are you using one? Do you use it alone, or also use a moisturizer and/or foundation and why?

    Also curious as to your age/skin type.

    I am in my early 40’s with skin that is very fair but red issues/uneven skin tone, very sensitive skin and lifelong acne that is finally improved with sprinolactone/retin-A. I have never used foundation regularly although I admit I need it.

    My dermatologist recommended bare minerals, but it makes my baby wrinkles not so nice, and still seems so cakey. Is a BB cream a baby step for me?

    • 28 yrs old/ moderately oily, acne prone skin

      I use Smashbox BB cream with BareMinerals mineral veil over it to set it. I’m quite happy, it gives me a little more coverage and alot more staying power than just bareminerals (I was using the matte foundation powder and the mineral veil). I If you’re looking for full-coverage, BB creams probably won’t do it for you.

    • I am a big proponent of BB creams, which are really just juiced up tinted moisturizers. To me the big advantage is that I can use them all around my eyes and not get irritation the way I would with regular sunscreen, and it evens out my skin tone as well. Also, it doesn’t emphasize dry patches or wrinkles the way foundation can.

      I have fair, normal/oily skin that gets drier in the winter, occasional breakouts, and a few beginnings of wrinkles. Here are my reviews:

      Neutrogena Tinted moisturizer: too greasy for me to use in the summer, needs powder on top to get rid of shine, color matches my skin well, cheapest option

      Smashbox: the most matte finish of the ones I have tried, good pale skin color options, nice coverage

      Too Faced: slightly more moisturizing than Smashbox, five stars from Paula’s Choice for good anti-aging ingredients, sometimes needs a little powder finish, the one I use most frequently

      Dr Jart: limited shades, but works for my skin, nice slightly matte finish, slightly greyish-greenish cast that counteracts my redness.

      I wear my BB cream alone in the summer and on top of moisturizer in the winter. I only use ones with good sunscreens so I can wear them alone. As noted above, with the greasier ones I’ll use a little powder on top.

    • 52, fair, reddish skin tone issues, hormonal acne prone. Went to Sephora and brought home several samples of their most popular BB creams and finally purchased Dr. Jart’s Black Label. SPF 25, full coverage. Really like it. I have horrible dark circles under my eyes so I end up with additional concealer there and on any skin problems , use Dermablend setting powder in translucent to set those areas – it’s working well as well as I can reasonably expect given my skin.

    • I started using the Garnier BB cream recently and I really like it. I mix it with a bit of Josie Maran Argan Oil Illuminator to give my skin a bit of a dewy, glow-y finish. It may just be the placebo effect, but I really do think my skin looks and feels better now after I take my makeup off.

    • Are there BB creams with barrier sunscreens? I want to try one, but my skin doesn’t do well with the chemical sunscreens in most moisturizers. So I have to use moisturizer/primer/mineral make-up right now.

      • I use Dr. Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++

        First received it in my birchbox and fell in love- my skin took a turn for the red and sensitive after moving to the city a year and a half ago and nothing helped. Since applying this BB cream over my usual moisturizer on a daily basis, a lot of the red marks have faded and my skin tone looks more even. I’m 26 with fair skin, so every mark really shows.

    • Dessert Doctor :

      30, fair, slightly acne-prone skin

      I’ve used the MAC BB cream in the past, and while I appreciated the nice coverage it gave, I found that it was just too heavy and seemed to really suffocate my pores. I’ve never had this experience with any other makeup, but whenever I wore that product and got the slightest bit warm, my face would sweat a lot and I’d feel unreasonably hot. I stopped wearing it, and while it seems like such a crazy issue, the problem seems to have disappeared.

    • I just started using Olay 7 CC (Color correcting?) cream. Basically a very lightly tinted moisturizer. I don’t like the look of foundation, even the light Laura Mercier formula, but needed something to even out my skin. I’m early 40s, a little redness and blotches. I like it very much so far, both that it’s lightweight and very subtle. It’s also SPF 15; if I’m going to be outside, I put on Olay Daily Defense (spf 30) first.

      I don’t have any problems with oiliness/shine so can’t speak to that.

      • Pale face :

        Thanks so much everyone for your great ideas! I am glad to hear some help redness, and may even improve skin, with SPF.

        I will go shopping next week to get samples of ones you recommended. Thank you again!

    • I’m 32, with very fair skin.

      I got the Garnier BB Cream, and found it to be basically the heaviest tinted moisturizer I’ve ever used. Instead of being moisturizer with a little tint, it’s like cream foundation with a little moisturizer.

      That wasn’t really what I wanted. My normal everyday tinted moisturizer is Cover Girl Aqua Smoothers SPF 15. Much lighter, and with SPF.

