Weekend Open Thread

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Slip NaturalSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

I’m normally a black Converse kind of girl on the weekends, but after an April trip to Paris a few years ago (where EVERYONE was wearing cream Chucks) I try to make the switch to cream sneakers for the summer.  Do you guys have any favorite sneakers or kicks for running around on the weekends and after work? Or are we firmly in flip-flop and sandal weather as soon as you can leave the house without a jacket? Here in NYC I’ve seen everything in recent days from flip flops to tights to OTK boots (worn with otherwise bare legs, of course). These cream slip-on sneakers are $45. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Slip Natural


Psst: the new Open Thread on CorporetteMoms is now open, as well. will be open soon as well (mamas, I’m having one of those weeks — we’re on day 8 of a feverish toddler, I’ve had four thousand pregnancy-related appointments and my morning nanny and I just unexpectedly parted ways — joy). Stay tuned. (Although you’re welcome to have mom-talk here as well.)


  1. My last pair of Chucks got moldy from my last apartment (thank God that’s over!), so I ended up chucking them (pun absolutely intended). I might have to try out this new trend.

    In other news, ladies, I have a HUGE exam tomorrow for which I am not as prepared as I’d like to be so some well wishes would be great. I know I’m new here but hoping for some support and advice if you have any, or even commiseration. Have a great weekend all!

    • Yay! Open thread’s! I love open thread’s! And converse sneaker’s! I have a red pair that I ONLEY wear on weekend’s when I walk around town w/my Fitbit! Mom is useing my fitbit today while I stay in the HOTEL watching TV. We are leaveing later — we have late checkout (4PM) so we can catch a plane home. Dad is mad that mom did NOT leave him enough meal’s for him to eat so he went out to eat in Manhaseat on his own. He almost made Rosa come down to prepare a dinner for him, but she would have had to bring the babie’s by herself and dad did NOT want to have to deal with them by himself just for a home cooked meal. YAY!

      As for the OP, hug’s to you. Do NOT worry about the exam. We all could alway’s be more prepared, but you are smarter then you think. Just go in there, do it, and forget about it. You will do FINE, b/c you have the POWER OF THE HIVE behind you. Dad alway’s told me this and it worked. Now, he uses that same line to say I have the power of the tuchus behind me. Thank’s dad, I know my tuchus is big, but so is mom’s tuchus and you have been married to her for 34 year’s! FOOEY!

      Mom has just walked back in so I will have to give her back this ipad so she can check flight times and all that. We have a few hours to get to the airport, so I will sine off and rejoin the hive next week, when I will be back at work with the manageing partner. I wonder if he missed me? I hope NOT! FOOEY!

    • Good luck! Now get off this website and go study! ;)

    • Good luck on the exam. Try to understand what you’re studying rather than memorize. It will stay with you longer and you can answer the questions much better. Get a good night sleep and don’t stress out during the exam.

  2. Kitten Heeled :

    After receiving a sizeable tax refund, I am considering putting it towards by outstanding law school loans. I Have about $50k remaining (all Stafford, with Fannie Mae) and want to pay off about $25k of it. The common advice I hear is to put the extra payment towards “principal” but my understanding is that the interest is compounding on the accrued interest + principal, so does it matter whether the payment applies just towards the original principal or towards the entire remaining balance? The online option seems to allow only paying towards the remaining balance (which is accrued interest + principal). Can anyone provide some insight as to why the extra payment should just go towards the original principal? Thanks!

    • Miz Swizz :

      The spiel I got from my student loan company is that student loan debt accrues interest daily so the only way to get the balance to apply 100% toward principal is to first pay for your interest and then authorize a second payment with the amount you want to apply to your principal only. I assume that’s the case universally so I think you’re doing the right thing by paying toward your total balance.

      I’m basing this advice solely on my experience trying to figure out how to pay toward principal only and the fact that I also have student loan debt.

      • When I was paying on my loans, my understanding was that the interest incurred before my loans went into repayment (i.e. the “capitalized” interest) plus the principal balance was what I paid interest on. Once you start the repayment process you should be paying all your newly accrued interest off each month and the remainder of your monthly payment goes to the balance of your principal plus the capitalized interest. Therefore, application of your payment to principal versus capitalized interest is a moot point (though it may have a tax effect, assuming you are in an income bracket where you can still deduct student loan interest).

        I would look at my loan documents and then ask my loan servicer to verify. I would not just trust my loan servicer to tell the truth (or the person on the phone to understand the question). Good luck and keep with it! I can tell you, it feels GREAT to pay off your student loans!

