Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Leather-Elbow Patch Blazer

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

Smythe Leather-Elbow Patch BlazerHappy Green Monday, everyone! Nope, I haven’t heard of it either. They say it’s similar to Cyber Monday, but mostly I’m just seeing continuations of previous sales, perhaps with free shipping thrown in. (If I see anything good, I’ll blog about it!) ANYWAY: For today’s splurge, I’m liking this happy green blazer from Smythe (I swear, the color is a coincidence!) Love the double pockets, the princess seams, the leather elbow patches, and the fitted look. It’s $695 at Saks (which is offering free shipping AND returns with code HOLIDAY.) Smythe Leather-Elbow Patch Blazer

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  1. I appreciate that Kat refers to this as a “happy green blazer” when the model looks just so darn sad that I want to pat her on the shoulder and give her a cookie.

    • Haha, my thought exactly. It’s a really pretty green though!

    • WorkingMom :

      Love that blazer! So cute, and I agree, the model looks like her dog just died :(

    • Anon Pulling the Trigger :

      No, that model is searching for a new job as an 8th year associate. Her prospects are THAT good.

    • I’d be sad if I were wearing that blazer too. I really don’t like the cutaway style – I feel like it adds 10 lbs to everyone by accentuating the gut (even if you don’t have one).

      • I agree. If I had a flatter stomach (and tons of money lying around), I would be all over this blazer.

        Thankfully, me, my empty bank account, and my gut are perfectly happy in this cheap F21 dress while I’m studying for finals.

  2. I love this color and I love the buttons, but whenever I see a blazer like this, it always looks like it is too small – even if it’s the right size. I understand this is how it’s supposed to look, but it just always looks off (especially since so many people do just wear blazers that are way too small on them).

    • That was my first thought, too. No wonder the model looks sad; the blazer looks to be 2 sizes too small.

      • Interesting. This fit looks ideal to me, and my blazers fit similarly. I’m petite and have curves, so the alternative is looking like I’ve borrowed someone else’s jacket and am 10+ pounds heavier. Unfortunate that people may see it this way, but I don’t think I’m willing to start sizing up. Her jacket doesn’t show any pulling or stretching anywhere–to me it just looks fitted (not unlike men’s jackets).

        • viclawstudent :

          You don’t think it looks like the button is pulling? It looks strained at that point to me. Agree withAIMS, think this looks weirdly-sized on her, but think it might just be the styling …

          Like the pockets and the fabric, though.

          • I’ll get very technical and suggest that since she’s pulling her shoulder back, perhaps to reach into a back pocket, the fabric across the middle of her torso is under slightly more strain than it would be if she stood straight. Maybe tonight I’ll do this pose (and facial expression) with each of my blazers and see how the buttons look.

        • I wonder if it’s because it’s one button. Often they look more “pinching” to me than two button blazers.

          • e_pontellier :

            I have a one-button blazer that fits a bit larger than this one, and I must admit, it looks a little too big sometimes. I think the one-button blazer can be tough to fit properly.

          • I think it’s because there is about an inch of fabric that actually meets in the middle. I also have trouble with blazers not looking like I borrowed them from my grandfather, so I understand the dilemma. I think perhaps because this is a “designer” item, it’s just a bit more cartoonish/dramatic about its lines and this is what’s making me think it looks too small. Mens jackets always meet in the middle, without making a similar x. So it’s not the fit in the shoulders/arms, it’s the middle that makes it look off. I don’t feel similarly about, say, the JCrew schoolboy blazer even though it’s very similarly shrunken in all other areas.

          • MaggieLizer :

            This is why I don’t button my blazers. If it’s only attached by a tiny bit of fabric then it’s going to look like it’s pulling, even if it’s the right size, just because of normal movement. I do lurv this blazer though.

          • I kind of want my one-button blazers to hang straight down from the button, with the two front edges meeting to cover my belly, so the fit on this one looks strange to me.

          • My view is that, if I either can’t button a blazer, or if buttoning it will cause it to pull strangely due to normal movement, then it is a size too small for me and I need to size up. Obviously most blazers will have shortening in the sleeves, etc, with movement, and may pull a bit across the back, but if buttoning your blazer results in serious button straining or risking a Tommy Boy incident across the back, then just size up.

        • I think that part of the issue is that it appears the blazer may actually be cut in such a way that it give the appearance of the bottom pulling away. Rather than the material falling straight down from the button, it’s cut so it curves down and away from the button.

    • Maybe revise description to Empire-Waist Blazer?

    • It’s too short on her. It would better three inches longer.

    • S in Chicago :

      I don’t think it’s small but a really tough cut. And anyone with the least bit of belly will definitely come across as sausaged in.

      • I think this is what I was trying to say. Not that it is too small. But that the cut makes it look too small. And mainly because I see so many people do this with blazers that are not cut like this by wearing them too small that this reads in a way that is similar even though it is not meant to. Whew!

    • Those double flaps make me think of a double collar. And then I think of Theo Huxtable and his Gordon Gartrell shirt.

  3. Just one final reminder about the DC meetup today anytime after 5:30pm at Laughing Man Tavern at 13th and G NW!

    • Have a great time! I’m bummed that I can’t make it, but hope to attend some next year.

    • I’m so sad I can’t make it. AGAIN! And I even wore cute shoes. Maybe we can have another in 2013?

    • Yay. My trial ended today so I can come relax!

  4. Snow! 14 inches and the metro public school districts didn’t even have to call off school. :)

    • Yes, my kids were bummed that there was still school today. It’s been awhile since we have had so much snow…

      • I’ve heard that basically, if the buses can run, there will be school. And we definitely got off easy last winter :)

        • I grew up in the great white north and my Dad was superintendent of schools and he was the one who made the decision about school closure for snow. Of course, we begged him to call off school! He had a weather radio that would alert him and he would go out and try to drive around (in our tank of a station wagon) to see if the roads were passable. Then the superintendents from neighboring districts would talk on the phone so everybody would agree to have school or not. He had a secret code to use when he called the radio and TV stations. This happened at about 5 a.m. Always interesting!

    • Gotta love the snow ethic in MN! I’m just waiting for people on my street to move their cars so I don’t have to climb over the snowbanks left in the street for the rest of the winter when the plow can’t plow around their vehicles during the snow emergency – loving the snow though!

  5. I did a search of past discussions, but didn’t find much. I am 9 months postpartum and have been diagnosed with hyperthyroid. I am trying to work on eating well, exercising and reducing stress (meditating, stretching, yoga, etc.) I have an endocrinologist appt this week, but my research indicates that some of the treatments for hyperthyroid can be a little extreme. If you have experience with hyperthyroid (postpartum or not), I would love to know what you have encountered, etc. Thank you!

    • I’m not an endocrinologist, but you should definitely have a long conversation with your doctor about treatment options. I don’t think you can manage most hyperthyroid with lifestyle changes; a lot of times it’s autoimmune in nature. There are all sorts of varieties and you should leave the endocrinologist with a pretty good idea of what you have (Graves disease? hashimotos, etc). It’s worthwhile to understand so that you can make informed decisions about treatment options.

      While some of the treatments are pretty extreme, they can be very necessary. I think for some people, it’s a little tempting to undertreat their hyperthyroid. It revs your metabolism, you have more energy, keeping weight off is easier, etc. One of my friends did that (more for athletic reasons) and ended up with a hip fracture in his 40s due to osteoporosis. Yikes! So come to the endo with a list of questions and get some answers. The good thing is that hyperthyroid is very treatable, but there are a lot of options, and you should feel as though you have a game plan when you leave.

      • Yep, my research also indicated that lifestyle changes can’t manage the condition. I do seem to be able to reduce some of the symptoms with some changes (eat often, deep breathing, etc.). I will definitely make a list of questions for the doctor. Thank you for suggesting that! I want to deal with it now, although I am nervous about the implications for breastfeeding and future pregnancies. Glad my doctor’s appointment is soon so I can get some answers!

    • I was diagnosed in January and have made been on medication throughout my pregnancy. I take a small pill every morning and otherwise don’t think about it at all. I take 25 mcg of Levo, which I think is the lowest dosage they give. I’m fit, eat really well, blah blah. I did not gain any weight after taking medication, which I know concerns some people. I will say that I think that my hair has gotten fuller after being on medication and I no longer feel cold (but that also could be because I’m pregnant). Bottom line, it hasn’t changed my day to day life at all and I would not worry too much about it.

