Coffee Break: Patterned Woven Large Pouch

Tory Burch Patterned Woven Large PouchPouches are the unsung heroes of the bag world.  Use them as clutches (or here, even as an iPad case), sure, but you can also use them as organizers if you’re the kind of person who likes huge tote bags (or, better yet, frequently changes her huge tote bags).  Pouches can even just be a nice way to corral your makeup and personal effects in your desk drawer.  This particular woven clutch is $125 at Tory Burch — I love that happy green woven fabric. (A smaller black and white version is also available for $95.)  Tory Burch Patterned Woven Large Pouch



  1. Ooh, I like this green a lot.
    I’m also a big fan of pouches and have several in my purse at all times.

  2. When are "nude" shoes appropriate? :

    Is it ever a problem to wear nude-for-you shoes with bare/pantyhosed legs? Does a black dress require black shoes? What are the rules here? Sorry for such a low-level question.

    • I think nude shoes always look good with skirts and dresses, including black ones. The idea is it lengthens your leg, so I don’t think it matters what color the dress is. I also think they look great with some pants, particularly navy pants (I love the look of navy and nude or beige together) but I know some people think they only work with skirts.

    • Anonymous :

      Nude shoes can be used with bare or nude hose legs.

    • When are "nude" shoes appropriate? :

      I’m specifically asking about with dresses or skirts, btw. Thanks for the tips so far!

      • What other alternatives are there besides bare or pantyhosed with skirts? I don’t understand the question.

        • I think she’s asking which of those (or both) is the right way to do it. I think bare legged looks better but hose are not bad.

        • Wildkitten :

          Nude shoes with black tights is an alternative that would look terrible imho.

      • When are "nude" shoes appropriate? :

        As opposed to with pants! Sorry for totally not clarifying.

    • As others have noted, nude shoes are nearly always okay because they are neutral. However, I do think sometimes a darker color is the better style choice. For example, if you are wearing a dark skirt with a dark/bold top, nude shoes would not clash, but a coordinating dark colored shoe might look more pulled together.

  3. This is an interesting article, and I’d like to get your thoughts.

    I was first introduced on here to the idea that the rules interviewers impose are only designed to keep women out of the workforce – suits with too short skirts, open toed shoes, hose, etc. So while I have always stuck to those rules and wanted others to do so too, I’ve lessened my rigorous expectations.

    And that sort of applies to this article too. However, boys don’t wear shorts that show 90% of their legs. That would be distracting too. And there shouldn’t be any distraction in a classroom. So it’s kind of a tough call, in my opinion. Of course, I hear it’s impossible to find longer shorts for girls these days, so they might be enforcing a really difficult standard.

    I mean, I get that these rules only apply to girls, which is unfair. But I don’t know that that means you should just get rid of dress codes, which would be the only way to get rid of this problem. Anyway, I don’t know what the answer is, so I’d love your thoughts.

    • Just responding to say that it is not impossible (or anywhere close to it) to find longer shorts for girls. Are there fewer pairs of bermuda-esque (or just mid-thigh) shorts available than short shorts? Sure. It’s like finding work-appropriate flats vs. heels (in terms of sheer number available). But definitely not impossible.

      • Small Town Attorney :

        I don’t know. Granted, this was before internet shopping, but I remember being fourteen and going to every single store in the small mall near our small town, and not being able to find one pair of shorts that fit that went down to my fingertips.

        • I’m tall and shorts for school were always an issue growing up. However, it was not the fingertip rule that governed my clothing, it was my mom’s rules. From 4th grade on, the only way I could find appropriate shorts (aside from beach/pool attire) was to buy pants and have my grandmother cut and hem them. I quickly found that a knee length cotton skirt was more comfortable and cooler than shorts and ditched shorts from my school attire all together.

          • I always found the ‘fingertip rule’ impossible because I had such long gangly arms growing up that my fingertips reached the top of my kneecap. I always thought that a certain number of inches above the knee would be more fair.

        • I spent an entire day when I was about 17 or 18 going through every shop looking for a pair of shorts in my budget that had an inseam longer than about 2.5 inches.

          Just ordered a pair of the boden chino shorts with a 4 inch inseam…. I hope they look good,

    • I actually think this will start to became a problem for men, too, soon. I’ve already heard grumbling about men wearing too tight suits, etc. It’s only a matter of time before hevage becomes a problem for men in the workplace. (for what I mean by the term:

      I actually think it’s something to celebrate. Either we’ll all just be naked before long or the rules of good judgment will apply equally to both genders.