      • I did what Miz Swizz described – make the regular payment (which included the interest that had accrued since the last payment) and then make another manual payment, which all went to principal. It also advance my next due date as noted on my login page for that loan, but I still earned interest (and still made payments every month).

    • Do you have Sallie Mae? Figure out what day they auto-draft your payment, and if you pay immediately after that, you will maximize the amount of your extra payment that goes toward principal.

      • But does it really matter?

        Let’s say that today is day 16 in the 30 days between payments. If you paid today, part of it would go to pay that interest that accured during days 1-16. But then when you paid you standard payment on day 30, you only have to pay the interest for days 17-30. So, more of your standard payment goes to the principal, right?

  3. layered bob :

    Need some advice on the logistics of changing jobs:

    My DH is starting a new job soon. He started his current job in college and has been with the same company since then. We’ve always had our benefits through him – health insurance, life insurance, retirement savings, everything. I handle the financial/insurance logistics in our marriage, and although I’ve switched jobs before, it’s always been much simpler since it was a paycheck and that’s it. This seems more complicated, and I don’t know what to look out for/what steps we need to take.

    For example, we have a health plan with an HSA, and his company contributes a fixed amount to each employee’s HSA every year. We’ve already used that money. Since he’s quitting halfway through the year, is it typical for the company to want half the HSA money back? And though we’ve already met our deductible with this health insurance, when he switches health insurance we’ll have a new deductible again with them, right? There’s no… transfer?… between insurance companies I wouldn’t think.

    And what about his retirement accounts and the brokerage account that he has for company stock: those just… stay open; we don’t need to move it anywhere, yeah? I’m not sure how I made it to my late-20s without handling any of this before but I don’t even know where to look for help. (I’ve already read both companies’ HR policy books on this stuff and either they are not helpful or I don’t understand.) Suggestions?

    • Have DH talk to HR about the HSA money, because that’s the only true answer you can get. You will have a new deductible with your new coverage, if new company’s coverage includes a deductible.

      You can leave the retirement account as is, and when you’re ready, roll it into an IRA. Not sure about the brokerage account, but I’m assuming that it’s under his name, not his company’s.

    • When my husband got laid off (it was September several years ago) we expected the company to claw back the HSA dollars we’d already claimed, but they didn’t even try.

      • Just so I understand correctly – the employer put the entire year’s contribution in the account at the beginning of the year? If that’s not the case, then I’d be curious about how you managed to spend it already.

        Another issue with the HSA money might come down to prorating your max for the year. Your ability to contribute to an HSA depends on you maintaining a health plan that is eligible for an HSA plan. So, if you max out your HSA contributions (about $6200 for a family, I think) prior to the end of the year, but don’t maintain a eligible health plan for the 12 months, you might have to prorate your max so that it is X/12 of $6200.

        Those rules vary some based on how long you have had the plan. I don’t recall if the employer portion changes the max at all. In addition to your employer, I would also talked to the HSA person at the bank that holds the account, since the bank is in charge of the account (the employer just contributes to it).

        • (sorry, that was for the OP)

        • layered bob :

          yes, the employer put their whole 2014 contribution in the account on Jan. 1. I had some health issues near the beginning of the year that ate up all the HSA contributions to date. It is good to know that the HSA will have to be prorated since the new insurance plan will not qualify for an HSA. Now to hunt down the appropriate bank people to talk to…

        • I’d spent my entire insurance deductible by the end of March. Even a semi-serious medical issue can eat that up quickly. You could easily consume the full HSA contribution amount for a family in one significant trip to the emergency room.

    • Back when I studied for my PHR, I learned that HSA could be fully spent and the employee could leave well before the year is up, and most HR professionals know it’s a risk, and also an investment in employee health and productivity. They likely won’t ask for it back, (sometimes HR is an admin that’s winging it) though it will show up on your taxes. Let the soon to be former employer raise the issue.

    • Greensleeves :

      I’m a little late, so I hope you see this. Once the employer puts the money in your HSA, it’s yours, even if you leave the job.

  4. Confirmation Gift :

    I am a mentor to a high school junior who is about to be confirmed as a church member (Presbyterian). I’d like to get her a present to mark the occasion. Any thoughts? She already has a nice Bible, and I think I’d like to do something religion-related rather than totally random. TIA!

    • Christian gifts :

      For both my First Holy Communion and my Confirmation, I received beautiful cross pendants/necklaces (mostly gold or with small delicate stones) from family members. A pretty delicate gold cross would be fashionable as well as meaningful.

