Wednesday’s TPS Report: Slim Collar Jacket

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

Slim Collar JacketIt’s getting to “white jacket is a great separate” weather, ladies! And yes: white jackets can be great separates, so long as they don’t look like lab coats.  (And I say this as someone who never wears white blouses or tees, but wears the heck out of her white blazers.) I like this slim collar jacket from The Limited — the curve of the jacket and 3/4 sleeves looks kind of perfect. It’s $118 at The Limited. Slim Collar Jacket

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



  1. Nail polish color for bright red hands? :

    Sorry for the early threadjack! So I have always had difficulty finding a good nail polish color for my skin tone. I have light to medium skin with pink undertones, but whenever I am even slightly warm, my extremities turn a rather unattractive reddish color! I’m getting a manicure today, and I want to break out of my usual clear polish, but — what color? Does anyone else have hands that do this?

    • I have very pale skin that turns red very easily. I find darker colors to be the most flattering–burgundies, dark reds, berries (my favorite)–think shades in the vein of Lincoln Park After Dark–even navy or dark green if you are feeling wild. Pale colors just don’t work for me no matter how many I try.

    • My hands turn blue when I am cold, but this never stopped me from using a wide range of colors on my nails!
      Since you usually wear clear polish, go with nude or greige and see how it goes.

    • I have rosy undertones that combined with dry skin make for very red hands. I tend towards “cool” reds, with blue or purple undertones. I like pinks that range towards the purple end of the spectrum as well.

    • I agree with the other comments — I am similarly colored, and a dark red makes the red in my skin look less red. As often as I try, I just can’t do nude.

  2. Occupying baby in the morning :

    Any moms out there willing to share how they juggle getting ready in the morning with a baby/toddler? I have a 12 month old and my husband and I can’t figure out an efficient way to get us ready and out of the house in the morning. Right now, I get up a little earlier and get ready while he watches the baby. When I leave to do the daycare drop off, he gets ready. We’d prefer not to plunk him in front of the TV, but can’t come up with anything else, particularly now that he’s walking all over the place and into everything. I’d love any suggestions….

    • I would LOVE to know too!

      This white jacket is cute, but NOT when the baby spit’s up!

      It is NOT to hard to “work” from home! This is the third day I have been “working from HOME (actualy Rosa’s house), and its kind of easy! I get up, I do NOT have to get dressed up or make up my face, then I just go to the refregerator and get food, sit on my tuchus in front of the TV or in front of my MACBOOK AIR and log on to the Internet. Eventueally I log into the ofice’s website, check my E-mail, anser a few of the email’s then check out and a few other favorite websight’s.

      When I am workeing from home, I will NOT have to worry about Frank or the manageing partner stareing at me. YAY! I have alot of flexiebility. I can go to the bathroom when I need to. I do NOT have time my visit’s to the bathroom to make sure and go before FRANK camp’s out in there and leave’s a SUPERFOOEY! I also get to watch the TODAY show (Savanah Guthrie is GORGOUS!) then sit with my mom or Grandma Leyeh to watch the baby for a few minute’s. Tina Leigh is so cute,mabye even more then Dawn is(tho I better not say that)!

      After I have my OWN baby, this is WHAT I am goeing to do! I want a BABY NOW!!!!!! Where is a man to be my boyfreind?

      I will probabely have full time help, so I will NOT have do the laundrey or cook or clean. I will spend alot of time with the baby, but when my husband is home and the baby is loaded, I will have HIM change the baby, not me. Fooey if he wants me to do it all the time! Mabye this is why Grandma Leyeh wants me to have a husband and is goeing to give me 50 thouseand dollars! Yay! She know’s they must be good for something once we have babie’s! Yay for husband’s!

    • When mine were younger, what worked was either getting up earlier than the baby–so if he usually wakes at 7:00, get up at 6:00 and get ready. Or, dividing and conquering like you are doing. My husband and I get up at the same time, and he gets the kids (now 5 years old) ready, feeds them breakfast, etc. while I get myself ready for work. Then I leave to drop them at daycare, and he gets ready and goes to work. When he has an early meeting, he gets up a little earlier, showers and gets ready before we get the kids up–then he gets them ready while I get myself ready and we all leave at the same time. Over time, it gets pretty streamlined.

    • Depending on the floor plan of your house, what we do may or may not work. We have a master suite with a bathroom attached.

      Generally our baby sleeps until both of us have showered (6:45ish). Or at least, he’ll be awake but quietly playing in his crib. After I’ve showered, I get the baby and then feed him breakfast (a bottle) and put him in our master bedroom. We shut to the door to the master bedroom and just keep him in there with us while we get ready, because it’s fairly child-proofed. He’ll play with the shoes in the closet, run around with my hair brush, throw toys in the tub, etc., while we get ready. Once I’m done getting ready, I’ll change his clothes and get out the door to drop him off at the nanny’s.

      On days when the baby wakes up before us, we just take turns watching him while the other person showers. When one of us is traveling, we put the pack ‘n play in the bedroom/bathroom while we shower.

      • a passion for fashion :

        This is exactly what we do (kids are 5.5 and 2.5). It has always been very easy with my 2.5 y.o., as she will just sit and read books happily to herself. This was not the case at all when my son was younger, so a lot of things were trial and error, but they basically resolved around him playing in our room/the bathroom — at one point, we even used the bathtub as a “playpen,” filling it with toys and blankets. he thought that was cool, for a while. I dont think we used the TV until he was closer to 2 (though baby #2 got it much earlier), but it can be a life saver in some instances.

    • In-House Europe :

      We have a 2 1/2 year old and basically take turns getting ready. One of us will get up when our son wakes up (we usually take turns as this can range from 6 am to 7 am) and get him breakfast. The other parent gets up and gets straight into the shower/gets ready. Then goes downstairs to play with DS so that the first parent can get ready.

      I have to admit though that daily AM showers have become less of a priority… :) And I may or may not be putting my make up on in the car on my way to work.

    • First, take heart that it does get easier to get ready in the morning as the babe gets a little bit older. Now that my toddler is two (I went back to work when he was five months old), he sleeps in for a while then can play with toys in his room before we go downstairs to get breakfast. Also, my husband is out the door at 6:30, so it is all me in the morning. In the meantime:
      -Babyproof your bathroom/whatever room you get ready in in the morning and let the babe play in that area while you get ready. It is not always super easy or efficient (Cue games of peekaboo or no you cannot play with my mascara that fell on the floor) but it will allow you to get ready while keeping the kiddo around. We have a set of toys that are saved solely for the bathroom as a type of play station.
      -If your bathroom/other room is big enough, bring in a high chair (or get a super sleek version) or exersaucer or something similar and serve breakfast while you are getting ready. It helps to get bfast ready the night before and have it ready to go in the morning (we keep a sippy cup and a.m. finger foods in the fridge).
      -We also try not to use the tv in the mornings, but some mornings, it is worth it. My son HATED the hair dryer, so I would turn on the tv for enough time for him not to scream his head off while I had the hair dryer on.

      • Yes, it will get better. And then the child will become a teenager and you and your spouse will take turns cajoling, ordering, threatening and eventually screaming for him to get out of bed RIGHT NOW to get to school.

    • I keep a basket of toys and board books in my room that my little one only uses in the morning while I’m getting ready. I also rotate them from time to time (switch out with living room toys) so they stay fresh.

      You can also try some parents-as-teachers-style stuff, empty water bottles filled with different objects – dried beans, colorful buttons, paper clips, cotton balls (glue the caps on); play-dough in a ziplock bag (this only work until they figure out ziplocks; empty plastic containers for baby to stack, nest, wear on his head, whatever.

    • Diana Barry :

      Big play yard, where he can play while you get ready. Or one parent sleeps on the floor near him while he is playing (this is what my husband used to do when we had 1).

      I get ready in the morning with 3 kids playing around…will sometimes leave them downstairs to play while I get dressed. I usually don’t shower in the morning, though.

    • Need to Improve :

      I started inviting my son to “hair and make up hour” and he would sit next to me and “help.” He had his own brush and his own (empty) make-up containers, and while I got ready sitting in front of my big mirror he could sit next to me and entertain himself playing dress-up. One of his first words was “make up.” He still loves hair and make up hour and asks to do make up with me in the mornings. So I just sort of involved him in what I was doing in a way that got his attention so he would not whine the whole time.