      • It’s a sign of the imminent decline of civilization that kids might consider role models make such bizarre fashion choices. Although when I was picturing what “hevage” might be I was thinking it might be related to men’s dress pants in a skinny cut causing some sort of male version of cameltoe. It was a relief to find out it just meant a suit jacket without a shirt.

    • wannabe table flipper :

      I have a child who is about to start at a school with uniforms (and rules, one of which is re lengths of things). I have no problem, philosophically, with rules or uniforms if they come from a place of encouraging dignity. You can buy uniform-style longer shorts (and skorts) from most retailers these days in a wide variety of sizes, so it doesn’t have to be hard or expensive (old navy, land’s end, etc.).

      If your skirts are short, wear something like Monkey Bar Buddies; no one should be seeing your underwear. If your shorts are too short or revealing, perhaps it’s time to reconsider them.

      I grew up in NJ in the 1980s not too far from Maplewood (where the author lives) and too-short shorts was a problem for both genders growing up. Look at vintage NBA footage — yikes.

    • My daughter’s school has the same rules, and it has been really hard to find shorts in compliance. She’s out of compliance much of the time, and so is everyone else. The (male) principal, I have heard, is hesitant to actually enforce the dress code. I don’t mind my daughter learning that there are certain clothes that are ok for weekends/leisure but not for school/church.

      • Try the Gap. When I was in high school in the 90s (with a similar rule enforced) this was the one reliable source of longer shorts. Still holds true.

        • Lands end is supposed to be a pretty good uniform source, although that might apply more to the younger crowd.

          Jcrew has short ranging in inseams from 3 to 9″. The shorts are out there, but may not be in the teen focused stores.

    • I don’t have any kids but do think many young girls are wearing unacceptably short shorts. In school tour groups coming through DC, I frequently see young girls in shorts so short that the line of their behinds is exposed. And it doesn’t seem that difficult to buy longer shorts. A quick perusal of Old Navy shows categories of shorts in various lengths.

      • Agreed. And (not having a daughter yet) I don’t think I would let my daughter wear the shorts in the picture to school.

        So does that mean you disagree with the article?

        • I have list a mile long of things I never thought I’d do when I had kids. Now that I have a 14-year-old girl, I need to pick my battles. Sometimes it’s the hair/clothes that just aren’t worth the fight.

      • I agree. The fingertips rule seems awfully long to me, but I think its reasonable to ban super short shorts. The shorts in the picture are inappropriate. I never would have been allowed to wear them to school nor would I allow my hypothetical future daughter to wear something like that. There are lots of shorts for sale now with 5″-7″ inseams that might not be fingertip length but are a lot more appropriate than what that girl is wearing.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I remember my stepmom saying that the fingertip rule existed for her Catholic school uniform. It does seem long, but my guess is that the rule is easier to enforce than something else about just the inseam length because it isn’t instantly recognizable.

          • Agreed. And you couldn’t measure the inseam without being awkward.

          • Oh, I agree, I wasn’t suggesting the school say the inseam has to be X” inches long. No way to measure that. I’ve heard of dress codes that just say shorts have to be appropriately long. I guess the downside to that is it gets a lot more subjective and may be enforced unfairly, but if the people enforcing it are reasonable it allows more flexibility and can target only the things that really are inappropriate. Personally, I kind of like the idea of saying “no shorts in school” if you’re having issues with shorts that are too short (and/or guys wearing shorts that are too baggy or too low). That way, it applies totally equally to boys and girls.

      • Agree. I have seen a ton of butts lately. Sometimes these girls are with their parents. Its hard for me to wrap my head around. I feel like I am not a prude but I am just so shocked that I can see actual butt in public. Like do you sit on the metro seats?

      • I do disagree with the article and think it is fair to impose some clothing standards and doing so is not demoralizing. Frankly, I wish courts would impose dress requirements because I’m seeing way too much skin. I’m not a prude by any means but think it’s disrespectul to show so much cleavage that the bottom of the bra is visible. The standards are currently applied more to girls and women but that’s because they tend to violate dress codes more. I have seen male defendants admonished for pants that hang too low but that is rarer than the club wear I see on women in court.

    • Baconpancakes :

      My school solved this problem by having a dress code that didn’t allow us to wear shorts or tank tops (or tees or jeans, for that matter).

