Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Slate and Purple V-Neck Cardigan

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

ETRO Slate and Purple V-Neck CardiganLove this cotton v-neck cardigan from Etro — particularly the trim of purple and orange. While I do wish it were a more luxurious fabric (<cough>, silk or cashmere, <cough>), I think the weave looks even, tight, and high quality. It’s nearly sold out at StyleBop for $760. ETRO Slate and Purple V-Neck Cardigan

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


  1. Maybe it’s just me…but it seems rather blah! And can I add that I hate the dress they’ve styled it with…..

    • Diana Barry :

      Ugh. I just zoomed in, and it’s two things – a blouse and a skirt – in two different prints! Yikes – and both prints are ugly.

      I guess someone must be buying $760 cotton cardigans, though!

      Just realized I am going to be stuck in my dark suits until baby is born, and it is already so warm out. Sigh…

      • AnonInfinity :

        I actually love the shirt and skirt! I love mixing prints, and I hope one day to be fab enough to pull it off.

        I do find the cardigan to be rather meh.

        • Me too! I love everything about that outfit, including the shoes and the bag. I would totally wear all of it together.

          And I love the sweater. I love things like this – classic, but with a twist.

        • Don’t love the cardigan either, but I actually like the mixed prints and colors. And the bag seems to be the right size (at least to packrats like me), the right shape, and color. Overall, I like the look.

      • You’re right! Hope you are doing ok….as I think we are slated to give birth within a week of each other. I cannot wait to DUMP my maternity clothes…!

      • I agree!!!!

        It is also alot of MONEY to pay for some thing so light. I do NOT want the manageing partner stareing at my clotheing and then saying I am spendeing to much money on my wardrobe.

        If I have to buy, I am senseible about it, so he will NOT complain about it. I try to be FRUEGAL when ever I can.

    • I think it’s funny that they instruct us to wear it with a pencil skirt, blouse, and platform pumps.

      It’s a cardigan. Can’t we figure out what to do with it on our own?

      • You might go all fancy and wear open-toed shoes. The gates of hell could not any longer be restrained if *that* happened!

  2. I like it, but [insert predictable comment to the effect that it’s not worth the price].

    Seasonal dressing question: I have a few velvet blazers. During which months would it be weird to wear them? Do different standards apply to the one that is a light sage green? (The others are dark colors.) Thanks.

    • I think its less about months and more about temperature outside. For example, generally March would be acceptable, but its 75 and sunny here today (in Boston) which isn’t really velvet blazer weather to me. Then again, its still freezing in my office…so a velvet blazer sounds kind of nice right about now.

      • That was one reason for my asking. Obviously, when it’s hot nobody is wearing such things. I am wondering for the times when it is not particularly warm, including in an air-conditioned office.


        • Personally, if I’m comfortable wearing it in the weather, I’ll wear it. No matter the season. I would bet this would be especially true of the sage green one paired with a brighter color.
          :-) But, I also wear white year round and refuse to follow most fashion “rules” so…don’t necessarily listen to me! Lol.

        • The traditional rule is supposed to be Thanksgiving to Valentine’s day. Personally, I think a mid-February cut off seems a bit extreme and arbitrary. I think you could probably get away with a sage green blazer through the end of March, weather permitting, but I would just make the whole outfit look very intentional.

          • I agree – I think it depends much more on the weather than on the season, and sage is definitely acceptable for spring!

          • ive been wondering this, myself. i have a lavender velvet blazer that i plan to wear for another month. its warm here in DC, but my office is freezing, so i think it works.

  3. Oh, but it’s only $760! And they’re thoughtful enough to tell us what to wear it with!

  4. Threadjack: Can anyone recommend some really high quality sheets? I just upgraded to a really nice mattress and pillow, so I’d like to upgrade the sheets as well. I want some that are really soft and won’t wear out after a few washes. I’m willing to spend a fair amount of money if they’re worth it, but I’ve never bought really nice linens before, so I’m not sure what to look for beyond a high threadcount. Thanks!

    • If you’re a Costco member, their Kirkland Select sheets are freaking to die for. I love them. I bought one set of those and one Calvin Klein set (more expensive), and I wish I had bought to of the KS. In fact, my membership expired, and I’m wanting to renew it just so I can buy another set of sheets! Ha ha.

      I’ve had them for three years, and they are as good as new. I get excited every time we put them on the bed.

      • a passion for fashion :

        Ive got to second these. Ive speant tons of money on way more expensive sheets, yet always come back to the two sets I have from Costco. They are usually less than 100 bucks, really comfortable, and hold up great. My newest set is 5 years old. My oldest set is probably 8 or 9 years old.

    • I bought bamboo sheets from Overstock last year. At first I was surprised at how synthetic they felt (I mistakenly assumed they would be more organic feeling – if that makes sense). But they are soft and the more that I wash them, the more I love them. They are holding up very nicely.

      • We have bamboo sheets and they’re loooovely. They do get better (softer) with washing and are well worth the money IMO.

      • I third the bamboo sheets rec. The ones on my bed right now are my oldest ones — about 6 years old, from Target — and they are incredibly soft and still in beautiful condition. None of the shrinking or falling apart that some of the spendier sheets I’ve bought.

        • You and I must have the same sheets. I have three sets of bamboo sheets from Target, vintage 2006 or so. They’ve held up very well and are really soft.

    • MissJackson :

      We had a discussion about sheets in the comments sometime in the last month — you might try your hand at some google fu because there were a lot of suggestions.

      Surprisingly, I’ve found that you don’t always get what you pay for with sheets. My favorite sheets are not overly expensive — the Damask Stripe sheets from Charter Club Collection (@Macys). Wait for a sale and use one of the constantly-appearing coupons and then they are really quite economical. They are 500 threadcount and they feel softer to me than some even higher threadcount sheets that I’ve purchased in the past.

      • My favorites are a cotton/poly blend from JC Penney’s! They cost like $40. They don’t last forever but they feel really nice.

        I think it’s hard to find sheets that last nowadays. My dad has some that he bought in the early 90s and they’re still going strong. He bought a new bed last year and had to buy new sheets to accommodate the deeper mattress, and they crapped out on him within a year.

      • lucy stone :

        Second the Damask Stripe Charter Club recommendation, I love them!

    • I’ve heard linen sheets are really nice, but can take a little while to break into the real soft hand.

      Otherwise, threadcount isn’t everything – you can have a really high number with a really cr*ppy fiber (not all cotton is created equal) and not get the quality you might expect from the high number. I’d focus on 400 and 500 count sheets…maybe even 600, but anything above that is probably not worth it. And remember the higher the threadcount, the more threads per square inch, so the threads are thinner and might wear out faster…something to consider.

      Lands’ End Home is known for having pretty good sheets, and I know The Company Store has luxury sheets.

    • canadian anon :

      I picked up some Tahari Home sheets at Winners this year and love them.. super soft.

    • OOh – I’m intrigued now by the Costco sheets. I do have to vouch for Bed Bath and Beyond’s sheets – I believe it’s the hotel series brand. Love them. Ours are going on 7 years and still great condition. So smooth and soft.

      • These are the ones we have — they are wonderful. I think when we first bought them (4-5 years ago) they were called BBB Hotel Collection something. Now it looks like they are calling them “Perfect Percale.” They are 100% cotton and come in five colors.

        They do wrinkle if you let them sit; but they’re so comfortable to sleep on that I don’t care whether they’re wrinkled or not. . . .

        • Have to add that if this is a “price is no object” situation, then I would go with Frette or the Sofitel linens collection. I can and often do wax rhapsodic about nights and lazy mornings and afternoons spent in the Hotel Healdsburg beds with feather beds, down duvets and Frette sheets — and therefore have them on a someday-to-purchase list . . . but they are ridiculously expensive. The Sofitel linens are amazing as well — tried them at the Philadelphia Sofitel and it truly felt like sleeping in a cloud. Perhaps again due to the feather bed and duvet . . . .

      • karenpadi :

        I have the Macy’s Hotel collection sheets. I got them on super sale and they are so nice!

    • I am in love with the Ralph Lauren Dunham Sateen sheets. They’re actually surprisingly inexpensive and have held up extremely well in my experience.

      They’re seriously the only sheets I buy now.

    • Another sheet question- anyone else finding that all the sheets they buy really shrink (to the point of barely being usable) after washing in hot? Any brands that seem to be roomy enough so that they aren’t too short after a wash, but still have a high thread count?

      • No suggestions, but I have the same problem. I tend to buy whatever’s on sale at Dillards or Macy’s, but the bottom sheet always shrinks to the point it’s almost impossible to get on. Interested to see other responses.

        • I haven’t had that problem with the Costco sheets. Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but they’re great.

    • The Company Store and Garnet Hill have good selections and user reviews.

      • I like the Garnet Hill percale sheets. They hold up very well and haven’t shrunk at all. Garnet Hill towels, on the other hand, I’ve had terrible experience with.

        I have fabulous 15 year old Wamsutta percale sheets, sadly Wamsutta is no more…

    • I bought Ralph Lauren 600 thread count from Bloomingdales. I love them. Super soft.

    • viclawstudent :

      I just bought new sheets (and a new bed, and new pillows, etc) a couple months ago (I like them, but I can’t remember what they are right now; I just went with what the salesperson recommended at a linens boutique), and when I was buying them one of the things that the guy at the linens store told me was that most people wear their linens out faster than they need to b/c they wash them in their usual commercial laundry soap. Apparently, in order to give a more “thorough” clean, a lot of commercial soaps include frictive ingredients like bits of glass (not sure if this just applies to powders or the liquids, too) which will wear your sheets out really, really quickly. He recommended some soap that they sell in linens shops that will protect the sheets and keep them soft and looking good for much longer.

      Short version: consider splashing out on gentle-care linens-specific soap (should be available in linens shops), to better protect your investment in the sheets.

      • hmmm – frankly, that sounds like a bit of sales pitch to buy their extra fancy detergent. I’m thinking my sheets wear a hole in themselves faster because they have friction in a consistent place because of where on my bed I sleep.

    • I am a bit of a sheet snob and absolutely cannot sleep on anything close to scratchy. I have tried a lot of different types of sheets, and my favorite brand is Charisma. In reality, though, I don’t think brand matters as much as the right combination of fabric and threadcount. For me, supima cotton with a high thread count is where it is at. My Charisma sheets get softer with each wash.

      Also, a tip for buying new sheets. Use a vinegar rinse and wash a few times. The vinegar helps to break down and wash away the weird fabric chemicals on sheets that make them stiff.

    • Anonymous :

      A few months ago I bought sheets from Eucalpytus fibers. They’re super soft and feel great. Several of the reviews mention pilling, but I have had no problems, despite relatively frequent washes. I don’t think I’ve ever slept better!

    • This is helpful, I have the worst luck with sheets. It seems like they feel nice and silky fresh out of the package, then I wash them and they get scratchy. I got a set of Crate and Barrel sheets for Christmas (my sister has several of their sets and likes them) and I’ve washed those suckers with fabric softener and a dryer sheet at least three times and they still feel scratchy to me. This seems to happen with most of the sheets I buy. I have an old damask stripe set I got from Bed, Bath and Beyond years ago, no hope of figuring out the brand, that are nice, and a set of the bamboo ones that have held up well, but that’s about it. Just got rid of 3 scratchy sets. It’s so annoying to have your sheets turn on you!

  5. Friend related TJ…

    Last evening my husband and I went to lunch at an old friend’s place….we have both known her for 15 yrs since we all went to b-school together. And for the umpteenth time, she and her hubby trotted out an old story that goes this way…

    When my husband and I were married over 10 yrs ago, she arrived at midnight (delayed train) and due to oversight on my husband ‘s relative’s part, there was no one to pick her up and she had to hitch a ride with strangers. She was safe and we wee sorry but it was unintentional and we didn’t realize she wasn’t picked up as planned. Since then, she and her hubby ( mainly him) have never lost a chance to bring it up though my husband and I have explained, apologized and asked them to move on ad nauseam. And they don’t hesitate to bring it up before others either .

    Well, it happened again yesterday and I was furious. Didn’t say anything in front of her other guest ( also a friend whom we went to MBA school with). But really want to ask her to move on, or else not invite us over.

    Ladies, do you have friends like this? What do you do? What should I do?
    My husband wants to take the high road, because that’s how he is, plus he feels guilty as it was an oversight by his relative that caused the issue…..but it has been over 10 yrs now….I feel like we’ve apologized enough.

    • Should add….yesterday they were both snarky about the above incident….she was like…oh I’ve been to so many weddings and never ever had an issue….etc etc

      • AnonInfinity :

        Yuck. How much do you like her otherwise? I think I would seriously stop hanging out in a small group with them.

        I know you said you’ve asked her to stop, but have you tried inviting her to coffee one on one (i.e., not right after she tells the story) and saying something like, “It really hurts my feelings when you bring up the train story about my wedding. Can you stop telling it?” If you haven’t already done that, you could try it. Sounds like there’s a good chance that wouldn’t work, though. The repeated retelling makes it sound like she really doesn’t care about your feelings, and that means she’s not a very good friend.

        • I think whenever there’s been a sincere acknowledgment and apology, and yet the aggrieved party keeps bringing it up, the aggrieved is unfairly acting as if it was done on purpose. As if you somehow plotted to leave her waiting at the train station.

          I agree that a private conversation makes sense, and I might simply reiterate that I was sorry, and had never denied the incident, and then ask what further I could do. There is nothing further you can do, of course, but get her to say that. Then you can say, “since it seems like I can’t do anything more, I wish you would stop bringing it up. I don’t think there’s anything more to say about it.” The next time it happens, if there is a next time, you can say “I thought we weren’t going to discuss this anymore. Remember our conversation?” Depending on how it goes, you may indeed decide she isn’t a true friend, and want to let go.

          Sounds exhausting. I’m sorry.

        • She sounds petty and annoying. It was your wedding- why on earth were you responsible for picking her up anyway? Can’t she get herself around? I’d never ask someone busy with their own wedding to accomodate me. She got there. I avoid people who act like this.

        • Could it be that she just thinks it’s a funny story and has a limited repertoire of funny stories? In which case I think the coffee and sincere request is your best option. It’s possible she doesn’t realize that it actually bothers you, and thinks your protests are just part of the “act” as it were.

          If I were your friend, this is what it would be, and I’d feel really bad once I realized you were actually upset by it. It’s possible she’s just holding a grudge, too, you know her best.

          • I was also wondering this. I too have friends who repeatedly tell the same “funny” stories about embarrassing things I did years and years ago. I generally assume there’s no ill-will behind it and try not to let it get to me.

    • That sucks. I have a similar issue and don’t really know what to do either, so I’m eagerly awaiting responses!

    • If its been ten-years and (presumably) many apologies haven’t been effective, then STOP apologizing. Next time she and her husband bring it up, just say “Yup, that happened.” And refuse to engage. Don’t smile, don’t politely laugh. And then change the subject.

      They like the positive charge they get from making you feel uncomfortable. And they probably find it a little funny.

      If they are otherwise good friends, I might be tempted to just overlook this one complete lack of social skills. But if you can’t, the next time they invite you over, you could also politely decline.