      Also, a PSA to all of you ladies out there – I believe that the reason I had a miscarriage the first time around is because I was hypothyroid but not on any meds. The fetus does not have a thyroid gland and depends on the mom’s thyroid during the first 12 weeks and since I had such an underactive one, I wasn’t much help. My doctor could not confirm this but I have read up on this and have heard that this could contribute to a miscarriage. Second time around, I was on medication and am almost about to deliver in a few weeks (fingers crossed it all goes well!). So if you suspect that you have a thyroid issue and you are TTC, please please go get checked.

      • Sounds like you have hypothyroidism – not hyper like the poster. So while you felt cold all the time, tired, maybe gained weight…. she may have the opposite…. feeling warm, more energy/irritability/anxiety, losing weight etc..

        Both are pretty common problems (especially in women), but are very treatable. You will need medicine, and sometimes you need more aggressive measures (like ablation of the thyroid so it doesn’t keep overproducing hormone).

        Thyroid problems unfortunately are not something you can treat with diet, reducing stress etc… and it is very important to fix because you develop a lot of problems down the road if you don’t.

      • It does sound like hypothyroid is a little bit less of a big deal, although posters in earlier threads mentioned that it can be difficult to get the dose of the synthetic hormone exactly right. I am worried because my research seems to indicate that hyperthyroid (overactive) is worse than hypo. Me too, I am so glad that you got your problem resolved and are expecting a little one soon!

        What’s funny is that I had no thyroid abnormalities during pregnancy. I looked at my charts, and it appears that I was checked at least three times throughout the pregnancy.

        • Diana Barry :

          I think that postpartum can throw you into a little bit hyper. They have had to reduce my dose a couple of times postpartum – I am normally hypo and got more so while preg but have had a big swing toward hyper since having the baby.

          • hellskitchen :

            I have been treated for thyroid imbalances since my late teens (in early 30s now). It used to swing between hyper and hypo so at times I’d have crazy weight loss but also accompanied with exhaustion and sleepiness. It seems there isn’t universal agreement about the ranges of TSH that determine hyper or hypo. The last few years, I have had hypo-t and since I was TTC, my endocrinologist has been closely monitoring my dose. I second Me Too – if you are TTC do get your thyroid checked out. And I have been warned that postpartum could swing my TSH from hypo range to hyper range.

        • Thanks, ladies. Hellskitchen, did you see your regular endocrinologist or a reproductive endocrinologist while TTC? I am thinking way ahead here, but we’d like a second child (sooner rather than later).

          • hellskitchen :

            I didn’t realize there were different types – my OB/GYN recommended him – I just checked online and it doesn’t say reproductive endocrinologist in his description. But my GP had been prescribing Levoxyl for me for years… when I moved my new ob/gyn recommended the endocrinologist.

    • Hi EB0220,
      I am hyperthryoid. I have Graves disease. When my first endo called me to tell me she was all happy like — COngratulations, you have Graves disease. It’s not cancer. I on the other hand, kind of freaked out because I went from being totally healthy to having a life long condition. That was about two years ago. I really was not that excited about treating it because I didn’t notice any of the symptoms and I really feared gaining weight from the treatment. However, now that I take my anti thryoid meds (am now on 5 mg of methimizole; down from 10 where I started) I must say I do feel a lot better. My first endo asked me are you tired and stressed and irritable and I was like of course I am, I am a working mother and everyone I know is tired and stressed and irritable, b–ch! But after time on the meds, I sleep better, I feel better and I honestly am less stressed and irritable. (I am still tired). I also switched endos, my current one works out at my gym and I sort of know her and I figured if I gained a ton of weight at least she would belive me that I was still working out a ton and eating the same. The bad news is I did gain 10 lbs after taking the meds and I have been unable to lose it. When I am tottaly diligent and I track my calories (I use my fitnesspal) I have been able to get down to +5 lbs but I haven’t gotten down to where I was pre diagnosis. In all fairness, though, I am at the weight I was from about 18-35, its just that I unexpectedly and happily slimmed down by 10 lbs for the 5 ish years that I had undiagnoesed Graves disease. On the whole I am totally fine, its not a bad disease to have compared to a lot of other ones. I avoid the thryoid support groups and internet stuff because they seem kind of wacky and have WAY more problems than I do and kind of freak me out.

      • Lobbyist, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am really freaked out, too, because I’ve always been very healthy. I’m glad to know that you’re doing ok. I lost a decent amount of weight (~10 lbs less than my pre-pregnancy weight, which was already my lowest in 5 years). I should have known, because I am not usually a person who loses weight easily. I would love to know what treatment(s) you used, if you are comfortable sharing of course.

        • EB0220,
          You sound very similar to where I was two years ago. And by the way I just re read my previous comments — sorry for all the spelling errors and typos. Without spellcheck I am clearly lost. Anyway, in hindsight yes I was in the same boat (so slim, size 6 no problem and without dieting!) which was different for me, I had usually been more of a size 10 with constant struggling not to get up to a 12. But I had always been super healthy. Had two kids, exercised regularly, don’t drink or smoke. I did have some stressful life and marraige situations, and I do recall this one horrible flu that turned into pneumonia where I sort of soldiered on anyway and I wonder if that is when it started, as I have heard stress can have something to do with it. And honestly my whole life has been sort of high stress (I don’t mean that in a whiny way, it’s just the way I am.)
          So my problem (hyper thyroid caused by Graves disease) is that I produce too much thyroid hormone. In order to stop that and get me to the normal amount I had (have) three options :
          1) take radioactive iodine pill to zap my thyroid and make me hypo thyroid. Then take thryoid replacement hormones for the rest of my life. This is a very common course of treatment. I have been afraid to do it for a couple reasons. One, I dont want to have to be away from my kids for the couple days after taking the pill (although perhaps going to a hotel alone might be lovely) and two, it seems like those hypothroid people have total weight problems. However, my current endo (who I love) says long term the side effects of taking synthetic thyroid hormone are minimial and that she has lots of patients who aren’t fat.
          2) surgery to remove my throid and then take replacement thyroid hormone. Not recommended for me as my throid doesnt have any other problems and surgery is invasive.
          3) take methimizole (a thyroid-supressing medication) to get my thyroid to stop over producing thyroid hormone and return it to normal levels. In Europe, some people stay on low doees of methimizole for their whole lives. In the US they don’t like to keep you on it forever, they prefer to go option #1 after a few years. But the thing about option #3 is that there is a chance I will go into spontaneous remission. They dont seem to know why, but after a while of the drug supressing the over production (and causing the right amount of thyroid production) some people get off the drug and then their thryoids produce the proper amount of hormone for some time or even in some cases for a long time. So I chose option #3 because I am hoping that will happen to me. My life is somewhat less stressful now, and taking the methimizole is not that bad (I do feel better than I did before — even though I didnt at first realize I felt bad) and I am back to a weight that my body had for many years when my thyroid was normal (I am 5’9 and 160 now. I was 150 for 4-5 years before diagnosis) . I go to the MD tomorrow, in fact, to discuss my options. I am going to see if I can try getting off the methimizole and if my thyroid will produce the proper amount of hormone. If that doesn’t work, the doc is sort of pushing option #1 but I don’t know if I am there yet. I could easily just go back on the methimizole. She says the long term effects of methimizole are worse than the long term effects of synthetic thyroid hormone, but it turns out the long terms effects of being on methimizole aren’t really that bad and they happen to very few people. (I think its a risk of liver damage. But I don’t drink and I eat pretty healthy so that is a risk I am willing to take.) The docs prefer the #1 I think because then they dont have to monitor you and because there is practically no risk to the synthetic thryoid hormone.
          I have to say, now that I have a thryoid condition, I know tons of people (all of normal wieght, mostly women in their 40s and 50s. I am 43) who are hyper or hypo (more hypo). Its not something that comes up in conversation often so at the beginning I felt so alone but I bet if you mention it around, you’ll find you know people as well. I am also happy to provide whatever information I can, and to share my experience with you. I was kind of a freak at the beginning. I read about 8 books, including one that thought aspartamane use caused her symptoms. I got my first endo to get me a free month long trial for this medical website with all the reports so I could read everything myself from the real scientists (not the stop the thyroid madness wierdos on the internet). That’s my compulsive personality coming out but I have to say a TON of the information out there is not considered reliable by people who went to medical school and I tend to trust the docs more. Good luck and I’ll try to post on Wed am after my doctors’s appt (its Thursday afternoon.)

