Coffee Break: Skinny Suede Braided Obi Belt

Obi belts seem to be having a moment right now, and I love this little blue suede one from White House Black Market. It’s skinnier than a lot of obi belts, and I like that it’s braided, and the pop of blue is a fun detail. It’ll also be easier to wear with a sheath dress, or something similar, than a wider belt. There are a ton of them at affordable stores like New York & Co, Express, ASOS, Halogen, and Universal Standard (plus sizes). Lots of great options — and this one is on sale from $64 to $32. Pictured: Skinny Suede Braided Obi Belt

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  1. Trigger warning for those who don’t like food/diet posts.

    I’m on day 29 of Whole 30 and it has been good. I feel better, which was my primary goal, and I can tell that I have lost weight and bloating.

    Do any of you have tips on re entry? Other than dying for a gin and tonic which I plan to have at 5 pm on day 31, I’m not sure what to start with. What about Siggi yogurt, which I miss as an easy breakfast option?

    • I wish I had reintroduced banned items gradually instead of day 31 going NUTS. Still not sure if it was dairy or gluten that was making me feel bad.

    • Though I don’t have the same issues if I regularly consume it, I have always been gassy & bloated after re-introducing dairy back into my diet. I suspect that I have a mild lactose intolerance… I think you’ll know how it will work for you after the first day.

    • Anonymous :

      start with a single serving of probiotic yoghurt and work up from there. Milk is most likely to cause an issue if you have one so start with yoghurt and cheese.

    • I did reintroduction a bit at a time but didn’t wait 2 days between each new thing as recommended. On day 31 I reintroduced legumes. Day 32 was Whole 30 compliant. Day 33 I reintroduced only non-gluten grains. 34 was Whole 30. 35 was gluten containing grains. 36 Whole 30 compliant. 37 was dairy. 38 was whole 30. 39 was alcohol. That helped me identify which foods made me feel icky so I could avoid them going forward.

      • Did you figure out what made you feel bad? I’m not sure I will be able to tell.

        • Oh yes. Legumes, no problem. Non-gluten grains, no problem. Gluten containing grains – itchy legs and burbly stomachs. Dairy – yikes. So many farts. Diarrhea. Crazy burbly stomachs. I’m sorry it’s gross but true.

          I successfully avoided sugar for a while but now when I eat it I’m much more attuned to the effect it has on me and don’t feel overwhelmed by it like I used to.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My husband and I have largely stuck to the Whole 30 restrictions, with the exception of alcohol (which to be honest went back in at 5 p.m. on Day 30!) and legumes. I mean, we’ll eat rice and soy if we’re at an Asian restaurant but we’re still about 90% off wheat and sugar and dairy just because the results have been so great that we don’t want to mess with success.

      Don’t know how helpful that will be but that’s our experience…

      • That was kind of my plan too. I read the reintroduction thing and I was like, but I don’t want a spoonful of peanut butter and a side of black beans.

        But I do want a cocktail. Hoo boy do I want a cocktail.

      • Senior Attorney, what kind of stuff do you eat in restaurants? That’s where I fall off the wagon…

        • Senior Attorney :

          Hope this isn’t too late but I find restaurants are pretty easy. Steak, salad, seafood. Mostly seafood with a non-creamy sauce these days. Hubby and I generally split one appetizer and one entree — we’re really into carpaccio and steak or tuna tartare appetizers these days. And I don’t even let them leave the bread basket!

  2. Anyone have good recs for self-tanners? Particularly some that you think have more of a green or purple undertone?

    • Marshmallow :

      I can’t say anything about green or purple undertone, but I really like the Kiehl’s self taner. Non streaky, non orange, non smelly, and dries quickly.

      • I concur. I am VERY fair skinned, and therefore can NOT go out and bake in the sun, or I get burnt. But with summer comeing on, I must be tanned to wear my white bikini at the manageing partner’s house in the Hamton’s so I use Kiehl also. I have had NO compleants, tho the manageing partner’s brother grabbed my bikini and saw that my tan line was uneven (b/c of my sloppy application of the Kiehl’s). But he had no busness grabbing at my tuchus, even tho I was in the pool. FOOEY on him and his grabby hand’s! My tuchus is NOT for him. DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • Midwest Mama :

      I’ve never tried it, but I keep seeing Bondi Sands recommended over and over.

    • The St. Tropez Foam/Mousse is my go-to. I apply it with a mitt and it’s basically fool-proof.

  3. Frustrated! :

    So frustrated today! Got an insane bill from my doctor for a routine procedure… TTC and nauseous but the test I took last night was negative… Can’t actually figure out when I’m ovulating either – my periods are so irregular after going off the pill, so who knows how that’s working… And a new diet I’ve been trying is already failing despite being really good about it and exercising… GRRR

    • Anonymous :

      How long have you been on the diet? It can take weeks if not months to see progress (shitty, I know) so if you feel like it MIGHT be STARTING to work, stick with it!

      I have a couple girls I train with who are doing the same macro-based plan I am and one it took a month for the scale to move despite lowering her calories. The other saw small scale movement but more measurement changes…

      Also if you’ve just started exercising/exercising more, you may be bloating/retaining water (you’re probably not “putting on muscle” as people like to say) but this will settle down too!

    • TO Lawyer :

      How do you know the diet is already failing? FWIW, it took me about 10 weeks to lose any weight, despite a healthy diet and exercise routine. And now I’m stagnating again but trying to stay positive because I expect if I keep going, I’ll lose a few more pounds in a few weeks.

      Your body really likes holding onto its fat. That’s why it’s so easy to gain it and so hard to lose it, in my opinion.

