Weekend Open Thread

Two by Vince Camuto Perforated Paisley TopSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

So we all know I love lacy tops for weekend/evening type stuff, but they can be a bit fancy for a regular night out. So I love this paisley lace design from Vince Camuto — it seems sturdier, more casual, more cool. Also: it’s machine-washable! It’s $69 at Nordstrom. Two by Vince Camuto Perforated Paisley Top



  1. This is beautiful. I’d like it better with a lower neckline and longer sleeves, but I can see how this would be a great piece that could be worn in many different ways.

    • i am dying. totally want it. And I’ve realized I’m severely lacking in Going Out Tops. b/c i never go out….

      But would also need a bright silk tank to wear underneath, because I LOVE that look! (not pink, tho)

    • Agreed. Covet covet covet.

    • I am in love with all things Vince Camuto lately. Is this a new designer, or am I late to the party?

      • My understanding is that he was one of the founding designers of Nine West and he went out on his own and started with shoes. I think the clothing lines are a fairly recent addition.

  2. PSA: Hax’s annual holiday chat (where readers share their most horrifyingly funny Christmas memories) is going on right now over at the Post. Part of this year’s festivities: a lady who gave her DIL her own dead mother’s underwear as a Christmas gift.

    • God, I love the Holiday Hootenanny!

    • You people are getting me hooked on all sorts of stuff today. I think “Santa Standard Time” is my favorite!

    • sdchicky619 :

      Reading it now! My favorite: the Defective Butterball Turkey story. I love the visual of the hungover, sooty mother in hysterics.

    • Make sure you go back for the final entry. I just died laughing …

  3. A stupid question on gym etiquette. For the first time, I need to start showering/getting dressed at the gym on weekday mornings if I work out. How much draping/covering is polite? I don’t plan to parade around au naturel but how carefully do I need to cover myself when I’m getting dressed? Does it bother any of you if people are not super careful about covering? Is it more or less bothersome depending on the person’s figure? I don’t especially care if my bra and panty areas aren’t totally covered at all times, but I don’t want to be inappropriate or make anyone uncomfortable.

    • I belong to an all-women’s gym and there are a lot of older ladies with…less-than-perfect figures that walk around completely nekkid. Does not bother me at all. Makes me wish I had that kind of eff it, I don’t care attitude.

    • Whatever you do, please don’t be the lady in my old gym who used to get completely dressed, including hair, make-up, jewelry, and suit jacket, from the waist up with NOTHING on below. It was truly bizarre. That said, I think it’s a know-your-gym thing. I feel like locker rooms are places where people should be fine with being naked but I’ve been in some where people only change in the dressing room/bathroom stalls. I can’t imagine a flash of anything or you walking around in bra and panties could be objectionable, though.

      • I don’t understand…I’m trying to think of a reason to do what you just described….and I just don’t get it…

        • style advice needed... :

          Drying out the cracks and crevices well? Some of the older ladies have problems with fungus….

          Sorry… I work in health care! TMI…

          • Do you really believe that fungus is age-related?!? Wow, that’s really sad for someone who works in health care.

          • I think she probably means that it occurs more commonly in older women as they often have more difficulty maintaining high standards of hygiene due to decreases in manual dexterity, flexibility, etc. These difficulties can make it more difficult to clean all the skin folds well. Furthermore, aging skin can sag, creating more of the skin folds and crevices that can create a moist environment conducive to cutaneous fungal growth.

            That was a pretty quick judgement to make of her skills without taking a minute to consider what she might mean.

      • I used to work out at a gym across the street from my work. Just about every time I was there, I would see the same naked woman in the locker room. She would dry her hair, put on makeup and even do some standing stretches looking in the mirror, all while buck naked. The odd thing was, I didn’t go to the gym at a regular time. Sometimes I went in the AM, sometimes at lunch, sometimes after work, and it seemed like she was always there. I think she just enjoyed being naked and having people look at her. I mentally called her Bush Lady – don’t think I need to explain why.

        I am using this as my excuse as to why I no longer work out at the gym. :)

        to the OP, if you are really just changing clothes and not sashaying around in the buff, no one will notice. I like the idea of a velcro towel someone else mentioned. Gym towels tend to be very ungenerously sized.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I belong to an all women’s gym and think it generally should depend on your comfort with your body, how much you show. I wouldn’t expect anyone to cover up/not cover up for me. I would say it truly runs the gamut in terms of who gets naked naked – old, young, large, lithe.

      I won’t like, sometimes the 100% nudity DOES make me a bit uncomfortable, but I attribute that to my OWN awkwardness, never to the other person. And I’m never more or less comfortable based on the “in shapeness” of the body – it’s just the full scale nudity that makes me slightly discomfited. I would never blame another person for making me feel that way though. So I say, go for whatever you feel comfortable with.

    • Do what makes you comfortable and try not to stress about it.

      If we can’t be naked in locker rooms, the world has gone mad.

      • This.

      • Almost There :


      • This. Also, try not to sit on the benches without a towel or something while nekkid.

        • Makes sense. Is it ok to put my gym bag on the bench? Even though I sometimes put my gym bag on the floor?

          • I put my bag in both places depending on availability and which stage of dressing I’m in.

            At my gym, most women walk to the showers either naked or semi-covered by their towels. Most walk out of the showers with their towels wrapped around themselves (although these towels are tiny so this isn’t much coverage). Then while they do hair and make-up, they’re completely dressed, in their bras and undies (that’s me) or in their towels. I haven’t seen anyone do her hair and make-up while naked.

            Once you do it a few times, it’s really not awkward and most people keep their eyes to themselves, even as they may chat while they dress.

          • What SunnyD said.

      • Fourthed. Just don’t be the incredibly old lady at my old gym who would bend over to dry her hair completely nekkid. Otherwise, I don’t think anyone will care.

    • I think it depends on the vibe of the gym -kinda like “know your office.” I am always most comfortable partially covered but don’t care what others do. With the one exception of not wanting to have someone bend over with their unclothed lower regions in my face.

    • Parading up and down in front of the lockers in the buff while doing can-can kicks might be awkward. Short of that, I think you are fine. Most people keep their eyes to themselves. I also think it’s reasonable to expect that you might need some cool-down time after a workout and shower. So if you wear bra and panties or towel while drying your hair, that’s normal. Or go bare, your call.

    • Kontraktor :

      This is why I like Korean bath houses. Everybody is nekkid nekkid and more nekkid and legitimately nobody cares. It’s actually kind of soothing because it is the one place I feel I can go where people are just people, bathing and relaxing, and nothing else. In the bathouse we are not objects, we are not s-xy (or uns-xy for that matter), we are not targets of judgement. We are just people taking a bath.

      That said, I would just be n-de in the gym locker room as much as you feel comfortable with while generally adhering to the ‘standard’ of what everybody else does. Or, find a Korean bathouse and free. :-)

      • I LOVE the Korean spa!

        • Kontraktor :

          It’s a good thing I don’t live closer to one or I would go once a week.

      • Saacnmama :

        Kontraktor’s reminding me of the time I went to the sauna in Munich and decided not to follow the (un)dress code. From the number of guys reaching for their towels, I’d say red bikini bottoms attract more attention than nudity, if no one else is clothed.

        But in general, I agree with the majority here–do what makes you comfortable/what you do at home, while being mindful of what others are doing.

    • i will add, if you are uncomfortable with being 100% nude or want some coverage while letting things air dry, get a spa wrap. Basically a short terry cloth robe with velcro around the chest. I get really sweaty while blow drying your hair so I like to wait to get dressed but don’t want to wrestle the towel and blowdryer.

    • I wrap a towel around my waist (they’re not big enough to wrap around the chest and still cover to my hips) but otherwise I don’t wear anything on my way to/from the shower. When I’m getting dressed, I don’t make any special effort to cover up. This seems to be the norm at my gym.

    • Silver Springs :

      At my gym it’s pretty common to be all naked. No one seems to mind. If you want to cover up, that won’t be weird either–some people do it too.

  4. momentsofabsurdity :

    Another gift idea TJ – feel free to skip if you’re getting sick of them.

    I am currently considering options to get New Dude with No Furniture for Christmas.

    He is really not a “gift” person (he went on this rant about how from an economist’s point of view, gifts are a deadweight loss to the economy and it would be so much more efficient if we all just exchanged cash with one another). On the other hand, I *really* am a gift person – I love buying gifts for people. So it’s hard for me to empathize with his point of view on this. (For clarification, he got me a lovely and thoughtful present for my birthday, so he at least knows when it’s advisable to put aside his Scrooge-y principles and make someone else happy!)

    I am planning on getting him tickets to an improv show in our area (he’s mentioned a couple of times how he wants to see more live comedy). I also may stick a ten dollar bill in the card as a tongue-in-cheek nod to his “god, we should just get each other cash” viewpoint. But I hate to give gifts that are just an envelope so I’m trying to think of something physical to give as well.

    My budget is about stretched with the tickets, which will total around $60 for the two of us – I could only manage something physical and wrapped that’s under say $30. I’m thinking a book might be a good option – I know he enjoys pop social science books like Malcolm Gladwell’s, Freakonomics, Predictable Irrationality, etc. My guess is he’s already thumbed through all the big ones in this space. Can anyone recommend an interesting pop-psych or economics book that’s not a NYT bestseller or has come out recently?

    Would also enjoy hearing additional suggestions! I’m thinking furniture might be tough to wrap and give, though I am still considering an IKEA gift card for his birthday =)

    • The tickets sound great! Leave it at that.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Thanks! If I can’t think of anything else, I may end up doing that so good to know it can stand on its own!

        • Look up Tim Hartford who publishes a Dear Economist column in the Financial Times – he has a website and several books. One is a collection of his columns and could be a fun gift. It’s basically life’s dilemnas solved by economics principles.

          I also like Stephen Landsburg – another armchair economist who writes entertaining books but is a bit less well known.

          Another possibility is AJ Jacobs – he writes for Esquire and has published a series of books wherein he immerses himself in something like reading the Encyclopedia Britanica A-Z, or following every commandment in the bible literally (no mixed fibers and he stones an adulterer!) – some of the more recent feel a bit gimicky but I really enjoyed the first Britanica one. I think it’s called Know It All.

    • fey and sudden :

      Most of the economic-loving friends I know also say that about gifts…but they are fond of edible gifts/liquor/or quirky things like funny mugs or (illegal) lawn darts.
      Also, for book recommendations, has he actually studied economics or just enjoys it? if yes to the first, is he more of a Keynesian or an Austrian economic fan?

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I don’t know if he’s formally studied economics (he’s in accounting). I think he may just spend too much time on Reddit. But my guess from speaking to him is that he leans more toward Keynesian (or especially monetarist, which, if I remember my college econ, is a criticism of/response to certain Keynesian policies — I know he has a couple books by Milton Friedman).

        I could do an edible gift but he’s currently trying to work out more/lose a bit of weight. So I feel bad continually stuffing him with my baked goods which are never healthy (but usually delicious!). Could also do a bottle of whiskey but it feels a bit impersonal.

        • fey and sudden :

          Ah darn- I had a bunch of slightly to mostly anti-Keynsian amusing books to recommend. But everyone else has such awesome ideas anyways! As for baking, I’ve taken to making some healthy type muffins for my friends on diets. or homemade low-fat granola. They like that it’s less processed then the stuff in stores….but granola for the holidays seems really boring.
          For a funny small gift, could you give him like a cheap toy (like doll-housed sized) piece of furniture?

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            LOVE the idea for a doll house bunch of furniture, but I might save that for his birthday, along with an IKEA card.

            I’d love the recs on books anyway, in case I’m wrong about his viewpoints! I’ll try and suss out more of it this weekend on our rom-com date (aquarium, ice skating, hot chocolate, dinner downtown).

    • e_pontellier :

      I just wanted to say I love your posts about New Dude With No Furniture. I think your current gift idea sounds great – but to be even more tongue-in-cheek, what about wrapping the tickets up in a big box with lots of tissue paper? He might be relieved *not* to get a regular gift, and he might really appreciate you doing something you know he’d really like (not getting a regular gift) when he did something incredibly thoughtful by getting you a good gift for your birthday.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Ha! That would be funny and is definitely an idea. Or maybe a huge beautifully wrapped box witha big bow on top, and a dollar bill in the middle. of a ton of tissue paper.

        Maybe I’m too mean…

        • e_pontellier :

          Okay, an empty box (just tissue paper) might be mean. Otherwise, I think your idea of a $10 bill is the perfect nod to what he said while being funny. The comedy tickets are great too, obviously.

          • My mom did this once for my brother. It was box after wrapped box after wrapped box and was absolutely hilarious. The final thing was an IOU for new skis that he was going to go pick out.

    • [insert clever name here] :

      Book by a comedian – put the tickets with the book.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I would totally do that if we were seeing someone who had written a book. But it’s a local troupe (so no book of their own) and I’m not sure if he would read a book by just any comedian (especially not my favorites like Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey!)

    • Where did he move from again? (I think I recall that he had just moved to the area?) If he came from a relatively big city, maybe you can find an inexpensive portrait of his city? Along the same lines, they also have puzzles of some skylines, maybe you could work on it together, frame it, and hang it next to the stick figure drawings.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        He moved here from the Midwest, but he’s from a small town, not a big city. I could look in to see if there are some cool maps of his state or something like that available. He likes my orkposter of Boston neighborhoods a lot, I think.

    • How thoughtful you are!

      For a book in that genre, I highly recommend Brain Rules by John Medina. It’s fun and interesting for a lot of the same reasons Malcom Gladwell’s books are, and a little more off the beaten path (I love that realm too). It’s based on the physiology (?) of your brain and how it works, and a very easy but enjoyable read.

      Completely different alternative would be something to put on his walls :).

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Thanks for the recommendation! The Amazon reviews look great – I might go thumb through it at Barnes and Noble this week!

