Thursday’s TPS Report: Twill Shift Dress

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

Tahari Twill Shift DressReader J wrote in a while ago to recommend this dress, which she says she’s been wearing nonstop: “I am a black sheath fiend and I find that this is the most flattering black sheath I’ve ever worn. It isn’t lined, but the fabric drapes nicely enough that I don’t find it to be a problem with tights. In the summer I might wear a loose slip if necessary. A pretty good deal too. The back ribbon seems kind of random in the photo, but when you try it on it really makes the shape.”  Sounds wonderful!  It was $188, then marked to $125, but is currently $93.75 (sizes 0 to 16 still left!). Tahari Twill Shift Dress

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



  1. I feel awful. I think my cat may have eaten some floss last night. Around midnight I came upstairs, but forgot to bring a liner for the trash can. My husband had used the floss and set it on the bathroom counter since there was no liner. This morning we couldn’t find any sign of the floss. I’ve never seen her jump on the bathroom counter, but that’s no guarantee that she wasn’t up there. She was fine this morning and ate and used the litter box.

    I just hate to think she might die b/c of my stupid mistake. I carpool with my husband and I was going stay home and take her to the vet but when we called they said they couldn’t really check anything with an x-ray. They said they could make her vomit or use a scope to get the floss out. But since we’re not 100% sure she ate it, they said to watch her and see if she gets sick.

    My husband was so mad and yelling at me the whole car ride to work. When he’s angry he has a tendency to bring up wrong things I’ve done in the past so I got to relive all my past mistakes. I just feel so awful. I already have issues with depression and self-esteem so this definitely does not help.

    It’s funny, yesterday I found out that I got a long awaited promotion at work, so I was actually feeling good about myself. Now I’m just back to feeling worthless. I’m just doing my best to make it through the day and just hoping and praying that my little kitty is okay.

    • I completely understand how you’re feeling. One of my dogs ate a SAFETY PIN because I’m an absolute idiot and left it on the floor for them to find, and I felt completely terrible for days until she passed it safely. Try not to beat yourself up too badly (and maybe, at some point, have a conversation with your husband about beating you up badly over something like this). Watch her, give her extra love, and I’m sure she’ll be fine.

    • Wasn’t it equally your husband’s responsibility to find another place to dispose of the floss?

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Quite – I don’t really understand why he is yelling at you when HE was the one who left the floss there in the first place?

      • I’d say it was entirely his responsibility. He could have gotten the liner himself.

        • S in Chicago :

          Or disposed of in another trash can. I don’t even see where this is remotely on you.

      • This. Seriously, he bears more responsibility than you do, and the fact that he yelled at you like you were a disobedient child would really make me angry.

        • Amelia Earhart :


          Congratulations on your promotion, focus on that and maybe treat yourself to something (even if it’s small). You are not worthless!

      • I did tell him that I wish he had explicitly told me last night that he had laid the floss on the counter and to bring a liner up. I figured I could get it the next morning b/c there wouldn’t really be any trash to throw away. I do feel at fault for being lazy and not bringing the dang thing up earlier, but I just dont’ feel I should take all of the blame on this issue.

        • He is an adult and it was his floss. The trash can would not have broken if he used it without a liner. You literally have zero blame. I cannot even imagine how mad I would be at my husband if he suggested I had any blame in this scenario.

        • Wow…I don’t want to upset you more, but I think that if this behavior from your husband is consistent, you might consider counseling, at least for yourself.

          What I heard you say is:
          Person A used floss, then saw there was no trash can liner. Person A then laid dirty, used floss on the counter. At some point Person A may have told person B, who was downstairs, that a trash can liner was needed, but did not mention the dirty gross floss Person A left on the counter. Person B, completely unaware that there was any pressing need for the liner, forgot to bring one up. Person A did not walk to the liners and get one himself. Person A did not tell anyone he left floss on the counter. Person A went to bed and slept fine. In the morning, Person A yelled at person B because Person A had left trash laying around and did not take care of it, and a pet may have eaten it.

          Do I have that right? If that’s not emotional abuse/control, I don’t think I know what is. if it were a one time thing, that would be one thing, but it sounds like this is persistent, and then he berates you. He sets you up and then berates you.

          Your cat will probably be fine, she just as likely was PLAYING with it (my cats LOVE to play with floss) and it’s under a cabinet or something somewhere in the house. She probably had a GRAND time with it all night. Watch her for lethargy or trouble with bowel movements. She’s probably fine. It’s YOU I am worried about.

          • Completely agree. This isn’t your fault and you don’t deserve to be berated for your husband’s mistake. Why couldn’t he walk downstairs or wherever to another trashcan to throw away the floss? I mean, seriously, who just leaves used dental floss on the counter? That’s gross. I really hope this is just a one off and he’s reacting terribly because he’s concerned about the cat and feels bad, but isn’t handling is anxiety well. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.

          • Agree that this sounds like emotional abuse control- it’s more than he is just being an a hole. Especially the “brings up past failings” your husband was standing next to a toilet tha flushes. And a trash can (even if it was unlined) and it sounds like there was another can nearby- but he thinks it’s your fault? And makes you feel like it was your stupid mistake? Honestly that is so at from the truth, that it seems like he has really done a number on you. I also strongly hope you get counseling.

          • Anon for This :

            I hate to pile on, but I want to chime in so that you can really see that none of this is your fault, and that your husband is being beyond horrible to you in a way that nobody deserves.

            And excuse me, but the timing seems a tiny bit coincidental — you get a promotion, you’re (justifiably) flying high, and he trumps up some ridiculous reason to yell at you and bring you down a peg because he needs you to be feeling awful about yourself.

          • Senior Attorney :

            That was me above. I was anon yesterday for something super personal but I have no problem owning the above. Big hugs to you!

          • Anon for This, I hadn’t even put that together, but you’re absolutely right. That’s another red flag.

          • Cosign Senior Attorney and Sadie.

          • Joanna Toews :

            Cosign all of the above.

          • Cosign as well. My father behaved like this. He would somehow psychically know when someone in the household had a test, interview, or some other major event, and that is who he would pick a fight with that morning. He also has anger problems and blames others for his errors.

            If his behavior is part of a larger pattern, please get help!

    • Stuff like this happens with pets. I think your cat will likely be fine with 1 “dose” of floss, even if it does end up with a vet visit. Also, don’t discount the fact that she might have just batted it around a bit since it looks like a fun bit of string and batted it all the way under some cupboard.

      I agree with above that I’d be more concerned about your husband’s behavior. I mean, it was actually his fault that the floss was left there for the cat to find. Why couldn’t he dispose of the floss somewhere else? The fact that he gets angry over accidental mistakes and takes it out on you is worrying.

      • Diana Barry :

        +100, I would be more concerned with your husband’s behavior. Hugs!

    • 1) Perhaps she hid it or it slid off under the counter. I hope the cat is ok.
      2) I hope that your husband is being a jerk because he is stressed and worried and it is just manifests weirdly. But, honestly, my husband would get an earful if he thought that yelling at me for his not throwing something away was ok. Sounds like you guys need a very serious discussion on fighting fair.
      3) If you aren’t already, look at treatment for your depression.

    • Thank you ladies for your responses.

      I told my husband he could have put the floss in the can even without a liner, but he said he didn’t want me having to touch the floss. In our master bath, there is a separate water closet with a door and there is a can in there. I’m not sure why he didn’t think to put it in there. From now on, all floss will be going in that other trash can. We did check around the bathroom and bedroom floor, but couldn’t find it. I thought maybe it had slid down the sink but I didn’t pull the stopper to try and check that.

      Earlier in the evening I had thought about bringing the liner up for the trash, but then I decided to do it later. At midnight I was tired and just forgot about it. I should have just done it ealier when I was thinking about it.

      There are definitely deeper issues in our marriage that need to be addressed. I really feel there is a pattern where he immediately blames me when something goes wrong. We just recently moved into this house, so things have been a bit chaotic with boxes, unpacking etc. Over the weekend we couldn’t find a box with some paintbrushes in it and his first reaction was to blame me for misplacing it. I looked around the house multiple times and couldn’t find it, but he was literally pouting all day and grumpy about not finding it. I finally went out and bought a new brush so he could finish the touch ups he needed to do.

      When something goes wrong, I feel that I react differently. I’m more about finding a solution to the immediate problem rather than being angry and going on about why things went wrong. It’s definitely important to learn from your mistakes, but sometimes I feel that re-hashing things over and over just isn’t beneficial.

      Thanks again for the comments.

      • I’ve been married for 25+ years and earlier in our marriage, my husband definitely had a problem of blaming me for things going wrong. It took a long time for him to be aware that there was a problem, and then to be mindful enough to work on changing his behavior. However, it rarely (if ever) happens anymore. I think he has a personality that gets frustrated easily, and when things go wrong (whether by his own fault or due to no one’s fault), he needs an outlet. In addition to being mindful, I also think that just getting older and more mature helped.

