Tuesday’s TPS Report: Pleated Silk Crepe Blouse

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

JCrew Pleated Silk Crepe BlouseWhile the secretary blouse (also called, sigh, the pussy-bow blouse) trend continues to go strong, I’m loving the simpler split-neck blouses we’re starting to see, such as this J.Crew one. They strike me as less fussy than a silk collar, but more easily layered (such as with a blazer or cardigan, or even a contrasting cardigan if the V is deep enough) than the silk bows. I even like the pale pink color of this (“mauve”), but it’s also available in royal indigo and “natural” (beige). Sizes and colors are flying off the shelves — here’s hoping they restock soon. It’s $178 at J.Crew. Pleated silk crepe blouse

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



  1. Anon for this :

    Tj – How do you ladies survive working 12+ hour days? I’ve pushed myself this year and physically don’t see how I can continue without getting extremely sick. Forget work/life balance, all I want is time to sleep 6 hours at night plus find time to eat while at work. Because of my hours, I wind up eating all my meals at my desk and feel like I’m slacking if I leave to get something.

    Any tips from surviving the first few years of BigLaw/crazy start of career hours? I’m at my end and so upset with myself for not being as invincible as I feel I should be. TIA.

    • Not all BigLaw gigs are bad, but this doesn’t look sustainable. Give yourself a light at the end of the tunnel: you will find something else and you will leave. And then start looking! It may take until early 2014 (people get their bonuses and leave and then there are openings). Get your resume in order and (even though you are time-pressed) start meeting people for coffee and networking (you don’t want an unpleasant surprise from Next Firm b/c you haven’t diligenced them or even gotten the word on the street).

      In the meantime, can you pare back a bit or get better on management-of-supervisors (being clear on deadlines or managing to avoid the boss who dumps things for the next morning on you at 7 or later at night)? That may buy you some sanity.

    • darjeeling :

      it takes practice, but you should work on saying no. Unless you have a deal closing in the next day or 2, don’t check your blackberry after 11 pm (or whenever), and if someone asks you to take on a new matter and you don’t have time, say so. In all likelihood they want you to keep working as much as you can but it’s counterproductive for them if you completely burn out first.

      Also agree with V that you should be looking. Not all firms are like this and your health is honestly more important than working at this specific place.

    • I feel like 12+ hours per day is the norm for big law…but I’m in NYC, corporate.

      Do you work every weekend? A couple all working weekends in a row kills me.

    • I’m not understanding how working 12 hrs precludes 6 hrs of sleep. Let’s say you’re working 9:00am-9:00pm, plus an hour or so for commuting, plus two or so hours for getting ready in the morning/getting ready for bed/unwinding. That’s 15 hrs, leaving 9 hrs unaccounted for (so even if it’s 12+, meaning somewhere between 12ish and, say 15ish per day, you still get about 6+ hrs of sleep). What am I missing?

      • LeChouette :

        she may mean billing 12+ hours which means being at the office for more like 14+ hours (in my experience)

        • If that’s the case, then definitely look into shifting some of the work off your plate, OP. If you’re billing 12+ hr days every day, even if we’re just talking M-F, you’re on pace for about 2,800-3,000 hours. If you feel bad about asking to reduce your workload (which you shouldn’t and if you do, you might be too much of a people-pleaser for your health), consider the fact that there’s rarely enough work to go around for everyone to be billing 2,800 hr years. That means that your extra 400-600 hours (or more) could be the difference between other associates billing 1,800 and billing 2,000. Assuming your firm has a 2,000 hour target, and conditions bonuses on meeting the target, you’re essentially helping other people get bonuses as opposed to hoarding work.

          If you’re billing these hours because of a deadline coming up (so we’re talking billing at this rate for 3-6 weeks), it’s probably not worth shifting the work onto someone else because of the ramp-up time it would cost to get that person up to speed. But do push off additional work to make sure you get a break after this project (deal, case, whatever) is done. No one should balk if you’re coming off a big project and want to bill 6 hr days for a week or two.

          • TBK talks good sense.

            Billing 12+ hours daily is unsustainable and should be reserved only for serious deadlines (a transaction closing, hearing coming up, etc.). Your health is far more important.

          • And I think she’s saying *all* she gets to do besides work is sleep for 6 hours and find some time to eat at her desk.

      • Human contact

        How do you go grocery shopping or do laundry?

        When I worked like that, I was so fried /wound up that I became a bad sleeper (hard to get to sleep, hard to get back to sleep if something woke me up). I imagined that I would be like those children in bad overseas orphanages: rocking in a corner, devoid of any human contact (except as task-givers).

        • Melatonin is a lifesaver. Let’s you fall asleep but no hangover. I buy the meltables at Target.

    • Honestly, this is making me pine for my days at a big firm. What a luxury to be able to say “no” or “I don’t have time.” Now that I am in-house I have no ability to do that. The work has to get done. Period. There is nobody else to delegate to. You can only send so much work to outside counsel, and you still have to review everything that outside counsel sends to you.

  2. Early TJ since I’m not sure whether anyone will see the other post. I’m looking to replace a Coach tote that has seen better days.

    Here are the ones that I’m considering. As a fed, I need a nice bag but not necessarily super formal/expensive. I do want it big enough to shlep some files home and to meetings but not giant (err heavy) since I’ll be using it every day.






    Any rants/raves as far as quality or appearance?

    • I like the look of the LL Bean, but it looks as if the handles won’t go over your shoulder. That could be bad for a heavier bag. I think the Overland tote is way too casual. If it were me, I think the Brighton Deena looks best.

    • Wildkitten :

      I vote LLBean. I think the Overland and the Dooney and Bourke look overly casual for office work. I’m fine with Calvin Klein and Brighton, but I still vote LL Bean.

    • With the Brighton one, there is a charm thingie on it that I’d want to remove. I see bag charms as something for the grade-school set (I’m talking to you, too, DIOR charm bag).

    • Veronique :

      Calvin Klein is my first choice, then Brighton. I agree with previous posters that Overland is way too casual, D&B is slightly too casual, and LL Bean doesn’t look like it will fit over your shoulder, which would make it super heavy once it’s packed. Saffiano leather is beautiful and wears really well and the CK is on sale for a great price.

    • Midwest Transplant :

      I have the LLBean bag. It is awesome, huge and looks very nice (received compliments from a client or two). I carried it daily for at least two and a half years years with little ill effect, a few loose threads near the handle that I snipped off. As far as the strap length, it was a little tighter than other tote bags, but I’m size 10 and was about to get it over my shoulder in a winter coat. The only caution I would give it is that the leather makes the bag heavy and when the walking portion of my commute got longer and I started carrying my computer, notebook, lunch, and water bottle everyday, I switched to a lighter nylon bag.

      • Anonymous :

        I, too, have the LL Bean bag. It is huge – I carry it instead of a purse, and take it to court daily. It holds files, and my court heels. I’ve had it for about 5 years and it’s held up rather well.

    • Visually, I like the D&B and the LL Bean best (although the LLB in dark brown, not so much in black). I also like the CK one, if not as much. I’m not really a fan of the other two. The first one looks too casual, and the Brighton one looks a little cheap (to me), esp. at almost $200.

      I don’t think the D&B one is going to be too casual for a government office, but that’s my experience.

      • FWIW, if you’re looking in the up to $200 range and are considering something lightweight, this CH tote caught my eye the other day and looks like it could be a good option for you: http://www.colehaan.com/parker-nylon-zip-top-shopper-black/B43022.html?dwvar_B43022_color=Black#cgid=womens_handbags_totes&start=14

    • Anonymous :

      My favorite is the LL Bean one. I think the others look a little cheap, honestly. Maybe its just because they are not leather and the quality of the leather on the LLBean one looks really luxe and nice. LLBean stands by their quality and will take a return at any time.

    • I'm Just Me :

      I have an Overland Equipment bag that I used daily for years and it still looked almost new.

      I’ve picked up the LLBean bag in the stores and it is very heavy when empty. I’m always trying to down size my work tote and not carry as much, but I don’t want something that heavy day to day.

    • I don’t have any of these bags, but will put in a general plug for the quality of LL Bean bags.

      I have a messenger-style bag (fabric, not leather) from LL Bean that my parents gave me when I began my undergrad. That was exactly 20 years ago. I used it every day in undergrad (though used a backpack in law school), have carried it on countless trips all over the world, regularly use it to schlep stuff to and from meetings in my volunteer life, and it is still going strong. I have never had one single problem with it, and I am very hard on my bags and tend to load them up quite heavy. I could see myself using it for another 20 years. Because of my experience with that one fabulous bag, my vote would be LL Bean, all the way.

  3. Tax Credits for Children :

    Interesting article on what economists have deemed the “bias against parenting” (ie. contributing to entitlement programs by raising kids). It’s an interesting argument for tax credits for kids.


    • I only started thinking about this recently, and do see the point.

      Years ago, I really wanted children and part of me felt that having children was a bit of a selfish enterprise. Right or wrong, that’s what I thought…. But it’s funny how life turns out…. because of life and my own insecurities, I will not be having kids.

      Not surprisingly, my parents were not pleased. My father even went so far to say that it is my responsibility to have children, for the benefits for society! At the time, I was upset by hearing that and brushed it aside (“just like Dad to say something like that….”). But there is some truth to it. Things like social security and Medicare are not truly solvent and unless I become quite wealthy, I will be very dependent upon them when I am older…. i.e. dependent upon the working younger to fill the coffers.

      That is a very harsh rationalization for having children, and not the way my mind works about these emotional/innate choices, but there is a point.

      Isn’t Japan’s economy in a bit of a bind right now for this reason? Hugely skewed population, elderly heavy after generations of families having too few children and investing heavily in one rather then a few?

      Food for thought.

      • Well, by not having children but paying taxes that support schools, playgrounds, etc, you are providing for resources that you don’t use. So I’d say it’s a wash – sure, we need younger workers for Medicare, Social Security, etc, but children need childless adults to help provide for the infrastructure they need when they are younger. Plus, there’s not guarantee that every child born will be a productive, tax-paying member of society, who puts in more than they eventually take out.

        Have kids if you want them, don’t if you don’t. I really wouldn’t let society’s expectations either way play a big role in this.

      • Cornellian :

        There are enough people in the WORLD, however, so I think the most “rational” solution would be to move babies from areas where the birth rate is above replacement to areas where birth rate is lower than replacement.

        Of course humanity doesn’t really work that way. I think raising one or two children can be a responsible choice, especially if you emphasize to them their role as stewards of society/the planet/etc and raise them to be considerate responsible citizens.

    • I don’t see how the referenced research proves that entitlements cause lower birth rates. In fact, if you follow the link in the Bloomberg article, you go to a longer article in the National Review by the same author. I’m going to call right-wing propaganda bullshit on this one.

      • I don’t think the author is attempting to cite himself here… the National Review article references two NBER papers which find significance of correlation between entitlement spending and fertility rates (robust to various explanatory variables). Of course it’s just that – correlation, but I think the author’s point is that it explains some of the decline. The other half of the decline is attributed to access to capital markets in one of the papers.

    • Anonymous :

      Interesting article. Not sure what I think about it yet, but I’ll be thinking about it.

  4. Reposting from last night – greatly appreciate the thoughtful replies I’ve gotten so far.

    I’m interested in hearing any stories of fellow e t t e s who have rescinded accepted job offers prior to starting when something better came along and lived to tell the tale. On one hand, I don’t want to inconvenience the new employer when they are incredibly nice, and I feel like it’s poor form to renege on an agreement (I’ve accepted in writing but haven’t signed a contract or anything, it’s at-will).

    On the other hand, the new job would have similar hours, pays a lot more and is more the type of work that I’m interested in. It also has better growth/exit options. My feeling is to stay with what I’ve committed to and keep in touch with the other place in case down the line the job doesn’t work out etc. My SO thinks that I’m nuts to not put my own career first and do what I think would be a better fit now. Thoughts/criticism welcome.

    • Anonymous :

      I have no exact story, but I’m in a position now where someone did that (to my advantage, obviously, since I ended up with the position). I’ve been here for 2 years and I still hear about it all the time. However, I work in a small community and everyone knows everyone. This person’s name and the story come up several times a month. I think there were some other issues in that the person may have told some untruths when declining the already accepted offer.

      Having said all of that, my advice would be to take the position that is better for you, but to be completely honest about it and do it very soon so they can start looking again.

      • Traditionalist :

        +1 on the “tell them soon” thought if you’re going to take the second offer. I have a tendency to waffle and agonize and it only makes things worse… both for me in prolonging the process and for the other party as they’re making plans around a set of facts that is ultimately not the case.