      Also, we gave our son cheerios on a tray/puffs/other non messy finger foods and he was happy to sit there in the bedroom with the tray in front of him and eat them while we got dressed. We also used the iPad sometimes . . . not ideal but when in a pinch it really is a savior. You should be sure you have a large child proofed area where you can put them down and vaguely supervise while you get ready–ours is our room, so I could get dressed, etc. and turn around every few minutes to do minor damage control.

      • Diana Barry :

        LOL – with 3 kids I have moved way past “vaguely supervise”. ;)

      • This is adorable and very creative!

      • Oh yes, my two-year old son knows hair-dryer, make-up, blush, etc. It also allows him to share fun information at daycare drop-off: “How’s your morning going?” (to my son) To which he replied last week: “I watch Chuggington. Mommy NEED (said with the same emphasis I used when I plopped him in front of the TV) coffee, hair-dryer and lots of make-up.” Sigh. He was right.

        • mintberrycrunch :

          This just made my morning. So cute.

        • HAhahahahhaha, this is awesome.

          Btw, I do the same as above. My 14 month old loves to brush his hair and inspect my make-up containers/throw them everywhere while I get ready.

    • TV won’t kill the kid, make your life easier if that works.

      • I’m apparently less TV averse than the others on this thread–we pop on the Sesame Street (or Super Why, or Sid the Science Kid) and let the kids (2 and 4) have breakfast and watch while we get ourselves ready. They have no other TV during the day (because they are at daycare until 6, screen-free) and I have to say, an hour of PBS seems to me totally fine for them and a necessity for the two adults who need to get ready. Since we live in a typical (small) NYC apartment we can still monitor them as we move between kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom as all those rooms are small and two feet from each other. When they were little we’d do the same but just plunk them in the exersaucer after they nursed/got the bottle.

        • Yes, we also use Tivo’d PBS as our entertainer for our now 6 year old, and have since he was 2-3. He eats his breakfast while watching it so my husband can shower, shave and dress before taking him to school. The 1.5 year old varies daily depending on whether he wakes up before us or if he sleeps in, and how awake he is. I do every possible thing I can the night before (lay out clothes, shoes, coats, backpacks etc for me and kids, pack lunches and prep breakfasts, set timer on coffemaker and shower) and I tend to eat breakfast in the car or at my desk and do my makeup in the parking lot at work (and sometimes last minute hair taming). If the baby sleeps until the last possible minute, he gets diaper change, clothes & coat, then sippy cup of milk goes with us to daycare (he gets fed breakfast there). That’s exceedingly rare these day, so instead we tend to do the passoff between my husband and I, and he’s generally content to snuggle in the recliner with my husband or older son while drinking his milk, while PBS is on or my husband is reading the news on his iPad. We are very lucky to live only a few blocks from daycare which opens at 6:30, so on a few occasions I have scooped a sleeping kid out of bed still in PJs, took his milk and clothes with us and delivered them to daycare to either go back to sleep or dressed them there, then returned home to take care of my morning needs, if they are beyond our usual scope.

          Basically, as others have said, the keys are: entertainment, childproofed space or containment device, streamlining your routine, learning to play while simulataniously getting ready and trading off with spouse when necessary. I don’t think there are really any magical solutions that aren’t really expensive or impractical for most families, but I’d certainly be willing to hear some if people have them.

        • a passion for fashion :

          yeah — i was way more worried about this stuff with baby no. 1. now that we have two kiddos, the actual morning is more like the kids running between upstairs (our bedrooms/bathroom where we are trying to getting ready) and downstairs, where sponge bob or dora is keeping both of them from finishing b-fast in time for my oldest (and us) to get out the door to school. There is also a lot of “communicating” (read shouting) between up and down stairs to hurry up.

      • My child wasn’t interested in TV until he was about 2. Which was plenty of time for me to get over my “tv is evil” mindset. Now we have no aversion to limited doses of PBS and Disney Jr. He also gets to play on my iPad some while I finish getting ready. Everything in moderation. Still the best way for us to get out the door in a timely fashion is for me to be ready except for putting on my clothes by the time he wakes up.

        • serious question, from someone who doesn’t have children but wants to eventually… can’t you just leave them in the crib until you are done getting ready?

          • You can if you don’t mind them crying. And my kid likes to eat and needs a diaper change upon waking.

          • hoola hoopa :

            In theory, yes. In practice, definitely not. They’ll be safe, but extremely unhappy. The vast majority of kids want to be with you or at the very least doing something interesting. They also have needs, too, like diaper changes and breakfast. Plus, you want time with them before separating for the day.

            I had luck with my oldest getting dressed and ready in her room with her in her crib with toys (esp a mirror). She was happy for probably 15 minutes, which was enough to throw on clothes selected the night before and do basic hair and make-up. But she also was needy in other ways in the morning, so she wasn’t really any faster than my younger who needs to be rightnexttome but is happy to go along for whatever I’m doing.

            I don’t have anything novel to suggest; there’s lots of good advice here. We do a mix of trading on and off, tv for the older, one-handed prep with baby in arms, sharing the prep activity, toys in the prep area, and vague supervision. Do everything that you can the night before. I feel like we’ve gotten pretty darn good at it, and it still takes easily twice as much time to prep with kids as without kids.

          • Meg Murry :

            Only if you can manage to get ready without waking them and they don’t have a built in internal clock set for exactly 5 minutes before your alarm goes off. That said, blackout curtains and white noise machines or classical music playing in their room can help somewhat with keeping them asleep as long as possible. Getting ready in a bathroom far from their room can help too, if your house layout allows.

    • I go to the gym at 5:30 and get ready there. My husband takes our toddler to daycare. He gets up and gets ready before our son wakes up at 7:00.

    • With both of my babies (younger one about to be 1), they come play in the master bath/closet while I get ready. It’s a nice way for me to spend some time with them in the mornings before going to work, and only adds a few extra minutes to my getting ready time to occasionally toss a ball to my toddler or help the baby get a toy.

    • Midwest CPA :

      Am I the only one that just wakes up early enough to be ready before the kids wake up? I am completely showered, dressed and car is almost packed before I wake the kids up between 6:30 and 7. If they happen to wake up early, I deal with it, but I usually have to wake them up.

      • Anonymous :

        My kids wake up the second they hear my feet hit the floor, so getting up before them is not an option.

    • When I had a little one, I would get dressed, makeup etc. first, and then put my bathrobe on over my work clothes so I could feed him, etc. without have to deal with spills, etc. Thank God I remembered to take my bathrobe off before going to work!

    • Seventh Sister :

      I totally understand wanting to limit TV, but this was the age where I started recording “Sesame Street” episodes and putting on the “Elmo’s World” part (which lasts about 15-20 minutes) for my oldest to watch while I finished getting ready. It’s less awful than some of the TV out there, and it made the morning much easier. Four years later, I assure you that my oldest is plenty creative and bright and not a tv-addicted couch potato.

      My other suggestion is to do everything you possibly can the night before. I make lunches, think about breakfast options, and put out my own clothes and the baby’s clothes.

    • OP here–thank you all for the thoughtful suggestions! I think we’ll try to carve out a babyproofed area and see if we can’t vaguely supervise the munchkin.

  3. Ring Advice :

    Hive, need some help! My boyfriend and I have been living together for a couple years. Last week, he surprised me by saying he’d like to start looking at rings together. I am thrilled, but not sure what to expect or where to start. We’re in DC…any recommendations on where to go, what things to consider, etc? I’m really starting from scratch here.

    • mintberrycrunch :

      Not in DC, but I can’t say enough good things about bluenile dot com. My husband and I picked out my engagement ring there, and we had such a great experience that we ended up buying our wedding bands there, too. Great customer service, free shipping, and the prices were a lot lower than anything we saw in brick & mortar stores in our area. Maybe you all could go to a few stores to try things on and get a sense of what you like, then check to see if you can find something similar online?

    • No advice but CONGRATULATIONS! That’s very exciting!

      • Yes! KUDO’s! I wish I was abel to get Alan to give me a ring. He NEVER did. FOOEY on him!

    • Congratulations!! After doing a ton of research, we ended up going to Costco to look at their rings and fell in love. The quality of the diamonds is great, and the prices were too! He ended up spending way less than in a jewelry store. We got the ring appraised at an independent appraiser and it was valued at significantly more than what he paid! And, the appraiser was impressed with the diamond quality.