        And I definitely react the way you do, solving the problem rather than blaming anyone for it.

      • I used to be a little like your husband in that I would get frustrated in general and then blame my SO for things. While the things I blamed him may have been traceable to him, they really were not a big deal in the long run, and I realized it was much more productive not to get mad.

        One thing that helped was thinking about asking him for help with something not because he had to fix the problem because he caused it, but because he loves me and wants to help me. We also have unpacked boxes around, and if I need help finding something, it’s so much better just to say, “hey, could you help me figure out where we have xyz stashed” rather than “if you had labeled the boxes better, I could have found xyz, so now find xyz for me.” Eventually, I stopped thinking about things in the blame-way (and I even had trouble coming up with how I would have blamed him for xyz being missing in this example!).

        Hugs to you and your kitty. I think she will be fine, though.

      • Your post is still full of red flags. His excuses for why he didn’t put the floss in the can …why would YOU have had to touch dirty floss, why couldn’t HE have taken the liner you brought up and moved his dirty floss from the unlined can to the now-lined can. It’s a BS excuse designed to make you feel like he was being NICE to you and look, you ruined it.

        “I should have just done it earlier”

        no. He should have done it. This was simply never your fault or responsibility. In a non abusive/non-controlling relationship, even if person A asked person B to bring up the liner, if this happened, person B’s normal response would be “it’s my fault, I should have gotten it, it was my dirty floss.” (not to mention…who took out the trash last? In my house, when you take the trash out, you put the new liner in. In my house, this is also my husband’s job, lol)

        You clarify every single thing with “I feel”, like you are not sure you’re entitled to make statements without qualifying that it’s only how you feel. (Subtext being, “I know it might not be right or valid”) Do you “feel” you react differently or do you actually react differently? Do you feel there is a pattern of him blaming you or is it a pattern you can see? Contrast your post with tesyaa’s, who said “my husband definitely had a problem of blaming me for things going wrong.”

        Are there repercussions/ anger from him if you state something he doesn’t agree with without clarifying that it’s only how you feel?

        I hope you guys are able to work through these issues like Tesyaa was able to. You don’t say how old you two are or how long you’ve been married. But if a friend of mine came to me with this story , I would be very, very concerned.

        • Person A’s normal response, I meant. The person who left the dirty junk on the counter should recognize their fault.

        • Abusive partners also sometimes threaten the pets of the family (I recently heard a story in my community that involved the death of the family pet as an enforcement measure against the wife and children.) If your spouse is making the argument that your failure endangered your beloved pet, which is super crap for all sorts of reasons already well covered here, he might be using that threat – of harm to the cat – as an indirect way to manipulate you.

      • I’ve caught my wonderful/awful cats eating all sorts of things, including floss and ribbon. I try to catch them before they swallow it, but I’m sure they’ve snuck some by me. One of my cats has a thing for wool. I’ve lost multiple hats and socks to her, but generally it just comes out one end or the other. I wouldn’t worry too much unless that cat starts behaving oddly.

        • My cat loves alpaca. If I’m knitting with a ball of alpaca, she puts her whole face in it, with her mouth open, to smell it.

          • Yeah, mine just eats the wool. Apparently it is a behavior in Siamese cats, but she’s a rescue cat that is not Siamese. Our current casualty count is 1 mitten, 1 hat, and 1 pair of Smartwool socks. I just got a Smartwool jacket, and I’m very careful to not allow her near it. The first time I put it on, she tried to sneak a bite of the lining.

    • My big boy cat would not stay away from things like ribbon and floss. We couldn’t ever put a ribbon on a package or he would eat it. It didn’t kill him. In fact, I distinctly remember gingerly pulling floss out of his rear end at some point. It was mint and he dug it out somewhere. I once cried the whole way to PA from LA because he had gotten into ribbon before we left. And he was fine. Don’t blame yourself and I’m sorry your husband is being such an a$$.

      • Thanks! I’ve been tearing up all morning. I’m staying away from Google and just trying to focus on work. There is really nothing I can do except keep a close eye on her. She was perfectly fine this morning so I’m hoping if the next few days are smooth she will be okay.

        • Fingers crossed that she will be fine. Despite his tendency to eat ribbon and floss, my boy lived a long and pampered life (he died of kidney failure at 18).

      • Sorry to be graphic, but after my cat ate a huge piece of twine (like, 10 inches), I just had to be patient and, um, watch for it reappear. He was walking around for two days with twine coming out of his butt. The vet told me to just watch him and leave him alone. I was, of course, a nervous wreck. He was fine.

      • Yes! My Lab had a thing for pantyhose for a while. According to the Google, no dog could live through what she consumed – so in this case, Google was not helpful. However, I will caution that when it does “reappear,” if it does not come all the way out, do not pull – let it come out on its own. My vet advised that even gently pulling can be harmful, if it is twisted around something on the inside (I imagine this is far less likely with a piece of floss, though, than with full length pantyhose – ew ew ew). Give kitty some extra fiber, and it shouldn’t be a problem for her to pass it. If it won’t pass on its own after a few days, then go to the vet just to make sure it can come out on its own.

        And cosign the above – your husband is out of line here; he sounds like he’s manipulating you (i.e., making you feel poorly to relieve his own bad feelings about not properly disposing of the floss, as was his responsibility). I would be careful as this course of events, in conjunction with your other info, makes it sound like borderline emotional abuse.

    • I hope your cat is okay, but no matter what happens there, your husband maybe needs to tone it down a little. I’m sure he’s scared too, but that’s no excuse to beat you when you’re down.

    • I will echo what others have said – your cat will likely be fine and your husband is being an huge jerk.

      Animals eat all sorts of things they shouldn’t and generally are fine. They give us all heart attacks and major stress however!! Keep doing what you are doing in re: the cat. Hugs!

      I know you didn’t really ask for advice about your husband, but that is really no way to treat another person. Berating you for something that wasn’t your fault AND bringing up things that he thinks you did wrong in the past is completely unacceptable. I get the feeling that your husband wouldn’t listen to you if you tried to talk about this or anything else more serious, so you may want to think about couples therapy. If this was a one-off instance, I would say just tell him to cut it out and move on, but it appears to be an on-going problem. It’s NOT your fault and you do NOT deserve to be treated this way.

    • Buckeyeesq :

      My cat ate what appeared to be 12 pounds of tinsel at Christmas (we took him to the in-laws’ and although I tried to move all the tinsel further up the tree, I failed miserably). Some of it passed, and the part that didn’t we ended up doing surgery to remove. It was not a fun vet bill, but he’s fine now. We didn’t take him in until 3-4 days after it happened because he appeared to be passing it, and even in that amount of time, he wasn’t at death’s door. In fact, the vet took a wait-and-see approach to see if it would pass. Just watch the kitty and if he’s eating and litterboxing, you’re probably okay. I took our guy in when he seemed lethargic and didn’t come running at the sound of the treat bag.

      Also, +1 to all the other comments on your husband’s behavior. Even if this was your fault, which I don’t think it was, mistakes happen.

    • Cats are hardier than you think and are smart, too. She is just more likely to have played with the floss than eaten it. Keep an eye on her and hope for the best. There’s no reason to panic just yet. You should talk to your husband though.

      • I echo other’s sentiments that I would be shocked/horrified if I was YELLED at for something that was more my SO’s fault than mine. Why are you the lazy one for not bringing up the liner… couldn’t he have done it?

        Anyways, once my dog ate a thick mop string and was totally fine. We just had to pull it out the other end (sorry for TMI!)

    • Anne Shirley :

      His royal laziness actually thinks it’s your fault he’s too much of a child to realize that grown ups don’t leave their trash lying around instead of getting a can liner themselves? This isn’t about you guys dealing with problems differently or needing a different trash system, it’s about him being a defensive selfish jerk because deep down he knows this is his fault.

    • things my dog has eaten and lived through:

      – two loaves of unrisen bread dough (we made him puke it up- it could make stomachs explode!)
      – an entire avocado
      – a tray of brownies
      – a rope toy (as in, a rope made up of ropes!! i stalked his poop for weeks and ever time dreaded finding blood and instead just kept finding rope pieces)
      – a sock
      – two chicken carcasses
      – batting from stuffed animals
      – an entire baby rabbit :(

      he isn’t a lab, just a troublesome mutt. probably part goat.

      keep an eye on the poop- your vet probably told you this already.

      • To add to this, mine has eaten:

        a one pound bag of dark chocolate easter eggs

        two pounds of chicken wing bones

        two pounds of partially-frozen pork chops

        a loaf of banana bread

        much stuffed animal batting

        • Our cat has eaten the following: jammie dodgers, millionaire shortbread, puff pastry and crackers. And that’s in the past month! Silly cat!