        As a friend told me at the time of my last waffling: “Deliver good news fast, deliver bad news faster.”

    • Have you been offered a job at the second place, or is there just an opening that looks good?

      Ask a Manager has done a few posts on this subject that may help – here’s one: http://www.askamanager.org/2010/07/can-i-back-out-of-my-new-job-if-i-get.html

    • I did this once, after agonizing over the decision. I was hired to teach school, but the new district did not pay well, so when another opportunity opened up at a better paying district, I took it — two days before school started. It was hard, but definitely worked out better for me.

    • Job Offer :

      I’ve had it happen to me, where the person I’ve offered the job came ended up taking something else that was better. I’d be straightforward about why the offer is better (ie more money, 20 minutes closer to my kid’s daycare, fewer weekend hours, etc.) If inclined, offer number 1 may try to match.

      I feel no ill will to the person who had declined the offer and frankly we now are somewhat frankly and get coffee from time to time. Work is work, and life is life. If you handle this in a mature, matter-of-fact way and as gracious as possible the other person will likely respond in the same vein. Those people that are going to be totally irrational and take this personally will do so regardless and frankly, think about how you dodged a bullet having to work for them directly.

    • I’ve been on the employer side of this a couple times, where someone reneged or quit a few days after starting. The former – reneging before you start – is so much better than quitting after starting because the job posting is probably still up with an applicant pool that hasn’t already been turned down. But either way, it’s just life. I don’t want to have a coworker or supervisee who is unhappy from the get-go because she turned down her “dream job” to work here. Your SO is right; put yourself first. It’s business and the company you turn down will understand.

      • Yeah, the employer isn’t going to put you first. Why should you put them first?

      • +1 to this – an employer will be WAY more understanding of you saying “I’m so sorry but I took another offer” a week or so before you start rather than a week or so after you start. We’ve had both situations at my company in the time I’ve been here, and the scuttlebutt on the person who took another job before starting was along the lines of “Oh, she took another position? That’s disappointing!” and then moving on. The guy who worked here for two weeks and then left was much more widely criticized – there was a LOT of resentment and it was really frustrating given that most of his first week was job orientation (getting building access, email setup, passwords and logins, teaching him about internal processes) and it wound up wasting a lot of peoples’ time. So, if you’re considering bailing, just go for it.

    • I’ve been on the employer side of this a couple times, where someone reneged or quit a few days after starting. The former – reneging before you start – is so much better than quitting after starting because the job posting is probably still up with an applicant pool that hasn’t already been turned down. But either way, it’s just life. I don’t want to have a coworker or supervisee who is unhappy from the get-go because she turned down her “dream job” to work here. Your SO is right; put yourself first. It’s business and the company you turn down will understand.

      Sorry if this double posts.

    • I’ve been on the employer side of this a couple times, where someone reneged or quit a few days after starting. The former – reneging before you start – is so much better than quitting after starting because the job posting is probably still up with an applicant pool that hasn’t already been turned down. But either way, it’s just life. I don’t want to have a coworker or supervisee who is unhappy from the get-go because she turned down her “dream job” to work here. Your SO is right; put yourself first. It’s business and the company you turn down will understand.

      Testing. All my posts are getting eaten.

    • SummerOffers :

      I did it for my summer internship in college back in 2005. Those were the days when you could choose between several good offers. My first offer was from a small firm in the midwest, I accepted it way too early. I didn’t know our college had a much later deadline to give students time to decide, I shouldn’t have given into the pressure. Later on, I got a much better offer at a top wall st firm which was just more prestigious. I also won one of their sponsored scholarships that would pay half my tuition for senior year of college. I took the second offer and backed out on the first. The college career services barred me for next 4-5 months from using their services. But by the time I was back from summer internship, I already had a full time offer from the second firm and did most my interviews with other companies by directly contacting recruiters, going to info-sessions and getting an interview spot. Eventually I got an even better offer than my summer firm and took that. This was obviously pre-2008 crash when jobs were plenty in my area, but I would probably not risk getting barred from career services in this economy. Again this was all campus hiring scene, it is likely different with experienced hires.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Do it. I didn’t and then regreted it. This is strictly business, put yourself and your family first. If you haven’t started, they haven’t invested any resources in you yet. Worse is to start and then leave after 6 months. This doesn’t go on your resume and is a smooth transitions. Also, the first employer will understand that you were on the job market and suddenly got a much better offer. No harm no faul. You may burn a bridge with this one company, I honestly doubt anybody would hold this agianst you. Overall, I think it’s worth it.

      • Anon in ATX :

        +1 I also regret that I stuck with my first commitment when the second offer would have been better for me going forward, although it was for a summer position in law school.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I did it with my first job out of law school. We had decided to move out of the Big City and I’d accepted a job at a firm in a smaller city a few hours away. At almost the last minute, my then-husband decided he couldn’t leave his longtime job and move away. I’d had an offer from the BigLaw firm I’d summered with and it was mercifully still open, so I belatedly accepted it and rescinded my acceptance of the other job.

      I won’t lie — it was pretty awful. I think the hiring partner’s exact words were “Well, I hope you don’t expect me to be all gracious and understanding about this, because I’m not.” Ouch. But at the end of the day, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

      I agree with your SO — if you have an offer for more money and similar hours, doing work you’re more interested in, you would be nuts not to accept it because you feel loyal to a firm you haven’t even started with yet. Believe me, if they had business reversals they would. not. think. twice. about rescinding your offer from their end.

    • In addition to saving tons of money, take a look at what may be lurking in your house that you can sell. Craigslist/ebay/half.com/used book store could be your friend. Also if you have any time, check the gigs section on Craigslist. There’s always a chance you can pick up some easy one-and-done type work.

      • Sorry – this was supposed to go below. Comments are still jumping all over on me.

    • Put your own career first. It sounds like you’ve identified that the new offer is way better, but that you’re worried about hurting the first job’s feelings. As much as it sucks to have to renege on your agreement, you need to put the needs of yourself and your family over the short-term disappointment the company will feel. They’ll find someone else and probably forget you even exist – you need to be the one to watch out for your own interests, because it’s REALLY not going to matter to them in the long run.

  5. TJ– Need some advice for handling a family issue. My younger sister is 25, has a chronic illness that greatly impacts her life, and is still working towards her BA. We (the family) recently discovered that she was an alcoholic (after an OD), and my parents made the decision to pull her from college (no more funding). I’m at a loss. She was in AA, but stopped because it was “too christian” and it gave her a panic attack (she is an atheist and extremely sensitive to what she thinks of as “overbearing Christians”). I’m of the opinion that she needs to suck it up and complete the program, especially since I discovered cigar 3tt3 s in her car, and she admitted to trying to start smoking as a means of self-medicating (HUGE red flag to me). Ok, so here’s my question: I really want to write her a letter, basically telling her that she needs to start working on getting her life on track. I think she needs to be in AA. She needs to try and get as healthy as she can (and quitting alcohol will most certainly help), honestly assess the limitations that her illness gives her, and start figuring out a career she can actually do, so she can lead a happy/independent life. Part of me thinks that I need to write it, because she has no support system outside my family, and won’t hear it from anyone else. Then the other part of me thinks that it’s not my place to basically tell her what to do with her life. Plus, we’ve always had the golden child/scapegoat dichotomy in my family (her being the scapegoat) so I can see her as being very resentful of me, on my high horse, giving her advice. I was thinking of giving the letter to her along with the Defining Decade and The Gift of Forgiveness (I think she has a lot of anger). Thoughts?

    • Merabella :

      There are other rehab programs that aren’t AA, perhaps researching some of those would help her find something that is a better fit.

      I would also suggest that you check out Alenon/therapy because this situation seems to be take a toll on you as well. Perhaps a therapist/others who are going through similar situations can help you craft the best letter possible for your sister.

      • Good advice, but my parents aren’t willing to pay for any rehab/therapy for her (and I don’t have the means to pay for it either, with my student loans). I definitely like your advice for getting therapy for myself…. definitely something I’ll start researching.

        • Houston Attny :

          I’m glad you are willing to consider therapy for yourself. Sometimes, what others should do is so obvious (and whether it’s right or not is a different story) and when it’s someone you love, you want to shake that person. Or is this just in my family?! I’ve actually talked with my counselor about how to deal with my sibling who seems to make all the wrong decisions, and it was helpful. I’ve let most of it go. That said, our issues weren’t health related, and I can certainly understand your desire to do something. I hope talking with someone helps you. Good luck.

        • Can you help her apply for healthcare plans, maybe under the Affordable Care Act starting this fall, that would cover addiction treatment/rehab/counseling?

      • Cornellian :

        Second both of these recommendations. AA is not the only choice, by far.

        I also think you may be spot on on the golden child dichotomy, which I think is true in both directions for my sister (she’s the golden child to our father, I’m the golden child to our late mother and extended family) and still causes problems for both of us in our 20s. I wonder if showing that you’re taking it seriously as a family problem (ie by entering alanon yourself) would make her more receptive to the genuine-ness of your concerns.

    • Anonymous :

      In my experience, absolutely nothing will convince an addict who isn’t ready to get better to do something they don’t want to do. I say this as someone who lost a parent to addiction four years ago.

      I’m not sure that a letter telling her what to do is the best approach. From my experience at least, the person will likely see it as preachy and overbearing. I would recommend writing a letter about how much you care about her and support her, how you’re there to help her get better, should she want to, etc. Tell her you’re worried about her and her future. Things of that nature.

      I know this is extremely difficult and that all you want to do is “fix” it, but it really isn’t something that you or anyone else can fix. Lean on your own support system as you go through this and take care of yourself, as well.

      • Agree.

        Maybe a letter along the lines of “I love you [and I’m so sorry to see you going through this] [and I want to help you when you are ready] [and I hate to see you suffer] [and I want do to what I can to help you].” When she is ready, maybe she will turn to you.

      • Thanks for the kind words. I agree—I think it’s just a sad situation all around and I’m not sure yet my place in it. From what I’ve seen she does genuinely seem to want to get better, but I am just concerned that even if she wants to, she has little no resources to actually do it without AA.

        • I agree with the others that your letter approach will come off as too judgmental. Need to just be open arms at this point.

          Find her a non-AA support group, perhaps by starting to go to Al-Anon yourself, looking online, talking to a local social worker etc… Offer to go with her if she wants you to the first time.

          And I’d lay off the cigarettes. You can’t be monitoring every aspect of her life or she will feel suffocated by you and back away completely.

          She probably needs a therapist as well – I assume she has one? There are medications that may be helpful.

          Good luck.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1 – especially given the family dynamic I would worry that she would see it as “preachy and overbearing”.

      • I agree that any real recovery has to be instigated by the addict. If they are doing it because you or your parents want her to, she’s just going to relapse. Addiction is a disease and there is nothing you can do for someone who isn’t ready/willing to face it. If she calls and says “hey, there’s a support group meeting at 6 pm tonight, can you give me a ride?” by all means, give her a ride. But writing a letter telling her she needs to get her life on track isn’t going to help. You might have better luck if you write a letter saying you’re sorry she’s going through this and you’re happy to attend a meeting or accompany her to an appointment or something for moral support if she finds something she wants to try and doesn’t want to go alone. But you can’t tell her what to do or do it for her if you want her to get better. She has to make that decision.

    • I’ve got to say, the letter definitely sounds like it would hit the high horse/scapegoat note to me.

      Why not write her a letter that says you love her, you want her to get help (for her addiction and chronic disease) and leave it at that. If you really wanted to go all out, you could research rehabs she could go to and include a list of those options in the letter. If she refuses to get help, you refuse to deal with her anymore. Perhaps you should consider going to Al-Anon.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you’re right to have all these reservations about intervening, at least in the way you’re considering. AA has to be voluntary, and objecting to it for religious reasons is valid. Many recovering addicts smoke for a while, and it’s considered a harm reduction strategy, not a “red flag.” (Pretty much all meetings have a circle of smokers outside before and after–but look, they came to the meeting and are clean.) The golden child/scapegoat thing is also a lightning rod. It sounds like you could potentially hurt more than help, despite good intentions.

      I’d recommend researching alternatives to AA to demonstrate that you take her issues with AA seriously. This includes group models as well as therapy, books and other support resources. Also, if she wanted to continue college, what are her options to at least be taking classes now, so she feels she’s moving forward in some way educationally? Don’t nitpick about the smoking, she’ll just feel like she can’t get it right with you (and it could add to anger and resentment, especially given her chronic illness). Giving her The Defining Decade would probably strike the wrong tone since she’s just been pulled out of college by her parents. I think overall you should reorient your approach to focus on warmth, validation and support, rather than judgment and giving directions. This makes it more likely that eventually she may be able to be open with you about what’s going on–she’s been dealt a difficult hand. If someone is going to get a bit tough with her, in a helpful way, I don’t think that person is you (nor your parents, most likely). I’m thinking more along the lines of a mentor in recovery or someone else who also suffers from chronic illness.