  23. e_pontellier :

    I’m a 2L starting a Spring semester judicial internship very soon. Since I’ll be in court all day, I understand I need nice shoes. Commuting in NYC would beg for commuting shoes… as an intern, is that a luxury I can afford? Can I expect to be able to change my shoes when I arrive at court? Also, what sort of commuting shoes would you all recommend? I have zero dress pants (hate them) and will wear skirts every day for my internship so I’m tempted to get fake uggs, or something similar, once I know my new office a bit more. Thoughts? Thanks!

    • I have grey suede booties with a tiny chunky heel that I commute in sometimes – they’re comfy but don’t look horrible under skirts if I forget to change my shoes.

      I don’t know if you’d be expected to change your shoes but if I were in your shoes, I’d probably want to…

    • I walk to and from work every day. My preferred “commuting shoe” is a comfortable pair of black loafers (I think my current pair are Naturalizer) with a one inch heel. I could walk all day in them if I needed to, but they still look professional if I happen to run into someone during the commute or somehow don’t get a chance to change shoes. As for changing shoes when you arrive at court, sure, why not? I do it all the time. Just sit on a bench in the lobby and swap out your loafers for your heels. If the weather’s bad, just have a plastic bag (empty grocery bag works fine) handy so that when you put your wet shoes in your tote bag/briefcase, they don’t get your papers wet and yucky.

      • Also, I would expect that you won’t be in court absolutely all day — you’ll probably start and end most days in the judge’s chambers. So you should have somewhere to stash things.

        Oh, and when choosing a commuter shoe, don’t forget about the courthouse security measures – so you may want to avoid metal accents, for example.

    • e! we have been very worried about you and people have been asking about you, how are you? congrats on the internship! I hate walking in heels outside, so I use flats to commute. I like the nauturlizer maude. its ok to be seen in, and if you ever had to be rushed right into court it wouldn’t be inappropriate. i always switch. give yourself extra time the first couple of mornings, and you’ll find a good spot to switch. a bench or the bathroom works!

      • e_pontellier :

        hi! Yeah I have to go with flats for commuting (10 years of ballet did a number on my feet) and I like your idea of loafers. Thanks!

    • Are you interning in a judge’s chambers? You should definitely have space to leave your coat and work, so I wouldn’t think changing your shoes would be a problem at all. You may also not be in court all that much, depending on how your internship is structured and the particular judge, in which case I would always be prepared to go to court if there is something you want to see, but dress code in chambers may be a little more relaxed (again, depends on the judge/court).

      If you wear skirts all the time, I would probably commute in flat boots for warmth and comfort, and then you could leave them on in chambers or change your shoes as needed.

      • I interned for a judge when I was in law school, and had my own desk. I would imagine that there will be a place for you to put your things – there’s no way you’d walk straight into the courthouse and go into the courtroom without having a place to put your coat, etc. I agree on the flat boots or flats for commuting, or I guess I could see a really low wedge so you wouldn’t have to leave a pair of shoes in the office or carry them with you.

    • I have a bunch of commuting shoes – flats, knee high boots, CH nike flats that are nike gel on the bottom, and as an intern, I left my “court” shoes under my desk in chambers. If you don’t have your own space, I’m sure the clerk will be accommodating.

      If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, a medium purse can def handle commuter flats or heels usually. (ie. my interview)

    • Anne Shirley :

      While you’re on a tight budget my vote is commuting shoes = whatever shoes you normally walk around in. I am occasionally self conscious about changing shoes in public, but if you look for it you’ll see loads of women doing it.

    • How are you, e_p? I’ve been thinking about you.

      • e_pontellier :

        Hi! I’m alright. Finals were a beast. I’m almost fully recovered and now I have to go back to school already! :( Things with DH are improving, but I hesitate to say that since I think everyone here is in the DTMFA camp.

        • Hon, I think I speak for most of us in saying that we support you in whatever makes you happy and fulfilled. If that means fixing things with DH, that is great – as long as it is a legitimate fix and not just smoothing over the issues. If it means DTMFA, then that works too. But we just want you to be safe, happy and healthy.

          • Agree. I think everyone is in the DTMFA camp because he has been so unwilling to change, and its rare that abusive relationship suddenly become fufilling and wonderful. You have shown the frightening habit in the past of internalizing his faults as your own, which makes it seem like he possess the ability to manipulate you. Some of your solutions (like just ignoring his abusive behavoir) have seemed impossible for long term success. But the number 1 thing everyone wants here is for you to be happy and healthy and feel good about whatever relationship you are in. If you have found a way to find that through staying together, then I am happy for you.

          • What Nonny and cc have already said.

    • Hey dear! Congrats on the internship!

      How are you doing?

      • e_pontellier :

        Thank you! I’m doing alright! Been thinking of everybody here but focused on getting my life together for a little while over the holidays.

  24. frugal doc :

    Alterations question.

    I am starting to alter my clothes (pants/skirts) for the first time, after getting good advice here and trying to clean up my look. I am also going to start wearing skirts more based on your advice, as having beautifully tailored pants that fit my fluctuating weight/butt size may be impractical.