      • Make a show of marking down on your phone or a notebook – and then say “Oh, that makes 142.” As if you are counting the number of times they tell the story.

        Or ask, all confused “Are you still waiting to get picked up?” , like that was the point of her telling the story.

        Or tell an embarrassing story about her. And if she gets offended, say “I though embarrassing over told stories were the theme of the evening.”

        Or, sigh, be a grown up and do what TCFKAG said. For what it’s worth, I couldn’t pull off any of my own suggestions either…

        • Hee! I like this. Another option: look at your watch when she starts to tell the story and say something like, “It only took you [X] minutes to get to it this time! I think it’s a new record!”

          Smiling sweetly all the time, of course.

        • eastbaybanker :

          Or, “Can you pass the bitter…I mean butter?”

      • I agree with this. It echoes the timeless advice of mothers everywhere: “S/he is only doing it for the reaction.”

        Try your best to look as natural and unaffected as possible by the story in the moment. Your friend has probably filed this story away as a dinner party joke/conversation topic because of your previous reaction. Don’t blush, make excuses, or laugh awkwardly. Instead, act as if your friend just told a joke and mangled the punchline. You don’t need to respond with snark, but the cool reception will send a message, especially when other couples note the awkwardness and avoid engaging as well.

        • I might even go so far as when she starts to tell the story, say something along the lines of, “oh — I really have to use the bathroom” and get up and leave the room. Its a pretty good bet that with the object of the story out of the room, she’ll have the air deflated from her balloon pretty quickly.

    • S in Chicago :

      I think I would try to talk with her directly (no one else around) about how you feel. I think some folks sort of thrive on being the victim. If you take it that away, it kind of takes the wind out of the sails. Ask her if there is anything else you can do to make it right, and then state that you hope you both can move on from now on as it has become quite painful and embarassing for you to look back on the incident (really play up the hurt). At that point, she has clearly been given the signal that anymore mention of it is making her the bully.

      If she does it again despite this frank talk–then I wouldn’t hesitate to say “I’ve apologized many times, asked you if there is anything I can do to make it right, and told you how embarassed the incident makes me– yet you continue to bring this up, making me hurt over it again and again.” And then say nothing more.

      You have nothing to lose standing up to the bully at this point since you’re already at the point of considering not meeting with her anymore.

      I would also try to minimize meeting with her when you are around others, if possible. Drama queens love a stage.

    • She sounds obnoxious. Unless she has some amazing redeeming quality, I’d stop being friends with her. I wouldn’t break up with her per se, but I’d stop inviting her to things, and if she invited me to something I’d find an excuse not to go. I’d still go to group events where she’s going to be there, but I’d probably avoid talking to her much.

    • Maybe she thinks the story is funny? Next time she starts to tell it, I’d interrupt her and say “must you tell this story EVERY SINGLE TIME we see each other? It’s been 10 years. We’ve apologized. Can we just move on?” Perhaps she needs to see your irriation to see how she’s bothering you.

      • Ladies

        Thanks. At least now I feel like I’m not getting unreasonably upset. I emailed her after reading a few of the above replies, and asked her to stop repeating it and to move on. Her answer…oh we were in joke mode!!

        Really? I then asked her to find a joke we could all laugh about, as this one was getting stale after ten years….no reply.

        We shall see….if I do get an invite to their place in the next few weeks, I’m going to be upfront and ask , that as good hosts, they refrain from making me and my husband uncomfortable over something we cannot now fix. If they don’t, then I have to sadly acknowledge you ladies are right and that they’re not worth my time.

        Thanks…you guys are the best.

        • Exactly – It’s only funny if everyone’s in on the joke. And it’s so easy for the “look at the weird/funny/stupid thing A did” to backfire (I can never tell them well) that they should only be used sparingly. This woman obviously need some new material if she’s relying on 10 year old stories.

          Good luck – and don’t let her tell you to stop being so sensitive, which is usually the fall back if someone is offended that you didn’t find their offensive thing funny.

          • I’m a pretty firm believer (after some admittedly false starts myself) that the “weird funny” thing someone did running joke thing is only funny if (a) it is about YOURSELF or (b) you know the person REALLY well and you know they think its funny AND they rib you right back.

            But mostly, stick with self-deprecating humor, and you’ll be fine!

        • If she brings it up again, how about saying, “You tell this same story every time we see you. If you have no new material, next time we’ll leave you at the train station on purpose.”

        • In joke mode aka making a joke at your expense. I would think this is her way of cutting you down to size at some level, is it possible she is jealous/envious of you and this is her way of throwing you off balance? Whatever way you slice it, she is not being that nice. I wouldn’t be spending much time with her in the future. How about saying in front of others “I’m surprised you’re still so hung up on that. I suppose next time you should arrange your own transport and these situations will be avoided.”

    • i have a friend who called me out on being late to her birthday dinner at a restaurant a few months ago. it was mentioned in about 4 toasts (but meanwhile i walked in with another late person, who was not called out on it) and seriously, it was less than 30 minutes and because i was working on a saturday night. she generally likes to call me out on these things because she thinks i’m a terrible friend so it wasn’t a new thing. i think she might think its cute or funny or an inside joke. it’s none of those things. when she went on ad nauseum that particular night, i decided it was the end of our friendship. there are other friends i can see who care about me and don’t give me a hard time about stupid things.

    • At the 5th retelling of this in year 1, I would have put the kibosh on this and told her and her husband to either accept the apology or drop us as friends, because if they really want to harp on this and make us feel guilty, then they’re not really being friends.

      As others have asked– you’ve known her for a long time, but how much do you really like her? I like the image of concentric circles. Is she inner circle? Or out on the orbit near Saturn? I’d kick her out past Pluto, which has been downgraded from Planet to…something.

  6. phillygirlruns :

    i like the coral color much better, but holy cow, the styling on that one is…something. snakeskin blouse and paisley pants?

    just took a long weekend and did a little outlet shopping – two quick reviews:

    – i picked up the cole haan “air stephanie” mary janes that were featured here a couple of weeks ago, in a beige snakeskin with dark wooden heel and platform. they are neutral enough that i plan to wear them as i would a nude shoe. however, i realized today that they make a serious clopping sound when i walk, due to the wood. i did not notice this until i ran downstairs to grab coffee – both the store and my office have carpeted surfaces. i won’t be returning them (no outlet close enough, and they were only $74 and are otherwise great) – any suggestions on whether adding a rubber sole might tone down the noise? it reminds me of the clogs i had my freshman year of college.

    – spent some time in the j.crew outlet. not impressed with the factory version of the “tippi” – the cut was nice, but the knit is much thinner. it’s about the same difference in quality between the retail jackies and the factory jackies. the thin knit makes them see-through enough that i’d have to layer something under them. passed. however, the factory version of the matinee trench was excellent, particularly for the price ($158 + 40% off). the quality of the fabric and construction was comparable to the retail version, with some difference in the detailing that does not detract from the look (e.g., retail version has flaps over the side pockets, factory doesn’t). highly recommend this one.

    • Your cobbler should be able to put rubber on the heel to minimize the noise. I went to the outlets yesterday too and was thoroughly unimpressed with J.Crew.

    • Yes, a cobbler can add rubber and this will minimize the noise and also increase the life of the shoe.

    • I purchased the factory cotton Cody cardigan in dark poppy online. The color is fantastic, and it might be a little thinner than one from the retail store, but it’s soft and well made overall. I think it’s a great weight for spring and summer. I’ve worn it twice and recieved numerous compliments both times.

  7. Last night I was browsing match and happened to come upon the profile of a coworker! Since match shows who’s viewed your profile I know he’ll know I was looking at him. Should I say anything? I feel like I’ve read something pretty personal (and he’ll be able to read about me obviously).

    • No, I think the rule is that you pretend it didn’t happen. Seeing someone you know on Match is a “let’s never speak of this again” situation, especially with a co-worker.

    • I would quickly go to “hide my profile” and leave it that way for a week or so. I think that way they will only see a question mark for a face and won’t know who looked at it…after a week, few days, you’ll probably not pop up too high on the list and he may not notice at all. That’s what I’d do!

    • phillygirlruns :

      i agree that you should just pretend it never happened…but also can’t help but think about the episode of parks & rec where leslie got matched with tom. “his favorite movie is books!”

      • Haha, I actually watched the episode yesterday and I didn’t even connect the two!

    • MaggieLizer :

      Something similar to this has happened to me 3 times. One was a coworker who I knew was on Match so I avoided clicking his profile when he showed up in my daily matches. Another was a guy I had met briefly at a party and kind of liked, so I emailed him saying hi, I hoped he was having good luck, and asking for pointers since I’d just joined. He responded pleasantly and wished me good luck too. Maybe I shouldn’t have emailed, but meh.

      One was my friend’s ex-fiance, whose profile I clicked because I didn’t realize it was him until I saw a bigger picture. He told my friend that I had looked at his profile. Super awkward, especially since I had asked my friend earlier that week if it was OK if I invited him to a party she already told me she couldn’t attend (we all have mutual friends). She said no it wasn’t OK, which I thought was weird at the time, but now I guess it makes sense. And no, I am definitely not interested in him at all in the slightest. Must. look. closely. before clicking on profiles!

    • I hid my profile for the time being. Hopefully he won’t notice!! The pictures are so tiny I didn’t even realize it was him until I clicked the picture.

      This is actually the fourth time I’ve found someone on match that I know in real life! All of the others were people I had gone to school with and don’t keep in contact with, so even though people I know were looking at my profile (at least one of them I found because I saw that he had looked at my profile), I will probably never see them again, so who cares.

      This does a little make me feel like I should just start going out with all of the single guys I run across in my life, maybe the universe is trying to tell me something?

  8. So after what feels like the worlds longest job search (5+) years, I finally got two great offers last week. I think I’ve made up my mind on which to take, but my question is, how do I turn down the other? I’d like to preserve the relationship as best I can.

    • First, don’t turn it down until you have an official offer letter and a start date at the new job.

      Then, I would write an email or call the person who offered you the job. Say that you really appreciate the offer and it was a very hard decision, but you’ve accepted an offer to join Company X as a (position title). If it’s the same industry in the same city, tell them you look forward to collaborating/working with their company in the future. If they ask any questions about why you declined their offer, answer them as graciously as possible.

      Congrats on the job!

    • You’ve just given hope to job seekers everywhere! Congrats.

  9. I actually like this pick and how it is styled. It gives me ideas, as this is out of my price range.

    Unrelated; I am wearing my first pair of “nude for me” heels. Something I never needed before reading this blog! I’m on a clothes shopping hiatus until I lose my holiday weight, otherwise I’d probably be on my third or fourth Skirt.

    • I’m still in the market for a pair of nude for me heels — but I’m having commitment issues. :-P I can’t seem to find a pair I really like, where I really also like the heel height and everything.

      Definite firstworldgirlproblems. ;-)

      • Same here. It’s really hard to find ones that match my pale, pale skin, plus I want them closed toe, and no platform, and under $100, and, and, and….

        • Anne Shirley :

          Vince Camuto makes one that fits all of your criteria. Nordstrom has it

        • Get thee to Nordstrom Rack. Just purchased a pair of closed toe Franco Sarto super pale heels with a less than three inch heel for $50.

    • Shoes don’t care about your holiday weight, and thus ought be hiatus-exempt. Just saying.

      • Oh Lucy that’s why I was buying shoes! :). Shoes don’t judge me for eating those extra pieces of pie. Shoes only know love and acceptance.

        TCFKAG–I was browing at DSW and stumbled onto these shoes. Hidden platform, so height without being too tall, and they’re somewhat pinky which works with my skin.

        • I’ve been debating these Ivanka Trump Indico ones for while http://www.zappos.com/product/7795431/color/13055

          But I can’t quite get over the mental h*mp of spending over $100 on Ivanka Trump shoes. :-P (Also, is h*mp a bad word on here? I’m not sure!)

          • I bought some orange suede pumps by her a few months ago, and I adore them! They are really comfy and seem very well-made.

          • I like the shape of those! I know I’ve read good reviews of her shoes and Zappos has a good return policy is they don’t fit.

          • Oh, girl, I hear you. I hated myself a little for loving these so much– http://www.zappos.com/ivanka-trump-pinki-gold-glitter. But not enough to stop me from buying them. And they look great with my favorite biz casual mini-skirt, so I can really feel confident at the office.

          • Herbie…can’t figure out if trolling…..

          • eastbaybanker :

            I bought this pair of pumps in black and ended up returning them. Even though the heel is low, they are much pointier than similar styles and HURT.

            Lucky me, when I took them back I scored these Via Spiga Jessica pumps on sale for $10 more. They are still available in lots of sizes, too!


          • Oooohhh, eastbaybanker, I like those even better. Gah…now I must decide!

        • MaggieLizer :

          “Shoes don’t judge me for eating those extra pieces of pie. Shoes only know love and acceptance.”


  10. I need to take advantage of someone’s Google skills. Going to a dressy work event at the end of this month as a staff person. I have a long sleeveless (heavy) silk vest, embroidered with pearls and other decorations, that I want to wear over a black silk tank and pants. The vest is hard to explain but it’s uber-dressy; it was made especially for my sister on a trip to visit our family in SE Asia. Pants can either be wide-legged and flowy or skinny/cigarette-style, but I have no idea how to find these items w/o breaking the bank.

    Any places you can think of that would have stuff like this? Thanks in advance, ‘Rettes!

    • anoNYmous :

      Lucky for you, I am in major procrastination mode today and was more than happy to run a Google search for you. I searched “palazzo pants” for the wide-legged flowy style and found quite a few options. I’ve also heard them referred to as “carwash pants” but I think palazzo is the more common reference. Then for the cigarette-style pants, I remembered seeing several styles on Talbots.com — search for “silk”, then “pants”.

      I hope this helps! Your vest sounds lovely!!

  11. While I was catching up on the weekend thread, I just had to stop and profess my undying love for you guys discussing the “pant-to-butt” ratio. Formulas and fashion, this blog has it ALL.

  12. Hello ‘Rettes;

    This is a travel-related TJ so feel free to skip — London.
    I’ve just learnt that in September, I have a 3-day training in Cotswolds, UK (ya I never heard of that place either).
    I decided that if I am still at my current work in September then I will spend a few days in London and for once do all the cheesy touristy stuff.
    I will go to 2 Cathedrals, watch guard change, visit 2 museums, spin on London eye, ride on double-deckers, have afternoon tea etc.
    Obviously, I have already set up an excel sheet where I drop must-see places, tentative schedule, budgeting and savings to date etc.

    1- I can take anywhere from 4 to 8 days of vacation, what would be a good number of days to stay given that:
    – Accommodation will not be an issue – I am already saving for my trip
    – I would like to visit 3-4 monuments maximum any given day without feeling like I am rushing

    2- What should I wear to be comfortable but not look frumpy. I have heard Londoners have a sharp sense of fashion and I do not want to feel underdressed.
    3- What are some great brands that I would find in UK but not in the US. I am putting aside a shopping budget so I get to buy pieces that have a British flair.
    I have ruled out Mulberry because it exceeds my budget. However, I stumbled upon a brand “Louche” with interesting dresses

    4- I know the weather is very unpredictable in UK but I’d like to pack the necessities and if needed buy things onsite. Can anyone share typical early September weather?