      Blue Nile is another really great option. Do your research on the “4 C’s” and go start trying rings on! It really helped me to get a sense of what looked good on my finger. Good luck!

      • SoCalAtty :

        I’ll second Costco! They can do special order for you as well. Really great stuff. We ended up getting my husband’s platinum band there, and it was significantly cheaper there than anywhere else, and just as high quality.

        My ring actually came from a high end estate jeweler that used to have a shop in Disneyland. They are no longer there, but I really wanted a vintage piece and have bought several pieces from them since then. They have shops in San Francisco and Healdsburg, and if you look up “Dianne’s Estate Jewellery” their site will come up first.

    • R in Boston :

      Anthony at Protea Diamonds (in Arlington, IIRC) was very knowledgeable and low pressure. He also had beautiful rings and good pricing.

      Mervis was high pressure and scared me. I don’t remember any of the other places I looked with any specificity.

      As a general rule (if you are going the diamond route), prioritize cut over all else. That is what makes the diamond sparkly.

      • Unless you’re going for a less sparkly cut. Mine is emerald cut, which really showcases clarity (and highlights flaws) so you can’t really do emerald (or asscher) with a lower quality diamond.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 for this. Also, I was in love with Asschers from looking at magazines so that’s what I was surprised with. But many years later…I’m sad that it’s not more sparkly even though the cut & clarity are excellent. I didn’t realize there was a difference in sparkle factor in the cuts because everything is sparkly in the store!

          • But asschers are gorgeous! I love emerald and asscher cuts. They have a restrained depth that is just beautiful. I find other cuts to be too flashy for my taste.

    • I would also suggest looking at rings in person and trying things on, just to get a sense of what you want. Vintage? Modern? What cuts do you like? What looks good on your hand? I knew I didn’t want a diamond so that made things easier for me, but when I went to try on wedding rings, I picked something completely different from what I thought I wanted. And now, years later, if I got married, I’d pick something altogether different from all of that.

    • Congrats! We did the full insane search (DH is a comparison shopper). Tiffany’s in tysons was absolutely rude/terrible customer service. Dominion Jewelers out in falls church is really nice – they custom make their rings and they are gorgeous. Costco has great options, but we ended up going with Jared (in ffx, not tyson) because you could really build out what you wanted and they weren’t overly pushy. The down side was it took a bit longer than planned, but our rings are awesome.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Charleston Alexander. They were happy to sit down and have me look at virtually every diamond shape, a variety of sizes, try on a variety of bands, etc. They are also a huge Tacori dealer (if you like Tacori bands). My husband was able to negotiate with them about diamond price by doing research online and finding a very comparable diamond for less money.

      Check out pricescope DOT com for basic research.


      • To build on this, as a word of general advice: even though BlueNile and the like advertise lower sticker prices than regular jewelers, you can actually negotiate with a lot of smaller, non-chain jewelers and get an even better price. Not a good tactic for someone who is easily pressured, but if you’re comfortable with negotiating, you might be able to go even lower than the prices offered at online retailers.

    • Ooh! I have a diamond guy. Call Ascot Diamonds in Ballston and ask for Paul. They have some styles in stock but also do custom (Mr. TBK showed up with a photo on his phone of a vintage ring I loved and they made me one just like it.) The quality and service are both excellent and the prices are very competitive.


      They are excellent and very reasonably priced. FOOEY on bluenile and Charlestown Alexander. CA wanted to charge way too much, especially for my husband’s ring.

    • DefenseWonk :

      Recommend Tiny Jewelry Box — there are also a couple by Metro Center. Most of the Department stores in the area don’t have a great selection. First figure out if you want a single stone or three stone and platinum or gold and then narrow it down from there (at least that’s what worked for me…).

      • Ring Advice :

        OP here. Tiny Jewel Box is appealing because of their antique and vintage selection. Did you have a good experience there?

      • FWIW, I had a terrible experience at TJB. They told me that I would be lucky to find anything in my price range (mid-to-high 4 figures) and that I should come back with my fiance, because they preferred not to show engagement rings to women alone. I don’t know if that’s because they get a lot of people just wanting to try on sparkly wares for fun, or if they think they have an easier sell if the guy is there, but I was insulted and never went back.

        • Ring Advice :

          That’s what I was afraid of. Thanks for the heads up.

        • cartascartas :

          I had a good experience with them for my wedding band but… wow. I would’ve been very insulted too.

        • Wow on all counts. And, um, DC has gay marriage. What about a woman looking to buy an engagement ring for her girlfriend?

        • In-House Optimist :

          Ditto on the bad experience. They were super pushy and just … rude.

    • If you want antique, definitely check out Erstwhile Jewelry’s selection of engagement rings on Etsy. There are many other online vintage and antique sellers as well. Full disclosure: I am completely partial to antique rings.


        • Ring Advice :

          That is just my style. Maybe I need to peruse Etsy first. Kind of scary not being able to try it on, though.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      You may want to take a trip to the store to try on different cuts to see what you like on your hand…. but definitely blue nile for prices

    • Anon For This :

      My reply may be too late, but look at Quest jewelers in Fairfax, VA. They were wonderful to work with, had excellent customer service, and a better price than Blue Nile. Huan is the owner, and he worked with us directly. I would recommend making an appointment before going out to make sure they have time to walk you through everything.

  4. I really like this jacket and the collars – great pick Kat!

  5. momentsofabsurdity :

    Argh. My coworker had a family emergency and had to leave the country. She doesn’t trust her ex to watch her kid and asked me to watch the kid last night and stay at her house. I said yes because it was a stressful time for her (clearly), and I feel bad for her because being a single working parent with no family in the country must be so hard. (She asks me to watch her kid a lot and it gets frustrating because she never offers to pay, and she basically only asks me because I’m the only young-ish woman at work, so I’ve been trying to gracefully decline when possible but I said yes this time, even though it came at a really bad time workwise (big deadline Friday)).

    Man, it was a marathon t0 leave work early yesterday, pick up the kid, play with the kid all night, the kid was afraid to sleep alone so slept with me, video chat with her mom, her dad, her dads new girlfriend like 4 times, get the kid ready for school this morning, install a carseat into my car, and then be late for work.

    Clearly, I am not ready for working parenthood.

    • Yikes, that’s intense! I love kids but can’t imagine being thrown in to a situation where I was their carer. How long are you there for?

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I love kids too and babysit pretty often but I think this is the first time I’ve been a full time caretaker for a kid for multiple nights with no parents coming home to relieve me. She’s also a pretty active kid – not the type that wants to just sit quietly and read a book while I get some (much needed) work done. I’m there until either Friday or this weekend (depending on if my coworker can get someone else to cover).

        • Sending you good vibes! I’m also of the “love kids, but could not be a full time parent right now” camp. Hopefully some of the more experienced ‘r e t t es can chime in with tips for keeping the kiddo entertained while balancing work/Friday’s deadline.

          • wintergreen126 :

            +1! I’ll be sending good vibes your way, too. You’re a good person for stepping up to help. Here’s hoping everything goes as smoothly, both with the kid and with your deadline, as possible!

    • You are a much better person than I am – I can’t imagine a situation where I would say yes to something like this. This is really nice of you!

      • agreed, you are a freakin’ saint to do this.

        • Seriously. The thought of you being ready for working parenthood didn’t cross my mind…you are a saint for doing this.

    • Diana Barry :

      Whaaaaaaa? You are babysitting her kid overnight for free???? And there is another parent involved???

      This is super dysfunctional. Yes, you are great to help her out in this emergency, but she is taking advantage of you and will continue to do so unless you put your foot down and insist on getting paid. Also, if she doesn’t trust her ex, then they should be renegotiating custody/etc agreements.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Oh it is 17 different flavors of dysfunctional. I mean, it’s not my life so if it works for her, it works for her but she lives with the ex (separate bedrooms) but doesn’t trust him alone with the kid. I told her if she wanted me to stay there, I wasn’t comfortable being there alone with him if he’s the kid of person she doesn’t trust alone with her child, so he stayed some place else (I have no idea where).