    I got a cute cotton/silk BR skirt (that I snagged at a conseignment store for $12). I brought it to the tailor and he gave me a quote of $36 to nip the waist.

    Yikes… is that typical?

    Maybe I need to move to elastic waists for my big butt, small waist problem. Granny pants here I come….

    • AnonInfinity :

      I’m not sure where you are, but that is more than I’ve paid (I’m in the South). However, I learned the hard way that sometimes a garment looks easy to alter to me, but the tailor actually has to basically reconstruct the garment to take it in. This happened with a dress once, where I thought the tailor could just take it up at the waist seam, but she ended up having to reconstruct everything from the waist down. The alteration was very expensive, but that dress looked amazing on me.

      • MaggieLizer :

        Agreed, it’s hard to say without knowing more. If he’s only adjusting the waist band, $36 is super expensive and you should try somewhere else. But if he has to take in the seams on each side from, say, the waist band to your hip, or if he has to move or replace the zipper, $36 is a bit steep but not unreasonable.

        • frugal doc... :

          It is really only the waist that is big, but I ?guess it still requires opening the seams on both sides.

      • frugal doc... :

        I’m in the Chicago area, and this quote was in the burbs (which I thought might be cheaper?!).

        But I think you are right… that he needs to take it in on both sides so it stays symmetric, at two long seams. So then he must need to open the skirt completely on both sides and adjust the lining. He actually said something like…. “it’s like two skirts”…. which i didn’t understand at the time. He is a cute and grumpy elderly Italian man with a thick accent.

        I guess alterations are more complicated then I thought!

        • I got a steal of a deal on a great sundress at WHBM once, because it was a large size. It ‘just’ needed to be taken in. Over $70 later, it fit me like a dream! Only problem now is that I kept waiting for just the right occasion, and in the meantime have gained so much weight the original size would fit. Joke’s on me!

    • I agree with AnonInfinity that it depends on where you are.

      FWIW, I live outside Toronto, Ontario and I have to have all my skirts (and pants) taken in at the waist. Skirts usually cost me $14 and pants $18.

      It’s worth shopping around for a tailor that does good work at a reasonable price, so don’t give up yet. And remember that if you’re paying to have garments altered, you have to right to insist that it’s done properly. My seamstress (happily) redoes the alteration for no charge until the garment fits perfectly. It’s easier to spend the money on alternations if you know the final product will be perfect!

      • frugal doc... :

        Wow – how cheap! I will take it to one other tailor to get an estimate.

        And double Wow… they will alter again until fits perfectly?! I guess that’s the way it should be, but I don’t have that. Then again, for $36 it better be perfect…

        I also find the interaction with the tailor awkward. Maybe part of it is the language barrier, but he actually asks me what do I WANT. I was a little surprised, since I was hoping he would see the garment on me and immediately “know” how to make it perfect. I am never quite sure about how much give, length, drape etc.. is best.

        • He’s probably asking for your personal preferences around fit: Do you want the skirt to sit at your natural waist, or at your low waist? Do you like a tight waistband or do you prefer more ease for when you’re sitting? How tight do you like your clothes? Many people, for example, prefer to wear their clothes with less ease than what pattern makers would say is ideal, so fit does end up being a pretty personal thing.

        • lawsuited :

          It’s good that he’s asking you what you wants! If you don’t know, it’s okay to say that (“I’m not sure exactly how to do it, but I think the sides need to come in so it fits my waist closely.”) One of the things I like best about my seamstress is that she takes my input and we come up with good ideas together.

          There’s a good chance my seamstress gives me a deal because I give her so much business. I’m not kidding when I say I have all my whole wardrobe (skirts, pants, blouses) altered!

          • frugal doc :

            Thanks guys. You are right. Great points of course.

            I guess I am not sure what is the best for me since my clothes have never really fitted right. Still learning… and I actually asked him WHERE is my waist/where should it be. He threw up his hands and said “who knows…. you can do anything…”. I realize there is some truth to that in fashion these days, but I would have appreciated more help.

            I was told by the consultant at Nordstrom that because of my shape I will literally need everything altered. No boobs, tiny waist, tall, big rump. All shirts that are long enough are too big in the chest/sides. All pants that are long enough (and fit my butt) are too big in the waist. Oh well.

            Some day I will only have 10 perfectly altered, beautiful pieces of clothes in my wardrobe. That should be enough…

    • I don’t think that it’s completely off the mark, especially if it’s lined (which means that they basically have to do the alteration twice, once on the lining and once on the fashion fabric, and then put it back together). The expense of doing alterations is one of the things that led me to start sewing my own clothes — once you have a pattern that’s adjusted for you, you can whip out some things like simple straight skirts pretty easily.