      All this to say – I know how frustrating it is when you’re working so hard and not seeing any progress, but don’t give up!

    • On the issue of ovulation – after having only 3 periods in a year after going off the pill to TTC, I finally went to a reproductive endocrinologist. I wish I had done it sooner. They couldn’t pinpoint anything wrong with me, per se, but told me a small minority of women have a really hard time ovulating again after going off hormonal birth control, and I was one of them. I did one course of clomid and ovidrel so that we would know for sure that I was ovulating, and it did the trick – the result is 8 weeks old and doing great :) So I highly suggest seeking help sooner rather than later!

      • Diana Barry :

        +1, this exactly happened to me, except I had no periods for a year. One dose of clomid + 40 weeks = our first. :)

    • I feel it’s so tough when you’re in the process of figuring out what is happening and the answers aren’t all there yet. Not knowing can be so nerve-wracking.

      Have you read “Taking Charge of your Fertility”? It really opened my eyes to ovulation, menstruation and getting pregnant. I found out my luteal phase is super short, bordering on problematic and I was able to figure it w/o taking any tests because of what I’d learned in the book. (Having a super short luteal phase can mean you can’t get pregnant or it’s very difficult. It can be corrected in some instances by taking medication..)

      On the diet, are you tracking and weighing all your food? Without knowing exactly how much you’re eating and recording it, you won’t have an accurate sense of what is going on with the diet. And are you giving yourself enough time to gauge if the diet is working? I feel we’re so conditioned as a society to expect immediate results, that it’s hard to dial back expectations on things that need a little more time and be kind to ourselves. A week or 2 is not enough time to know if the diet is working, or not. Also, where you are in your menstrual cycle can affect your weight as your body may be holding onto more water. If you’re exercising more than usual or at a higher intensity level than you’re used to, your body could be holding onto water. (Water helps your body heal from the workouts.) So alot of things could be happening on the diet front..

      In any event, sorry to hear about the not-so-great Monday…hopefully it picks up for you soon.

      • I’d like to clarify that I didn’t mean to give the impression the OP was only 1-2 weeks into the diet. I’m just saying more time might be needed to properly evaluate the diet and as an example, something like 1 or 2 weeks, while feeling like an eternity, would be too short of a time to say if diet/exercise is working.

  4. Does anyone regret having a second child? My husband and I always assumed 2 kids (and I secretly hoped for 3), but now that we have our toddler son things are nice. And relatively easy. And we still have money to do what we like, which we wouldn’t have with 2 kids (especially potentially having to get a 3 bedroom in NY if we have a girl). Our son is a really great and super easy kid, and we worry that our second may not be the same. I mean, I know that everyone always *loves* their kids and it’s hard to actually regret an existing child, but we’re at the point where we feel like we have to make a decision and both of us are a bit paralyzed. If you were also unsure and just took the plunge, did you end up being happy you did so? Or do you secretly wish you had just stopped at one? For the record, I was so completely all in for our first child and the reality of what having a kid (even a super easy one) is like hit hard at first.

    • Anonymous :

      How old is your son?

      I think that the key thing to do is not lose momentum if you are going to have another. If you get used to having an only, it can be really disruptive to your normal life if you space them out widely. If you have crazy and double down on the crazy early (<2 years), it's just a prolonging of the newborn phase.

      Once you lose momentum and give away the baby things, I think it becomes a harder stage to go back to.

      [There are mitigating factors, but if you work, it's easier to have 2 at the same daycare and get a sibling preference than it is to start over once you have one in K and a newborn and are at two schools for 4-5 years straight, etc.]

      2 in college at the same time will be a not-so-nice treat for the wallet.

      • Anonymous :

        FWIW, I have two same-gender children 18 months apart. They have always shared a room even though we have a 4BR house. I think it can work in the city, certainly up to K, so you’d have some time even if they were opposite-gender children. Most twins I know (even if boy-girl) share a room. Eventually the plan is to split them up but then the kids settle into it and don’t want to be lonely. It makes bedtime very convenient to only have to go into one room. We call it just “the nursery.”

        • Anonymous :

          My younger two (boy and girl 2 years apart) still share a room even now that they are in elementary school. The extra bedroom is a “play room” with most of their toys.

          • Yes mine too. We moved into a larger house when the kids were 1 & almost 3 because we figured they’d each need their own bedroom, but they voluntarily shared a room until they were in 2nd and 4th grade. My son had a bed in his sister’s room and a bed in his room, and he always slept in his sister’s room.

        • Yeah – I’m definitely not anti-sharing a room, and if we would have a second boy a two bedroom would be fine, but I feel weird having a boy and girl share beyond, say, age 13?

      • He’s 2 right now, nearly 3 – so they’ll already be a bit spaced out if we have another. I have hung on to some of the nicest baby stuff we have, but discarded a lot as well – we were pretty minimalist as it was!

      • Anonymous :

        I disagree. Mine are 8 years apart (planned to have only one and changed our minds) and it’s really great. My maternity leave was amazing because I had lots of time with the older kiddo (overlapped with school summer break)and a ton of help too, because older kids can actually be trusted to pop the pacifier back in or rock the bassinet while I take a shower. And it’s kept me and my husband younger and more active. Didn’t really feel like starting over to us, more like having a built-in babysitter anywhere we go, including vacation, especially now when they are older.

    • My second child was unplanned and the best mistake I ever made. I absolutely love our little family of four and I am so glad and blessed that he happened.

      We lived in a tiny house when he was born (2br, 1ba) and eventually moved to a larger place but it wasn’t that difficult to make it work because babies are tiny, and when my kids were really little, they always wanted to sleep in the same room.