      • Small Town Attorney :

        Once I thought my cat had eaten my engagement ring. I had left it on the dresser, she jumped up there and was batting stuff around, and the next day I could not find it ANYWHERE! We moved all the furniture out of the bedroom and everything. Turned out she had knocked it into the sock drawer where it hid under the pantyhose I never wear.

        The moral being, even if you cannot possibly see where the floss might have gone, your cat may not have eaten it. And if she did, she’ll probably be ok (Sister’s dog went through a sock-eating phase involving several surgeries, but he came through fine).

        • My cat does this too! The good news is that she’s kind of fat and lazy, so she doesn’t jump on anything higher than maybe 3 feet. I make sure to not leave “stepping stones” for her to higher places like desks and tables where she can bat things around. What is their fascination with poking at anything sitting on a surface?

    • I agree that your husband is being a jerk and hope the best for your kitty. Cats eat things they should not all the time and are usually ok. We recently caught our cat eating ribbon and grabbed the end before she could finish. We really did not realize how much she had swallowed and it was kind of comical how more and more kept coming out as we pulled. Good luck.

    • CONGRATULATIONS on your promotion! I’m so sorry your husband made you feel that way. I echo the others that this is a deeper issue than your cat eating floss. Your husband should not have left out the floss, end of story.

      If it makes you feel better I locked my cat in my underwear drawer for eight hours. I obviously didn’t know she was in there. I was mortified. I opened the drawer and she stretched and went on her merry way.

    • Anonymous :

      I am sorry but your husband is an a$$hole.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I’m coming back to say that the comment above sounds harsh, and you and others are probably going to read it and think “Oh, that’s so harsh! Oh, that’s based on so little information! Oh, you should ignore it!”

        I would just like to cautiously put out there that for 14 years I was the woman who had stories like the above, and if I would share them, people would say “I’m sorry, but your husband is an a$$hole,” and I would always think that they didn’t know the whole situation and I had left out important mitigating details and he wasn’t really that bad, and the situation wasn’t really that bad, and blahdy blahdy blah.

        And you know what? He was and is a total a$$hole. Now that I’m away from him, I’m so relieved, and so gobsmacked that I was with him for so long and put up with such horrible behavior.

        Not saying the OP is me. But just putting it out there. Don’t stay 14 years if he really is an a$$hole.

        • Senior Attorney, at least you didn’t have children with this soon-to-be-ex. I certainly hope the OP sees your post and asks herself some hard questions about why she is with this a-hole of a husband in the first place. That to me is more important than just about everything else. Dealing with that makes her less likely to dump this a-hole and go on to marry a-hole 2.0

          • Senior Attorney :

            Right. It took a lot of therapy to get me out of that situation but I am super confident there are no more a-hole husbands in my future.

    • My kitty ate a ton of thread and ended up okay. If she seems in pain take her ASAP. check her poop and if you see string coming out of her bottom don’t pull (my vet told me this; no clue who would try that!) fingers crossed for your cat. And in a calmer moment you Should have a long talk with your husband.

  2. Sunk Cost :

    Ladies, I’m having a case of sunk cost fallacy. I’ve come to the conclusion that my current field is not where I belong long term. I’ve been thinking of careers I’d like to pursue instead, but find myself crossing things off the list because they’re a step back or a waste of my degree. I’m having trouble accepting that just because I’m trained in X, doesn’t mean I have to do Y for a living. Any suggestions for coming to terms with this?

    • Diana Barry :

      Maybe a career/life coach? I would try to think of the things you really want to do and how you want your career to look in 10 years. Then the steps of how you will get there.

      Also, maybe making a list of pros and cons of each possibility, including the field you are in now? Then maybe the “step back” won’t look like a step back at all?

    • I don’t think there’s much you can do to waste an education of any sort! Think about SAHM, for example. They are still using their educations, just in a different way–to raise their children to be intelligent, helpful members of society (I hope). Also, I am an environmental lawyer at a government agency. Before law school, I had an MA in English and was an editor (books). You know what my boss really values? Not my law degree, but my ability to proofread the hell out of everything before HER boss sees it! ;)

    • I have an MA in a somewhat unrelated field that I did before my final degree. I had no interest in doing a Ph.D. in that field, but it has turned out to be incredibly valuable just to have the degree. The language skills, the research skills, etc., and the name recognition of where I went to school. I don’t regret it at all.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      You don’t owe anything to your degree or the money you spent. Those are inanimate objects. You do owe it to yourself (and your family) to do something that suits you and hopefully something that you enjoy or will come to enjoy doing.

      I’ve been trying to tell myself this too so I’m interested to see the other responses.

    • Thanks all. Diana Barry, I appreciate the recommendation for a life coach. The process of plotting out my goals and working towards them might help me be more excited about the future instead of ruminating about past choices.

      Thank you all!

    • anon a mouse :

      Speaking as someone who changed careers several years ago, it sounds like you’re not taking time into account in your calculation. For the degree you already have – you have a job related to it, yes? That degree already has a non-zero return – it got you that job, and gave you the experience you have accrued. Don’t discount the effect of your work so far – it likely has made you a better, more efficient worker. (I accelerated through the ranks quicker than others with my same experience level, in part because I had made my rookie-worker mistakes during my first career.)

      Also, look at the future – how many years do you have left? Do you want to spend them doing what you are now? If not, change – otherwise you are just extending your sunk cost fallacy for more years.

    • Kat, I love this SHEATHE DRESS and I totaly love TAHARI. I will get the manageing partner to pay me for this one!!!!

      As for the OP, Hug’s. Do NOT worry about sunk cost’s, but instead what you WANT to do for the rest of your life. I figured out I wanted to be a lawyer, even tho I majored in Social Studie’s in college, and THEN thought I would be a 4th Grade Teacher. FOOEY! All the classe’s I took were realy not to valuable for law school, exept mabye child psychology. I have used alot of those lesson’s with the manageing partner to get him to do thing’s for me that I could not get if I did not take that course. Thank you, Professor Dunn!

      Anyway, as for the OP, think FORWARD, not backward, and you will be better off. YAY!!!!!

  3. More Lent Stuff? :

    Heard yesterday that there are actually six – count’em – six things for Lent…

    – resist something … the traditional, give up x item
    – do something … to improve your physical life, like take the stairs, more exercise, clean house, etc.

    – resist something … gossip, comments/criticizing others, moping, brooding, cursing
    – take on something … relaxation, stress management, doing happy things for others, being with those who are a pain to you

    – resist something … spending bans fit in here, stopping cursing, stop watching cruddy stuff
    – take on something … yesterday’s posts were great … prayers, rosary, novena, doing for the poor, maybe giving the $ budgeted to the spending ban to charity, reading books or magazines on the faith etc.

    So for those who are stuck with the “what to do” I guess this might help. For those of us who want to “stay within the lines” and “follow the rules,” there are MORE rules. Sigh.

    • I have been Catholic all my life and have never heard this. The point of Lent is to repent, think about Jesus’s sacrifice, and renew your commitment to your faith, not to try to make yourself into some kind of perfect super-woman. So, if these six things help you do that then great, but if they’re just stressing you out I would not worry too much about doing all of them.

      I realize people also use Lent for purposes other than the ones I’ve mentioned, like dieting or what have you, but in that case I assume you wouldn’t be so concerned about following whatever “rules” are out there.

      • Agreed. Lent, like going to church on Ash Wednesday, is also not a holy obligation, so you don’t even have to do it if you don’t want to.

        • Catholic anon :

          Well, lent is an obligation in the sense that if you are Catholic and do nothing else, you are still meant to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, as well as abstain every Friday during Lent. Easter service of some sort (vigil or Sunday service) is also obligatory as it falls on a Sunday. Finally, Catholics are required to take communion (and thus confess) at least once a year, and if this obligation is not fulfilled during another time of year, it must be done during the Easter season between the start of lent and trinity sunday.

          • I think she was referring to the holy days of obligation, of which Sundays are one, but Ash Wednesday is not.

            As far as taking communion – if I don’t, are they going to revoke my confirmation? I have to say, that I don’t recall that particular edict. While they don’t corner the market on it, Catholicism tends to get to wrapped up in their “rules” about the religion and forget to focus on the faith. IMO.

      • Olivia Pope :

        Beautifully said Eleanor.

        If you feel like your faith is just a burden of staying between the lines and following rules, I would recommend contemplating whether legalism is interfering with your ability to feel God’s grace and mercy.

      • I completely agree – it always bothers me that people think about Lent in this way. Lenten abstention isn’t about giving up bad habits; it’s about abstaining from something good and pleasurable as a tangible reminder of Christ’s sacrifice. In that (and other senses) Lent is intended to be a special and different period in our lives, which changes us, but the change is intended to be a spiritual one.