        And yeah — I saw that that was the pattern a while back so I’ve been defaulting to “sorry, I can’t” when she asks me to babysit so she can go to the kid’s school or work late. In this situation, because it was a last minute family emergency, I did (and do) feel bad because I imagine that situation is so hard when you don’t have any reliable childcare, so I said yes. (Of course, it’s easier to get reliable childcare when you, you know, pay money.)

        I’m still not sure if I should have agreed – it’s just I know if I was in a bind and needed someone to help me out, I’d appreciate someone doing something like this so I’m trying to pay it forward, you know? Especially in an unforeseen, family emergency type situation.

        • Diana Barry :

          This is not OK! It is clearly not working for her if she is living IN THE SAME HOUSE but doesn’t trust him alone with THEIR CHILD. Either he is a dangerous person or she is being paranoid, or somewhere in between. She should be getting out of there and finding a different living situation so that she is not around her ex all the time, and putting in place a workable custody agreement, perhaps with supervision if her ex isn’t trustworthy. If she doesn’t have enough $$ to do this, then she should be looking for legal aid/social workers/etc to help her.

          • Diana Barry :

            Sorry if that sounds harsh – I am not trying to pile on you, you are really good to do this, but this is NOT OK for your coworker, nor for her kid, nor for her to get you involved.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            Yes – I agree it’s not a good situation – which is why I’ve been trying to extricate myself because it’s really her business. I very much agree she should be figuring something else out.

            I said yes because it was an emergency situation for her, which maybe I should have said “no, tough cookies and a tough lesson for you” but at the end of the day, I am not willing to enable her choices so that she can make a parent teacher meeting, or go away with friends for the weekend, but I maybe am (apparently, actually I am) so that she can go hold her mom’s hand as she dies.

            I guess I just see a line of difference there, and I do try my best to treat others the way I’d want to be treated. I wouldn’t want people to enable my bad choices so I can have a lot of discretionary fun – but if I made some poor choices and put myself in a bad situation and then had a true emergency – I’d appreciate someone trying to do something nice for me. I wouldn’t blame them for not doing it, of course, if my own choices put me there, but I think it would be a nice thing to do, and I try to do nice things. Especially when there’s an innocent party (like the kid) involved.

            So I’m still finding that line and like I said, I’m still not sure it was the right decision but it’s the situation that I’m in. I mostly said yes because I was really on-the-spot (she came into my office to ask me yesterday and clearly didn’t have a backup plan and was definitely desperate) – if I had had time to think about it, maybe I would have said no, I don’t know. I won’t be at my job much longer, so I don’t anticipate it will come up again, at least hopefully. If it does – I guess I’ll just evaluate that when I get there.

          • Agree with Diana Barry. It’s nice that you are trying to do the right thing, but she has a backup plan. It’s called her ex, the baby’s father. Without having some actual data to suggest that he is an unfit dad (drug or alcohol abuser), I think it’s wrong for her to turn to you instead of asking him to step in. Again, I know it was a tough situation because she was probably in a panic, but jeez, I can’t imagine why we always think the dad is incapable of caring for their own child.

          • I get that you want to treat her as you’d want to be treated. It does sound like she is taking advantage of you, though. If I were in her situation, I would be showering you with gratitude and offers to pay (or promised to at least make you an awesome dinner when I returned if she cannot pay), as well as an acknowledgement that what I was asking you to do was not really reasonable and you are a rockstar for helping me out.

            Are you safe? I understand why you are staying at the house, and I would be worried about taking the child to your place in general, and especially without the ex’s approval. But the ex still has access to their house, even if he’s not staying there with you, right? Are you ok with that?

        • Wow that is very nice of you. When she comes back, you need to talk to her about finding alternative arrangements. Tell her you can’t babysit for her anymore and suggest she go on or similar to find someone. And then stick to your guns.

        • I don’t have anything practically useful to add to , but I just wanted to say that you sound like a really lovely person, and your colleague should be very grateful to you!

    • Mad props and good karma to you for doing that. That is truly nice of you to step up for a coworker.

    • I think this is wildly inappropriate! You should not be babysitting for co-workers. What if something happened to her lid on your watch? If she has no one else to take care of the kid then she can’t go rushing overseas to deal with something else. I’m really appalled by this.

      • Anne Shirley :

        That was me (Kat- are you going to fix the sticky name issue?)

        Also you agreed to this until the weekend? That just seems crazy to me. My parents had no family around to help out, so when there were emergencies with our family overseas, they didn’t go. And it sucked, but that’s what happens. She’s going to keep using you until you stop gracefully trying to say no and tell her- I can’t take care of your kid anymore, and then don’t.

      • I agree with this. I mean it is very nice of you I guess but this is just so extremely inappropriate. I think its inappropriate of you to do it for just one evening- coworkers should not be babysitting for her. And yes it is a difficult situation, but agree that she just shouldn’t have gone to deal with the overseas emergency. If you don’t trust your ex alone with your kid, but allow him to skype and live there, I mean something is F uped. The ex obviously has a key, there is nothing stopping him from coming into his own house while you are there. I can’t stress enough of how f-up this is. Like I would almost call child protective services I think.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Argh, my comment got eaten but I agree with you guys that it’s a screwed up situation, and I honestly don’t know enough about it to know whether she doesn’t trust him for a valid reason or an overly cautious one. Maybe I should have said no, but I said yes, and here I am, you know?

          • I’d have done just what you did if I had a co-worker whose mother was dying in another country. Poor little kid. I hope her parents get it together for her sake.

          • stay strong! :

            you are a good person! this is major karma and props to you! the kid is lucky you are doing this, as is your coworker… Hugs!!

          • I’m also impressed by your kindness, MOA. However, the unfit-ness of her ex, and whether it’s serious or not, suddenly became your business when you were expected to serve as emergency, in-home childcare, and sleep in the same home where he lives. You’re in a terrible position, and I also started thinking about calling authorities. If the situation is OK, then you shouldn’t be called in like this, and if it isn’t OK, then it’s unsafe and needs to be addressed. It can’t be fine and yet oops I regularly need overnight, free childcare with a coworker who has to bunk with my allegedly unfit ex.

            I kind of wonder if mentioning payment would make these last-minute requests, or perhaps all requests, suddenly stop. But that’s about your interests, and not the kid’s, so it’s a different issue.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            Oh I should make it clear – she definitely does not need regular overnight free childcare. She has asked me in the past to watch the kid for a parent teacher meeting, or to go to dinner with a friend, which I did a few times, then saw the pattern and started to refuse. She also asked me once when she was going away with friends, and I also refused (I had a legitimate conflict, so that was easy). She definitely is not regularly asking me to stay overnight. More like once a month or so, she asks me to babysit for an evening, I say I can’t, and we move on. This situation was different because it was an emergency and much more “make a decision right now” situation.

          • I would have done the same as you. Good for you, helping out. Things aren’t always yes/no, black/white.

          • just Karen :

            I’m with you momentofabsurdity, the situation is what it is, and I think under the circumstances you are doing the kind and generous thing. It doesn’t sound like now is the time to try to change the situation, and not being able to be there for a parent passing would be one of those major life traumas – bless you for your kindness on this one.

          • SoCalAtty :

            I agree, you are a saint, and it is really wrong of her to dump that on you.

            My ex-boss started doing that with her dog (I know, not the same) but the dog was HUGE (ridgeback) and not house trained (puppy). My yard also only has a short decorative fence in the front, and no fence at all int he back. I had to watch her every second, from Friday to Sunday, and I didn’t have a deadline but I was trying to get ready to leave the country for a wedding for 10 days the following Friday and got NOTHING done. No sleep, either, because boss neglected to tell me that the puppy would only sleep in the bedroom…bad, since my bedroom is about 10 x 10 with NO room for a dog bed anywhere. So we put her in the hall where she could see her and had to listen to her whine all night.

            Once you do it once, it becomes easier to say yes again – but I would say that you are politely unavailable from now on.

            I also wonder…why would she not take the kid with her? It’s the kid’s grandmother too, right?

          • I think (hope?) I would have done what you did. Her mother is dying, it’s pretty hard to say too bad, can’t do it, in that situation. What you’re doing is so generous, and of course, you know it’s inappropriate for your co-worker to ask you, and it’s a bad situation with her ex, and all of that, but I still think you did the right thing. Doesn’t mean you have to ever do it again.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            I would likely have done the same…. Is it appropriate – no, but given the scenario, I’d be kid sitting, too….