      • Also, his older sister was colicky from day one, and my sweet baby boy was just that – a cuddly, content baby. I’m so glad I got to have that experience.

      • I’m so envious of the unplanned pregnancy. Having our son required a substantial effort, there’s no way I’m just going to get knocked up accidentally – though I almost wish I could just leave it to chance!

    • Sassyfras :

      I always thought I would have two … but we are deciding to stop at one. I also had an easy baby but she is a challenging toddler and some days I feel like I’m barely hanging on. Other days when I feel like I’m on top of my game, I enjoy having the time and energy to think about ME and do some of the things I used to do. A second daycare bill would be oppressive, but with one we have money to travel and have fun AND save for her college AND retire. When all is said and done… I’m sure I would be happy either way. So I’m okay with stopping here, giving her my all, and enjoying the extra time/money.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. Mine was a very difficult baby, easy toddler and grade-schooler, and now a rather challenging tween. My resources (time, patience, energy, $$$) are limited, and I like being able to devote them all to her. If we had another, I would basically have to stop parenting my existing child for 18 months or so of pregnancy and infancy (I had hyperemesis with my first pregnancy), and I just can’t do that. It’s also important to me to be able to provide sports, camps, travel, arts, academic enrichment, and college, which we can swing for one but wouldn’t be able to do for two. I also can’t deal with the risk of twins. Finally, I love my daughter so much that I don’t think I could ever really love another child. Even thinking about having another feels like cheating on her.

        • I get this – our son has some minor, very manageable, special needs – but I really like the ability to throw all of our time and money at them.

        • Anonymous :

          This is interesting to me. No judgement, but I like having more than one (3, if we’re counting) because it keeps me from hyper-focusing or giving any kid ALL THE THINGS. They know I love them, but they also know I can’t/won’t drop everything for every thing.

          I thought it would be impossible to love anyone else as much as i loved my first born, but now I think love really is a bottomless well when it comes to your kids, no matter how many you add.

    • I’m so glad we had our 2nd kid. (Also in NYC and still in a 2 bd 1 ba apartment as the kids enter elementary school). The bond they have is amazing and enriches our family. And it’s so much easier on us to have kids who can run off and play together instead of always coming back to us.

      • Legally Brunette :

        + 1 on the playing together. Over the weekend I cooked for almost 2 hours and my boys happily played by themselves and did not need me at all. and my kids are little, 2 and 4. In some ways two kids is much easier in that you don’t have to be ON all the time.

        • Anonymous :


          Having friends or cousins over also is easier than having only your children around. Their toys become more interesting with friends. It’s very strange.

        • Spirograph :

          +1 more. my 2 and 4 year old are best friends. Listening to them play together is both heartwarming and hilarious.

      • I’ve had friends say the playing together is a myth! I feel like it depends in part on the age gap though.

    • Anon for this :

      I wouldn’t say I regret my second child, but I wouldn’t say I made the right choice either. It’s definitely pushed me over the edge of being able to sustain my career. I hope it’ll get better when he’s older (he’s still under 1 year), but right now it’s pretty bad.

    • Anonymous :

      I have 3. Surprise twins meant we went from 1 to 3. We bought a new 4 bedroom house when I was pregnant because I was convinced everyone would want their own bedroom. My oldest is a girl who insists on having her bed in the room with the boys. Don’t make assumptions about your housing situation until you know you need a bigger place. We could have saved tens of thousands by staying where we were for another 5- 7 years.

      It was hard until they were toddlers. Super cute to watch them play together now. We love to travel so I do think a lot about how life would be different with just one. It would be different but not necessarily happier. Sometimes you have to decide to be happy with how things are. I spent a lot of time lamenting a stressful maternity leave with two babies but I’ve come to realize that I have three healthy kids and I find joy in the life I have instead of wondering what it would have been like with only 1.

      • Anonymous :

        I have a couple friends who went from 1 to 3 with surprise (naturally conceived) twins. Neither had any family history of twins. DH and I are leaning towards one and done but if we do have a second it will be via adoption. Three is unfathomable to me. Kudos to those who do it, but it would be marriage-ending or career-ending (or both) for me.

        • Anonymous :

          Our marriage counselor said he has a disproportionately high number of families with the one older child followed by the surprise twins (conceived without medical interventions). It’s a huge adjustment – at least with IVF you have people warning you that it might happen. Naturally conceived twins are becoming more common because they are more common when women are older. It’s like 1 in 100 when you’re 25 but 1 in 50 when you’re 35.

      • I can’t even imagine twins. Part of my hesitation is that I’m much more of a perfectionist than I realized, and that I really need to be in control – losing this ability in part because of a child was really tough and I still haven’t really figured out how to appropriately deal with it, I feel like with more kids you’re never in control anymore.

        • With more than 2 kids you definitely have to give up control; I don’t know about two, though, because they are still balanced out with two parents. However, I look at this as a positive — I am also a perfectionist control-freak, but I think that’s a weakness in my personality. Having kids is helping me deal with disappointment and go with the flow more (though VERY MUCH a work in progress), and I’m looking forward to continuing to work on and smooth out my rough spots and hopefully become a more relaxed and positive person. The truth is, none of us is really in control and life throws curve balls all the time; having kids is helping me adjust to that fact more and more.

          • Yeah – we just went through a super busy rough patch (not related to the kid, but a lot of other big life things happening at once) and after many sleepless nights and days just spent feeling like my life is an endless to do list, I’ve decided I really need to see a therapist about learning to let go since I don’t think I’m going to figure out how to do it on my own.