    • How about something from ThinkGeek like this:

      Shelving is furniture.

      I got my brother the floppy disk coasters. My dad liked them so much I gave them to him and had to buy a new set for my brother.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Ha! The floppy disk coasters are actually the perfect gift for my dad. Thanks!

      • Research, Not Law :

        Thank you for the floppy coasters! Yes! Gift for my hard-t0-shop-for brother: Done.

    • AnotherLadyLawyer :

      Not quite in line with Freakonimics, but I’m gifting a similarly minded person (hates gifts, etc. etc.) a copy of Nate Silver’s book, The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don’t, which I then plan to “borrow” later on since my obsession with Nate Silver hasn’t faded… But maybe the furniture-less beau would be interested in it too?

      • AnotherLadyLawyer :

        And I really should be able to spell Freakonomics!

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Oh, I just bet he would. Only issue is that it’s exactly the kind of book he’d get for himself. So I have to figure out how to casually work it into the conversation to see if he’s already got it.

        • Research, Not Law :

          Moneyball is old. He may not have read it.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            I know he’s read Moneyball, The Big Short, and all the other Michael Lewis books unfortunately.

          • Try Scorecasting: basically Freakonomics, but sports-themed.

      • Ha! I’m getting this for my brother. He sounds a lot like No Furniture Guy (loves stats, rather econ minded). Hopefully he’ll like it :)

      • THANK YOU, I somehow didn’t know this existed, and it’s perfect for my husband!

    • Research, Not Law :

      How about a bouquet of dollar bill roses? http://www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/dollar-bill-rose.html You could use them as a ‘bow’ on the box.

      I like the idea of the tickets wrapped in a large box, just to fake him out.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Those are cute! I might do that with the box, whatever is in it.

    • karenpadi :

      My brother is also a “gifts are stupid wastes of money”-person. I try to give him something he wants and will use. I always clear it with him first.

      When he didn’t have a car, I got him a gift certificate for a car-share. I bought him a TV for his new apartment. I helped pay off some bills he had. This year, I gave him a plane ticket to see the family at my house over Thanksgiving and, in return, he gave me a lot of help over the weekend with our Mom, her husband and our grandparents (best Christmas gift ever! He was literally “my wife” for 5 days–cooking, cleaning, driving, organizing, entertaining).

      I think it really helps to be on the lookout for gifts year-round with him. If it’s July and he needs something, give it to him “for Christmas” or for his birthday. The timing isn’t as important as the thought.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Thanks! Those are good ideas and you’re right – I need to focus on the usefulness of the gift (whereas I might be just as happy with something completely useless and unnecessary).

    • Almost There :

      How about a dvd of a comic he likes, and you can put the tickets on top and wrap it up? “for a night out, and a night in” ?

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        *Love* that phrasing! But no DVD player sadly (see the “no furniture” thing). Although he probably has one in his computer, actually, though I’ve never seen him use it…

    • Quasi-Minimalist :

      You are very thoughtful! But please, don’t purchase him anything if he has hinted that he would not like objects. I understand this is very difficult for gift givers, but stashing your gift could make him very uncomfortable. The tickets sound great. :)

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I could see this viewpoint. I’m not sure if I can get over my own discomfort with not having a gift to wrap up, but I will definitely try to keep this in mind in general, especially because he kept my own preferences in mind when selecting a birthday gift for me.

        • My comment has disappeared. Not going to try to re-write in case it reappears, but google Tim Hartford, he writes a Dear Economist column, very entertaining but not too serious for someone anti-gift. He has several books, inc. a compilation of the FT columns. He’s less known in the US so maybe that could work.

          Also, Steven Landsburg. Less well known but same idea as freakonomics. I enjoyed his Armchair Economist (old) and More S8x is Safer S*x (less old, but not too recent)

          Last but not least: AJ Jacobs, specifically the Know it All. Very charming and funny. My SO likes all the books you mentioned above and he loved it.

        • Saacnmama :

          If you take him out for drinks after the show, you’ll fill your budget.
          I think it’d be ok to mention that you’re uncomfortable not giving him something to unwrap, is he really sure he likes it that way? (My own game on it is that the wrapping paper is too wasteful)

    • Not quite social sciencey, but what about a book by Mary Roach? Stiff–about what happens to dead bodies (culturally, scientifically, in medical research, in different religious traditions, etc.) is fascinating, hilarious, and gross all at once.

      • Merabella :

        I love this book. Really any of her books are fun – Packing for Mars, Spook.

        In a similar vein – I LOVED The Disappearing Spoon – it is about the history of the periodic table, which sounds kind of lame, but is laugh out loud funny – and I’m not a science person.

    • I am not a “stuff” person. Please, do not give him a physical gift. You may as well wear a sign that says “I am trying to change you.” The tickets sound like a lovely present.

    • An aside: if he is not a gift person, as your relationship lasts, he will probably stop delivering with the fits at some point. I have seen this happen with a couple I know very well. I just mention this because I think it really bugs the woman in the couple and it was not that way before they were married. Maybe it wouldn’t bother you, just something to think about.

    • Aftershock by Robert Reich is interesting and an easy read in the econ area.

    • Hey, Moments…

      Were you the one who recommended Cards Against Humanity? I ordered it from Amazon and it just arrived. I’ve played it twice and it was awesome. Last night I brought it out to a bar with my 2 friends. We actually played it with the bartenders.

  5. DC Meetup Reminder

    Just a reminder that the DC Corporette meetup will be next Monday, December 10, at Laughing Man Tavern at 1306 G Street Northwest. I will arrive by 5:30 and get a table downstairs. I’ll try to bring a sign so you can find me.

    I also thought it would be nice to collect some donations, since it’s the holiday season. Bread for the City (http://www.breadforthecity.org) requests donations of gift cards for grocery stores, big box stores, and drugstores, as well as Metro SmartTrip cards. They give the cards to their clients to help them buy groceries, etc. If you’d like to donate – totally optional, no pressure – I’ll collect the gift cards and SmartTrip cards and drop them off at Bread for the City.

  6. DC Meetup Reminder

    Just a reminder that the DC C o r p o r e t t e meetup will be next Monday, December 10, at Laughing Man Tavern at 1306 G Street Northwest. I will arrive by 5:30 and get a table downstairs. I’ll try to bring a sign so you can find me.

    I also thought it would be nice to collect some donations, since it’s the holiday season. Bread for the City (http://www.breadforthecity.org) requests donations of gift cards for grocery stores, big box stores, and drugstores, as well as Metro SmartTrip cards. They give the cards to their clients to help them buy groceries, etc. If you’d like to donate – totally optional, no pressure – I’ll collect the gift cards and SmartTrip cards and drop them off at Bread for the City.

    • By the way, can you comment if you plan to come so I can try to grab a big enough (or small enough) table?

    • I find this a very convenient for u and potentially easily stolen donation. How can I have any faith you won’t just use the metro cards or buy your groceries. You are just an internetstranger and it’s a too convenient thing to collect, especially if it only takes me a stamp to ensure the charity actually receives the gift and they would at least give me a receipt. This just seems super shady!

      • Hmmm…ok. Your comment is highly offensive and judgmental of someone you don’t even know.

        • karenpadi :

          +1000. Bluejay and I disagree more than we agree but I respect her and I wouldn’t hesitate to participate if I lived in DC. She is a very ethical person.

          • Thanks although I’m surprised we disagree more than we agree. I can’t remember ever having disagreed with you!

            It’s not like I’m an unknown entity who’s never met any other commenters in person. This comment is just bizarre.

          • karenpadi :

            We disagreed a bit during the 2 year long election. We’ve never met but we are both unofficial meetup coordinators, too!

      • sweetknee :

        Oh good grief. If you don’t want to participate, don’t.

      • Motoko Kusanagi :

        I don’t live in DC, so I won’t be attending. Or donating (because see previous sentence).

        I don’t know Bluejay (in real life or via any online mechanism, other than anonymously through her posts on this site).

        I can say with 99.9% confidence that, if she says she’s collecting for charity, she’s collecting for charity. And the only reason I’m not giving it 100% is that I don’t give anything 100% confidence.

        • This makes no sense, u probably are one of those people who are 120% right all the time. And proper charity giving is really opposed to this I’ve bluejay gift cards for so
          Many reasons. . . Mostly because most are scams.

          • No one can be 120% right all the time. That is impossible. But your second sentence might be 120% incomprehensible.

          • Motoko Kusanagi :

            No, I’m wrong often enough, and freely admit that. But I tend to read people well.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I believe that many of the people who attend the DC meetups have gone before and have met and befriended Bluejay. If someone hasn’t met her before, then they can size up her trustworthiness in person for themselves and decide whether they want to participate.

          • You know, I’m not the best at grammar myself, but I find it hard to take someone’s comment to heart when they can’t even type out ‘you.’

            Also, if you don’t want to participate: don’t. It really is that easy.

            Bluejay: I miss seeing your comments around here, and wanted to thank you for recommending Paula’s Choice skin balancing line! It is AMAZING.

          • hellskitchen :

            Since it will cost you nothing more than a stamp to give to the charity directly, please report back once you have actually done so. Until then, don’t point fingers at people who actually are taking initiative to do something good. It’s much easier to speak about what you would do than to actually do something.

          • @Leigh – thanks. Work has been KILLING me lately. I have not even been lurking. I miss commenting too and am really looking forward to the meetup.

      • Use a stamp then if you are worried. Or wait to meet Bluejay in person and determine then if she is worthy of trust. Everyone has their own comfort level. I like to believe that there are more good people in the world than bad.

        • She didn’t even offer to collect checks which would 1. Ensure the charity got the payment and 2. Ensure she did stop by.

          I think he defensiveness of an Internet stranger by most of you is highly worrisome. My concern is legitimate and there are Soo many reasons why someone convenient collecting basically cash with no record or receipt from strangers to give to a charity and only those no traceable cash items is highly suspect

          No one ever thinks they’d get scammed . . .

          • Or she’s saving the charity a step by giving them gift cards as requested on their wish list that they can then give directly to their intended recipients. http://www.breadforthecity.org/get-involved/wishlist/

            I know that the charity organizations I work with encourage volunteers to solicit donations. If people feel more comfortable donating directly than through me, then they are free to do so. There has to be a little faith in humanity.

          • Its not being defensive. I get what you are saying. You are technically right, Bluejay is asking for giftcards and there is technically no way of knowing if they are going to the charity or not. But I don’t recognize your name so I don’t know if you get this yet, but there just is a level of trust here. Sure, maybe bluejay steals it. I don’t think she will. Every gut instinct I have says she won’t. So that is what I am going with. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t give. But there is no reason to come on here and say that. The girls in soccer uniforms outside of the grocery store asking for change could be a scam to. based on context clues and my own feelings, I give them money. I would to bluejay too. Your warning is noted, but there is no reason to keep saying it could be a scam

          • Seriously, who cares? If you don’t feel comfortable giving gift cards to Bluejay, then don’t.

          • what rosie said: No one is forcing anyone at gunpoint to participate in the charity collection. If you don’t want to, don’t, problem solved.. and a lot of time typing out responses saved…

      • You know what? Don’t bother coming then. It’s not like none of the DC ladies know who I am and have never met me in person.

      • Wow. Just – wow.
        Not only have you insulted someone you have no reason to despise, you poisoned the upcoming event for everyone.

        • I’m hoping instead of poisoning the event, it results in more donations for BFTC.

    • I’m going to try to make it! Oh think of the shoes :)

    • So this late, but I’ll be there! :-)

    • anonforthis :

      Maybe this is just me being paranoid, but is anyone else ever concerned that if you go to a meetup that you’ll see someone you know IRL and it will be awkward? I really would like to come, if work allows me to escape, and it’s not like reading this blog is something to be ashamed of, I just have this nagging feeling that it would be really weird to show up and see a bunch of people I know, or worse, people I work for/with.

      • Well, I don’t think it would be awkward. I know that at least one other person from my office comments, because a couple of times I’ve gone to this site and found the “name” field filled in with something other than Bluejay (I guess we must share an IP address? I dunno.). I’d be kind of excited to know who it is. I’d have a new shopping buddy.

        I hope you can make it! You don’t have to come at 5:30 – I’m just planning to get there early. I’d imagine anytime before 8 would be fine.

      • I absolutely worry that someone from my office will figure out who I am from what I post (like those days when everyone posts what they are wearing), and realize I’m spending time at work goofing off. Which is ridiculous, because if that happened that would mean the other person is also spending time at work goofing off.

  7. styling help needed please :

    I have a sage-green suit with white pinstripes. It’s on the casual side – has some stretch, ankle-length, cotton – but I have no idea what color shoes to wear with it. Brown? Nude-for-me? It’s perfect for my biz cas job so I want to put it into rotation.

    • Oooh, pretty! One “rule” to consider is that if you need a neutral, go with something close to your hair color. I think you’d be safe with some shade of brown or nude for you (think about men who wear “dirty bucs” (dark sandy color) suede shoes with seersucker), as well.

      • styling help needed please :

        thanks, that’s a great place to start! I wonder if I can find some dirty bucs for women…

    • Oooh, pretty! One rule of thumb I’ve heard if you need a neutral is to go with something close to your hair color. I think you’d be safe with some shade of brown or nude for you (think about men who wear “dirty bucs” (dark sandy color) suede shoes with seersucker), as well.

    • What about oxblood?

      • styling help needed please :

        I think oxblood would be too dark, and stark in comparison. I do need a pair for my navy suit, thanks for the reminder!

    • What about pewter? Or a dark olive?

      • My guess would be that the dark olive would be too close to the sage color and clash. But I think pewter is right on the money. Charcoal gray maybe, too.

  8. Lacy tops are NOT for me b/c I alway’s have to remember to put another layer on UNDERNEATH them, and that does NOT make alot of sense in the Summer.