    I am still in the planning phase so any advice is welcome.
    I’ll probably post again in a couple months as I have a clearer plan.

    • Makeup Junkie :

      Shopping suggestions are LK Bennett, TopShop, Marks & Spencers…where ever Kate Middleton shops!
      Cotswolds is a very lovely part of the UK. You will enjoy it immensely.

    • I’m surprised there aren’t more responses. Dh & I spent a week in London back in 2007 (my favorite holiday EVER) and we could easily go back and spend another week, see tons of stuff (again) and not see anything twice. So, I say, stay as many days as you can, and there will still probably be things you had hoped to see but couldn’t. My two favorites were the Tower of London and the V&A museum. We also went on a London Walk of Highgate. The trip was my dream and I did most of the planning, so I made sure that the 2 things dh wanted to do we did, and one of them was to see Karl Marx’s grave (the other was Ikea – apparently the London Ikea is the busiest in the world). Anyway, Highgate was really cool, and we enjoyed wandering in the cemetary, which was so different from the orderly, relatively new prairie cemetaries that I’m used to. As for what to wear, layers and comfortable shoes. Both are a must. We went at the end of Sept/beginning of Oct and the weather was very variable. Oh, and you should check – you may be able to take a tour of Buckinham Palace. I know those happen in the fall.

    • Just got back from London – amazing place! One of my favorite cities!

      1. I think one week is more than enough to see the best highlights of the city – will you be by yourself? Could get lonely after but still plenty to do. My favorites: V&A Museum, London City Museum, Dennis Severs House, Spitalfields Market, Covent Garden (touristy but has some great restaurants and cute shops) Tower of London (do the walking tour of the Tower and the Jack the Ripper…in fact do as many walking tours as you can…great way to see the city), Imperial Ware Museum, the usual sites (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. James and Mayfair, Westminster, London Eye), Notting Hill (good restaurants down Westbourne Grove Rd)…there are so many more places – you won’t get bored!

      2. Look at sites like Asos, TopShop, LK Bennett, Monsoon – you’ll have an idea of what’s popular in the UK – I find London fashion to be about 6 months (ish) ahead of the US (even East Coast cities) For other retailers, see also Coast, Dorothy Perkins (a little cheaper, like H&M but sometimes good finds), Hobbs, and Karen Millen.

      HAVE FUN!!


      • thanks, i’m saving this thread to help the planning.
        I will be alone but I do not mind at all.

        • There was a thread on the Corporette regarding London in autumn last year. There were lots of good ideas there.

  13. Grumpy today. After last week’s episode where my boss made me apologize for saying “you” instead of “we”, you’d think he’d pick up on the fact that he used “I” instead of “we”, or more specifically “Bunkster” today.

    Last week I used “you” instead of “we” in an email thread between the two of us. Today he told the group on a conference call, that I was part of, that he spent all weekend researching and solving the issue at hand. No, he didn’t. I did. Keep forgetting it’s “we” or perhaps just “I” if our team is at fault, but the team is in the right, it’s just him.

  14. Always a NYer :

    Any suggestions for a great commuter mug? I have one that I bought from Starbucks last summer but it inevitably leaks at least three days a week. TIA!

    • OXO Good Grips Travel Mug. I was in a car accident where it got tossed around the interior of the car, and it still didn’t leak. It’s the best.

      • Ditto. It is great (I’m a research nerd and researched this and it got top ratings. $20).

    • MissJackson :

      Do I ever! Contigo!

      Seriously, I had like 8 different travel mugs before and every one of them had some sort of major flaw (usually leaking of some sort). Then I found Contigo. Contigo’s autoseal is amazing. I can literally throw a mug of coffee in my work bag and have no fear of leaking. Plus it keeps beverages hot for a couple of hours (or cold for even longer). I bought mine at Costco, but a quick google shows me that they are available pretty much everywhere.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        +1000 on Contigo. Like MissJackson, I throw a full Contigo mug of coffee in my briefcase in the morning, next to my files. It has never leaked. And sometimes it’s still too hot for me to drink it when I get to the office an hour later. I love my Contigo.

      • Contigo autoseal is freaking awesome. I’m a mega-klutz and used to wind up wearing coffee more often than I care to admit. This one you can turn upside down and not a drop spills unless you’re pressing the button. And as MissJackson, says, it keeps things hot for hours.

      • anon prosecutor :

        Yes, the contigo ones are the best. I bought one for my husband who is really hard on his travel mugs (drops on the ground, leaves in the hot sun for days, etc.) I had been replacing his every 3-4 months due to leakage. I got one of the contingo ones and we are going on 1+ years now, unheard of for him. He says no leaks.

      • I also love Contigo Mugs! I use it for coffee, but I also have a smaller one that I use to take leftover smoothies with me to work. It keeps them cold, and it still has that smoothie consistency and doesn’t separate. They are AMAZING!

      • Contigo ++++++ FTW +++++

    • My thermos is the Thermos Nissan 16-oz backpack bottle on Amazon, and it doesn’t leak. Ever. We bought a second one for our house because my husband kept stealing mine. Both holding up excellently several years in.

      • Yes. The Thermos backpack bottle is amazing. I’ve had it for almost 4 years of grad school – still going strong – and I carry it next to my laptop, books, etc., with no concerns. You just have to make sure you don’t over-fill it — if coffee gets in the threads when you’re filling it up, it doesn’t seal as well.

  15. Skippy pea :

    Love this pick! Alon g with the accessories of course. I want!

  16. Hi everyone,

    I usually post under a different name but I felt this is too personal for that.

    I have an emotionally abusive sister. She has been like this since she was a teenager (she is 30). She has lied to my family, hangs out with drug dealers, married one, expects everyone to cover up for her, and expects me to bend to her every will. She gets mad when we go out and I want to leave at a certain time (even if that means she can stay out without me). If I don’t do what she wants, she verbally abuses me and sometimes physically too. She threatens physical assault to me and about other girls. When she isn’t being a jerk, she’s decent to be around. But to me, it seems as though even if someone acts normal 9/10 times, the one time they do something really disrespectful/hurtful/abusive it is one time too many (kind of like how the one time a husband hits a wife is one time too many idea). This past weekend she brought a guy home in our hotel room and proceeded to have sex in front of me. I freaked out and ran out of the room. I couldn’t take it anymore I was so upset, but I also had nowhere to go. I ended up sleeping in the lobby of the hotel.

    This is just a very short version of events with her. She goes through phases where she won’t answer her phone, won’t tell anyone where she is, and is generally mean about a lot of people. She has a lot of friends but they don’t see this side of her. I’ve never heard her speak highly of anyone. Other girls are always “sl*ts” or “ugly” or other cruel terms. She’s narcissistic and thinks that people are there for her disposal and abuse. She never admits to being wrong. She’s used and abused me and others for too long. When I put my foot down, she somehow makes me feel guilty about it, that I’m the jerk, I would do the same if I was in her position, or that I’m selfish.

    I don’t talk bout it much with friends because they think I’m exaggerating sometimes- she acts so ridiculous that it probably sounds a bit fake.

    This weekend I realized I don’t like who I become when I’m around her. I get angry and yell at her. I then start hating everything else in my life and start to feel pretty worthless. I turn into a bit of a jerk when I’m around her, frankly.

    When I’m not with her, I’m happy and I have great friendships with great, caring, amazing people, and I don’t act like a jerk. But every few months I’ll decide it’s okay to hang with her again and after a few times, something major like what I described above happens again. For this reason, I think I have finally decided I need to end all communication with her once and for all.

    Anyone with any experience in this? I’m only 25; it just feels so young to be dealing with “cutting people off”.

    • No advice, but I just want to say that I feel for you and it sounds like you’re making the right decision for yourself. Good luck!

    • Wow, I’m sorry your sister is putting you through this. You definitely don’t deserve to be treated this way.

      There is some middle ground in between being her punching bag and cutting her off. You can try to limit how often you see her even further (twice a year?) or limit the activities you do with her to lunch or coffee or something, thus avoiding things like the hotel situation. You could limit your contact to phone and email. If you aren’t ready to cut her off just yet, try other methods of protecting yourself and enforcing your boundaries while still maintaining some kind of relationship. If it doesn’t work out you can always cut her off in the future.

      • I would agree with this. I support people cutting off family entirely if they have to, and maybe you do here, but I think that you should try just cutting back instead. You can love her and be her sister, but not put up with this stuff. Lunches, coffee, occassional phone calls, dinners/parties with other family members are fine and shouldn’t (probably) lead to the problems that you are describing, and would not force you to deal with the logistics of trying to cut her out entirely. If she wants to do something that leads to problems (going out at night, anything that would require staying in a hotel together), just politely decline or make up an excuse. If she pressures you, hang up or walk away.

        (I have a great relationship with my sister, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent the night at a hotel with her (other than when we were kids) or gone out with her at night (as in, to a club or something) – she lives in a different state, so it’s different, but my point is that you can (probably) still be sisters and not necessarily do the things that you’re describing that lead to problems.)

        • I hate to attack the advice that was meant with good intentions- but I think when someone threatens to physically assault me (and let’s be honest- even though I didn’t say it up front- she has hit me, on numerous occasions), that should be reason enough to not have to love her anymore or speak with her anymore.

          • That’s fine, do what you think is best. You didn’t give any details about the physical assaults/threats so I brushed them off. I just think that cutting someone in a family off entirely is probably harder than it sounds, assuming that you have other family in common so your lines are bound to cross.

    • If your sister is being emotionally and physically abusive and (possibly) has a drug problem (not SURE you said that in your post), you need to be prepared for the worst when you try to cut ties with her. I would suggest becoming involved with a support group for family of abusive people. They will be able to introduce you to the DV world — because if your sister becomes violent towards you, you’re going to need to know how to file a restraining order. In the ideal world, this will be completely unnecessary — but unfortunately you need to be realistic.

      And try to remember, though family is related to us by blood, they are in the end just people. Sharing blood and history with us doesn’t entitle them to treat us worse then other people, and doesn’t require that we tolerate terrible treatment. Its not always easy to make decisions that you know are going to be best for you, but I think (just based on what you’ve said) that right now this may be the best.

      • No drug problems- she just likes hanging out with the ‘bad boys’.

        • No drug problems? How do you know this? She does not sound like someone who would tell you the truth, and there is obviously something wrong. Surely your parents have made some efforts? They might share some insight with you.

          I wouldn’t cut all ties with a family member, but don’t give her opportunity to mistreat you.

          • Thanks TCFKAG- you’re right. I do feel like she thinks she is entitled to treat me badly because i am family- in that, I ‘have’ to put up with it.

            Someone mentioned below that I should take ownership about it and that I must get some ‘kick’ out if it. I think I explained that I realized I don’t like who I am around her, and that I am taking ownership of that by realizing I cannot hang out with her. Staying in a hotel for one night with her was an exception- I did not think she would bring someone BACK to the room!(that was a first for me).

            I hate to sound defensive, but a lot of this thread sort of explains why I am in this dilemma. Half the people make it sound like what she does is no big deal, don’t cut her off but still love her. The other half say it’s totally fine to cut her off and what she did was outrageous. This is why I keep yo-yoing from not speaking to her on any significant level for months to finally thinking it’s okay to hang out again and something bad happens 6 months later. I make a decision to not speak to her for XYZ reasons then I somehow get guilted back into caring about her and her life and trying to do fun things with her (i.e. friends say “oh it can’t be that bad; you’re sisters just let it go.”)

          • Anon — the reason that husbands (and occasionally wives) and blood relatives do the most abusing is because they are the only people we would EVER tolerate such behavior from. Because we have been trained from birth to believe that we somehow owe our loyalty to family because they are blood relatives. But remember that the person you owe your first loyalty is to yourself. (And remember these exchanges when you hear about abused wives going back to their husbands, because believe me, they hear all this and more).

            You shouldn’t have to tolerate abuse from anyone, physical or emotional. And sisters can be dangerous — you need to know that. And you need to look for support from other people who have gone through this, I cannot suggest enough looking for a group in your area for victims of abusive relatives.

      • This x 1000.

        • Lyssa- very true, it will be difficult and there will be times I will expect to interact with her. I realize a 100% cut off won’t work, but a 90% one should do fine. I don’t think I necessarily need to send her some formal email dictating that I am indeed cutting her off – I’ll just get a snarky reply back anyway – but I think I have to mentally tell myself “I am not willing to interact with her on any level anymore, no matter how long she goes without some dramatic outburst”

          Thank you TCFKAG, and everyone else, for your helpful comments.

          • I have limited my time with certain family members for much less drastic reasons. It can hurt so much more coming from a family member because you care so much about them. It sounds like it’s disrupting your life and making you feel crappy about yourself. I think you are well justifited in moving on! I hope you feel empowered by standing up for yourself and putting up appropriate boundaries.

          • I think that sounds like your best possible response. Don’t contact her to tell her, just limit your time with her to what is absolutely necessary to avoid causing drama within your larger family.

      • I completely agree. One does not chose his/her relatives (part husband/wife/in-laws). Nothing gives them the right to hurt you over and over again. This is a complex issue that you need to decide for yourself and I obviously do not advocate cutting her off. You need to make sure that you are ready for a step like this. It may be best if you indeed discuss this with someone else who is really close to you (perhaps another family member who knows about this). But the bottom-line is that there are only that many chances you can give someone.

    • Skippy pea :

      Wow, that is terrible. I do not have any insightful advice for you since I have not dealt with something like that. But my thought is that she is not behaving like family, so you should ignore that part. Ask yourself if you would continue to be in touch with a person like this if she was just a friend. If you won’t, then that is exactly what you should do in this situation too.

    • You are not too young to be cutting her out of your life. It will never change.

    • I’d limit contact with her to occasional emails and one or two lunches per year. I definitely wouldn’t go on excursions that include staying with her in a hotel room or meeting any of her friends. But if you don’t want to cut her entirely out of your life, spending 5 hours a year with her should limit it enough to preserve your emotional well-being.

    • My younger sister is somewhat like yours. She and I have been distant from childhood. She is bipolar and narcissistic, but underneath those psychiatric issues, she is also just selfish and dislikable. Also, she steals (from grandmothers, parents, aunts, others), lies (to the police, among others), hurts (mainly emotionally, mainly my mom). She doesn’t have redeeming qualities. I am in touch with her only when she makes contact, and I tend to be cold toward her, and I don’t feel bad saying no to her requests. So we’re not totally out of touch, but she is not someone I would initiate contact with. You should not feel that you owe anything to your sister, who sounds worse than mine, and you should only have the amount of contact with her that you feel comfortable having. (This should probably include never sleeping in the same building as her and always having an exit plan.) I’m assuming you’re close to the same age, so you’ve given her about 25 years, and she hasn’t proven herself worthy of your loyalty or commitment. So give her what you want to give her (if you feel obligated, or you like her in certain circumstances), but don’t give her anything beyond that.