    • In the DC suburbs, I pay about $30-$35 to have pants taken in at the waist. I think my tailors are very good, but by no means a bargain. Then again, my [email protected]@ looks so much better once they have altered my pants. I think they put darts in the back of the pants as well as taking in the waist. I have a pretty pronounced curve in the small of my back, which might be why the darts are needed.

      I decided that the $30-$35 to alter pants that are almost just right was worth it, as opposed to spending hours to find pants that fit off the rack, in the style I like and in my price range.

  25. Ugh just need to vent about my boyfriend. He’s a great guy but sometimes he is such a guy! He doesn’t seem to understand the little gestures make such a big difference i.e. a text message during the day saying hi when I’m having an off day or he’s away for work. He thinks it’s ridiculous and will call me at the end of a 15 hour day instead. But I can’t understand why he won’t spend 30 seconds sending me a text message when he knows I’m home missing him. We have this fight constantly! He’s just not great with my emotional needs sometimes i.e. I’ll start crying about something and he will say I don’t see the point in crying about X.

    Sigh – feel better getting that out. Any advice/tips/commiseration?

    • Stop expecting him to communicate on your terms. Do you really even want a check-in text if you know he’s doing it not because he wants to, but because he’s trying to avoid a fight?

      • Yes, but that would mean that she should communicate on his terms.

        The bigger problem is– they have different levels of emotional needs. She’s unhappy with it, and I’m sure he’s unhappy about being pestered to communicate more. I see an impasse, as neither seem all that willing to change their “default setting.” That’s fine, too, but if there’s no compromise, then the long-term prospects are slim. Which may not be a problem if nobody’s that invested in the long-term here, but we don’t know that from the original post.

        • I was thinking that the logical next step to realizing you can’t change someone’s communication style is determining whether you can live with his current communication style. If yes (really yes), then you’re fine. If no, on to the next.

    • Are you dating him just for kicks or fun LGPs? I’m not going to say to dump, but seriously think about whether you want a long-term future with someone as emotionally unsupportive. LIfe is hard, there will be many crappy days in a life, when you want to vent, or cry, and have someone nod and listen and hug you, rather than say he doesn’t see any point in crying about X.

      Because it sounds like the two of you are really incompatible when it comes to emotional needs — and he sounds really emotionally ungenerous. It would cost him so little to send you 1 text message/day and he just won’t do it. Even though you’ve told him.

      Please tell me that at least you get great LGPs with him b.c. if you don’t, I really fail to see why you’d want to be with someone so emotionally miserly. Read all those posts here where OPs talk about how they’re really close to divorce b.c. their husbands offer no support whatsoever. I used to wonder how they got there, and I think I know now– they’re usually married to people like your boyfriend.

      • Honestly, I am or at least thought I and we were in it for the long-term. Everything else about the relationship is fantastic (especially the LGPs). I think you’re right – we’re incompatible on our emotional needs and I don’t know how to fix it. It seems like such a minor problem because we’re compatible in every other way. I don’t know if I’m being unreasonable because I’m being too demanding or if he is being too stubborn. I don’t want to lose him but I also don’t want to feel like I can’t be emotional around him.

        I was perhaps a bit ungenerous in my description of him – he will listen to me and hug me etc. if I’m upset but I think he’s a bit uncomfortable with emotional displays and will try to ignore my tears or play them off because he doesn’t know how to deal with them.

        I think I’m just frustrated and really don’t want to have the same fight with him for what seems like the 7th month in a row.

        • I’m not trying to pile on, but I just want to highlight what you said here: “we’re incompatible on our emotional needs and I don’t know how to fix it. It seems like such a minor problem.” What could be more major for a long-term partnership than being able to meet each others emotional needs?

        • Have you tried telling him how he can help you when you are having an “emotional display”? Tell him that being there, hugging you, getting you water, etc. is what you are looking for and that it helps you. He may be uncomfortable because he doesn’t know how to fix it, but if he knew you were not looking to him to fix anything, that could help.

        • My SO will often say he’ll “try” to call me during the day but then he doesn’t and I’m disappointed. I almost wish he wouldn’t say he would try. So lately, when he says he’ll try, I quote Yoda (“Do. Or do not. There is no try”). Last night, I asked him AGAIN to let me know when he gets in after a 9 hour drive, which he regularly doesn’t do. I reminded him that if I did that, he would be frantic. Not sure what you can do, but I feel like I’ve had to stick up for myself.

        • e_pontellier :

          Tell him that. “I really don’t want to have the same fight with hi for what seems like the 7th month in a row.” AND tell him what you need. It’s not negotiable. It’s clearly bothering you. He will either tell you, “I’m sorry, I’m incapable of texting you every day.” or “Are you freaking serious that it means so much to you? Okay, that’s easy, I can text you.” It took me a lot of courage to be so blunt about my emotional needs, but once I was, my DH started to man up and now I have a loving text from him every.single.day.