    • If you are leaning towards stopping at one, you may find the book “One and Only” by Lauren Sandler helpful. It is not a light read, but it is reassuring about what it means to have an only. It also gave me some things to think about and plan around that I would not have considered otherwise.

      • Sassyfras :

        Reading this book now and it is great.

      • Anonymous :

        I’ll bite. Things like what?

        I was older when I got married, so I kept going once I had one and stopped at 2 babies (and two losses). I knew I didn’t have the luxury of waiting to space kids more. I accepted that I might have an only child after the second loss (which made me realize that I did really, really prefer more children and wish that I had had the luxury of time and $ to have a third), but didn’t ever read the book. What did it say?

      • I’ll check this out, thank you.

    • Diana Barry :

      I know this isn’t particularly helpful, but I LOVE the baby stage and when the babies got to be 15-17 months or so, they started to look more like kids and so I wanted another tiny one right away. Our kids are about 2.3 years apart (we have 3).

      • This is part of it, I am not really into babies – though thankfully that stage is short!

        • Anonymous :

          Haha, neither am I. I have three kids (and no regrets), but it was more of a “Let’s just get through the next two years!” situation.

          Ours are 2.75 years apart, because we couldn’t handle the idea of another baby until the current baby was 2 years old.

    • I always wanted 2 as well (and secretly 3). My husband was originally on board with 2, but now that our first is a toddler, he wants to stop at just one. She was an easy baby, and while she has some terrible-two moments, she’s a relatively easy kid. We still travel a lot and have settled into a comfortable routine. My husband’s biggest issue is that “we never have time to do anything,” and having a second would eliminate what little time we do have. Every time I think of my daughter growing up alone, I just feel so sad for her. I know only children can be perfectly happy, and I hated my brother growing up. I’m also afraid that a second might not be healthy, or be as easy, or could be surprise twins. But I just don’t see our family as being complete right now, I really can’t explain it logically.

      • WriterKate :

        The sibling argument has bothered me for years. And not picking on you jeffiner…just thinking about it at a time I am able to comment. My parents meticulously planned my older brother and I. To be 2 years apart and be in HS and college together….and my brother died in an accident when he was 12. I have an adopted brother who is 9 years younger than me and I see him maybe once or twice a year. Siblings are no guarantee of of close lifelong relationship or a reduced burden on elder care. In many cases, that happens, but I don’t think those considerations should be a deciding factor.

    • Just to give a bit of a different perspective, my sister and I are 6 years apart and that worked out better for my parents than if we were closer together. Yes, the only time in life we were remotely in the same phase is kind of now – I’m starting grad school next year and she is applying to college next fall. So only kinda. But my mom was doing her medical residency when I was born, and my sister was born years later when she was more settled. We generally played together, and I took care of her a lot, but we also have very little rivalry because of the age difference and have a friend and therefore a connection to someone in a different place in life than ourselves.

      • +1 My kids are 4 yrs apart and I couldn’t have dealt with them any closer together. My older son now will “take care” of the younger one (they are 6 and 2) if I need to go to the garage for a minute etc. He also is very clever at dealing with her and can understand her, so for example if she grabs something dangerous he knows the right thing to say to take it away rather than just grab it (and possibly lead to further injury or her screaming and grabbing back). And they have the strangest jokes! Like he will say “boop!” and she will fall down laughing.
        Both my kids were such demanding high-maintenance babies and toddlers (bad sleepers! bad eaters! wanted to nurse all the time! wouldn’t take a bottle!) and I had an intense time of it, could not have done the 2 under 2 type of thing.

        • These anecdotes are helpful – all of our friends seem to immediately get pregnant with their second after they have their first (in part b/c we all waited until our early to mid-30s for our first) and we’re already the outlier.

    • Anonymous :

      My mother, who was an only child, was adamant with me that I must have more than one. She grew up with cousins who lived nearby and were like siblings. But as an adult, she felt the strain of having to care for her parents and not having anyone else who truly understood. Now I am seeing the same thing with my SIL in ill health and her only child not having the time or resources to help out. SIL feels neglected and niece feels put upon. No one is happy. A larger family doesn’t guarantee a happy family, but it provides a support network that can’t be replaced by friends.

      I know that this is going way out to the future. But any decision about family size is a lifelong decision.

      • Anonymous :

        I reject a lot of the other “only child” stuff, but as I get older, this is definitely a big issue I’ve had to consider. My parents are divorced and live in separate households, which only makes it more complicated. There are also only a few children in my generation among my closest family, so I’m wondering if I will end up helping aunts and uncles out down the line as well.

        I don’t think this is a good reason alone to have more kids but it’s something to think about particularly as you get older.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Siblings are no guarantee of help with elderly parents. I have three siblings and I’m on my own when it comes to caring for my parents. My parents feel neglected and I feel put upon despite there being four children in the family. Just sayin’. (I guess the three irresponsible sibs are happy, though, so there’s that…)

        I am the parent of an only who is now 30 and it worked out great for me and for him.

        • PatsyStone :

          +1 My sisters are already gleeful that they won’t have to take the brunt of this as they are much further away, and they know I will do it. I have been mulling this over a lot lately and elderly parents is not a persuasive argument to me. Not to mention the money saved that I can contribute to end of life care.