    • saacnmama :

      While I was writing my dissertation (12 yrs ago), I’d feel busy all day, then realize I had gotten nothing done. It was exhausting, and frustrating, and I had to get done! I went to the shrink in the campus health center. He diagnosed bipolar disorder and prescribed lithium. That diagnosis seemed off, particularly because he did not seem to understand the difference between mood and energy level, and the medication sounded really heavy. When I questioned him about it, he said I could get my thyroid tested, they were supposed to order that test when making the diagnosis and Rx he’d given me, but they always came back fine. I got it tested, found I had low TSH/overactive thyroid. The student health service had no idea what to do. I think it eventually came down. It was tested again a few years later, a couple years after my son was born, and was fine. Recently I’ve had that same feeling of “running” all day, but zero results at day’s end, so I’m seeing an endocrinologist next week.

      Lobbyist, I hear you on the wackiness of online support groups. If any of you (normal, overachieving chicks) would like to stay in touch on this, please email me at the same handle, hotmail.

    • I’ve been having the opposite issue (hypothyroid symptoms) and recently learned my mom and one of my sisters both have Hashimoto’s. My TSH is normal but am waiting on the other labs. This kind of freaks me out.

  6. Gail the Goldfish :

    My mother wants to get me an iPad for Christmas. I think want some sort of tablet or netbook because my laptop is really too heavy to lug around on a daily basis, but I’m not sure an iPad is the best option. The main reason I want one is so I can take it with me for days when I’m stuck in court on conferences with nothing to do but wait for hours and can remote into work, which means whatever I get would have to be able to run Citrix. So, do people have preferences on tablets, and if your work uses Citrix for remote access, can it run on your tablet?

    • Have the iPad (full size), can run Citrix. Not the most efficient way to work because Citrix is awful, but I can log in to grab documents, etc., in a pinch. If you’re going to use it for that purposes, I would get a detachable keyboard. Because I have my work e-mail added to my iPad, I find I rarely need Citrix.

      • I have a Zagg bluetooth keyboard, and I love it.

        • a passion for fashion :

          I have all of these (keyboard etc), but like others, I dont use Citrix on the ipad becuase its just too slow. Howevver, i paid $10 bucks each for a pdf reader app and a word reader app and it works much better, i can totally work on documents that way — you just have to email them to yourself so you can open them on the ipad. This then works in wifi or 3/4G.

          One other option (albeit a little more expensive) — i just got a macbook air and it is awesome. its as light as can be, but it has full computer capabilities. Citrix works great on it. I currently only use mine in wifi, but you could get a wireless card to make this work anywhere.

          • Have you tried dropbox? It’s a good alternative to emailing yourself documents.

      • This is my experience as well. I don’t have an external keyboard, so I mostly use Citrix on my iPad to read documents/check spreadsheets for a specific number, etc. Anything more than that isn’t really efficient to do. I usually just check my email through a separate work email client.

      • Agreed that Citrix can be miserable, but it does work on the iPad. I have the Targus keyboard case and it works well. I’ve used my iPad for multi-day conferences as an alternative to carrying my laptop and was able to get work done.

    • The iPad is HORRIBLE with Citrix. The capabilities just don’t work together. Citrix is horrible on its own, but it’s really unusable on the iPad.

    • Agree that the iPad is horrible with Citrix. I was thinking of buying one and borrowed a friend’s to test. I could only have one application open at a time and found working with Word documents to be painful, even with a keyboard. I tried a Surface and liked it, but my firm doesn’t have the backend technology to allow our server to work with Windows RT. And it sounds like the battery life on the Surface Pro (which has regular Windows 8, which would work with my firm’s server) is only 5 hours. I ended up getting a Samsung tablet/laptop hybrid. I’m not sure it’s the best, but it does give me full computer functionality and the option of having a laptop. One problem with a Windows 8 tablet is that there are very fews apps available.

    • Maybe out of the price range — but what about an 11 inch macbook air? I toss mine in my purse most mornings at work. Very light, very easy to tote, very capable.

      • Second this recommendation (if price is not a problem). I have a 13″ Dell version of the MacBook Air if you want a PC. I think they also have a smaller version. Mine only weighs something like 3lbs.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Thanks, everyone! Sounds like maybe I should just go with a netbook. I think MacBook Air is probably out of the price range. O, what’s the name of the Samsung you have?

      • research lawyer in SV :

        If you are looking at alternatives to the Ipad – I have an Android based Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 with Verizon wireless and I love it. Small enough to easily fit in my purse. I haven’t used Citrix with it, but did load the “Document to Go” app so I can work on documents, including spreadsheets. I also got the adaptor that lets you plug in a USB or SD card to it. I can download docs onto the USB jump drive and then don’t have to worry about connecting into the office to work on them. For email I have another program that lets me VPN in to the office to securely get my email. It does wireless and so many places have wireless now ( including the SF Fed Courthouse) that I hardly ever use much of my data plan and I’m on the smallest plan they offer.

  7. hellskitchen :

    I love love this color! I love wearing green but kelly green looks bad on me – this is a much warmer tone. Throw in leather elbow patches and I am in heaven

    • Yes, this is the ideal green for Autumn/warm coloring. My redhaired daughter looks gorgeous in this shade. (of course, I think she looks gorgeous in anything)

    • Research, Not Law :

      Redhead here and I usually snap up anything I find in this color! Not sure this blazer would be flattering for me, but I love, love, love the color!

      I was so excited to hear the Pantone color for 2013 is “emerald.” Hopefully the change over from corals will mean I can finally buy clothes again!

    • Yep, I have warm coloring and this is one of my best colors. Love it!

  8. Oh my god! The Manageing partner asked me and Madeline if we want to be considered for partner at year end 2013! We would have to make a CAPITAL contribueteion of $100000 but we would be immediately available for account profit shareing! I said I think so but I don’t have any saveings other then my 401k. The Manageing partner said I could borrow from my 401k and then just pay myself back includeing interest which will be DEDUCTEABLE!

    My dad was thrilled but does not think I should have to put in CAPITOL, or of I must, then no more then $10k.

    What does the HIVE think???? Is there a protocoll I should follow?

    I want to be a partner but am confused?

  9. Diana Barry :

    I have a triple-barrelled rant/question today:

    1. Where do you get those little things that push your feet back in heels? And what brands do you recommend?

    2. I am DONE with Lucky magazine. This is after the Jan issue, in which they showed a model in “work looks” that included a super loud plaid short suit, neon yellow nail polish, and a “toned down” work outfit that included a perforated white leather miniskirt. And super ugly “let’s pile 10000 things on this model and then ADD A COAT so she looks super-refined!” ARGH.
    So, what magazine should I order next? Looking for something a little more home-oriented. I used to like Real Simple but it seemed very repetitive. My husband hates Martha Stewart so I can’t get that.

    3. Any tips on getting used to pants that fit *right*, rather than the ones that are too big? I now fit into my pre-pregnancy size (w00t!) but can’t get used to my pants not swimming on me. I also feel like they create a muffin top if I sit down. Any suggestions? :-0

    • Unpopular opinion – high-waisted pants that are tailored to fit you.

      • +1 — after kid 1, I got a permanent divorce from low-rise pants. Haven’t looked back since.

        • OMG, the plumber’s crack that I had with my low-rise jeans after a kid! And I am actually 10 lbs lighter than I was before I got pregnant. It’s awful. I have gotten all-new mid-rise pants.

      • Research, Not Law :


        Blousey and/or patterned tops, too. Surprisingly (to me, at least) I kept my (mid-rise) pre-pregnancy pants and bought new shirts.

    • anon in-house :

      I was just flipping through Lucky on the train this morning and they had a whole “update your work look” feature – with not a single appropriate outfit in sight. I would describe the whole thing as geared at college interns in graphic design and fashion editorial internships at edgy start-ups. It was laughable.

    • I still love browsing fashion magazines like Lucky, but I hope that non-Corporette readers aren’t trying their recommended looks at work! Also, while I understand that we’re supposed to mostly enjoy the pictures of super-stylish clothes and accessories a la Splurge Monday, why must fashion magazines put out gift guides where most of the items are many hundreds (if thousands) of dollars? Inspiration, maybe, but it’s hard to take seriously any claim that these lists are a one-stop-shop for all our friends and family!