      The problem isn’t that the dress code only applies to girls. Boys do get sent home from school for wearing pants that are too baggy, or clothes that look ragged. The problem is that they line up girls and measure their tank tops and shorts-length like they are animals.

      And fingertip length is a bit much, but honestly? If the teen in the article leaned over too far, her shorts would display her backside. So yes, that is too short. Mid-thigh would be a better standard, and perfectly reasonable. There’s always been plenty of 3.5″ – 4″ inseam shorts available.

    • Anon for this :

      My mom came out with this famous line while shopping with me once. “If you have to shave your pubes to wear your shorts, they are too short or too low or both, period. Speaking of periods, your tampon string shouldn’t hang longer than your shorts.” There were then ripples of laughter throughout the changing room and I was mortified to come out. Funny thing, mom was right and now at 32 I still use the rule buying shorts. Keep in mind that we are from a hairy family so “public hair” includes a good chunk of upper inner thigh.

      • Anon for this :

        *Pubic, not public. Probably the only time autocorrect was wrong on that change.

    • I agree with the article, to a point. I don’t believe we were allowed to wear shorts of any length to school, so maybe that’s an option, but if you’re going to allow them, then allow them. The real issue, to me, is the word “distraction.” Girls are being institutionally sexualized by dress codes which deem their bodies a distraction, presumably to their male classmates. A dress code can deem items inappropriate for a classroom environment – too casual would work for me – without making girls’ bodies the focus.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        That is my problem with it as well.

        The only kids I ever remember getting in trouble for what they were wearing in middle or high school was boys with inappropriate messages on their t-shirts. Those were also “distracting,” but it was the explicit message on the shirt that was distracting, not the body of the student.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. Bodies are not a distraction.

        • I don’t know, this seems nit-picky to me. Sure, bodies aren’t a distraction, but revealing clothes are. There’s no doubt that if a girl bends over and her behind shows, it is a distraction. Perhaps a school administrator should phrase it that way, but that seems like splitting hairs and a lot to ask (i.e., be sure to remember in between reviewing test scores and dealing with the kid who brought a joint to school and the kid who brought a knife to school to say that the revealing clothes are distracting rather than the bodies).

          • Wildkitten :

            The problem is saying GIRL bodies are a distraction. And too many dress codes are based on that assumption.

      • I'm Just Me :

        Totally agree with this.

      • Agree with this.

    • IMO, the shorts the author’s daughter is pictured in are way too short for school. I could understand if they were just a bit shorter than fingertip length; at least then it looks like she’s trying to comply with the dress code.

      It seems like the author is confusing two issues: (1) the fact that her daughter violated the dress code with (2) the justification behind having a dress code in the first place. Argue all you want about why there is a dress code, but that doesn’t mean you should expect your daughter to be able to wear shorts that are easily 3-4″ too short and not be called on it.

      • Good point.

      • Flying Squirrel :

        I totally agree and was going to make the same point about there being a difference between having a dress code and justifying it by saying you don’t want students to distract others with their bodies. And, frankly, having gone to a private school with uniforms and a dress code, I will attest that it is more than possible to follow any dress code while still managing to make yourself stand out with the opposite sex (whether that’s distracting is a different question).

        From my own, apparently overly conservative, viewpoint, the problem with the pictured outfit is that it’s way too casual (see point about uniforms above)…and the shorts really do seem too short to me, personally, but I have no idea what clothing is available for pre-teens. As much as I hated them when I was in school, I’ve come around to being a big fan of uniforms. They just remove a whole topic of distraction from the conversation. There’s no question of hems being too short, or some kids teasing others for not having the latest brand, or whatever. It sets the tone that school is a serious place where you do something different than you do on your evenings and weekends. And you don’t have to worry about what to put on in the morning.

        • Orangerie :

          I agree, except that people can still hem or roll up uniform skirts to make them shorter. I went to Catholic school and virtually no girl had her skirt length past her fingertips.

          • Flying Squirrel :

            Fair point. Though at my school you would get in trouble for rolling up your skirt. But I still think it’s an improvement over the current state of affairs where anything goes or there are arbitrary dress codes which may have no bearing on the reality of what’s actually available for purchase.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        I do not think these shorts are too short. She looks perfectly fine for school.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I’m not sure when “there should be no distraction in the classroom” became a given. How about ” learn to pay attention and focus despite distractions.”

