Thursday’s TPS Report: Tailored Peplum Jacket

Topshop Tailored Peplum JacketOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Topshop isn’t a brand I usually think of for workwear, but I’m loving not one but two blazers from them, both at Nordstrom: this lovely peplum jacket (available in four colors, pictured in grey) and this other open-front blazer. Both are really reasonably priced ($96 and $90, respectively) and they look hip and easy to style. Topshop Tailored Peplum Jacket

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



  1. Wanderlust :

    I want to like this, but it reminds me of the jacket Dr. Evil wears.

    (by the way, Kat, both links lead to the same jacket)

  2. Cady Herron :

    I love a good open-front blazer, but the second one feels a bit too 1980s for me. Yeah, I know, 80s fashion is big now, and I was a little kid in the 80s, but still.

  3. Grad School Apps :

    Any advice on balancing an intense workload and graduate school applications? I’m hoping to apply this fall, but am getting side tracked by 14 hour days and weekend work which interferes with studying for the GMAT (especially taking practice tests). Right now I’m waffling between just pushing through and hoping I get in somewhere and waiting another year (and perhaps finding a new job). Is this unreasonable?

    • Anne Shirley :

      Any downside to doing what prep you can, taking the GMAT and seeing how you do? If you’re confident that you need the degree and now is the right time to get it, I’d be hesitant to put it off for a year to have a perfect application process, especially when that would require finding different work.

    • Can you block out a month or week for studying? I prepped for the LSAT in a month where I knew my work would be slow. I studied for 2 hours every night (taking 1-2 sections of practice tests) and 2-4 hours on weekend days, and took the week of Thanksgiving off entirely to prep. Worked for me, but maybe the GMAT is different.

      • Grad School Apps :

        I’ve been trying to do this for the last two months, but unfortunately my firm has had a number of departures so hours are rough. I’m considering taking a week of vacation right before the test, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to prepare.

        • Have you taken any practice tests to gauge where you are? You may surprise yourself. And, it will be a good way to identify you areas of weakness are so that you can focus your study accordingly.

          Also, I really found that kahn academy and taking one of those princeton review classes were helpful.

          Good luck!

    • Just take the GMAT without worrying about studying. It’s not a particularly difficult test and if you don’t like your results you can retake it later.

      • Sorry, accidentally reported you.

        Just as a counter note. I studied my a$$ off for the GMAT and most of my classmates did as well. Not to freak you out but, this was definitely not a test that I could walk into cold and ace.

        I think it depends mostly on how competitive the program you are looking at attending it.

      • I’m going to second Anon at 10:35. I’ve taken both the GMAT and LSAT. I found the GMAT to be much easier than the LSAT, which I didn’t think was particularly difficult either.

    • When I was applying to law school and taking the LSAT, I worked at a job where I billed 2500 hours a year and worked constantly. Even though I hated spending the money, I bought an LSAT class so I could tell my boss that I had to be out of the office during class times. He respected that and I ended up with the score I wanted.

    • Anonymous :

      You may already know this, but depending on how much work experience you have, there are schools that don’t require the GMAT. Granted, they may not be the top 10 as ranked by US News, but depending on what you’re looking for from your degree, there may be good options. Good luck!!

  4. This is probably going to out me :

    Big thanks to all of you who weighed in on my Job A, B or C dilemma on yesterday’s morning thread. I appreciated the good advice and found it interesting how many of you valued flexibility over $! Although I haven’t made any notifications yet, I’m going to stay where I am but continue to keep my eyes open. I appreciate everyone’s advice and input.

    • I read it too late to weigh in, but my thought was that you should stay put as well. I have three kids and as the older ones started elementary school, I found that I actually need more flexibility now, not less, as the kids have all kinds of events that take place during the day (or after school, which means 3 p.m.) and I love going to these events. I’m so glad to have flexibility and a short commute and am willing to wait for the big $$ and exciting challenges in my career (which will come with commensurate additional stress and possibly some travel, too).

    • My personal take on money/salary is that it has to be a really substantial increase to matter & I define substantial as making a lifestyle difference in a major way (not in a “don’t care about buying a latte every day” way). Flexibility and other intangibles like your work environment are the difference between getting to enjoy your life or not, so they’re worth so much more in my book.

  5. Red Beagle :

    Peplums are just not my thing. I am just waiting for the trend to pass…

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      Don’t say that! I never want the trend to pass – but I can see how it doesn’t work for some body types.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I feel like peplums SHOULD look good on women with hourglass figures, but they actually make women with straight figures look more hourglass, and women who do have hourglass figures look bottom heavy. There are exceptions (Philip Lim had a black Target top with a small peplum that looks quite cute on) but I think that’s the general rule.

      • Contracts :

        This could be because I have a long waist and am a curvy hourglass, I feel like a lower peplum works pretty well. I’ve found some great peplum tops from the Loft – especially in sweaters. They make me feel feminine.

        • Red Beagle :

          I can see that they could be flattering and take back my wish for the trend to pass. For me, they are a style that I don’t feel attractive in – I think because of my short waist and curvy shape I feel like there are two many horizontal lines for me. For me, they are like loafers, which, no matter what height of heel, will always make me feel horsy. The proportions don’t work for me.

          • (Former) Clueless Summer :

            I am an hourglassy pear with a high waist (is that short-waisted?) and I love high peplums. Esp coloured peplum tops/jackets with black skirts. It makes me think no one can tell I’m way bigger on the bottom!

      • I love peplums, but like many trends, not all peplums are created equal. I am thin but curvy, so what matters most to is where the peplum hits (bottom of my natural waist) as well as how much fabric is on the peplum.

      • This, exactly. I’m a pretty proportional hourglass (petite 2-4), and while I like the waist-defining aspect of peplum tops, they make me look disproportionally bottom-heavy. Turn that same shape into a dress, though, and it looks great.

      • In the Pink :

        Actually I disagree. I am an extreme hourglass and they are flattering. For me, it’s the difference between the waist and hips which is accentuated in a positive way. I think that the thinner and more flowing the fabric, the better. If they are stiff fabrics, it just adds width.

        I just don’t want to lose peplums as an OPTION and a working alternative to all the SHEATHS out there which just do not work for my shape. When I take in the waist, then the bottom part of the dress is just way too tight.

        I think options are what we need in fashion so that all body types are always “in style.”

    • I feel like peplums are very flattering on me (and tend to hide my pooch) so I hope the trend endures for a few more years at least

    • Me too. I’m a pear shape and they look horrible on me.

  6. Question: how open are you about your religion in the workplace? I am on the verge of entering the working world and am wondering how most professionals handle it. For example, is it a faux pas to wear, say, a religious pendant with professional attire? Do you think they should be completely separate?

    • Baconpancakes :

      No judgement at all on those who don’t agree, because religion is personal, but I lean towards small religious pendants that are of a subdued style that you might wear in a non-religious pendant. So if a small gold feather or heart on a chain would look nice, then a small cross or Star of David or other religious symbol would look nice as well. I don’t see any reason to avoid wearing it, unless you work for a religious organization that isn’t of your faith, or you work with clients that might make it awkward.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think in most offices a small cross necklace or other religious pendant is probably fine, and certainly if your religious faith requires you to wear certain attire, well, someone might have a problem with it but not much you can do about it.

      But since you’re new to the professional world, I would go with no mention or pendant at all for now until you get a better idea of how your office runs.

    • Granted, I’m in Texas and from the South, so I probably see this more, but we have tons of people that wear a simple cross necklace or something similar every day at work. No one thinks twice about it. I actually love the off-set cross necklaces and keep meaning to buy one.

    • Just be prepared to be judged.

      • “Just be prepared to be judged.”

        This response could actually apply to everything anyone ever does in life, and it isn’t very helpful. I’m sure someone is judging me right now for my nude pointy-toe flats, too.

        • Wildkitten :

          Ha – I was thinking that since it applies to everything anyone does it is VERY helpful advice.

      • Thank you. That’s sort of what I feared. I do have the luxury of belonging to a mainstream religion (Christianity) and happen to live in the South, so I know most places won’t have an issue with a small cross pendant that’s tasteful. However, I’m in a office now that seems particularly private (or perhaps has more nonrelgious people) so I thought it would be worth asking the Hive.