          • e_pontellier :

            Also, not to make excuses for him (but I’m going to), men seem to have trouble shifting gears. So while it may seem like 15 seconds to you (and me), it feels like 30 minutes to him because he doesn’t think of anything outside what’s actually in front of his face. There are ultra-christian books called For Women Only and For Men Only that helped me understand some of this behavior. It absolutely does not change what you need from him, but if you can understand why he does something (or fails to do something), it helps lessen the anger about it.

          • Well, the other issue is that if he was thinking about you during the day, and his job is the type that lets him have little breaks, he’d be texting.

      • What does LGP stand for?

    • It seems to me that the real problem here isn’t the to-text-or-not-to-text argument, but the fact that you’ve had the same argument so many times, and that he’s shutting you down about it. If it’s important to you, there should be room for compromise (of course, that means you should think about how you could meet in the middle, too). Having said that, it sounds like he’s made up his mind on this argument, so you should try to figure out what that means for you.

      It sounds like you are at least a little prone to being what I like to call “highly passionate” — others may say overly emotional. As someone who is myself “highly passionate,” I find that it helps to be really introspective when I get upset. What is it that’s really bothering you? For the texting problem, what is it about his behavior that really hurts you? It sounds like the issue is that he refuses to budge on something you think is important, even though accommodating you would be very little trouble for him. Why do you think you’ve chosen this issue to rehash? Is it because you’re lonely during the day? Do you feel insecure in your relationship (and want to get more regular reassurance from him)? Or maybe there are other parts of your relationship where he isn’t willing to make easy changes? Figure out what the root of the problem is, and you’ll have a much better idea of whether it’s fixable.

      And if he’s dismissive of your emotions (telling you he doesn’t see the point in crying about it), then think carefully about whether that’s really likely to change.

    • This is going to sound really harsh, but I mean it in a supportive way. If you’re thinking of a lifetime relationship with this guy, I think you have to really think through what qualities will be important when life gets really tough. Stoicism might turn out to be really attractive if you’re super-tired and therefore super emotional during your first trimester, or when you are trying to work with school administrators and their response to your kid’s problem (especially because a lot of them, in my experience, are pretty sexist and listen to dads more than moms) or if the particular crappiness of the moment requires action, or if you have no choice but to keep on going even when your parent dies or something else supermajor happens. In those situations, hand-holding is nice, but keeping a level head and taking action is the real way to show you care, at least in my book. (FWIW, I tend to pick guys who are really “sweet” but don’t do the first thing when trouble shows up, so I’m coming from the opposite side of this than where you are.)

      • Being able to “take care of business” (TCOB)is not mutually exclusive with “being a supportive listener.”

        If OP needs the latter and is fine with his level of TCOB, then the lack of emotional support is still a problem. Long-term relationships are hard enough without trying to do them with someone who’s lacking something you really want. Otherwise, you’re just signing on to an annoying roommate, who might not even stump up for the rent one day.

        • saacnmama :

          True, but priorities can shift, especially if 3L Gal is in a typical pattern of a life centered around school and career and relationships she chooses and then life expands and becomes more complicated. Tons of middle-aged women would find it terribly romantic to have a guy who makes their life easier by TCOB.

    • saacnmama :

      You both speak different emotional languages, but I don’t think that means one of you has to learn the other’s or you break up. Why not learn to translate? Talk to him when neither of you is upset about this and work on your “bilingual dictionary”. When he says “that’s not worth crying about”, he might mean “you’re stronger than that” or “hearing you cry derails me, so I don’t want you to do it for something that’s not MAJOR” or “there, there, it’s not so bad” or something just as bad as you think. Find out what he really means, and then work on “hearing” that message when he says whatever the words are. I also agree with Rosie–if he wants to learn a few phrases from your language, teach him.

    • Apparently I’m the only one, but I think you sound nuts and totally unreasonable.


      • I agree with Bluejay, I don’t think that a text in the day during work is a woman/man thing nor needed for many relationships, including mine.

      • Not totally unreasonable, but some expectations are.
        “He knows I am at home missing him” – maybe he hopes that his girl is capable of finding things to do when she is by herself?

      • I think this does sound needy, but I think people just have different things they need. If my bf told me he needed a high five everyday, because he grew up with that being a sign of affection/reassurance, whatever, and I loved him and wanted to be with him, I could easily give him a high five every single day we were together. and, I would probably send him a cute little high five text if we were apart. What would the reason for withholding the high five be? this requires clear communication, and the OP should be saying, look I need a text everyday. it doesn’t have to be a ballad, just one text. if what she is really asking for is spontaneous action (ie flowers for no reasons, cards, leaving notes hidden in spots around the house before he leaves) then that is unreasonable. if what she wants is literally a text a day, I don’t see any good reason for him to withhold that.