      • But the schools have a duty to reduce distraction as much as possible. Some kids won’t bea ble to pay attention despite the distraction so then they would distract the others, so the easiest and best solution is to do away with the distraction. And your theory taken to extreme would mean no dress code at all. Midriffs, b**ty shorts, cl**vage, all fair game. I feel sorry for the teachers and the students who are trying to learn in that environment.

        • Anne Shirley :

          Since when? Since when is it a school’s job to reduce distraction. And how distracting is it really when nearly every girl this age wears short shorts? The great thing about dealing with reality instead of theory means you don’t have to take everything to extremes. Visible breasts and butts: no. Visible legs: yes. And if your child is so overwhelmingly distracted by seeing a female classmate’s legs that he can’t learn, maybe he needs therapy. Seriously.

          • Obviously lots of the kids need therapy. But since we’re dealing with reality, they aren’t going to get it. They’re going to cat call and holler at the girls, leaving the poor teacher and other students to listen to that.

            Also, the girl in the picture would show her behind if she leaned over. So where does that fall in your so realistic divide?

            You really don’t think it is a school’s job to reduce distraction? Should kids be able to listen to music during class? Or interrupt the teacher? I mean, really. You’re so big into reality apparently but that seems quite unrealistic.

          • Of course it’s a school’s job to reduce distraction. That’s why teachers have to send disruptive kids outside of the class, or tell kids to stop talking or playing on phones during class. Whether or not revealing clothing is a distraction is a different story.

          • Anne Shirley :

            So girls can’t wear shorts because boys just can’t control themselves and will wind up cat calling and hollering? And instead of throwing boys out for being disruptive we send girls home to change?

            Awesome message to teach children.

          • Nobody said girls can’t wear shorts.

            Girls can’t wear shorts that show their bottoms when they bend over in class.

            In that situation, both parties are complicit in the distraction. The boys should certainly be thrown out too.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I think the problem is the message that it sends. As an example, assume the girl in the picture wore that outfit to school but there weren’t any boys acting out because of the distraction. She is sent home because her outfit is distracting but there isn’t a corresponding boy to be sent home for his behavior in response to her distracting outfit. That sends the message that a girl’s body is a distraction but doesn’t send a message at all about how boys should behave when seeing a girl in revealing clothing. If you take this further down the line, you get a man committing sexual assault against a woman wearing a short skirt and so much of the focus comes down to what she was wearing because kids have grown up learning that a woman’s body is distracting and her needing to do something about it instead of focusing on what a man needs to do when confronted with it. It pushes the blame to the woman and her clothing instead of the man’s behavior. That message starts early when a girl is sent home to change but a boy either isn’t punished for his behavior or no boys have actually exhibited bad behavior in response to the girl’s clothing.

        Sorry that was a little rambling. This is a topic that gets me fired up.

        • This is a good and thought-provoking point. I just don’t know what to do about it, you know? Are you saying no dress codes should be imposed? I don’t think that’s the right answer. So it seems that any dress code that is enforced would cause this problem. I know that language could be used to avoid sending this message, but actions taken would still send it.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Honestly, I don’t know the answer. I always sort of wanted school uniforms just so I wouldn’t need to pick out my clothes every day in school. I grew up with hand-me-downs so I was embarrassed about my clothes a lot of the time and my distraction was really the group of girls who had the fancy jeans.

    • Jessica Glitter :

      At my small town high school, our dress code was three inches above the knees (they checked with a 3×5 notecard) that is even longer than finger tip length on most people. Torture.

      • Ours was 2″ above the knee, checked with a dollar bill. I was tall for my age and had a long torso, so I pretty much gave up wearing shorts to school starting in 6th grade. That said, fingertip length shorts on me are positively indecent (seriously, 2″ inseam would comply with the rule) and I wouldn’t be able to bend over in those without a show, so that rule definitely doesn’t work on everyone.

        • This is exactly why the fingertip rule is so bad! “fingertip length” on me growing up was to the top of my kneecap. Now it’s 1″-2″ above. I have long arms!

    • Hi, I read that article and have a daughter that age. I’ve got to say, I wouldn’t have let her wear shorts that short to school and she would have been dress carded for that at our school as well. We don’t wear a uniform but shorts and skirt must be knee length and no tank tops are allowed. I buy her shorts at Gap, Old Navy, Lands End and Hollister so I know they can be found. I think the school learning environment is about respect.