    • Catholic anon :

      Also, are you Catholic? Did your priest reference a specific Canon/catechismal law? When I have questions about requirements, I check the Catechism or USCCB guideance. Sometimes priests do not do a great job of explaining what is their extrapolation or thoughts on Canon law and what actually is Canon law. My guess here is that your priest (assuming Catholic) was extrapolating on the elements that can help us have a spiritual, contemplative and renewing lent vs. saying you must do things that explicitly fulfill these exact categories (although actively participating in many lenten activities should theoretically fulfill all these in some way without trying too hard).

    • More Lent Stuff? :

      Thanks ever so much for making me feel bad for …

      aspiring to do more this lent
      aspiring to improve myself
      aspiring to some of the beatitudes through doing more
      aspiring to share other ways to observe lent
      aspiring to do something that is “not canonically required”

      guess I should not have said “sigh” at the end, but trying to do better and be more can be challenging. Yes, it is not listed in YouCat nor the Catechism for adults. Yes, it’s not a requirement. I didn’t say it was. They are just things to consider or strive for. Isn’t the priest supposed to guide us along in doing that? The priest was offering ways and ideas to expand, esp. to those cradle-to-grave Catholics who have “been there, done that”

      I wish I had put this in context, given the responses here.

      glad I didn’t use my regular handle

      thanks ever so much – not

      • Anne Shirley :

        People were just trying to help- I read your post as being overwhelmed by rules, and apparently those aren’t rules so you don’t need to be. I don’t think people were trying to make you feel bad at all, they were trying to make you feel better!

      • Yeah, I mean when all we have to go is what you write, then yes, context matters. It did sound like you were saying these were a requirement, and it did sound like you were over whelmed by this requirement.

      • Catholic anon :

        Good grief, touchy much? Your last line indicated exasperation and frustration, as well as a hesitation (“I guess”) about how to put it all together. I truly do not see how you can have gotten so huffy about people’s responses for how to approach something governed by rules that you made it seem like you were frustrated with.

        Nobody is saying you can’t go above and beyond from your baseline. Nobody is saying you can’t do during lent what makes it spiritual and fulfilling for you. That’s the whole point. But, as a Catholic who is very sensitive to the actual rules and requirements that govern our faith, I only intended to point out to you that these very specific types of sacrifices or participation are not ‘required’ in the most literal, obligatory sense. The Catechism is the best place to go to check literal rules and obligations. Yes, it is our priests’ job to help us wade through that, but ultimately the responsibility is on ourselves to check things we don’t fully understand or if we are confused, or if we have questions about the most literal rules and what we are 100% obligated to do.

      • Don’t be so sensitive about it. While they’re good things to think about and it was nice to see shared, you did say that they are rules and seemed frustrated about it.

      • The traditional Lenten disciplines are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Together, I think it’s a nice combo of spiritual growth, giving to others, and sacrifice. Also, sacrifice/giving something up has more meaning for me in the context of the other two disciplines. I find it inspiring that so many commenters here, you included, are drawn to some kind of spiritual practice, however you interpret it.

        It’s harder of me to pray/meditate than to give something up, so this Lent I am committing to a few minutes of spiritual reflection each day.

  4. I love the look of this dress. How are Tahari brand dresses cut? Would it work for bodies with full bottoms and hips?

    • I find Tahari to be pretty compatible with curves. I’ve worn their skirts, suits and an a-line dress and given my experience with those items, I would try this dress.

      • Thanks for the quick response! I’m jumping on it with an extra sale on the Last Call site today and free shipping, the total price is $81.25.

      • Tahari works very well with curves. 5’5′ hourglass here.

    • I also like Black Halo (steeper price point, though) for sheathes with sleeves, and find the brand to be very flattering on curvy figures. (Well, I can vouch for curvy on the bottom, but not curvy on the top.)

      • I like your blog….

      • Hollis Doyle :

        I really like your blog too! You’re a great writer, and your story is compelling. Hang in there, and thanks for sharing your blog with us. :)

      • Agreed. I’m not usually into people’s personal blogs, but I really like it.

      • Silvercurls :

        Just found your blog (thank you, PHX and Hollis Doyle)! It’s wonderful–not because of the event that set it in motion, but because you are so wise, and so determined to transcend the aggravations with equanimity and grace. You are a good example to the rest of us. Oh, and your daughters are delightful. Exhausting, I’m sure, but also delightful.

        • where is it? :

          Now I’m curious… where is the blog? I tried searching “Dontblamethekids”, but get some sort of clothing line…

          • tidewater :

            If you mouse over her username, it should highlight it as a link to follow.

  5. I need your wisdom, ladies. I have an amazing opportunity to travel to Vietnam for two weeks this spring from DC, but I will be 28 weeks pregnant. My doctor has said that I can travel internationally until I am 32 weeks, but I am still a bit apprehensive. I have no real reason to be afraid, I will be with a great group of people, including some healthcare professionals, but the idea of being so far away is still a bit scary. Do you have experience with international travel during pregnancy? What would you do? TIA!!

    • anon-oh-no :

      I traveled to Jamaica when I was around 20 or 22 weeks. it was only for 4 days and we were at a resort, so i felt OK about it. I know lots of people who have uncomplicated pregnancy and travel all over the place. I think if you have not had issues thus far, you should be OK, especially if your dr. says fine. by the same token, if you are worried, are you going to be able to enjoy yourself?

    • You might want to identify a high-quality hospital you could get to if necessary (in Vietnam or another country very close by), and make sure you have travel insurance (including the kind that provides transport to the US or another country with fully modern medical care – forgive me if I’m making unfair assumptions about Vietnamese hospitals, but I would guess it might be harder to find the same quality of care that you’d find in the US or other more affluent countries) just in case.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I traveled to France at about 28 weeks, many years ago, without incident.

      I have to say that Vietnam is amazing and if you go you will have an amazing time. I second the suggestion of travel insurance and identifying a fallback medical facility. Perhaps you can work with the group that is sponsoring the trip to have a plan in place if something happens?

      And do be careful about drinking only bottled water. I did fine with flat water but a friend of mine only drinks bottled carbonated water abroad because she says that way she can be positive it hasn’t been opened and replaced with tap water.

    • anonforthis :

      My sister traveled to Nairobi and somewhere in Tanzania for 2 weeks when she was 20 something weeks along last summer. Everything was fine. Baby is born now and happy and healthy. Pregnancy is all about defining what risks you are comfortable with. I probably would not have traveled to Africa for 2 weeks like my sister but I went downhill skiing during my first and second trimesters. Your OB said it was fine so it’s really just a matter of how you feel about it.

    • Lived abroad in a developing country (work assignment) from 10-35 weeks pregnant. I agree that you want to line up a hospital/OB practice in advance, just in case. Your insurance company might be able to help with that – mine has a list of providers they work with internationally. Also, travel insurance may not cover pregnancy complications if you are already pregnant when you buy it – check the policy. But if you have a low-risk pregnancy, I don’t think it’s a big problem or risk. Have fun! Also, not sure if 28 weeks is far enough along for this to be necessary, but maybe chat to your OB about the injectable blood thinners you can get to reduce the risk of DVT on long plane flights. I got some of those for my flight home, shot myself up in the airplane toilet, no big deal.

    • Bit late, hope you see this. I’m going to Vietnam for a week this month at 30 weeks pregnant. This is my second pregnancy, and I traveled there at up to 26 weeks pregnant with my last one too. So you would not be the first pregnant woman to think of doing something like this ;)

      Saigon and Hanoi both have decent hospitals (in Hanoi, the French Hospital and VINMEC are pretty good; not sure about Saigon). If you’re sticking to the cities in Vietnam, you’ll do very little walking (lots of taxis), and hotel quality is usually pretty good.

      In my opinion, the best part about traveling in Vietnam while pregnant is that Vietnamese people are absolutely lovely to pregnant women. So courteous, so curious, always checking to make sure you’re not tired or want to sit down. The country is undergoing a bit of a baby boom right now, and it really seems like half the women in the cities are pregnant–you’ll make a lot of friends. And, if you fit Vietnamese sizes, there’s tons of cute maternity wear in the shops.

      But I assume you’re not going there to make friends and shop, so how about some practical info? For insurance, IHA-BUPA covers previously undiagnosed complications of pregnancy until 36 weeks (most other travel insurers cut off much earlier). WorldEscapade dot com (a Canadian travel insurer) sells policies underwritten by IHA-BUPA for good rates. I’ve bought from them before, but never used the insurance so I can’t speak to how helpful they are if you actually need to use it, but it’s an option.

      For flights, I live in Tokyo so I fly Japan Airlines and they are absolutely awesome in terms of taking care of pregnant passengers. Flight attendants check in on you often, bring you water whenever you want, etc. If you can fly JAL I recommend it.

      Happy travels!

  6. sheets and bedding recs? :

    Where do you ladies get your bedding? I’m so over my faded sheets. I want to invest in a new set or two. Any recommendations? I want neutrals, but I’m not opposed to an interesting detail.