    • You are doing a very nice thing for your co-worker. The whole issue of whether or not she should have asked you, well, that’s another thing. Right now you are in a new situation, and you don’t have a routine mastered. These things get easier with practice! Maybe you can find ways the child can entertain herself for a while, you can plan the night before for a more efficient morning, and you can learn to install the car seat faster (or just leave it in place).

      Your co-worker trusted you to come into her home and care for her child. Maybe she would trust you enough to talk to you, when she returns, about the situation she’s in and the situation she put you in. She really does need to develop some other solutions for the future.

      • Silvercurls :

        +1,000,000 to you for being a really nice person and paying it forward. I understand your feeling of being stuck but doing it anyway and I think you stated it pretty well:
        “I guess I just see a line of difference there, and I do try my best to treat others the way I’d want to be treated. . . if I made some poor choices and put myself in a bad situation and then had a true emergency – I’d appreciate someone trying to do something nice for me. . . . I think it would be a nice thing to do, and I try to do nice things. Especially when there’s an innocent party (like the kid) involved.”

        That said, I’d encourage your coworker to find other solutions and other supports for the future. (See last paragraph for blast of information.) For the short term: I assume you’re in some type of contact with your friend while she’s away. Ask if she already has some other connections (a neighbor? someone else in her congregation?) and if it’s okay for you to strengthen these ties by getting together with the person for coffee or something over the weekend. Or, if you know any potentially helpful people, can you make a long-distance introduction (“hey, is it okay if kiddo and I take a walk on Sunday with my friend who used to be a nanny and still knows people who are in the business or willing to babysit occasionally?”)?

        Info-blast of supposedly helpful suggestions :-)
        – If you’re in a major metropolitan area she should have access to other single moms, either formally (Parents Without Partners, meetups, etc.) or informally.
        – If she’s part of a congregation or an expat community or any other interest group (sports? kids’ play group? any special needs??) she has other ready-made sources of support.
        – I understand that it can seem like Just.One.More.Hurdle for a single mom to expand her network but it’s truly an investment–not just a time-sucking self-indulgence that she can suck it up and do without! – Perhaps you can support her in this by suggesting some resources, encouraging her to keep reaching out, or even volunteering to come with her once or twice to some gathering in the park or other low-key social event. (You play with her child while she chats with other parents.)
        – In getting to know other single parents she may also gain a better idea of how safe or unsafe her ex really is, and if the latter, what to do about finding a better solution.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Thanks so much to you both for the practical advice which I’ll definitely put into practice – both getting a routine established, and maybe asking her about external resources and trying to link her up with them.

          • Other external resources to ask about:
            -Does the daughter have any school friends that mom knows and trust the family of? Any chance you can call them to arrange some playdates so you aren’t entertaining the kid every night while trying to work?
            -Ask the mom if you can alert the child’s teacher/principal/social worker so they know there is something going on (Mom is out of the country with dying Grandma, girl is off routine, please go easy on her/watch for signs of trouble)
            -Does your company have and Employee Assistance Program? Ask your coworker to call them (or make the calls with her) when she gets back – as others have said, she needs more backup than just you.
            -You need to ask her what makes the ex unfit. It may be uncomfortable, but she left you in charge of her child overnight, for pete’s sake – you need to know what you’re dealing with. Is he unfit as in a drug user or abusive or unfit as in just flaky and wouldn’t get her daughter fed and and on school on time? That’s a huge huge difference, and you need to know what you are dealing with.
            -Last: PBS, and will keep kids entertained for quite a while. Might not be ideal, but might buy you a few hours so you can get some work done.

            You are doing your coworker a huge favor and I hope the karma of paying it forward comes back to you in a large positive way.

    • I agree with what everyone else said about this being crazy inappropriate, but since no one can give you a time machine, this is how I would deal:
      TV, junk food, bribery, whatever keeps the kid distracted long enough for you to function, complete your job duties.
      Long term, yeah, a kid needs to minimize those and have healthy activities to do and whatnot, but in an emergency situation with a caregiver who isn’t prepared for it and has work of your own to do, you break out the emergency strategies. I don’t know how old this kid is, but a couple episodes of Dora could probably buy you some time to get things done. I also wouldn’t be above a little bit of bribery: “If you can play quietly with this puzzle without needing my help for 20 minutes, then I will play 2 games of Candyland with you.” of “If you can play in your room without me for 30 minutes, I’ll paint your nails.” If she’s old enough to do this, it can be REALLY effective.

  6. Anon for this :

    Semi-regular poster, going anon on this one.

    So after seeing the post yesterday about someone struggling with depression, I thought I would share what I am going through right now, if only so that others know that they aren’t the only ones.

    I’ve had what I would call low-level depression since my early 20s. It reacts well to medication and with that and therapy I have managed to maintain a “normal” life – successful (legal) career, marriage, friends, and even 1 child.

    Now that I am pregnant with our second child, though, the depression has gotten much worse. As in, I have to stay on medication so that I am not suicidal. The medicine no longer puts me back at “normal” – it just gets me out of “serious danger” area. I struggle through each day at work, and were my job not so autonomous I’d probably have been put on notice already. Get home and barely have the energy to spend time with our child, much less DH. Lots of crying over (quite literally) spilt milk and the like.

    Luckily I am nearing the time when I can stop working (I get to stop 6 weeks prior to my due date) so hopefully the less stressful day will make things easier. And I can only assume that it will get better after the birth (although I and my doctors are prepared should it not).

    But it really really sucks. Every day. And because it is a mental illness during pregnancy, I feel like I can’t tell people about it the way I could if I were on bed rest due to physical ailments for example.

    So there you go. I just wanted to share this.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled fun fashion discussion.

    • Diana Barry :

      Hugs!! Please feel free to vent here any time. Have you talked to your doctor about your medication and whether there is anything else that you can do to keep yourself in a good place mentally?

    • Have you talked to your OB about this? And there is no shame in having depression, especially while you’re pregnant. From a biologic perspective, you have so many hormones coursing through you in different and varying levels that of course you don’t feel like yourself and your meds aren’t helping the way they used to. There is absolutely no shame in that at all. I hope that you stay in close contact with your physicians and even if there is nothing “medical” they can do, they help you find a therapist for this difficult time. Even just cognitive behavioral modification may be helpful to get you through the last hump.

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and FWIW, I think you are so brave to put this down in words and put it out there. I am wishing you all the best. I wonder if you might be able to negotiate some kind of reasonable accomodation with your employer if your OB writes something for you – remember, it doesn’t have to specify the condition for which you need accomodation, just that you have a serious medical issue (your OB will know how to phrase it) and that you need reduced work hours, flexible schedule, whatever.

    • I just wanted to say you are not alone in this.

      I am also pregnant and suffering from severe depression. Because of some coexisting medical conditions, I really can’t take medication while pregnant without also being hospitalized/monitored, so right now I basically have a daily ‘check-in’ system and have a CBT workbook I do for 30 minutes every morning (when things are the worst for me). The difference between my latent low-level depression/SAD and what I am experiencing now is like day and night. I don’t think I could have explained it or understood it until I crossed over here.

      It’s very hard. Everybody expects that you are so happy and looking forward to things, and in a purely intellectual way I am, in that I know it will get better. But right now I wish people understood how much it takes to just get out of bed in the morning, and how hard it is to physically keep moving through each minute of the day.

      I will say that the CBT workbook I am going through is more helpful than I would have anticipated – not in ‘fixing’ the problem, but more in a way that if you eat, you aren’t hungry again for a few hours. It results in me having a few hours of productivity in the morning, then the afternoon are rote tasks until I can get home and in the bed. That said, I am only a ‘functional’ person for about 5-6 hours a day, at most.

      • Also anon today :

        I also wrote here about having depression a while back, and I am currently managing it at a level of “well I’m not crying right now so today’s an ok day” with a crazy cocktail combo of drugs and help from several doctors. So again, no one here is alone. For me, fortunately/unfortunately, pregnancy was one of the ONLY times I felt ok most days unmedicated. While I was still breastfeeding I was generally borderline ok, but when I weaned I went back to full out crazy (as in – contemplating suicide with the only thing stopping me being that my life insurance probably wouldn’t pay out to my husband for that and that would be an awful situation to put him and the kids in). My drug cocktail has definitely curbed the suicidal thoughts and helps me get out of bed every morning, but every day is still a struggle to do even the most basic tasks like get out of bed, feed myself and drive to work, let alone actually work. But I’m going to get through this, and you will too. The whole “one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time” thing may be a cliche, but cliches exist because they are true.