    The manageing partner invited me and Madeline to have a “tett a tett” with him and his wife this Sunday at the Manageing Partner’s house in Brookville. I had been planneing on goieing with Myrna to meet her neice, but now my dad says it will be good to get some more exposure to life with the Manageing partner OUTSIDE of work. I think I realy have enough of that already, but my dad is alot smarter then me and he generaly knows about thing’s like this. Besides, he will be comeing to our holiday party in a couple of weeks and I do not want him corralleing the manageing partner and talkeing all about me. FOOEY on that. I almost want my mom to come too, b/c she could keep my dad from bossing around the manageing partner.

    I do NOT understand why Madeline is comeing tho. She is not exactley on the fast track like me, and I think she is probabley goieng to be retireing within the next few years. The only thing I can think of is that the manageing partner may want to badger her into goieing to St Louis, b/c the manageing partner wants to get those hours billed THIS month, and I am realy busy and can NOT devote 3-4 days to that stuff with JIM. FOOEY!

    I am goieing to have to coordinate the arrangements with the cleint’s, and send out e-mail reminder’s to them next week. We got initial RSVPs from a total of 83 peeople, not including the 12 peeople in the firm that are comeing + their spouse’s or guest’s. So this is a big deal and now I know why the manageing partner has to be financialy astute. My dad says I should keep a close watch on how he manages the firm b/c my dad thinks that mabye in 5-10 years, I could become the manageing partner! Yay!

  9. fey and sudden :

    I remember reading a few days back some awesome holiday drink ideas. Any more suggestions or a link back to the posts? I’m hoping for something I could make in a large serving size, like punch, and with not too many types of liquor.
    I was thinking of hot apple cider and something….rum? brandy? Whisky? Any ideas?
    Also, has anyone tried the apple pie vodka in stores?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I made honeycrisp apple cider for my Halloween party and it was loved by all. If you google it, I think it was on the nutmeg nanny (or something like that) site.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oops, I meant honeycrisp apple sangria!

        • style advice needed... :

          Sounds wonderful! Warmed and spiced or cool?

          • Sydney Bristow :

            It was chilled. We added the club soda right at the end after pouring a glass, which I was skeptical of, but it really finished it off nicely.


    • My specialty cocktail this year has been the “poinsetta”. Champagne and pomegrante juice! It’s delicious, easy, and beautifully festive.

    • I love gluhwein/mulled wine, but otherwise, I’ve had these before, and they’re pretty good (I swear, I don’t work for the LCBO, I just spend my holiday season in Ontario, and my sister and I like to make drinks at Christmas). The second two have only one or two kinds of alcohol, the first has several, but is so, so delicious. All of them scale up to serve more people quite nicely:

      Brandy Frost: http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/RecipeController?language=EN&recipeType=2&action=recipe&recipeID=2293

      Cranberry Divine: http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/RecipeController?language=EN&recipeType=2&action=recipe&recipeID=3804

      Winter Festival: http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/RecipeController?language=EN&recipeType=2&action=recipe&recipeID=3848

    • I had hot apple cider with bourbon last week and it.was.amazing. Though if you don’t like bourbon, that’s obviously out :)

      I also make mulled wine for holiday parties, you can usually pick up mulling spices at the grocery store. Hot chocolate with Bailey’s is also a delicious drink, though it’s very sweet, so best if saved for dessert.

    • My favorite Make in Large Batches holiday thing is Ginger Hot Toddies.

      I cut up a TON of fresh ginger, slice up some lemons in 1/4″ slices throw it in a pot of water, add some cinnamon sticks & whole cloves. Star anise if you really want to be fancy. Bring to a boil on the stove, leave it simmering with a lid all night.

      Prep on the side, cups, honey and brandy or bourbon, whatever you prefer.

      Whenever anyone wants a drink, just take a cup, drizzle a bit of honey in the bottom, add a shot of brandy, and then ladle in some of the ginger tea to the top, making sure to get some cloves, ginger and lemon in their cup. People can add as much or as little honey as they want.

      It’s always a huge hit, plus it’s really good if you’re coming down with a cold! ;o)

  10. Lo and Sons update :

    In case people have stopped following the morning thread, I had purchased an OG with the 30% off code. Because Lo and Sons is now running a 35% off special, I emailed to ask for a price adjustment, and they agreed to give me an additional 5% off, or $14.75.


    • Same here. Yay Lo & Sons and yay customer service.

      • Almost There :

        + 1. So refreshing when a company has good customer service.

        I wonder if they have put it together that all these price adjustment requests are coming from readers of this bl og?

        • They do ask where you found out about them, so there’s a good chance of it.

    • Reporting back on my purchase of the OMG:

      I decided to return it as my laptop did not fit comfortably in an empty bag. I could envision many frustrated moments trying to pull it out of a stuffed bag at TSA security checks (and as many trying to get it back in as well: 14.1″ laptop here).

      Contemplating the O.G….How did you get 35% off? The website shows 30%.

  11. e_pontellier :

    What do you all do on Christmas Day (or other important holidays) with your SO if you don’t have children? Or what would you do with just your SO if you didn’t have to worry about entertaining your children? Last year DH and I spent our first Christmas together as a married couple (in previous years we travelled) and honestly, it was a bit boring. I made a big breakfast and we exchanged gifts, but . . . it just felt like a regular weekend, nothing terribly special. We’re doing family things the whole weekend before Christmas, but plan to spend the day itself at home. Thanks!

    • Do you have other friends that might want to come over for Christmas day to drink eggnog and play board games? How about going out to eat Chinese food and going to see a movie that evening? We always did the movie thing Christmas night. The theatres are packed with people wanting time-outs from their families. And, there are usually a few big movies opening that day.

      • Les Miserables!!! It’s supposed to be amazing, and comes out Christmas Day.

    • I am no longer married but I threw a brunch for friends on Christmas Day. Huge hit.

      When I was married, we always got at least one movie on DVD as a gift (like LOTR or Harry Potter, etc.) and we would watch them on Christmas Day.

    • We almost always have to travel to see relatives, but the one year we got snowed in (yay!), we had our non-Christian friends over for a little impromptu party on Christmas Eve, and then went hiking on Christmas morning, went for an amazing Indian buffet lunch, and then watched Battlestar Galactica for hours. We also went out for Chinese food for dinner that night. We also drank a lot of hot mulled wine and ate a lot of Christmas candy. I would LOVE to get to spend Christmas Day just the two of us again. Sigh.

      • long time lurker :

        YES. Usually we travel to parents and it is annoying, there is always some random family kerfuffle or slight, too many people, kids, etc…. One year we boycotted it and had two single friends over and I made a big fancy meal and then went out for a few drinks (we are immature late thirties nyers). It was awesome. I got everyone a smallish gift and made them unwrap it including gifts for the pets of the friends, and we had a tree and everything. (H and I exchanged our “real” gifts separately, these were fun/joke/small gifts).

    • We were solo for Thanksgiving — we slept in, had breakfast, workout out separately, went out for a delish meal and then to a movie. It was pretty awesome — it felt like a free weekend day, since there was no obligation or guilt to run any errands or be at all productive.

    • Volunteer!! Seriously, there are a lot of opportunities on Christmas because everyone wants to do it leading up to it.

      I like going to movies early in the day (avoiding the post-present lines) and a big fan of games – marathon length monopoly and opening a bottle of champagne just because you can.

    • Kontraktor :

      We usually either cook a lot on Christmas Eve (like a bigger dinner) or go out to dinner. We go to midnight mass. Sleep in on Christmas Day and have a leisurely morning, maybe make coffee/breakfast. Open gifts. Possibly go to church again. Cook another large meal for dinner. On the off days following, we usually lounge/do light errands/sleep in. Our Christmas time off usually involves one trip to an outlet mall. We feel we don’t need to do much. We just love to be together, be leisurely, and enjoy a ton of carols/our tree/things like that.

    • Something outdoorsy – hiking, beach day, long walks, run, skiing, ice-skating- whatever is close and seasonal and weather permitting.

  12. I ordered the DvF dress Kat featured earlier this week (THANKS A LOT, KAT!) and it just got here.

    Fighting the urge to wear it for the rest of the day.

    • Don’t fight the urge baby. Embrace it. :-)

      • Almost There :

        To piggyback, what is ya’lls rule about wearing new items? Do you always wash first, or don’t care? (Clearly this is to exclude underoo-type items.)

    • eastbaybanker :

      Oooh! Jealous. It’s gorgeous.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Ooh – can you tell me how the sizing/fit runs? I ordered it too but haven’t gotten it yet – wasn’t entirely sure what size to order, so assumed that designer fit = one size up from my normal RTW size (BR, etc.).

      • Yeah, Kanye, I think you have to go try it on right now and tell us how it fits ;)

      • I always wear one size larger in DvF dresses, except for dresses sized S/M/L, and then I wear my normal size.

        This one follows my usual rule; one size up fits me just right. ;)

  13. temporarily anon :

    I have a friend who is having relationship troubles and has been coming to me for advice. I’d love to get others’ perspective on this.

    She’s in 1 1/2 year relationship with a guy who has been really sweet to her for the most part.

    This guy doesn’t make a lot of money, and that is sometimes problematic for her, as he has no problem with her paying for the majority of their dinners, trips etc. They do not live together and don’t have combined finances.

    The most recent problem is that he didn’t call her on her birthday and didn’t get her a gift. She was really hurt by this. When she called him on it the next day (after being miserable about it on her actual birthday) he was really defensive, said he would celebrate with her when they got together this weekend, though he had no specific plans, and basically said she makes too big of a deal about her birthday.

    He’s not all bad, of course. He has helped her with major projects, like fixing up her place and helping her move. He is generally nice to be around. He does not have a temper and is always very even-keeled, which is nice for her after getting out of a long-term relationship with a man with an anger problem. But the birthday thing was a real diappointment this year, and he didn’t do much better at her birthday and Christmas last year (planned a Christmas trip with family without inviting her, though they had been dating about 5 months at that point.)

    He’s just kind of thoughtless, I guess, and is not improving despite her telling him these things are important to her, and to most people. I kind of think the pressure of knowing she has high expectations might be paralyzing to him, and he’s basically a laid-back non-confrontational guy. Though it could also indicate a lack of caring or a passive-aggressive streak.

    I don’t know what to tell her. This would be a deal breaker for me, but I wonder if any of you are in long-term relationships where you have different ideas about birthdays and other gift-giving occasions.

    • e_pontellier :

      I am certainly not qualified to give relationship advice, but it just sounds like he’s just not that into her. Could you rent that movie with your friend? Sorry if that’s callous; I don’t mean to be.

      • That movie makes women look so pathetic, the book is 1000000x better and more useful.

    • It sounds like birthdays and holidays aren’t a big deal for him, which is fine. It’s not fine if he ignores the fact that they are important for your friend, but it seems like they should compromise somewhere in the middle (so, she might never get a really thoughtful and labor-intensive to-do on her birthday).

      To me it would depend whether she thinks she has been clear about how important stuff like this is to her. If she has been clear, and he just doesn’t care, that might be a reason to end the relationship. If she hasn’t been clear, or he’s been making some effort even though it’s not up to her standards, then she just has to decide whether a man who finds special occasions important is essential for her.

      FWIW, I would never expect to be invited on a family trip over Christmas when I had only been dating the guy five months. This seems really early to me.

      • He sounds like an ex of mine. Sweet man, very caring. Loved me to bits, but just didn’t seem to get it on that front. I’m still battling with whether to take him back or not because I would tell him for years and years that I would like to see more gestures like being taken to dinner instead of my having to plan and things like that. Sometimes we just want to be taken care of, and I dont think there’s anything wrong with wanting that (within reason, of course). But her view about the Christmas trip is a bit unreasonable.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        My boyfriend is similar to this. I love birthdays and holidays and get really excited to find the other person the perfect gift, do something super fun, etc and my boyfriend grew up exchanging cash as gifts with his family and hasn’t had a birthday party or anything other than a dinner out for his birthday since he was a kid. Luckily for me, he is very much into romantic gestures, so for my birthday this year he took me somewhere I’d always wanted to go. It required very little planning on his part because it was just the experience and not an overly ambitious planned event. I tried to pick the perfect present for his birthday, but all he’d say was that he’d like an iTunes gift card. I eventually got him something he really did want and will probably give in and get him a gift card sometimes in the future because that is truly what he wants.

        It took quite a bit of discussion to figure this all out though. Our birthdays are around the same time, so I had started asking him for gift ideas and it sparked a conversation about how we celebrated events in our lives. I made it very clear that I love to celebrate them for myself and for others and that it was important to me. I think that is probably the key. Your friend needs to be clear about the fact that in the end, it is something that really matters to her. If she’s been clear and he ignored it, then that seems like a concern. It shouldn’t need to be some elaborate thing, but there needs to at least be effort on his part and a willingness to try. I dont think it compares to something like a couple having completely opposite and deeply held opinions on a controversial topic where there needs to be respect about it but no need to try and come around to the other person’s side at least occasionally. If holidays aren’t important to him and he wants cash or nothing and doesn’t want to celebrate, that’s fine and they shouldn’t need to celebrate on his birthday. But if its important to her to celebrate on her birthday and she’s made that explicitly clear, then that is a problem in my mind.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think there is a difference between personally not caring about [birthdays/holidays/whatever] and that not being a big deal, and not caring about those things and *choosing not to make an effort* when your SO does care, and expresses that to you. I think that’s the real problem here.

      I think your friend needs to think about whether or not this is how she wants to feel in a romantic relationship. It seems like he doesn’t really appreciate her/doesn’t make an effort to do things, even when he knows they are important to her. That is a real problem and I’d tell your friend that.

      Although I have to say – there is zero way I would invite a relationship of 5 months to spend the holidays with my family. And my family would find it *really* weird if I did. Nor would I sacrifice my trip home to spend the holidays with someone I’d been dating for 5 months, even if it was going great. So that aspect of it may just be a difference in family norms.