  7. Hi! Just wanted to clarify – for today only (5th and 6th) there is also 35% off of one item… so that dress comes out to approximately $81.


  8. Shopaholic :

    Ladies – I need some help. I need to lose 10 pounds to get back to my normal weight (it’s been a long, cold winter) but I’m not having much luck. I’ve been trying to cut out carbs and cook at home more and get more workouts in but I feel like I’m not making any progress and I haven’t lost any weight in the last month or so.

    Any advice or suggestions or motivating techniques?

    • I really like using myfitnesspal to log food/count calories. I lost about 30 pounds doing South Beach, but then really stalled. After logging my food everyday I saw where I was overeating. I am also a total type A personality and so this makes me feel organized and in control so it really works for me.

      • As a fellow type A, calorie tracking also worked really well for me.

      • Meg Murry :

        Along with logging calories or WW points, for me a major part of tracking is to break back out my measuring cups and scale, because over time my mental definition of “1 cup of cereal” (or whatever the serving size may be) definitely creeps larger and larger and I need to do a mental reset on what a “serving” actually is.

      • Anon from Chicago :

        I also like my fitness pal, but have been combining it with the fitbit (tracks steps) and Pact (used to be gympact, but now there are lots of options). I have a food tracking Pact and a gym Pact. I track my food (through my fitness pal) during the week and dont worry about it on the weekend. Having the Pact to do it means I will track even if I blow a meal or a day and then I don’t get discouraged, I just get back on track. The fitbit also encourages me to get to my 10,000 steps each day, which counts for my gym Pact, as do actual workouts at the gym, running, or at home with the motion tracker.

    • Shopaholic, would love to give you advice. Tell me more details though – what are typical meals you’re eating and typical workouts, and how often?

    • Wildkitten :

      I’ve been having the hardest time because of how long the winter has been to. I finally had to figure as long as I don’t gain any more weight this winter I’ll call it a win, and I’ll lose once its warm enough to enjoy spending time outside. I read something great about how we shouldn’t have new years resolutions in the dead of winter because its so much more pleasant/possible to lose weight in spring.

      • Wildkitten :


      • This long winter has made it hard for me too because I like to bike and run outside but am too clumsy to do those things when there is ice on the roads. It doesn’t help my diet that my DH got me a huge bag of my favorite sweets to take to the office.

    • I posted a similar question to yours about 6 weeks ago- I was in a place where I was trying to eat healthfully, but just wasn’t seeing a difference. Several people suggested Weight Watchers, which I had considered but not seriously. I started the program after posting here and it’s been the only thing to actually motivate me to eat better/less consistently. Going to the in person meetings and knowing that someone else will be weighing me has been a big motivator. I’ve lost 5 pounds in the past 3 weeks and am excited because I think this is actually going to work!

      They charge month to month, so you could join for only 2 or 3 months and then be free of your contract.

      Good luck :)

    • Kontraktor :

      It’s possible you may just have to keep at it. Sometimes it’s hardest to lose that ‘last 10 lbs’ especially if that’s all you have left to lose. Have you cut out all the ‘easy’ categories (ex., soda, fruit juice, candy, gum, etc.)? Sometimes thoes little things can really add up. How much alchohol do you drink? Cutting out 2 glasses of wine each night can add up to 1000+ calories per week.

      If you’ve cut all the easy stuff, honestly I’d just keep at it. Results unfortunately won’t be instantaneous for some people. Keep eating healthy whole foods, trying to keep portion size reasonable, keep forcing yourself to do your exercise consistently.

      Just want to say I sympathize, as it’s taken me almost 11 months to lose maybe 10 lbs, while doing bar classes 4-6 times a week, running occasionally and eating a very clean diet. while some stuff fits better, i still don’t fit into a lot of goal dresses. it’s just a process sometimes.

    • Shopaholic :

      Thanks ladies! I really appreciate the support. I’m trying to cut down my caffeine to one big cup in the morning and then water for the rest of the day and limit my wine consumption but I’m having a tough time establishing a routine. Plus I’m getting bored and all I want is a giant burrito from Chipotle or chocolate in the afternoon. And every time I get a workout or two in, work gets insane and I barely have time to sleep, let alone workout

      I’ve been running mostly (but I’m also out of shape so it’s a walking/running combo on the treadmill), with some weights and crunches thrown in if I’m not too tired after the cardio.

      • I gave up added sugar and artificial sweeteners and lost 10 lbs in 2 months (also tracking on My Fitness Pal.) The cravings were only bad for the first week. When I get cravings now, I eat plain greek yogurt with fruit added. Now I’ve just got to stay off added sweeteners for, I guess, the rest of my life.

      • Kontraktor :

        Definitely consider taking a class! I started from a fitness level of 0 and at first I found just walking/running very frustrating because I couldn’t go for very long. So, I wondered how many calories I really burned. When I joined a class, I was fairly confident I was getting a consistent, calorie burning workout each time I went. There are SO many things to choose from, you could definitely pick what works for you. You could also consider 2-3 sessions with a trainer who can give you some workouts to do on your own.

        If you are limited on time, I would definitely focus on the eating side by limiting the ‘easy’ to cut out items (ex., candy, soda, alcohol) and trying to control portion size. One thing that has helped me with portion control is to basically remove half/a small meal sized portion from an otherwise giant plate to a tupperware before I even start eating.

      • What’s a typical meal like for you? What are you normally eating for bfast, lunch and dinner?

        I would also recommend working out in the mornings. It’s the only way to fit it in for me. That way you get it out of the way and it also gets your metabolism boost in the morning. I would also recommend mixing up your workout so that you’re not just doing the same thing over and over again. Have you ever tried sprinting intervals ? I find that that helps me burn the most calories.

      • If it’s afternoon snack cravings doing you in, it might sound counter-intuitive but try eating a bigger lunch. Eating enough to keep you full until dinner (maybe something with a high satiety index like potatoes etc) makes it easier to cut out afternoon snacking.

  9. Dog help! I have a large, active dog who’s always been an alarm barker (and often barks the alarm longer than we’d like) but this barking, while annoying, has never lasted more than a few seconds. I started training him on “speak” when he was a puppy (because I was told to train “speak” first and then go to “quiet”) and we made a little progress but I didn’t follow through and he’s completely lost that command now. Recently, he’ll start with a normal alarm bark but then go on barking for as long as 10-15 minutes at a time. I’ve tried training him on “quiet” but he’ll go quiet just long enough to get a treat then starts the barking again. I’ve tried doing things incompatible with barking, like distracting him by throwing a treat, but he’ll go find the treat and then go right back to barking. He’s getting his normal amount of exercise but seems to just want to bark at the front door all day long. Obviously that’s annoying enough, but I’m less than thrilled that this is starting right when we’re about to have babies in the house. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Anne Shirley :

      Is he barking *at* the babies now? Some of my friends have reported strange pet behavior in their third trimesters.

      • I don’t think so. His barking is directed toward the door and windows, not toward me.

        • He may sense that YOU are in an altered (more vulnerable state) which may be giving him anxiety and ramping up his guarding behavior. I’m not a dog psychologist but we underestimate how attuned animals are to us, and you’ve been home a lot more than usual with the Pregnancy issues, right? Also, with the health issues and babies impending, there is probably some change in the “feel” of the house, even if your routines haven’t actually changed that much yet. He may just need extra soothing, or if it continues, you might see your vet bc if it’s anxiety he might need doggie prozac for a little while.

          • Our Lab stopped sleeping through the night (seriously) during my 3rd trimester, and she also started to get chronic ear infections, which we’ve since realized are linked to stress for her. Also, I might be wrong – but aren’t you just recently back up and moving after a period of prolonged bed rest? She could be responding to a significant change in behavior?

            I don’t have any great suggestions, other than the hopefully comforting ancedata that ours calmed down after the baby arrived. I think she liked that we were both around, and she enjoyed spending time near the baby and me since all we did was sit on the couch and nurse/nap for like a month. Loved that time.

          • Anon in NYC :

            I agree – he might be trying to protect you.

          • hoola hoopa :

            Also agree. Our German Shepard / Rottweiler mix gets very protective when I’m pregnant.

            He chilled out once the baby came, so hopefully yours will too. It was like he understood that they needed quiet. Well, relative quiet. He’s still a dog ;)

          • That’s possible. While he’s not a protective dog by nature (he definitely has the lab friendliness gene), he is somewhat protective of me. When my husband is away, he tends to lie where he can watch the door and follows me around the house. And he’s definitely been more affectionate to me since I got home from the hospital. Lots more putting his head in my lap and wanting to snuggle with me on the couch. So maybe this is just an extension of that. I wish I knew how to say “I appreciate the concern but I’m really okay” in dog.