    • Contracts :

      I think the advice given already about a pendant on a delicate chain in a professional environment is just fine. I’m also in Texas, though, and it’s pretty normal to see chunky turquoise or coral necklaces with huge crosses hanging down at work.

      I do think there is a difference between wearing a simple [insert religious symbol] pendant and talking about your religion at work. I’d stay away from that.

      • I’m going to build onto what Contracts said, simply because you said you are entering the working world and the “talking about your religion” line is blurry. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with referring to your religion in context (example – when I ask my coworker what he’s up to this coming weekend, and he responds that he’s attending an event with his church). Proselytizing is a no-no, but mentioning it is absolutely fine. Hiding it is unnecessary.

        • Another Anon :

          I agree with Anon. Proselytizing or being negative about other religions are no-nos. I’d take it one step further, though. I knew of a boss at a company who had a small bible study with some of their employees during lunch. It was technically on their own time, but it made me wonder how the boss’s other employees not in the group felt about it. If I was in their place, I might have felt uncomfortable that the boss would play favorites with the bible study group. If you do make friends of the same religion/denomination, maybe save any religious activities/discussions for outside the place of work. Want to have a bible study group? Great. Go out to lunch.

          • “I might have felt uncomfortable that the boss would play favorites with the bible study group.”

            Similar to the comments above that we can be judged for anything, the favoritism potential you mention can happen with any sort of shared interest or background–same alma mater, same suburb, same car brand, same golf handicap, etc. I don’t think there needs to be a heightened fear of religion creating a stronger bond. It’s not a cult.

          • Some managers may indeed favor members of their own affinity group, while others may bend over backward not to. Given that people are human and form social groups, I don’t think it’s possible to stop people from associating. I’m also not sure what’s the difference between having a study group on company property (assuming no company rules or laws are broken), and the same group of people finding an outside venue at lunchtime.

          • The difference is that religion is a protected class. Alma mater, golf club, and love of trashy tv are not. It is certainly possible to tell your employees no bible study groups at work. And the difference in having them on campus versus off is the company saying “yes, bring your religion here. Use our facilities to be exclusionary” versus “by all means do what you like when you’re off the clock and outside the office.”

          • I see your point, but what about company-sponsored affinity groups for employees of color (for example)? Aren’t those also exclusionary?

    • Not a faux pas, totally fine.

    • As long as it was small and unobtrusive, whether cross, Star of David, or Om symbol, I don’t think there’d be any issues with it. Maybe wait until you have a better grasp of the office culture, though? I found during my time in France that although it’s supposed to be secular, same as my home country, India, what that means in terms of day-to-day life is very different.

    • If it religion-mandated jewelry, I guess you just wear it.

      It is something that expresses your religion and is optional, I’d look at it like this:

      — is it good quality jewelry? Is it in good condition? I wouldn’t wear something that you got at a church bookstore for a few dollars, not because it’s religious, but because it might look a bit out of place.

      — is it right, style-wise? Madonna wore a lot of crosses. I wouldn’t personally pair those with a suit. I don’t see a lot of colored stones or something very large as the most work-appropriate expression of one’s faith.

      — is it right, age-wise? Like how some pearls look better on Nancy Pelosi and some look better for someone’s first communion, not ever piece is perfect throughout your life. They may have awesome sentimental value, but maybe there is an age-appropriate and place-appropriate piece out there that is better.

      I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with wearing religious jewelry, but where is is more a style question than a religious question, this is how I’d see it.

      • OP here. Thank you for this response! This originally came up because my grandmother wanted to get me a graduation present and I was thinking of requesting a white gold cross/diamond accent cross in lieu of say, a watch (since I already have a nice one) but then I starting wondering if that would be the best option. I’ve been in offices where people were very open, with bible quotes on their cubicle walls, etc. but I haven’t spotted a single cross or quote at the job I’m in now. Maybe it’s also a “know your office” type thing, too? In any event, I think I would definitely have to put it away during interviews and I think I would like to build up a bit of a reputation at my new job before wearing it. I also have to make sure whichever one I select is tasteful and age-appropriate, as you mentioned.

        • A cross with a diamond sounds lovely. It might be a more formal / special occasion / church where you dress up piece than an office piece. It really depends. But it seems like a solid investment piece and something that you’d love and cherish forever.

          One thing that I struggled with (more with clothes) is that for women, there is a big difference between formal/work clothes and formal/fancy clothes. For men, they can wear a suit to most things and it’s fine. For women, what you’d wear to an evening event often won’t work for day and vice versa. Jewelry can often be the same, which can make things tricky.

          • Your comments have really put my mind to rest! I was very worried about it looking tacky or inappropriate. I agree, I wanted to pick one that I thought I could wear forever and would really age well. For example, it seems like really really tiny ones are in style now, so my top contender is a little bigger, like 1″.

            That’s another good point to consider. I haven’t yet had issues with my clothes but I have that problem all the time with jewelry. Mostly because I have a philosophy that if I own something, I should really wear it. Even it might be a little too “nice.” I don’t know. I feel sad if I just leave my pearls in my jewelry box. I also kind of think that by wearing something often, it kind of neutralizes it and it can be less impressive. But maybe I’m just delusional! Luckily, I am in the South so pearls with a t-shirt seems acceptable to most.

          • I will second this. I have almost exactly the piece you are describing, except yellow gold, maybe an inch long. Small diamond set in it. It was given to me for graduation by an aunt (who has always been more like a grandmother). I wear it almost all the time. Even in an atmosphere I found to be unfriendly toward my religious beliefs, my pendant was never questioned. Regardless of the beliefs of those around you, a small cross pendent (which I even see on individuals who profess no particular religious affiliations) shouldn’t be any cause for concern.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I am not very religious but I wear a small gold cross w/ diamond accents on occasion (with business attire) because it was a present from my parents that means a lot to me and they are religious. I wouldn’t take the lack of crosses and quotes as a sign you can’t wear a cross. I would say you shouldn’t display a cross in your office (like hanging on the wall) or add bible quotes to your email signature or anything like that.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I agree with the posters above that it depends on where you are and the environment, and the item you are proposing to wear.

      However, to me this advice raises the secondary question (sort of alluded to by Jewels in the context of jewellery) that if this were something non-optional and more obvious – say, if you were a Muslim and wore a hijab – then this would in a way be a non-issue as you would have no choice but to wear something that outwardly expresses your religion to others. So the small cross would be fine on that basis, no?

      (for the record, I’m totally areligious so apologies if I’ve oversimplified this)

      All that said, a symbol is one thing, but I agree that talking about religion can cause different kinds of problems. The environment here in the UK is very different as nobody really talks about religion ever, but I think the advice still applies.

    • Anon for this :

      I used to be very active in my (minority, non-mainstream) religion and although I didn’t talk about it a lot, I didn’t hide it and it naturally came up in the context of “what did you do over the weekend” type conversations. I wore a small gold pendant with a religious symbol, although I’m certain very few people recognized it as such.

      I didn’t experience any negative consequences. Although I will say this was about 10 years ago and my sense is that everybody has gotten a little more cranky about everything since then.

    • I think it depends on your workplace. I work in SF Bay Area tech company. People wear items that are specific to religion every day. I am talking about Muslim women wearing head scarf , or Muslim and Jewish men wearing skull cap, Hindu women and men wearing pendents or rings etc which are explicitly religious. I don’t think they get judged for doing that. I belong to a minority religion and I have never felt discriminated against because of that.

    • R in Boston :

      It doesn’t sound like you work in a medical/healthcare environment, but just in case, I would say I agree with most of the above commenters except for the medical/healthcare context. I’ve run into a couple of nurses and pharmacists recently who have been wearing fairly conspicuous crosses while providing care and it feels very inappropriate in that context. I am not Christian and live in a city where people are not very religious, so YMMV, but I don’t think I would feel any objection to the very same jewelry in a different type of office.

    • This is one of those know-your-office type of things, but I wear a Buddhist pendant every day and if it doesn’t really go with the outfit, I just tuck it under the collar of my shirt.