      • Anne Shirley :

        I think this is a case for owning your role in things. If you sister is this bad, why do you go out with her? Why are you sharing a hotel room? Is there a part of you that gets something out of her dysfunction?

        Before you jump to cutting her out entirely (which sounds like a reciPe for drama production to me ) try dealing with your own conduct. Ie- don’t go out with her. Don’t share hotel rooms. Don’t answer the phone if you don’t feel like it. You two are grown ups, there’s no reason why you need to be joined at the hip. And if that doesn’t help, then sure you have to cut her off

        • Why are you placing the blame on the OP? Where’s the compassion here?

          • Anne Shirley :

            Oh, I don’t think it’s the OP’s fault her sister is out of control! I just see a disconnect between willing to share a hotel room and ready to cut out completely. I think there’s a lot of room between those options, and think it could be valuable for the OP to explore why those are the choices she’s identified.

    • Please talk this through with a pro – someone who has experience with abuse. You two can decide together what works for you.

      Not a pro here, but FWIW I fully support you walking away and never looking back.

    • So, I don’t doubt your story of events at all but… you very quickly became defensive on this thread and, I mean this very nicely, you seem a bit all over the place. In the initial post you talk about how you oscillate between cutting off contact and having contact. People point out a middle solution, you then get defensive saying that you want to completely cut off contact. But if you did, why did you stay in a hotel with her? Look, I have two sisters, I love them deeply, neither are abusive or nasty and they 100% have my back… and we still can’t stay in a room on holiday together. We drive each other crazy. So since we are adults and we have no actual reason to do so, we don’t. There are plenty of ways to minimize potential family conflict without dramatic gestures.

      Look, again, I mean this nicely: I would go to therapy and try to get comfortable with the possibility that rather than your sister being A Terrible Person, she is probably part of a broader dysfunctional family dynamic in which all the members, including yourself, play an active part. The most healthy thing to do in these situations is to put down your end of the rope. Stop playing. Seriously. Get some emotional distance and create healthy boundaries. She can choose to have a relationship with you on those terms or not. I don’t think “cutting her off” is putting down your end of the rope. I think it’s likely a very drama filled endeavor filled with screaming fights, family involvement and messy reconciliations. I think that on some level you want this fight because you want to be vindicated as the Good Girl (I’m guessing that is your family role?), but part of maturing/dropping the baggage of cray cray family is realizing that you cannot change people.

      • I’m all over the place because I’m confused and stressed about it all- it’s just terrible writing on my part, to be honest!

        Also, I said I realized I oscillate between trying to be her ‘sister’ and not speaking to her much and that I need to STOP doing that. This is what I said in my OP:

        “But every few months I’ll decide it’s okay to hang with her again and after a few times, something major like what I described above happens again. For this reason, I think I have finally decided I need to end all communication with her once and for all.”

        I also said in another follow up that I know a formal cutoff is a bad idea, but I need to mentally tell myself that I will not interact with her anymore:

        “I realize a 100% cut off won’t work, but a 90% one should do fine. I don’t think I necessarily need to send her some formal email dictating that I am indeed cutting her off – I’ll just get a snarky reply back anyway – but I think I have to mentally tell myself “I am not willing to interact with her on any level anymore, no matter how long she goes without some dramatic outburst”.

        • I stand by my post. I’m not really sure that you are the best listener (no offense)

          Cutting people off or stepping back from family dynamics isn’t about some feat of willpower, it’s about creating positive boundaries, usually with therapeutic input. Why are you averse to therapy? If mentally “telling yourself” has not worked before, why do you think it will work now?

          Like everyone has said, if you want to cut her off, cut her off. If you want to learn how not to get sucked into a relationship with someone who hits and abuses you even if you have to be in the same room as them occasionally, GO TO COUNSELING.

          • Saying “no offense,” probably didn’t take the sting out of your comments to the OP. Being abused, no matter who the abuser is, is an incredibly difficult place to be. It’s hard to “leave.” I give the OP credit for making the realization that something has to change with her relationship with her sister. I don’t think tough love from an internet stranger is going to be helpful to her.

        • I recommend changing your behaviour by setting boundaries with her. If you have not had any experience in doing this you will need some instructions e.g. going to a cognitive behavioural therapist or reading up on setting boundaries. You can’t change her, you can only control your behaviour. I would say you start acting “badly” around her because the normal boundaries are not being respected by her so the world starts to seem crazy. In some way she wants you to lose it, that chaos probably seems normal to her (and you too?).

      • Will not agree with everything you said, O, but I will agree with this 1,000 times: OP, please go to counseling. It’s obvious from your original posts and all of the follow-ups that you are (justifiably!) struggling with this decision/your relationship with your sister/everything involved. Whether you end up cutting her off completely or 90%, I think a therapist could help you work through this.

    • Definitely a difficult situation and I feel for you.

      I am in a similar situation and have a selfish, self-destructive and untrustworthy sibling. I have ended virtually all contact with this person (no phone calls, no emails, no conversations), save the occasional family function and cursory hi/hello. It is, admittedly, very difficult. We had a normal and happy childhood and it sucks to now not have that person as a friend and ally. It sucks to feel like I should/could be doing more to help this person. It sucks to feel affection for a person who does not feel the same way in return. It sucks to feel used and it really sucks to watch other people get used and get hurt as well.

      For me, the bottom line is that it is just too stressful to care about someone who only cares about himself/herself even though it may be “counterintuitive” to feel that way about family. I just cannot handle this level of selfishness, even if it is a family member. While I miss the friendship that we once had, I have other supportive family/friends that I turn to when good and bad stuff happens, and that is good enough for me.

  17. Anon for this :

    Ugh, vent. My brother was injured a week or so ago, and requires surgery. He is living in overseas, does not have health insurance, and doesn’t have a lot in savings. I can afford to give him some money upfront, and help him pay off the balance over time. I’m not annoyed about helping him, but I’m annoyed with the rest of my family because I feel like I’m the only one who is responsible enough to actually help him. I know that I make more than my family, so I feel bad judging our relative contributions, but I feel like I will wind up paying the vast majority of the cost because my family isn’t good about saving money or avoiding temptations. Sigh. /vent.

    • So…don’t pay it. Or don’t pay it all. Your brother made a choice to not carry health insurance, so why do you need to bail him out? If you want to contribute something, then do it, but do it as a gift and then let it go.

      • agree. does he have a job? if anything, why not buy him a plane ticket to come home and get a job with health insurance? i sort of admire people who do stuff like this, but wouldn’t do it personally if a result of their own choices.

        • I almost hate to say this — but DO NOT bring him back to the states if he needs surgery (unless of course he’s in a country where he can’t get it safely)! If he has no insurance — almost any surgery here in the states will be a surefire path to bankruptcy, whereas in most other countries it will be at most expensive, but not life-ruinging financially.

          • Anon for this :

            Agreed – a surgery that will cost a few thousand dollars there would cost tens of thousands (if not more) in the U.S. He has to get the surgery there.

      • lawtalkinggirl :

        A sister “bails out” her brother because that is what family members do for each other.

        • If a brother is grown up enough to work/play overseas, brother is grown up enough to manage his own finances and not expect to get handouts. Brother’s emergency due to poor planning does not automatically mean he gets to dip into my pocketbook.

          Yes, it is nice when family helps family out, if they can. Yes, I would probably help my brother out in this situation, especially if I knew it was a one time thing and not a pattern of behavior. There have been many previous threads about family members feeling like their better-off relations have an obligation to give them a handout – and that’s crap.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Because if the choice is major injury/life threatened/possible longterm disability (I’m assuming this is a necessary surgery, not a nice-to-have-but-it-can-wait surgery) then (at least in my family) it would constitute an emergency. And family members help one another out in emergencies?

        I would rather help my sister get necessary care (if I’m financially able) than have her risk permanent disability or life loss to teach her some sort of lesson about financial planning. JMHO.

    • Anon for this :

      He’s been freelancing, so money ebbs and flows. I’m helping him because I know that if I were in his shoes, he would help me. I’m not upset about helping him, I’m annoyed with my remaining family members (mostly my parents) because I feel like my parents have made poor financial decisions for the last 10 years or so, seriously undermining their financial stability and future (and who will eventually need more help from me, the responsible child). Obviously it runs deeper than just a one-time gift (and I agree – I’m treating like I will never see the money again).

      • So, it sounds like it’s not about your brother at all. It sounds like you need to be talking to your parents about their future financial plans, and what you may or may not be willing to help with. Only you can decide what you need to do to help your parents and be comfortable, but it’s best to help them now, when there is still time to get them back on track or learn better habits.

        • Why is it her responsibility to help her parents learn better habits? Would listen anyway at this stage in their life? There is a tendency on this blog for people to be so solution-oriented, they can’t bring themselves to say, “This really sucks. I’m sorry. You’ve been doing everything you can, and this is a horrible situation to have to deal with.”

          • Leslie Knope :

            Why should people say “you’ve been doing everything you can and it’s horrible”? Yes, it may be horrible, but that doesn’t mean that the OP should give up on trying to improve the situation. It sounds like she’s saying her parents have made poor choices and she’s worried about needing to support them in the future. Why shouldn’t she try to help them find better habit so she’s less screwed in the future?

    • I may differ from your friends on this — but I would help my brother out in situations like this. But perhaps term it as a loan with specific payback terms (but maybe low to no interest, because lets be honest…with family you’re lucky to get paid back). And then once its paid out, whatever amount you can afford to give, just say good-bye. And any amount you get back is like a pleasant surprise — because anything you give to family I think you have to treat as a gift until proven otherwise (if that makes sense).

      Now — if it were anything less serious then emergency surgery, I might be tempted to say “he made his bed, now let him lay in it” — but there’s a point where if you can step in and save someone from themselves, maybe you should. I don’t know.

    • I’d suggest you offer to pay the bill directly, not give him money to use for the bill (as you don’t know what he’ll really use it for).

      It sounds like you’re annoyed with the rest of your family, not your brother, right? I can understand your annoyance, but if you really want to help your brother, that needs to be your priority. Being annoyed won’t help him get well. After this is over, perhaps you can raise with your parents the possibility of all chipping in evenly to buy him health insurance. If they can’t afford to pay a large sum for his medical care, they probably can afford $25 or $50 per month toward insurance.

      • Yep – I’m annoyed with the rest of my family, but not my brother. I know that it’s petty to be annoyed with them about this, and I’m trying to just ignore it and move forward.

        I think the idea of paying the bill directly is a good one. I’ll see if he can work that out with the hospital. Thanks.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Not sure where you live Bluejay but in “these parts” health insurance for my parents is $1200/month, a piece.

        • She said he lives overseas. Health insurance is way more expensive in the US, and it’s also much cheaper for young people than for older people like your parents. $150/mo for a basic policy is not unreasonable. That’s how much I paid in the US at age 25.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            It varies dramatically by state. I had an individual plan for a while when I was unemployed in Georgia that was like $150-$200/month. Got a job, moved to New York, considered declining employer health insurance because it was about the same price and had a higher deductible. So I shopped around and the cheapest individual plan I could find in New York was $800/month. I have no idea what the difference in health insurance laws in Georgia and New York is that causes a $600 difference, but I was shocked.

        • Not to mention that, depending on the country he’s in, there are some countries where you can’t get “health insurance” in the traditional way we think of it here in the United States. People in the middle and upper classes in those countries just pay for their own treatment (prices are usually substantially lower than they are here) and poor people just do without.

  18. anonymous for this :

    How many times is too many to contact a hiring contact after you submit a job application? I have left two messages, both of which have not been returned (to see if the position was still available). I can’t say that I’m unsurprised by this (indeed, some discouraged me from calling at all), but I’m a little upset given that this is the first available position I’ve seen in a while that (1) I’m actually interested in; and (2)I actually have the required prior experience for the position. I don’t want to seem like a stalker but, on the other hand, I don’t think being passive will help me get the position.

    • I think, unfortunately, you’ve hit your quota. You can’t make them hire or be responsive or whatever. Who knows what’s going on in-side their company.


      • agree. if someone calls us more than that we put them in the annoying/kookoo category. that doesn’t portray that you are a busy professional who needs us as much as we need you.

    • I think that’s about it. Just because you’re interested in the position and qualified for it doesn’t mean there aren’t 100s of other qualified applicants as well. It may take a while to go through all the applications or they may have an internal candidate in mind they have selected already.

    • I think you should let it go. If they wanted to hire you, you wouldn’t have to leave multiple unreturned messages. They would get in touch with you. Most companies wait until the new hire has actually started to send out rejection letters to other candidates. Maybe they had a candidate already identified and just had to post the job to comply with HR policy; maybe they decided not to fill it at all; maybe you applied at the end of the hiring cycle and they already had decided on someone else. It’s not a reflection on you, but you need to move on and forget about this job.

      And definitely don’t leave a third message. That would definitely be perceived as annoying and get you crossed off the list at my company. If you really are concerned that perhaps the contact didn’t receive your messages, send an email or call the main HR number.

    • karenpadi :

      For my first job, I did call a third time. I applied and followed-up twice, then I got my bar results (Pass!). I followed up a third time with this information and got the job 3 weeks later.

    • Here’s something Ask A Manager wrote on the subject. She doesn’t even think you should call.

    • OP for this :

      In my original post, I didn’t add that I’d spoken to the hiring contact on the phone before the job was posted. I told her about my background, among other things, and she said I would be “perfect” for the job (her word, not mine), which was posted online shortly after we spoke on the phone. I’m sure that she said this to a zillion other applicants. I am well-aware that I am not the only qualified applicant for this position. I did not mean to give that impression. In any event, speaking with the hiring contact made me excited about the prospect of the job, so that is why I’m upset about the lack of a response. Also, I’m guessing this doesn’t matter, but when I called, I had specific questions (i.e., not a general “did you get my application materials” voicemail).

      Bottom line: message received. Will not be calling.

  19. Question for all of you: my husband and I have typically given our adult sons pretty generous, although practical, birthday gifts (e.g., a gift certificate for work clothes). What should I do about our new daughter-in-law’s birthday? Would it be rude not to be equally generous with her? (For Christmas we gave them a generous joint gift.) Or since she’s not our daughter is something smaller appropriate? Her family is not as well off as we are and I don’t want it to look like I’m trying to show them up. I’m frankly also not sure that I want to spend double the amount on birthday gifts for the two of them – so does that mean I should be cutting back on his gift and spending more on her? I welcome your thoughts.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Do you give cash (or gift card) or an actual gift? I think this matters. My in laws give a smaller amount of cash for birthdays, and they give an equal amount to everyone. Same with my parents. I think I would be a little hurt if my husband got a really lavish cash gift and I got significantly less. That might be petty of me, but there it is. It’s just one little thing in a parade of little things that remind me that I was not born into their family.

      If you give an actual gift, I would say that it’s fine to spend less on the daughter in law. I think this is because you can spend less but still get things for her that are as nice as the things you get him without the gift screaming “I spent less on you than him!!!”

      • I should note that my comment below is based on my husband and I getting actual gifts, not cash/gift cards. I agree that it’s a little different if you give cash or a check, because the difference seems more stark. Of course, my husband’s birthday is only 2 weeks from mine, so we end up getting joint gifts from his parents some years, making it easier on everyone.