    • Wildkitten :

      This is the smartest thing I’ve seen about dress codes and girls:

      • Great discussion re this whole dress code idea. (this is why I enjoy this site so much. Thought provoking.) I think one good way to look at this is to think about appropriate dress ala work” vs. “play”. School is kids’ work environment. I think that’s why school uniforms solve these problems- they identify a particular style that the institution has granted “appropriate for our environment ” status and it is clear to everyone. We don’t wear the uniforms on weekends or at the beach!

        I have worked in K-12 education a long time and have seen dress code stuff come and go. You’ll never get a consensus on what the codes should be or how they should be enforced. I hate the idea of giving a young girl a baggy t shirt to “cover up” because it does seem like shaming in a way that we never do to boys. They can take off that t shirt with the objectionable picture and turn it inside out for the rest of the day…Could we just send her home to change? (I know, not practical.)

      • Sydney Bristow :

        “Regardless of where you draw the line, of course, the argument remains the same: Girls are responsible not only for their own school performance but also for the boys’.”

        That is a much better way of saying what I was trying to say above. Thanks for the link, Wildkitten.

  4. I am pregnant with my first and was planning to hire a doula to assist with delivery because I had heard such great things from women who’ve used them. But DH asked some coworkers of his who had chosen not to use doulas, and they all said it is a waste of money. Note these are people who didn’t use them, not people who had a bad experience with them. I am curious what the wise women of this site have done. Would ask on c-moms, but site seems to be dead, and we need to make a decision soon. We can afford a doula, but I want to make sure we are spending wisely. Thanks!

    • I didn’t use a doula, but I have many friends who did. I think it depends on what your goal is for labor and childbirth. For my friends that hired doulas, it was very important to them to have a natural (as possible) labor experience and they used the doula for support and as their advocate at the hospital (or delivery center). No one I know has regretted using one.

      Conversely, I didn’t care either way how my babies were born and joked that I wanted an epidural as I checked in to the hospital. I did my research and decided that I didn’t need a doula simply because I didn’t care how my childbirth experience went. If you feel more like that (which I’m assuming not, if you’re already considering a doula), then you might want to think twice about it.

    • My first comment was in moderation…

      I didn’t use a doula, but I have many friends who did. I think it depends on what your goal is for labor and child birth. For my friends that hired doulas, it was very important to them to have a natural (as possible) labor experience and they used the doula for support and as their advocate at the hospital (or delivery center). No one I know has r e g r e t t e d using one.

      Conversely, I didn’t care either way how my babies were born and joked that I wanted an epidural as I checked in to the hospital. I did my research and decided that I didn’t need a doula simply because I didn’t care how my child birth experience went. If you feel more like that (which I’m assuming not, if you’re already considering a doula), then you might want to think twice about it.

    • Mind you, I have no kids. But one of my best friends used one recently and she felt it was worth every penny. She also had a midwife and a homebirth though, so ymmv. No one else I know who gave birth felt it was necessary. I think it really depends on your personality and needs.

    • Let me preface by saying that I’m just trying to be honest so you get where I’m coming from and I am not trying to offend. I didn’t use one for my delivery last year because I was having twins, so I was high risk. I thought the prevailing wisdom would have to be super medical (even though I was trying to avoid a c-section) and my husband and I are typically disinclined towards overly “crunchy” parenting approaches. I did end up having a c-section. My regular doctor was unavailable so I got another (rude) doctor from her group who I ended up hating delivering my babies. After it was all over, my husband said, “You know, now I get why people get midwives. Someone who knew what she was doing should have been there for YOU, not for the hospital, not running between six rooms, just helping you.”

      That’s a long way of saying that if you find someone you have a rapport with, bring her in to your corner for the day.

      • Yes, THIS. +1 million.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, this. The doctor is NOT there for you — they’re running in and out, and at a certain point they’re worried about malpractice, timing, etc, etc.

          The other thing to consider is your relationship with your partner — if you DON’T get a doula, it’s all on him (or her) to be your advocate. (Because odds are good that you’re going to be so exhausted/in pain/overwhelmed by the experience that you’re not going to be a good advocate for yourself.) If your husband may not be comfortable with this role, or may not do this role to your satisfaction (which sounds harsh, but you married him to be a partner, not an advocate, so I really mean nothing by it), then you should consider a doula. Your husband loves you and is likely going to be exhausted/overwhelmed/scared by the whole procedure to a serious degree as well, so if he doesn’t handle stress well then that’s another thing to consider.