      • Ouch. In my defence, I really only require a little extra attention when he knows I’m feeling a little lonely. (We’re long distance and it’s usually right after a visit ends). I’m not asking for a text message every work day (I don’t think I could even handle that) but a message saying hi or I miss you right after he leaves would go a long way in lifting my mood and brightening my days, which seem a little drearier after a great few days together/

        I’m generally quite self-sufficient and am trying to be upfront with what I need from him. I think other ladies are right in that we speak different emotional languages and maybe I’m not communicating what I need effectively.

        Thank you all for your suggestions and support! I will try talking to him about it again when I’m not so emotional and maybe we can come up with a solution that works for both of us.

        • You guys are long-distance and he’s so ungenerous about even a text?

          Sheesh. Strike what I said, put me in the DTMFA camp. Ugh.

        • Going to jump in here- now married after a multi-year long distance relationship with a guy who thought talking daily was unreasonable.

          I feel your pain.

          But, having some contact regularly is helpful in maintaining the common bond. Out of site, out of mind. In my case, I was living halfway around the world while he was in law school. When I would ask why he wouldn’t email me more often, or wouldn’t have more things to talk about, he would tell me there’s nothing to say.

          Solution- don’t know if this will work for you, but it worked for me- I would find things to talk about. He’s a chatterbox once you get him on an interesting topic. Send/mention interesting stories in the news or ask what he thinks about xyz happening.

          We ended up talking via skype almost daily, and adding that substand really helped to keep us close. Now, we live together in the US, but both work long hours, and we keep talking on gchat at work. Not every minute, but we do exchange lines throughout the day.

          But as far as being needy, we’re still pretty independent. Our social circles don’t overlap much (a result of so much time apart), and we have different hobbies (I’m the artsy one and he’s…not).

          I’m going to dissent here and surmise that you’re probably not particularly needy, but are in need of a closer emotional bond with him, so best of luck!

        • Oh, sweetie — being long distance is so hard, and it puts a totally different spin on your original post.

          What happens when you text him during the day? I know it’s not a perfect solution, if what you really want is for him to make a (very small) bit of effort just for you (and I, for one, don’t think that’s unreasonable, as long as you aren’t constantly asking for purely symbolic gestures), but if he’ll respond, you may at least be able to get more of the contact you crave.

        • lucy stone :

          How long have you been LD? I did it for all three years of law school and my 3L year was the worst because I was so busy with work and school and trying to find a job and he was busy at work. I think my now-husband would just forget about me during the day until we talked at night – not that he didn’t love me or didn’t care, but he wouldn’t dwell on the apart-ness like I did. Will you get to be together once school is over?

          • This is exactly my boyfriend – being apart doesn’t affect him like it affects me and he compartmentalizes. When he’s working, he’s working and doesn’t feel the need to text me. He does a good job of calling on a regular basis but sometimes in the middle of the day, I really need some contact, and I know he won’t call until the end of his day.

            I know he’s trying but I think I need to get to a place where it’s good enough for me. I don’t want to keep rehashing this fight. He’s so engrossed in work because he spends a few days with me, not working like he usually does so he needs to catch up once he’s home. I understand this all logically but I miss him when he leaves and my logic is no longer able to convince the rest of me that it’s enough…

      • Right, because you’re the sole arbiter of exactly how much a person should communicate with her SO. For the record, we’re not talking about you need that or whether “many other people” need that. The OP needs* that. She’s not getting it.

        She needs to explore whether it’s really something she can live without, whether he’s really that unwilling to compromise, and whether it is important enough for her to leave him over it.

        *For those of you who want to quibble over want/need — if you really want to break it down to barebones needs, then why bother have choice? You should just be assigned mates that have functional parts and pay some baseline level of financial or housework contribution unit. There’s no point in the OP being in a relationship just to be in one if something that’s really important to the OP (again, she has to decide how important) isn’t there.

  26. Test

  27. Hmm, got caught in moderation the first time, maybe for the word [email protected]? Trying again…

    It seems to me that the real problem here isn’t the to-text-or-not-to-text argument, but the fact that you’ve had the same argument so many times, and that he’s shutting you down about it. If it’s important to you, there should be room for compromise (of course, that means you should think about how you could meet in the middle, too). Having said that, it sounds like he’s made up his mind on this argument, so you should try to figure out what that means for you.

    It sounds like you are at least a little prone to being what I like to call “highly passionate” — others may say overly emotional. As someone who is myself “highly passionate,” I find that it helps to be really introspective when I get upset. What is it that’s really bothering you? For the texting problem, what is it about his behavior that really hurts you? It sounds like the issue is that he refuses to budge on something you think is important, even though accommodating you would be very little trouble for him. Why do you think you’ve chosen this issue to keep going over? Is it because you’re lonely during the day? Do you feel insecure in your relationship (and want to get more regular reassurance from him)? Or maybe there are other parts of your relationship where he isn’t willing to make easy changes? Figure out what the root of the problem is, and you’ll have a much better idea of whether it’s fixable.

    And if he’s dismissive of your emotions (telling you he doesn’t see the point in crying about it), then think carefully about whether that’s really likely to change.