    • I don’t have kids, but I do have a MIL and FIL.

      I honestly do not expect my MIL/FIL to spend what my parents would on my birthday, or what they would spend on my husband for his. I think something small with a card wishing her a happy birthday would be totally appropriate. For my last birthday my in-laws (who are divorced) got me a book on my favorite SCOTUS justice (FIL) and a personalized keychain (MIL). I was elated by both gifts.

      Just my take. I think so long as you’re including her in some way, there’s no need to make her birthday as big a deal as your son’s.

      • This. I don’t expect my in-laws to get me gifts and would never compare what they give me (if anything) to what they give my husband.

      • i don’t think my in laws know when my birthday is. so this entire thread is bizarre to me.
        I do know my mom gives my brother’s wife (SIL) the exact same she gives her children. she considered my SIL another daughter and treats her exactly the same as she does us, i really respect that approach but have never been on the receiving end (see above, my in laws barely acknowledge I exist)

        • Yeah, honestly, I was super surprised that my MIL got me anything at all. Before we were married I was never ever referred to by name when my husband would talk about me. Because we lived together (and my MIL is very, very religious and snotty) she would refer to me only as “John’s living situation.”

          Suddenly, now that we’re married she wants to pretend as if she wasn’t openly hateful to me when I wasn’t “part of the family” for those four years. I took and use the keychain, but I’m not about to let her pretend that we’re buddies now.

          • the hatefulness towards me continues…. 4 years running! yay!

          • I don’t see mine thawing any time soon. Well, except at our housewarming this weekend she DID stop to ask me when she could expect a grandchild. In front of EVERYONE. Including work friends who had stopped by.

            I laughed it off (she knows we don’t plan on children), but I intend fully on letting her have it this week.

          • my MIL about once a year (they live far away, abroad) and she likes to ask me that question the very second DH leaves the rooms, so convenient, as in, the door shuts and the question pops… really clever. we will be visiting them for a full week in april. i am worried…

          • we see my MIL*

          • You poor woman. I certainly have my fingers crossed for you that the week visit goes by quickly and uneventfully (and that maybe you can work late a few nights on “emergency” issues??).

            As for the baby questions – I have many un-PC ways that I would *like* to handle these comments, but my better manners always win out.

        • Ooooh I want to join the club! I still don’t know why my MIL hates me, but after 10 years together, she still can only manage pretend civility.

      • I agree. My in-laws don’t give birthday gifts in general, even to their own kids. But they are super-generous otherwise (spontaneously bought us an ipad etc), so it’s not a big deal. I do not expect them to get me anything for my birthday ever, though they will usually call to say happy birthday.

        My parents give small birthday gifts and I they now include my husband, but just a small gift- like a gift certificate for a restaurant he likes. It’s comparable in value to mine, maybe a little less. It actually makes him uncomfortable when they do this but I think it’s because birthdays aren’t a big gift-giving occasion in his family.

    • I am a daughter-in-law :

      My in-laws treat me as one of their own, giving me equal gifts as their own kids. The gesture means so much to me and does not go unnoticed. If you can afford it, give her the same amount. And try to start thinking of her as your daughter – it could be a rewarding relationship for you! I truly love my mother in law and have relied on her when my own mother has fallen short.

      • My in-laws give me equal gifts as their own kids, but they are not extravagant. These are things like a book or a CD that one party knows the other party would like. It’s not about the dollars in our (extended) family, but about the thought in finding stuff to delight the other.

        It may be helpful to just institute a new policy where there’s a price limit for ALL gifts for everyone, so even though you may be buying more gifts, it won’t become a financial burden. I do think that a lower price limit can get one’s creative juices flowing, and I prefer that in gift-giving than actual dollars spent. It’s really the feeling, and the way of demonstrating the feeling that I greatly appreciate. I think of my in-laws as my “bonus parents”– I already have a set of wonderful parents, but marrying my husband gave me another set of lovely people to love!

        • This is exactly how I feel about my FIL’s gifts. He usually gives both me and my husband books for birthdays/Christmas, and his gifts are almost always my favorites, because I know he put time and thought into them.

      • Suited Up :

        Yes, same here. I wouldn’t have ever expected my in laws to be so generous to me (growing up, I witnessed my own mother’s terrible relationship with my older brother’s wife), but its just one of the things that they (well, mostly my mother-in-law because she takes care of all the gift-giving) do to make me feel like a real part of the family. Maybe it’s because my husband is an only child and my M-I-L always wanted a daughter, but they’ve done a lot to make me feel very important to them and we have a great relationship (DH and I have been married for almost 8 years and were dating for 3 before that.) If you can afford it, I think its nice to gift equally to your D-I-L as you would your son.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I don’t expect anything from my in-laws for my birthday. My MIL always send me a check for $50 which I neither need or want, so we deposit it in our child’s college account.

    • Anonsensical :

      My parents have always given me very generous birthday gifts, but usually take my husband and I out to dinner and give him a small gift for his birthday. He’s delighted that they do anything at all, as his family has never been huge on celebrating birthdays. Honestly, I think he would feel awkward if they treated him as generously as they treat me.

    • Not the OP :

      I was in your DIL’s place. My parents are not as well off as my DH’s. From the beginning, my MIL has treated me the same as her two kids and her behavior has really made me feel like part of the family. I’d understand your hesitation if she was just a girlfriend, but she is now your DIL. I don’t think it would be “rude” not to be as generous but it would be in bad form.

      • Another DIL here. I very much appreciate that both my parents and DH’s parents try to spend roughly equal amounts on both of us – prevents either of us from feeling like not a “real” part of the family.

        • Oh, to answer part 2 of your question – they probably spend, collectively, 1.5x what they previously spent on Single Adult Cat – I don’t resent getting less for myself, b/c I’m glad they are inclusive of DH. Younger sibs (still in school) probably receive 2x Single Adult Cat level apiece.

    • Is DIL the type to hold a grudge if she feels like she’s being treated less generously? I’d hate to have a gift recipient’s bad manner rule your behavior, but if she’s been the type to be count beans, you may want to equalize with your son’s current gift, and then downgrade the level of both for next year.

    • phillygirlruns :

      no kids here, but as the daughter-in-law of very generous in-laws who love giving gifts…

      ultimately, there is no “should” here. it sounds like your son is recently married – how did you handle gift-giving before they were married? my in-laws started sending a card and cash (usually $50) for my birthday after now-husband and i had been dating a couple of years, and the gifts did not suddenly increase after our wedding – nor would i expect them to. my family is not big on gift-giving in general, particularly among adults, and a large gift from my in-laws would have made me very uncomfortable. i don’t know offhand what they spend on my husband but would not expect them to treat us equally.

      • It really depends on your relationship with her, and how you want it to progress. If you would like to treat her as part of the family, then you adjust your spending so she feels like everyone else. If you want to maintain that your family unit stops with your kids, that’s fine too, and then the gift can be just a token.

        My in-laws show a great disparity…e.g. they went on vacation, bought my husband a fairly expensive jacket and me a polished rock “pendant” (twisted wire stuck into the top) on a cord. It feels wierd to me. But whatever, we don’t get along anyway.

        Something to ponder. What’s going to happen if/when they have kids? Hasn’t been an issue for us yet, but I do wonder sometimes.

    • I think you should give what you can afford to give and what makes you feel happy. It’s not a competition between you and her parents, or between her and your son. If you like your daughter in law and you have the means, by all means give her a generous gift. If you want to give to her and your son equally, there’s nothing wrong with cutting his next gift amount a bit in order to afford to give an equal amount to your daughter in law.

    • I agree that cash vs. gift matters. Even if it’s a gift card. But my SO’s parents are super generous with his and his sibling’s gifts, to the point where I would be uncomfortable if I got the same. They are also very generous with my gifts, just to a lesser degree. It is never a problem except the one time I got an actual check. Which is funny, because my SO gets checks exclusively but it kind of felt really weird to me because my family just doesn’t do that. So now, I get a gift card to stores I like or actual gifts and I always really appreciate it. Not sure why gift card vs. check makes a difference for me. My mom, btw, is also similarly generous with him but not as generous as she is with me – so I think it works out.

    • I wouldn’t factor in the not-trying-to-show-up DIL’s parents into the equation. The question is what kind of relationship you have or want to have with your DIL. I don’t think you need to give your son and DIL “equal” gifts, but they should be thoughtful. My MIL and I don’t have the best relationship, but over the years she’ started giving me gifts that show me that she cares – a generous Starbucks gift card and a travel mug since she knows I’m a coffee fiend, photo frames for pictures of my kids, etc. She actually spends less on me now than she used to, but I can tell she wants me to enjoy what she’s given me.

      • I disagree with your first sentence — my in laws were far better off than my parents and I would have to tell my husband to tell his parents to hold back. I just didn’t want my parents to feel bad. It’s probably a personality thing (maybe your daughter-in-law likes gifts and appreciates things that she didn’t always have… or maybe she really doesn’t care!).

    • quick gift-giving rant (not that I suspect the OP of this) – my grandparents always send the men in my family a check, and the women a gift card to a department store in the same amount. WTF – is it too much for our pretty little heads to handle actual money??

      • Maybe it’s easier to figure out what stores the women in your family like? I wouldn’t perceive this as sexist. I think it’s true that men are less likely to go out shopping at a department store and your grandparents probably aren’t sure about gift certificates for electronics stores, sporting goods, whatever it is that men in your family like. When your grandparents were young, department stores were a bigger deal than they are now.

        • Fair defense, but this is definitely a “know your grandparents” situation. They were surprised I decided to continue to pursue law school after getting engaged, and lecture me that I haven’t had a baby yet (married 5 yrs).

          • Ha. I have a great aunt who constantly badgers me about getting married because “it’s the most important thing in life.” Meanwhile, she’s in an incredibly unhappy marriage and for the past 20 years she and her husband (of over 60 years) barely speak and sleep in separate rooms. So I let it slide, except for the one time she asked my dad with me in earshot if I was a lesbian (I’m not, but I can’t say I didn’t consider letting her think that I was).

    • Are you secretly my mother-in-law? Ha. No seriously though, my lovely in-laws give (what I consider) quite extravagant gifts to their adult children, while I come from a family that has always been much more reserved in their gift giving (both out of necessity and personal preference).

      I would say that in general, she has always given me less-extravaggent gifts then she gives her son. But she does take the time to pick out something that I would personally like. So I think that’s the trick (as with all gift giving) is to find something that your new DIL will like — not necessarily one that has a certain monetary value. :-)

    • My in-laws usually give me a token gift. They don’t celebrate my husband’s birthday very dramatically, so I don’t feel unappreciated. I think that it would be really nice to go with a smaller, but especially thoughtful gift in order to make your DIL feel welcome to the family.

    • MissJackson :

      If your only concern is that it might “look like you’re trying to show up” your daughter-in-law’s family, don’t worry about it.

      Different familiess have drastically different gifting tendencies. My family is not as well off as my husband’s family, but my family goes a little overboard on gifts. My husband’s family is very generous in other ways, but gives much smaller gifts at birthdays and the holidays. I probably get a little bit more from my family, and he probably gets a little bit more from his family, but it’s all in the same ballpark.

      So my family gives bigger gifts to both of us. No big deal. That’s just how my family is, and it’s not a competition. I would never expect a larger gift from his family, nor does my husband think that his family has been “shown up.” [We do give in like kind though — so we give my mom a larger gift than we give his mom at the holidays; luckily for us, they live in different states so there is no comparing of notes which would probably make us re-think this policy.]

    • Original poster here – our DIL is not at all the type to count beans, at all. Before they were married we gave her a thoughtful gift the one year we were together (and we knew what she might like), and other years we had our son take her out to dinner at a nice restaurant on us, which they seemed to enjoy a lot (they are on a limited budget and live far away). One problem is that we don’t necessarily know what she’d like, and our son is not terribly helpful in that respect!

      • Everybody loves a Visa gift card. Send it with flowers if that seems to blah for you.

        I’m sure she’ll appreciate your generosity no matter what you send her. You can always include a gift receipt if you prefer not to go with a gift card/check.

      • This is why my husband’s family is religious about Amazon wish-lists (there are just too many of them now to keep track of what they all would like).

        I love the dinner idea, I think that’s great. Another great idea is finding out from your husband where she goes to the salon and getting her a gift card there — who doesn’t like getting a hair cut or a mani/pedi subsidized by someone else!

        Otherwise, since it’s their first year of marriage together and it can be hard to afford different date nights, you might think of experiential date things they could do in their town. I know we really enjoyed couples cooking classes. Tickets to a comedy show might be nice. Something like that. :-)

        • I love the spa idea. My MIL did this for me as a birthday gift, and it was the best.

      • That sounds like a really kind gift! Especially living on a tight budget, I would love to be able to go out to a nice dinner on my birthday without worrying about the cost. Especially if they’ve just combined finances (assuming they did so when they got married) I’m sure that would be a highly appreciated gift.

    • Are you my MIL? I mean, I know you aren’t, as there are significant differences, but my MIL could have written this. I do really appreciate that I’m another kid and it means a lot to me. That said, it was hard to get used to extravagant gifts since that’s just not how my family of origin operates. My mother doesn’t plan and likes to hunt for fun gifts throughout the year while MIL is in a position to provide larger cash gifts that we can use for fun things we want. It all works out in the end. Kudos to you for accepting DIL as another kid. No advice really, but I think you should give what you can afford, not what you think you should have to give.

    • lucy stone :

      I’ve been with my fiance for 7.5 years and his parents usually give us similar gifts for birthdays. It’s almost always cash or another small token. I think it’s very generous of them but wouldn’t expect them to give them the same amount they give him. I think last year they gave him $100 and me $50, and I thought that was very generous and kind of them.

      My parents do a similar thing for him – my parents are slightly more well off than his parents but tend to give him a gift that is about 75% of that value of what they gave me. Last year they gave me a Nook Color and I believe they got him new dress shirts and a few ties.

    • Geezerette :

      I have a DIL and a SIL, and we give them gifts and/or money equal to what we give our son and daughter. I can’t imagine making a distinction. My own parents have done this with all the inlaws, and only now are cutting back the amount as the extended family has grown so large.

    • Anon in DC :

      I’ve been married about two years now. Every Christmas and birthday, my in-laws give me as much as they give my husband and his sister. And they’re extremely generous gift givers. While I appreciate it, it also makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want them to feel obligated to spend the same amount on me as they do on their children, but I also don’t know how to tell them that without offending them or seeming ungrateful. What makes it even more awkward is that my family has tried to get away from big Christmases, Birthdays, etc. We exchange small gifts and spend time together, rather than spending a lot of money on gifts, since we all pretty much have everything we need anyway. So when I’m at my in-laws opening thousands of dollars (literally) of gifts on Christmas and they ask my husband what he got from my family and he says “a sweater and some grilling tools” it feels so awkard and so terrible (even though I don’t think they’re judging my family…but it’s still awkward).