    • I would highly recommend Al Anon for you as the best thing for this situation. Try out a few different meetings before deciding whether the program is right for you.

    • Friend/family of alcoholics :

      I completely understand why she would object to AA if she’s not Christian. It’s pretty heavy-handed. I second the

      Your place here is really as a loving sister. Especially if you’ve had the golden child/scapegoat dichotamy, you need to be supportive and non-judgemental before you can tell her to get her life in order, find a career, and let go of her anger. The revolving door of addiction feeds the feeling that she doesn’t have any reason to quit: her life isn’t on track, she probably feels alone and rejected, and she doesn’t see any reason to change her life because it won’t get better anyway, just more sober and miserable. Feeling so miserable leads her to shut out the world with addiction, which makes her life more miserable, which leads her to addiction – and around it goes.

      As far as damaging habits go, I wouldn’t worry about the smoking right now. If the trade off for alcohol is tobacco, I would say welcome it, and once she feels a little less out of control, she can deal with quitting.

      • As someone who lost a close relative to addiction/mental illness this year, +10000 on every word of this.

      • yes to all of this. And, at least in the big cities I’ve lived in, there are specifically athiest/non-religious 12-step or addiction recovery support groups that are also free. Look around and I hope you can find something like that in her area. She could really use other people to talk to who are also dealing with addiction.

        But you can’t force her to do that. And if she has no support person at all, it will be so much harder than her. She is now 25 without the resources to finish college, how is she supposed to do that on her own? She really just needs love and support now and she will figure out what “track” to get her life on in her time.

        • Probably too late for the OP to see this, but also her college may have a great counseling/support network and be able to help monitor her treatment. Just another something to think about.

    • Not knowing your sister’s chronic illness, perhaps there are support/therapy groups available through an organization around this illness? I know that, for instance, the National MS Society, offers access to therapy and other things for people diagnosed with MS. The “head” organization for your sister’s illness may offer something similar or recommendations for counselors. Struggling with a long-term illness can certainly encourage feelings of depression, anxiety and loss, which can lead to self-medication through alcohol. Virtual hugs to you and your sister.

    • Hug’s to you. I agree with your approach, tho implementeation by her will be difficult, b/c most alchoholic’s do NOT want to admit they have a probelem to begin with. This is sad, but I hope your approach works!

      Alan never admitted he was a drunk, even when he was throwing up in my apartement, and when he was having difficulties in the bedroom. FOOEY on all of that now, but it is a side effect of drinkeing. He I think is still drinkeing, b/c I saw him downtown at a restrarunt with that girlfreind of his, and he had a bottel of wine on the table and he looked smashed. DOUBEL FOOEY.

      Sam does not drink I do not think, so that is a plus, and he has manner’s that Alan never had. I still have to deal with that British accent — he kind of sound’s like Paul MacCartney (but w/o the money — mini FOOEY). He talked about haveing a family, so that is a good thing, and he was amused by my Grandma’s $50,000 proposition. I do NOT have alot of time so I should ask him over so Dad can meet him. Dad has been pushing for a while, so mabye he might like Sam. I am just not sure.

    • I would refrain from giving her advice, but I would check out Al Anon for yourself and your other family members. It’s for friends and families of addicts and alcoholics. I go, and it’s been very helpful to me.

  6. Question for all you globe-trotting ladies: we are going to Thailand for about a week (Bangkok and Chiang Mai). For those who have taken this trip, do you have any suggestions about things to do/see or specific packing suggestions? We’re trying to pack light, so things you brought that were particularly useful (or not useful at all)? Any thoughts or advice most welcome! Thanks in advance.

    • Leave room for bringing stuff back! The silk is so gorgeous and so cheap. I wish I’d had more space in my luggage. We were only there on a 24 hr layover, but we went to the Grand Palace and saw the Emerald Buddha, which I’d definitely recommend. We also ate street food (so good! and so cheap!) and got massages and mani-pedis (again, so cheap). I’d also plan to spend at least an afternoon at one of the large markets (I wish I knew which one we went to). It’s worth just wandering around, looking at all the beautiful things, and eating snacks from vendors walking through the crowd. Definitely jealous — I’ve been dying to go back ever since.

    • I loved my trip to Thailand. Definitely visit the markets even if you don’t want to buy anything. A lot of them sell the same things, but a handful have unique, gorgeous products. The massages are very inexpensive. I got at least a foot massage everyday I was there and I miss them just thinking a out it. Make sure that you bring clothing to cover shoulders and knees if you plan on visiting any temples.

      In Chiang Mai my favorite two things were an elephant trek and a zip line. The elephant trek was an amazing experience and I learned a lot as well. We watched them bathe the elephants, got a chance to feed them, rode them through the forest then finished with lunch and went on a raft trip down the river. I’d never done a zip line before and the one I went on was great. It involved some hiking through the forest and the guides pointed out different things of interest. I’d highly recommend it as a more adventurous experience.

      • Senior Attorney :

        And by “clothing to cover shoulders and knees,” that means clothing. When I was at Angkor Wat (granted, that’s not in Thailand, but I thought I’d pass it on for what it’s worth), one of the women in my group tried to cover her tank top with a scarf and was refused entrance. Don’t take a chance. Make sure you have a shirt with sleeves.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I always kind of turned up my nose at “travel” clothing, but when I went to Southeast Asia last winter, the best-put-together woman in my group, by far, was the lady with a few pieces from Magellan (think khaki pants and skirt, white shirt, khaki shirt, a few tanks) that she was able to wash in the sink and hang dry, and accessorize with a few colorful scarves.

      I was happy with my closed-toe Keen sandals — Newport style, I think. They were super comfy and durable for clambering up all those stone steps in all those temples.

    • Thanks so much, ladies! I really appreciate the tips. Very excited!! :)

    • Just back from a long weekend in Bangkok. Am sure you’ll find your way to the Grand Palace and the nearby temples, so other useful tips would be
      : Use the transit system whenever possible but most especially during rush hour – this means the 2 train systems (the overhead one ‘BTS’ and the underground one ‘Metro’) but also the express river boat, which is an interesting ride in itself, from the terminus at Thaksin bridge to the other end at Nonthaburi. The 2 stops in the middle Tha Tien and Tha Chang are particularly handy for the old palace and there’s also a handy stop for the (super photogenic) flower market at Memorial bridge, if that interests you.

      : Go to the daytime weekend market at Chatuchak for crafts, wonderful things for the home, inexpensive fashion and a heaving bustling scene of local kids selling cool stuff to each other – you can take the metro to Kampheng Phet station to emerge near these sections since the market sprawls over a wide area. Pop across the road to the food market Or Tor Kor if you have any interest at all in Thai ingredients/ food ways and if you’ve still got energy for it, continue up the road at Rot Fai market on Saturday evening where there’s a great hipster-y bar (Rod’s) and industrial antiques and found objects for sale in a series of railway warehouses.

      : If you fit into Asian sizes, underwear is a great buy. I like the local brand BSC which is a big contract manufacturer for western brands, and Wacoal has a huge range for this market too. Try the department stores at Paragon or Central World. Also if you fit Asian sizes, there are some terrific local designers with extremely high-quality product. Try the shopping mall at Siam Centre. At the lower end, all my friends and their daughters and their grand-daughters love Platinum, the ‘wholesale’ mall, for extremely cheap ladies’ clothes, mostly highly disposable super-trendy designs, but also good for some basics.

      I’ll post more if you have any interest in food recs – perhaps you can indicate your level of comfort with street food or if you’d prefer sit-down in-doors places.

      • Thanks so much for the tips! I would love to hear your food recs…I’m highly comfortable with street food, but also would like a few sit-down places for nice dinners. Thanks, ss!!

        • Not sure what part of town you are staying in, but my favourite, favourite place for a really nice, fancy meal in Bangkok is Thanying Restaurant on Thanon Pramuan, between Silom Rd. and Sathorn Rd. Excellent “royal Thai” food in a wonderful setting.

          Or if you want to go where the cool kids go, check out Sirocco Restaurant on the roof of State Tower on Silom Road.

          Substantially less fancy, but for decent Thai food at a good price point you can also try S&P, which is a restaurant chain popular with Thai families. It’s pretty reliable and if you just want to go somewhere air-con with consistent food, it’s a good bet. There are branches all over.

          Something else I recommend is visiting a Thai food court. Seriously. Every shopping centre in Thailand has a food court with a variety of booths, each of which specializes in one particular dish. You buy coupons at a central desk, and pay for your food at the booths with the coupons. If you don’t use all your coupons, you can redeem them at the desk later. The food at these food courts tends to be pretty good and it is a great way of trying different types of food if you are unfamiliar with it.

          Mmmm, getting hungry just thinking about this….

        • Here are some of my current favourites
          : Bo-Lan (Sukumvit soi 26) does a chef-driven version of traditional and complex Thai home cooking. My local friends think it is over-priced but I’d think of it as an opportunity to eat Thai food at a level which would otherwise be inaccessible to most visitors. Get the set menu for an easy way to ensure a properly-balanced mix of spicy/ sour/ sweet/ fatty/ bitter/ soothing flavours.
          : Supanigga (Thonglo) is a sleek industrial-chic place with a serious cocktail menu and excellent distinctive north-eastern food. Everything I saw coming out of the kitchen on a recent visit looked terrific but try the pork chamuang, the fish-sauce dishes (I think they have access to some special small-production fish sauce) and the nam priks.
          : Kua Kling Pak Sod (Thonglo) is a homey tea-parlourish room with excellent southern food. Try the Kua Kling (dry pork curry) and anything with sa-tor (‘stinky beans’ – like a more intensely-flavoured fava) but be prepared for a lot of heat, which is correct for southern Thai food.
          : Somtam Der (Sathorn) is a cute canteen with very good Issan food, with specific focus on green papaya salad and its variants, but all the usual grilled favourites are done well also (try the pork neck).
          : Laem Charoen (Central World branch) for Thai-Chinese seafood. Everything is good but I like the fried mantis prawns if they are in season, the grilled crab and the stir-fries with green pepper-corns.
          : Nara (Erawan branch) for good central ie. Bangkok-region dishes, open all day.

          These are all comfortable sit-down places with English menus and accessible by BTS/ metro, which can be important point around the dinner-time rush hour. You’ll need to book for Supanigga and Der, which are small and very popular. Laem Charoen and Nara are particularly handy for the main shopping district at Siam/ Chitlom.

          For street food, I have a bunch of favourites in Yaowarat (Chinatown) which has a great night-time scene (liveliest on Sundays). G**gle up ‘Nay Mong’ for oyster omelette and ‘Nay Uan’ for kuay jap, if you want specific stalls to look out for. On weekdays, take the river express to Rajawong to avoid traffic.

          And if you need a break from sight-seeing around the palace, Thanon Tanao is a 10/15 min walk away behind the defense ministry, and has a bunch of very old-style food vendors operating out of traditional townhouses. G**gle up ‘Austin Bush CNNgo Tanao’ for an excellent map of the area by an expat blogger/ photographer.

    • One week to do both Bangkok and Chiang Mai is not much. If you have already made bookings, that’s fine, but if I were you, I would consider just sticking in/around Bangkok for the whole week. There is a lot to see and do there and you will find that with the heat and traffic, it will be difficult to do more than 2 things in a day (1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon).

      If you do go to Chiang Mai, I highly recommend going to the Night Bazaar – the prices there are better than what you will find in Bangkok for similar items. However, bargain bargain bargain, because the true price of an item is usually less than half of what the vendor’s initial price is. Chiang Mai is also known for artisans’ shops – you can hire a car or song thaew for an afternoon and visit a lacquerware factory, a celadon factory, a silk umbrella factory and a silk store – they are all along one road just outside the city and if you have not done it before, it is quite interesting. Definitely visit Wat Phra Thet Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai – it is very beautiful, but again you will have to hire a car or song thaew to take you there. You will not have time to really do an elephant trek but you should visit the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre.

      In/around Bangkok, do visit the Grand Palace, and get a guide if you can – there are significant cultural reasons behind many elements of the architecture that you will never know unless you have someone to explain it. For a real Thai shopping experience, go to MBK Centre (Mahboonkrong) – it will be overwhelming but fun, and there are different things on each level, so go right up to the top. Jim Thompson’s House is well worth a visit, and if you want to buy really good quality silk items, go to the Jim Thompson store (which is in a different location than the house) – gorgeous.