        Anyhow, also wanted to let you know you aren’t alone, and ask anon @ 11:33 about the name of the CBT workbook. I tried seeing a CBT therapist, but she just left me feeling more stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated, so maybe trying some CBT workbooks on my own would be a better route for me right now.

      • Also anon today :

        wrote a longer comment that got eaten by the mod bot, hopefully will show up later, but also here to say “I’ve been there too, you aren’t alone”
        Also, anon @11:33 – could you post the name of your CBT workbook? I think I need to try to add a tool like that to my mental health toolbox alongside my meds, mantras, routines and other things that just barely keep me functional.

      • anon from 11:33 :

        It’s called the” The CBT Workbook for Depression” and it is by Knaus and Ellis. It’s long. Sometimes it helps just because it makes me get through a task and I think just having an assignment to alphabetize words would be equally helpful if I first had to get dressed and go to the dining room; sometimes it helps by giving me something to hold onto mentally through the day.

    • just want to say youre not alone, and that it pains me to no end how much stigma there still is regarding mental illness.

      I suffer from depression as well and have been doing very, very well but an issue at work flared up and yesterday I contemplated taking unpaid leave from work so I could check in to the hospital until things stabilize (quick summary: my boss is very hostile and verbally abusive; HR doesn’t care and is essentially putting me on trial trying to recall every single awful and cruel thing he’s ever said to me. I wish I had said nothing, but I couldnt stand seeing him bully others as well). But then I thought, what would I say my reason was for leaving? I can’t trust myself not to jump in front of the train on my way into work?

      hugs, and youll get through this.

      • Also anon today :

        Wow. Call your doctor, TODAY. Tell them the thoughts about jumping in front of a train and get them to authorize you to take FMLA/disability leave RIGHT NOW. You don’t have to tell your employer the reason, beyond “needed emergency medical care” and thoughts like that are an emergency.

        I’ve taken FMLA for mental health reasons. You don’t have to tell your employer your exact diagnosis. The only thing to watch for is that disability policies specifically call out “mental health problems caused by being at work” so be sure to talk about how you are depressed OVERALL, and how its affecting your whole life, not just work.

        Please get help. Please don’t jump in front of a train. Even if its just a momentary bad thought today, bad thoughts can spiral quickly out of control.

        • Houston Attny :

          Yes Yes Yes. To Also anon today you must listen!

          Truly, I’m so sorry to hear this – I’m so sorry to read about your jerk boss and your unhelpful HR and feeling so desperate that hurting your fabulous self seems like the only option. Please listen to your wise thought that suggested you take FMLA now.

          Reading this whole thread is actually hurting my heart (speaking of hormones). Oh ladies, thinking of all of you and longing for the day when we can openly talk about mental health the same way we talk about physical health.

          • also anon :

            thanks for your kind words. I am under a doctor’s care and he is aware of my ideations and I have his cell phone number to call immediately if I worry I might act on my thoughts.

            I took leave from school once for mental health reasons, and somehow that seemed easier to cover up. I feel like I already have enough trouble justifying to CrazyBoss if I am gone one day with a fever and the flu.

            It is really nice to know though that others have gone through this and came out the other side.

      • Please call your doctor immediately. Seriously, no job is worth your life. If you feel that much at risk, go immediately to the hospital. They have social workers and people who can help handle the FMLA process for you and navigate this on your behalf.

        No jerk boss, HR, or anyone is worth your life. Get help and then you will be able to deal with changing your circumstances.

    • Thank you for your testimony.

      I’ve been depressed pretty much all my life (average level depression, does not respond to medication), but now I am considering children.

      I’ve read about PPD, but handling depression while pregnant is a big unknown, and something that is almost never adressed (standard answer : “but pregnancy is such a bliss that you’ll forget being depressed”).

      Hang in there. Use all the help you can get – it IS an illness, and a vicious one.

    • Silvercurls :

      Sending healing thoughts to you. Kudos for reaching out. Keep reaching! No need for total self-disclosure in your first comment–instead you can make a subtly worded statement and follow up with something more specific if the other person seems receptive. As Anonymous at 11:54 a.m. said “Use all the help you can get – it IS an illness, and a vicious one.”

    • Acupuncture can help depression and it has no side effects, so it may be worth a try. Some insurance plans cover it. I’ve also used Chinese herbs in conjunction with acupuncture for anxiety and they basically made my anxiety go away. Like every time you seek professional help, you have to use your judgment because there are practitioners that are a good fit for you and those that are not– but if you find one that you are comfortable with (I used Yelp), the benefit can be amazing.

    • another anon :

      If it makes you feel better, I believe I was in the exact same boat for my 20s and early 30s (could have written your post), but did not get the medication until after baby 2. Looking back, I think i had post-partum depression after baby no. 1, and during pregnancy no. 2, i too had the suicidal tendencies/thoughts etc. Within a day of of baby no. 2 being born, however, its like a flip switched and everything got better (for the first three weeks or so, which are often the hardest, i was euphoric). This lasted until a year-ish later, when I was back to the “low level” depression/aniexity, but this was triggered by my mother getting sick and suffering from what is essentially a slow and painful death. As of now, a year and a half later, Im in the process of going off the medications and am feeling great. Who knows if I now have all of the coping mechinisms i need to keep it up for the long haul, but im at least going to try. And i know that i can go back on the medication in the future if i need to.

      • This is late but I just wanted to say thank you SO much to everyone who reached out. I really can’t even express how much it means. And especially to those who have similar stories, thanks so much for sharing.

        Am off to download the CBT workbook. :)

  7. On Topic: Not a fan of this jacket with the cream accent. Also, I never wear white because I am a slob.

    TJ: Is anyone else intensely homesick? I pine for my home town (3000 miles away) all the time. It’s physical, like the heartache after a terrible breakup. I’ve been away from home for 7 years now and have a good life where I live (husband, kids, house). We do plan to move back one day, but the job/housing situation has us trapped for the foreseeable future. Is this a ridiculous thing for a 35-year-old woman to complain about? If any of you also feel this way, how do you cope?

    • I don’t feel this way, but have felt homesick for places where I lived when I was very happy. Could this be what’s happening to you? Do you dislike your current town? Are you hitting a road-bump with some part of your life?

    • Abby Lockhart :

      I am not “intensely” homesick, but I do miss my hometown/home state a lot. I haven’t been back in about 7 years (not sure exactly) and moved away 20 years ago. I booked a trip last night just because I realized I need to go back. I am visiting the place, not the people. I barely know anyone there anymore and have no plans to meet up with anyone. I heard someone talk about the concept of “ground memory” once, and I do feel like I just belong on the soil in my home state more than I belong here. I also feel like I belong with the people there — in a generic sense, not specific people I miss. I remember going to a high school friend’s wedding about 10 years ago, where virtually all of the guests were strangers to me, but lived in my home state and also grew up there. I felt immediately comfortable with them in a way I rarely feel here, even though I’ve actually spent more of my life here. The distance between here and home is not that great, but the cultural and physical differences are. I totally get it. Perhaps you could talk to your husband about taking a brief trip home, even if it is without your whole family.

    • Yup. I have been there before and kind of am right now. I’m a military brat, so I didn’t really “grow up” in one particular place, but I have a couple of places that I consider home: where I graudated from high school/went to college/met my husband/where my sister lives (all the same place), where I went to law school and practiced for several years, and where my family is from/where I live right now. Depending on what is going on, I will seriously contemplate and discuss moving from one spot to the other because I miss what the other place has so very much. But for family/career reasons we are likely in the last spot (where my family is from/we live right now) for a long time. Trips to the other places help, as frequently those trips remind me of why we left or decided not to settle there. If you can figure out what it is you miss the most about your home town (family, open space/city, etc.) and try to remedy those discrete areas, I think that can help. I call/text my sister almost every day and we head back to the city where I went to law school to get our fill of city life and then retreat home.

      You mentioned that you want to move back one day. Can you develop a plan that will get you there? E.g., we will move back when the youngest is X years old, or when husband/you are ready to move to a smaller/larger practice? Even if it is not a definite plan, having some idea of when you will make the move can help. Good luck.