          • Maddie Ross :

            Just for what it’s worth, because I think it’s important to consider that you may have a HUGE range of birth experiences. I had an epidural (my choice – I wanted that going into it) and I never felt throughout the entire process that I was unable to advocate for myself. I was hugely glad I had my husband there and he was prepared to step in if I needed something, but I don’t think a doula would have been helpful and would probably have made me feel awkward (I don’t like asking for help. I would have felt like she was in my way, I think). Obviously there is no way to plan for having birth where you feel in control and not overwhelmed, but I do think it’s important to note to first time moms out there that it may be a relatively smooth experience. (Two days after birth when your hormones bottom out may not feel like such smooth sailing, but that’s another story.)

          • Often the doctor has more than one delivery going on at the same time, so yeah, the doc is not going to be spending much time with you until the few minutes before delivery.

          • WestCoast Lawyer :

            You know, I wasn’t surprised that the doctor didn’t show up until the end, but I was surprised at how often my husband and I were in the room alone (I was in labor for the better part of a day). I guess I figured that the nurses would be hanging around more to check on me but it was apparently a busy day on the maternity floor. Thinking back on it, I would have loved to have someone there to ask questions and just generally reassure me that everything was going fine. You can absolutely deliver without a dula, but I understand now why people (even non-crunchy people like myself) use them.

          • anon-oh-no :

            this is true about the dr, but at least for my two labor/deliveries, i had a dedicated nurse that was with me bascially the whole time. and the other drs in my dr’s group were great. and for both of my kids, i actually had multiple nurses because i was in labor for so. freaking. long. (i.e., more than 24 hrs) The nurses were so fantastic that i vividally recall telling them how awesome they were as i was nearing the end.

            so i think the answer to this question depends a lot on your dr’s practice and the hospital in which you give birth. In a big city, at a main hospital (particularly if its a hosptial attached to a good medical school/university), a doula seems less important.

          • Agree with ah-no-no. Dedicated labor and delivery nurses, who were incredible. Plus my husband and mom. I wanted to keep it intimate and worried I wouldn’t click with a doula. Not getting one worked well for me.

          • My experience was in a very well-regarded big city hospital. The nurses were great, but, for me, they were more focused on my stats (blood pressure, etc.) than I imagine a doula might be. And if you’re there a long time, like I was (the reason for the c-section), you experience shift changes.

    • My sample size is one, but my friend hired a doula for her second child (VBAC), and thought it was money well spent. Her doula had lots of great tips and advice on how to relieve the pain and be more comfortable during the “contractions but not go time” part of labor. She was also a calming voice during the whole thing. I saw my friend the day after she had her baby and she was raving about her doula.

      I say go for it, if you think you want one and you can afford it. Childbirth is so anxiety-provoking, and I fully support doing whatever you need to do to feel less anxious about the whole process.

    • I used a doula and would do so again, even though I ended up with a scheduled C-section. Here’s my reasoning:
      1. I was planning on a natural childbirth, and wanted a third-party who would help advocate/assist in that goal.
      2. Because Jr. was breech, I ended up with a scheduled C-section. Doula still met us at the hospital, held my hand, distracted me while there were IV’s happening, etc. She was very good at keeping both me and my husband calm.
      3. She was not able to come into the OR for the delivery (but waited outside for us). Once we were out, she was another set of hands who could take care of me. Wipe my forehead, cool me down (you will be surprised at how quickly you feel “not pregnant”), help adjust the baby, help try to get the baby to nurse. She stayed with us a few hours after and then left. We had a post-birth home visit about a week later.
      4. I wanted my husband to be able to focus on the birth/baby, rather than nurse-maiding to me. Also, I had no family/friends for my delivery who *theoretically* could have done some of that stuff (whether they could/would have is always a different story).

      TL;DR: If you’ve got the $, go for it. It was, for me, like having your very best BFF who KNEW WHAT SHE WAS DOING there. Strongly reccommend. :)

      • Anon in NYC :

        Re: point #4 – I’ve heard this as well. A doula allows your husband to focus on you/the baby, and the doula acts as an informed advocate / someone who can explain things to both of you.

    • I’ve had (at least) 3 friends who have used doulas, and I’ve only heard good things thus far. I think it’s important to find someone you have a good fit, but will echo the poster above – the doula is there for YOU. You and your SO may not have been through childbirth before, but the doula has and is there to be an advocate as to what is best for YOU. So, if I was in your position, I would definitely be looking for one – if you find one that works for you, you’ve got another tool in your belt.