      When buying items on the street in Bangkok, caveat emptor. Items sold as “silk” are usually polyester or perhaps a silk/cotton combo. Better to buy silk in a proper store, or if you do go to Chiang Mai, on the artisans’ road, as I described above.

      Just outside Bangkok is Kanchanaburi Province, where you can visit the Kwai River (of “Bridge on the River Kwai” fame). There is a good POW museum there and you can walk over the bridge. If you take the train to Kanchanaburi, stop off at Nakhon Pathom (a town) on the way home, and go to their market just outside the train station and try the sticky rice in bamboo. It is a specialty of the area.

      Also outside Bangkok (but a different day trip) is Ayuthaya, which is the ancient Thai capital. It is gorgeous to walk around and a nice trip out of the city.

      If you don’t get to Chiang Mai, go to Chatuchak Market in northern Bangkok. It is enormous and lots of fun to wander around.

      One other suggestion for Bangkok- the Red Cross has a centre where they make antivenoms for snake bites. They have really interesting demonstrations of venom milking – see if you can get to one.

      As far as packing goes, definitely do pack light. Do not plan on wearing flip-flops anywhere – you will injure yourself as Thai pavements are notoriously uneven. I highly recommend skirts (to at least knee length) rather than shorts or pants – far more comfortable in the heat. Carry toilet paper wherever you go (you usually have to pay for TP in Thai toilets), and a handkerchief that you can dampen to wipe your face. In both Bangkok and Chiang Mai, be very aware of your surroundings and keep your purse in front of you and close to your body. Pickpockets are a fact of life.

      Don’t be afraid of trying street food, but follow this simple rule: if the vendor and his equipment looks clean, the food is probably OK. Still, be sure to purchase freshly cooked street food only.

      I know Bangkok pretty well, so if you have any other questions, let me know – happy to help.

    • Woohoo Thailand! :

      In Chiang Mai, I can’t recommend Patara Elephant Farm enough. We had to book in advance, but it was incredible. We bathed and fed the elephants, learned how to perform a health check on their skin and eyes, rode them through the mountains, and swam in a waterfall with the elephants. Single best day of my entire trip — probably up there among the best days of my life.

      Tiger Kingdom was also really cool. I’d strongly recommend going first thing in the morning, because there are fewer people there and the guides are happy to hang out and talk to you.

  7. Cross country moving recommendations :

    Ladies, I’m one step closer to moving halfway across the country for a new job. Does anyone have recommendations (good or bad) on a long distance moving company? Also, any recommendations on shipping my car (the timing is probably not going to work for me to drive it)? Thanks!

    • Carrie Preston :

      It’s been a long time since I did this so no current recommendations, but I moved with a large company and they included my car in the move, so I’d ask for a combined quote. If I remember right it wasn’t much more to include the car. Times may have changed though….

    • Senior Attorney :

      When I moved I had good luck with the recommendations from www.movingscam.com.

    • I just moved cross country and I used SmartMove vaults by Atlas Movers. They are like PODS, except they load them up and unload them, all for the same price as pods. Plus, you can lock each POD with your own padlock and not worry about all of your stuff making it. It was a great experience.

  8. Can someone please explain the differences between each of the Tahari lines? And is the sizing consistent among the brands? And how does it compare to JCrew sizing? I’m interested in a few dresses. I’d be a size 2 in similar styles at JCrew. Thanks!

    • I answered this question in yesterday’s thread.

      • Thanks. I keep “losing” comments that I’ve already seen, and I can’t find the question I asked yesterday or your response at all. Kat — has anyone else been having this issue?

        • I see what you mean.

          Basically, Elie Tahari is the nicest one. Best quality and materials but also the most expensive. Tahari ASL is a licensed brand to Arthur S. Levine (same company as Jones NY, Kasper, etc. so similar quality to those); the designer Elie Tahari has nothing to do with this line. I am not sure how T Tahari and regular Tahari fit into this but I think T Tahari might be an ET off-shoot and maybe reg. Tahari too. In my experience, I think it goes along these lines, quality-wise: ET –> T Tahari –> Tahari/Tahari ASL. I don’t think any are bad, but the materials tend to get more synthetic the lower down you go and the cut differs (see below).

          Size wise, the traditional correlation of $$$ to smaller size doesn’t really seem to apply as much although maybe ET does run a tiny bit smaller. I’d say that it’s more a matter of cut. For instance, ET tends to have narrower cut jackets than Tahari. So size wise it’s roughly the same but for me Tahari looks frumpy because I have narrow-ish shoulders and thin-ish arms and ET usually looks good. Although, at least for a period of time, someone told me that the Tahari suits with a fun lining were cut more youthfully than plain lining Tahari suits. For dresses I wear the same size in ET and T Tahari as JCrew but I think for pencil skirts/pants, J Crew can run a bit smaller simply because JCrew is cut for a straighter figure than ET, which is better for curves, I think.

          • S in Chicago :

            What do you think about ET vs. ASL in terms of hips? Is ET also cut narrower? Just curious as I’m awaiting some dresses from 6 p.m. after your awesome post yesterday. (I, too, bought the Callie dress–gorgeous! I’m not worried about that one since it is rather A-line, but I also purchased somethings that are more in a straight-cut sheath. I guess I’ll find out anyway in a day or two. But ah, the suspense….

          • To be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience with those two. The few times I tried ASL dresses they didn’t work for me because in my regular size, they top was a little off and sizing down made the hips too tight. A lot of ET dresses have stretch too, so you might just find it a little more va va voom or it could work just fine. The A line dress will definitely work. So glad you got it, too. Which color did you buy? I bought the black but having second thoughts, thinking I should have ordered the red.

          • S in Chicago :

            I got the black, too. It was a tough choice though. Black is always easy to work with, but that brick color was so lovely. I could see the red being absolutely wonderful for fall.

            Thank you so much, again, for passing along the recommendation. The fabric content on so many of them looked truly wonderful. (And you can’t beat that 6pm shipping speed other than Zappos itself!)

  9. strappy sandals? :

    Thoughts on these Nine West tan strappy sandals?


    I can’t decide if they’re a justifiable purchase with less than a month less of summer.

    • Last summer I didn’t buy a pair of nude for me sandals because there was only ~ a month left of summer. I regretted it, and this summer when I randomly found the same ones on sale I pounced, and have worn them so many times I don’t know how my summer wardrobe survived without them. So, if you love them and think you would wear them next summer, I’d go head and purchase :-)

      • Is it dumb for me to be coveting three different pairs of sandals right now, when I live somewhere we only get summer for about 3 days each year and all year I am cold and wear jeans and boots???

    • I like them, and they look comfortable. Buy them! It’s not about this summer, it’s about next spring when you will be happy to see them.

  10. PSA – maternity(ish) underwear! I’m the pregnant summer associate who’s been posting periodically all summer, but my summer associateship ended so now I’m the preg 3L. I’m 15 weeks and have a miniature baby bump that makes regular underwear wildly uncomfortable. I’ve been wearing Aerie (a teen brand, I know) Lace Boybriefs because instead of a constricting waistband, they have about 2 inches of lace. They’re on sale — 7 pairs for $27 so I thought I’d pass it along to all of the other pregnant readers here. With my mini bump, I’m a 6 at JCrew (pre-pregnancy I was a 4) and I buy the Large size of this underwear. Hope this helps someone! (I’ll post a link in reply.)

    • They go up to XXL (which is still probably a crazy small size, but I can’t find a size chart).

    • Sounds ridiculous, but I cannot say enough good things about Pea in the Pod maternity underpants. They are super stretchy, cute, comfortable, and cut below the bump. (I also wear Aerie underpants when not pregnant.)

    • La Senza (in Canada) carries similar styles – super comfy.

  11. Saving Money :

    I know this thread has been done before, but I’m looking for your best tips on saving money. So far, I have come up with not eating dinner out, bringing my lunch, not splurging on fancy items at the grocery store (no $9 cheese), no shopping for clothing, shoes or make-up, no coffee from Starbucks, etc.

    What other tips? Am I missing obvious things. Basically, I’m just looking to save as much as my disposable income as possible for the next 6 months to a year.

    • Well, what are your expenses? Cut out tv?

    • to support the above, viciously unsubscribe yourself from store emails – I spend much less time nosing around jcrew if I’m not deleting their promo emails every day. Also, while cutting out these types of things will definitely help, take a hard look at your fixed expenses. Cable? Fancier phone plan than you actually need? Gym? Have you considered a lower cost apartment (if you rent)? Unless you have a major shopping habit, I’ve found that minimizing the big rocks rather than depriving myself of all idle spending pays off the most (and also doesn’t “feel” as bad, because you get used to living in a smaller apartment, but not of restricting dinners out).

      • Get rid of cable. Get a basic antennae for your TV, check out DVDs from your local library for free or use Netflix etc.. Cancel the gym membership and work out at home. Cheaper cell phone plans/bundle… just call providers and wheel and deal for the lowest price they’ll offer you. It works.

        Call your car insurance and ask if they have any reductions by installing a monitor in your car to document your good driving habits (State Farm does this). Consider a smaller apartment, especially closer to work to cut down on commuting.

        Do more handwashing at home to cut down on dry cleaning bills. Find your favorite resale clothing store nearby and use that for purchases…. it is amazing what you can find.


        Start cultivating a few favorite leisure activities that are cheap. Interesting walks/explorations in parts of your cities you don’t know, free museum days, free concert days at local universities, outdoor summer festivals, camping/beach/hiking trips, stay with friends/family instead of hotels on your next vacation.

        But keep some of your favorites… find your favorite inexpensive place to get take out, or your favorite taco (cheap!), or your favorite donut or some other little things that you can reward yourself with.

        Good luck!

    • Get rid of cable. Turn your thermostat up in summer and down in winter. Thrift stores for occasional clothing splurges. Cook large meals (crockpot, stews, curries, etc) and freeze part, as it’s usually cheaper to buy and cook larger meals.

      Use an app like mint to analyze your spending (you can import past spending) to see specific areas where you can make cuts.

      • I agree with using Mint. I started using it in January and it really showed me how I was spending and not noticing my spending habits. It really helps!

    • So this is counter-intuitive, but my tip is that if you cut too much, it won’t be sustainable, especially if you technically have the income to spend and are just trying to save it. Most people who do this get miserable and splurge. You should spend money on little things that make your quality of life better. If having a selection of fancy cheese at home makes you more likely to eat at home and less likely to order takeout, then get the cheese. If you have a tried-and-true brand of makeup, don’t switch it up and risk skin problems that will end up costing money to resolve. Another way to go about this is to set a saving goal for each month that leaves you with some disposable income to play with and spend it however you want.

      • Agree. Rather than cutting out eating out at restaurants totally, look for places that have weekly specials– i.e. 1/2 price burger night on Monday– etc. It can feel like a total bummer to just cut that stuff out completely, and I agree that it’s not sustainable for the long term.

        • Veronique :

          One recent change that has helped cut my eating out budget tremendously is stocking my fridge with delicious frozen meals from the Indian grocery store. Most of them are vegetarian (palak paneer, navreen korman, daal, etc.) and I eat them with bread (paratha or roti) or rice (make up a big pot and freeze in single servings). If I want protein I’ll add a single frozen kabab (Colonel Kababz brand is delicious). It’s faster, cheaper, healthier and more delicious than other frozen food or even takeout options near me, and built in portion control.

      • personal finance nerd :

        “Another way to go about this is to set a saving goal for each month that leaves you with some disposable income to play with and spend it however you want.”

        + 1. This.

        A slight modification would be: How much do you want to save up at the end of your 6 – 12 month period? Figure out that total, divide by the number of months, and put in that amount in the bank before you spend anything that month.

        Ex: I want to save $6,000 in 6 months. That means saving $1,000 a month, which means I direct deposit that amount in the bank before I spend anything that month.

        For me, it’s easier to think towards a goal (how much do I want to have saved) vs. figuring out what I need to cut.

        • Yes, this. I go through months with lots of expenses (hello 2 car repairs right after vacation!) and have to dip into “savings,” but I auto-save a certain amount every month (apart from my 401K) so even if I take out $400 to pay the car repair bills, I know I have saved more than that for the month. I wrote “savings” because I have a regular savings account into which I put $60 per paycheck, but also have Vanguard accounts for more aggressive savings. That doesn’t get touched during expensive months. I also try to pay myself back if I need to borrow from the savings account.

          Other than that, bring your lunch, make coffee at work if possible (press pot + hot water = tasty coffee), unsubscribe from the sale emails… And it’s sort of spending money to save money, but I try to go through ebates anytime I buy something online, so at least I get a bit of money back from that.