    • What do you miss about your hometown? Is it the city itself or your family?

    • I moved across the country for love and then moved back to where I had started because I missed it that much. So no, it’s real. For me I think my intense heartache (and depression) had to do with moving when I didn’t want to — I felt like I was giving up part of myself to be in city #2.

      If you can stand it, surround yourself with reminders of your home, watch movies set around the area, that kind of thing. It might make things worse. Sometimes I would have fun and recreate dishes from some of my favorite restaurants to feel like I was getting a taste of the place I had left behind. Good luck and hugs.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I could have written this exact post, word for word.

      I visit frequently, which on one hand is painful but on the other reminds me of the not-so-perfect parts of my hometown. I try to focus on that when my homesickness picks up.

      I definitely don’t think it’s silly to feel that way. My husband and I are both homesick for our respective (and far apart) homes. We recognize that moving to his is unrealistic, and that is very hard for him to carry some days.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Not the actual town but proximity to my friends and family? Absolutely. Puzzling out how to get closer now….

  8. I know there are people from the Mpls/St. Paul area out there – do any of you have recommendations for a cleaning service or person for an apartment? I am at a loss at how to find someone, and last time I checked Merry Maids (admittedly, several years go), their quote was very expensive.

    • I also did Molly maids. They were fine. I now have an independent lady I found through a friend. I’m not in love but I keep saying “at least I didn’t have to do it myself”.when things are not exactly the way I would have done them.

      • I have a fantastic house cleaner in Minneapolis! She is a gem and I don’t know what I’d do without her. DM me for details!

        • Shoot, never mind – did not post my email address! What’s the best way to get you the reco? I’d rather not just post her phone number on a public site….

  9. TJ – How do you ladies keep the bug issues down in your houses/apartments/condos etc.? We have an abundance of spiders and earwigs (I call them that, but I’m not sure what the technical name is, they’re long skinny bugs with pinchers). After killing a spider that would.not.die this morning (I beat it to death and then sprayed bug spray on it) I’m determined to do something to get rid of them.

    Also, I’m allergic to spider bites (they swell up huge, hurt like heck, and tissue around the bite dies, scar badly etc.) so keeping things as they are now is not an option even if they are good for the ecosystem. They can do their good outside of my house!

    • My cats hunt and kill (eat) the bugs and spiders in our apartment.

      • Thank you! I would love to do that, but I’m allergic to most cats. Maybe after a few rounds of allergy shots I can get a kitten!

        • There are a few hypoallergenic cats that aren’t the furless variety! I met someone whose husband is really allergic and they have an awfully cute furball now.

          • just Karen :

            Siamese and oriental shorthairs seem to be less of an allergy problem for many people (if I am remembering right, their dander doesn’t contain one of the main allergen-triggers that most other cats have) – if you know someone who has one (or two – they’re needy and honestly easier to own in pairs), go hang out with them for a while and see how you do. They are not low maintenance though, so it might be easier to hire an exterminator than to adopt cats :)

      • Ha! I was going to say that our dog eats our creepy crawlies.

      • My cat is too dang lazy to hunt spiders. Useless furbeast.

    • We have a pest-control company that comes once a quarter and sprays the outside of the house, plugs vent holes in the bricks that allow bugs to get in, and does various and sundry other things to keep our house bug-free. Before we hired them, we routinely had spiders (enormous wolf spiders, once a tarantula) in our house and that was NOT OK.

      If you’re in Texas, I can highly recommend ABC Pest and Lawn.

      • Yeah, I think I need to go that route. We have black widows and whatever I killed this morning was horrifying. I have heard mixed reviews about pest control actually working, so it’s good to hear that it works for you! I’m in Southern California, but I’m going to start researching companies that do it.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          My family in NorCal regularly uses a big pest control company which has gotten rid of 95% of any bug problems. They do the same – come every few months, spray outside, plug any holes. My mom gets paranoid about the chemicals so they go away for the weekend usually and have the pest control guys open up all the windows if they do any inside work. It definitely seems to work well.

      • Gulp. Tarantulas. I am so glad I don’t live in Texas. Based on the tarantulas alone, I don’t think I’d do well there.

      • So, if my company offers me a transfer to Houston I might say no. Or change my mind on bringing the cat. One of the great things about Canada is our relative lack of creepy crawlies, especially poisonous ones.

        • Yeah, Tarantulas and Black Widows? WTH?? That makes Winnipeg’s mosquitos sound positively charming and adorable.

          • Oh to only have mosquitoes!

            We actually have something that I consider (almost) worse than those two things. Though, those are bad enough. In So. Cal there is something called a Sun Spider or a Vinegeroon (sp?) that looks half spider, half something else (cockroach?). They DO NOT DIE no matter how much you smash, poison, etc. (They eventually die, but it takes quite a bit of effort to smash through their hard shell.) They are disgusting, and I see no purpose for them on the planet.

            And now, I am smacking every itch that I feel because I’m terrified something is crawling on me. HAHAH

        • There is something to be said for those long cold winters after all..

          • lucy stone :

            YES THERE IS. I’ll take snow any day if it means all we get are itty bitty spiders and not so itty bitty mosquitoes.

    • We’re in Texas. Pest control (we use ABC) is expensive, but it is so worth it. We pay them to come monthly, and then if there are any problems between trips, they come for free to deal with the issue. I just couldn’t handle the bugs anymore.

  10. Anyone know of any good resources for newbie gardeners in the mid-Atlantic? I lived in apartments my whole life and so am really good with potted plants and container gardening, but we now have a real yard and I’d like to do something with it. I just literally have no idea where to start. How do I pick the right plants? How do I make sure they work together? How can I be sure they’re not poisonous to my dog? When do I plant them? What do I have to do to the soil to get it ready for planting? How often do I water? What’s the right way to use mulch? How do I figure out what’s in my yard already (the last family did some decent landscaping but I have no idea what half the plants are or what to do for them to keep them healthy)? I feel like a lot of gardening books just aren’t basic enough. Help?

    • I’ve had great luck going to independent nurseries around town and asking questions. For sure they can tell you what plants do well in your region. (Although drainage is also a big issue-some plants did not do well close to our house because apparently the drainage right next to our house is not so hot). They may also be able to identify plants if you take some photos on your phone. I have one place not too far from home which has been my go-to place for my stupid questions-and they have always been gracious and welcoming. Of course, they do get our business when we buy!

    • Check out Lots of very helpful forums on there, with “look at my photo – what is this plant?” kind of questions.

    • Find a local gardening center (not one of the chain/big box stores unless it’s a local chain) and see if they do any sort of landscape classes or sessions with master gardeners. Or see if the local community college, city extension classes, or even the local high school has classes or resources in landscaping or yard planning.

      Ultimately, it comes down to some trial and error.

      1. What Zone are you in (plants are usually catagorized by zone which will tell you their hardiness – Mid Atlantic is probably Zone 4 or 5?)
      2. What kind of sunlight does your yard get (in the areas you’ll be planting)? Morning sun, afternoon sun, all day sun, shady, partly shady – this will also affect what type of plants will work in different areas.
      3. Do you want evergreens, perennials or annuals? Evergreens – green year round (like pine trees and junipers) but don’t really flower and have sap/resin issues. Perennials – Plant once and they come back after each winter, but may need some maintenance in the fall/spring. Annuals – you plan these every spring because they don’t survive the winter, but sometimes they reseed themselves and randomly sprout around where they were planted last year.
      4. How much maintenance do you want to do – Plant and done, with some work once or twice a year? Weekly or monthly efforts just to make it look nice?

      Good luck :)

    • He’s further south than you are so his advice may be a bit off for certain plants, but I like Walter Reeves-The Georgia Gardner. He answers a lot of questions on his website and has good resources. You can also look up your county extension office ( which will have information specific to your area.

  11. Does anyone here have any experience with color analysis? I know I’m a warm spring (blue eyes, red/strawberry blonde hair), but I was surprised at some of the color recommendations (salmon, coral). I’m wondering if getting the swatches would be good for me. Thoughts/experiences?

    • hoola hoopa :

      No specific experience, but FWIW it sounds like you may have similar colouring as my daughter (which – although perhaps not the most flattering term – I would describe as ‘brassy’) and she looks fantastic in peaches, salmons, and corals. I’m a more ‘traditional’ redhead and wouldn’t have ever guessed it since those colors look *terrible* on me.