      So that’s my long way of saying no, I don’t think you need to be equally generous with your daughter-in-law. I think something smaller is appropriate. It’s nice that you’re thinking of her and willing to include her in your traditions and gift giving, but it doesn’t have to be equal.

      • THIS. I am with you, anon in DC.

        I think it’s fine to give a smaller present for your DIL’s birthday. My MIL and FIL are well-off and tend to “over-gift” in my opinion. I come from a lower-middle class family and the large gifts sometimes make me feel uncomfortable. They also DO show up what my Dad is able to gift me, which I don’t care about– if he gave me just a card I wouldn’t care— but he has made comments that suggest he feels bad that he can’t do more for me based on what they give me. It makes me feel so awkward.

  20. Help! I know that people hate these posts but I am going crazy at work. Ok so I should get my period this Thursday.. I have been on the pill for about 7 years and it is like clock work.

    Yesterday morning I thought maybe I was hungover b/c I was sick all day. But then this morning I threw up when I got out of the shower. I had an awful sleep b.c I was so hot and sweating. I couldn’t drink coffee this am b/c the thought made me sick. Now its 11am and I have had about 20 cerrios. Normally I would be starving by now and have had 4 coffees. But I still feel naucious.

    Could this be morning sickness?? I am so worried and cannot focus on a single thing today. I won’t be able to take a test until I get home at 8pm tonight. Please tell me I am crazy and paranoid!!!!!

    • It COULD be morning sickness. But the much more likely thing is that you’ve gotten the horrible stomach bug that was sweeping through much of my area (and probably yours given the marvels of modern travel) recently. All the symptoms you described were pretty typical of it.

      So…yeah. Yay! You could just have a miserable stomach bug! :-P

    • two days of upset stomach and what sounds like a fever breaking overnight… sounds like a short lived flu to me!

    • If the test is negative, know that one side effect of being on the pill is not getting breakthrough bleeding (the term for a “period” when you’re on the pill) any more. (Wish someone had told me that before I freaked out when mine stopped.) Good luck getting through the day. I have no suggestions for how to distract yourself between now and tonight… unless you say you’re sick and go home now, which might be a good idea since you may actually be sick with the flu or something. I hope the test results are what you want them to be!

      • Seriously! I just found this out and honestly I went to 2 gynecologists (recent move so I didn’t have someone I trusted) to make sure!

        Anon, hang in there but it does sound like maybe you should go home in case it is one of the stomach bugs that is going aroudn.

      • karenpadi :

        Thanks! I need to look into this. I haven’t gotten a good “flow” in almost a year and have nightmares about being one of those “I didn’t know I was PG” women in the ER. PG-tests are expensive.

        Anyone else freaked out about buying PG tests? I can buy yeast infection cream, c*ndoms, and tampons without any fear. But tests? I go to a drug store that is miles out of my way at 11pm to avoid embarrassment.

        • Another S :

          You can buy them online. One site I’ve used is early-pregnancy-tests [dot] com. They’re about $1/each. Keeping a few on hand might be more appealing that driving across town at 11pm.

        • I got a whole box on the cheap from Amazon – I threw away the external packaging, but I’m pretty sure it had about 20+ tests for under $10. Now I can take one whenever the paranoia strikes me!

        • To make it worse, in my area, they lock the pregancy tests up to prevent people from shoplifting. This makes sense, as the embarrassment we’re speaking of probably leads to more shoplifting than other items, but it just triples the embarrassment factor of buying them in-store. Also, the deodorant is locked up, and that is just beyond weird :)

  21. Threadjack with a question about seeking out informational interviews. I have indentified a handfull of professionals through linkedin in an area of interest that I would like to chat with. Would you simply send an email requesting a meeting or hunt down a direct number and call them directly?

    If I don’t get a response from my initial attempt at contact, should I reach out a second time or just assume that they don’t have time/interest and not bother them again?

    • Former MidLevel :

      Cold-calling (or emailing) is tough. It would be much better if you could get an introduction (even via email) from someone you know. Talk to your mentors – do they know anyone in this field? Or figure out what type of professional organizations people in your desired field go to and try to get an invite.

      But if you’re going to cold-contact, I would email, with your resume attached. That way, you: (1) are not interrupting these people in the middle of something; and (2) are giving them the chance to sit back and consider whether they want to talk to you.

      Also, I would not reach out a second time. You should expect a low yield from this type of contact; that’s just how it goes. If it works, great.

      • i have a question about this. i’ve been browsing linkedin profiles of attorneys who are in house in positions i aspire to be in. i like getting a sense of how they got there since i’m still pretty junior. of course, linkedin sometimes reveals who has viewed your profile and i saw that one attorney i viewed, viewed my profile in response. you think he’d bite at a cold call for an informational interview?

        • Former MidLevel :

          There’s no way to know but to ask! One caveat, though – sometimes in-house people worry that everyone in private practice who wants to talk to them is trying to get their business. So you might want to be really clear you’re interested in learning about his job, how he got there, etc.

          Btw, you can stop people from seeing that you viewed their profiles in LinkedIn if you want to – the downside is that you can’t see who’s looked at your profile.

      • Hmmm. I’ve always been told to not bring up my resume when seeking out informational interviews because then it would appear that I am contacting them for a job and to only provide a copy of my resume if they ask for one.

        • Former MidLevel :

          That part is up to you. Go with what makes you feel comfortable. My thought was just that providing some information can help – but that can be done in an email as well.

    • Do you have connections in common on LinkedIn? I think that’s the best way to get an introduction.

      Otherwise, I do get cold emails and even calls from time to time (usually from people who went to my alma mater) and I try to be gracious about it and respond, but I don’t always have time for a meeting. I think it’s worth trying, and a follow up email cannot hurt if it’s someone you’re *really* interested in meeting.

    • I did a ton of cold contacting for informational interviews last year. I found people, in general, to be very receptive. I always emailed them, if possible identifying something we had in common (once it was: my brother is an alum of your school), and asked if they had time to do an informational interview over the phone. For the most part people were very receptive and happy to talk to me. I didn’t reach out a second time to anyone who didn’t respond, but I’d say about 80% of the people I emailed got back to me and were happy to talk.

  22. So I’m trying to lose a small amount of weight and am realizing that all those beers out with my friends (I suppose I’ve got a big beer-drinking group of friends) really adds up. I know no alcohol would be best, but any suggestions for cutting down on drinking and/or replacing beer with other drinks? I love wine but I feel like most of the places my friends go to are more beer-driven and the wine there would likely not be so great. Are vodka sodas really that much better for you weight-gain wise than beer? Thanks!

    • My friends who count calories like rum and diet soda (or I suppose vodka and tonic…not sure about calories in tonic). Another idea is getting something stronger that you have to sip more slowly, just so that you don’t drink it as quickly.

      • reminds me of college days and “skinny b!thces” – vodka and diet coke :)

      • Stay far, far away from tonic water if you’re watching calories.

        • And here we run into, once again, the problem where I don’t know the difference between soda water and tonic water. Because I hate both of them.

          But I meant soda water. (By the way, the only thing about Europe I hate is their incessant need to bring be sparkling water…FLAT water please….) :-)

          • Specify “still” water in English-speaking countries and “sans gaz” (without carbonation) in French-speaking ones. If you ask for mineral water, you will almost always get sparkling unless you specify otherwise.

            Club soda, seltzer, and sparkling water are all more or less the same thing (carbonated water, sometimes with flavors). Tonic water contains quinine and has a lot of calories, and should not be consumed by pregnant women because quinine can cause miscarriage.

          • Yeah, in Italy they would often ask if you wanted “flat” water — which took me awhile to figure out. :-)

            The worst was that in every country the labels on the water bottles are different, so when I backpacked I would accidentally by sparkling water sometimes when I crossed borders because the pink label would be still water in Hungary but would be bubbly in Slovenia. Aaargh.

          • @ TCFKAG – I went to a summer program for American high schoolers in Italy at age 15. They served us what we caleld “fizzy” water every damn day. We all hated it. They also served us rabbit once!

            Of course, as an adult I love sparkling water and rabbit.

          • As a teenager, my Italian host-family served me cow-tongue for dinner one night. When people won’t tell you what something is before you eat it, you know you’re in for a surprise (and it had been so drilled into us before we went to politely eat everything, that I tried it, and tried not to show how much I hated it).

            As an adult, I am now a fan of most offal, but tongue is still not my thing. Something about the texture.

          • Equity's Darling :

            Ummm, I loved the fizzy water when I lived in Europe. It’s the best. I like how they have differing levels of carbonation also. Seriously, I never ordered flat water, I was all over the “mit gas”.

            Pfft, ohne gas was the worst.

    • This is my problem, too. Alcohol in general. Not trying to suggest I have a drinking problem – but I enjoy drinking socially, go out relatively frequently, like a cocktail or two at home with the SO, and the one time I added all those drinks to my myfitnesspal, I was not a happy camper. Besides, not actually drinking, what works for me is to order a club soda with whatever I’m drinking. I still drink a beer or whatever else, but I tend to drink a lot less than I normally would because I don’t do any mindless sipping.

      Would love to hear other solutions.

      • Yeah, I usually order water with my drink and force myself to go 1:1 alcohol: water. That really slows me down.

    • I’m a vodka soda girl. It’s almost always lower-calorie than beer, and gives you more alcohol for your caloric buck. Plus, I generally take as long to drink them as someone does a much larger beer, and it’s less noticeable if I want to alternate with water (or stop drinking entirely).

    • Vodka has about 100 calories per shot, and soda doesn’t have calories, so it would probably be a 100 calorie drink. Adding a splash of cranberry juice wouldn’t increase the calories all that much.

      As for cutting down, you could try getting a pint glass of water at the same time as your beer, and force yourself to drink both before getting another drink.

      • This. Or a martini. It’s really helped me when trying to lose weight. Or if you love beer, go with a Mich Ultra … yes, it tastes like water, but it’s still a beer. If you *must* have wine, champagne or red wine has the lowest calories, but then I second the 1:1 advice above.

    • big dipper :

      As someone who’s struggled with their weight all through college and grad school where drinking is ridiculously prevalent, I find your best bet is just to limit your intake of alcohol, period. It’s really annoying, especially if you’re friends drink a lot (mine do too). On the plus side, you mentioned your trying to lose a small amount of weight. If you’re only going to be in a “weight loss” mode for a few months, limiting yourself to 2-3 drinks in an evening out should be easy to plan for/work into your daily intake, and bearable for a few months.

      When you’ve stopped losing weight are are maintaining you’re weight loss, you’ll be able to slightly increase your intake in food/drink. On the days you want to drink more than 2-3 drinks, you can just eat lighter that day.

      I’ve personally found that my body doesn’t really process beer or a vodka soda differently when losing weight – calories are calories after all. Technically, light beers have slightly more calories than a shot of liquor + a 0 calorie mixer, but if you want to keep drinking beer – try MGD64, Bud Select and Heineken Light. They seem to be the lowest in calories.

    • How about enjoying your favorite beer, but just cutting back on the quantity? Life’s too short for crummy booze or substitute drinks, IMO. ;)

      • This is what I do. I enjoy 1-2 drinks when I’m out or relaxing at home (1-3 nights a week, depending on the week – never more than 3). I rarely have more than 2 drinks, but I really enjoy them.

    • White wine spritzers. When you cut it with club soda, it doesn’t matter how good the wine is…

    • Well, to be honest, I don’t tend to drink a ton when I’m out–I just tend to go out a lot. So I’ll have two to three drinks when I’m out (maybe four on a big night) but I went out five nights last week! Not totally typical but I am just trying to anticipate summer bbqs, etc.

      I think it might make sense to switch from beer to something lighter AND add a glass of seltzer in between. THanks!

    • I’m a beer girl (big shocker, I know, coming from the one who lives in WI) – I keep my drinking calories under control by drinking dark, heavy porters and stouts when I’m out. I drink them much more slowly than light or wheat beers and because they’re so intense, I’m done after one or two. A pint of beer doesn’t have a ton of calories – I think Guinness is between 200 and 250.

      Another strategy of mine, if you’re interested, is that when I go out or cook a special meal at home, I usually designate the night as either a beer night or a dessert night. I can have one and treat myself, but I can’t have both. This lets me indulge in something and really get what I want, instead of overdoing it or playing halvsies and trying to go light on both only to end up satisfied.

      Hope this helps!

      • Seconding the stout/darker beer recommendations. If you like beer, I say go for something that you enjoy and only have 1 or 2. Guinness isn’t bad- ~216 for a pint. 126 for a 12 oz bottle.
        Losing weight was much more pleasant on 1 chocolate stout than on 2 Bud lights.

      • I do the same, less for weight related reasons but because I am a lightweight (in the can’t handle a lot of alcohol sense). I love stouts because they’re extremely filling, so I’m happy with just one.

        Another tip is to start the evening with a glass of water (either at the bar – order with your drink, or before/en route). You’ll be less thirsty, so your first drink will last longer and you’ll consume less over the course of the evening.

    • If you frequent bars with sweet tea flavored vodka, I just get it with water and a lemon slice. It’s probably got a decent amount of sugar in it but I just don’t like beer!

    • Have a diet soda every other drink. That way you can still have your beers and you’ll never be without a drink in hand, but you’ll only have half as many calories.

    • Light beer isn’t that bad- try to find one you like and drink it slower. I actually prefer beer to wine for calorie counting because it is much more filling (more water in a beer vs wine for same alcohol content). I think most common light beers are around 120 kcal or less each.

      It’s also helpful to tradeoff- if you’re having a few drinks, makes sure you don’t also indulge in the wings and nachos.

    • I’d go with vodka soda if you really feel like you have to drink (and I don’t mean that in a judgy way– I’ve been in your shoes. I hate not drinking. Booze = yummy). My googling suggests that, depending on proof, vodka ranges anywhere from 55-85 calories per ounce. Figure one ounce per drink, so if you can sip on your drinks and not pound them, you’ll probably be able to cut out a lot of calories that way, esp compared to wine and beer.

    • I thought this was timely. “Which Beers Get You Drunk Without Making You Fat? The Gross Ones, Of Course.” http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2012/03/hellawellas_beeramid_the_lushs.php

    • Agree with vodka sodas . . . but if you drink a lot to begin with, you won’t be saving yourself any calories. Also, be careful – every time I try to stick to “low calorie” liquor drinks, I drink to keep up with my beer drinking friends (drinking out of pint glasses while I’m stuck with a tiny glass that I’m done with in three chugs, I mean, sips), which means I’m drinking double what they are and then I’m the mess at 10 pm. I guess I don’t really have a solution, for you, but perhaps use the drinking as extra inspiration to hit the gym that much harder?

  23. I sit in a cubefarm, and one of the people in this area of the cubefarm has a most annoying habit. He eats soup every single day, and he is operating under the misapprehension that if he only slurps his soup quietly enough, it won’t sound ridiculous. And yet, it is ridiculous. It’s still a slurp. Just a quiet enough one that only 6 people can hear, instead of 12.

    There are minutes of time between slurps, as if he’s trying to spread out the slurping (or the soup, perhaps it’s that good?) But gaah, somebody needs to teach this guy how to eat soup properly and it ain’t gonna be me. I’m not his parent or his wife, those three have dropped the ball, IMO.