    • What about a distraction that would last longer than throwing a treat, like a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or a bully stick or something? Or a play session like fetch or tug of war?

      • He’ll play with a treat ball for awhile, but then jump up as if he’s heard something (even though I have no idea what he’s heard) and run to the door for another barking session. It takes awhile to calm him down and redirect him back to the treat ball. Same for a game of tug or fetch. Also, this is all happening while I’m trying to work so while a treat ball would do it, I can’t play games with him all day long. And, while he’s a lab mix, he’s not very into fetch at all. He’ll bring the toy back twice but then he’s over it.

        • Famouscait :

          Not sure if you’ve tried a simple”sit and stay” command, but my golden retriever is incapable of barking while sitting (we call it his mute button…)

        • The Nina Ottonson dog puzzles are awesome. We also put jerky strips in the hol-ee roller dog toys or use the tricky treat ball (which can be loud if they throw it). For chew toys, mine love antlers.

    • Maybe tweak the “quiet” command with some of these tips?
      Our dogs like to bark/sing (mostly when outside) so I feel you on how annoying it can be. I will say, it’s really never bothered our child. He was so used to household noises both from when I was pregnant and always having the dogs in his life, that he just sleeps through most anything.

    • If all else fails, try a citronella bark collar. Rather than shocking a dog, when the dog barks it gives them a shot of citronella spray under their nose. My dogs really dislike this and are much quieter when they are wearing the collars. Google citronella bark collar with Drs. Foster & Smith.

      • This worked really well for my dog. The battery ran out but I still put it on her occasionally and she still stops barking, even though it’s not actually functional anymore.

    • S in Chicago :

      See your vet. When a behavior change happens like that out of the blue, it can sometimes have a physical reason. Three years in to owning my dog, he started barking compulsively at train tracks and then it gradulating started escalating to longer amounts of time and then to people with brief cases, people with hats, etc. The vet chalked it up to a chemical change in his brain after ruling out thyroid issues and some other things and told me that behavior modification alone wouldn’t be enough for him. We have him on a small dose of an anti-anxiety medicine now and he’s back to his normal self. I haven’t always been the most open to medicating. In fact, I’m almost always on the nurture side in nature vs. nurture discussions. But I wouldn’t have believed what a role it can have had I not witnessed the change in him myself.

    • no help on the training…but i have a loud barking dog. Baby sleeps right through it! We made him “speak” at my belly a lot while I was pregnant so i guess the baby just thinks it’s normal.

      • Well, I guess that’s the upside. With all this barking, there’s no way the babies aren’t hearing plenty of it right now. Maybe they’ll be totally fine with it.

        • Babies can sleep through a lot if you don’t “train” them not to be able to. (I am making broad generalizations. Some babies may be more sensitive. YMMV).

          I think broadly, people err when they demand total silence during nap time, run noise machines to blur all sound, etc. We just kept the normal level of noise going. TV on, people talking, doors opening, whatever. My son still (at age 13) can sleep through anything, lol. I used to do dishes , vacuum, etc while he was napping.

        • Newborns rarely get woken by loud noises. By the time they get older, they may be totally used to the dog, or he may have changed this barking behavior. Don’t sweat the barking on account of the babies.

    • IT Chick in MN :

      I’m late on this, but look for articles on barking and “extinguishing.” As our trainer explained it, “barking dogs do not exist.” Do not look at them, do not talk to them, do not talk about them, nothing. It worked on our 13-year old beagle who had always been a barker in about a month. With a less well established habit and a less stubborn breed, it shouldn’t take long.

  10. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies – I have a family vacation/wedding question and wondered if I could get your feedback.

    My cousin is getting married in December across the country. All my siblings are going so we are going too, but I am wondering whether we should bring the kids. (We are the only people who have kids.)

    Pro – they would meet my relatives and get experience riding on a plane, they would meet DH’s friends and see California

    Con – COST, plus 2 6-hr flights within 4 days with the 3 kids sounds like it would be awful. Jet lag, having to worry about bringing car seats/boosters and renting a car, getting 2 hotel rooms, having to get a babysitter out there to come to the hotel and watch them during the wedding.

    It would also cost us not to bring them (because our nanny would have to stay with them) but much less (about 1.5 plane tickets’ worth of cost) than it would cost to bring them.

    • Diana Barry :

      Oh, and we have never traveled by plane with the kids before, so some apprehension over that too.

      • If you’re worried about the babysitter once you’re there, if that’s a local wedding for your cousin / other family, perhaps they’re using a babysitter that you can also use -or- they can recommend one (or two, since I think you have 3 active ones) to come to your hotel room while you’re at the wedding. When I was in high school, I and a friend babysat babysat in this kind of situation — for friends of my family who had relatives with kids who weren’t going to a wedding (hope you could follow that). The kids had activities, DVDs to watch, snacks to eat, and went to bed by 9ish (it was a new place and they just collapsed from exhaustion). The parents stopped by between the ceremony and the rehearsal.

    • Plane travel with kids is not that bad, yes it can be exhausting but it’s very doable – especially in the IPad era.

      Would bringing the nanny with you be a possibility? Obviously then there would be the extra ticket and room but it might make sense to have an extra pair of hands around and you wouldn’t have to find a babysit on location.

      I would probably go with kids if it was possible to go for longer than 4 days (ie: 6/7 days) – you have a lot to do – wedding/see friends/see California sites and kids just need a slower pace of travel so it’s hard to do as much as you could do without kids.

      • Diana Barry :

        Hmm, not really. I can’t take much time off of work if any because of end of year stuff, so it has to be a Thursday or Friday thru Sunday trip.

        • 4 days could still work but you’d have to plan carefully – with kids usually one activity in the morning and one in the afternoon is about the most that can get done without them getting tired/cranky.

          • Diana Barry :

            Thanks. It would really only be 1-2 days there and 2 days of traveling, so I’m thinking it’s going to be more of a PITA than it’s worth to bring them.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I think you’re right. Go with your husband and have a nice little vacation.

          • Frugal doc.. :


            I would reconsider if you were staying longer. Really not worth it. Wedding weekends are not great “meeting places” for kids, where the focus will be around the marrying couple. And it sounds very exhausting.

            Have a nice break, and plan a big family vacation when there is more time.

    • We just did a to Florida with our three kids (age 3, 5 and 8) also for a wedding, but we stayed a couple extra days to do fun stuff too. The plane ride was not too bad. We downloaded new movies and games on the iPad, brought colorwonder markers and coloring books, and a couple toys and LOTS of snacks. The 3 year old did cry on the first flight for about ten minutes (which I felt awful about for everyone around us, but then she fell asleep.)

      We ended up attaching our carseats (two big convertible seats) each to a rolling suitcase and so we were able to pull them along (we gate checked them) and carried the 3 year old in ergo. We did not bring a stroller.

      We had one of our cousins (20 year old college girl who lives in Florida) help us at the hotel with the kids. They love her, so that worked out great. They wanted to stay in the other room with her every night!

      Overall, the trip was expensive but so worth it. We stayed on a couple extra days to do Disney and spent one day/night at the beach. We would not have planned this trip but for the wedding, but I am glad we did.

    • Because the main event is a wedding (and it doesn’t sound like a super kid-friendly wedding either), I would vote for no-kids on this one. It would be different if it was a short/sweet 2 hour flight to attend a wedding with tons of cousins running around, but I would think it would be fun to go and socialize with my family, stay in a great hotel with husband, drink great wine, and use it as a mini-break. I think a 4 day trip, with long flights and serious jet-lag on the way home sounds like it would be really tough on little ones (who aren’t used to flying or jet-lag, I imagine). Plus, if there aren’t other kids invited or around, you’ll end up hiring sitters for the main event (and either missing, or kid-wrangling/not socializing, or having sitters for happy hours, post-wedding brunches, etc.) The fact that it’s cheaper sans kids makes this one a no-brainer in my mind. I would plan an easier first plane ride with a kid friendly destination for the kids’ inaugural plan ride.

      But, my bias is that I would much prefer to attend an event like a wedding (and visit a fun sunny wine-friendly place like Cali) with my husband without my kiddos in tow.

      • hoola hoopa :

        Agree that this isn’t the trip for kids. I don’t find plane travel with kids to really be all that bad, but it sounds like there would be little pay off for you or the kids at this particular event. I think everyone would have more fun if the kiddos stayed home with grandparents etc for this one.

    • I fly from boston to Cali a few times a year for work. It’s a haul. It takes longer for me to get to my office in Cali than it does to get to Dublin!!

      I say skip it with the kids. Without knowing their ages (you mentioned car seats/boosters but here in MA they could be like, 12!) I’d assume they’re young enough to require attention on a plane and help through the airport. Too much work for me. Pick an easier flight, like to Chicago or Florida as their first.

      • Diana Barry :

        Thanks! Kids will be 7, 5, 2 at the time so I think we are right with the instinct to skip bringing them. Plus DH and I will have 3 days together!