    • e_pontellier :

      Re: magazines: I have Elle (for a decent mix of inspiration for work and play clothes), Marie Claire (for the lolz), and Harper’s Bazaar (for fashion). I think each one is $6 per year, but Bazaar might be $10. That way, I have a variety whenever I want to look at something pretty. I’m in law school and rarely read them, so they just pile up and then between semesters, I read as many as I can.

      • This is me. I have subscriptions to 3 magazines and they’ve just been piling up on my coffee table for the last 3-4 months. Now it’s stressing me out because there’s an accumulation of too much paper/clutter.

        • e_pontellier :

          Ditto. I generally toss anything that’s more than 3 months old. Also, they have a spot on my bookshelf so they’re mostly out of sight. My husband has subscriptions to something like 12 magazines and the Wall Street Journal, so THAT is clutter.

        • It made me feel SO GUILTY to recycle magazines I hadn’t read but you know what? THEY’RE OUT OF MY HOUSE AND GONE AND NO MORE GUILT.

          • hellskitchen :

            Cosigned. I was about to lose a bunch of airline miles so decided to use them for magazine subscriptions. Now I get Real Simple, Marie Claire, Oprah, Fast Company and the Economist. Way too much reading material.

          • When I have magazines to get rid of, I swing by my local laundromat and drop them near the front where the newspapers are. Or swing by the pharmacy waiting room at the hospital near me, or sometimes even just drop a couple at the coffee shop near the front door (the one that doesn’t sell magazines).

            That (somewhat) alleviates my guilt over the dead trees and the going straight to recycling. ;o)

            Just thought: other places might be a Jiffy Lube or other auto service place… basically anywhere where people are sitting and waiting.

          • Zora, I always *intend* to do that and I just never *do* it. But you are far better than I =).

          • You can also donate them to local elementary schools. That’s where most of my magazines go. They use them for all kinds of crafts, and if they don’t need them they’ll recycle them. Of course, make sure the content is kid-friendly ;)

          • Godzilla: I am not! I just cave to my guilt more, maybe. ;o)

            Plus, you are far more fire-breathing and awesomely scary and butt-kicking than me :)

      • Totally agree about letting the magazines pile up. If I can’t read it on the treadmill, it often sits unread. I still haven’t opened the December issue of Bon Appetit. Diana Barry, Food Network magazine is a lot of fun for families with kids. More realistic for families than, say, Bon Appetit. I still look at InStyle every month, especially for shoes and accessories. Picked up Lucky on Saturday and put it back down. I get More but they tend to pile up unread. I like the articles, although a lot of it focuses on female entreprenuers. I just can’t seem to get to it.

    • I like the Foot PEtals brand. I get them on Amazon.

      Lucky is ridiculous. Did every one see that spread: 101 ways to wear denim, or something, that ACTUALLY had an outfit with a pair of Overall Shorts Recommended For Work…. that issue was my breaking point.

      I have no suggestions for home magazines, though ;o) I like travel magazines, they’re fun, I learn, and get ideas for future trips.

    • Jacqueline :

      Re: #2, I was actually coming to this thread to post the same thing. I was horrified by the January Lucky issue. I think it may be the single worst issue of a magazine I’ve ever read. The design is atrocious and amateurish, the outfits are not new or high fashion or inspiring in the least (color on color! arm party bracelets! mismatched florals and stripes!), and I thought Jennifer Hudson’s outfits looked nothing like anything she would actually want to wear — they seemed chosen to fit the aesthetic of the magazine and nothing more. And the layering feature was like a joke. I really felt like the magazine was playing a joke on me; it was that terrible and overdone.

      Is it the new(ish) editor’s fault? I don’t remember it being this bad under Kim France.

      • Diana Barry :

        I think so, it has gotten more cheap-and-wacky with the new editor.

        Thanks for the suggestions, will try foot petals.

    • I like the Hue brand ball of foot pillows. They’re sold at department stores like Macy’s.

    • S in Chicago :

      I’ve picked up More Magazine a few times and am thinking about a subscription. I really like the features. It feels like it is targeting an educated audience. It has some fashion, but I would like more. I don’t have kids. And while More does have some family focus, I like that it doesn’t make me feel like a total societal outcast the way any of the other 30ish crowd-geared magazines do.

      • I’ve been a More subscriber for several years. I love their fashion — I think it’s entirely C-r e t t e appropriate; and I agree that their articles and book reviews are interesting. I also really appreciate that most of the models are neither 23 nor anorexic (er, not that there’s anything wrong with being in your early 20’s, just that when you’re — really not — it’s nice to see how fashion looks on people Of Your Certain Age). And as a special bonus, their recipes are routinely tasty.

    • Target has Foot Petals knockoffs that work just fine for me. Right on the edge of the shoe section.

      Would love to hear the advice for pants, I have the same problem (and am so jealous, my youngest is over 2 years old and I’ve *just now* lost all the baby weight!).

    • Goosebumpy :

      Lordy, I was thinking of devoting an entire comment to an anti-Lucky rant after I looked through that issue. I rolled my eyes so hard when “sequined miniskirt” was listed as a workplace option, and every single outfit combination just screamed “we are ripping off the J. Crew catalogue…and doing it poorly.” I am officially on the hunt for a more sophisticated shopping-related magazine.

      • Bert Macklin, FBI :

        Sequined mini-skirt probably is a workplace option if you happen to work at a Certain Type of Establishment.

    • HGTV magazine? I read 2 issues of my mom’s over Thanksgiving and ordered my own subscription which hasn’t started yet.

    • hellskitchen :

      I used to have a subscription to Working Mother. Even though I had no kids, a lot of their articles and stories were relevant as they were a good mix of career and home management.

    • I like Marie Claire but agree that either fashion magazines are going downhill or I’ve been reading them for long enough to notice the repetition.

    • just a lurker :

      Put all your mags in a sack and drop them in front of the local library when it’s closed. They’ll sell them for 25cents at their next book sale.

  10. Paging Miss A! :

    Miss A, this is Caroline from Thursday’s discussion of moving to NYC — I tried to e-mail you but got an error message. Would you mind re-posting so I can get in touch regarding your awesome broker? Thanks again — and thanks so much to all of you who provided advice about moving to New York next month! (Of course if anyone else has wisdom to share concerning moving to NYC with one husband, two cats, no kids, and a desire to stay near, commute-wise, to Penn Station due to my needing to commute to DC one day a week, I’m all ears!)

    • I missed out on all the discussion before and I have no idea what your budget is so take this with a grain of salt, but for my two cents: the area right around Penn Station is not particularly pleasant to live in (just my opinion, obviously different strokes for different folks). It’s touristy, full of chain stores and without much in terms of residential charm or good restaurants. For an easy commute, I would recommend the Upper West Side (you can take the train down to Penn in about 10-15 min.) or you could consider the east side in the 30s (murray hill), and then you can either take the cross town bus down 34th street or walk (10-20 min walk, depending on how far east you go). Personally, I like the UWS better, but both areas are solid residential neighborhoods. Obviously, you could also settle somewhere downtown on the red or blue subway line (Chelsea is not far), but personally I find Chelsea overpriced and too much of a scene for most purposes. Again, just my 2 cents.

    • Ditto re: the west side option, but if you need to get to Penn Station often I’d also recommend uptown Hoboken (126 bus is 10 minutes at 7:30 am, 30 mins at 9am) and, surprisingly, anywhere in Queens on the 7 line.

      I don’t know a lot about Queens, but I used to do a reverse commute from Manhattan into LIC and the 7 runs often and speedily.

      • It pains me to say it but NJ might be a good option for you, especially since you can get into the city via PATH or NJTransit. Amtrak stops at Newark Penn, fyi.

        • Pains you to say?

          Clearly, you have no idea how much NJ rocks.

          • NJ is okay but I’ll fully own up to my NYC snobbery. For OP’s requirements, NJ is perfect.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Well, 7 runs often and speedily when it’s running. They shut it down most weekends in the winter for this maintenance that seems to be taking a decade.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          (shut it down between queensborough plaza and times square only, but it’s a super important link if you live at any of the stops in between)

    • Thanks for the advice, y’all! We’re still in the first flush of OMG must live in Manhattan, but the reality of the commute is starting to set in, so we’ll consider NJ as well.