    • Some people are just not into birthdays, etc. I wouldn’t hold it against him because I’m not into them either, but if it’s important to her, she might want to reconsider the relationship.

      TBH, expecting to be invited on a family trip after 5 months of dating is a bit…hopeful. She might just be reading more into the relationship than he is.

      • temporarily anon :

        thank you all for your advice so far.

        I worded the bit about the Christmas trip badly. It was not only that he didn’t invite her, he didn’t really tell her about it ahead of time. So like the week before Christmas she asked whether she’d see him over the holiday and he said, no, I’m going on this trip with my family. And then he didn’t get her a gift.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Okay, I could see how the last minute notice on the trip might be annoying but for me this wouldn’t be a black mark against a guy (the no gift thing yes).

          I wouldn’t necessarily expect to be kept appraised well in advance of all travel plans in a 5 month old relationship, and would probably have assumed he’d be traveling over the holidays, as most people do. If that was a concern, I would have asked about it further than a week in advance. Assuming the trip wasn’t for like, 2 months, I think this is perfectly within the bounds of normal clueless guy to let her know a week or so before Christmas that “oh yeah, I’m heading back to Oregon on Tuesday to spend Christmas with my dad.”

          • LadyEnginerd :

            I disagree. I think that it is a weird dynamic that they didn’t discuss holiday plans at some point prior to one week out. Totally ok to not invite her along, but weird to not have had it come up in conversation at some point around, oh, Thanksgiving.

            For reference, I currently know which of my colleagues are going home and which are staying in town… and it’s the first week of December. And I’m not dating any of them! Discussing what you’re going for the holidays is an entirely normal topic of small talk, so I think something is fishy if it didn’t come up in conversation naturally. In fact, I’ll project: the flavor of “fishy” vibe I’m getting is noncomittal from him, and trying reeeally hard not to seem clingy from her.

            My vote is DTMFA. Of course, as y’all may know, I am currently embittered by my broken engagement, so perhaps I’m jumping to that conclusion unnecessarily. Perhaps a come-to-the-diety-of-your-choice/all cards on the table talk instead, because it seems like there’s more of a weird dynamic than presents. Either way, this seems like it is not a good fit if she has made it clear that she likes to celebrate in a certain way and he didn’t put a reminder in his calendar to find her a present or call her on her birthday. The impulse doesn’t have to be natural for him, but the follow-thru needs to be there.

    • style advice needed... :

      It sounds like there are two issues.

      He doesn’t make a lot of $, and your friend has some trouble with that. Although I hear he is fixing things at her place (saves her $$), helps her move (?so no movers, saves her $$)…. I guess only she can know if she feels that this is an issue she can accept. Many couples have us females being the main breadwinner these days, and as long as he shares my values/goals and has a good work ethic, his income can be less of an issue. This is a very personal decision, I find.

      I would probably let up on the birthdays. For many people (especially guys….) they are not a big deal. Sometimes people also have issues with birthdays you don’t realize. For example, my father never had birthday parties/gifts when he was a child (very poor and an ill mother), and birthdays are painful reminders for him. Sometimes us girls can also get a bit catty about birthdays with expectations that can’t easily be fulfilled, and maybe her guy is now a bit scarred by this. Or maybe he just isn’t into birthdays. The solution my friends have had with this problem is being proactive and planning their own birthdays…. that their partner then helps fulfill.

      And I agree that it is too much for her to think he should plan a family holiday like Xmas around you when you had been dating for so short a period.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Really all you can do as a friend is to be there for her, reassure her, and be a sounding board to help her make her own decision about the relationship. Either intentionally or not, this guy is making her feel like she’s wrong to need the things that she needs in a relationship. Let her know that she’s not. If she needs something he’s not willing to give or compromise on, then she’s going to have to figure out whether she can deal with that and not bang her head against a wall wanting him to change something he’s clearly not interested in changing.

      Also, I’m sure this wasn’t intentional, but when you say someone has “high expectations,” the implication is that their expectations are TOO high. Assuming that the things she’s expecting are what you’ve listed and not, like, daily flowers or something equally ridiculous, please, please don’t use this phrasing with her. A woman does not have “high expectations” for wanting her partner of 1.5 years to acknowledge her birthday. This guy is making her feel high maintenance enough, she really needs a friend to remind her her expectations are normal for a long-term partner. Good luck to you and your friend.

    • hellskitchen :

      I am like the boyfriend in this case. I really don’t like getting gifts but my husband loves giving expensive gifts. I am bad at giving gifts and he likes receiving nice things. Our first birthdays after we got married were a disappointment for both of us, for completely opposite reasons. I was a bit defensive after he felt disappointed by what I got him, because I felt it should be about the thought and not materialistic. In his mind though, it was about being materialistic but that a really nice gift meant I valued him. Since then we have learned to compromise. I clear gifts with him before giving them. I usually go the tried-and-tested “fun lingerie” route for birthdays now. I am glad my husband didn’t see my inability to give nice gifts as a deal breaker. In your friend’s case, he should have definitely called her on her birthday and made her feel special when they did celebrate that weekend. She should sit down and explain why this is such a big deal to her and if he still doesn’t get it, then maybe it’s worth re-evaluating the relationship.

    • So, this part – “This guy doesn’t make a lot of money, and that is sometimes problematic for her, as he has no problem with her paying for the majority of their dinners, trips etc” – has me bothered.

      Is it she’s upset about the lack of thoughtfulness (xmas, bday) or the lack of acknowledgement with gifts? 5 months isn’t exactly early on, but he helped her move and has helped her with a bunch of projects; maybe he’s trying to show her he cares through his actions?

      The christmas trip is a bit odd, but honestly at that stage I’d probably expect we were each doing our own thing for the holidays and then getting together some. But that’s just it – everyone has different expectations. Your friend needs to figure out what she cares about in a relationship and go from there.

      • Research, Not Law :

        “Your friend needs to figure out what she cares about in a relationship and go from there.” This is my thought, too.

        I’m not seeing anything terrible or shocking in this guy’s behavior, but it sounds like he may not be right for her. She may not be happy in a relationship with someone who will fix her sink but not call on her birthday. Maybe they can compromise, maybe they can’t. She has to decide for herself if it’s a dealbreaker.

        • anonymous :

          Agreed, and it also makes a difference if his cluelessness about the importance of her birthday/gifts extends to other things that are important to her as well.

          For example, my H can be a bit slow about changing his behavior on one or two things I’ve clearly stated were important to me, but in the context of all the other ways he shows he cares and works on remembering, it’s definitely no dealbreaker. I’m sure he’d say the same about me and things I need to work on for his sake. Changing your mentality to understand another totally foreign mentality can be hard and slow.

          On the flip side, my friend’s marriage is on the rocks because her H almost exclusively shows his love in the way he wants to (cooking great meals, fixing things, actions to take care of her) and has never really understood that wholeheartedly “loving” her in that way doesn’t excuse him from ignoring things she’s said are important to her.

          Is the thoughtlessness and defensiveness (that’s the part that worries me, actually) rare, or a pattern of behavior?

      • Well what are they doing for christmas THIS year?

    • I had a boyfriend very similar to this, though it was not our only issue. Eventually I decided I didn’t want to settle for someone who wasn’t perfect for me, so I stopped seeing him. All issues like these boil down to that for me. Do I want to deal with that for the rest of my life? If yes, I figure out how to deal with it. If no, I end things. It makes for a marriage with realistic expectations and I am not constantly trying to
      change my husband or just be silently disappointed.

    • Laura Holt :

      There are plenty of couples who aren’t into birthdays and gift-giving, but it has to be a mutual thing. The bottom line is, if its important to her that he get her a gift (and she has communicated this to him before, which it sounds like she has) then he should get her a gift to make her happy. Yes, guys can be clueless and he may not realize its important to her to get her a gift or in the beginning he may get something totally wrong for her. For example, my husband is big on gifts but I remember being disappointed and confused when he got me perfume on our first Valentine’s Day together – I’ve never worn perfume in my life & I’m allergic to lots of scented things, etc. But he was trying and he bought that because he thought he had to get me a “typical girl thing” and this was suggested by a girl in his office who didn’t know me very well. I can definitely excuse getting a bad gift or not getting a gift for one of their first special occasions together as clueless guy behavior. But telling her she makes “too big a deal out of her birthday” because she would like him to get her a gift and call her on her birthday is awful and thoughtless. He knows she would like some acknowledgment of her birthday, if he loved her he would want to make her happy by acknowledging her birthday. I say dump him and move on, he sounds like a jerk.

  14. The Kate Spade bag I have been wanting badly just got a second price drop, to $149. I just dropped a bundle on my trip to New York. Is it awful to buy the bag? It would go with almost everything I own.


    • Ooh, cute! Are you looking for a year-round bag? To me, the fact that it’s made of felt would make it a fall/winter bag. Maybe something to consider?

      • In a situation like this, I think about cost-per-wear. Call me an enabler, but I say go for it (although I do agree with Anon at 2:58, above — just something to consider).

      • No, I already have two other Quinns that are more appropriate for summer/spring – one in mauve leather and one that is linen with black polka dots.

    • NOLA, I bought a KS felt bag last year and it didn’t hold its shape well. It looked pretty ratty after a few weeks and I think the felt attracted lots of lint. I wish I had a glowing review to give you.

      • I have the Fox Chapel Shari (? – I think) from last year. The one that looks like a pea coat with gold buttons. It’s exactly how you describe. Didn’t hold its shape all that well and gathers fuzz. The Quinn is more structured, though, and every one I have has held its shape well. I saw this fabric in the store and I don’t think it would be like the one I have.

    • Considering the crap-ola couple weeks you’ve had (excluding the NYC trip), I think you should buy it as a gift to yourself (and because it’s really cute).

      You’re welcome.


    • Nope, go for it. It’s a really structured bag, and I am sure you will get a lot of use out of it.

  15. Surprise! Another gift-giving threadjack. I’m stumped for good ideas for my husband — we’re both in our early 30’s, we’re about to have another kiddo (second) in Jan/Feb, and he’s asked for a new watch. Other than that I’m pretty clueless. So I’d love to hear what you’re getting your SOs (male and female) and/or any recs for good online sites for watch-buying (under $200 if possible).

    So far I’ve gotten him a quirky t-shirt, some new boxers and the new live Coldplay DVD/Blu-Ray combo. He’s pretty athletic (mostly running and basketball), loves nature shows/the Discovery Channel, is just getting into country music and is decidedly not a reader. He also (which I find adorable) loves chillaxing with our 3-year-old daughter. He’s a finance guy with a desk job, if that helps.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      If you’re thinking watches, how about a Garmin GPS running watch? I think they come with heart rate monitors and can be pretty cool tools to track your pace and route.

    • I think the Skagen mens watches with the mesh band look really nice on. One of my friends got the charcoal gray and it’s really slim to the wrist yet it looks masculine. BTW, they are much cheaper on Amazon than in a store. Go scope them out at a store then order online.

      • Merabella :

        I got my husband a Skagen for our anniversary. I got the black mesh band with the copper face – HE LOVES IT! I got it on Amazon, much more affordable, and he wears it almost every day.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Witty t-shirt
      Framed print from an artist local to his hometown of a fond landscape
      Music CDs (because we’re old and roll like that)
      Fancy coffee

      My 3-yr old daughter wanted to buy him “wood” for christmas (woodworking is a hobby) so we got a birdfeeder kit for them to build together. It was ~$15 at Rockler. It’s just a few screws, so anyone could put it together.

      Anything matching is a hit, too. I’ve gotten Spinal Tap reference t-shirt/onsie from BabyWit and matching t-shirts from his alma mater. I considered matching angry bird pj pants this year. Definitely get something for all three of them to wear, or there will be tears (learned that the hard way).

    • This would actually be a gift from your daughter, but what about getting one of those plates made from a drawing she’s done? Maybe a drawing she’s done of him, or of the two of them?

    • My dh is getting the Lego R2D2 set this year. He collects original Star Wars Lego. Is Lego something your dh would be interested in?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My boyfriend likes gift cards, but I like to wrap presents so he came up with a few ideas. I’m replacing his old VHS tapes and getting the DVDs. I was shocked that he had so many videotapes and doesn’t have a VCR. I’ll probably get his home videos from his childhood put on DVDs for his next birthday.

    • Whiskey stones.

    • I love my Fossil watch. It’s lasted for 6 years with only one new battery after about 5 years. It’s pretty indestructible and it looks nice. It cost $100something.

      • e_pontellier :

        Ditto on loving Fossil watches. Also, I’ve had mine for 2 years. I just needed a battery replacement for the first time and when I took it to the Fossil store, it was free!!

  16. Just got to say – If Johnny Manziel doesn’t win the Heisman, the award loses a ton of credibility. I can’t believe he didn’t win the Maxwell last night. Ridiculous.

    • Maybe so, but he’s a freshman and a freshman has never won it. Some voters won’t ever vote for a freshman. Personally, I really like Manti Te’o.

      • That’s what I’m saying. It’s for the most outstanding college football player. According to that standard, he wins hands down. If he loses, they aren’t following their own standard. They’re going to have to reclassify it as an award for the most outstanding college football non-freshman.

        Te’o is an awesome person with a great story – one of the best. But his numbers just aren’t that good, even for a defensive player. Comparing his numbers with some of the recent greats, like Von Miller, they don’t even come close.

        • Agreed. I just don’t understand why Colin Klein is still being talked about. But he’ll probably win it.

          • Well they have to have 3 finalists. Collin Klein is a great QB.

            I kind of feel like giving it to a freshman is like giving Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Price. And I know that’s self serving at the moment, but I’d feel like that if Manti wasn’t a finalist too.

          • I don’t get the analogy. Please explain.