  7. for Rental Q :

    for Rental Q from yesterday – check your state’s laws. In MA if your deposit is not returned within a stated time period (I believe 30 days), you are automatically entitled to triple damages. There is no defense. I have gotten this in the past with a letter citing the statute. Other states may have similar rules.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      I’m sure they vary widely from state to state – the OP mentioned a 45 day standard in her area yesterday, while in WA it’s 14 days, with the potential for a court to award up to two times the deposit amount if the landlord intentionally refuses to give a statement or refund due.

    • Thank you! I’ll look into that!

  8. Furniture shopping question. I’m looking to upgrade my 20-something furnishings, and unlike clothing brands, I’m not in the know about where to look for quality but not super-high-priced furniture. (I guess I’d be comfortable spending $1-2K on a queen bed, for example.)

    I know about the major popular chains like Pottery Barn and West Elm but am otherwise finding it hard to level set on what’s fancy vs. midrange vs. well known to be overpriced for the quality, etc. Any suggestions or tips to familiarize myself?

    ETA: I’m in Philly so local tips are welcome!

    • oil in houston :

      I like restoration hardware or crate and barrel

    • Halogen Suiting :

      I like craigslist if you’re looking for stuff that’s wood (not upholstered). I just go on my local one and put in something good, like mahogany (often it’s used as a color) or maple, and wade through the pictures.

      • Ditto CL for Philly! I was able to get the best solid wood dining set + chairs from a woman who had gotten it from family but was selling it to make room for her roommate’s (modern but flimsy) dining set. Score for me. And when i realized I probably would be able to find a NYC apartment to accomodate it, I was able to sell at a profit.

      • +1

        Totally believe in Craigslist and scouring local resale shops for steals.

        When you buy some cheaply made (but not cheap in price) furniture from Pottery Barn/Crate and Barrel etc…) it drops to 50-75% of its value as soon as you take it home. But carefully curating pieces from Craigslist, family antiques (if that is your thing/your family) can lead to better quality for relatively inexpensive prices.

        Save for retirement instead. Or for a great vacation every year with your loved ones.

        I realize many people do not agree with this approach. But I also will never understand people who buy a house/apartment and then spend thousands to fill it with new furniture. Just different value system, I guess.

        • Cady Herron :

          Yeah, a lot of us are already saving plenty for retirement and don’t want to sleep in a used bed — gross. I guess that’s my value system, though.

          • Anonymous :

            To each her own, but to be fair, I don’t think Carrie means a used mattress, but a pre-owned wooden headboard or the like.

          • I think that it’s hard to find 100% real wood at any price unless an older piece.

            And wood doesn’t (for me) have the cootie factor of furniture upholstered in cloth (or, sudder, a mattress).

            I use Craig’s list, but more for quality of items than just price. There’s a lot of junk, but better resellers and families clearing out a relative’s house often use it for great things.

        • In support of buying new furniture- it may not always be possible to scour for steals. A person may not have the time to scour, a person may need a bed, say, tomorrow when she moves and not in 4 weeks, she may not have a large truck to haul pieces or the physical ability to move them into her home. Sitting in an empty apartment with no dining table or shelves gets old real fast.

          There’s a lot of value in being able to point to a piece of furniture in a store, plunk down some money, and have it arrive assembled in your apartment in 2 business days.

          • Wildkitten :

            Right but Cat is upgrading her Ikea so presumably she has furniture to use while she searches for better pieces.

          • I get that. I read the post. But I was speaking generally concerning “different value systems”, and that poster’s critique of filling an apartment with new furniture. And honestly, it’s still hard to move, say, an all-wood antique dresser by yourself. There are a number of very legit reasons the OP may still want to go store-bought even if she already has Ikea stuff.

        • For some people the choice may be between the time spent “carefully curating” Craigslist finds versus spending time with family, rather than money being the deciding factor in a furniture purchase.

    • Room & Board. It doesn’t seem to have a store in Philly, but their customer service and delivery are great.

      • +1 for Room and Board. They are amazing. Their customer service is outstanding- both in helping you make selections and in standing behind their products.

      • +1 to Room & Board!

      • + 3 to Room & Board. Amazing customer service. They install it for you!

      • I’m in Philly and while we have no store, they still consider us the local delivery area. I went to the showroom in SoHo to shop, which is a trip but not terribly far away. Their customer service was way better than West Elm, who managed to mess up my order (including not delivering it and not telling me about that) several times.

        • Yes, the difference between West Elm and Room + Board is a world of a difference. I had a nightstand delivered from WE and it arrived with the veneer cracked. Even though it was delivered to me, I had to return it myself — which meant getting it back in the box, hauling that to a car, and driving it over to a WE, and trying to find parking. Then factor in several calls to make sure I was refunded and sent a new one — and ensuring a contingency plan in case the other arrived with a similar problem. With Room & Board, I never had quality defects. They schedule with you ahead of time and let you know when they are on their way and then install everything — and take the packaging away with them, too. They will even instruct you on best care for the product. I never felt they were rushing, even though they clearly stick to a schedule (and arrived on time for me). They are very professional- put shoe covers on before entering the house without me having to ask awkwardly, they wear name tags and are friendly. I believe the company even follows up with a call to rate the delivery. The installers even refused a tip!

          • I had a quality defect with my Room & Board order, but they sent someone out with a new item and swapped it for me. The customer service rep even went out and inspected the item before they put it on the truck for delivery. They handled it well.

    • Following this thread with interest because I’m looking to ditch my 7+ year old Ikea stuff. I don’t like the Restoration Hardware/Crate and Barrel look as much as I like faux midcentury modern-ish. I’ve checked out Cella Luxuria and Era Atomica (vintage), and been meaning to look at Usona. Pompanoosuc Mills in Manayunk has all wood stuff, but most of it is pretty rustic looking.

      I’ve seen some neat stuff at the Franklin Flea and in random vintage shops in Northern Liberties, but I’m afraid to buy because I’m not sure of the quality.

      • This is in Philly:

        • have you had success with this place? do they take credit cards, and do you have to show up prepared to cart away your spoils or will they hold stuff for you? TIA!

          • Cash and check only. Delivery available. See the website.

          • NoLibs Lady :

            Cash or check only. They have an pretty good supply at reasonable prices though. Get there early. They also deliver although I’ve never done that so can’t speak to prices.

        • Very cool. Thank you

      • I have been on a similar quest & just wanted to let you know that besides CL, you can check out Forgotten Furniture dot com. In NYC, there is also a really great new website called Apt Deco which is basically similar to CL in that it’s someone’s used furniture but the fantastic thing is that the website works with a moving co. to deliver everything to your door. I know they’re working on other cities, so something to keep in mind.

        If you like faux midcentury modern, check out the midcentury collection at West Elm. Personally, I love it. Not heirloom quality by any means, but you can often find it heavily discounted at their outlet stores which makes the prices more than fair, I think.

    • I second a lot of the suggestions above. I also suggest Jonathan Louis (made in the US). The brand is reasonably priced and there are a lot of classic options. Broyhill is another good brand. I think you usually find these pieces at local furniture stores and custom order in the style and fabric you want. They also have bedroom furniture.

      • I bought sofas at Macys made by Jonathan Louis. So far, they’re holding up very well to my kids’ heavy use.

    • We bought from and were quite pleased with quality and customer service. We had also looked at Room & Board, but there wasn’t a huge selection of solid wood bookcases (our main focus), and we ended up paying a bit less through Lancaster Handcraft.

    • Not sure of your style, but we recently bought a kitchen table set and a dining table set from Ethan Allen. I think this stuff is way better quality than Restoration Hardware at pretty much the same price.

    • I have gotten a lot of furniture at Ashley’s Furniture. It’s good quality (but not top-top quality), reasonably priced, and you can usually do a 0% interest pay over 3-4 years deal. And I like that they are not necessarily “forever pieces” in cost because style preferences change. For example,the first few pieces of furniture I bought for my house are way traditional because that is what I grew up with in my family and so that’s what I thought a grown-up house should look like. Fast forward a couple of years and I realize that traditional isn’t my style, so I have been able to change a few things out to make it feel more like my home.