        • +1 & also, there’s no guarantee you’re going to agree with your sibling(s) on how to handle your parents’ situation. My husband is an only child, and we’re dealing with his aging parent issues together – I wouldn’t assume that just because you have an only child that they’ll be completely alone in dealing with you as you get older (& I also completely agree that no one should have a kid as an insurance policy against old age). I also think it’s really okay to think about what you want your life to look like and what your marriage will look like with more kids in it. I know a few couples that have split and/or had their relationships derail as a result of having more than one kid. I think parents having a happy and fulfilling life is really important, and just as important as the kid’s experience (& as many people have pointed out on these threads, siblings are no guarantee of a great childhood either).

      • To each their own. And a hearty +1 to the fact that having multiple children is no guarantee of a close sibling relationship or help taking care of parents or family matters. I’m an only child and I’d prefer not to have more than one child myself.

      • This is a bit depressing, but when I was in growing up quite a few kids I knew/siblings of kids I knew passed away (probably close to 10 in a small school). Even though I’m still very far away from having kids after losing so many kids, I always thought I’d have 3, heaven forbid anything happen

        • Interesting. A year ago, my MIL confided in me that she was upset that her two (adult) kids had traveled on the same plane together. She was so upset, she had contracted a virus that she attributed solely to the stress of thinking about a plane crash with both her kids involved.

          When she told me this, DH and his sister were driving 4 hours through rainstorms to join us at the beach. She didn’t really appreciate my pointing out that they were statistically more likely to die in a car crash that evening than they were to die in a plane crash on their last trip.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I always imagined either no kids or “a bunch” but I am pretty sure we’re settling in on ONE.

      Someone close to me has confessed that she thinks she had her second too soon (about 18 months after the first) and I’ve noticed that she doesn’t have the same patience with and admiration for the second as the first.

      It’s arguably “selfish,” my reasons for stopping at one: comfort; money; ability to travel; not being f*ing pregnant again; not giving birth again; etc. But I do love being able to give whatever parenting energy I have to my one kiddo.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m a happy parent to three kids, but here are some things to consider that I’ve noted from other families:
      – If you feel done at one and like the way that looks in the future (ie, in 30 years), then stay there.
      – You can have a second child ‘when every you choose’. So if you aren’t feeling ready yet, maybe you will be in a year.
      – Babies are super inconvenient, and toddlers are time consuming (and super inconvenient), but then kids get more independent and generally easier in the ways that babies are hard, so think about what *exactly* is making you feel like you changed your mind on a second, then ask parents with older kids or think about whether that will be a temporary issue for your family or a permanent one.
      – I can’t think of a nicer way to say this, but: If you want to be the center of your life, then don’t have another child. If you want your family to be the center of your life, than you should take the plunge. It’s not to say that one child parents are selfish or aren’t dedicated to their kids, it’s just that the mandatory amount of energy for a second child is more than with one.

      FWIW, my husband and I were 100% confident that we wanted a second child, but it was still nerve-wracking to actually start to have one because *knew* what we were getting into. It was even harder with the third! It’s easier to say “let’s start a family! Yeah babies!” when you don’t really know what that means. It’s harder to say “let’s restart! Yeah not sleeping!” when you do ;)

      • It was nice to be so naive with the first and have no clue what we were getting into. I love teenagers and older kids and like the idea of a bigger family when we’re older (but who doesn’t). This was a really good summary, thank you.

      • +1 to “if you want to be the center of your life”. I gave that up a long time ago with no issues. Other people find it more difficult. You have to be honest with yourself.

        One of my best friends growing up had a mom who decided she wanted to go back to being the center of her own life, so she left the family. That was pretty extreme, and my friend turned out ok, but this is something the mom should have figured out pre-pregnancy.

    • We’ve been talking about whether we want to have another (baby is 10 months, husband and I are both 37) but reading that terrifying 1 in 50 twin statistic….

    • I was in the exact same boat when my eldest was 2. Life was finally easy again and the idea of going back into newborn craziness was daunting. Decided to go for it anyway and I’m so glad I did. Now have a 1 year old and almost 4 year old and it is crazy busy and exhausting, but also amazing.

  5. Crabcakes & Football :

    Any personal recommendation for a (central-ish) Maryland Trusts/Estate Planning/Tax Attorney?

    I’d like to get my parent’s stuff in order and have no idea where to start. turning to the pros.

    • Charmed Girl :

      This is probably a good place to start.

  6. If you could buy your dream oven and microwave combination wall unit, which one would you buy and why?

    • Would not buy a microwave for a wall unit. They’ll inevitably discontinue that microwave in 2 years and then if it breaks a year after that you won’t be able to buy the same one to replace if it you need to.

      • Anonymous :

        Completely agreed.

      • Diana Barry :

        Ditto. Unless it is an over-the-hood one, but I wouldn’t get that kind because the vent hoods don’t actually vent.

        • Anonymous :

          Some of them can be configured to vent outdoors.

        • My over the stove microwave vents outside. I think they all have this option as long as they’re being installed under or next to an existing vent.

          I recommend it for space saving, and given our kitchen configuration (old house, too many doorways into the kitchen) it was our only option. However they are hideously expensive to replace. I guess the first one was hideously expensive to buy, but it was part of a kitchen remodel and I suppose I was just numb at that point. But when it broke 8 years later and we had to replace it, good golly miss molly. And I had to have it professionally installed, which cost even more. (You’d have to be VERY handy to be able to do this yourself, particularly with the venting setup.)

          • I replaced an outdoor venting one two years ago. It was a fairly basic model from Lowe’s, but including installation it was less than $500.

        • I’ve had this type in three different homes, and all three vented outside.

      • Cookbooks :

        This. My mother has both an oven-microwave wall unit and an over-the-hood one. The microwave in the combo unit one stopped working, and other one works but needs a new handle. However, these appliances are about 20 years old now and are no longer serviced. Both have to be replaced.