            Here’s the thing: If this were another year, where there are lots of good candidates, the freshman thing could weigh against him. But this year, there really isn’t another candidate that’s close. Ignoring Manti’s amazing story, which shouldn’t be relevant, his numbers just aren’t that good. And Klein’s aren’t even close to as good as Manziel’s, playing against the weak defensive Big XII. Anyway, there have been years with so many good candidates that I would say don’t give it to a freshman. But not this year.

        • Almost There :

          I think “most outstanding” is pretty objective.

      • SoCal Gator :

        Domer here so I am thrilled. Te’o sure seems like a pretty special guy.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Kenyon Barner deserved to get the Doak Walker award last night.

  17. This is random, but I’m looking for a decent quality juice/citrus press–not mechanical. I had no idea they were so pricey! Does anyone have any ideas for where I could get a nice one for under $50?

    • karenpadi :

      Honestly, juicers are very pricey for some reason. Try eBay or Craigslist. It’ll be used, though.

      This is also the kind of thing I’d check my credit card rewards for. I tend to rack up points without noticing and the merchandise reward companies seem to get a lot of kitchen gadgets.

      • karenpadi :

        I found this on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Juiceman-Jr-JM400-700W-Fruit-and-Vegetable-Juice-Maker-Extractor-Chrome-/390471242837?pt=Small_Kitchen_Appliances_US&hash=item5ae9e65455

        $47 with free shipping.

      • Thanks for the tip! For some reason, I thought they’d be cheaper. Weird!

      • I think it’s cuz cheap ones just don’t do the job. They have to be heavy/have high quality parts that won’t break in 5 minutes. I would second the ebay/craigslist thing if you really want to get it cheap.

  18. Needing something else :

    I’m realizing I need more outlets for my energy. I’m one of those people who always put all my focus on school, and then since graduating, on work. But career stuff hasn’t been going so well for me and I think I need to have more things going on in my life so that it doesn’t feel like NOTHING is working for me. You know? What it may come down to is that I need a hobby, as hokey as that may sound. Does anyone have suggestions for how to spread myself out a little further so that I stop feeling like work is all I have? Did anyone go through this and come out with solutions to recommend?

    For what it’s worth I exercise daily, though alone, and I am happily married with no kids.

    • Needing something else :

      Oh, and I’m in a good monthly book club. That plus working out is about it!

    • Volunteer. Go help other people who need you. Or knit or something. It feels good to learn something and finish a project.

      • You could find a stich and b!tch group!

      • I was going to suggest knitting. I’m thinking of starting to knit baby blankets for a charity my MIL is involved with. The blankets go to low-income NICU babies. A great way to volunteer from home!

    • e_pontellier :

      My DH volunteers on Saturday mornings. Is there a volunteer organization or a professional organization you could join?

    • Take up something that requires practice—a musical instrument (including your own voice), dance (like ballet, jazz, tap), or art (painting, pottery). Or figure out classes you’d like to take in an area you’re interested in: a language, American history, or poetry (I’ve always regretted not taking more math classes in high school and college).

      On the volunteering idea, what about joining a group like Junior League?

    • Research, Not Law :

      A friend like that started training/running marathons for Team in Training and got a masters in her ‘free time.’ (I so wish I were joking). She also is very active in Rotary. And I think she walks dogs for the human society.

      • I run trail races (35k – 50k) and am pursuing an LLM Taxation in my free time. 30, married, no kids. :p

    • AttiredAttorney :

      This summer, my evenings were suddenly free and I volunteered as a cooking school assistant at a locally owned kitchen wares store. After you took two classes (including a basic knife skills course), you could basically take any class for free as long as you agreed to help the paying students and stick around after to wash dishes. It was awesome. The classes usually started at 7pm,so I would head over after work, learn how to cook some amazing foods (sushi! Indian! Gluten Free! Big Green Egg!), and got to work alongside a really interesting group of people.

    • Music! Learn to play an instrument, or sing in a choir.

    • When I was in a dead-end job and trying to get over a break-up, I started two new hobbies: kettlebell and harmonica lessons. I went to kettlebell classes three times a week. It was physical enough to use up energy, progress is measurable (last week I used a 12kg bell; this week I used 18kg!), and I had a fantastic (one of the best in the world) trainer.

      I was also living in Nashville so finding someone to teach me an instrument for cheap was pretty easy. I picked harmonica because it’s cheap and is fun to take camping. I considered songwriting lessons, since I studied English in college, but wanted something more tangible (I learned this song; I can play so many riffs; etc). Again, measurable goals really helped me to feel like I had purpose. Running was too slow, although I did do C25k for a while. Just didn’t feel like I got better at it fast enough.

    • Learn to take photographs. There’s plenty of inexpensive hard- and software to get started with, it can be as sociable or as solitary as you like depending on whether you are photographing events or still lifes, taking your camera out on around your neighbourhood or on a favourite walk encourages you to look at familiar things with a fresh eye, and there seem to be a lot of supportive on-line communities if you find feedback is useful to make progress.

    • Needing something else :

      Thanks so much for all the ideas so far! I knew I would get suggestions that I never would have thought of on my own. If anyone has more, please continue!

  19. Thanks for the Savannah recommendations! We got a reservation at Olde Pink & will try to check out some more of the suggestions.

    • Enjoy! Olde Pink is easily walkable to River Street/City Market/Broughton street (cute shops) if you want pre/post dinner entertainment.

  20. I feel a little guilty about this, because I adore (ahem, usually) my DH and kid, but a confluence of events has led to me having a whole day home alone tomorrow… and all I can think is WOOHOO! I’m considering doing laundry and writing Christmas cards / gift shopping online while catching up on Project Runway and Top Chef. Possibly with mimosas (inspired by petitesq earlier this week).

    • Research, Not Law :

      No guilt. Enjoy!!!

    • I’m not a mom, but I thought every mom felt this way when she got a little break from the DH and kids. Don’t feel any guilt—just enjoy getting to do whatever you want, whenever you want to tomorrow.

    • No kids yet, but I love hunting season because it means I get at least a half-day to myself while Mr. is perched in a tree somewhere!

    • I love it when my DH takes the kids skiing. They are gone the WHOLE DAY and I can do pretty much anything for as long as I’d like. No guilt needed!

    • Wanting time by yourself in no way means you love your dh & children any less. I honestly look forward to the few days a year dh takes our boys to his parent’s house while I have to work. This year it’ll be over New Years (darn month/year end). I’ll have probably 3 nights to myself, one of which will be spent working late. I’m already planning on what I’m going to do. Watch a girl movie – while sewing? Maybe shopping?

      Enjoy your day off!

    • I also love my DH and kid and a free solo Saturday = heaven. Enjoy!

    • I love my family to pieces but a day alone sounds dreamy. I don’t remember when I last had an afternoon nap, and it ain’t happening this weekend, either.

      • I love my time alone, when I get it, and I don’t feel guilty.

        I also don’t feel guilty that I’m counting down the time till my kid goes off to college, and I am not distraught about it at all.

  21. Next weekend I am staying with a good friend and her husband in San Francisco. I would like to bring them a gift since they’re hosting me and hanging out with me for the weekend. What would be an appropriate gift? I would bring wine, but my friend is pregnant (although I will still probably bring a bottle for the husband). They are wonderful hosts and I would like them to know that it is appreciated!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Where are you coming from? How much do you want to spend? Personally, I’d love a tasty locally made food item from whence you came. Something I can’t get here.

      • I’m coming from LA, where they lived until June, so I’m not sure how exciting that would be. Looking to spend around $50-100.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          If they cook like me, I’d love a bottle of fancy olive oil and a bottle of fancy balsamic vinegar. I always go for the second- or third- best ones of those because it’s more sensible, but how I’d love the best stuff. And/or a selection of different kinds of finishing salts or a very small bottle of very good truffle oil. Ingredients I can’t ever justify buying myself but really enjoy.

          • darjeeling :

            in a similar vein- a big bottle of good vanilla extract

          • cartascartas :

            Do you have any suggestions? What’s the best stuff?

          • The Meadow has an online store with tons of finishing salts; some are packaged in gift sets in cute little bottles.

            a t t h e m e a d o w [dot] com

            or if you were asking about vanilla, Nielsen Massey is good. You can get it at Whole Foods or Williams Sonoma.

        • My husband and I both went to UCLA and have a soft spot for Diddy Reese cookies. Can’t get those in SF! :)

          • Good suggestion! I also went to UCLA and love their cookies, and I think even my Trojan friend might appreciate those.

    • I think the traditional houseguest gift is to take the couple out for dinner one night then send a thoughtful thank you note once you’re home. If that doesn’t work, what about getting them a gift card to the movies or a restaurant (assuming this is baby no. one) so they can enjoy a date night before kiddo shows up?

      • Research, Not Law :

        Our houseguests usually bring something for the kiddos and treat us to dinner one night.

      • I was there in July and tried to take them out, but they would not let me pay! Very annoying. This time I’m not sure that the three of us will go out alone anyway.

    • darjeeling :

      how about fancy olive oil? Was also thinking this for the giftee above who thinks presents are inefficient. Everybody likes it but it’s hard to pull the trigger for youself (although I’m starting to overcome my reluctance ;)

    • What about fancy olive oil, good bread, nice pregnancy friendly cheese ? Something that is a nice quick snack for them for a quiet evening in front of the tv?

      • I didn’t even know that there was pregnancy unfriendly cheese! I have a cheese shop around the corner, so maybe I will check it out.

    • How do I go about finding fancy olive oil or balsamic vinegar? Just buy something expensive at Whole Foods? I’m not much of a cook myself.

      • Check out Seasons Tap Room online. You can’t go wrong with anything you choose.

      • Whole Foods would be a good place to look. Look for something made in Italy; a lot of cheaper olive oils are not and they’re supposed to be lower quality.

      • LadyEnginerd :

        You could also pick up some in Los Olivos on your way up.

        • I’m actually flying! But my roommate went olive oil tasting around there (I think?) last year and loved it.

          • LadyEnginerd :

            Jealous! I always end up driving, babbling along to pimsleur in bad French all the way there and back. A plane seems so… amazingly glamorous. Have fun!

          • Thanks! I think that you are a little north of LA? I might consider driving if it was closer, but I did the drive from LA alone once years ago and that was it for me. I rode along with someone earlier this summer and even that was torture!

          • LadyEnginerd :

            Yeah, I’m about 2 hours north, but I’d probably drive even from the city. I tend to go for work, and have to tote along sciency stuff (chemicals, equipment) that the TSA might confiscate/ruin if they inspect. I’ve definitely driven there and back in under 48 hours (drive up the night before a morning meeting, then drive back post-meeting after lunch). Totally brutal.

      • or is there some local food maker, at a farmers market or something that makes jam, or chutney or preserves or something? I personally like that I’m getting something from a small business in a different part of the country. Or even hot sauce or something. ;o)

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Girl, we are so Bay Area. I swear. “Ooh, you’re going on a trip? Bring me back local jam or hot sauce!” “Oooh, your mom’s coming in from NYC?? Tell her to bring bagels!!!”

          • The only thing that I know she wants for sure from down here is a Father’s Office burger, but I’m not sure how well that would survive a plane ride:-)

          • dood, did I tell you that on my last trip to visit my parents in DC/VA, I ran to the bakery in the morning on the way to the airport and brought a fresh loaf of San Francisco Sourdough bread in my carry on for them? As native Californians, they both absolutely died. ;o)

            @Guest: hey, i’m sure your friend will love anything food-like that you bring… she’s pregnant, so she needs food for two!! ;o)

          • Yep, almost every person in the Bay Area I know, whether home-grown or transplant, is a foodie.

  22. eastbaybanker :

    Shopping advice, please! I am looking to buy a pair of snow boots for the occasional ski trip. I live in the bay area, so they aren’t for everyday wear and style trumps performance.

    My top contenders are:
    The North Face Nuptse Fur IV (Dark Shadow Grey)
    Sorel Tivoli (stardust/fawn)
    Sorel Snowlion (white)

  23. AttiredAttorney :

    After trying seemingly every OTC and Rx over the past year to battle a particularly horrific year-long bout of painful cystic adult acne (after having worse than average to horrible acne since age 13), my dermatologist has suggested thinking about accutane. My derm believes in the low dose for a longer period of time approach, so hopefully the side effects would not be too bad. I’ve gone back through the threads here, and it seems that 9/10 ‘ rettes who have used the drug think it is fantastic and worth the short-term side effects. Any special advice or considerations for an adult (26yr old) user? Any tips for make-up that works over the peeling skin? Any horror stories that I need to hear before I make my decision?

    • I went on accutane when I was 22 and it definitely helped. I also didn’t find the dry skin/chapped lips to be nearly as bad as I expected. I just made sure to always carry chapstick and to moisturize regularly.

    • I’d consult with an endocrinologist first. Cystic acne is usually hormonal, and certain hormone-affecting medications can help (speaking from experience here). I also once had a horrid bout of acne, and it turned out it wasn’t actually acne but an allergic reaction to something the my acne treatment I was using. So I might look into that too. Accutane seemed like a last resort to me.

      • Agree – my derm didn’t think that it was worth trying Accutane (even though I wanted it) for my cystic acne as it’s clearly hormonal, so she put me on spironolactone instead (using it for acne is off-label but still relatively comment). It actually works really well – I now very very rarely get a cystic flare-up. My skin is not perfect, my still a huge improvement.

        • *but still a huge improvement. (And I only just poured the first glass of wine for the evening, promise.)

      • style advice needed... :


        I am assuming your dermatologist already tried spirinolactone? This is definitely worth a try if your cystic acne is in the classic areas of chin/jawbone.

        We were going to try Accutane if spirinoloactone didn’t work. But spirinolactone worked well for me. You can’t get pregnant on it though.