      • Ugh. Agree on how far the flight is. I have to do it this weekend and am SO not looking forward to it. And this is coming from someone who used to fly weekly.

    • I’ve both brought kids to distance weddings, and left them with caretakers (grandparents). For such a short trip, and given the time change, I’d leave my kiddos home for a weekend wedding in California. There are easier trips to do so that kids can become acclimated travelers (East Coast to Florida is a good one–fun stuff at the end, no time change, max 4 hour flight). California is a bit more of a hassle; even if the flights are themselves 6 hours, there’s also the amount of non-flight time you’ll build in to get there (showing up early enough that the whole family can get checked in and through security, plus needed to be at the gate somewhat early, etc., etc.), which adds up to a long/stressful travel day. To say nothing of putting kids on a red-eye.

  11. Does anybody have a vitamix? Do you love it or regret the purchase? I’m thinking about getting one because I ended up getting a juicer a few years ago but wish I had gotten the blender instead.

    • My boyfriend got me one for my birthday about six months ago and I love it!! I use it nearly every day to make a smoothie. I’ve also used it to make soup and “frozen yogurt.”. I know it can make a lot more than that, but I haven’t used it for anything else.

      The finished product is much smoother than with my old blender, which I find makes my smoothies much more enjoyable.It’s also very easy to clean and I like that it doesn’t have a lot of pieces. It is fairly large so storage could be an issue if you have a small kitchen.

      I never would have spent the money myself because I’m cheap, but I am so glad my BF did. If it broke today, I’d buy another one.

      • Can you please share or link to your frozen yogurt recipe? I’ve never thought to try that in the VitaMix!

        I like to make soups in mine. I’m not a great cook, but the VM makes it really easy.

        • I just put a frozen banana, other frozen fruit, a little almond milk (which I use for other stuff so I have it; I’ve wondered if coconut milk would be tastier), a splash of vanilla, and sometimes some stevia in the vitamix and turn it on. I try to use as little almond milk as possible so I usually have to use the black stick to move everything around and get it blended up well. Then pour into a bowl

          It tastes better off of a plastic spoon. I don’t know why, but it does.

    • I’m interested in this too. My blender just broke and I was going to spend the $$ on the vitamix, but its jsut so expensive.

      • hoola hoopa :

        Me, too! Our second “professional” blender is dying and I’m beginning to wonder if any blender can handle frozen fruit. Is vitamix good with making smoothies with frozen fruit?

        • anon atty :

          Right? That is the only thing i ever use a blender for. In fairness though, i had a cuisinart that was probably $100 bucks 9 years ago and it broke by me dropping the glass part and having it shatter in 1000 pieces. It was starting to slow down a bit and I had to tell my husband that I really did not “drop” it on purpose.

        • I make smoothies in my vitamix every morning with frozen fruit and it completely purees them.

    • I love ours and use it daily. I’m not sure if I would have bought it for myself but it is a great gadget. This is the one that we have||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-Feature_Recipe_Rule%7CTop_Marketing_Billboard
      and I particularly like the different settings. I use the soup setting to make “creamy” soups without any added cream and the frozen desserts setting to make faux ice cream (fruit, ice cubes and a splash of milk).

    • Abby Lockhart :

      I love mine. I’ve made soup, juices, smoothies, “milkshakes” (chocolate milk and ice blended smooth so you don’t miss the cream), sweet potatoes, mayonnaise, and peanut butter so far. Organic peanut butter costs $2 to make, and packaged sells for $6-11.

    • Thanks for asking! I’m interested in responses too. And specifically I’d like to ask (1) how hard is it to use? and (2) how hard is it to clean?
      I’m wondering if it’s going to be like yet another piece of unused fitness equipment if it’s hard to use. And are all parts dishwasher safe?
      I have a blender right now which I’ve used to make things like hummus, but I’ve only rarely tried smoothies (blueberry/avocado). Is it much easier for vegetables (e.g. carrots) that are harder to blend?

    • Southern Legal :

      After extensive research and sitting through product demos for the vitamix and the Ninja, I bought a vitamix several months ago. I absolutely love mine and use it EVERY DAY. (I freely admit I have become a bit obsessed.) I primarily use mine for smoothing making, though I have used it for food processing (homemade hummus, nut butters, salsa, etc.), milkshakes, the “faux ice cream” mentioned, frozen drinks, and soups. I liked the idea of one do-it-all machine and the longer warranty (I bought the pro version if that matters). Turns out BB&B will also honor the 20% off store coupon in my area on the vitamix (even though the coupon expressly excludes it).

      To answer a couple of the questions above:

      It handles even hard vegetables and leafy greens well. I love green juices and smoothies, and wanted something that would alleviate some of the “texture issues” I had when trying to do this with a regular blender. I did notice an appreciable difference in the texture and “digestibleness” of the smoothies after using the Vitamix. I love being able to simply cut up a couple pieces of fruit with the skin or pith on, dump them in the machine, and out comes my juice. I’ve used it for all kinds of fruits and veggies – cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, apples, carrots, oranges, kale, spinach, lettuce, beets and other greens, and never had a problem – it powers right through and if you follow the steps in the accompanying guidebook, comes out remarkably smooth, with very little (and very few) tiny pieces left behind (like that you might find in orange juice with pulp in it at the grocery store). However, particularly for my early morning juices, I found I like the pure “juice” better, so I incorporated a regular juicer, strain the juice into the Vitamix, and then add my “extras” (like bananas, grapes and other whole “soft” fruits, frozen fruits, ice, protein powders, etc.) and use the Vitamix to process everything smooth. If you like more “juice” and less “smoothie” and are considering the Vitamix but do not want to add a second piece of equipment, a simple fine mesh strainer or piece of cheese cloth also works well to strain out some of the remaining pulp/fiber.

      Clean up is a piece of cake. Add a couple drops of liquid detergent and some warm water into the container, put it back on the base, and turn on high for a couple of minutes, then pour it out and rise. Voila – clean vitamix.

      The container is plastic, so if you are a klutz like me, no worries so far about breakage (and again, great warranty). However, because it’s plastic is also why I do not put mine in the dishwasher, but YMMV.

      Hope this helps!

  12. Good morning ladies! Question for the hive….if you receive an emailed compliment from someone, would you ever forward that to your boss to show them? Specifically, I received an email from the client and from opposing counsel (two separate emails) complimenting me on the great job I did on a deal that just closed. They didn’t copy the partner that I worked with (I am a 3rd/4th year). Would it be weird and inappropriate for me to forward the email to the partner? FWIW, the partner and I have a very good rapport. TIA!

    • Inappropriate? Hell no! Definitely forward the e-mails to your boss – he/she may forward it on to higher-ups in the firm. Don’t even think about not doing this. And keep a copy for yourself, too, so you can refer to it at the end of the year when you’re preparing your self-evaluation or justification for a raise paperwork or whatever.

      • Thanks NashJD. What would you say in the body of the email when you forward? I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging on myself you know?

        • anon a mouse :

          why not just something like “Nice words from the client” or “I thought you should see what client sent me.”

        • Senior Attorney :

          Short and sweet: “FYI. Love it when things go well!”

          • Thanks ladies I really appreciate the advice! I sent it to the partner woo hoo.

    • totally forward. I remember a female senior partner telling me as a junior associate that men always forward those things along and women rarely do, but they should. so i do, and have done it since then. all. the. time.

      • I agree. Nobody told me this; it’s just something I had to figure out the hard way. I looked around my office at the big power players at my firm and realized that the reason everyone knew they were power players was because they were always telling everybody. You are your own promoter.

    • I was just thinking about this question this morning!

      Does the answer about whether to forward change with the circumstances? For example, last week I went to a conference and received a nice email this morning from someone that a partner at my firm “introduced” me to through email (I didn’t know anyone attending the conference). The email from my new contact said some very nice things about the way I presented myself and encouraged me to reach out to a person organizing speakers for next year. If it was a client, I would totally forward. But I can’t decide if this is just too personal?

      • You should definitely forward it. In your email you can say, “This looks like a good opportunity.” And then make sure to follow through with reaching out to the person organizing speakers for next year. You are your own promoter.

    • I just attended a CLE where this came up. The panel suggested to forward it to your boss, and include a message at the top stating something along these lines:

      “I really enjoyed working on X with you and Client and it seems like Client and I work well together. I would really like to work on similar projects with you and Client. I was thinking I could work on Y [research a client alert that the client would be interested in, include an upcoming deal/issue, attend an event where the client will be present, etc.].”

      I think it’s great to self-promote on your own, but if you feel like you need to add more to the message beyond “look, I did well,” they suggested getting specific about what you could do next.

      And congratulations on the great feedback!