    • Anonymous :

      I bought matching microwave and oven and had them installed. The microwave did die and was replaced with the same crappy model. It will die again soon and then I will probably try to find something that looks close but it won’t be an exact match with the oven. But at least I won’t have to replace the oven when that happens.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yup. And if you cook holiday dinners you will want two conventional ovens. Turkey on the bottom, sides on the top.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I wouldn’t, but I also don’t use a microwaves.

  7. A friend at work is struggling and I’m not sure what to do. It seems like she’s just been in a really bad mood for almost 3 months now. Partly for mystery reasons, partly due to being overwhelmed with work. I’ve tried everything to be supportive of her, from offering to take some stuff off her plate to offering to let her vent to going with her on a quick coffee break. I’ve encouraged her to take a sick day and/or see a therapist, at other times I’ve tried to just let her vent. None of it helps, and while we used to be really close, now she alternates between shutting down completely and going on critical rants about me. We haven’t had a pleasant conversation in almost two months.

    Is there something else I can try to help her? Should I say something to her? Am I failing as a friend too if I try to minimize contact with her until she sorts this out?

    • Anonymous :

      I’d back off. She doesn’t want your help. If she wants to pick back up, she will. Unless it’s actually impacting your work, I’d say you’ve gone above and beyond (and maybe further than she was interested in). Focus on spending time/energy with people who actually want your company.

      • That’s what I’m learning towards, but the thing is, she frequently complains about how we don’t talk or hang out as much. She blames it on herself, but she talks about how she wants that to change. But then we go for a walk or arrange to get dinner… and it’s an unpleasant experience for me.

        • Anonymous :

          Blerg. If you can handle it, I’d probably be upfront about that. “You know, I haven’t really enjoyed our last few get togethers, so that’s part of the reason I haven’t been in touch as much. It seems like you have life stress happening, it’s okay if you need to deal with that before we hang out again.”

          But, in reality I would probably just end up busy for the next couple of times she reaches out. She doesn’t sound like she’s being a good friend to you, so you don’t need to keep signing up to talk verbal abuse.

  8. I used to think that partners were so big time.

    Now that I am one I seem to be the only person I know with a minivan (yo!) who did not spring for the Touring edition (never mind the Touring Elite model).

    And I am still shopping at the same mall stores (but only on 40% off times). And buying generic advil in the economy sized bottle (my fancy husband only buys the name brand — who does he think we are???).

    I still don’t have a designer handbag.

    I’m still scared to death of my mortgage and how it chains me to my job (so I thought I’d have breathing room after paying off law school, which might have been true if I hadn’t had children).

    Things change, things remain the same. When I got paid under the table in cash in high school, at least I could see that I had spendable $ (b/c I had no real bills).

    • Anonymous :

      Those seem like choices you’ve made, though? It sounds like you make a ton of money but have chosen to be thrifty because you’re anxious about owning an expensive house. If the mortgage makes you that anxious, maybe it would be better to sell it?

      • No, it means that I have to stay working to be in it. And realistically, I am working at something. I bought it based on an 8-years-ago salary and after it say on the market, post-crash, so it is affordable and nothing I’d feel comfortable spending on at today’s prices.

        Still, I’ve never gotten used to all of this. When does the living large happen?

        OTOH, I see so many football / basketball players go broke. [Not baseball — why?] I guess the upside is that it living within one’s means is never really s*xy.

        • If you’re not squeezed for cash, would it help you to track your spending so you can see that you do have enough?

          I was once shocked by a family acquaintance’s house and seeming display of wealth and wondered how that person had THAT MUCH money, and my parents explained that some people didn’t live as far within their means as my parents did. So, yes, living well within one’s means and being thrifty can look unglamorous, but there are other benefits.

        • Anonymous :

          Why do you think that only your current job could net you the salary you made 8 years ago? I totally get that it sucks to have bills, but realistically, you are rich. You are one of the richest people in the world. It’s hard to keep it all in perspective when you’re surrounded by other rich people. You are living large – you have a house, a car, kids that you most likely indulge, you probably save a ton for retirement, etc. Perspective. You can totally quit your job, sell your house, and move to a cheaper area and go wait tables or whatever it was that you did in high school.

        • How old were the partners you used to think were “big time”? In my observation, for partners with families, the living large happens after kids graduate from college. Partners without families tend to have more conspicuous spending like international vacations, fancy cars, and professional sports tickets (with good seats). Even relatively high-earning (but not fabulously wealthy) people with families tend to spend much more of their disposable income on mortgages, daycare/private school, and insurance.

        • One reason I decided not to go for partnership was that I couldn’t imagine myself comfortable in a life where those trappings were expected of me (such as fancy club memberships, the “right” private school for kids, making sizable/public donations to charity, etc) because “that’s how you network” at the Biglaw level / “pay to play” type of thing.

          Also, the general attitude of “well you’re making all this money and working so hard, you might as well get yourself the BEST” is…. annoyingly prevalent.

          The level of anxiety you have over your mortgage seems concerning, but I sympathize with the pressure.

        • JuniorMinion :

          The living large doesn’t happen for people who end up with a high net worth usually… Read the millionaire next door. It is dated, but they found that most people with a net worth of $1mm+ (which was especially impressive 25 years ago) are living in middle class neighborhoods and driving used cars.

          I guess think about what you want / what is important to you. Why do you feel the need to be “living large?” What would it give you that your currently lifestyle wouldn’t? I drive a used Jetta I got for <$20k and buy most of my clothes used / asos / old navy / target. I also live in significantly less house than the bank would tell me I could afford. It's effective for screening out people who are excessively materialistic / "keep up with the jones's" types. This has given me the ability to save a lot of $$ which is important to me. Also I often buy generic / store brand except for baking ingredients / meat / dairy (I have strong feelings about them / their performance).