  24. Ack. Said something questioning about another person in earshot of someone else last night and it got back to her. Shouldn’t have done it. Beating myself up about it.

    • Apologize sincerely. Mean it. Don’t do it again (though lets be serious, we’ve all been there.)

      It sucks though. This is why on my tiny, tiny college campus we always had to watch what we said. :-P

      • Yeah I did apologize for saying it where someone else could hear and meant it. But also said I wouldn’t have questioned what she said if her attitude toward me and the situation had been better. Walking a fine line.

        • Ah…the classic, “I’m sorry I got caught, but not really sorry I did it” defense. Haha. Sometimes these things are just fortuitous ways of getting stuff out in the open so it doesn’t otherwise poison relationships. :-)

          • Ha ha! No, I am sorry that I said it in front of someone else other than my colleague who I was working with on the problem. I’m not sorry for questioning her motives because I DO question her motives and she needed to hear that and not do it again, so I guess it wasn’t bad, in some ways.

  25. LinkedIn Question :

    What email address do you guys list on LinkedIn?
    I have my personal one on there with the thought that if someone is using LinkedIn to recruit me, I don’t necessarily want that on my work email. But over the weekend I got an email to my personal account from a contact I made through work functions. Either he never got my business card or lost it and wanted to follow up with me so he used the email he found on LinkedIn.
    Do people have personal and work listed? Just work?

    • I list personal; my professional inbox is just too complex to access if I am not at the office. Also, in case of investigation my mailbox can be all scoured for god knows what.
      And in the rare case someone would contact me for work, I would simply copy and paste the email in reply from my work inbox.

    • Personal, for the same reason as you. But I can be searched for using my personal or work email. If someone emails my personal address and I’d rather respond from my work one, I just forward it to my work address and respond.

  26. Resume question:
    I have just received a resume from a job applicant for a marketing position.
    I am not in HR but will oddly receive some applications.

    2 things stroke me in that resume:
    1- The picture with a very large white smile  it was almost like an ad
    2- Next to every company where she had an internship, or school she went to, she had put a picture of the company logo
    That logo insertion really caught my attention and actually made me smile.
    The professional side in me (I do some IP) is cringing at potential IP infringement or trademark dilution.
    However, another part of me things that is a great way to catch attention and show pride in the companies you have been part of.

    Maybe I come from a very colorful cultural background, but being a visual person, I just can’t get that resume off my head.

    What do you think? Is there ever a professional way to play the logos down a notch and eventually make them be professional, memorable and not just name-dropping?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I used to be in HR. This may be one of the ways things are different in Morrocco because I’d put that resume straight in the trash. Is it typical for the job seeker to include a picture of himself or herself? That’s totally outside the norm in the US – I’d take it as a sign of a lack of professionalism at best, and an attempt to influence the hiring process at worst because the person is attractive or a member some demographic (race, gender, etc) that is illegal to consider in hiring decisions in the US. But maybe pictures are common outside the US. As for the logos – totally unprofessional, blatant trademark infringement. Congratulations to the candidate – they have demonstrated an ability to copy and paste images from the internet into documents. They also apparently have no common sense. Trash.

      • We are “obliged” to put our picture on the resume. That’s the French system.
        There are no laws on anti-discrimination so the applicant put marital status, DoB and even what type of driving license they have — shocking I know.

        Hmm, so yes my gut feeling was right, there is copyright infringement..

    • Equity's Darling :

      Including pictures is common and expected in many places, except for Canada/US.

      I find the logo thing sort of odd, but maybe it’s okay some places also?

    • Okay — well I’m not sure its really trademark infringement because (a) she’s clearly associating it with the appropriate company and (b) she’s not using it to market a product or make money — so under US law anyway, it probably would fall under a couple different fair use exceptions (though this isn’t my direct area of expertise).

      But, either way, this resume is not one that I would recommend to anyone seeking a job in the US. Pictures of job seekers are very unusual here and the inclusion of the logos, if nothing else, takes up a lot of unnecessary space which is a real pain when you’re trying to fit a bunch of info into one page. BUT, on the other hand, you’re now thinking about her resume and have come here to post on it, so what do I know. ;-)

    • I think it’s clear that the person has great marketing skills. You can’t get his resume out of your head! I’d definitely bring him in for an interview.

      As for trademark infringement, I ‘m not familiar with Moroccan law, but I don’t think there’d be any infringement here in the US. It’s not like the applicant was claiming he designed the logo or claiming he officially spoke for the company. The word “Nike” is trademarked too – would I be infringing on their copyright if I put on my resume that I worked at Nike? I don’t think so.

    • TM Lawyer :

      In the U.S., the test for infringement is whether the use causes confusion as to source, origin or sponsorship of products or services. On a resume? Unlikely.

      Dilution is very narrow in the U.S. – it only applies to nationally famous marks. And there are exceptions for noncommercial use, etc. So again, probably not a problem.

      This is not to say this person couldn’t get a C&D letter – some companies interpret the “duty to police” very broadly. But it would be a silly claim.

    • “2 things stroke me in that resume”

      OoooOOo. Sounds intimate!

  27. Sorry if this posts twice, I was stuck in moderation.
    This is a travel-related TJ so feel free to skip — London.
    I’ve just learnt that in September, I have a 3-day training in Cotswolds, UK (ya I never heard of that place either).
    I decided that if I am still at my current work in September then I will spend a few days in London and for once do all the cheesy touristy stuff.
    I will go to 2 Cathedrals, watch guard change, visit 2 museums, spin on London eye, ride on double-deckers, have afternoon tea etc.
    Obviously, I have already set up an excel sheet where I drop must-see places, tentative schedule, budgeting and savings to date etc.
    1- I can take anywhere from 4 to 8 days of vacation, what would be a good number of days to stay given that:
    – Accommodation will not be an issue – I am already saving for my trip
    – I would like to visit 3-4 monuments maximum any given day without feeling like I am rushing
    2- What should I wear to be comfortable but not look frumpy. I have heard Londoners have a sharp sense of fashion and I do not want to feel underdressed.
    3- What are some great brands that I would find in UK but not in the US. I am putting aside a shopping budget so I get to buy pieces that have a British flair.
    I have ruled out Mulberry because it exceeds my budget. However, I stumbled upon a brand “Louche” with interesting dresses
    4- I know the weather is very unpredictable in UK but I’d like to pack the necessities and if needed buy things onsite. Can anyone share typical early September weather?
    I am still in the planning phase so any advice is welcome.
    I’ll probably post again in a couple months as I have a clearer plan.

    • When I went to London a few months ago, people posted a great deal of helpful info for me. I’ll try to find it and post the thread link for you. It was great for both restaurant and shopping recommendations.

    • Ooh, ooh, I know this one!

      First, the Cotswalds are absolutely lovely – idyllic rolling hills with local architecture in honey-coloured stone. You may want to take some time just to explore around there a bit. Depending on where exactly you are in the Cotswalds, see if you can get to Blenheim Palace, which is a wonderful place to see (and where Winston Churchill’s family lived). The jumping-off point to the Cotswalds is usually Oxford, so you could also spend a day wandering around there if you have the time.

      Weather in early September should be warm (25 degrees C) and possibly quite humid, but plan to carry a cardigan or light jacket with you just in case, and a small umbrella in your handbag.

      Don’t worry too much about looking frumpy in London – people there wear all sorts of things and if you read this blog you are going to be just fine as long as you are not walking around in yoga pants.

      My shopping recommendations: Hobbs (for work clothes), Brora (for cashmere and other knits), Whistles (for fun clothing), Uniqlo if you don’t have one near you, Monsoon (again, for fun clothes). I wouldn’t recommend Marks & Spencer for clothing generally (they tend to be a touch frumpy), but they have fantastic underwear and the best tights ever.

      If you haven’t been to London before, you should go to the Tower of London – very touristy but really interesting if you do a tour. I also like Hampton Court Palace. However, whatever else you do really depends on your interests. My personal favourite museums are the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Wallace Collection and the Geffrye Museum, but I am really interested in the decorative arts. The Museum of London is also quite good for learning about the history of London.

      A trip to London is *always* good. :-)

    • Always a NYer :

      London!!! <3

      I would stay for at least 5 days, if not more ;) Now onto the recommendations.

      The British Museum is amazing, and there's a Starbucks right across the street so that was a plus for me. The V&A Museum is actually my favorite, there's a dress exhibt that goes back to the 1600s and I could get lost in there (actually, I have). Right down the block from that is The Oratory which is a beautiful Catholic cathedral. Inside is awe-inspiring with all the detail.

      You may be able to get a tour of Parliament, also very cool with all its history. The Churchill War Rooms captivated me – it's an underground bunker where the country was run from during WWII.

      For high tea, I've gone to the Lanesborough and Langham hotels and recommend both. Be sure to ask for crumpets as they don't always serve them (I still lament that they aren't sold in the States). I loved the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, btw.

      London stores to go to are Reiss, LK Bennett, and Hobbs. Great workwear as well as shoes and purses. LK Bennett has a pair of patent leather pointy flats that I'm buying on my next trip to London.

      If you're up for day trips, Hampton Court, Leeds Castle, and Cambridge are great.

      Weather there is unpredictable but when I was there August 2010 it only rained twice, and for like two hours. If you have a trench coat, umbrella, and sunglasses you'll be prepared. When I was there I lived in jeans, polos, and sneakers. For high tea I stepped it up with black pants, flats, and a pretty blouse.

      Have fun planning and enjoy!!!

      • Mmmm, afternoon tea at the Langham Hotel. That was amazing. I would do that again in a heartbeat. Quite apart from the food (and the incredible tea), that room is *gorgeous*. I felt like a princess just sitting there.

      • Another Zumba Fan :

        I also recommend a day trip to Bath. I could retire there.

        Camden Lock Market, Richoux for breakfast, river cruise down the Thames to Greenwich…like others, London is one of my favorite cities!

    • I LOVE London. Like, it’s my favorite city in the world love it. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Be prepared for it to be cold and rainy. Eat at St. John’s. The first time I went to London I actually took one of those tourist buses around. It was well worth it to make sure I got to see all the major sights without having to rush and stress out. For your churches, I’d suggest actually seeing Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s, and Westminster Cathedral (so that’s 3). You really can’t beat the British Museum so definitely include that as one of your two museums. I’d go to either the Tate Modern (if you prefer modern art) or the National Gallery (if you like European painting) but there are dozens and dozens of museums to choose from so it’s hard to pick just two.

      For shopping, I don’t have much advice because I don’t like to shop that much, although I like the Covent Garden area and there are a lot of shops there. I would say that Harrod’s is worth a visit for tourism purposes only; it’s unreal.

      I’m so excited for you (and a little jealous)!

      • I’ll second Bluejay’s suggestion to take a bus tour of London on your first day there – you will at least get a quick look at the sights and it can help set the geography in your head. If the weather is good, I recommend taking local buses rather than the Underground because you’ll see more.

        If you’re a foodie, go to Borough Market on Saturday. This can easily be combined with visiting Southwark Cathedral and/or the Tate Modern.

        I’ve been to London about 5-6 times and I try to explore a different part of the city on each trip.

        You will have a fantastic time!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I would suggest you cut the museums/monuments/churches down to 2, maybe 3, a day, honestly. I was in London for 4 days in July, and I decided I was making the absolute most of my trip, so my itinerary started with 3 or 4 things a day.

      I have never been so exhausted in my entire life. Yes, I saw everything, but I literally couldn’t walk by the end of it. And after London, we took the train up to Edinburgh for another 3 days, and honestly I was so tired from London that I didn’t get to see as much of Edinburgh as I would have liked. So be sure to build in some breaks (maybe a nice long lunch… we usually just grabbed sandwiches).

      If I remember correctly, we did: Day 1: Westminster Abbey, National portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Art; Day 2: British Museum, Imperial War Museum; Day 3: Tower of London, St. Paul’s, Tate Modern, glanced at the outside of the Globe; Day 4: tour of Parliament, Churchhill War Rooms, Museum of City of London.

      We also strolled past Buckingham Palace and a couple of other various monuments/things without tours (and hunted down a blue police box so I could pretend to be Doctor Who… but I digress). If I was planning it again, I would cut out the Tate Modern (because it turns out, I hate modern art) and would maybe try to see some of the things that are further outside the City Center (some of the palaces, maybe). I think I had a couple of other museums initially that we cut out. Also, Parliament only gives tours to foreign nationals on I believe Saturdays, unless you happen to be super lucky and know someone who works for Parliament. My friend does, and got us a small tour like the UK citizens get, and it was awesome. So see if you can find a connection who works for an MP and get a tour.

    • Makeup Junkie :

      I also recommend London Walks – walks dot com. I’ve never had a bad tour from that company

  28. Gail the Goldfish :

    Styling question: I bought a green pencil skirt from the Limited (link to follow to avoid moderation)–it’s like bright kelly green. Beyond white, what colors can I wear it with?

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      This skirt:


      It’s brighter and less minty green than it looks in the picture

      • Pretty! I like the way it’s paired with blue. If you’re feeling less bold, just do a navy – I think it would look great. Other options – cream, gray, black, another complimentary shade of green (darker or lighter), pale yellow, periwinkle, very light pink, coral… Or what about a print? Just look for something with a complimentary shade in the pattern.

      • Navy and pale gray are my first instincts – other purple-y jewel tones if you’re not multiple-color-averse like me :)

      • Former MidLevel :

        Second all the suggestions above. If you’re feeling bold, I love fuchsia with kelly green. Maybe mix in a neutral like white, e.g., white sweater and fuchsia scarf or necklace or fuchsia top and white sweater/jacket.

      • I also think, if you’re feeling bold, a bright yellow could be really fun. Especially if you could find like a silk top with a pattern that mixes bright yellow and white and then a white cardigan, it would be so nice and summery.


    • phillygirlruns :

      navy, coral/orange, fuchsia or other darker pinks/purples with a lot of blue in them, yellow, leopard (not a color, but still). not a huge fan of black or brown with kelly green – it can work but i think other colors are better.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      thanks, everyone! I’m color impaired, I swear.

  29. Amelia Pond :

    Since this is a group who reads a lot, has anyone read 50 Shades of Gray? It is apparently the new hotness and I wanted opinions.

    • Sure, I’ve read it, its called my wardrobe.


      (P.S. Haven’t read the book, no.)

    • I keep seeing articles about how it’s the hot new thing and popular with my demographic, but I’ve never even heard a single person mention having read it (and my friends mention reading Twilight and the Hunger Games, so it’s not like they’re embarrassed about it).

      • Amelia Pond :

        That’s what I keep running into. Everyone is talking about how popular this book is but I can’t find anyone who has actually read it.

      • I read all three Hunger Games books this weekend. I’m a little scarred frankly (I mean, they’re amazing…but omigosh so violent).

      • Its a bondage book

        • These are women who discuss their personal s-x lives with me. They’re not going to be shy about discussing a s-xy book.

    • I have talked to someone who read it – she thought it was atrocious (and she’s not a literature snob). Apparently it is (a) weirdly creepy, because the “Edward” character kind of forces the “Bella” character into a BDSM relationship that only comes off as semi-consensual, and (b) not actually all that hot.