  11. I have a scheduled C-section on Monday now.

    People keep stopping by the office to tell me “Just think, you’ve only got one more week left!” Yes, because otherwise it’s not on my mind at all, every second of every minute of every day.

    (I’m glad that they’re happy for me, I really am. And, you know, terrified.)

    • Congrats and good luck! I ended up with a C-section after the baby turned transverse (and 12 hours of back labor). Granted, I don’t know what recovery would be like otherwise, but I thought my c-section recovery was very easy.

      And (this is an unpopular opinion in some circles), the type-A in me loves knowing that I’ll be scheduling c-sections for any future children.

      • Ha, JJ! I had the same thought about being able to schedule next time! Glad to hear that your recovery was good – I’m hoping for the same.

    • Good luck to you and baby!

    • SV in House :

      I had a scheduled C with #2. It is so odd to know exactly when your baby will arrive!

    • Diana Barry :

      Good luck! Take this opportunity to get your nails done (on the weekend?) or go to a movie or 2 in the theatre, or go out to a leisurely dinner, or go shopping by yourself and not rush!

      (can you tell I miss pre-baby time?)

    • Good luck! I have a friend with two kids who had an unplanned C with #1 and a planned C with #2. She said the recovery was great when she knew what was coming (i.e. the planned C with #2). At least you have time to prep — physically, emotionally, etc. You will get through this — millions of women do, and then you get to meet your baby at the end! Do you know yet if you’re having a boy or a girl, or is it a surprise?

      On another pregnancy-related topic, I just had a woman who’s retired from my office (but is often still here — don’t ask), single, no kids, ask me when I was due. I said “End of January” and she gave me the eyeball and said, “Are you sure you’re not having twins?” I just looked her dead in the eye and said “Wow, Jane, there’s nothing I like better than being told how fat I look first thing on a Monday morning.” GOOD GRIEF.

      • I really admire and love your response.

        • Thank you. I felt a tiny bit of guilt — just b/c I’m not usually so direct/b*tchy. But I’m Over It when it comes to people having no filter around pregnant women.

          • My sister was pregnant last year when a woman that had a baby 4 mos earlier asked my sister if she was having twins. Sometimes I wish people came with a mute button – I love your response.

          • No, don’t feel bad, she totally deserved it, RAWR

          • saacnmama :

            Did she pat your tummy?

      • If it makes you feel better, not one but two people offered me a seat on the train the other day because they clearly thought I was pregnant. I am not pregnant, and I also have a dress that I’ll be giving away if anyone wants a new dress that makes them look pregnant.

        • Ugh, I have a shirt that I can add to the pile. Oddly, most people didn’t start commenting on my actual pregnancy until I was at least past the halfway point.

      • So annoying. I have had several people ask me if everything is alright because my bump is not that big. The only thing you should ever tell a pregnant woman is that she looks beautiful and/or glowing.

      • That is an awesome response! When I was pg with my last baby I had a stranger argue with me that if I wasn’t having twins I must be due much earlier than I had said. I was flabergasted & didn’t have a good response like this.

    • Congrats and good luck to you and the soon-to-be kidlet, Lyssa!

    • Congrats and good luck!

    • +1 on the congrats and well-wishes!

    • So do I! Mine is at 9:30am, when is yours?

    • SugarMagnolia :


      And since I didn’t update earlier, if anyone remembers me, I had my little girl in mid-October. She is 7 weeks old now. Best thing I ever did in my entire life!

      Seriously Lyssa, you will love it. Even missing sleep and constant demands on your time are OK because of the wonderful reason for those temporary inconveniences. :)

    • Best wishes!

    • Aw, thanks everyone! I am excited, just the stress of “OMG, baby’s going to die because we’ve only managed to get one bassinet sheet so far” is catching up. I don’t think that I’m even that nervous about the surgery itself (I just have to lie there, right?), it’s the whole everything that comes after.

      ANP, we’re having a little boy. Which is sort of what we were hoping for (a lot of little girls in the family/friends), so we’re very excited. His room is adorable! Also, I cannot believe so many people make those sorts of comments – insane!

      Anonz, that’s awesome! Congratulations and good luck to you, too! I don’t know what time mine is; someone’s supposed to call for the scheduling. I hope that it’s early, though!

  12. SV in House :

    To whomever recommended the Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies a while back: yum! Thank you! Made them for a cookie exchange.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      They are so good, right? Totally messy and a lot of work but so yummy!

    • This sounds amazing. Is there an online recipe?

      • SV in House :

        here you go: http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2012/09/nutella-stuffed-brown-butter-sea-salt-chocolate-chip-cookies-my-favorite-cookie-ever/

  13. Betty White :

    A former law intern of mine asked if she could give my contact info to a fellow law student of hers looking to speak with someone working in impact litigation. I offered to speak with her on the phone for about 15-20 min.

    She cancelled the first call b/c she was sick and that was the only time the doctor could see her. We rescheduled. She cancelled that call because she was still too sick. We rescheduled. She just cancelled that call because she was still feeling sick and her cat knocked water onto her phone. Then she asked if I could respond in writing to a long list of complex questions about my work…by Wed.

    PSA to law students everywhere–this is extremely unprofessional. I told her she was welcome to try to reach me by phone but that I wasn’t going to be able to respond to her (long list of) questions.

    • style advice needed... :

      Wow. Just….. wow.

      She’s in for a shock, down the road…

      I hope she reads this blog.

    • e_pontellier :

      That’s terrible!! Gah I can’t even imagine.

    • SugarMagnolia :

      I suspect this person will be fired from the first job she manages to get.

      • I have to admit, whenever I hear a story like this I just think “please, PLEASE apply for the same jobs as I do after graduation”!!!

    • just a lurker :

      maybe do her a favor and tell her why her behaviour is inappropriate.

  14. SO PUMPED — my partner & I just got word that the bank approved our offer on a short sale! We’re first-time home buyers and I’m so excited to have some stability in our lives after years of grad student life. It’s an adorable house: tiny (which we wanted), great condition yet lots of character, perfect neighborhood, and such a bargain.

    If you have any home decor websites to recommend… I’m all ears/eyes.

    • Houzz.com.

    • One Kings Lane, if you like higher-end stuff. Be sure you shop IRL first (elsewhere, as OKL is online only) and wait for the OKL sale, because there are no returns.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Congratulations!! I second the recommendation for Houzz. Wayfair.com is also a great place to find items. Many have free shipping and there are (what seems like) thousands of options for every category.

      • I’m all over this thread this morning, but +1 for Wayfair — I’ve ordered everything from light fixtures to bedroom furnitures from there and they’re great. No Better Deal dot com is also good but can be hit or miss. I also like Overstock and Joss & Main.

        • I’ve had good luck with Overstock and Wayfair. Haven’t ordered from any of the others, but will keep them in mind :)

    • Congrats! But please take a lesson I learned the hard way from buying a short sale and ask to see the paperwork in writing, not just word from the realtor or bank. We almost had a short sale fall through becausre somewhere along the game of telephone of sellers’ bank -> sellers’ realtor -> our realtor -> us/our bank a date got miscommuniciated and our bank didn’t have the mortgage approved by the date on the actual original paperwork. Of course, our short sale purchase was basically a comedy of errors full of miscommunication, multiple home equity loans/lines from one bank that would talk to the other division and other chaos, so hopefully yours is much smoother – just be sure to look at all paperwork yourself & hopefully you won’t have the almost disaster we did – our home purchase took almost 6 months, but in the end it was worth it to get our awesome house for a song.

    • Apartment Therapy and Young House Love.

  15. Legally Brunette :

    For those who have a Nikon Coolpix camera, do you have issues with out of focus pictures? I bought this camera after rave reviews from this site and am really really disappointed with the camera. Any advice on particular settings I should use to get very clear, good people pictures? I really only care about taking pics with friends, I never take landscape pics. Thanks.

    • I have no particular experience with this camera but a lot of new cameras need that half-press to focus before pushing all the way down to take the photo.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Right, that’s the issue. Are there any that don’t require the half press? The issue, I’m realizing, is that a lot of people just don’t know how to take pictures and so we get a lot of these blurry photos. And when a random stranger is nice enough to take a picture of you and your friends, you feel bad asking them to take many photos. It would be great if they were not blurry the first time around.