      • Middle Coast :

        I second Ashley’s for upholstered furniture you intend to keep for a few years. I remember looking and thinking it wasn’t “forever” furniture when the sales guy said, “Why would you want to keep something forever?” An image of my mother’s hideous green & yellow floral “forever” sofa appeared in my mind and I responded “No!” They push sets, which include sofas, tables, rugs, lamps or beds, dressers, rugs, lamps which you may or may not want. You can buy pieces individually. Or buy the set so you have something, then switch out the indivdual pieces as you find better quality items you want to keep “forever”.

    • Macy’s has great furniture in Chicago. All different price points and the selection is HUGE.

    • Thanks for all of the suggestions so far! I will be taking notes and checking back.

      Style-wise, I like pieces that have more detailing than “modern” or MCM styles, but still have clean lines. I’m guessing this is how Pottery Barn got so popular, but as posters above have mentioned, I don’t want to overpay for looks or brand name.

      • I really think you’d like Ethan Allen, then. Worth a look!

      • Anon in NYC :

        I think Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel (can’t remember which one) have a furniture outlet in the Philly area. A friend lives in that general area and bought furniture from one of those stores at a discount to the regular retail store. So, something to look into if you like that style.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I completely agree that Craigslist is the way to go. But if you are like me and don’t have the time or patience to wait for The Perfect Thing on Craigslist, check out I got a pair of leather chairs from them for a great price and have been very happy with them. And they have a lot of pieces with a nice midcentury kind of vibe.

      • I like the pieces we’ve gotten from Dania Furniture. High quality stuff, lasts a long time.

    • I should also say that I think certain pieces are worth investing in vs other pieces. I pay more for an area rug and a sofa in rooms I am in a lot than say a dresser. I had an area rug from Target that looked so cute and modern but within 6 months was tattered and looked like it was 20 years old. You don’t need to go nice/investment pieces on everything. I have a sideboard/ long table underneath my TV that is actually a desk from ikea, but because it is high-gloss veneer and hardly ever gets touched, it looks fantastic and it was very cheap! Everyone is surprised that it’s from ikea!

    • thatsnotmyname :

      If you are looking for high-ish end, stop by Cella Luxuria in Center City. I’ve also heard good things about Nadeau (Fairmont). We recently learnt of Arhaus and most of their furniture is solid wood, drool-worthy.

      For stuff on a budget (e.g., dining chairs, outdoor furniture), try Pier one or

      • If you like Pottery Barn, you might check out World Market too — I’ve had a lot of luck with furniture from there as “first adult” furniture. (Post-Ikea, pre-house, still moving around a lot furniture). You do have to assemble a lot of the pieces yourself, but I’ve found them to be pretty solid. One cavea: I don’t know how well their upholstered pieces hold up over time (maybe someone else does?) so I can’t vouch for those pieces. Depending on where you are, we’ve had good luck with Wolf’s Furniture (and, actually, our two Crate and Barrel couches have held up well to a LOT of abuse, so we would buy those from them again).

        • Red Beagle :

          For the record, World Market’s upholstered pieces are cheap and get lumpy/pill in a year. But their wood pieces are pretty solid.

  9. Hi ladies. I was just catching up on yesterday’s coffee break thread, and this comment by “anon” appeared twice: “I HAVE AN IDEA: WHY DON’T YOU USE THE “MOM” BLOG SO THE REST OF US DON’T HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS CRAP?”

    I don’t want to open a can of worms, and I although I don’t ascribe to the view that all parenting-related questions should be relegated to a separate blog, it’s the hostility of this that really bugs me, and I felt compelled to say so. If I’m an outlier or overly sensitive, please feel free to let me know, and I’ll adjust my expectations accordingly. I know I’m not entitled to expect anything from strangers on the internet, but a girl can dream.

    Whatever intrusion or inconvenience some commenters feel as a result of seeing parenting/pregancy related questions here, does it really warrant this kind of response? I’m not a huge fan of moderating comments generally, but I don’t think these belong here. And, whatever decision Kat and this community come to about how Corpor*tte Moms should be used, I hope we can all encourage a more productive conversational environment than represented by these comments.

  10. Thanks everyone for the great responses to my question about room-mate gifts! I’m going shopping for some nice teas or maybe a scarf this weekend.

    I have a question for those of you who finished graduate school- professional rather than PhD degrees. The last time I was in school I really felt like I didn’t take enough advantage of all the opportunities my school provided me outside my own little academic bubble- networking, going to events and lectures outside my department, stuff like that. I’d like to avoid making that mistake this time around, so does anyone have any tips on how to make the most out of their time in grad school, especially if you’re already the introverted, studious type to begin with?


    • That’s so tricky! I’ll never forget on my last day of classes in my graduate program, I was going to have drinks with my classmates and one of them said “Hey! You’re always studying! You’ve never gone out with us before!” I was so embarrassed, although I shouldn’t have been – I’m not one for trying to study while the pub’s TV is blaring and undergrads are drinking themselves under the table.

      On a large campus, it was easy to miss things going on, or not hear about them until I was knee-deep in a project that needed my attention. To counter this, I connected with a handful of departments on campus that held particular interest for me (opera, art museum, business school, music school), and requested their events calendar. That way I could block out time for the things I knew I wanted to attend, schedule my school and assistantship workload around them, and still have plenty of interoverted study time! For example, I love opera, and rarely have a chance to see it. My university had a fabulous opera department, so I made sure I was on the mailing list to get their season information at the beginning of the year. I’d plan out in advance which performances I planned on attending. It doesn’t get you to all the one-off events that pop up during the year, but at least makes sure you’re getting to some things, and keeps you in the know when those more casual events show up.

  11. I actually think this jacket is super cute and I tried it on a few months ago. The problem with the way that it fits is it’s VERY fitted and I have a larger bust so it just looked weird. I think it would be super cute and chic looking on someone who was taller and smaller busted.

  12. You all always seem to have great resources about abusive relationships, so I’m hoping you can help BF and me to tackle some issues together. I ended an abusive marriage almost 10 years ago. I moved on (with a lot of therapy) and don’t have intimacy issues in general now, but it still makes me uncomfortable if anyone puts a hand on my neck or throat, since ex used to strangle me a lot.

    I’ve told current BF about my past, and he’s had some trouble dealing with it. The other night, he put a hand on my neck and I moved away and asked him not to do that. He said he felt like I was accusing him of being like my ex, and that if I trusted him I wouldn’t have a problem with him touching me like that. I explained that it’s not about him but he doesn’t get it. I’m very hurt; I guess I expect my partner to be more supportive and empathetic. I feel like I can’t be as open with him as I thought I could. I think it might help both of us to look at some resources about life after an abusive relationship. Does anyone have any recommendations? TIA.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Your BF’s trouble dealing with your past is not your problem, first and foremost. What he’s saying is that he has trouble dealing with who you are. The solution to that is not dating someone you’re uncomfortable with, not pressuring her to change.

      I think this is pretty bright line. Tell him this is a major problem for you and you want him to visit a therapist with you. If he won’t, dump the loser. You are 100% entitled to expect that your partner will be supportive and empathetic. If he’s not interested in trying that, find someone who is.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        + a million. Sounds like you have a boyfriend problem.

      • Diana Barry :


      • Hildegarde :

        I think this depends whether the boyfriend was saying, “I want us to have a good, trusting relationship and I don’t understand your feelings; please help me understand,” or “Your feelings are wrong.” In either case I agree seeing a therapist sounds like it would be useful, but I would be more hesitant to leap right to dumping the guy if he basically said the former. There’s nothing wrong with his responding to her feelings with his own feelings (I feel like you don’t trust me), and trying to work those out, as long as he’s doing it without accusing her.

        I think it’s hard for people who haven’t been abused to know what it feels like, and it sounds like maybe with better communication they could work this out (again, depending on the guy’s attitude, which I can’t know perfectly from the OP’s post).

        As to your original question, OP, I don’t know of any specific resources, but good luck with this situation.

    • If you being touched on your neck makes you uncomfortable, then your current BF should not be doing it. Sorry, I don’t have any advice on how to communicate that to him, but I agree that your partner should be more sensitive to what you have dealt with in the past.