      • MaggieLizer :

        A related point – when you stop spending so much in one area, pay attention to how that affects your spending in other areas. I tried to save money by not eating out so much and ended up spending way more on alcohol. Eating out I’d have maybe 1-2 glasses of wine, but when I’m at home I wouldn’t really limit myself – I’m not paying like $12/glass and I don’t have to drive anywhere so why not enjoy? A bottle of wine is still less than a dinner out + booze + tip, but it didn’t work out to be quite the savings (financially or in calories!) that I’d hoped.

      • Anonymous :

        Agree. For example, eating out was a huge expense for us. We tried stopping completely and couldn’t stick to it. Now we treat ourselves to one (scheduled) night out per week if we go the rest of the week without buying meals. We’ve kept to it for over a year and saved a ton.

    • Diana Barry :

      Look at your cell phone and your cable/internet bills – see if you can cut out there. See if you can save energy/utility bills by turning off lights when you leave the room, not using as much heat or AC, unplugging power hogs (computer, TV) when not in use, etc.

      • yes this. Put all of your high-energy usage appliances on power strips, but place the power strips in each to reach places. Switch them off when you leave the house.

        I’ve just done this when traveling and it has totally saved me on my energy bills, I need to get better at doing it every day.

        • Veronique :

          How do you know which appliances are high-energy?

          • Just common sense basically? A lamp is not a power hog, if you switch it off, it’s off. But computers, printers, tv, cable boxes, dvd players, possibly heaters, even microwaves, are all drawing power even if they are switched off. But switching a power strip off is easier than crawling around and unplugging each thing individually. I don’t have that many electronics, so I just have everything I own on power strips, but you could probably search online for a list of ‘energy hog’ appliances.

          • Power savings :

            If your thing that’s plugged in is throwing off heat (or feels warm to the touch), it’s an energy hog. That heat dissipation is coming from electricity.

            Anything that goes into a standby mode (ie has a clock on the front or has a programmed timer telling it when to run next) is still using power when “off”. But unplugging those items will kill your clocks/timers, which may be more of a hassle than the savings it gives you.

    • Saving Money :

      The cable thing is a great idea. We rarely watch TV and don’t need a fancy cable package. I already spent the morning unsubscribing from store emails. The new Gmail inbox makes it easy because I just went through every email in the promotions folder and unsubscribed.

    • So this is counter-intuitive, but my tip is that if you cut too much, it won’t be sustainable, especially if you technically have the income to spend and are just trying to save it. Most people who do this get miserable and splurge. You should spend money on little things that make your quality of life better. If having a selection of fancy cheese at home makes you more likely to eat at home and less likely to order takeout, then get the cheese. If you have a tried-and-true brand of makeup, don’t switch it up and risk skin problems that will end up costing money to resolve. Another way to go about this is to set a saving goal for each month that leaves you with some disposable income to play with and spend it however you want.

      Trying again because it didn’t post the first time, apparently.

      • Saving Money :

        I wasn’t planning on switching to cheaper products, but I was just going to cut out the extras that I don’t really need. I am at the point where I have enough clothes, shoes and make-up and anything extra is just because I want it and not because I need it.

        • I think that makes sense. I just threw out half the stuff in my makeup drawer. I agree with people who said to look at your cable and internet bill; if you aren’t under contract, just call your provider and ask them what promotions they have. I do this pretty much every year and usually save $20+ from whatever my rate would have been otherwise. It’s a racket. Also, depending where you live, a cell phone from Virgin Mobile might be a good choice. They’re my provider and the service is great in DC, and there are no contracts and rates much lower than any of the other providers.

      • This makes sense to me because it’s what they say about dieting. If you go too austere all at once, you’re not going to be able to maintain it and are likely to binge and perhaps to give up completely because you hate your new regime so much.

      • espresso bean :

        Good to see you! I’ve missed your posts.

        • :-)

          I’ve been on leave from work, and before that I was crazy busy at work. I realized this morning I missed this site.

    • For me, that is a whole lot of no and would wear on my willpower. I’d try to find cheaper versions of activities you already like to do so that you don’t feel so deprived. Make grocery shopping a game and figure out how to cook the seasonal/sale items. Scope out happy hour deals to replace dinners out with friends or host potluck suppers. Get yourself a nice travel mug and some tasty coffee beans from the farmer’s market and brew at home. Figure out if you can find your favorite books for loan at the library instead of one-click purchasing them. I also think it is easier to hide/unsubscribe from sale emails so you don’t feel tempted to shop.

    • Refinance. Check your insurance coverages to ensure you’re not over/under insured.

      • Senior Attorney :

        And shop your insurance. Rates vary a lot and you can often save a lot by keeping the same coversage and switching companies.

    • Traditionalist :

      It helps me to decide on a saving goal (e.g., $X/week or $4X/month) and immediately put that money into a separate account. To me, there is a huge psychological difference between removing money from savings even for a necessary item versus trying to be frugal and then putting leftover funds into savings later.

      • Houston Attny :

        Agree. Not exactly to OP’s question, but I suggest starting with a budget. Itemize everything including how much you plan to put in savings each month (& direct deposit it). Putting down in writing how much you spend on electricity, cell phone, transportation, insurance, mortgage/rent/HOA dues, dr appts, etc, can really help you figure out where your money is going so then you can see how much you can realistically save.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes. Pay yourself first. Have your savings transferred to a separate account automatically and then live on the rest.

    • Skim off the top. Take a % or dollar amount out of your disposable income and direct deposit it into a new account. Seriously. It’s so much easier to not spend $100 on miscellaneous stuff if that $100 is in a separate bank account.

      You can also (if you don’t do this already) switch to using a debit card vs a credit card. I still use my credit card and pay it off in full each month, but I have a mental “monthly bill” for the CC- if it’s higher, i’ve goofed up. When I was in spending lock-down, I just spent out of my bank account and it straight up solved the problem. No temptation to buy $9 cheese if there is only enough left in the bank to cover your car payment/rent/whatever.

      • Or if you feel safe, switch to cash and envelopes. Seeing the money makes it much harder to part with. I still overspend even with a debit card!

    • This is something I struggle with, too. I’ve found that creating a spreadsheet in Google Docs (so that I can access it from work or home) and tracking every dollar I spend for a few weeks is really helpful. It sounds silly, but it sort of makes a game out of not spending and gets me to realize how much I spend on dumb things (like too many household items from Amazon, which seems justified but adds up and probably isn’t always essential).

      Another idea that works for me, but is also hard to stick to is creating an entertainment budget (say, $100 a week in NYC) that covers eating out, bars, movies, etc and then putting that money in my wallet separately from the rest–when it’s gone, it’s gone. That’s worked well for me.

      Beyond that, shopping my pantry (trying to work my way through stockpiled groceries) instead of constant grocery shopping and realizing that while cooking at home is better than eating out, so too is cooking frugally at home as opposed to cooking expensively at home.

      I also go through my credit card activity constantly and try to eliminate all unnecessary fixed costs (cheaper gym, cheaper phone plan, etc). It all adds up. Also, seeing everything appear on your card in real time helps curb spending for me.

      Good luck!

    • You need to have coffee, just not from Starbucks. Get a French press or a funnel and make your own in the office.

  12. Hi ladies, long time, no lurk. (Do people still remember me? Maybe my ego’s too big.) Anyway, I have a question that I thought only the Corpor e t t e s could answer. How do you deal with income disparities or spending disparities in a relationship? My long-term boyfriend, who lives in a different city from me, makes a good salary but is supporting two people, one with major medical bills, on his salary, plus is still paying alimony to his ex-wife. That’s putting him in such a tight spot that he’s canceled one of our regular weekly overnights so he doesn’t have to pay for gas (and it’s pretty clear that we’re not going to have many weekend nights together). Meanwhile I have plenty of disposable income. In the past, we’ve had a major fight because he actually planned to not fill his own prescriptions when money was tight. I insisted that he had to let me pay for them if he couldn’t, because making sure your loved ones are provided for is relationship basics IMO, and we resolved that. He ended up agreeing that I could pay if he couldn’t, although he was finally able to through a prescription discounting program. But I don’t really know what to do about his current financial straits.

    I’ve just generally let him know that I’m willing to help him out with expenses related to our relationship, like gas money, and I pretty much always make him meals when he’s over or pay for delivery. I don’t want to put strain on our relationship, but I had major surgery over the summer, and that caused a lot of strain in our relationship, and I’m worried about his finances and the stress caused by them affecting our relationship. It doesn’t bode well if he’s short on money for gas for a fairly short (~50 mile) drive, and he admitted that in the past he’s overdrawn his checking account to buy gas to come see me. He’s good at budgeting and financial management; this is just a simple issue of mandatory expenses exceeding income with no access to credit or finance plans. For reasons I won’t go into, the distance is basically permanent; neither of us is moving.

    Any advice how to handle this situation without putting strain on our relationship or making him feel bad? Or can anyone commiserate?

    • Anne Shirley :

      Why? Why are you investing in a relationship where distance is permanent? Where you play the financially supportive role? Where you are at least third down on his list of priorities? What reward do you get out of a relationship this hard?

      I think these questions will read much harsher than I intend, but I think they’re worth exploring with a therapist. When it’s the fundamental big picture stuff that’s the problem, you need a fundamental big picture reassessment. There is a strain on your relationship, no way around that. And your question is about how to deal with it without making him feel bad, which makes me concerned for you, because these are all his problems to solve, and as a [thissite] reader, I’m more concerned about the strain making you feel bad.

      • Thanks for the unsolicited advice. Not everyone wants what you want out of life.

        • Anne Shirley :

          Huh? Seemed like you were looking for advice to me? I have no idea what your answer is to any of those questions (nor do I need to) maybe it’s “I get a great companion who makes me laugh” or “this is worth it to me because I love that he takes such good care of people” or “I love that he’s not right next door, because my awesome life is kinda full already”. But I think the answers to those questions have a big impact on how you deal with the practical problem of him not being able to afford this relationship in a way that doesn’t make him feel bad. If you think the distance is not a problem, except for the whole visiting now and again this, I vote for telling him that and making it a routine thing so you aren’t rehashing the awkward every month. Maybe a debit card he uses for gas that you fill from your account? But if the answer is really that you’d rather he be able to pay for this at some point, it might make more sense to give him a large
          gift card at birthdays/holidays/anniversaries, so you can both feel like this is a temporary situation.

        • Asking for advice is the definition of soliciting advice.. Anyway I don’t think you should discount Anne’s questions because even if the answer to those is you still want to be with this guy, something has got to give, either your time with him or your money. I realize your saying he is very sensitive about the money situation, but he needs to weigh his sensitivity against the fact that the alternative is not seeing you. I do hunk you should consider the fact that he would rather cancel on you than talk about money. Also, can he get his alimony payment changed because of the medical bills?

          • He didn’t cancel on me rather than talk about money. He talked to me about it; that’s why I know why he canceled. And unfortunately, he can’t change his alimony payment, and he’ll be done with alimony at roughly the same time the bills are done. It’s a good idea, but I don’t think there’s a financial solution he hasn’t tried already. And for various reasons, I can’t really go visit him mid-week, since his night with me is basically his only night off from caregiving for the next few months.

            I don’t think it’s fair to assume that someone is lower on one’s list of priorities because people have to make hard decisions sometimes. I wouldn’t be with him if he didn’t take care of his familial obligations, because that’s a value he and I share. I didn’t ask for judgment of his financial situation; I asked for advice from people who have been in the situation of being financially well off with a partner who isn’t.

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t think anyone had judged his financial situation. People are just trying to make helpful suggestions. Since you feel he had looked into them all, then you are left with- pay his expenses to come see you, or don’t see him.

        • “Unsolicited”? The OP specifically said you were seeking advice. Anne Shirley’s viewpoint is blunt, but she acknowledges that and qualifies the statements. I see why you’re sensitive about this, Bluejay, but I don’t think she was out of line. (No, I am not Anne Shirley.)

        • Anonymous :

          Yikes! that was awfully rude to someone who was just trying to help.

      • Anonymous :

        Your advice is always spot on. I think of you as the awesome big sister we all need to hear from.

    • Hi Bluejay! Good to see you posting again. I hope you are doing well after your surgery. To your post I’d say 1) he needs to look into what is practical and he can actually afford (cheaper place, second job, etc) to help have some funds. Another option, if you have the income and don’t feel like you’d resent him is to cover the costs of trips to come see you. If he’s putting in the time to get there, then I think it is fair for you to cover gas.

      Also, I think a frank conversation about the two of you and his obligations and your future as a couple should happen (if you think you’re going to be long-term/married/etc). Might as well get it on the table sooner and deal with it. Good luck!!