    • Diana Barry :

      I used one for my first but not for the subsequent ones. It was only because the hospital provided doulas (!!). We had to pay $100 (that was disclosed up front, but then billed at the same time as the hospital bill but in a separate bill). My DH liked it because it meant he could stay with me the whole time and not have to run and get the dr or get me water or whatever. I think it would have been a bigger help had my labor been longer – they are trained to help you in different positions through labor, etc., so that you don’t need as many interventions. As a side note, #1 was born about 2 hours after we got to the hospital, so it wasn’t a long time.

    • I did not have one, but gave birth 3 times with a midwife at a birth center attached to a larger hospital. If I had been giving birth with an OB in a regular hospital I might have considered it, but I felt like me and my midwife were on the same page and that the birth center was really geared (and only equipped) towards a natural birth. (We would have moved upstairs to the hospital if we needed any kind of intervention.) I also felt like my husband was able to provide enough support/advocacy for me during labor, but I know for some men that is a more difficult role for many reasons.

    • Spirograph :

      I planned on natural childbirth in a hospital, and hired a doula group — whoever was on call when I went into labor would show up, but I had the opportunity to meet all 10ish of them ahead of time. She got to the hospital about 5 minutes before my baby was born. This was not her fault, I just had a fast labor, and I was not firm in saying, “you need to leave and meet me at the hospital right now” because I figured I was a first-timer and maybe I wasn’t as far along as I thought when I called her before leaving for the hospital, and instead told her I’d confirm once I was admitted (baby was born about an hour later). So in my case, it was kind of a waste of money although the doula was really sweet and hung out with me afterward for a bit and visited the next day to make sure I was processing everything OK and see if I had any questions.

      That said, I still like the idea. If I’d had a protracted labor, I would have been happy with some extra support. I probably won’t hire one for any future kids, because I’m sure it won’t be any slower the second time around, and I was just fine (as “fine” as one gets in labor) with just DH and the nurse. Talk to your husband, though, and make sure he understands what kind of support you would want and feels confident he’ll be able to provide it. This was a secondary concern for me; I was kind of afraid DH would freak out and wanted a doula as backup, but thankfully he was awesome.

      If you can talk to your mom and find out how her labor went, that is supposedly a pretty good indication of how yours will go (this was true in my case). If she has horror stories about 20 hours in active labor, a doula might be great for you. But if it seems likely you’ll be lucky enough to have a fast, “easy” labor, maybe save the money.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      I ended up getting an epidural and vacuum assistance (both things people ostensibly hire doulas to avoid), but I still think my doula was worth every penny. Unlike both the nurse and the midwife, she was in the L&D room with us the entire time. She helped us think through all of the decisions we were facing (including getting the epi and using the vacuum), she came to our house and coached me through labor for the hours before we went to the hospital (including on our NYE false alarm)…and I could go on.

      I will say, though, that we hired a very non-judgmental doula. Yes, like most doulas, one of her goals is to help her clients have non-medicated births. But she was also clear that it was our birth experience, and her goal was really just to help us through the process in any way that she could. Some doulas, however, are not like that…and they would consider it dishonest if clients had kept the option for an epidural open in their minds even as a last resort. So basically, not all doulas are the same…and you should ask questions to know who you are hiring (and if you are in the Bay Area, I’m more than happy to recommend mine).

    • AnonLawMom :

      I hired a doula for my first. Best money I ever spent.

  5. Still Vacation Shopping :

    Any advice about the difference between staying in Victoria, British Columbia (near Butchard Gardens) versus staying in Vancouver? We are thinking about early October.

    • There’s a lot more to do in Vancouver, Victoria tends to be a bit sleepy (it’s tagline is ‘home of the newlywed and nearly dead’). That being said, there is lots of outdoorsy activities on the island and I think October would be a lovely time to go. In an ideal world – could you do both?

      • Still Vacation Shopping :

        Both is an idea, yes, thanks. Well, we are late 40s/early 50s and met very late in life, so I suppose….we could qualify for both. I had not heard that tag line. Funny.

    • And if you’re not into outdoorsy activities, then go to afternoon tea at the Empress. We stayed at the Empress years ago, and it was lovely. The tea is so good, I still mail-order it from there because it’s my favorite tea. The Empress Blend, of course.

    • anon-oh-no :

      i was just on both places (though with kids) in april and i actually preferred victoria. You can easily stay in both places though. I loved the empress. great spa, lovely location, afternoon tea etc.

  6. Lady Tetra :

    Has anyone seen the news about short suits for men!

    • Baconpancakes :

      It’s official. Fashion is now equal-opportunity cringe-inducing.