      • If you didn’t like being tickled, would he still insist on doing so? Your partner should respect your boundaries, regardless of your reason for having them. The fact that your reason stems from a traumatic past magnifies how insensitive and hurtful this can be.

        • A Nonny Moose :

          This comment made me think of this:

      • I agree with Shiirey Ann. If a guy can NOT respect your past, he has the issue, NOT you. If he realy cared, he would NOT be so self righteous about it. You unfortunateley had an EX that was a total A$$ hole, and you got out of it, thank GOD! Now you have moved on and he is NOT as sensitive as he need’s to be given the probelem you had with your first boyfreind. Life is not as simpel as black and white. If he want’s to be a part of your life, he must literally “take the planitiff as he find’s her” (meaning you). All of us have a past and the new guy we decide to let into our lives (and ultimately our bed’s) MUST take us for who we are. Otherwise, its FOOEY on him and we move on to another guy who hopefully will be better for us. There was an expression that I learned on the web called D.T.M.F.A. If he persist’s in not being sensitive to your need’s, you must do this. YAY!!!!!

    • Anne Shirley said what I wanted to say before I could.

      Seriously, if this guy is actually enough of a douchebag to pull the ‘not all men!’ crap on you after you’ve told him of your history, and especially since he doesn’t seem to respect what seems to be a major trigger for you… DTMFA. Seriously.

      • I agree with all these. He doesn’t respect you enough to respect very important triggers and boundaries.

    • This sounds very similar to what I went through with my now-husband (married almost 9 years.) When we first started dating, I just recently left an abusive relationship and had the same issue with being touched on my neck. My (now) husband completely respected that, but also wanted for me to be able to trust him completely and to know and trust that he would never hurt me like that. Part of this including for him to be able to touch my neck. After a few years together (he never touched my neck after I initially told him not to), we decided to work on this and slowly he was able to touch my neck (he always asked permission first and never squeezed it or anything.) We spent a lot of time talking through both why I didn’t like him to do that and why he wanted to be able to and eventually worked through it.

      • another anon :

        A key difference from the OP’s situation is that your husband didn’t just expect you to ‘get over it’ – you both worked through it carefully together and he respected your boundaries . It doesn’t sound like OP is getting the same level of consideration from her partner.

    • Anon for this :

      I have a friend who has been in your boat post a sexual assault. She went to therapy and her bf went to therapy with her. There is a big difference between “I know you don’t like this and I am doing it anyway” and “I’m used to putting my arm around someone and keep forgetting that you don’t like it and I’m working on it.”

      There are also some things that she decided she had to work on and others that they would agree just wouldn’t happen.

      So as an example to your case, hand on front of neck would always be out no matter what. You might, however, work on letting him cuddle you in a way where his arm is around you from behind.

      In my friend’s case, the problem they had is the way her bf was used to communicating love and affection was a way that made her feel threatened. It would not make others feel threatened but it made her feel threatened because of her past experiences. There are certain sex acts that she is never going to do and he is okay with that.

      They worked together to find a medium they could both be happy with.

      Also, what is triggering to you may make no sense to an outsider. You may not want to explain it. That can be baffling to him. My friend got to a point where she felt explaining it was better in the first instance but asking for understanding on other things without explanation. So basically, you know I don’t like certain things because I was assaulted. I don’t need to detail what about the assault makes this one particular thing you do triggering. I told you it was triggering. You knew I was assaulted, that is enough.

      The flip side of that is with people with whom she got more serious, she gave more details and then they were able to figure out on their own certain things would be triggering and didn’t do them. It is a really tough thing to deal with and I’m sorry you are dealing with it.

      She also dealt with the “but you say you love me and trust me so it hurts me when something I do scares you because I would never hurt you like that.” She had to do some reminding that she knew he wouldn’t hurt her like that but it reminds her of being hurt like that and gets her upset again at original guy, not bf.

      I bet there are online support groups for survivors that would have tons of advice on this. I should also mention that her therapist is a sex therapist.

      • different anon :

        +1. We haven’t dealt with this specifically, but as someone who married a man with some issues from his past, it’s not at all easy and quite confusing to be on the other end of things. If he’s accusing you of not trusting him and insisting that he should be able to touch your neck, that’s one thing. It seems like he’s expressing his feelings (which I think do matter, not just for him but for the quality of your relationship) and he doesn’t understand some things. I know it’s easy to fault him for not getting stuff, but if he’s just expressing a lack of understanding and if he wants to understand, then I think that’s something you should work on together. I think both of you have to be very open and forthcoming about your feelings, and do your best to give the other the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes both my husband and I feel like the other isn’t being supportive or empathetic, when the real issue is that we’re not communicating in a way that the other can understand easily.

        The above advice assumes that there’s no actual pushing of your boundaries on his part or a lack of respect. that’s a big problem and if that’s the case. You’re the only one who can know/ really figure out what’s what.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Two things: 1) Agree with everyone above that he should respect your boundaries, and accusing you of not trusting him is bull feces. 2) That said, necks are a common place to touch in an intimate relationship. I think he probably forgot it was a bad place to touch you, as I did in a previous relationship where my ex had suffered a pretty bad neck injury, and instead of apologizing and trying harder to remember, he got defensive and tried to blame you.

      The judgement of “seriously, dude, wtf” still stands, though.

  13. I have been loving the Topshop blazers lately! I have my eye on this one right now, hoping it is part of the anniversary sale tomorrow (
    There was another black and white I loved but it disappeared from the site completely. The white one linked to is cute, too. Not loving the gray peplum, but that’s because I find peplums to hit me in the wrong place more often than not.

    • That is a cute jacket. It’s not part of the NAS as of today.

      • Darn it! I really want it for summer but have a hard time justifying paying full price for an item I may only wear 3-4 months out of the year.

        • If it were a winter jacket, would you have the same qualms? Just trying to enable you here.

  14. Does anyone take propanolol (beta blocker) for anxiety/redness related issues rather than for blood pressure problems? My doctor recommended it to me because I have anxiety which is often made worse by redness I get in my face and chest in all kinds of situations. I feel a little worried about taking it (it’s a low dose, 10mg twice a day) due to the side effects like dizziness and fainting. Would appreciate any advice!

    • Miss Behaved :

      I was prescribed it last summer for migraines, but I ended up going off it because I experienced so many side effects – extreme weight gain, shortness of breath, lethargy, ….

      I had no migraines whatsoever, but I couldn’t deal with the side effects.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I take 20 mg per day for migraine prophylaxis and haven’t had any side effects at all. It’s been a game-changer and I am so grateful for it!

      (And on the advice of my doctor I took an extra dose to keep me from getting too anxious/overexcited at my divorce mediation a few months ago, and that was very helpful, as well! Again, no side effects!)

    • propranolol :

      No side effects here either. If you are worried, you could start on a tiny dose… even half of what the doctor wants to use for a week or two, and then increase the dose if you feel ok. Your body adjusts better.

      You really shouldn’t have trouble with dizziness/fainting unless you are dehydrated to begin with. Then again, many of us are since I also forget to drink!!! The low doses of this medicine your doctor prescribes will have more of an effect on heart rate slowing (so you feel less anxious….) than on dropping your blood pressure (which can make you dizzy). But just stay hydrated, which is good for us anyway. Less headache/sleepiness/thirsty over-eating and good for the skin etc…

      Honestly, this is a really well tolerated medicine. But when you are anxious (like me too!), we almost will some of these side effects on ourselves. But like the first poster, some people have shortness of breath/fatigue, and this is more common if you have a lung disease like asthma. So always report anything to your doctor. But if not, I’d give it a trial.

      It is a really popular medicine for people who specifically have performance anxiety (me me!!). I’m a musician as well, and it is very common for people to take propranolol prior to important auditions or concerts. We used to joke that half of the New York Philharmonic was on it…. and for some orchestras, this may be true. I used to wonder if a lot of professionals take it prior to important trials or business meetings.