    • I took Accutane abour 5 years ago and it was a miracle drug for me. Nothing else had ever worked. I felt like I had a whole new lease on life to finally have clear skin.

      A year ago I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Now, autoimmune diseases run in my immediate family, so it was probably genetic, and I was diagnosed at one of the most common ages for the disease to present, but I will probably always wonder a little if my UC is connected to the Accutane.

    • My sister went through a period of painful cystic acne in her early 20’s when we were living together, and she took Accutane for it. The peeling was horrible, but this was 15 years ago, and I don’t think there was any lower-dose option at the time to mitigate side effects. Once she got through the initial redness and peeling, her skin was flawless – seriously, you could not see a pore on it – for a few years, even after stopping the meds. For her, it was totally worthwhile.

    • I was on a low dose for six months when I was 26. Several of my family members had cystic acne into their 50s, so I knew I wasn’t going to “grow out of it.” I had okay skin, but when I did get a cystic pimple, it hurt terribly and took months to go away.

      The six months felt like a long time but it got me great results. I did it over the winter due to concerns about the sun (it makes you very sensitive to UV rays). I carried Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm with me everywhere- it was the only lipbalm that worked. Aquaphor was good for any dry patches on my face or arms, otherwise, just general moisturizing worked. I used a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation. I never had peeling skin.

      I did have a nosebleed, but it was during a cold. Contacts were tougher to wear, so I carried drops. I feel like my hair thinned a little, but my SO could not tell the difference. I may have been convincing myself I was losing more hair by looking in the shower drain. The, ehem, lady garden seemed a littler drier as well. All side effects went away within several weeks of the last dose. I have had great skin since and my formerly oily hair is now more manageable.

      One of the more annoying aspects of Accutane is that you have to take a pregnancy test every month. I felt it was a little paternalistic.

      • Forgot to add, it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve taken it. I know some people who had initial improvement on the low dose, but had to take another course a few years later.

    • I’m pretty shocked that your dermatologist is only now suggesting Accutane. You say you’re 26 and you’ve had worse than average to horrible acne since 13? I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with bad acne for a full half of your life.

      I experienced all the side effects over several (maybe 3?) courses of Accutane, each course varying in dosage and time frame. My most intense course was during late middle school, around 14, for 6 months. I went through a ton of Vaseline for my lips. My skin flaked off like there was no tomorrow but I didn’t care because it was better than acne! And I wasn’t much of a makeup girl and didn’t have to work, no boyfriend, etc. I’m sure your derm can recommend a suitable face moisturizer. My hands and legs chapped. By that, I mean that the skin on the back of my hands was so dry that they cracked and bled and when I would sweat during basketball practice the salt in my sweat would really hurt. My lower legs did the same.

      Whether you ultimately decide to take it is your choice but if nothing else has helped, it’s likely that only Accutane can. It dramatically changed my life and was worth every side effect. Someone else here wrote it was a miracle drug for them – it was for me, too. I’d make the same choice a million times over.

      Good luck.

    • Another S :

      I took a regular dose in my teens and a low dose in my early 30s. While I had all the typical side effects on the regular dose, I didn’t really have any side effects on the low dose. Good luck!

    • springtime :

      I probably was one of those commenters who talked about my positive Accutane experience. Best decision I ever made. I lived in a warm and humid climate at the time so the dryness wasn’t too bad for my skin. However, if I forgot my lipbalm when I went to class I was totally panic stricken.

      I now live in the NE and I’m pretty sure my bloody nose in the winter is a result of being on Accutane. I will wake up in the morning and have to blow my nose to get rid of the dried up blood. it sounds worse than it is- a warm shower makes it feel better, and maybe TMI- i put vaseline in my nose at night to prevent it.

      I WISH my derm would do another low dose round for me. My skin is soo much better than it was, but I would like to get back to that 100% perfect clear skin I once had for about 1-2 years after accutane.

  24. Long but amazing week! Knew I was tired today when I informed my colleagues smugly, ‘see, I know words’. I get teased for my accent / vocab so it made much more sense in context.

  25. Ex-Stalker :

    This might make me sound like a crazy teenager, but after 5 months of back and forth with a guy and realizing multiple times that it just wasn’t going to work out but still trying to make it work, I unfriended him on facebook earlier this week. It is so much easier to stop obsessing over someone when you can’t see what he’s been up to, when was the last time he was online, etc. Why was this so hard and why did it take me so long to do?

    • Dude. I’ve been there. I’ve also felt irrationally hurt when I realize an ex had unfriended me.

    • Congratulations! It can sometimes be really hard to do such a simple thing but you deserve better. Hugs and rawrs.

    • Oh yes! I feel like getting over someone was so much easier in the pre-facebook, gchat, twitter, etc days. I gave my on again off again ex a heads-up before I defriended him (but we were years, not months), and it makes it sooo much better not even having the temptation of looking at his page!

    • Oh, Totally!!! I am right there with you!! i let this one guy make me crazy all over the place for months, it was ridiculous! I knew i wanted to unfriend and block him, but part of me just wanted things to magically be the way they were when we first met, and to have the validation of his attention.

      It took eek finally telling me: “zora, block him now” to finally do it. And i IMMEDIATELY felt better ;)
      (i love this place)

      • Ex-Stalker :

        I have been wanting to unfriend him for awhile, but it took his ex-girlfriend posting on his wall about their NYE plans for me to really do it. We actually dated a decade (!!) ago and I kept hoping things could go back to when we first got back together now, but I have accepted that’s just not going to happen.

  26. Another gift TJ: $50 or under (per kid) gift ideas for our nephews? Three boys ages from 5-12. They have two sets of mostly everything and we’re definitely on the lower end of the family on our spending so we probably won’t wow them with something they’ve been yearning after. Any fun presents? Stuff your kids love to play with?

    • Research, Not Law :

      Diary of a Wimpy Kid
      Calvin and Hobbs
      Lego sets
      Science kit
      Airplane folding book
      RC car, helicopter, etc
      Nerf guns
      Lawn game (to share – I am assuming they are brothers)
      Rock tumbler
      The Dangerous Book for Boys

    • Radio controlled cars always win. ALWAYS.

    • I got my similarly aged nephews ThinkGeek Guitar Shirts last year and they were a big hit! These boys are not even musically inclined and loved them.

    • darjeeling :

      I’m all over this thread but how about this book which I honestly am thinking about getting for myself b/c it looks so cool: http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Prehistorica-Dinosaurs-Definitive-Pop-Up/dp/0763622281

      • Thank you, darjeeling! I was looking for a present for my five-year-old nephew, and these are PERFECT!

    • darjeeling :

      or- how about passes to a nearby amusement park (and your gift to the parents can be taking the kids yourself!)

    • Legos, interesting board games (if you can find an ‘alternative’ toy store, they usually have a good selection of non-standard games*), iTunes gift cards for the older one(s) if he has an iPod-like thing?

      • Walkie-talkies
        Flying shark or clown fish (google and check out the amazon link)

      • Maddie Ross :

        Definitely second the board games. I hardly ever asked for them and can’t remember my parents ever buying any just because, but I loved getting board games in that 7-12 age range (esp. at the upper end where toys are harder to buy).

    • Ooh, they could play Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan together!
      The company that makes the Settlers, also makes the Empire Builder series that is great for learning geography.
      I also highly recommend Snap Circuits. You can find kits for every budget.

    • Fuze bike wheel writer:

    • In House Lobbyist :

      Jut got back from an early Christmas with my DH’s family. I bought the 4 year old and the 10 year old boys nano bug sets. The were a huge hit and the were still being played with when we left. They are on amazon but I bought these at Khols.

    • We just bought our nephews really cool kites. It was a fun idea and it’s sort of unique…so that’s an idea.

    • ExcelNinja :

      Sorry to double-thread-jack, but semi-related question…

      Our nephew is 15 months old and has a big, close-knit family. He’s the first nephew/grandchild on his mom’s side and the second on his dad’s side (first immediate, but one cousin has a 3 year old), so he gets spoiled to utter bits. We love him like crazy and don’t have any immediate plans to have our own kids, but his mom isn’t giving us any clues on gifts other than that he just wants to see us. I think he already has EVERYTHING. We have no idea what to get him.

      What do folks think of throwing like $500 into an education fund or something for him? Would it be overstepping at all when it’s not our own kid? We don’t have any plans to have kids, and make well over 6 figures, and both his parents work in hospitality so don’t make a ton of money. I don’t want to make them feel like a charity case though.

      • Mighty Mouse :

        Love this idea. We are parents of a similarly-aged little guy. He’s also the first baby in a while for both sides of the family and, despite our efforts, has tons of stuff. Love that everyone loves our kid, but am especially grateful that a few have gone together to contribute to his educational fund.

        Wonderful idea!
        (And FWIW, it does not feel like charity to us!)

    • I’ve got three nephews in the same age range. This year we’re giving, in order of age, oldest to youngest, RC helicopter, Disgusting Science Kit, and Stomp Rockets.

    • Just checking back after limited computer access this weekend. Thanks!! This is great!! Sorry for not thanking you earlier!

  27. Knitting? :

    The knitting recs above got me thinking:

    ACupofJo recommended this beautiful looking learn to knit kit on her holiday gift guide, and I’ve been considering it as a gift for myself. But I’m wondering if it’s a good value or if someone can recommend another kit or what to buy individually at a craft store? The kit is from purlbee and is $62. It contains merino wool yarn, wooden needles, finishing tools, and instructions/three different patterns for a scarf (I think there’s only enough yarn to make one scarf though). It seems sorta pricey in my (inexperienced) opinion, but the wool does look nice. I could also be getting suckered in by the pretty packaging and marketing…

    • Knitting? :

      to be more specific, it contains: two skeins of super soft merino wool, solid birch knitting needles – size us 13, yarn needle for finishing, and an instruction booklet.

      • I’m late to this thread, but I’d say that if you’re attracted to nice yarn and pretty packaging, then you’re more likely to actually learn to knit with the kit than with acrylic yarn from Jo-Ann’s. When I learned to knit, I went into a local yarn store (LYS in knitterese) and bought a skein of lovely cashmere yarn and a circular needle to make a hat. The store gave me a free simple pattern and even cast on for me so I could just start knitting. I was quickly addicted, but wouldn’t have been if the yarn were less lovely…

    • What do you want to make?

      • I’m thinking scarves, hats, and mittens…I can’t see myself ever committing to a big project like a sweater. So a scarf seems like a good starting place? I’d want to use wool yarn, I think.

        • That was the OP :)

          • Also, I could probably write a novel on this, but come find me on Ravelry (we have a pretty much dead group called “Yarnettes” – I’m the one in Santa Monica) if you want to talk more. Or if you’re in LA I will totally teach you to knit!

          • hah! you beat me too it — I just realized I forgot to plug the (dead) group on Ravelry. Perhaps we’ll now be motivated to resurrect it?

          • I’m in the Ravelry group, too. If you can, find a great yarn store where they’ll help you pick things out. FWIW, size 13 bamboo needles and scarf yarn is a good way to get started!

        • Do you actually want a kit? Pretty much everything can be looked up online now. First thing you should do is join Ravelry! If I was getting started now I would buy a pair of interchangeable needles with a 24″ or 32″ cord from Knit Picks (either online or if you have a yarn store local to you they might carry them) in a size that matches whatever yarn you want to use. For yarn, I have no idea what you’re looking to spend, but big box stores often have decent yarn and yarn stores often have wonderful yarn but it can get very pricey. But personally I would rather spend my money on wonderful yarn and not a kit.

          • I like the idea of a kit – that’s it’s all in there and sorta foolproof. But I also think the pretty packaging appeals to me – which I know shouldn’t be the deciding factor – and the pictures of the finished scarves on their blog are so pretty.

            I think ideally I would want to spend around $40, is that realistic for needles + decent quality merino wool (for a scarf to start)?

          • And thank you, I will check out Ravelry! :)

          • Sounds good, thanks! I would totally take you up on your sweet offer, but unfortunately I’m in the midwest. Maybe I should just think of good wool yarn as the COL here? ;)

          • Cali CPA, I’m not the original poster but I am also on the Westside and would love to learn to knit if you are serious about teaching people!

          • O. – I am totally serious! I am always looking for some friends that knit. Find me on Ravelry and send me a message:-)

          • OP – You could think of it as COL, but then what’s my excuse?

          • Cali CPA – Ha, I sorta wanted to ask what you knit for yourself if you live in SoCal!

          • I’ve probably knit anything you could think of (scarves, sweaters, blankets, gloves), but honestly it doesn’t get worn a lot. This weekend I am planning on knitting “deer with little antlers hat” (look it up on Ravelry when you join). I get really excited when people I like have babies – at least I know that stuff might get used!

    • Honestly, I’d pick up some needles and inexpensive, non-scratchy yarn at a big box craft store (or even some basics at a local yarn store) and start searching on the internet for videos, e.g. knittinghelp.com, or a book from the library because the instructions in that particular guide may not make any sense to you. I taught myself from books/internet, but it took several different tries until I found an explanation that made sense to me.

      Or take a class at a local yarn store.

      If you give your location, someone can probably recommend one!

      • Thanks! I’m in NE Ohio.

        • Meg Murry :

          East or West Side? Places like JoAnns have basic knitting supplies and offer classes.. Our public library has claases occasionally too, and a local yarn shop to me on the far far West Side has a sit & knit, although it’s mostly during the weekday. Another place that often offers free classes is the local Senior Center – I have a friend who went and although she was much much younger than everyone else they seemed to like having her there – and she made a donation because she felt awkward taking free classes meant for seniors

          • I used to live on the East side, but now I’m south of CLE. We do have a JoAnns in my city though – I will have to pick up some cheap yarn there to start out. I’m not that familiar with the West side or really get father out than Lakewood.

        • K...in transition :

          just wondering why we’re not bffs since, though I don’t know if we have anything in common other than being here, we’re also both in the same area and I’m openly envious of all the meet-ups happening everywhere I don’t live!