    • Anonymous :

      It’s my understanding that debt tolerance has a lot to do with it. I have no personal experience with this, but rumor has it that a lot of partners live on debt and pay it off with their end of year check.

    • You’re getting some harsh comments, so I’ll just chime in that I understand. I haven’t made partner yet, but I know realistically that I’m rich (statistically, upper middle class in MCOL city in US). I earn enough to own a home, drive a car, ensure our financial stability with savings and lots of insurance, pay for daycare, and pay my bills. These are all choices, and I’m grateful that I earn enough to be able to have all this. But they’re not fun choices, and there’s not much leftover for “fun” things like eating out, vacations, clothes, housekeeper/cleaning service, etc. Sometimes I just feel like at this point in my life, I shouldn’t be worried about the cost of a new pair of shoes, a birthday present for my nephew, or a yoga class (all things I’ve worried about in the last 24 hours).

      • Anonymous :

        Why can’t you afford a birthday present for your nephew, though? Maybe it’s not in your set budget and you are by nature a worrier, but if you actually couldn’t afford it something would be very wrong. How do you think the rest of the country survives?

        • I have a very, very large extended family in the area. I have a line item in my budget for gifts, but the past 2 months have been busy months for us in terms of gifts, with lots of birthday parties and baby showers and our own gift-giving occasions in our immediate family (don’t want to out myself too much). Even doubling our “gift” budget this month, there wasn’t much left. We can “afford” a gift for my nephew, but (as budgeting goes), only by spending less on other gifts or spending less in another area we’ve budgeted for.

          In the past 24 hours, DH has told me he needs new shoes, we’ve been invited to 2 birthday parties, and I decided I’d like to alleviate some pain by returning to yoga. If I’d just said “yes” to all those things, we easily could have spent $300. We’ve worked it out–DH is having one pair of shoes repaired instead of buying new ones, I bought a $25 gift for my nephew and will probably buy the adult who’s having a birthday a card, and I’ll go to a $5 community yoga class tomorrow. But these types of decisions come up everyday–and it would be nice to have enough money to let go a little, or even “live large.”

          If by the “rest of the country,” you mean people who make less than me, they probably don’t buy extended family members gifts several times a month, don’t spend money on group fitness classes at all, and either rarely wear dress shoes to work or buy very inexpensive ones. Etc., etc. They probably also have less savings and buy less insurance and drive less expensive cars and maybe rent instead of owning a house.

          • Anonymous :

            By rest of the country, I did mean average families who make $50k a year, not someone who makes eight times that amount. It’s totally awesome that you budget, but your outlook about it is a lifestyle choice in itself. It’s totally cool to live your life however you want, but someone who is a partner is probably not actually scrimping for a $5 yoga f0r any reason except that they want to and have decided on that as a lifestyle choice. I think it’s totally personality-driven and letting go of budgeting anxiety is a choice you can make if you really want to. I wasn’t trying to be harsh or attack anyone, just to point out that anxiety seems to be a factor and there are totally things you can do about it if you want to let go a little. I think sometimes people have their head down trying to get out from under law school loans for so long that they lose focus of what reality looks like.

          • I said I wasn’t a partner, and that I’m upper middle class- so I’m definitely not making 4x $50K, and not even 2x 50K. I’m supporting a family of 3 and have gone through some financial setbacks recently (including DH losing his job), so the budget is real. Nothing is “off,” it’s just real numbers.

          • Anonymous :

            Yeah, +1. I’m an associate so don’t make partner money. I’m relatively frugal but not to this level. My HH income is a combined $500k pre-bonus, and while we’re not out buying Lamborghinis, life is too short for stressing about a new, needed pair of shoes if you make that kind of money. We have a mortgage and expensive childcare, but we’re still way ahead of the game in terms of retirement and college savings, and I’m in a position where I can take a lower-paying job if it comes about. (I hope this doesn’t come off as entitled; I count myself fantastically lucky, and I do work hard for my salary.) Not sure if you have unrealistic goals in terms of saving, have some other major liabilities (besides typical education debt) or want to retire super, super early, but without more context, it seems to me that something is off here.

    • Can you track your expenses for some time? There has to be some room for your expenses, splurges even. I don’t say you could afford everything you want, designer bag every month, etc. But make sure that you spend some money on what feels luxurious and makes difference to you, be it a monthly spa, weekly yoga, nice piece of jewelry every year or whatever else you’re dreaming about.

  9. Does anyone with sensitive teeth have experience with Crest White Strips? I don’t want to deal with the expense & time commitment of whitening with my dentist. My teeth are cold & air sensitive. Would I just be asking for pain by doing the strips?

    • I found that they made my (normally not sensitive) teeth very sensitive. I use the whitening mouth wash instead, and for me they’re effective enough but not painful.

    • They made my teeth more sensitive but not as bad as professional whitening. It wasn’t too bad when I only did the strips once a day. There is a sensitive version but they didn’t work as well.

  10. expanding social circle in Chicago :

    I could use some help expanding my social circle and also ideally meeting more dateable men. I have a lot of friends, but I’m mid-30s and most people are in serious relationships and / or have kids, so it’s not like in our twenties when everyone went out every weekend. I also feel like I need to push myself to go to more events solo so I can really find my people.