  15. Anon for this :

    Advice on managing up:

    The team I work on has been through some major shake-ups recently. We got re-organized and our boss quit. Many senior/experienced people have left. In the wake of this, it seems like our new manager who started about 1.5 months ago is increasingly relying on me for perspective on how to move forward. One of the reasons for my last manager’s departure was due to internal politics, particularly engineered by one person who is the sort who acts like your best friend to get you to say something “incriminating” and then turns around and tells the higher ups what you said out of context to make you look bad. Or, as in my case, he just flat out steals your ideas and presents them as his onw…and he’s senior enough that most people would assume they are his. It seems, now, that he’s gotten his hooks into my new manager, and from what I can see he’s angling to completely take over our team…and possibly make it look like my new manager’s idea!! All of this is ridiculous since he actually outranks my manager, though in a parallel reporting change…but that’s who this person is. He doesn’t know how to do anything unless he’s actively trying to cut other people down.

    So, do I warn my boss that I think this is happening? Or, considering he right now thinks this other guy is his best friend, will it just backfire on me. A complicating factor right now is that my boss and I have been talking about a new role (with a possible promotion) for me, so I don’t know how to balance these two conversations. If I am going to say anything about the internal politics, though, sooner would be better than later since they are already making further organizational changes.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Say nothing. It’s not your place, you can’t prove it, it assumes your new boss can’t figure this out independently, and it can only hurt you.

      • Hildegarde :

        I agree with this. I think the only scenario in which this turns out well for you – your new boss realizes you were right and is forever grateful – is so unlikely the chance of its happening is basically zero.

      • Anon for this :

        This is kind of what I figured. But it’s sort of a no win situation for me (and the remaining rest of my time). It already looks like the other guy is convincing everyone to move our team under his organization…which would leave my new boss with no direct reports and a bunch of dotted lines from managers in the other guy’s org. If I have to report into the other guy’s organization, I will either look for a new position in the company or quit (even without a job). He’s that horrible. My new boss doesn’t understand our internal politics and the fact that dotted lines mean nothing. So he’s happily going along with a plan to undermine all of his authority. Other members of my team have also talked about whether they should say something…but I think more likely we’ll just leave rather than report to evil_guy.

        Luckily I already have some informational (about existing openings) interviews lined up for next week.

  16. Bad Intern :

    I’m an intern on an informational conference call with another department in a different location. The speaker just said something rather negative about my boss. I don think he knows who my boss is. What should I do? Nothing?

    The call is not about work but boss will ask what was talked about. do I mention this?

    • Do nothing. Unless the whole conversation consisted of bashing your boss, surely there will be other topics discussed that you can relay to your manager when he/she asks.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      No. What would be gained – for you, for your boss – by mentioning it?

  17. Probably a dumb question, but: if I, as a bridesmaid, am helping to finance the bridal shower, should I also bring a gift to the bridal shower? My inclination is a small gift for the bride at the shower and then a larger gift for the couple (from both me and my partner, who is close with the groom but will not be a groomsman) at the wedding. I’ve never been a bridesmaid before, and I just want to make sure I’m not overdoing it.

    In case context is more helpful, the couple is mid-twenties, very Catholic, trying to keep expenses down, and in Philly. Each of the four bridesmaids, plus the bride’s mother, are putting up about $200 for the shower, and we did not have to buy dresses.

    • I don’t think it’s a dumb question. If you put in $200 dollars for the shower (wow that is kind of a lot – where is the shower?) I would still get a shower gift, maybe something in the $50 dollar range. But I also would say that you should spend what you can afford. If you can’t afford $50, or if you can afford more, then I would do that, but I think 50 is a good guideline. And then yes, definitely a wedding gift as well.

      • Second this advice. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, but something thoughtful for her to open would be lovely. I’m planning on hosting my BFF’s shower and although I’m paying for it, I also got her a few minor things for the big day, like a big 31 tote that matches her wedding colors and one of those personalized hangers that says Mrs. MarriedName.

        • I’ll add a third to this advice.. My mom and I split the cost of bridal and baby showers for my sister. In both cases I went for a smaller gift that I normally would do for a sister, but was what I could afford. Hopefully someone who is already “trying to keep expenses down” will be very grateful for such a costly shower, and will graciously recognize that your (smaller) gift is an additional token of your well wishes for her wedding.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      I would bring a small gift, especially if she plans to unwrap presents at the shower. If you’re worried about money give a less expensive wedding gift.

    • that seems really tacky to me- asking bridesmaids to chip in for a bridal shower- it also puts you in a tough spot because the bride won’t necessarily know you chipped in, and you don’t want to attend a shower (which is essentially a gift grab) empty-handed. so yeah, I think something in the $50 range would be ok. I would definitely keep the wedding gift expense down as much as possible though. are you also expected to go all-out for the bach party too? ugh weddings these days just seem really selfish to me.

      • It doesn’t seem tacky to me, but then again I think all wedding related stuff is so region specific and personal network specific. In my network it’s standard/common for the bridesmaids to chip in with the shower, especially so the maid/matron of honor doesn’t have to foot the whole bill herself.

      • Where does it say anyone asked the OP to put up money for the bridal shower? Lots of bridesmaids volunteer to do that because they would like to help host the shower.

      • Anonymous :

        Where I am from, the bridesmaids always host (or co-host with the bride’s parents) the shower (=chip in). If the bride was hosting her own shower, everyone would gripe about how its a gift grab and you’re never supposed to host your own shower.

        • right, but I think the parents or family should be paying, not the bridesmaids.

          • Anonattorney :

            I don’t think this is a thing. Every bridal shower I’ve attended has been hosted (and paid for) by one or more of the bridesmaids, or a family member or friend other than the bride or groom’s parents.

          • Per traditional etiquette (though I think this is outdated and this “rule” has been broken by at least half of the showers I’ve attended), the family of the bride is NOT supposed to have hosting duties for the shower, as it’s perceived as a gift grab.

    • It’s very possible this would be considered tacky in circles outside my family (which has never been big on gift giving, so anything is taken as a bonus). But, when my mom threw a shower for my cousin, at considerable expense to herself, she considered that her shower gift. She went ahead and had the wedding present at the shower so there was something to open from her and my dad, and the bride understood which gift went with what (ie, she wasn’t expecting another gift at the wedding). It was actually more convenient for the bride to be able to take home all the gifts at once because both her and groom are hospital doctors and package delivery is difficult, but who knows, maybe Miss Manners would say that my mom should’ve gotten her a tangible shower gift too.

      • Orangerie :

        I think this is entirely different than someone throwing a shower but asking others to cover the cost. What your mom did wasn’t tacky; it was a generous gift.

    • This is probably region specific and I am in the Southwest, but I was a bridesmaid and helped host the brial shower. I also bought a small gift off the registry to bring to the shower.

    • It’s funny for me that you asked this, I was JUST about to ask the same thing. I was hoping the answer was no gift required. *sigh* (I’m still smarting over the over $250 dress that we DID pay for ourselves). The bride comes from family money, and I don’t think any of this stuff occurs to them.

  18. I am struggling with insomnia for the first time in my life. A lot of factors led to more frequent night-wakings (toddler with a sleep regression, I’m 8 months pregnant, husband traveling a LOT, and anxious about money/handling two kids, etc.), and after a few weeks of this drill, now if I am even slightly awoken during the night, I’m up for at least 3 to 4 hours.

    It’s starting to feel debilitating. The exhaustion makes me feel hugely depressed and weepy during the day, to the point where it’s making me second-guess all my life decisions and fight constantly with my husband. Also, now I get rage-y angry in the middle of the night as soon as I wake up b/c I know another night is shot, and then again, when I’m on hour two of not being able to fall back asleep, when I know how tired I’ll be the next day.

    None of this is healthy, but I don’t really know what to do and I need some help managing it. Any suggestions from folks who have dealt with something similar?

    • How long until your due date? Can you start maternity leave a week early? Can husband travel less? Just tell his boss “she could pop any day now, I need to be close to home?” When your husband is home, have him handle all of the toddler wake ups whild you hide out in the guest room. Or in a quiet friend’s guest room. You are 8 months pregnant, so he needs to step up.

      • Those are great suggestions :) Unfortunately, I’m still a little too far out from my due date to quit work (and it would be unpaid, which probably wouldn’t help the money anxiety!). Husband is done with travel for the time being, and has been great at taking the night wakings with our kiddo since he’s been back, but a few weeks of those multiple factors gave me a hair-trigger for waking up. Now, if the dog snores, I have to pee, or a damn car drives by outside, *bam* I’m awake for good.