          • I’m jealous, too! Have there been any meetups in Ohio or not enough readers living here?

          • Anonymous :

            No Ohio meet-ups that I’m aware of. I’m in SW Ohio, and there’s been some talk about a Cincinnati-area meet up but nothing’s been organized. And K, I used to travel to Cleveland and points north all the time but have only been once since you moved there. If I have to go up that way, I’ll definitely reach out for a meet-up!

  28. K...in transition :

    For anyone needing a hug today:


    • LadyEnginerd :

      I will claim that hug. Thank you. First therapy appointment post-breakup went… as expected.
      Side note: had a discussion with my officemates on how grief/post-breakup suffering vs. time looks like an error function (erf). There was some debate as to whether it was exponential decay instead, but we settled on erf. This is how the engineers express empathy. Makes it much easier to compartmentalize and hold it together at work than if they were actually offering hugs and real support…

      • HUGS AND RAWRS. And thank you for that geekiness, I love it.

        • LadyEnginerd :

          Thank you for the hugs and especially the rawrs. If I could get a dino like you to go to his place and give him his stuff back instead of having to do it myself, I totally would.

          To elaborate on geekiness: there is currently a graph of “suffering vs time” on the whiteboard in my office, complete with labeled outliers on “intended wedding day” and “seeing family over the holidays” along with an estimated point at which my suffering will asymptotically approach zero, making it possible to date again. There was also a discussion that things like therapy can only increase the decay constant, but not make my suffering into a step function or dirac delta.

          To BKDC – I much prefer hugs and chocolate, but you’re right. It did give me comfort in a weird way. The graph lets me know my colleagues care and understand I won’t by myself again for a while without crossing the boundary of my actually getting super upset at work.

          • That graph is giving me a nerd-gasm ;o) And i don’t fully understand all the math, but I have a slightly irrational love of using charts and graphs to describe random things. Why are graphs so awesome? they just are.

            LadyE: You are awesome, and we can tell even over the internets, so whenever things are hard, just keep coming here and we’ll remind you you are awesome and we love you and think you are super smart and funny and kind. And i hope you get lots of chocolate, too ;o)

          • LadyEnginerd, if you’re ever down and not sure who to talk to, feel free to email me at e.pontellier.re tt e [at] gmail [dot] com. I was engaged before being engaged to my now-DH, and the first engagement didn’t end in a wedding. So I’m rooting for you. Therapy is tough but it’s so so so so so so so good that you’re doing it before getting into another relationship. Also, if you want to waste hours on the interwebs, there’s a small group of us on Tumblr (mine is linked in my name).

          • I’m in no-way science-y, and I don’t understand most of the terms you use, LadyEnginerd, but I understand enough to know I love that chart.

      • I must have missed your earlier post about this, but big hugs. When my ex and I broke up I literally felt like I was going to die. The grief was overwhelming. Before that point I had never understood how people could just “not eat” after a breakup, but I simply couldn’t eat for 2-3 days. In a strange way, I sort of knew that I’d be okay after I got hungry again (although it still took a while). None of that sounds awesome, I know, but just wanted to say that I’ve been there too. If you live in NYC (I don’t think you do), I’d take you out for copious amounts of wine!

    • Research, Not Law :

      I’ll take one, too.

      Bad day at work leads to late departure to visit my dying grandfather.

    • Thanks K. Hugs and rawrs right back at you =).

    • I will take one as well.

      LadyEnginerd: I have no idea what much of what you said means, but I love that you connected with your coworkers in a way that gave you comfort. It’s so important, particularly when we spend so much time at work.

    • I’ll take one, but then pay it back in with 5 more! cuz hugs work like that, right? the more you give the more there are… cuz sounds like some of you need one more than I do… HUUUGGSSSSS for everyone!!

    • I’ll take one too please. I think I need it. This week I crashed my bike (scraped and bruised and sore but did not need hospital treatment), my dog got violently ill (needed expensive vet treatment) and this morning my car broke down (needed expensive parts replacement). And the week is not even over yet!

  29. Allergies PSA – where are you? How have you been? Have the doctors figured out what caused your pain? Tell me all about your nose!

    • e_pontellier :

      Also, has Ms. BEF left us? If you’re out there, Ms. BEF (or if anyone knows her IRL), hope you’re doing well!

  30. Seventh Sister :

    Really drawing a blank on a Christmas gift for my dad.

    What would you get a retired engineer who loooooooves cable news shows, Ronald Reagan, and is stuck in Seattle for the forseeable future caring for his ailing parents? He doesn’t usually live there, and pretty much hates all “outdoorsy” stuff. Consumables are good, but my grandparent’s house is pretty well-stocked with the liquor.

    • My retired engineer father asked for Homeland on DVD for Christmas.

    • What about those Planet Earth DVDs that came out about five years ago, if he didn’t see them then? I’ve been thinking about getting those for my dad. The photography (videography?) is amazing.

  31. I am dying for Olivia Pope’s entire work wardrobe. That sparkly dress from last nights episode wouldn’t be too bad either

  32. Heading to My Dream Job... :

    And I desperately need help figuring out a work wardrobe that doesn’t feel costumey.

    I’m really young for the position that I’m going to have (only 25) and will be having significant interaction with very wealthy clients at a big investment bank. My work wardrobe before this was a handful of theory suits/brooks brothers button downs that I got during my first internship in college and have pretty much worn to death. I’m going to need to be conservatively dressed enough that I blend with the rest of the bankers, but the few older women in my new department don’t tend to wear full suits. They are still very conservatively dressed, but stylish and a little bit more flexible (able to go a lunch or a dinner or an event with barely any notice).

    Does anyone have any advice on brands that do this particularly well for a younger age group? My mom has lent me a couple of her St. John dress/jacket combos, and while I feel like most of the older women are wearing things in that style, I look like I borrowed my mom’s clothes. What is the equivalent for my age? I prefer dresses, but will need to be able to have jackets that go with some of them. My budget is flexible (no more than 12k) but I want the clothes to last for years and I just really don’t want to ever have to worry about being inappropriately dressed. I want a foolproof uniform! How do I find it?

    Please help?

    • karenpadi :

      First, because you are young, it’s preferable to be on the boring/conservative side than the fashionable/flexible side. It’ll show that you are willing to work hard and pay your dues (dressing boringly) before having fun (dressing more stylishly).

      Second, I think you are going to need an expert (e.g., a personal shopper). There aren’t many 25 year-old women with $12k to spend on conservative work wear. You are unique. I can’t think of many brands that cater to your demographic. So it might take some work.

      Before starting the job, or within a few weeks of starting (while wearing your theory suits and the St. John outfits), I’d make a first visit to your personal shopper for basics–conservative suits, shells, sheaths, black pumps, etc. Boring and safe. Use accessories to add interest. After 3-6 months, when you know your colleagues and clients better, I’d revisit my personal shopper for some fun upgrades.

      Good luck and have fun!

    • I just went through this problem (I’m 26), and I have exactly the same needs as you – want things that last and have a relatively high budget. I’m about 80% done on my wardrobe and I’d estimate that I’ve spent close to $10K (including shoes).

      I second the personal shopper rec, but that won’t really help you too much with the brand selection. I have yet to find one who can really compare across brands from a quality perspective (they always say everything is great!) I use mine more for once I know the brand I want and then they can help me with whether that season’s stuff matches my needs and most importantly, let me know about sales!

      To figure out what styles, I actually read a few books on style. The best one on work clothes was one called “Chic Simple.” It’s a tiny bit dated, but will give you all the info on basic, conservative wear that you need and you can style it up from there. To figure out brands, I basically just visited a bunch of Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks and brand boutique stores. You can chat with the salespeople and get a sense of the quality and styles of each brand. Here are some of the ones I’ve “settled” on now”
      -St. John (amazing quality and travel-ability; pair them with some more youthful Theory/Ann Taylor/J. Crew tops to make them less frumpy. I rarely wear the full outfits they show in the catalog.)
      -Piazza Sempione (very high quality pants and jackets; can run a bit small and don’t always have conservative styles, but awesome when you find one!)
      -Brooks Brothers (look for their more luxurious blazers, which are often made from Loro Piana fabric and retail for $700+; don’t get their normal ~$300 suits which are more Theory quality; their “luxury” not non-iron shirts are also good)
      -Escada (again, a bit more “fashiony” and honestly not always the highest quality, but worth it on sale)
      -Thomas Pink (go-to for stylish button-downs that can dress up the conservative suits)
      -Ralph Lauren (get Black Label which is reasonably high quality)

      My dream “reach” suits are Akris, which I have yet to purchase because that’s a whole other price point from the above brands. By the way, I ONLY buy the above stuff on sale (ask the salespeople when sales are. They are very forthcoming and will inform you and hold stuff for you beforehand), which can often save you at least 40%.

      • Oh, and one other thing to add…ALWAYS get your suits altered to fit you! Unless you are lucky enough to fit perfectly into every brand’s sizing, there are few things that make you look sloppier or more costumey than an ill-fitting suit. I usually make sure the shoulders fit, then get the waist and sleeves tailored.

        • Heading to My Dream Job... :

          THANK YOU! Those are all brands I’ve been eyeing, so I’ll make sure to keep looking.

          For dresses like these, would you be able to add a jacket? What kind would you add? (Not saying I’m getting these, but using them as an example of things I’ve seen out there that look nice, but I’m not sure if I could add that to make them more flexible)



          • I love these dresses. I’m not a huge Akris Punto fan (I think the quality is not up to par with their main line), but these are really cute. I would actually just go to the store and try them on with some blazers. I have found that it’s kind of hard to get dresses that work really well under blazers if they weren’t made in a set with a blazer.

            I would start your wardrobe with the following: 3-4 blazers in basic colors (black, navy maybe blue, gray, a light color like khaki or camel), at least 2 pairs of pants or skirts or dresses that come with the blazers (i.e. they came as a suit set so you can have a full suit if necessary), 1-2 other skirts (can be not matching but coordinating to the blazers), 2-3 pants if you like pant suits, 1 formal overcoat, 2-3 basic color dress shirts (blue, white, blue stripe), 2-3 other dress shirts. This will basically ensure that you look appropriate on any given day. Like I said above, add some style with more youthful tanks/tees/blouses (but I wouldn’t spend much on these as they are more disposable). I basically have the above after shopping for a year, and I never have to think about whether I’m dressed appropriately in the morning. If I’m feeling more stylish, I can add a coral blouse under a gray suit or a rainbow stripe shirt with a navy skirt.

            One other thing to mention is that you should be aware of your body type. I LOVE those dresses you posted, but I could never actually wear them. I have a more muscular body (think more Hope Solo and not Taylor Swift), so anything that’s not a straight/pencil skirt looks like I’m a tomboy trying to play dress up. It’s kind of sad because I adore the Mad Men Betty Draper look with big floral circle skirts…sigh… Definitely not saying you can’t pull it off, but it was something I had to come to terms with.

    • Great advice from BB, it’s good you have someone in the exact same position. I’d also recommend a personal shopper, as that can save you lots of time if you have the budget. I think it’s really good if you have older women around that dress in a style you like. Can you take some stealth notes about outfits you particularly like as you see them go by in your work environment? That’ll help both you and a personal shopper narrow in on a style you want to cultivate. And if you get friendly with some specific women whose style you admire, you may get extra useful info like brands they favor.

      I’m not sure I agree that you being young means you absolutely need to dress super-conservative though. I think that can work against you, just like a too harsh dye job can be much more aging than white hair. Most older people will be willing to allow for some charm in youth :-). A young person who’s super reliable and smart is a fine model to go for instead of a super-conventional one. Don’t push yourself into a false self-presentation, you’ll be missing out on making the most of your personality, which may well be your best asset otherwise.

  33. Wedding Shoes :

    I remember seeing a few previous threads about wedding shoes.

    I’m getting married in late winter–mostly indoor, but some outdoor walking. I want a peeptoe, comfortable, lower heel shoe that I will wear again, under $100. Leaning towards metallic.

    I’m considering this ($100 with current 40% off sale): http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/product/product%3A294698/AT-Special-Occasions/Metallic-Strappy-Kitten-Heel-Sandals/294698?colorExplode=false&skuId=12459988&catid=cat1180010&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=6001

    or this (back-ordered, a little too much $$, but really pretty):

    any other suggestions?

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I like the Ann Taylor one better due to the smaller heel. It’s still super cute, but looks like it won’t make you hobble after being on your feet all day – which you will be! Only concern is the narrow strap in the front. If that is comfortable, my vote is decidedly for the Ann Taylor pair. Congrats and happy wedding planning!

  34. Wedding Shoes :

    I remember seeing a few previous threads about wedding shoes.

    I’m getting married in late winter–mostly indoor, but some outdoor walking. I want a peeptoe, comfortable, lower heel (2-3″) shoe that I will wear again, preferably under $100. Leaning towards metallic.

    any suggestions?

    • I was someone griping on here about not finding what I wanted–but the good news is that I saw plenty of pairs that sound like what you’re looking for! Try looking at Zappos for Nina, rsvp and J. Renee. “Metallic” also has several meanings–anything from metal-tone patent leather to actual reflective tiles, which is much glitzier. But either way there’s plenty in your price range.

  35. karenpadi :

    Anyone see this article? Does anyone here regularly end their emails with “xo” instead of “Best” or “Sincerely”? I’ve seen “Cheers” but it reminds me too much of drinking, and the association might be fine for men in the office, but I don’t feel comfortable using it (as a woman).


    • Wedding Shoes :

      I do in casual work emails to colleagues who are personal friends. Today’s example, “Hey [officemate], do you mind bringing this file with you to our 11 am meeting? I forgot it! Thanks, x.” The examples from the article are pretty extreme….