      • Yeah. I should have said that his financial situation is temporary as he’s paying the medical expenses for a family member. I totally wouldn’t mind covering his gas money, but he’s pretty touchy about me offering to pay for things. We’re already long term; neither one of us wants to be married and living in the same city isn’t a priority as that would just make for two miserably long commutes. We both like our jobs and are happy overall and don’t want to mess with it.

        • I’d say in that case, you have to put your foot down. Seriously. I had to do it with my SO, he did it with me. It’s not “help” when you’re in a relationship, it’s part of the relationship. Just the same way he’s aiding his family member in need, you’d be making life a bit easier for him and therefore you. I get the sensitive/too proud thing (at least I was too proud to want help), but I’d just say this is non-negotiable. I want to see you, so for now I’m going to fund it the same way as if I want a pair of shoes, I go and get them (maybe a different comparison). Also, instead of giving him cash, maybe you could just get a few gift cards for gas, etc? Or surprise him with grocery delivery to his place?

          • Those are good ideas. I did get him to agree to let me help with his medical expenses because to me, that’s part of the relationship. I think if I put it that way he might see the gas money issue the same way. He doesn’t seem to mind my paying for things if it’s an “invisible” expense, like my packing him a lunch from the groceries already in my fridge, but he won’t let me pay for “visible” expenses like picking up the tab for dinner. And it’s kind of ridiculous, because we’ve been together a decently long time now and many couples would have gotten married and merged finances by this point. We share calendars and vacations and everything else; I don’t know why date night is any different.

          • MaggieLizer :

            Your date night comment reminds me of a married couple I’m very close friends with. They have completely merged finances, but the husband ALWAYS “pays” for dinner with their joint debit card. It doesn’t matter that the money is actually coming from both of them, it’s a point of pride for him that he is being chivalrous and treating his wife to a nice dinner.

            Are you open to having a shared bank account for shared expenses, like gas to visit, date nights, vacations, etc.? You could both contribute a percentage of disposable income to the account, so his contribution would be very small for now. But it makes it more of an “invisible” expense if the money is just in a joint account that you both have debit cards for versus him having to ask you to pay for things.

      • And by the way, we do talk frankly. It’s just that money is so sensitive for him. I know it was hard for him to tell me he couldn’t afford to keep our regular plans, and I don’t know how to offer to help him out. He’s made it pretty clear that he’ll let me help out for genuine emergencies, but my need for snuggles probably doesn’t meet that level of need.

        • Well if you do talk frankly it might be time to just tell him that. You need snuggles and you want to pay for the gas to make that happen. Maybe explain to him that if there was something you really wanted that cost $50, he’d tell you to buy it, so why won’t he let you just pay for the gas? If it’s because he’s overwhelmed and it’s about both money and him being exhausted, that’s one thing. But if it’s just about the money, remind him that this is a selfish thing on your part (wanting to keep your regular plans), not a charity issue.

          • Houston Attny :

            I agree with this approach. Snuggles and kisses and the eager anticipation of seeing him is psychologically beneficial to you. And after a major surgery this summer? It’s something you aren’t willing to lose if at all possible. I think framing it as something for you and also reminding him that in this season, you get to contribute but in the future, it might be him who needs to help you (we never know). Also, as L said, this is about helping loved ones and family – however we want to define that – and it’s a non-negotiable.

            And it’s good to see you again, Bluejay!

          • Thanks, KLG and Houston Attny. :)

          • Yes This! Snuggles are Medically Necessary! ;o)

        • Pre paid gas card to a chain gas store? Pay his auto insurance?

          • Anonymous :

            +1 to the gas gift card. You could give it to him in a card with a sweet note about how much you care for him or even just leave it somewhere in his car without him noticing.

            I have a friend who struggles financially because of things she and her family have no control over (e.g., medical bills), but they are also sensitive about/embarrassed to ask for help. So I just do things without asking them and don’t say anything about it. Like, I make plans to hang out with them at their house and bring over tons of takeout food so they’ll have lots of leftovers. Or I buy them something I know they need and say something like, “oh, I got this in a buy-one-get-one free deal” or “I got this on final sale, don’t like it, can’t return it, you want it” and just drop it out their counter and move on to talking about something else. It’s just little stuff, but I know they appreciate it, and I don’t want to make them feel awkward about accepting these things, so I just do it without drawing attention to it.

            This might not be the best approach if there is something bigger underlying this issue with your SO, but if it’s just temporary, I think it’s totally acceptable and very supportive to just do it in an indirect way.

        • Bluejay, ask him what he would do if positions were reversed. That might help break down his resistance.

    • Anonymous Stepmom :

      This comes up frequently in re-married (in your case, re-partnered) divorced parents’ new relationships. Typically as you describe in your situation: father with financial committments to ex-wife and new wife (new partner) having to deal with whether some of her income will fund those committments — either directly (by actually paying for some of the alimony) or indirectly (by paying for new-relationship items, thus freeing up more of his money to pay the alimony).

      No suggestions here. Just many years of agonizing.

      Among the places you might try for solutions-by-analogy is Stepmom Magazine ($5/month at www.stepmommag.com). They have regular articles about this kind of thing and sometimes they interview a handful of stepmoms and each one explains how she and her husband/partner have addressed it. Might be helpful.

      • That’s a good idea. He does have financial obligations to his adult child, as well as the ex. The alimony is literally ending the same month the medical bills will end. I never thought of the analogy to remarried/stepmoms, but it makes sense.

    • Maybe I missed this, but why can’t you drive to him? Does he always drive to you? If that’s the case, it seems only fair that you at least split the gas expense with him. I like the idea of gift cards to a gas station or something. Make it a romantic gesture…that you want to see him. Call it snuggle money. It sounds as though he has a lot of pride about being able to take care of his obligations, so you just have to find a way to pay for gas without offending that pride. If this is really about the gas expense. I’m not sure.

      • I don’t have a car and his place isn’t accessible by public transport, plus he’s caregiving for a family member, so it’s kind of awkward for me to spend the night.

  13. Diana Barry :

    Ladies, thanks for the wedding attire advice. I found a pre-owned J Crew sequin trim cardigan on ebay for $25. Woohooooo! I have also ordered a bunch of sequin/embellished/sparkly flats and low heels and will see if any of them work.

  14. I have another serious question for the peanut gallery.

    Are there any books or resources that will appeal to narcissists that will harness their personality for good? Something that talks to them in a way that makes them understand that their behavior is pushing people away, especially when they want to be in the spotlight (not that they shouldn’t be, they can be awesome people). Or even something that’s written that appeals to narcissists, motivates them to condescend to other people’s level so everyone can get along. Is there anything like this out there?

    Honestly, I would cut these people out of my life but monster goo is thicker than water, you know? It’s taking all I got to suppress these rawrs but they escape sometimes. Smh rawr.

    • Wildkitten :

      Good luck… In the wildkitten family narcissists aren’t willing to realize their behavior isn’t the greatest thing ever, even after it makes you cut them out completely.

    • Have you already done some reading on how to approach them–i.e. things geared toward YOU as the reader? I’m doing this right now for dealing with my mom and it’s very helpful. The bonus rationale is that she would never, ever, ever read a book about how her behavior is in any way problematic for others, and indeed would scream at me for even suggesting it. If your narcissists are the same way, I say get yourself a few books with promising previews and implement any useful advice without telling anyone what you’re doing. Also, hide the books when they come over. Look out for you.

    • Lawyer costume :

      Try the book “will I ever be good enough: healing the daughters of narcissistic mothers”

      It really helped me come to terms with the narcissists in my family. If you want to talk about it i can post an anonymous email address.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh man, if you find something, I’d love to hear about it. As I understand it, the very qualities that make a person narcissistic make them incapable of self-reflecting/changing in this way.

      Enough About You, Let’s Talk About Me (Dr. Les Carter) had some info that helped me cope better with my narcissistic family member. Mostly, I just had to come to the realization that I’ll never have the relationship I want with that person, and I just need to do what it takes to have some kind of relationship with him yet still protect my emotional health.

      • Wildkitten :

        Thanks Anonymous! I’m adding this to my kindle now. And rawrs of thanks to ‘zilla for asking this question in the first place.

  15. Guys, I’m desperate. I know we’ve covered this before, but I need some hardcore rewiring when it comes to my constant internet perusal. It’s become my go-to when I have to start something challenging at work and it’s taking a serious toll on my productivity.

    How can I retrain myself to have a real attention span and work ethic? This is so embarrassing. Any suggestions? (And I know, I know–get off this site during work hours.)

    • espresso bean :

      The fact that I’m responding to this while on deadline — well, let’s just say that the irony doesn’t escape me.

      Do you listen to music? Could you tell yourself you have to work through X number of songs before you get a break? Or bribe yourself with an iced coffee or other treat and tell yourself you can’t have it until you complete a portion of the project.

      It also helps me to break down big projects into smaller, more manageable bites so I can check small items off my list instead of this one huge, intangible thing.

    • I struggle SO desperately with the same thing, so I’ll be interested to see the replies.

      I’ve tried the “nanny” apps for my web browsers, which lock you out of specific sites at specific times. I had the one for Chrome (I don’t remember what it was called), and I really liked the options – you could “whitelist” a website, which I believe just recorded how much time you spent on it so that you could see the impact of that number. You could also set it for specific times (like business hours) and not others, and it did allow you to get around the block page if you really wanted to but the workaround was such a pain in the a$s that it was a pretty decent deterrent.

      All that said, I ended up disabling it because, you know, it wouldn’t let me procrastinate! I think if I had just a drop more willpower it would have worked, but I do not. It also may not be effective if your internet procrastination is more broad – like reading articles from tons of different websites. Mine was localized to 3-4 sites that I checked all the time so it was effective while I used it.

    • I’ve deleted procrastinating apps from my phone (Facebook, etc.) and I use a program called SelfControl on my computer. Not sure if you can install it on your work computer, but it allows me to add any websites I want to the “black list,” set a timer (1-24 hours), and once I click “start” I can’t access those websites until the timer is over. Nothing makes the program reset — not even uninstalling it, restarting your computer, etc. You just have to wait until the timer runs out. I find thissite to be the most difficult for me to stop reading, because I don’t have a personal profile that I would want to keep out of an employer’s internet history (though now that I’m on my personal laptop all the time for school, that ship has sailed). Good luck!

    • I have the same issues. I usually make a list of everything I want to do in a work day (including lots of detail). I usually force myself to start one of the tasks and spend at least 30 minutes on it. If I’m still distracted at that point, I’ll let myself take a break but I often find that I get so engrossed in a task that I don’t need to check this site or feedly or facebook to amuse myself.

      • +1 to lists — it helps a lot to have a list next to me with what I need to work on, so I can remind myself when I get distracted or spacey. Deadlines also help. And yes, once I’m into the task and working away, I don’t get distracted.

    • I downloaded the 30/30 app for my iPad (alas they don’t have one for Android yet) and use that to set up my day. I like that it allows you to set up your to-do list with allotted time for each task and you can program in breaks. It also has a function for you to mark something as done before your time runs out.

      I also try to break up onerous tasks into smaller bites so I don’t feel like I have to sit down and accomplish a huge project all at once. I’ve found that if I devote 20ish minutes to a task and then move to something else and come back to it, I’m much more productive. For instance, today I answered emails for 25 minutes, then I cleaned my desk for 15, then I worked on some reports.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Thank you for posting this. I struggle so much with it. Sometimes to the point of affecting my work. Eep!

      This spurred me to install Leechblock on Firefox. Hopefully that will help.

    • Thanks, all. I’m going to try to turn a new leaf–trying to do a bit at a time!

    • Anonymous :

      What works for me:
      — Reviewing my to-do list first thing in the morning and breaking it into small steps. If my tasks seem really manageable, I’m less likely to procrastinate and are very present in my mind. Also, I find my worse time wasting is first thing in the morning when I’m not feeling ready to jump into work.
      — Time limits at time wasting sites don’t work for me. I have to not go at all.
      — I completely cut out ‘recreational internet’ for about three months, at work and home. It was hard, very hard. But it broke my habit. After the first two weeks or so, it honestly wasn’t so appealing. After that, I limited it only to certain times during the day (ie, not at work or when I was with my kids). I’ve relaxed further and don’t have much issue with it interfering with work. I think I’m going to make it an annual ‘cleanse’.

  16. Equity's Darling :

    Does anyone have an alarm clock that wakes them up with light?

    Like the Phillips Wake-Up light? I’m thinking of getting one, because, well…winter is coming.

    And the memory of 8:30 am sunrises, and 5pm sunsets are already giving me the sads. I think I’m going to get one of those special lamps for my desk too…

    • springtime :

      I have a special lamp for my desk. I didn’t use it this winter, but I did the previous one. I”m not sure if it works the way they say it does, or that the brightness of the light is what is waking me up more. I did find I was a bit more awake when I used it.