        I’m really struggling to figure out how to calm myself enough down so that I can go back to sleep like I usually do (a skill finely honed after three years with a kid), and to get through my days managing this creeping feeling of sadness, which I really attribute to fatigue.

        • chilledcoyote :

          Can you use soft disposable ear plugs to sleep? If husband is around and can wake up with the kid, or if they just block out everything except a serious child wake-up, it could really help. I started using them a few months ago just to block out cars driving down the street at night, and it has made a huge difference in my sleep quality, and doesn’t cost much. My daughter can still wake me up if she really needs me, but fiance’s snoring is no longer an issue. Highly recommend!

    • (former) preg 3L :

      TELL YOUR OB and start getting help for prenatal depression. Prenantal depression is just as common as postpartum depression, but rarely diagnosed/treated. Insomnia is a symptom of depression. You are totally right to know that this is not how life should feel. If your OB dismisses your concerns, go to your PCP. Beg for help if you need to. (I finally did and starting medication has been life changing. Happy mom = happy, healthy babies. Seriously.) Big hugs, you can do this!!

      • It’s certainly a possibility that OP could have prenatal depression – and by all means, she should get screened – but I don’t think it’s the first conclusion to jump to. Insomnia can be caused by simple stress (which it sounds like the OP has plenty of) or by hormone fluctuations, and lack of sleep can also lead to unstable/depressed emotions. I cry often when I am so tired that I feel like I can’t function, but I’m not ordinarily depressed.

        OP, I’ve had luck with using sleep rituals to help with insomnia and sleep anxiety. Every single night I try to play the exact same song on my iphone, I turn on the fan in my room, adjust my pillow and blankets in a particular way, etc. It doesn’t matter how stupid the ritual is as long as it makes you feel relaxed and you can repeat it every night. Eventually your body may recognize that the ritual is associated with sleep and help speed you along to sleep, whether it’s when you go to bed or when you wake up.

        You should also listen to your body when you wake up at night. I used to lay in bed for hours getting angry and frustrated that I wasn’t falling back asleep. If it just isn’t happening, get up and do something else to take your mind off of it.

        • I agree with roses. Insomnia is actually quite common during pregnancy for many reasons that are not depression related. I’m also in my third trimester and having a harder and harder time falling back asleep when I wake up in the middle of the night. You’re uncomfortable, you’re hormonal, you’re being poked and jabbed in multiple places, heartburn, so much on your mind… I understand; I’m in the same boat.

          When I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, to focus my mind off of all the thoughts that are keeping me awake, I use visualizations. Something like a quiet afternoon on the beach, floating in a pool, laying in a field watching clouds. It sounds a bit corny, but I find if I can focus on creating a restful mindscape, my thoughts seem to calm themselves. I find that even if I can’t fall asleep right away, it is still restful for my mind to have something pleasant to focus on other than my concerns. I may still be tired in the mornings, but only rarely am I so tired I’m weepy.

          Do you have ambient noise going? I keep a fan running, which has helped reduce the impact of outside noises like cars and sirens.

          By all means, talk to your doctor. Also, Unisom is safe during pregnancy (its a Category B drug), and while many pregnant women use it for nausea, it can help with your sleep patterns too. Also make sure you’re avoiding caffeine and sugar, particularly later in the day.

          I hope you get some rest! Only a few more weeks until baby is here!

      • To (former) preg 3L – hope things are well with you and baby and that your husband’s job search is progressing!

        • +1 and I think I remember you are taking the bar which is coming up in a few weeks- Good luck to you and everyone else on here that’s on crunch time study mode!

    • Talk to your doctor. There are likely short term medications that can help with this. A couple of nights of good sleep may help your body “reset” so to speak and get you back to something more manageable.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m not a doctor but I have heard of pregnant women taking Unisom (over the counter sleep pill) for nausea so I would think it would be safe as a sleep aid too.

      If I wake up in the middle of the night I like to get up and read or do something to a set time and then try to go to bed again rather than just laying in bed trying to sleep.

    • I am in a very similar boat – pregnant, husband traveling 4 days a week, toddler sleep issues. I have lately been having trouble sleeping too. Do you have a guest bedroom you could use where you wouldn’t be disturbed, or could you even check into a hotel for a night or two while your husband takes kid duty? I also agree to talk with your doctor about it and don’t let them dismiss it as a normal pregnancy thing. Finally, I know this is hard to do when you are pregnant and chasing a toddler, but maybe try some light exercise and/or fresh air? That seems to help me when I have insomnia. Good luck!

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Ambien, assuming your doc approves.

  19. Did anyone find really good stuff at the Nordstrom anniversary sale?

    • I got a few things that I’m happy with. Stocked up on some hanky panky underwear and the natori feathers bra, and then I got:

      Eliza J dress – 483823
      michael kors dress – 141052
      super comfy and versatile black shirt – 82366_2
      halogen skirt – 219330_1

      I ordered, but am returning these Frye boots. So sad. They are so cute, but they just fit my foot weirdly:

    • Yep! here are the office-appropriate things I ended up with:

      Classiques silk jersey top – 342359 (in two colors, because it was so flattering on me)
      Current version of The Skirt – 642257 (ran TTS for me)
      Rebecca Taylor print silk blouse – 497823
      Lafayette 148 trousers – 228409 (I sized down and had them taken in at the waist)

    • Orangerie :

      Not really. I ordered a couple pairs of skinny jeans to try on – 7FAM (485869) & Mother (839963), as well as some Nike workout pants (699446 & 616036).

      Overall I thought it was a pretty weak showing. There is a gorgeous Vince coat (756845) but I just can’t justify the $500…

      • I tried on that Vince coat and didn’t like it. The volume is huge, even sized down. I love those Nike capris, though, very flattering.

    • EduStudent :

      I ordered the Sam Edelman Pembrooke boot (759707) even though I have the Penny already – tried the boots on in store but had to order my size online. I love the chocolate brown color – can’t wait for them to arrive even though I’m going to have to wait until it gets colder to wear them.

      I also ordered a pair of pumps – dark brown suede pointy toe with black straps – but can’t find that color combo online. Those will be a bit hard to style for non-special occasions, but they’re pretty…

    • I bought this dress
      It is much more flattering than it appears on the model. And this Longchamp bag:
      It is amazingly light and I could’t resist the $115 discount.

  20. Any fellow landlords here?

    Our tenants (who live upstairs from us) lied to us. They told us that their son would be staying with them for a few days, but it turns out that both their son and his girlfriend have moved in after they were kicked out of their old apartment. When we found this out (because one of the tenants let slip a comment that prompted more questioning on our part), we ended up having an uncomfortable conversation with the tenants, in which it became clear that the son/girlfriend had been planning to stay indefinitely (i.e., they didn’t seem particularly motivated to find a new place to live).

    The lease is clear that only the actual tenants are allowed to live upstairs. We cover the tenants’ water and their laundry, which is why we care about the number of people living upstairs, not to mention the added wear/tear on our property. (And if it matters any, they haven’t been the greatest tenants in other respects, so we’re feeling especially taken advantage of.)

    We have now asked our tenants (in person and in writing) that their son and his girlfriend move out of the apartment by the end of the month. I’m concerned, however, that we don’t have any way of confirming that the son & girlfriend actually have left. The language of the lease gives us some leeway to go upstairs and check on our property, but I’m not sure we are actually allowed to “snoop” around enough to figure out how many people are living upstairs.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

    • I would terminate the entire lease and get new tenants (assuming this is provided for in the lease–usually says something like if you violate the agreement in some way, LL has a right to terminate.)

      • different anon :

        +1. this really is your best option, although keep in mind that a formal eviction can take a lot of time if it comes to that.

      • +1

        Part of me dislikes being so aggressive, but as you have said they haven’t been great tenants anyway, I would do it. It is a good time of year to get a new tenant.

        But I hope you have a security deposit….

    • I would think that if they live upstairs from you, you’ll figure out soon enough if they’ve actually left or not. I suppose if you’re not home a lot and really want to know, you could install a discreet camera at your front door to monitor who comes and goes, and when.