      • I haven’t read it, but it’s my understanding that it’s basically tame-ish erotica, as in you aren’t purchasing a book in that section but you’re getting a good taste of what you would find there. In other words, if you’re interested in reading something along those lines but don’t know where to begin… voila! As with all things of this nature, what one finds interesting, for lack of a better word, is going to be very personal. I am sure it is quite a fun read for some people and that others will find it abhorent.

        On the more disturbing for me side – my SO’s mother just started reading it. I totally don’t begrudge her the entertainment, just hope that she doesn’t bring it up again as she gets more into the book.

        • Overshare :

          My SIL just read it and announced on FB how much she loved it. TMI. Then again, so is her mother constantly writing on SIL’s wall how SIL and my brother need to get busy making grandbabies.

    • Trash Books, Smart B!tches blog (they review romance novels) has had some posts on it in the past weeks, basically looking at it’s popularity. The blogger was not a big fan of the book, thought it was pretty juvenile and poor conceived, and that there were several better examples of the themes in the book found elsewhere in the romance/er*tica sphere.

      The popularity of the book makes me think of middle school girls giggling over that “naughty” romance novel they found on their mom’s bookshelf.

      • http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/50-days-of-50-shades

        • Praxidike :

          You could also check out http://www.dearauthor.com, which did a review of 50 Shades’s popularity.

      • And…the link is in moderation, due to the website name. So here’s the modified version –
        smartb(!)tchestrashybooks (dot) com/blog/50-days-of-50-shades

        Just replace the exclamation point with an i

    • I haven’t read it, but all of the articles I’ve seen on it have been focusing on how it started as Twilight fanfic. I think the original Twilight fans might be getting to the age for tame erotica, so maybe they’re the ones driving the sales?

    • Praxidike :

      Ugh. It is Twilight BDSM fanfic. I like romance/er0tica, but not to my taste at all.

  30. Another Friend Issue :

    My best friend is “the other woman” to a marriage, as of about 30 days ago. I cannot stand this concept. And it is making ME nuts. I have told her I disapprove, but of course that has changed nothing. I can’t stand to listen to her talk about it, and of course it is the only thing she talks about. I barely see her now, and in her absence, I am starting to paint a picture of her as someone I really don’t like. I’m not sure I can maintain the friendship. Am I overreacting? Anyone been here?

    • Anonymous :

      Nope, you are right. You do not share the same values, it seems.

    • Always a NYer :

      I don’t think you’re overreacting. Cheating of any sort is not something I tolerate, at all. She knows what she’s doing is wrong, and even if she doesn’t, she will because they rarely ever leave their wives.

      I was sort of in your shoes in college when a guy friend started hooking up with a girl everyone knew was in a relationship. It was testy because he knew I didn’t approve and I wouldn’t talk with him because it bothered me that much. When it ended, and it always does, he did tell me how he should have listened to me and stayed away from her. While we still talk, our friendship isn’t what it used to be.

      I’m a firm believer in show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are. Just thinking about one of my friends being “the other woman/man” makes my skin crawl. I know people will say that you should mind your own business because it’s not you, but this is someone you consider a friend, someone you trust. I would, and have, lost trust because of a friend acting like this.

      Now, this may sound harsh, but I lose all respect for someone who is part of an adulterous relationship and want nothing to do with them. They may have other redeemable qualities but I really don’t care at that point. You need to ask yourself if you can see yourself looking at her the same because of this. If you can’t, we both know what you need to do. This is hard and something you have no control over.

    • Anon this time :

      People get into these situations for all sorts of reasons. I’m not saying it’s right, but keep an open mind as you may not know all the facts. As well, trust me, your friend knows that what she is doing is “wrong” in the conventional sense, and it probably took a lot of guts for her to even mention it to you the first time. And finally, these things never end well. Don’t judge your friend for her decision, because she is probably going to end up being very unhappy and will need true friends to support her later.

    • I probably wouldn’t break up with a friend about this — but I also wouldn’t play into any fake fantasies she may have about this relationship. I’d be honest with her that I think she’s likely to get hurt and that I think this is a bad idea, but that otherwise I’d really rather talk about other things. And then I’d change the subject.

      But do remember — you have no idea, really, what the guys situation is. He may be in an open marriage, his wife may know and not care, his wife may suspect and not care, or he’s a total d-bag (and frankly, your friend is as likely to get hurt as anyone.) The lifetime on this sort of thing isn’t long and your friend is likely to realize the error of her ways, so don’t completely abandon a best friend over a really bad choice.

      • Another Friend Issue :

        I should add that I know both spouses, and I know they do not have an open marriage, this is a secret, there is suspicion and explicit denial, and I know they care.

        • Well, that’s a bird of a different feather. And here’s the thing — I’m still not sure I’d break up with her because of her “values” per se, but she’s putting you in an incredibly awkward position. She needs to understand that when this blows up (which of course it will) — she’s not the only one facing shrapnel.

          But — I guess I will say this — best friends (or any friends) are hard to come by. And this sort of thing, while horrible, happen a lot. So I’d try to save my friendship, if I can, while still being honest with my friend that I think she’s making a big mistake and shouldn’t be doing what she’s doing.

        • Oh, yikes. If you know both spouses, TCFKAG is right… when this blows up, you’re going down with the ship just for knowing about it. I would tell Other Woman Friend that you care about her, but even talking about this makes you feel complicit in something you think is wrong and will ultimately lead to heartbreak for everybody involved.

          As for your friendship, well. I don’t know what to say. On the one hand, we’re all human, and we all make mistakes, sometimes big ones. My guess is that ultimately, she will truly regret this. The question is whether you can stick it out until she gets there.

          • I think this is a very compassionate response. Most of us have engaged in a romantic relationship that overwhelmed our good sense. No one says you have to support her in this choice, but I personally don’t agree that her decision in this matter defines her as a person.

    • I generally try not to be too judgy about most things, and I’ve never been in your shoes, but I don’t know if I could be friends with her either. I can’t think of any excuse she could come up with that would make that situation better.

    • Another Zumba Fan :

      When one of my college roommates told me she was involved with a married man, I was disgusted and didn’t speak to her for three years. Then I got over it. I reached out first. We’re not as close now only because our lives grew in different directions. (She’s not with married man.) I still consider a good friend though. It’s her life, not mine.

    • I don’t think I could maintain a close friendship with someone whose values differed so significantly from my own. That doesn’t mean you have to cut her out completely, but I wouldn’t tolerate any discussion of the affair and if she asked you for your opinion, I would make no bones about condemning her actions. You don’t have to be super judgy about it, but a simple “there is no context in which it is ok to have s-x with a married man” and changing the subject will do.

      I was in a similar situation when my best friend was cheating on her boyfriend. It’s not exactly the same thing, and she was planning on ending the relationship but wanted to wait until after the holidays to do so. Every time she mentioned going out with the new guy, I told her that “John” didn’t deserve to be cheated on and that she should wait until she had broken up with John before going out with the new guy. I also told her that I could not go out with her and John because I felt like I was implicitly lying to him by pretending their relationship was OK. It was a bit awkward, but she’s my friend and she deserves to hear it straight – that’s what friends are for. She appreciated my honesty and felt a lot better about herself and her new boyfriend after she broke up with “John.” And if she had gotten mad at me for telling her the truth, well, then we wouldn’t be friends anymore because we obviously don’t share the same values.

    • Dump her. She’s shown who she is and, believe me, she’ll be happy to throw you under the bus to get what she wants in the future.

      • Hypothetical question: suppose she and the guy decided to be together…or any woman who was with a married man and then he left his wife and they decided to have a “real relationship”…could you be friends with her/them?

      • Another Friend Issue :

        Actually, on the “throwing me under the bus” part, I can confidently say you are wrong. I completely understand where the conclusion comes from, and I might draw the same one about the circumstances on paper, but it simply doesn’t hold here.

    • Hypothetical question: suppose she and the guy decided to be together…or any woman who was with a married man and then he left his wife and they decided to have a “real relationship”…could you be friends with her/them?

      • I know this was posed at the OP, but in my mind, if the married man was that unhappy in his current relationship that he was willing to cheat, he needs to get out before he does or use it as a catalyst to fix his marriage. I know that is easier said than done, BUT… it does permanently affect how I see a person. I don’t begrudge someone happiness, and if they find it outside of their marriage, fine. But be a decent human being and get out in the kindest way possible (i.e., not betraying your spouse or SO).

        • Sorry, hit reply without finishing! My point is that knowing all of this, I would have a hard time truly being friends with the formerly-married-man, because my view of him would be permanently colored. I’m not so sure about the friend – maybe we could get back to normal, maybe not.

      • Another Friend Issue :

        A very good question, and one I am struggling with. I’m having trouble visualizing myself hanging out with them together and maintaining civility. I am attributing a lot of negative qualities to both of them at the moment. Even if I can make it work with my friend, all I see in the cheater is someone who is selfish, needy, attention-seeking, deceitful, incapable of satisfaction (and did I mention selfish?) against whom I need to protect my friend. But I don’t know if that would still be true 6 months or 1 year of mutual happiness, plus a divorce, from now. Maybe I just need to step away and see how this plays out?

      • Maybe if there was real repentance on their parts. Definitely not immediately after he left his wife. But there definitely are some people who begin relationships in bad circumstances, but eventually decide to get back on the right path, and I wouldn’t continue to not be friends with her in this scenario.

    • I know we’re supposed to take the high road and not judge, but man, I would have a REALLY hard time with this sort of behavior, to the point where I’d be asking myself the same question you are. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer, but wanted you to know that you’re not unreasonable for feeling this way.

    • Anon here :

      Been there, done that, and dealt with it by sitting her down, along with another friend who felt the same way I did, and told her that she was our friend, we loved her, but we could not and would not support her in this, and that we couldn’t even be a part of a conversation about it. We told her we didn’t even want to hear about it. I don’t think any of us are all good or all bad. I despise cheating, absolutely despise it, but I am not going to write someone off as a friend for this character fault alone. It was over ten years ago, and this person is someone whose company I enjoy, who I admire in many ways, and who has repeatedly been a very good friend to me. I am glad I kept her as a friend.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i don’t think you’re overreacting and would have a hard time with it as well. yes, in life things are often complicated, but sleeping with a married person is never the right answer no matter how complicated things are. i don’t think i’d formally break up with a close friend over this, but i’d distance myself and be clear about why if she asked.

      fwiw, my husband has a friend who routinely cheated on his girlfriends during and after college, including the woman he is now married to. i have no respect for this guy, even though i have no idea whether he still cheats. my husband doesn’t think that one bad quality (here, infidelity) automatically makes someone a bad person, and was able to look past that and maintain the friendship, though not the same level of trust he otherwise might have.

    • Anon for this :

      As someone who was once in your friend’s shoes, I probably have a more compassionate take than most of the other posters. I made a (several months-long) mistake about two years ago, and I desperately, desperately wish I could go back and do it all over again. I confided in a few people after the fact because I couldn’t bear it anymore, and I’m still working through it with my SO. I beat myself up about it on a daily basis.

      Keep in mind that she’s probably operating in an alternate reality bubble. When that bubble bursts, as it will, she may be shattered. I know that being confronted with the consequences of my incredibly selfish actions was devastating. Your friend may come to view this as the biggest mistake she’s ever made, and I don’t think lecturing her or turning your back on her in a self-righteous huff is the answer. Now that you’ve told her how you feel about what she’s doing, I would keep my distance. You certainly don’t owe her a friendly ear to gush to. I wouldn’t burn any bridges, though, unless you don’t think you can be there for her (without saying “I told you so”) when this relationship inevitably bottoms out.

      • devil's advocate :

        For everyone saying not to burn bridges with the friend, I ask you this. What if you found out it were your husband she was sleeping with? Would that change how you looked at it?

        • Well…if she was sleeping with MY husband, that’s a pretty personal attack on me. So yes, I’d view that differently. But I think that’s a pretty rational line to draw.

          • devil's advocate :

            If you draw the line at it happening to you personally, how could you not when it’s someone else? I’m not trying to be argumentitive, rather understand your reasoning. Personally, if I won’t tolerate it happening to me, I won’t tolerate it when applied to other people.

          • Because what we’re talking about is wether I would try to save my friendship with this person and whether I really think that her having this relationship somehow makes my friendship with her impossible. So if she slept with my husband, that’s a pretty fair statement about her valuation of OUR friendship AND would make me unable to be friends with her, fairly quickly ending the friendship. Whereas, while I don’t approve of what she’s doing with this other woman’s husband, its not something she’s doing TO me. So the personal feelings I have to it (rather than moral feelings) are less powerful.

            I mean, I guess its something of an arbitrary line, but taken to its most logical extreme, your rational would mean that I would have had to stop being friends with a lot of people over the years (for example, if I had to stop being friends with a guy every time he broke up with a friend of mine and she was upset). I went to a very small school, all my friends dated!

        • Someone sleeping with my husband is in addition to cheating, which is a huge character flaw, also saying that she (or he, I supposed) doesn’t value my friendship. Someone cheating on someone else has the character flaw of cheating, which is a pretty huge one, but hasn’t also slapped me in the face a hundred times.

        • Anon for this :

          Well, as noted above, some people wouldn’t be able to forgive a friend in this situation. For some people, maybe it is a matter of putting yourself in the shoes of the person whose spouse is being unfaithful and finding it just to awful to comprehend. But a friend sleeping with another friend’s husband is a violation of the friendship as well as an act of showing disrespect for the marriage (i.e., two wrongs making a very, very big wrong). In my mind, OP forgiving her friend for making a mistake is more akin to forgiving a philadering husband in your hypothetical. The question in both situations is if you value the relationship enough to truly forgive the transgression. If you view the wrong as too grave or the relationship as too trivial, then the answer would be no.

      • Another Friend Issue :

        Yeah, the “self-righteous huff” is the part I’m trying to avoid. I don’t want to end a friendship because I’m judging this one (very bad) decision. (Self-righteous usually comes from the other direction in our friendship.) I guess I’m trying to determine whether that is all that is going on here, or if I’m finding out something about her character that I didn’t know before, and then if I can live with it.

        • Can you just “dial down” the friendship? I would tell her that until the situation was resolved i.e. ended or he left his wife for her, I wasn’t comfortable spending a lot of time with her. It would make me uneasy being really close friends with her at this time, almost like I was condoning it.

        • Another Friend Issue :

          After reading this, I want to add that I don’t actually see this as one bad decision. It is a series of terrible decisions that is perpetuating the affair for the purpose of deepening the relationship — not a single night of fun or whatever.

          • D Train South :

            Wow! I could have written this post myself. Going through something similar, with so many sordid twists I can’t even get into it. It is making me crazy, even though it is not my life. I totally get that. Like you, I worry about what will happen if there really is a divorce and an ongoing relationship. I feel like I’m just going to think my friend caused the break-up. In fact, that is her explicit goal now. I think that’s worse than just getting caught up in emotion/hormones.

  31. holy moly!! For $760 it better be made out of gold.

work fashion blog press mentions