    • Yay! I love Tory Burch, and I could buy this bag if I can convince the manageing partner that it would make me MORE organized!

      As for the OP, I can NOT imageing having any man in my office wear a short suit. Frank has spindeley leg’s, and so does the manageing partner, and he has MORE hair on his leg’s then he does on his head, which is bald. I have NOT seen Mason’s leg’s, and do NOT want to. I know Lynn has seen alot more then his leg’s up close and personal, b/c they have been goieng at it 24/7 all weekend and she is getting VERY paunchy. I sureley hope he did NOT make her pregneant b/c we would have to give her family leave under the Obama law and I might have to doubel as my OWN assisteant. FOOEY!

      The manageing partner want’s me to look with him at a place on 2nd Avenue– I supose I could take the bus instead of the subway in the winter, but I am walkeing anyway b/c of my tuchus. I have to leave now b/c our apointment with the realty guy is at 4:30 and we do NOT want to be late. I hope the manageing partner does not bring his brother up — that guy has now started to text me about apartements. Peeople in the open house’s think he is my dad, and when I say to them I am NOT his daughter, they then all start smileing at him, thinking I am his girlfreind and that he is having sex with me. DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • These are amazing. Although honestly, I think the short suits look better than the men’s ankle-length pants with no socks!

    • Yikes. Here are the photos of the outfit options:

  7. Has anyone had any luck getting out of a cell phone contract without paying the cancellation fee?

    I’ve had Sprint for the last 3 years and my voice and data service continues to decline (I’m in the Denver metro area). I’ve called repeatedly and they keep telling me they’re working on updating the network. They’ve been “updating the network” for the past year. Last time I called I’d had enough and they said they could credit my account $25 on my $180 per month bill (3 lines of service), but that’s all they can do. That doesn’t help me use my phone, Sprint. That doesn’t help my clients from getting annoyed that I can’t return their calls or that their emails are getting delayed and I don’t receive them for hours after they’re sent.

    Anyway, I’m peeved off and I want to switch to a different carrier but I refuse to pay a cancellation fee. Anyone know of the proper way to navigate this?

    • I left sprint for this reason and told them so. No cancellation fee. Maybe I just got lucky?

      • Are you sure you were in the middle of a contract? Maybe you’re contract had expired and you were on month to month when you cancelled?

        • Nope. Family plan where one phone was month to month and the other was under contract still. I called to cancel them both and they wanted a cancellation fee for the phone under contract. I explained to them that we could barely get service on that phone due to bad coverage/spotty network (different city than other phone). Somehow I got talked them out of a cancellation fee. It’s worth asking them anyways.

          • Meg Murry :

            We were also able to talk out of most of the cancelation fee, after months of calling to complain about terrible service – as in 0-1 bars terrible. I had to send back in my smartphone as part of the deal, since it was less than 1 year old.
            We also had a short period with an airave unit at our house, which works by sending your calls over WiFi instead of cell towers, but it only works if you are really close to the unit – like in the same room or next room close.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think T-Mobile is paying the cancellation fee for people switching to T-Mobile. That only helps if you would get good service with T-Mobile though.

      How much longer do you have on your contract?

      • 13 months. My company offers a discount with Verizon which I know works well here so I was hoping to switch to Verizon.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Your discount over 13 months might make it worth it to just pay the cancellation fee. If it was $175 cancellation fee, you’d break even if you saved $13.50/month. Aside from that, some amount of money spent might be worth it just for better service and peace of mind.

    • T-mobile will pay the cancellation fee (after you pay it) if you switch to them. I know of no other way to get out.

    • Orangerie :

      If your service is so bad that it renders your phone unusable and causes work-related problems, it might be worth just paying the cancellation fee and switching to a more reliable carrier. Short term cost, long term gain and all that.

    • Usually if they can’t get your service to a usable level, you have the right to a fee-free termination. I’m assuming you’ve looked at the terms and conditions of your service already, but if not, you should – typically you have to let them try various steps to boost the signal first, and the problem has to be really bad. The other place to check is your state public utility commission, which may regulate cell service and may require that they permit a fee-free termination in certain circumstances.

    • Mountain Girl :

      Does the Denver metro area provide Viaero service? We don’t live in Denver but close and have used Viaero for 4 years or so. I think they will buy out your contract as well. I’ve been pretty satisfied with their service but I’m not sure that anybody really loves their cell phone carrier.

  8. *your