  28. Whatever happened with the person whose father and stepmother were visiting her in Europe and dad was superemotional? Did you get through the visit OK? Nice goodbye hug at the end? I’ve been wondering.

    • Or the OP with lunch-date drama from her parents? (Some competitive thing between parents and in-laws, leading the OP’s dad to scan in a wedding programme from 10yrs ago in some weird quid pro quo thing.)

      And the OP whose husband went overseas on some business trip and cheated with an ex-gf of his, and she was thinking of confronting him at a restaurant?

      I’m worried about both– both sounded like they were particularly unpleasant, sticky situations.

    • Saacnmama, are you ok ? You seemed very swamped when you posted as anonymous on Friday and then outed yourself – were you able to make progress with your housekeeping, job application etc ?

      • saacnmama :

        OMG, thanks for asking!
        Job application is not done, but the “public” areas of the house are much better–floors are all steammopped/vaccuumed, and we just have to clear off 2 end tables and junk around them on the floor. So the weekend wasn’t a total success, but we made progress. Little man seems to really understand how important it is that we make it this time.
        Today I’m torn again between various responsibilities. He surprised me by saying he’s apprehensive about going back to school, and refused to finish the book report he had to write over break. Cleaning, exercise, job app–shouldn’t be so much to choose from, should it?

        • saacnmama :

          oh, and all my posts are going through moderation now. Commenting policy says you can’t post under different names in the same thread, so accidentally outing yourself is a nono. Sigh!

  29. ExcelNinja :

    What the hell am I supposed to do with my hair today?? I forgot about an early meeting with an exec until 30 minutes before. I hadn’t washed my hair all weekend. I dry shampooed and straightened and ponytailed, but I feel like the back looks disgusting. Bleh. Can’t wait to go home and shower!!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I overslept and hadn’t washed my hair all weekend either. I was just looking in the mirror thinking ew, this is looking worse as the day goes on. I think it is much more obvious to me than anyone else around here. I just wanted to chime in so you know you aren’t the only one wishing you had cleaner hair today. :)

      • ExcelNinja :

        aww thanks!! one of my coworkers asked me if I had dyed my hair, hah! I’m now hiding in my office with the door closed for another 30 minutes hoping no one else comes by.

        • Lady Harriet :

          Put it in a bun! The rest of the world doesn’t seem to have caught on yet that if I have my hair up, it’s because it looks bad down that day. I tend to do this rather more often than I should, though.

    • anonypotamus :

      Thirded. Flew in from a short business trip voer the weekend and had to come straight to work – no time to shower. Dry shampoo can only remedy it so much. Commiserating with you both!

      • ExcelNinja :

        Ick, flying is the worst, too – I think the dry plane-air makes it even worse. 30 more minutes for me – hopefully you don’t have much longer to go!!

    • Saacnmama :

      Recently got 4-6 inches cut off. It seems my hair must now be washed *much* more often than before :/. At least it looks good.

  30. Has anyone taken a trip to Antartica?

    We are clicking off the list of continents-I’ve-touched with this trip a year from now. Going via A&K as our last attempt was foiled with a sudden bankruptcy of a Canadian company.

    Thoughts about staying longer once it’s over … in Buenos Aires? We technically will be back there on 12/22. Seems nutty to try to use points/miles to get a flight back to the States only a few days before Christmas.

    Would ideally want to stay at a Marriott brand hotel – to use more points.

    Any other suggestions from veterans would be appreciated. We have travelled alot and done “expedition/excursions” but the Big A seems so very different – and intriguing.


    • no advice about Antarctica but Buenos Aires is fabulous and you should spend a couple days there on your way!

    • LilaFowler :

      Yes! I have been to Antarctica twice – in 2006 and 2012. I could not recommend it more highly. What kind of advice are you looking for?

      My first trip I stayed longer in BA and Iguazu Falls. My second trip in Chile and Easter Island.

      You are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE it

      • LilaFowler :

        Also, I stayed at the Marriott BA. There isn’t a Marriott in Ushuaia which is where most boats leave from.

        • Yes, just found the Marriott in BA. What’s nearby worth doing?

          Advice on packing…we won’t be needing the “evening/formal” stuff. But how to manage it?

          Cameras? We have a digital 35mm and in all my other trips we’ve enjoyed just using the pocket-sized little camera for ease of carrying and not looking like a tourista target. Thoughts? How do the big ones manage in the cold cold?

          I do have some insulated Kamik wellies from Calgary…would take up room.

          We plan on getting to BA the day before the A&K fetch us to Ushuia and their boat, but I was thinking 2-3 days afterwards in BA for real sight-seeing in Argentina.

          As we have been wanting to do this since the early 1990s, I am already in heaven about making it so … and on a full time clothing purchase ban for 2013 to pay for this. I just know it will be worth it!

          Thanks for anything you can offer.