      I have always wanted one of those wakeup lights. Curious to hear reviews.

    • I have the sun lamp from Costco and it is AMAZING (Ellen caps deserved). Also, never under estimate the help of a small dose of anti-depressents/anxiety from your doctor. The combo works wonders for me and I actually feel like myself for winter. The trick is to start whatever therapy combo slightly before you start hitting the really bleak periods, you just stay even.

    • Houston Attny :

      Yes! I have the Phillips one. I really like it. If I set my alarm for 6, it will come on about 5:30 and will gradually get brighter until it’s at the brightest at 6 (and you can set the brightness). It also has sounds you can play at 6 – birds chirping, windchimes, or the radio. It helps me wake up more peacefully, and in Texas, it’s not dark until after 8 p.m. Something psychological!

      • Equity's Darling :

        Which Phillips one do you have? There are a few different models on Amazon.ca, and I’m trying to figure out which one is best.

        • Houston Attny :

          I have this one – http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/203739995?productId=203739995&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&ci_sku=203739995&ci_src=17588969&cm_mmc=shopping%2d%5f%2dgoogleads%2d%5f%2dpla%2d%5f%2d203739995&ci_gpa=pla (I think mine is actually from amazon.)

          The only downside – I don’t really love it as a bedside lamp. I don’t have another lamp on my nightstand b/c I have a small nightstand, if you like to read at night, you might also want a lamp. You can adjust the brightness of the lamp in the alarm clock, and it can be bright enough to read. I just haven’t really used it as a lamp much.

          I feel like it wakes me up gently, rather than jolting awake to the radio. Somehow, I almost always wake up before the birdies start chirping on the alarm – the light gradually does it.

          • Equity's Darling :

            Excellent! this is the exact one I was looking at!

            It’s only $70ish on amazon.ca, so I think I shall order it!

      • I have it too, and it works great. However, an unexpected side effect is that when I hear birds chirping (and unfortunately the ones outside my house sound exactly like the alarm chirping), I get that slightly anxious “my alarm is going off!” feeling before I realize that it is actually just birds.

        • Houston Attny :

          Yes! More than once I’ve wondered “did I not turn my alarm off?” No, it’s just real nature!

    • I have one and it makes all the difference in the world.

    • I have a sunrise alarm clock that is either, or very similar to, http://www.amazon.com/SOLEIL-Alarm-Ultima-Clock-Simulator/dp/B000O20Q6C/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1377014726&sr=8-3&keywords=sunrise+alarm+clock. (I suspect that if I check when I get home, that will actually be the one I have.)

      I’ve had it for about 6 years, and it has made a big difference for me in the winter. I typically don’t use it in the summer, but when I need to get up while it is still dark outside, I find it much easier to do if I’ve set the light timer for 30 minutes.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I have the Philips one and it does nothing for me because I just sleep through it – I don’t sleep in the dark (curtains drawn etc) so the fact that it is getting lighter doesn’t wake me up, but if natural light wakes you up then it is great! It also doubles as a reading light.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Yes, natural light definitely wakes me- in the summer when the sun is up at 5:30, I’m up within half an hour or so of that, just from the amount that peeks through my blinds. I’m up so early in the summer, wandering around and getting things done, going for a run, etc.

        I’m so productive all summer because of the sun, and then when winter hits, it’s all I can do to simply make it to work and get home after, so I think the alarm clock will help me. And worst case scenario, it doesn’t and I have a neat looking reading light and a backup alarm clock :)

    • I have the Philips, and I like it a lot, but it took a little while to get the settings sorted out. I needed full brightness and pretty loud bird noises to make sure I woke up in time – the mild glow and music option was pleasant but unreliable. I’ve set it to take 30 minutes to get to full brightness (so it starts half an hour before I get up), and if I wake up early in that time frame I rather enjoy watching it get lighter. It’s also worth checking the angles – mine is on a chest of drawers so that it basically shines into my face in the AM. Putting it on my beside table was slightly unreliable because I don’t always sleep facing the correct direction.

      I’m also rather fond of the ‘sunset’ mode as a way of falling asleep. I use my favourite radio station, set the thing for 45 minutes, and the sun sets and the music gets softer. Pleasant!

      I also have a full-on jumbo Philips light box in my living room, and I switch that on and eat breakfast in front of it, which helps me to feel even more awake in the AM. (I’m narcoleptic, so winter mornings are truly evil).

  17. springtime :

    I have a $100 gift card to j crew. I was looking at buying a second pair of minnies, but I also noticed the pixie pant. Which would you recommend? I’m looking for pants I can wear with flats, tuck into boots, wear with longish shirts but maybe also something not terribly long, that can look stylish and is comfy.

    My current minnies are a bit worn (a few years old now) but still work.

    Also- size? I sized down on my minnies and they are tight but good. Should I size down in the pixie too? I hate when pants stretch out and are no longer slim.

    Also, are the factory pixies just as good? I would want a tall size, but if they are a steal I might sacrifice and get them instead, even though they don’t come in tall sizes.

    • I have the store version of the Pixie. The regular is quite long, but I fold mine under for an ankle grazing look. I find them surprisingly flattering and wear them all the time with a blazer and tee. I bought my usual size and they have not stretched out.

  18. how do you ladies handle having multiple spending/saving bank accounts? right now I have a main checking account where my paycheck goes. i then have auto debit from that account to a savings (to save for wedding, downpayment, and new car). However, I’m finding that I need an additional third account to auto debit for longer term/more expensive items–like vacations and larger purchases (like new bedding, a new purse, new skirts, etc). It seems like three different accounts is absurd–but it also seems like the only way to manage my expenses and savings. Thoughts?

    • I have three accounts and imo that should be the minimum number for the reasons you mentioned (checking, short-term savings, long-term savings). I also have a 401k, which comes directly out of my paycheck. The savings accounts auto-debit from checking. Right now my st savings is woefully underfunded and the majority of my savings goes into lt. Then again, I don’t have any immediate plans to get married, or buy property/cars, so I guess I don’t feel the need to focus on it.

    • I’d say that 3 accounts is the minimum as well. You might consider a 4th – emergency savings where you won’t, under any circumstances, take out money from. You could get another bank (a credit union would be my suggestion) where you don’t even see the money. I have more than 4 accounts – checking, savings, money market savings, stocks/bonds, emergency fund, 401K (2 of them), etc.

    • Definitely not crazy. We have 4 checking accounts (2 individual, 2 joint) and 2 joint savings accounts. It’s what works best for us to manage our money.

    • This sound’s to compliecated. I have ONE account where all of my money goe’s in and come’s out of. Dad manage’s it for me and he gets the statement’s for me and reconcile’s my account each month. This way, all I have to do is get an e-mail from him telling me how much money I have, and how much I can spend each week. Dad is getting a littel tired of manageing me every month; that is why he wants to palm me off on a guy who will MARRY me and do this so he can retire to North Carolina and teach at Duke. He also wants to re-connect with his old Service buddie’s down there, like the Kommendant. I think that guy was funny, but would NOT want to know what he has done for the last 30 year’s. FOOEY!

      Good luck on manageing your money, but my advise is to keep it simple, and have your dad take care of it for you if you do NOT have a smart husband to do it for you. YAY!

    • My husband and I have six checking/savings accounts total: main checking account, main savings account tied to checking account, a savings account for our emergency fund, two savings accounts for “fun” spending (one for me, one for my husband), and a savings account designated for savings towards a specific goal (most recently a nice vacation)

    • I have two accounts – checking and savings. I use an excel spreadsheet to split my giant savings account into individual buckets. I used to have lots of accounts, but I got fed up with managing the transfer game.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have at least a dozen savings accounts in addition to my checking account. There’s the emergency account, of course, and then I have separate accounts for regular but non-monthly expenses like insurance premiums, car repairs, vacation, charitable donations, theatre tickets, holidays, job expenses, and so on. They each get funded automatically every payday. I’ve been doing this for years and can’t imagine managing my finances any other way.

    • I really like having designated accounts for different purposes. My husband and I have: 1) joint checking where the bulk of our paychecks are directly deposited to and all our bills are paid and savings accounts are funded from; 2) individual checking accounts where “allowances” are directly deposited (discretionary spending, groceries, meals out); 3) 3 savings accounts: one emergency fund, one down payment fund (funded from checking account each month, we have a monthly floor and add to it as other expenses allow), and short term savings (funded by auto transfer from joing checking each month, pays for vacations, karger costco runs, gifts, etc–i like it because it annualizes these expenses, which are otherwise often much higher over the summer and december).

    • Anonymous :

      I have 7 checking/savings accounts total. For the most part, each has a designated purpose (e.g., joint expenses, personal expenses, personal disposable/fun money, personal savings, etc.), although one is there just because I don’t want to ding my credit by closing it. I have to separate my money this way, because I have a horrible habit of spending every last dollar in my account otherwise. As far as managing it, I just automatically transfer money into each account after each paycheck based on a set amount (save $X every month, need $X every month to cover personal bills, etc.). The only one that I need to consistently keep track of the balance is my disposable money account; the others I just review once a month to make sure there’s nothing funny.

    • Anonymous :

      We have four, which works perfectly for us:
      — Checking for routine bills
      — Checking for incidentals, grocery, gas, clothes, etc
      — Short term savings
      — Long term (but still liquid) savings

    • Adding to the chorus. I have four — one main checking account that my paycheck goes into and rent comes out of. One joint checking account with family. One emergency savings. And one fun savings that I use for travel or an occasional clothing item that is out of my normal budget. The only hassle is worrying about whether I am dipping below the minimum in the accounts that I don’t keep very much money in, so look for an account with a low minimum.

  19. Does anyone know which cell phone providers allow you to keep your existing phone number and cell phone? I have a fairly new Verizon iphone 5, so I don’t want to buy a new phone, but I want to temporarily switch to some type of prepaid/no contract service while I transition from one employer’s plan to another. Thanks!

    • All of them have to by law (assuming you’re in the US)

      • I know that they all allow you to keep your phone number (not sure why I included that part) but do they allow your to keep your existing phone or are you required to buy a new phone if you switch? Thanks!

    • My understanding is that there are two totally different cell phone technologies that are not physically not compatible with each other. Verizon/Sprint use one, and T-Mobile, AT&T, and most the smaller carriers use the other. Because of this, even if T-Mobile let you keep your old phone, because it is a Verizon phone it physically would not work on their network. You could probably use your Verizon phone on the Sprint network if you found someone to unlock it for you.

  20. Green Lamp :

    I…my high libido is gone. Kaput. Nisht, nada. DH gets the cold shoulder/I need to squirm away when he wants to do anything more than cuddle or hug. The poor man has to work really hard to get me in the mood. He says he understands as I’m preg and this happened last time and went away until we were rabbiting, but what can I do until then? The idea of being intimate is just repulsive to me right now; I still love him/am crazy about him, but that doesn’t translate into any action. Help?

    • To quote the ancient philosopher Nike – just do it.

      My “rule” for myself is that, unless I am feeling physically unwell (an actual headache, gastric distress, etc), I don’t turn down my SO. Even if I wasn’t feeling it when he initiated it. I always get into the mood once we get going, and I figure that there is nothing to be gained by potentially hurting his feelings through rejection just because my drive and his drive aren’t always in sync. And he operates the same way (it seems – we have never actually discussed this, but he doesn’t turn me down unless he’s physically unwell). And once we get going, I’m always into it – even if i wasn’t when we started.

      • Anon as well :

        Been married almost 10 years and I have this same rule. To me, worst case scenario, if I turn him down my DH will spend 15 minutes trying to persuade me to do something and we both end up unhappy and/or frustrated. Or, if I “do it”, then we can be done within 15 minutes and we both are happy with the end result.

        As for when I’m pregnant…sometimes I just didn’t want to be touched. I totally get that. On those days, I’d do “something” for him and not expect any reciprocation. Again, it only takes a few minutes and kept him in a much better mood. And I figure, he’s dealing with my crazy, whacked-out pregnancy hormone rages…I could at least throw the poor guy a bone once in a while.

        • Diana Barry :

          +1. When I was pregnant and feeling yucky, I would see if DH wanted something for himself (garden hose maintenance?) – if not, I would give myself a pass. Just doing it is far better than the turning down/persuasion/unhappiness scenario above.