    I go to plenty of one-off events like lectures and readings and shows, but I don’t find those to be particularly conducive to meeting people. I need something that meets more consistently. I do not generally like the vibe of Meetups, though I know they’re all different. I guess I want something a little more formal and a little less freewheeling.

    Any ideas for groups to join, specifically in Chicago if possible? I want to meet fellow 30- and 40-something brainy types. Anything with an international bent would be especially good.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      volunteering for a cause you find important
      Book club – you can find those on meet-up
      A hiking club

    • Check out Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, specifically their young professionals’ program if you are younger than 40. It’s not necessarily a social thing, but they do tons of talks that are super easy to attend alone and you’d probably find interesting, plus you tend to see the same people at most talks. The young professionals’ program has some additional happy hour/networking activities.

      Most of their activities are from September-May so they’re about to wrap up for the year, but you could attend an event or two in the next few weeks to get a feel for it.

    • Some possible ideas:
      1. Chicago chapter of your University Alumni Assoc
      2. Summer sports leagues – ha only works if you like sports
      3. continuing ed classes

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Play trivia at Monsignor Murphys
      Join the Skeeball League (one plays at Begyle, I think!)
      Do you have any interest in/use for BNI? One of my besties is in it (possibly a chapter for young-ish people? like 30s young) and has a really strong network based partially on that.
      A book club?

  11. Sprinkle me on the fairway :

    We are transplants to our city, from 8 and 12 hours away. DH doesn’t want to be buried here. He thinks that if he is cremated here, I can sprinkle him in various places with meaning to him (by his dad (space-restricted cemetary like Arlington National Cemetary), by a favorite vacation place) where our children and I might continue to go to after he is gone. [I might return home if I were an early widow but might stay if my children settle her or might move in retirement; if I left, I probably wouldn’t come back as I have not real ties here other than work.]

    Can one just sprinkle ashes? Or is it not officially OK but people just do it?

    Tell me if I need to nip this in the bud b/c dude will haunt me if it turns out he’s wrong. [He’s not planning to die soon, but just morose after going to a funeral recently.]

    • Anonymous :

      Not sure about Arlington National Cemetery and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have restrictions but generally yes you can sprinkles ashes in public spaces and it’s a thing people do. We sprinkled my grandparents’ in the ocean near our family vacation home.

    • Meg March :

      We sprinkled my grandfather’s ashes off a mountain. Officially that was…not ok. But my grandfather wasn’t really a rule follower, and it seemed like the right tribute.

    • This is something on which laws vary widely by jurisdiction. California (which is where I live) has very strict laws. Some states are less strict. I gather from various conversations these rules are often ignored, but they are still laws. I personally would be uncomfortable ignoring them, particularly at Arlington or somewhere people might accidentally come into contact with the cremains, but I recognize this would not be universal.

      On a purely practical level, you could probably get away with a pinch at Arlington (or whatever space restricted cemetery you are thinking of) while leaving flowers and leaving small amounts elsewhere, with perhaps a single location for the majority. You are talking about roughly six pounds and as someone who has handled this (legally) I was surprised at the volume. I am not sure I would have wanted to surreptitiously sprinkle that much.

      Final note, if you are planning on sprinkling some at sea PLEASE be careful. It seems like every year someone on the West Coast gets killed when they are swept out to sea while sprinkling a loved one’s ashes. Loss compounded by tragedy for the remaining family.

      • Adding on because of the comment about any public place being legal, please do not assume this. Again, it varies widely by jurisdiction. In California, ashes may be scattered at sea, but not (legally) along the shore at the beach. Some state parks are OK, but not national forests. (At least when I was researching this.) Some national parks are OK, but they tend to have location specific rules. Some places require a burial permit. If you want to be legal, you will need to check on the specific location.

    • Anonymous :

      IME, it is a lot easier if you are willing to flaunt the rules and/or work with smaller quantities (which would probably work out with his plan, actually).

      And ditto the comment about being careful. I’m another west coaster tired of the very tragic accidents that happen during end of life and engagement activities.

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      We sprinkled my dad’s cremains this way, a little bit at a time across several places that were important to him–a national park, a couple baseball fields, the river behind our house, the creek that ran along his childhood home, an SEC football stadium.
      They were all clandestine and almost certainly prohibited, but it’s not hard to do if you’re just spreading a little bit across lots of places. Similar to Meg Marsh’s grandfather, it seemed like a fitting tribute to my dad, who was decidedly not a rule-follower. And it turned out to be a sort of fun and definitely therapeutic experience for my mom, my brother, and me. We were on a common mission to pull off this caper, and that was so my dad.
      Point being: It’s probably not allowed, but these prohibitions are hard to enforce. I wouldn’t borrow tomorrow’s trouble, but if you wanted to pull it off, you could.

      • +1

        We sprinkled a small amount of my Aunt’s ashes in a hemlock grove in a special place that was probably public land. She was not a rule follower and had strict instructions that we were to throw a party when she passed away (she knew she’d likely pass away young).

        It was me, my mom and sister in a not well traveled area, looking as if we were just chilling/having a picnic. If you wanted to do a ceremony, I’d check first.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      Late to the thread, but if you are going to skirt the rules be careful not to cause a security scare…

  12. The partner in the office next to mine likes to ask me “what’s the word?” I need a funny/snappy answer.

    (He’s a young partner and will appreciate it if I say something other than “fine”).

  13. Kat,
    I couldn’t agree more with your points on braided obi belt. I found some amazing fashion advice from these 10 executives who still happen to keep up with the ever changing style. Women such as Tory Burch, Oprah, and many others. I have attached a link below to the full blog post. Let me know what you think? Anyone we missed?

    Denali Bollens

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