      It’s worth a try, right?

    • I had my “colors done” when I was a kid (they said they wouldn’t change as I got older). I have no idea why my parents did it, must have been a fad in the 80s. Anyway, I still have the swatch book and it is dead on, to this day!

      • It was definitely a very ’80s thing. I’m a winter and those are definitely the colors that look best on me. I like some browns, but it’s best if I wear them away from my face because they just make me look sallow.

  12. Shopping Enabler :

    Haute Look has Cole Haan shoes and bags and Suzy Chin dresses today . . . .

    I’m saving for a vacation and can’t partake. Boo.

  13. graduation gift needed :

    I know we’ve talked about graduation gift ideas before, but I am drawing a blank for this situation. My brother is graduating from college and will be a research assistant for an econ professor. What should I get him as a graduation gift? I’d like to spend up to $150 and no leather (his preference). I am hesitant to get him city-specific stuff for where he will be moving, because I’ve gotten him restaurant gift cards in the past that he did not use.

    • My guy friend’s favorite graduation gifts included:
      -Nice alcohol (a special edition bottling from our graduation year)
      -Alumni membership/season tickets (may not be as applicable if he’s moving away)
      -Brooks Brothers button downs from their college line (featuring a small embroidered school logo)
      -Furniture for a new apartment

      Other ideas:
      -Guidebooks for the new city
      -A plane ticket home or to visit college friends (or some portion thereof)

    • hoola hoopa :

      I received a nice point and shoot camera as a graduation gift and loved it. That was pre-smart phone, though.

      Nice backpack.
      Bike or related gear.
      Kitchen gear, bedding, or other stuff for his apartment.
      Subscription to The Economist.
      Camping gear.

    • Thanks for these ideas! Subscription to the Economist is an awesome idea…could also go with Netflix (a little less intellectual).

  14. Threadjack: I bought Ann Taylor’s aqua lace skirt ( and love it. But I’m not suer what to wear it with. My first thought was navy, but because the skirt material is soft, a jacket looks too stiff with it. Suggestions? I’m wearing it to a convention in Atlanta in two weeks.

    • i’m picturing a cropped 3/4 sleeve jacket in cotton pique or similar – something structured but summery.

    • I should add that I have a tummy I’m trying to conceal. Many thanks!!

    • A white man style billowy semi sheer blouse tucked in with the sleeves rolled up.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I’m thinking a shell in the same color and a jacket in navy or even black or white. I’d bring in yellow, pink, coral, red, or green through accessories. I find a shell in the same color as my bottoms hides a tummy nicely.

      I’m assuming the convention is professional and not personal, so I’d stick with a jacket. I think a cardigan etc would look too casual.

    • I’d actually pair it with the jacket featured above and like the others said, a similar colored shell or neutral ivory.

  15. Mountain Girl :

    If you are on the Loft mailing list they are having a 50% off sale through 7pm this evening but it is in-store only.

    One of my favorite skirts is the Loft Scuba skirt in tall. Does anybody know the release schedule for Loft well enough to predict when they might release new scuba colors for summer?

  16. anon_dilemma :

    A friend was recently fired from her job, primarily for an ethical violation (in short, lying about something and getting caught at it). She has been actively looking for another job, and has told me that she will be submitting an application to my firm due to some personal connections that she has here.

    I want to be supportive and have been helping her during the job search process, but feel very conflicted about her applying to my company due to the fact that, while I’m aware of the truth, no one else is and I doubt she’ll volunteer the information. We are a very small firm and I would see her every day. At the same time, I consider myself to have a very (sometimes overly) strong sense of what’s “right”, and feel like I might just be overly judgmental of my friend. Do I keep quiet and just wait it out, or do I say something to someone?

    • hoola hoopa :

      It’s hard without knowing the situation (which you obviously can’t share here), but assuming that a majority of people would feel that the ethical violation is wrong and worthy of termination and reason not to hire someone, then I think you are fully justified in alerting someone on the hiring committee – but I would wait until she became a serious candidate. So for now, wait it out. She may not be considered. If she does, you can probably say something like, “I think it’s important that you speak with her last firm” rather than ‘tattle’ on her.

      Not sure if it’s helpful, but I had a friend who had false information on her resume, major stuff. Apparently no one ever checked on it because she seemed to do fine in job searches, but I knew it was there and it really bothered me. Luckily, we aren’t in the same field and I was never in a situation where I could have or should have come clean. We aren’t friends any more. Not because of that per se, but because ultimately she and are weren’t compatible. She was the kind of person willing to do something like that. I am not. That difference in ethics lead to a large number of ‘little’ things that left me doubting the friendship – then finally to one BIG thing that made me cut the link.

      • I agree with this and I also have the same possibly too-strong moral compass where it would just not sit right with me to see her every day. I would wait until it became likely that she was a serious candidate and then I would say something to the hiring manager. Especially in a smaller place it’s important to be able to trust everyone on my team.

    • How likely is it this is something she’d do again? How harmful would it be to your firm if she did? If she seems to have learned her lesson, or if the position she’s applying for wouldn’t give her the opportunity to do much harm, then I wouldn’t say anything. One thing confuses me — why does it matter if you see her every day or not? I understand if you said she’d be working on your projects and you were worried about her impacting the quality of your work, but I don’t get what seeing her has to do with anything.

      • hoola hoopa :

        How likely is it this is something she’d do again? How harmful would it be to your firm if she did?

        Excellent questions to consider. I amend my response with these included in the assumptions.

      • It’s likely that she would do something like this again, though not sure it would necessarily be harmful to the firm. I guess I am more bothered by the basic ethical implications of her lying and my implicit covering for it.

        That was more in reference to the fact that she and I would not be in separate, far-flung divisions where I could just ignore my moral compass. I am also worried about the potential association with me, since we are friends and if this happens again, I feel like it would reflect on me as well.

        • Diana Barry :

          Now I am really curious about what she did!

        • The guilt by association is valid. I agree with hoola hoopa that it’s probably best to sit tight for now. This is really tricky. You don’t want her to never be able to get another job because she screwed up once. But from what you say, it sounds like she doesn’t feel remorse and is unlikely to change. Have you talked with your friend about this? You worry about your moral compass, but it seems like that only came into play when it was your own work place. That’s very normal, but you might want to have a conversation with her about how what she did makes you feel, and about how you’d feel about her coming to work with you. This isn’t a very nice conversation to have, and it might wreck the friendship, but it would get things out in the open and help her to see the damage her actions have caused.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Is it the kind of thing that could happen where you work? If not, I’d leave it alone. In any case, unless I was a partner and had a fiduciary duty to my partners, I probably wouldn’t volunteer, but I’d also tell her I wouldn’t lie on her behalf. So if asked specifically if I knew anything that would prevent me from hiring her, I’d tell the truth…. (That should prevent her from indirectly or directly using you as a reference.)

  17. Merabella :

    This post is apropos, as I’m in the market for jackets…

    Does anyone have recommendations of places to get jackets for the broad of shoulders? I’m only 5’5″ but I have broad shoulders and have the toughest time finding shirts/jackets that don’t pull across the back. Should I just give in and get talls? Where is a good place for tall jackets?

    • Mountain Girl :

      If the jacket is pulling across the back and shoulders I’m not sure that a tall jacket is going to help you. Most of the time, tall jackets are longer in the overall length and particularly in the sleeve length. Otherwise, they are generally cut from the same pattern as their non-tall counterparts. I think you might be better off finding a jacket that uses a fit model with broader shoulders. I’m not sure what that would be but I don’t think you be happy just shopping for talls.

    • Do the jackets pull so much that the line of the jacket is ruined or is it just kind of uncomfortable? I like a jacket with a little stretch to it for my shoulders.

  18. So…. In my attempt to be more fashionable…. What do you wear with a white jacket? My wardrobe is filled with black, navy and gray pants… I would love to embrace spring, but i struggle with what to wear! Most websites show dresses and funky colors and there is no way i would pull that off without looking unprofessional. How do you guys transition to spring& summer? How do i wear this jacket!! (Dresses and skirts dont fly in my office…)

  19. It’s going to be ending of mine day, however before end I am reading this enormous piece of writing to increase my experience.