        • All lenses need time to focus, which is why that half press is important. A quick fix is to always have flash on but then people can be bleached out. I always tell my guest photographer that I’ve turned the flash off and to please hold the camera still. They’re usually nice enough to do it.

        • Oh and there should also be the fast shutter mode, where it’s continuously taking photos when you push the button. That might be an option. Another option newer cameras have is to take three photos instead of one and they merge all three together for the best picture.

    • lucy stone :

      What mode do you have it in? I left mine in landscape mode accidentally this summer and had that problem, but now I leave it on auto most of the time with the anti-shake thing on.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Yep, the mode really does matter.

        Also make sure that the focus point is on something you want in focus during the half-press. You can move the camera while holding the half-press to re-frame.

  16. I like this jacket, but not $695 much.

    I’m a theology PhD student and have been invited to go to San Francisco and give talks to private schools (K-8) in February. Any thoughts on appropriate attire for that time of year and for looking professional yet still accessible to a younger populace?

    Also, I have some time for sightseeing then, and I’ve never been to SF before. Is anything that I really ought to do or eat there, aside from seeing the Golden Gate Bridge?

    • I think you’ll be fine on the nicer and more conservative end of business casual. Crisp button-downs, possibly with a cardigan over it depending on the weather, and pencil skirts should do the trick. Pops of color could liven it up and give you a more youthful vibe too. I think the goal would be to look just a little nicer than the teachers, since you’re a “special guest,” but not so formal that you’re not relatable to the students (i.e., no suits).

      • Thanks, roses! That’s along the lines of what I was thinking, but this is my first time doing anything like this.

    • I’ve never been to San Fran before, but I do work in education. Basically, there’s no need for you to overthink this–I’d say trousers or a skirt, respectable shoes or boots, and a nice blouse or sweater are all you need. If you think you’re likely to get involved in some kind of physical activity or game with the littl’uns, I would definitely choose pants and low or no-heeled shoes.

      As far as being “accessible” goes, I think you’ll convey that a lot more through the way you speak to the kids, and how you carry yourself, than your clothes.

    • SV in House :

      As the parent of children in a private school that might actually have a theologian visit, I agree with Roses. Our teachers usually wear trousers + blouse, no jeans. Some of the other private schools are more casual. Wear comfortable shoes — a lot of the schools are in old buildings that are spread out and/or involve a lot of stairs. Be prepared for rain. Let me know if you have any more specific information.

      • SV in House :

        sorry — I meant “let me know if you want any more specific information.”

    • anon in tejas :

      We went a few years ago. we had a great time in Chinatown (and eating at a great hole in the wall). The Beach. Haight Ashbury. We really enjoyed walking through neighborhoods and stopping into shops and cafes.

      We really wanted to do an Alcatrez tour, but didn’t plan far enough in advance.

  17. Any suggestions on where to eat in o’hare? I have a 2.5 hr layover, and don’t really feel like mcdonalds. My gate is in F terminal, but again 2.5 hours, so I can go almost anywhere.
    also: no free wifi! I think this is more annoying than my delay. It’s been a long time since ive been in a waiting type enviroment without a fast connection. $5/hr is just obnoxious, thankgod for phones with 3G.

    • TORTAS FRONTERA. Hands down, no questions asked. There’s two of them – I don’t remember which terminals – but I’m sure it’s on the airport map.

    • SpaceMountain :

      F concourse sucks. You won’t find much to eat there. Walk towards the hub and then walk towards either Terminal 1 or Terminal 3 to find food. I think the only Starbucks in F concourse is downstairs and a big pain if you have a wheeling suitcase. I’d head to Terminal 3 for the burritos at Burrito Beach.

  18. PSA: Ann Taylor has 50% all shoes and accesories today.

    I went over there to look for black suede kitten heels and I feel like they’ve upped the price range on their shoes in the past year or two. Before it seemed like they had a lot of $100-120 range prices and now looks like they are more $150-175 (so even with the awesome deal, still not a bargain). Does it seem like that to anyone else, or have I just not been shopping there for awhile? Or maybe their quality has gone up considerably?

    • At least last year, their pumps were still about $150 at full price. I can’t speak to quality changes, but I’ve only ever been willing to buy their shoes when they’re on a super-clearance/sale for $50 or less.

    • On an unrelated shoe note, man, I am dying to get the J.Crew Felix boot in brown. They are super pricey and I keep visiting them during the 30% off promos. Does anyone else have them? My love for them may overcome my suspicion that even at 30% off, they are still too expensive.

      I am a sucker for a cap toe anything.

    • I think that the $150 price point has been around for at least a year or two. Unfortunately, I also read on another blog that the quality of their “perfect pump” has gone down considerably in recent months. Too bad.

  19. Do y’all remember my soulless, incarnation-of-evil, incapable-of-empathy, roommate? She moved out, which is awesome. I am sooo much happier it’s not even funny, even though I am a lot more stressed out about money. This also means that my dad and my godmother, who are coming to visit me for Christmas, will be staying in my apartment, since now there’s enough space. (They also offered to help me out with my rent for the time they’ll be here, since otherwise they’d be paying for hotel rooms. Feel kind of like a jerk for accepting, but um, semi-desperate times.) They’ll be here for about three weeks, which is a pretty long time.

    Do any of you incredibly wise women have any tips for navigating that length of family visit? Are there any ground rules I should try and set ahead of time? Any boundaries that particularly need to be discussed? Pitfalls to avoid? Things that should be talked out ahead of time? Advice for how to not lose my mind? I love my dad and stuff, but I haven’t spent more than five days living with him since I was a senior in high school, and I don’t want this visit to end up being some kind of nuclear bomb in our (already occasionally-fraught) relationship.

    • Soooo glad your roommate moved out, that’s great news. What a situation she was! Have you thought about making sure you have a few things scheduled on your own while they are there, things that will give you some alone time to look forward to if you start to feel you are losing your mind? Do you have any things that you are picky abouy when it comes to your apt, ie dirty dishes sitting in the sink? Or are you worried it’s just too much time together?

      • Mostly I’m just worried that it’s too much time together. (My dad is actually the dish-washing champion of the world.) I’ll be working for the three days after they get here, and the three days before they leave, but other than that…it’s all Togetherness. I’m also really worried about hm, our living schedules. My dad, for example, is really big into waking up early for a giant eggs-and-bacon family breakfast, while I’m more likely to want to crawl out of bed to walk the dog, then snooze some more before eating like, a piece of toast or an apple. He can be super-needy; if I’m not spending every single second entertaining him, he starts pouting. He also doesn’t really comprehend the idea of “down time”–left to his own devices he will go all day, every day, which I can take for about 48 hours before I start losing it. Having my godmother here will help a lot, but I’m still worried.

        In the end, though, no matter how difficult it ends up being, my fam is a major upgrade from my ex-roommate!

        • Maybe when you feel yourself getting a little on edge, just repeat this to yourself: “At least my dad is not asking permission to sleep with my ex.” Would that help? ;)

        • East Coaster :

          My family is similar. I would be up front about it when they arrive. Like when you are showing them around, let them know that you’ve stocked the fridge and they should feel comfortable grabbing something to eat since you know your eating habits are different. Show your dad how the coffee maker to get the point across. I would maybe also schedule a fun dinner out that night so they don’t feel like you don’t want to spend time with them.

          • saacnmama :

            For some families (ie: mine) that wouldn’t be direct enough. I would have to literally say “I like to do mornings differently than I remember you doing them. Here is where you can get your breakfast, but (smilingly) we’ll have a much better day together if you can let me sleep”. And then schedule a day or two (maybe designate one weekday) when you will get up to “enjoy” the breakfast he’s made.

        • OMG, my dad is like that! Must Be Doing Activities, Constantly!! ;o)

          One idea: get some guidebooks, notes, etc, written out and prepped ahead of time for different things he can do by himself, or that the two of them can do. And be up front, “I have a lot of stuff to do, and I really want to get some rest in the mornings while I’m off work. So, I’m sorry if I can’t do everything with you everyday. But here are some different things you can do, do you want me to help you pick out something to do tomorrow morning, and then we can meet up for {lunch/dinner, etc}??