        • Anonymous :

          My rule is once per week. The pregnancy/bf libido loss is really, really hard for both partners – as you well know! What works best for us is to be completely honest, even when it’s hard to hear. It’s important to both of us that I don’t pretend to be interested – and certainly never fake an o – so I do turn him down at times. But I make sure that a weekend never goes by without a garden party or hose maintenance (love that, diana). For mood, I focus on how I’m doing something FOR him, even if it’s not doing much for me. So, like a back rub, doing the dishes, or going to that terrible dive bar he likes…

      • +1

        Even when I was pg.

    • Cornellian :

      I have no idea if this is valuable advice, but it sounds like you’re tearing yourself up over something you have no control over during an already stressful period of your life. It sounds like he’s cutting you slack, maybe you can cut yourself some as well.

    • Ciao, pues :

      I disagree with the advice that you should just do it when you are repulsed by the very idea. If you get going once you start, like the comments above suggest, then that’s different and might be a good strategy. But if you truly don’t want to (and worse, are repulsed) then you should absolutely not feel compelled to do so. This is a wacky hormonal time for you because you are freaking growing a human. DH seems to understand that and can take care of himself while you are busy freaking growing a human. You’re not a machine and should be made to operate like one when you don’t feel like it.

      As for ways to increase your libido, what gets you going? Racy underthings? Risque books or movies? Sensual music? Love notes or texts from DH? Try taking concerted steps to increase your libido and let DH know what you’re up to. I bet he’ll be on board with trying some new strategies.

  21. I’m a lawyer, working in a non-law job I took after being laid off, and after spending about 10 months job-hunting. I’ve been really unhappy in this job. The work is not interesting. The people view it as a clock-in/clock-out type job and are not motivated or intellectually curious. I’ve realized I derive a lot (probably too much) of my identity and sense of self-worth from my job (suggestions for fixing that welcome — but please don’t tell me just to focus on how I’m so many things besides a lawyer; thinking about being a good wife or good daughter doesn’t do it for me). Even though I realize this is a very shallow viewpoint, I went to a top ten law school and then worked at a top ten biglaw firm for several years. I feel ashamed that this was the only job I could get and feel like I’ve lost my place in the world. (I know this isn’t a very flattering picture of me. I’m not trying to gild any of this. I’m just being honest about what I feel.) I have an interview next week for a job I think I would love. My interviewers are all from HLS, Yale, Stanford, and half of them were SCt clerks. I feel completely intimidated. I worry that these people aren’t my peers anymore, even though I would have felt they were just a few years ago (impressive peers, but peers nonetheless). I know that if I go into the interview with this feeling, I’ll never get the job. I used to be a very confident (arrogant?) person so these feelings are very new to me. How do I handle this? How do I become confident again? And how do I do it while benefitting from what’s clearly been a lesson in humility for me these last couple of years? How do you mix confidence with humilty?

    • My references are mainly clergy / military / medical, but I see a true leader as very much a servant. Serving others keeps you humble. You may not be washing anyone’s feet, but lawyers serve clients every day and we work for them (even if it is via a more senior lawyer). Keep the client in mind with all that you do = humbling.

      I see some lawyers who are true leaders, but more I just see a lot of ego in a room (with nothing to back it up). Be that lawyer — the one that senior people can rely on, the one who trains junior lawyers, and the one who has opinions that others value.

      If you went to the worst schools and did poorly there and took many times to pass the bar, you’d be on fire with your abilities and what you can do for others. [Most of us are more like that than not: not at the top of anything and still we get up every morning and do our best.] You’d sell your skills, not the school you attended. You still have that to sell (and at the end of the day, that’s all we have, anyway).

    • Try to remember that you are really not the only one in this position and what you are feeling is completely normal. People don’t end up in law school because they are slackers. They’re used to working hard and getting results and it is devastating to end up unemployed and then in a job like your current one after having achieved at such a level. It makes you question everything. Just remember that you still possess all the same traits that got you into BigLaw in the first place. The only thing that changed was the economy, not you. Dig that person back out because she is still there. But now she is more resilient. Good luck!

    • Blair Waldorf :

      I just wanted to thank you for being so honest in this post! You are definitely not alone and your words really spoke to me. I’m a big proponent of the intangibles making a difference. If you believe in yourself, others will follow your lead.

      Could you try to internally harness your current situation into something that gives you strength and depth rather than it being a hindrance? I have had several people very close to me go through similar professional struggles, and once they are through it and on the other side, they are stronger, they understand the value of a job, they are harder workers, and they never make assumptions that some people who have never faced professional hardship might make. Think of all the things you have had to learn through this experience and how that has made you a better lawyer. Even if you feel like you haven’t gained those skills at your new position, you have been through a personal hardship and I’m sure you have changed along the way.

      Good luck with the interview, and remember that sometimes people with Supreme Court clerkships might not be the ones who will automatically be better equipped for the job. You have different skills, so use them!

  22. Meeting New People :

    I know we’ve discussed this before, but I can’t find the previous threads.

    My husband moved from a small rural town to a much larger city to be with me, and he’s having a hard time adjusting and finding friends. His friends are mostly my friends. He also works out of our home, so he doesn’t get much social interaction through work.

    He’s extroverted, very outgoing, and easy to like, but I can’t think of any suggestions for how he can meet some new people.

    Any thoughts (or links to previous c*rporette discussions) would be appreciated.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Have him sign up for meetups based on his hobbys and areas of interest. Worked like a charm for a bunch of people I know who moved to new cities. Just google meetup and the website will pop up. Otherwise, why doesn’t he join some sort of adult sports league? Always a fan of the exercise + friends combo. Or he can volunteer for an organization he’s passionate about and meet new people. A friend I know volunteered to clean up parks on weekends and met a ton of similarly environamentally oriented people.

    • Tell him to join a sports league. Bowling, Basketball, Softball, Hockey, whatever. There’s usually something at any given time and he will meet lots of people that way.

    • Is it bothering him or just you? Most of our friends are people that I have “brought” into our lives. I’ve encouraged my husband to take up hobbies, activities, community involvement to introduce him to other people, but he hasn’t really put forth that effort. He seems pretty happy with the status quo so I am just letting him do his own thing and following his lead. If he starts mumbling about wanting to meet more people, well, he has options.

    • Does he exercise/ enjoy outdoor sports/activities? In my city (Boston) things like running clubs and random adult sports leagues (basketball, soccer, etc) are really good for making new friends.

  23. Calibrachoa :

    So I heard from the Awesome Company and I have an interview on Friday!!! :D The position sounds excellent, I will lose cash but gain a metric ton of benefits and a WAY shorter commute, and I am unbelievably excited about this!!!

    Time to start polishing the interview attire. I know y’all are gonna chime in “SUIT!” but it’s a tech start up and my friend who works there has informed me they are v. casual and be-yourself and creative and so forth so… *eyes closet speculatively*

    • I wear a mismatched suit to things like that. A black blazer with a colorful pencil skirt or something of the sort.

      • Calibrachoa :

        I have a gorgeous sheath dress I am considering – black bottom, large black and white houndstooth top. thikinf of pairing it with a black blazer which has white stitch detailing and some sort of an interesting necklace. (and black wedges, most likely) Although I am solicting opinions of my friends if the dress is a bit too tight… I don’t mind the visible belly line(I’m 300+ lbs, it’s not gonna be magically disguised by anything short of invisibility cloak) but the rest of it does make me go a bit “hmmm…”

    • woooo, good luck!

      • Calibrachoa :

        Thanks! Brushing up on my interview-fu and reading up on group interviews. Haven’t had one since the IB entrance exams…

  24. My DH has this desire to own his own business that I’m starting to find frustrating. He’s constantly coming up with new ideas (some better than others) and obsesses over them for a few weeks. His new “business plan” is all he talks about for a few weeks before he’s on to a new idea. There’s never really any steps taken toward making something a reality. I try to be supportive but realistic (as in.. please keep your well-paying and stable job until a venture is actually viable) but I’m starting to feel like DH is living in a fantasy land with this stuff and I’m getting sucked in.

    He seems to be focusing on having something that is “his” and is less concerned about the industry/business/idea that he is pursuing. I also feel like he has an unrealistic idea that having ownership over something makes all the challenges easier “because its yours.” Having grown up in a family with a family business- I feel like often this isn’t true because the challenges are more stressful because its your problem! There’s no turning off a cellphone on vacation or letting someone else take responsibility!

    He’s started making comments about how a business won’t be successful unless you treat it like a fulltime job and has started making noise about how it would be difficult to pursue something while dealing with the demands of his current job (which is, admittedly, demanding). I’m starting to really stress about this because my previously practical DH seems to be showing a side that I’ve never seen before and because I’m having nightmares about being the sole breadwinner for a family while DH turns into a flake who flits from idea to idea without doing anything that could be actually seen as work that could produce an income.

    How do I deal with this? I don’t want to be a dreamcrusher but I also feel like DH needs a huge reality check.

    • Maybe this is his escape fantasy? Are there some classes that he can take or organizations of local small businesses that he can get involved with to learn some more? Perhaps a class on how to write a business plan. That way he can be doing something productive towards his dream of owning something while at the same time getting some practical advice and skills.

    • Can you work with him to identify what he’d need to start his own thing? Sounds like he’s looking for a green light to both quit his day job and use existing funds to seed the new biz. Talk to him about what he’d actually need to get it off the ground, and offer to help him start saving for it.

      No, he can’t just quit and start his own company (at least….my DH couldn’t) but could y’all talk about saving up for 1-2 years to be able to support a X month/year exploration into the new biz?

      Total anecdata, but my dad quit his Big City High Stress job when I was in high school, almost causing my parents to divorce over the financial strain/perceived financial strain (he was the only income, mom didn’t want to go to work and dad didn’t want to continue to work in his high stress job). Anyhow, it was a rough couple of years but he built a wonderful small business and is now in his mid 60s and still enjoys what he does every day. He could retire from a financial perspective, but he really enjoys what he does. It was the best thing he could have ever done for himself and has made the past 15 or so years much better for him.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, if these feelings are more than just an escape fantasy, they’re not going to go away. I don’t know how old you are /how long you’ve been married/if kids are in the picture, but it’s probably better to explore this now rather than years down the line when you’re even more locked into a 2-income lifestyle. I second (third?) the recommendations to encourage him to take more concrete steps towards his dream. By the way, this will help suss out if he’s just fantasizing (and casting you as traffic cop standing in his way).

    • Cordelia Chase :

      I just wanted to voice a quick support for your husband. I think particular personality types think and/or plan in this way, and, to people who don’t understand, it seems to be very up-in-the-clouds, unrealistic, and frustrating.

      I’m like your husband, too. Sometimes, it’s a deep nagging feeling inside of me that won’t go away (instead of owning a business, for me it’s about getting out of law), but other times this is how I process and explore my desires and wishes. I had a boyfriend once who just was. not. able. to get this about me, and, he he, it was truly a disaster. I think it’s important to approach your husband with understanding and patience, is all I am saying. (I know how terrible it feels to be accused of being a dreamer and it’s-never-going-to-happen.)

  25. Legally Brunette :

    Thank you to the person who responded about her experience at the Boden sample sale. I ended up going this past weekend to the sale in Boston. It was a zoo, but a relatively organized zoo. Found some great things, but bought one dress that was a dud (and no returns, unfortunately). Overall, I’m happy I went. I will warn others that you should get there right when it opens to take advantage of the best stuff because it goes fast. And yes, the checkout line was looong!

    • Famouscait :

      That was me; glad you went! Now at least you know what to expect in the future. Happy hunting.

  26. Skip this if you don’t like cat comments…

    My kitty is going to be okay! I just got the test results back and she doesn’t have lymphoma or an infection. All clear. The answer to her back pain is that she has a congenital narrowing of her spinal canal in two places and that has been aggravated by injury and/or arthritis/spinal stenosis. But that’s all treatable with medication and diet so we are all insanely relieved.

  27. Big ups to Kat — I just noticed that thissite was voted one of the top 100 internet sites for women by Forbes!


  28. Seriously Jcrew? You can’t just redefine words! Mauve is NOT pale pink. It’s a light purple/gray color. Also, a big deal, as it was the first color that was produced by a synthetic (petroluem based) dye. Revolutionized the textile dye industry, as a byproduct made synthetic chemistry a thing, and supported the creation of the pharmaceutical industry. Made the 19 year old that invented it a millionaire in the 1800s, too.

    So – pale pink is not mauve. /chemistry rant.

  29. Nonny - J. Crew Maternity Wear :

    Can’t remember which of you posted the other day about preg anon’s J. Crew maternity wear PSA. I read another article about it yesterday on Pregnant Fashionista, who has tried on the maternity pants and found them lacking. Worth a read.

    Link to follow.

    • Nonny - J. Crew Maternity Wear :

      Here is the link (scroll down to yesterday’s post):


  30. I could not refrain from commenting. Very well

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