    • If you have to do a self evaluation, don’t forget to reference it. I keep an outlook folder for “props” emails so that I can refresh my memory when it’s time to do my self evaluation.

  13. How do you cover your a** with friends/family/friends of friends & family who like to ask you legal questions?

    I don’t mind answering a quick question here and there and I always make it clear that I am not acting as their lawyer but as a friend/relative but is that enough? Like for example, I have an email from a good friend and her partner asking me to look over an agreement they’re signing and give them my common sense feedback — I already wrote to them and they confirmed that they understand it’s not as lawyer, and now I wrote here are my thoughts/concerns for you but talk to a lawyer and double check all this yourselves. Is this enough? Am I being overly cautious? Any other thing I can say? This is from my personal email so putting a disclaimer at the bottom would be really weird! TIA!

    • I just say that I cannot give out any legal advice outside of what is covered by my malpractice insurance and that we would have to form a formal lawyer-client relationship (which I won’t do with most friends/family anyway. . .) and then I give them a recommendation on who to contact. But I have drawn a pretty firm line on this and will not do legal work for free for friends or family either.

      • Olivia Pope :

        Same here. To me, analyzing a contract is legal work and I want to be covered.

        However, I happily point to resources:
        – Olivia, can you write my living will?
        – Here’s a life choices manual from the attorney general’s office with advanced directives, etc, that you can fill out yourself. Let me know if you want any specific advice about your situation!

        If they ask for specifics, then I would initiate an attorney-client relationship.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would not do anything like that in writing. I completely agree that analyzing a contract is legal advice and all the disclaimers in the world won’t change that. “Oh, I’m giving you legal advice but I’m not your lawyer” doesn’t even make sense to me.

      Fortunately I work for an agency that doesn’t permit me to practice law outside my employment so I just say “I can describe how the process works in general, and I can refer you to somebody or a self-help resource for help with the specifics. But I’m sorry, I can’t give you legal advice about your situation.”

    • How about a photo mug with a picture of you and your husband (or his siblings, if you have a recent group photo)? My MIL loves getting photo based stuff.

      • Gah, meant to post below!

        • I should do that. “Can I look at your lease? No. But I can give you this lovely coffee mug of me and the kids!”

          Anyway, seriously, no one ever does this for friends? Like, if your friend says, “I have no money and won’t go to an attorney no matter what you say, but I need to sign this and can you just tell me what it means”, you say, “sorry, I cannot possibly help you”? You don’t say, “look I am not an expert in this and I am not your lawyer or even remotely able to act like one, but basic reading comprehension says that if you sign this, it most likely means X so at the very least if you won’t go to a lawyer cross out this paragraph….”????? Honestly?

          • I never look at anything. Seriously. “I’m really sorry but it’s not my area of expertise and I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving you advice.”

            Because they are not looking for common sense feedback. They have common sense. They’re looking for a legal opinion.

            And anyone who gets p*ssed off…is not your friend.

          • just Karen :

            Honestly, I will sometimes tell them in writing that I can’t give them legal advice but if they call me with specific questions about what something means, I can do my best to help them understand it.

          • PinkKeyboard :

            My Mother will not give me legal advice…. She is a (now retired) attorney and I still can’t get her to ask questions about legal issues.

          • PinkKeyboard :

            answer not ask.

          • Yes. Honestly, I never do it. I don’t have any problem with that. I say, here are some organizations that do legal work for people who can’t afford attorneys – I don’t know what their criteria are, but they could point you in the right direction.

    • +1 I mostly handle corporate lending transactions. Anytime anyone asks me I generally just say “oh I don’t do anything like that at work so I probably couldn’t give you the best advice. I would suggest you contact X (name of attorney referral)”. I actually did a plethora of criminal defense and family law before I got my current position but the law changes so often that I can easily feign ignorance on the current law.

  14. I need help with gift ideas! My MIL’s birthday is coming up. She’s a lawyer with a fair deal of discretionary income, whereas my husband (teacher) and I (grad student) have a limited budget still. She pretty much can buy anything she wants, and I’d hate to buy her anything that is just going to get donated or tossed. We are living abroad this year, so whatever we get her requires third party shipping or organization to a certain degree. Thanks!

    • My quick thoughts are:

      1 – a donation in her honor to a favorite charity, if she would appreciate that.

      2 – something personal – a really nice framed family photo, for example.

    • Maybe something small and easily mailable from your location but also specific to your location? Earrings, scarf, whatever a local speciality is (spices, chocolates). Makes it personal for her and hopefully easy to find for you.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Heh. Great minds…

      • This. I like museum stores for my MIL who, while retired, has everything she needs and money to buy what she wants. Fun earrings/jewelry, trinkets, books, etc.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Or something small from the country in which you’re staying. A scarf or small piece of pottery from a local craftsperson? A framed photo of the two of you in front of a local landmark? A local edible (olive oil, jam, honey)?

    • Kontraktor :

      Could you get her a unique trinket from your foreign country? Doesn’t need to be expensive; things like nice loose leaf tea, coffee, jams/preserves, dried herbs, mustards/condiments all make great gifts. If your country has unique items, you could get those too; for example when I was living in Russia, I brought everybody back nice stacking dolls. You could also send things like china, baskets, fabric/scarves, glassware, knitwear. If you are at university, you could send uni trinkets; my parents loved calendars, mug, keychains and t-shirts from my uni when I was in the UK. All of these types of items are also small and easy to ship.

      • +1 to University trinkets. Tees, sweatshirts etc. were my go-to gifts as a grad student and were much appreciated (and are still worn years later!).

    • Thanks for these ideas!

    • Lawyer Mom of Four :

      an invitation to visit, with a specific plan so she will feel welcome? that’s what I would love.

  15. Another Family Wedding ? :

    Another family wedding question: we are flying cross country with our teenagers to attend a close relative’s wedding. There are 4 of us. It’s quite expensive with flight and hotel-what should we do about gift? I’m thinking cash/check will be preferred-normally for close family/friends my husband and I would gift around $200$250-do we have to double that gift since kids are attending as well?

    • Diana Barry :

      No! If anything I would make the gift less since it is more expensive for you to get there. :)

    • No, kids aren’t expected to give a gift. $200 seems generous to me.

    • I would double but I usually try to have our gift cover the cost of our meals. In your case, the teenagers will be eating adult meals.

      • I think the concept that gifts should cover the cost of the reception is a pernicious one. Do you then give rich friends bigger gifts than poor ones? I hope not. Neither gifts nor entertaining should be tit for tat.

        $200 from the family is fine. If the kids want to buy token gifts (e.g., a nice frame for a wedding photo) that would be a thoughtful touch and would be a nice stepping stone for the kids to adulthood.

  16. New Home Owner Etiquette :

    All, we just bought a house and moved to the burbs last Dec. We ‘ve met our neighbors but never really spent any time knowing them (as in go to their homes etc.) I know it’s winter and we hardly see them unless it’s shoveling snow or while taking the car out the driveway (our introductions happened that way) – I’d like to get to know them better but not really ready to invite them over for lunch/dinner yet as we’re in the process of furnishing our home. A friend recently asked if we’ve met our neighbors and if they’ve invited us over yet. What’s the proper way to do this? Should we have been invited or should I ignore the furnishing etc and just have them over? Are my neighbors unfriendly? I’d really like to know them better…

    • If you want to get to know them, invite them to an outdoor brunch or barbecue when the weather gets warmer. No need to worry much about furnishings if you’re socializing outdoors. Do they seem unfriendly? Maybe they’re just busy.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Everything you’re describing sounds normal. We have good relationships with our neighbors (lived in home 7 years), but we hardly see each other during the winter. It’s a perennial joke that we have to catch up once the nice weather hits and everyone is outside more.

      I second the outdoor gathering. It’s more of a neutral space for everyone and feels very casual. If you can, host in the front yard.

    • This really depends on your region. In some places it’s the norm to not know your neighbors at all (and would be odd to even make an effort), while in others they have official welcoming committees bring you muffins and introduce you to everyone.

    • Legally Brunette :

      The weather may not be warmer anytime soon (at least here in New England) and you may not necessarily need to wait until the weather warms up. What about just putting a note in their mailbox saying that you’d love to invite them over for a beer/wine/tea/coffee and just chatting in the kitchen or somewhere that is mostly set up? Just buy some pastries and call it a day. Your house doesn’t need to look perfect to invite folks over.

  17. Famouscait :

    Ladies, I am sharing a feel-good story that has me sitting here smiling and bursting with pride. I’m a fundraiser, and yesterday I had a HUGE day. I booked my first two major gifts, which together totaled almost $1million. My hubby kept telling me to email my boss (who works in another office) to let him know the good news. That felt a little bit uncomfortable to me, but I did it anyways… Now, my boss has looped in our VP (who also sent his congrats and thanks)…. and now he wants to tell our University President! Which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t tooted my own horn. Happy RAWR!!!!

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