          And then, again, if he starts acting needy: BREATHE…… and just try to remember that you are an adult now, and that you can communicate with him as an adult, not as a kid. It’s sooo much easier said than done, but the more I am intentional about it in my head, the more i am able to actually succeed once in a while. ;o)

          • TO Lawyer :

            This is great advice about dealing with your parents as adults. I love and miss my parents but I’m about to spend a full 9 days with them and it’s making me a little anxious…

    • I would pull together some information about things to do in your city/surrounding area so that they can self-amuse as they see fit. You might want check in ahead of time about things they like to eat so that you have a stocked pantry and you can direct them to getting their own breakfast/snacks/ etc. I second the idea about having your own time carved out. Three weeks is a long time to put your life on pause so they should understand.

    • e_pontellier :

      Yay your awful roommate moved out!!!
      As far as living with family for 3 weeks, no specific advice except just be up-front about everything – whether it’s alone time that you have every day, what your pets can eat, time that you need to shower, dont-go-through-my-stuff, who’s going to buy groceries when you run out, general noise level, or what time you need to shower. Good luck!

    • So happy your roommate moved out!

      I think the key is having some downtime, and to do that you have to be fairly straight-forward with your family. Let them know ahead of time how excited you are to see them, but that you have plans on _ days. Bonus points if you make suggestions for things they could do (sites to explore, a fun coffee shop, a park to take a walk in, etc.). Also try to think of some activities you can “do” together that require minimal interaction. For example, if you go see a show, concert, or movie it’s technically family time, but no one has to talk and it gives you time to relax and let something else be the entertainment :)

    • Could you “work” a couple days in the middle? Like go into the office for a couple hours, but then also hit the gym or whatever by yourself? To give you a break?

    • Three Things:
      1. Deep Breaths
      2. Bite your tongue
      3. Let Things Go, It’s not a big deal

      For the longest time I turned into a whiny, freaking out 13 year old every time I was home, and my mom always talks me into long visits, so that was a disaster. Finally i’ve learned to just breathe, let people do things that i think are dumb. And try to just go with the flow. It will probably help that you will have work while they are there, so it’s not like you will spend every waking minute together, right?

      • saacnmama :

        Zora, I wish I could do that! Took a Thanksgiving “vacation” with my parents, and it was a disaster!

        a, totally agree with above advice to have lots of Things To Do available for them, and to schedule some “togetherness” and some stuff just for you. This might be just the thing to get you into the gym regularly. Good luck!

        • Don’t be too impressed! I have been working on this for at least 3 years, and am still only successful about 20% of the time ;o) But I did manage to stop myself pre-freak out once during my Tgiving family visit and decide to just go along for the ride, and even though it meant I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do, I felt SOOOOOO much better at the end of the day because I had let it go and been calm. And prouder of myself the next day for feeling like an adult and not a 13 year old.

          • I have let go of the idea that I will ever do anything I want to do when I am with my family. There are so many competing ideas of that we have to do that my voice is honestly not that important. I just go along for the ride and try to minimize the craziness for my nephews. Whatever we do, I just make sure I’m with them so we can be completely stupid together and ignore the rest of it. I ordered them a stuffed Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo and I’m taking it with me to their house.

          • Anonymous :

            I’ve been working on it much longer than that…

            A friend had given me advice that I was SO certain was going to work–when Mom attacks me, see it as a weakness of hers and love her through it just like I would any other weakness. Easier said than done. When she gave me that look and said “WHY would you want to do THAT?!”, I went right back to being 13. Or 7. It was awful.

            I sort of went along for the ride, but there was no ride. They hadn’t figured anything out about the place they wanted to go, or what the opening hours of anything were on the major holiday when I had told them months in advance I planned to spend volunteering with my son. At least I managed not to bring that stuff up. It was just very stressful to have my mom’s compulsion combined with the complete lack of planning (aside from picking up AAA books) and knowing very well what I wanted to be doing back home. Oh, and when they dropped me off, she commented on some of those things that needed to be done here.

            Two more weeks til the next round…

          • saacnmama :

            Sorry. Anon 3:01 is me

    • Two points:

      1. This is your dad. Your blood relative. You should not accept rent from him when he is coming to VISIT you. I’m sorry that you’re having financial problems, but that is ridiculous. If he wants to give you a gift at the end that is different, but you should not accept rent.

      2. You might be pleasantly surprised by what a good time you have with him. I did not grow up having the best relationship with my dad, but for the last few years, my dad has spent a month with me and it’s worked out really well. You will feel less of a need to entertain given the length of time (as opposed to if it were a weekend you would feel more pressure to be very social and try to entertain him).

      It makes me sad that so many of these comments are all about how you can “escape” your dad by doing stuff on your own, going to the gym, etc. Comments like this are why people think that Americans are so selfish and not at all family-centered. In most cultures a parent visiting would be a welcome event and not one to stress out about. It’s very sweet that he is visiting you and spending so much time with you. You should focus on that and you will have a great time together. Have a wonderful time.

      • +1 , particularly on the rent issue. I would be mortified acccepting rent from my dad when he has come out specifically to visit/spend time with me.

      • Whoa, Whoa! :

        Back off! This is her family, doing it their way! I can totally see family dynamics somehow making that sort of gift insulting, but dressing it up as rent acceptable.

        And no one’s telling her to abandon them entirely, just making suggestions for how to balance their different needs for togetherness. Understanding that everyone’s different and working with it–isn’t that an important thing for families to do?

        You must have very little experience with other cultures if you think people elsewhere would not be sweating before a parental visit.

        • I would also respond to Whoa by explaining that she does not know a. at all, and why the current situation is not a normal ‘family coming to stay’ situation, but really I don’t think that telling a.’s life story is relevant here. The comment was out of line regardless.

      • Aaannddd the gold medal in Judging Strangers On The Internet Goes To….. You! Not just the OP, but then ‘all Americans’ as well… That is an incredible feat in telling someone you disagree with them in the meanest, most uncalled for way possible…. I am super impressed.

        Normally on this site, we strive to find honest but kind and non-ad-hominem ways to express differing opinions from others, and respect others’ opinions at the same time. Welcome, and I hope you can pick up a few things while you’re here.

      • Leslie Knope :

        Yikes. Not all families have the same outlook on money. I can easily see this as a situation where the dad wants to help out financially and thinks that “paying rent” is less awkward/embarrassing than just handing over a stack of pity cash. He seems fine with the situation, so I don’t think the judgment is helpful.

        Also, sometimes a couple hours’ break is vital, even when people love each other.

  20. Maddie Ross :

    Laptop question. My husband has asked for a new laptop for Christmas, but has given me no real suggestions. Here’s what I know I am looking for: (1) not a Mac (despite the fact I really want one), as it is to be PC based to run his firm’s ancient log-in software, (2) decent sized screen (not a netbook), (3) has Microsoft office or could be upgraded to it, (4) enough memory to store a decent sized iTunes account, but not enough to do gaming or anything, and (5) basic web browing capabilities. Given that I’m not going all out with a Mac, I’m hoping to spend ~$700 or less. Any suggestions? I tried looking online at options, as well as looking at consumer reports and I am terribly overwhelmed.

    • I bought a samsung off of amazon and it’s amazing. I paid $599 and it has some fancy processor (I think it is an i5 but I could be completely wrong). I ran it through the computer nerds in my life and they thought it was a good deal. maybe worth looking at?

    • Try Engadget’s reviews. I tend to find them pretty informative, and they also only review the most “popular” laptops, so you aren’t swimming in a sea of every single laptop ever made. Also, it doesn’t sound like you’re particularly tech-y, so going with an established brand is probably a good choice. I originally felt just as overwhelmed when I was looking for my own laptop.

      Your husband’s needs seem to be pretty broad – pretty much any laptop will work for what he needs. Is there anything else he would like – design, processing speed, durability? For me, weight was a huge consideration, so that narrowed it down to Ultrabooks for me.

    • SpaceMountain :

      Dunno, but I was just shopping for a desktop this weekend, and chose HP over Dell because HP has all these deals right now and coupons if you can find them.

      • I have a 13″ souped-up HP netbook. It looks like a laptop and does what I need it to: cruise the internet, photos, music and MS Office. Netbooks have come a long way.

    • If you really want a Mac, get him a copy of VMFusion and he can import a version of his current old laptop to run on it as a virtual machine when he needs it.

    • I bought an Acer from Walmart about a year and a half ago and I love it. It’s similar to this one:

    • East Coaster :

      Does Lenovo have any sales right now? The smaller ones are sleek looking and do a nice job.