          • LilaFowler :

            I have to run to a meeting, but I have written a detailed trip report from 2006, including clothing, here:


            Please feel free to email me at lila12 at gmail.com and I will write you a more detailed response.

            Packing – it’s all about layers and having the right layers. I invested quite a bit in clothing, but since I wound up going to the Arctic as well as back to Antarctica, it was well worth it. The boat should have wellies you can borrow onboard, but I would confirm that. I did bring my own boots as I thought it was space well spent.

            Cameras – I brought 3. I broke my only camera on a trip to the Arctic so I learned my lesson re that! The best camera I used though was small pocket Canon with a large zoom. I will come back and later and link you. You should have ziplocks or an Aquapac or something for the cameras. Also remember binoculars if they are not included in your package.

          • Just printed off your narrative; a book! Will email once I’m through reading and have more questions. Then again, how could that be possible! Thanks for the help; will convo soon.

      • Love the handle. When I was reading those books years ago, Lila Fowler was my style-icon.

        • LilaFowler :

          I’ve been reading the Sweet Life lately – Jessica and Elizabeth at 30!

    • SpaceMountain :

      My aunt & uncle went there. Importantly, they said that you are not allowed to touch the penguins, but if a penguin comes up and touches you, that’s ok. Penguins in the wild! So cute!

  31. For Nonny :

    I sent you the Kona mini guide over the weekend. Sorry it took so long! Have a great trip!

    • Thank you so much! I did receive it and it’s fabulous – I was going to e-mail you back today.

  32. Anonymous :

    I am in need of advice.

    I have a friend that, despite of what I am about to tell you, is a very nice person. I met her in a new moms group a few years ago and our children are friends (eldest is six, so we’ve known each other for 6 years, on and off due to house and job moves).

    This friend, in every conversation I have with her, brings up (and frankly, dwells upon) at least one of the following topics:

    How difficult her pregnancy was (youngest is 4, so its been a while).
    The trauma of her childbirths.
    How her doctor (well known NYC infertility specialist) is excellent and the local OB, who only gives sonograms twice in a pregnancy, is a yokel.
    How much money her husband makes (despite that she has not, to my knowledge, had any job other than student teaching).
    The cost of her house.
    Asking how much money you make, and noting how her husband makes more.
    Other odd/inappropriate comments about money, including inflating the prices of items she has purchased (i.e. a “$4000 purse from Prada”).
    Now, once I get her off these topics, she is actually a fairly nice person and our older children are good buddies. I think she is somewhat anxious and insecure, generally. I feel a little bad for her, if that makes sense.

    I do see her from time to time — now its about once a month, but when our children were infants/toddlers it was about 2x/week at a mom’s group.

    Should I ….

    distance myself from her (even more)
    sit her down and tell her that I think her conversation topics are inappropriate and rude (I was raised to not talk about money, nor ask people about their own finances)
    just change the topic very quickly every time I see her
    something else.

    • You haven’t said if these comments really bother you. If you enjoy her company despite her comments, then I would go with option (c) and just try to change the topic. If the comments bother you to the point where you don’t want to spend time with her anymore, then distance yourself or talk to her about it (with the expectation that she will be offended and not want to be friends with you anymore).

    • just change the subject. her comments are a mix of rude, slightly annoying and slightly odd, but nothing is actually offensive. feel free to stop telling her how much you or your husband made though. But just keep people like this in your outside orbit if they are not causing harm. It’s rude to critic people who aren’t asking for advice too.

    • I choose all of the above. You should distance yourself from her, but the next time you see her and she asks you an inappropriate question say you aren’t comfortable discussing it. After that if she continues to do it, change the topic, preferably as comically abruptly as possible. “Did I tell you how much I paid for this purse?” “Did I tell you about this weird rash on my foot?” etc.

    • Legally Brunette :

      If you enjoy her company and want to stay friends, I would consider bringing this up with her the next time that it comes up. My MIL would always ask questions about our finances (how much money we earn, how much we paid for something, etc.). The clincher was when she asked how much my sister had given me as a birthday gift. I told her that it was a really inappropriate question, she apologized, and now she never brings up finances. Your friend’s comments obviously stem from insecurity, as you point out.

    • If you, despite everything, enjoy her company- continue seeing her. If not – stop meeting with her (find other playmates for your kids). I don’t see the need to sit her down and give her the what-for.
      Just because she is asking you how much you make does not mean you have to answer. Refer to Hax and Miss Manners for instructions on how to answer inappropriate questions.

    • Sounds like she is insecure and unhappy with something and using those aspects of her life as a crutch. Does she do anything else (hobbies, volunteer) outside of the kids?
      Sounds like she hasn’t had to deal with the outside world in awhile.

      Perhaps spending time with her might be more fun if there was some other stimuli, such as going to an event or fun workshop where she could relax and enjoy something new. And where there’s something else happening to fuel conversation not having to do with salaries or babies.

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