    • I would NEVER end a professional e-mail with xo. I jokingly end e-mails to friends with XOXO, but usually in hot-pink comic sans font followed by my nickname and multiple exclamation points.

      I usually end my e-mails with “Thanks, Herbie” or just “HMcH” (my initials– Herbie McHerbster).

    • I’ll end emails with xx, but I also cheek kiss so it’s appropriate. If I am emailing an American whom I don’t cheek kiss, then I use cheers or regards.

      • I could have phrased that better. What I meant to say is I don’t use Xs or Os with anyone I don’t actually kiss or hug.

    • I’ve actually never seen this in a work context. It’s on par with using Comic Sans. Eek.

    • ExcelNinja :

      I use “Cheers”! I don’t associate it with bars at all. What really bugs me is when people sign their names in all lower case. My VP does that and I just cringe. I mean clearly it works/worked for her since she’s done super well in her career, but it makes me feel like she’s downplaying herself or something.

  36. eyeshadow palette :

    Can anyone recommend an eyeshadow palette similar to the Naked I or II? I really like the shimmery champagne, pink and taupe-y colors, but detest the glitter fallout all over my cheeks. Doesn’t have to have a million colors.

    • I have the Smashbox Hazel Eyes palette. There are a few shimmery ones in there, but I haven’t noticed glitter on my cheeks. They make them for brown eyes, blue eyes, etc.

    • ExcelNinja :

      I really like MAC “Naked Lunch” and “Honeylust”. I do my lid in Naked Lunch and then the crease in Honeylust.

  37. GirlMeetsWorld :

    Target has holiday E.L.F. makeup for a minimal investment that might work–Beauty Book Bronze

  38. It may be too late in the day, but can anyone suggest things to include in a care package for a friend who will be staring P.A. school in January? She’ll be moving into an apartment with a few new roommates about a week beforehand, too, and I’d like to do something special to help her start off well and overcome weeks-worth of holiday/moving/”first day of school” stress.

    • When I started law school a friend got me a gift card to a coffee shop near my school. I didn’t have the budget for four dollar coffee, and it felt like a luxury. I don’t know if its enough to overcome weeks of stress, but caffeine tends to have magical effects.

    • What about a lunch kit? Most people in my grad program started bringing lunch after the first few weeks when we realized we couldn’t afford lunch out everyday. You could choose a nice Built lunchbox, a cool water bottle and some utensils and maybe that’ll make packing lunch more fun.

  39. Hour at lunch :

    Hey guys, if I get an hour at lunch, what’s to stop me from closing my door and using said hour to meditate or rest? I have a health condition that sometimes saps me completely of energy. I don’t want to get in trouble, but if it says “1 hour for lunch” on my offer letter, and everyone takes an hour to walk, or go to the gym, or do something outside of the office, could I use that hour to recharge? Thanks.

    • I have narcolepsy, so I sometimes have a nap at lunchtime instead of going to eat. If my door’s closed, then people knock, and if there’s no answer they go away. No problem at all where I am, but I’m not in a corporate environment.

      However, if it’s a custom in your (new?) workplace that everyone actually leaves the building at lunchtime, then it might be a bit tricky if you don’t want to explain that you’re resting/meditating etc. Maybe you could find an alternative location that’s handy and would allow you to return refreshed? I sometimes head to the library on days when 45 minutes sitting quietly in an armchair somewhere that’s not my office will help keep me going. (This option is obviously no good if you want to nap!)

    • Does your door have a window so people can see in? If not, I say close it and nap away. No one will even know you’re there. A few of my coworkers are nappers – one even naps in the break room couch – and no one seems to mind. YMMV.

      Someone commented once that she naps in her car. If you drive to work, that might be an option.

  40. How friendly do you try to be with your coworkers? I am starting a new job in January and the company very kindly invited me to their holiday mixer on Friday. I was glad to go and get a jump-start on meeting my new coworkers. It became clear as I was speaking to people that there are a lot of office friendships in my new office – there were numerous references to shopping trips, lunches, charity bowling teams and even shared vacations. Most people at the company have worked there for years, and have longstanding friendships that extend outside the office.
    So now, I am kind of terrified. I’m a natural introvert, for one thing. I also had a pretty bad experience with an office friendship that went sour early on in my career, and since then, I have been really, really cautious about socializing with coworkers. I also am just really busy – I have a core group of girlfriends I hang with when I can, but I have a husband and a son and volunteer commitments, and don’t have a ton of free time. What I do have I tend to guard pretty jealously. However, I don’t want to seem standoffish, or like I am not a “team player.” Any tips on handling a buddy-buddy office when you feel like you have all the buddies you have time for, and don’t really want to be outside-of-work friends with your coworkers?

    • Can you schedule “co-worker friend time” during the day? Get people to go out to lunch, make a morning coffee run, etc. and chat and be friendly during those times? We have a fairly close-knit office, but there was one person who was at different life stage than most of the rest of us, so we would never see her out of work, but she always made an effort to interact during the day and I think that really helped.

  41. Migraine Sufferer :

    Tailors in Seattle, seeking recommendations for


    • Jenny Mane in Magnolia. She is expensive but AMAZING. I went to her for my wedding dress and came back a few months later for some suits and coats that had been sitting in my closet. (She even altered a rain coat to look more fitted!! so Seattle, lol) It’s worth the price if you really care about the garments.

      I have also heard good things about Adam Tailoring (downtown) but have never gone there.

  42. I know we have talked about this before but I can’t find any of the threads right now … When did you ladies reach the point where you were no longer interested in spending your weekend evenings in a bar/club, and what did you do if your friends weren’t there yet and didn’t really understand why you were?

    I graduated law school recently and started a job I love. As a result, I’m a lot more exhausted when Friday rolls around, and I just don’t have the stamina to stay out all night, drinking until 2am, just so I can wake up and feel crappy on Saturday, and then do it all over again!I simply don’t enjoy it any more. My ideal weekend night would be a nice dinner with friends, a movie, a dinner party, a game night – anything where the main focus isn’t just drinking. I also have no problem lounging around my house alone on a Friday or Saturday night, watching a movie and surfing the internet, and going to bed early. I partied hard in college and law school but my tolerance is changing as I’ve gotten older and I just don’t want to do it anymore. As a further disincentive, I’ve picked up a hobby I enjoy but it’s fairly physically demanding and I can’t do it if I’m hungover.

    As I type all of that I realize I’m just rattling off one excuse or another, trying to justify a choice that I know I don’t really need to explain to anyone. But none of my friends are at this same stage and when I beg off on a night out they don’t understand why the prospect of hanging out at home alone is more appealing to me. Or when I try to leave early I catch a substantial amount of flak. I don’t want to lose touch with my friends but I am just not up for big bar nights all that often anymore. I also have a bit of a hang up in thinking that by giving up on the bar scene I’m cutting myself off from a lot of opportunities to meet men. But then again, I never really met any real winners in bars anyway.

    Advice? Commiseration?

    • In the US at least, bar culture is very much oriented toward.. alcoholic slackers. A fair amount of other kinds of people hang out there when they’re young and don’t think they have anything else to do with their lives, but if you’re still mostly there at say 30, that’s kind of a big warning sign. As you’re finding out, many of these bar relationships are extremely superficial, and predicated entirely on hanging out that way, that place, and fitting into the culture.

      It sounds like you’re getting ready to move on, which is not at all a bad thing. You can keep trying to offer alternative dates to the individuals from the party scene that you like best, and hope that some of them eventually follow along. But you probably should also be seeing your new hobby with a more serious eye to developing relationships there, as that seems to be more what you’re moving towards anyway. And you can also check out work, and their circles of friends, or perhaps more suitably some sort of professional organization, or volunteer work that appeals to you, as a more likely source of congenial company for the long term.

      You’re kind of in awkward spot. It’s sad when you realize you’ve outgrown a whole pack of people, especially when that’s associated with your youth. And it’s anxiety-producing when you start working on new avenues of sociability. But try not to worry, and realize that you’re probably moving toward a better spot in your life, possibly in the rather short term. Be kind to yourself while the transition takes effect – regular massages, calls to old friends, chocolate, funny movies, season tickets to the opera? Whatever it takes, try to implement something regular that really pleases you, and work on maintaining some sort of balance while you move on. Don’t forget things like exercise, good food, as much sleep as you need, these will go a long way towards making you feel whole as you search. Good luck OP, I’m sure you’ll come out of it fine!

    • Have you tried inviting your friends to your place for dinner and game night? I think the reaction you get might tell you a lot. I’m in my early 40’s and didn’t meet my husband until I was 30, so I’ve been through the phase you’re in now. I found that some friends were interested in a new dynamic, once it was made available, and others weren’t. Those who were are still my friends now, but the others faded away over time. It’s a transitional period, but you sound like you’re ready to make the shift.

    • I was never particularly into the bar scene! I don’t shine as a drinker or socializer, and it has all of the other drawbacks you mentioned. I never met a guy in a bar who turned out to be any good for me, and I’ve had very few times out in bars that I remember as “wow, I’m really glad I was there for that.” It’s a very narrow kind of experience and interaction in which a lot of people don’t feel comfortable and can’t make good connections, and I’ve always felt it was too bad that everyone is expected to be into it for 10+ years.

      I agree with M-C and NYNY that taking some initiative to do something else is worthwhile. And yes, if everyone begs off you may need to focus on building new friendships. It’s unfortunate that all the work falls to you here, but that’s always the way of it when you’re going against the grain. I think you’ll be glad either way when you orient your weekends more around what YOU want, and no matter what I don’t think you should worry too much about all the men you might not meet in bars. The good ones exist in other places in the world too, and by definition the ones most like you are probably the ones dragging their heels to the bars–if they go anymore at all.

    • Lady Enginerd :

      With my friends, none of them really ever wanted to spend all of their weekends in a bar or club, but couldn’t afford a place suitable for hosting a large group and needed to outsource their living room to a local bar in order to fit everyone. It’s been years since I was out on the bar scene meat market, but after a trial by fire reintroduction this past weekend, I can tell you that I really do not want to return to guys invading my personal space and yelling in my ear to be heard. I guess I’m too old too! There is nothing wrong staying home or getting involved in alternative stuff. You can also start by changing the types of bars you go to when you do go out to give you the more chill experience you want without having to host people at your home… big difference between board games or pool tables and clubby club, and you don’t have to tidy your apartment for guests!

    • Girl, I feel ya. I’ve had success with two strategies: 1. Inviting people over to my place for dinner or some other alternative form of entertainment, instead of meeting up at a bar; and 2. learning to be firm about wanting to leave bars after 1-2 drinks, instead of at last call.

      With (1), everyone likes people who cook them dinner, so it tends to be a winner. Also, I think a lot of people in our peer group (mid to late 20s, I’m guessing) just kind of default to drinking in bars, because it’s easy, and it’s what they’ve been doing. But at least among my friends, if I (or someone else) proposes some other activity (see a comedy show? play a board game? whatever) people seem to be pretty into it. So I would give that a shot, if you want to maintain your friendships with these people.

      With (2), people whine until they learn you mean it, and then they are okay with it. For example, when I was training for a half marathon and had my long runs Saturday mornings, I instituted (and publicized among my friends) a 10:30 pm curfew. The first few weekends, everyone was all, “OMG why are you being lame, you used to be funnnnn!” but once they figured out peer pressure would get them nowhere, they adjusted and we enjoyed the time I was willing to be in a bar. I’m sure your hobby would give you a similar excuse to duck out early.

  43. Can anyone tell me how the sizing runs on Soma bras? I’m intrigued by the Vanishing Back bra, I’d love a bra that actually eliminated back bulges (yes, losing that 30 pounds I need to lose might also work, but oh well). We don’t have a Soma store in my city. Based on their sizing guide I would wear a larger band size than I normally buy (38C instead of 36D). I tried on several bras at the dept. store the other day, Wacoal and LeMystere, and the 38 band size was too large. Wondering if Soma runs a little smaller than those brands.

    • I don’t know if I’ve tried on Wacoal or LeMystere. I think mamabear has mentioned both so maybe she’ll chime in. To me, the band size of Soma bras is comparable to others, not smaller. My problem with Soma bras is that they have no option other than full coverage, which looks like too much bra on me and the cups gap at the front. I have one of the smooth cami bras, though, and I love it.

  44. I like Vince Camuto, but I bought a shirt that looks exactly like this at Target for cheaps.

  45. FOOEY! I am standeing here on the LIRR platform waiting for the manageing partner’s wife to come pick me up. I told her I would take a cab, but it is to early and none are here! So she is driveing over now! Yay! Madeline was not on my train so I had to sit next to some skinny guy who kept talking to me and wanting to know all about me. FOOEY! I am sorry, but I am NOT conversent at 830 on a Sunday morning, especialy for some skinny guy with bad breathe! Doubel FOOEY!

    It is very nice here but I hope I get back in the City before 5 b/c Myrna wants me to stop by and watch the game. I do NOT even know what game she is talking about, but she says she is haveing some family and freind’s over. I alway’s wanted to meet her neice and her sister, so mabye I will be abel to today! Yay!

  46. Anonymous :

    Anyone have advice/thoughts about switching jobs multiple times early in a professional career? (I am in law in a big city) One year in a term position, 1.5 years in current junior position–things are ok but there is a really plum job I am interviewing for where it would be a smooth transition and I could see myself at the new job for at least 5 years. My only worry is that if the economy tanks further or something just doesn’t work out I could at some point be interviewing for yet a fourth job. Did not have prior work experience, so worried about looking like job hopper, unreliable, etc., not because of work product or personality but just for switching jobs so much. Any thoughts are really welcome.

  47. Well-deserved sendup of Anthropologie!


  48. Late in the weekend, but I had to post this WSJ article about upscale dorms:

    In these rooms, each student gets their own bedroom and bathroom. The buildings also include features like pools, putting greens, screening rooms, etc. Ugh.

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