      • GirlMeetsWorld :

        Also, the online Lenovo outlet store has good deals on new (not refurbished) laptops. I bought an IBM T61 from there for half the regular cost and love mine.

    • I have this laptop and I love it: http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Port%C3%A9g%C3%A9-R835-P94-13-3-Inch-Magnesium/dp/B006YL1AMG/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1355159557&sr=8-10&keywords=toshiba+laptop

      It’s light, fast, and will do everything you say you want, for the money you want to spend. I’ve only had this particular laptop since January, but I had the same Toshiba from my senior year of high school until I got this one, so in my experience, they’re very good quality for the money. I’m not really a Mac fan to begin with, so I enjoyed watching all my friends’ “higher quality” laptops break, move at dinosaur speeds, or need upgrading, while my lowly PC trundled cheerfully and functionally along.

    • For those requirements, you can probably find something in pretty much any big box store. Check out Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, or Best Buy, whichever is closest and most convenient.

  21. Here’s a stupid question for more skin savvy ladies out there. Is there any difference between a chemical peel administered by an esthetician in a derm’s office versus in a spa? Presumably it’s the same license, so one couldn’t have stronger chemicals right?

    • The difference is going to be in the skill of the aesthetician, not in the actual products; they’ll probably have the same products wherever you go. Just because someone works in a dermatologist’s office vs. a spa setting, that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. A lot of aestheticians work in both settings.

      There are a lot of peel products out there–most offices and spas use more than one–and the skill/experience of the aesthetician (not just in application, but knowing which product to use for your specific issue(s)) makes a world of difference.

      Sorry this probably doesn’t help you. Find someone who knows your skin (and who you trust with your skin). If you can’t get personal recommendations, trial-and-error is (unfortunately) the way to go.

  22. Pyjama Help :

    Does anyone have any recommendations for pyjamas for tall ladies? I’m 5’10” and about 150lbs – everything (LLBean, Jcrew, Lands end) seems to be too short and/or too wide (I like a narrow leg). Also trying to avoid highwaisted styles? Where do y’all get your jammies?

    • I had good luck with Victoria’s secret flannel jammies. They come in tall sizes.

    • Talbot’s Gilligan O’Malley modal pants come in tall lengths. They have a wide leg though. I’m 5’10” wear a 34″ inseam and they’re just about long enough. Much better than the ankle-grazing length I can usually buy.

    • Aerie has long length pj bottoms, but they can be kind of juniory in the fit. The ones I have are low-rise and barely clear my behind. Gap doesn’t have tall sizes, but their bottoms run tall. I second Victoria’s Secret, though I wear the regular leggings and yoga pants as pj’s. They come in long and extra long.

    • also 5’10” with looong legs – I make my own pj pants. I have a pattern my mom helped me alter when I was already 5’10” in middle school. It’s *super* easy sewing project if you sew at all.

    • Pyjama Help :

      Thanks for the recommendations – will order a few of these to see what works.

    • Long tall Sally!

  23. Thanks for NYC recs! :

    About two weeks ago I posted about recommendations for NYC near my hotel and got some great suggestions. We ended up going to Top of the Rock (awesome!), Penelopes at 30/Lex for lunch (delish sandwiches! Would love to go back to try more), Ilili (such a great dinner!), and the rooftop bar at 28th and 5th (I think called 230 Fifth?). The view of the Empire State building from the rooftop bar was fantastic and it was all decked out in Christmas lights, decorations, and even a huge menorah! :)

    Thanks ladies!!!

  24. Mountain Girl :

    Does anybody have this chunky cable sweater from Talbots? I’m wondering if the fit is boxy.


  25. Very apropo of this jacket:


    In case anyone wants to be randomly wandering around embassy row on Thursday night……….

  26. Merabella :

    I just found out that our cat has fluid around his lungs, and from a cursory google search, it doesn’t look like it is a good prognosis. I’m surprised at how devastated I am. I know I love the cat, but I’m not normally someone who gets so verklempt about stuff like this.

    Let’s hope that Dr. Google is over-reacting and he’s just fine, but I doubt I’ll be very productive today while waiting to hear back from the vet.

    • I’m sorry. You would be surprised at the world of medicine for animals. I tend to be fine dealing with people health drama, but animal health drama makes me a weepy mess. Maybe break out the catnip for Mr. Kitty tonight and double up on the snuggle time and you’ll start to feel better?

      • Merabella :

        Thanks. This is my first real pet, so I think that probably has a lot to do with it. I think wine, cookies and kitten cuddles are just what the doctor ordered. It is just a shock to the system.

        • Oh my – you’re doing a lot better than I would be, so don’t beat yourself up. When one of my animals was very sick, I cried at work (to the point I had to leave). I will keep my fingers crossed for him!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I am thinking good thoughts for your cat!

    • So, so, so sorry to hear this, and sending good thoughts to you and your kitty. I hope everything turns out well for you both!

  27. What’s on everyone’s holiday wishlist this year? I need help! I had asked my SO to buy me a spa package for Christmas, but then ended up winning one (yay!) at his office’s holiday party! Now he doesn’t want to get that for me anymore…so I’m trying to think of something else to ask for! We usually gift in the three to four hundred range.

    I don’t neeeed anything – have all the gadgets I want, am not coveting any purses/shoes/clothes at the moment…I just cannot think of anything! Has anyone asked for anything a little out of the ordinary this year?

    • Do you cook? Maybe a piece by Le Creuset? It’s not the trendiest gift, but if one is under the tree for me this year, I will be a happy lady.

    • Anonymous :

      We moved to a semi-rural area over the summer and my husband asked for night-vision goggles so he can watch the critters at night.

      After much googling, I discovered (1) real NGVs are military equipment and cost $4k; (2) people who buy these things often comment in reviews that “this is inadequate to protect my compound and nothing like the ones I used in Iraq” and I may now be on some government watch list, and (3) for $300 you can get a night vision monocle from B&H Camera, which is far more realistic for us.

      • Haha! I want to say I “LOLed” when I read this, but it was definitely more of a snort-laugh. Fantastic!

      • I laughed so hard at this. My SO watches some youtube conspiracy videos to the point I’m pretty sure the FBI is watching us too.

    • I got every other week maid service as my Christmas present from my husband this year (yes, he benefits, too, but messy/dirty house doesn’t cause him nearly the stress it causes me). But that runs quite a bit more than $300-$400. What about a weekend get-away? A gift certificate to your local salon to cover monthly pedicures/facials/etc. (something you wouldn’t normally go get on a regular basis)? Airfare/car rental to go visit a good friend who lives far away and whom you never get to see? Tickets to an event plus a really nice dinner (and maybe car service for the evening)? Some household service that covers work that’s typically “your” job (e.g., if you cook dinner most of the time, paying for a couple of visits from a personal chef who does the grocery shopping then stocks your fridge/freezer with meals for the week, or if you mow the lawn, some visits from a lawn service)? A certain number of sessions with a personal trainer? Tuition for a class to learn how to do something you’ve always wanted to try (ballet, Italian, pastry-making, judo)?

      • Wow, just re-read the first two lines of my comment and they sound horribly snotty. Sorry! In my head, I also added “more than $300 – $400 and are really more of something we were planning to do for awhile and decided to just do it now — since my mom is visiting in early Jan and I would be an obnoxious wreck getting the house in mom-approved shape by then — and just label it ‘TBK’s Christmas present.'” But instead it came out as “oh, well, my Christmas gift cost more than yours” and was super snotty! I am so sorry. I don’t always realize that I can’t just think things and have them materialize on the screen.

        • FWIW, I didn’t read the comment as snotty. I just read it as a budget line item issue that you allocated as “gift enough that it can count for Christmas” too. Having my husband do the legwork on finding a new cleaning service would be an awesome gift!

        • Seconded – I didn’t think it was snotty either! And, thank you for the many ideas!

    • des-pairing :

      Weekend getaway at a location near you?

    • GOLD GOLD GOLD. Or jewelry, whatevs.

  28. Art! It’s out of the ordinary for me, at least. 95% sure my fiancee got me the picture of the GW Bridge being built that I asked for.

  29. Saacnmama :

    Since he already has your gift, maybe he/you could stash the cash in a fund for vacation, house renno, sailboat, or some other big “fun” purchase you want to make down the road.

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