      As far as your rationale re: water and laundry – I once had a LL ask me to pay more for water when I had guests staying for a whole summer (similar situation where I lived above LL) and I didn’t mind coughing up an extra $50 for peace and harmony. You could try that. Otherwise I’d try to make peace with it until you can renegotiate the lease.

    • Anonymous :

      Talk to a lawyer. Landlord/tenant law is not my area, but I’m vaguely aware that there are state and federal occupancy laws. Depending on the size of the unit, you may not be allowed to let 4 adults live there, or you may not be allowed to prohibit 4 adults from living there. I’m also vaguely aware that some states require all adults who live in a unit to sign the lease, so you may have to revise the lease even if you can’t kick son and GF out. If you screened the original renters and had, say, credit score requirements that son and GF don’t meet, that may be a permissible basis for refusing to rent to them. Again, not my area, not legal advice, but go talk to a lawyer and see what your options are. The last thing you want is to end up in court over this.

    • I think it largely depends on where you are and what the local landlord/tenant laws are. I know that in my city, adding new occupants without prior approval is an eviction-worthy offense (and there are not many; it is a very tenant-friendly town).

      • Red Beagle :

        Unpleasant as it will be, I agree that they should be given notice if they have violated the terms of their lease. I am a landlord not an attorney so don’t know whether the burden of proof about their violation is on the lessor or the lessee, but from your description it sounds like they have violated their lease.
        Now if anyone is still reading comments and can respond to this, is there any way to (without creating awkwardness or discomfort) find out from prospective tenants if they are planning to immediately start a family or are already pregnant? That happened to us with a former tenant where the family grew within about six months of the start of their occupancy. It wasn’t a big deal except that the space quickly became too small and they gave notice because of lack of space sooner than we would have preferred as landlords.

        • Anonymous :

          I really hope you’re not seriously suggesting that you would refuse to rent to a woman because she was pregnant or wanted to become pregnant.

  21. How do you guys motivate yourself for morning workouts? I continually try and talk myself out of it in the morning – it’s not even logical it’s just a half asleep “eh this is not that pressing and sleep is VERY IMPORTANT more sleep please” snooze button problem.

    How do you make yourself get up and do it? I’ve been resorting to working out in the evenings (which cuts into / takes over the rest of my night) or, more likely, foregoing working out altogether.

    • I’m a huge morning workout person. :) Here are some tips that you could try:

      1. Don’t snooze. I know it’s so much easier said than done. The more you snooze the more you want to stay in bed.
      2. Put your workout clothes in the bathroom. I lay mine out the night before. Or somewhere other than by your bed is the key, so you can get out away from your bed and put them on. It also saves time laying them out the night before so in the morning you’re being as efficient as possible.
      3. To that end, also put your alarm clock/phone away from your bed so you have to get up. put that phone/alarm clock in the same place as your workout clothes.

      In the end, when I don’t want to work out I just tell myself that I never regret working out, but I always regret not working out.

      • +1. I also am a morning workout person. The major thing that works for me is signing up for classes that I can’t cancel at the last minute–the fear of losing $20 just because I’m feeling lazy is a big motivator!

        My other motivator is that I NEVER hit snooze– if I’m feeling lazy when the alarm goes off, I remind myself that the little extra, disrupted snooze sleep I might get never is worth it, and the worst part of getting up is just this small part of exiting sleep that I need to push through. This helps me on days when I want to do a non-class workout (e.g., running).

        Finally, I try to keep fresh in my mind the amazing way I feel after working out vs. the way I feel on days when I don’t build in the time. Nothing gets my day started better than the post-workout endorphin rush. Plus, it allows me to enjoy the rest of my day knowing that I’ve done what I need to do to take care of myself (and gives me some leeway to eat a bigger meal/have a drink later in the day if I want!).

        • anon-oh-no :

          this. the $20 each morning is the only thing that gets me out the door. so find a work out (like bar method, pilates studio, etc) that charges per class and you have to reserve in advance.

          now that im used to it, I can get up on my own sometimes, but not always.

    • Anon in NYC :

      The first few weeks of morning workouts are hard until it becomes “normal” to wake up that early. Here are some tips that worked for me:

      1. The biggest initial motivator for me was going to classes that I’ve had to pre-book and will lose money on if I don’t show up or cancel at the last minute. Paying $25+ for a class (that I would wind up losing) plus the potential for a “late cancel” fee was a strong incentive to just go.

      2. Wake up earlier than you need to to actually go to the gym. I wake up with enough time to drink a cup of coffee. Coffee makes me feel better about life in general.

      3. Adjust your bedtime earlier. On days where I’m not working late, I get ready for bed at around 11pm. I’m usually in bed by 11:30 and a 6am wakeup seems less daunting.

    • I’ve mostly given up on morning workouts, because I am SO good at convincing myself, when half-asleep, that sleep is way more important. I just make my plans to work out in the evening. But I also am so not a morning person that my 5K PR is from a midnight race, where I ran way better than any of the early-morning races I’ve done!

    • Anonymous :

      I start out by making plans with a friend (who I know will actually show up). I suppose I should hold “dates with myself” to the same standard as with others, but in reality I would never not show up on a friend but almost always snooze on myself. Once I get into a pattern of getting up early (and as a result, falling asleep early and easily), it’s not as hard and I can make do without the friend. I just need it at the beginning to get into the routine.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Recent motivators & enablers for 5 am workouts:

      The heat wave. Running is pleasant at 5 am, intolerable at 85+ after work. This is my biggest motivator right now :)

      The peacefulness. Very little traffic and very quiet neighborhoods so early in the morning.

      The efficiency. If I run in the morning, I’m completely free after work – no figuring out how to fit my workout around my SO’s workout, playtime with the pups, dinner, and chores.

      The energy boost. The great post-run feelings last throughout the day.

      The decreased interference from my chronic migraines – they tend to worsen as the day goes on, so running in the morning increases the likelihood that I’ll be able to run at all.

      Prepping my running gear the night before and having it ready to go when I wake up.

      Sleeping in my running clothes – I sleep in shorts & tank so I only have to put on bra, socks & shoes in the morning.

      Setting up the coffeemaker the night before so there’s coffee ready when I get back from my run.

      • Seattle Freeze,

        Sleeping in my running clothes… I really need to try that. Thanks!

    • I started working out in the mornings 2 months back and I am not even a morning person. This is my first ever attempt at morning workout. I have been reasonably successful. There are a couple of things which have made me stick to the work out so far:

      1. Once I am done with the workout, I feel the toughest part of my day is over. I can stay back at work as long as I want to. I don’t have a nagging feeling on the back of my mind that I should be at the gym working out if I am working in my office at 6:00 PM.

      2. I become more cautious of what I eat when I work out in the mornings. I just don’t want to waste all the hard work that I did for the day. So I am eating healthy and there is so much change in my attitude about food that my husband told me over the weekend that he was noticing it. I have no qualms saying no to a cookie or ordering a salad instead of pizza as the happiness from the cookie is just not enough reward for the hard work of waking up in the morning.

      3. I feel more energetic the entire day. I feel I am more calm and composed. I get to spend a lot of time with my husband in the evenings and it is a huge thing for me.

  22. I need to replace most of my work shoes, which are fairly cheap and old. Is there any real value in buying more upscale shoes? I only wear flats, so I’m not looking at any heels. I’ve found some really cute kate spade flats and I’m not really sure if $250+ is worth it.

    • Anonymous :

      I think the value comes from shoes that are exceptionally well made. AGL flats are worth the $ to me because the high quality leather and craftsmanship make a difference to comfort and durability. Kate Spade flats are not terribly well made in my experience.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        Huge +1 to AGLs. I have their cap toe flats and highly recommend. They’re usually $300; I got them a fee months ago for $200 and I believe they’re at $200 as part of the NAS right now.

        • love cardis :

          I love my AGLs. I was able to find a few at Nordstrom Rack not too long ago.

  23. I think I got moderated. I need to buy some nice professional shoes (I only wear flats. I’m probably not willing to spend more than $250. What’s the best quality brand I can buy for that price?