    • My mentor got me a really pretty gold cross necklace for my confirmation. I think I still have it and I used to wear it all the time!

      • Wildkitten :


        • In the Pink :

          If she’s a silver jewelry wearer, consider some of the many lovely items from James Avery…they have icthus, scriptural themed-items, and crosses. Sometimes crosses may not necessarily “fit” in her school/workplace and if she already has a cross, it’s another item.

    • layered bob :

      I received quite a few Bibles for my similar confirmation – but of different versions/sizes. It is surprisingly nice to have a KJV, NIV, NRSV, etc – it’s easy to compare passages on Bible Gateway but sometimes they’re nice to have in paper. Otherwise – some other religious books that would make good gifts for a Presbyterian teenager would be Thoughts in Solitude (Merton), Jesus Feminist (Bessey), Cold Tangerines (Niequist), or, if she lives in a city, Urban Disciples (Paris). I also received a purse (for taking to church), lots of candy that comes in rolls (so it’s quiet for church), and jewelry – a cross necklace but also just plain, simple things that were not explicitly religious.

      Ok so I know I talk about YNAB all the time but I actually think YNAB might be a great gift – the default setup includes “tithe” at the top of the list of categories and learning to manage money and give charitably is a big part of faithful stewardship!

      • Lady Harriet :

        I’m Catholic, but I loved Merton’s No Man is an Island, which I read in a church young adult group last year. I highly recommend anything by CS Lewis. I have a box set of his books that includes The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce (I love this one!), Miracles, The Problem of Pain, Mere Christianity, and the Screwtape Letters. The box set is old, but any of these books individually would be good. Augustine’s Confessions is also great–I gave my brother a copy for his confirmation last year.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Could you get her a pretty journal and have a her name and a bible citation engraved on it? Or a leather bound copy of a book with religious undertones?

      • Anne Shirley :

        Like this maybe?


    • I gave my confirmation buddy a nice ribbon bookmark with charms on either side from James Avery, which is a jewelry store that has a Christian affiliation.

      • Small Town Attorney :

        I love James Avery. They also have really great customer service–free repairs & free cleaning on basically anything you bought from them.

    • For my confirmation, my parents got me an engraved jewelry box in the shape of a cross with the date and my name.

    • The Presbyterian church values learning so highly (all of its ministers have to study ancient Hebrew and Greek) that a book would be an excellent gift – something about our Founding Fathers, many of whom were Presbyterian, could even be appropriate. I’m not much of one for overtly religious jewelry, but the sideways cross necklaces are delicate and pretty and don’t seem as in your face as a regular cross. Definitely do NOT get a crucifix – Presbyterians celebrate the risen Christ and so use an empty cross.

    • Philanthropy Girl :

      What about a daily devotional such as My Utmost for His Highest, Streams in the Desert or A Year with C.S. Lewis. I believe you can find very nice leather bound versions of My Utmost for His Highest.

    • Confirmation Gift :

      Thank you everyone! I am on a short time frame so might not be able to do some of these, although I will save them if I am a mentor again. Any further ideas are also appreciated.

    • S in Chicago :

      I admired a colleague’s charm bracelet the other day, and she informed me it was Noah’s ark. If you do some Googling, you’ll find them both high and low end versions. I really like it because it is religious in nature while being really subtle. (Of course, I’m a total animal nut, so maybe that’s part of it, too?)

      It was similar to this, but a little more sophisticated: http://www.evesaddiction.com/sterling-silver-noahs-ark-charm-bracelet/BR10352

  5. Fun shopping assignment: I have a trip to Hawaii coming up in June, and realized I own almost nothing for tropical weather. I have a casual sundress, good all-purpose sandals, tanks and tees that are fine, and silver chuck taylors. I just ordered a bathing suit, and I don’t really wear shorts.

    What would you buy – basic or fun – for a casual beach vacation? I’m planning on spending $200-500 altogether, with the expectation that this will be my weekend summer wardrobe as well.

    • If you plan on spending time in the water, I really recommend a rash guard and board shorts. I enjoyed snorkeling a lot more when I didn’t have to worry about burning, sunblock wearing off or modesty underwater. The sun is a lot more intense in Hawaii than where I live.

      • If you’re buying a rash guard, try the Lands’ End ones that look so nice in the catalog, and report on the quality and fit, please!

        • I bought a kids lands end one for myself last summer (I wear a petite small or medium top at Loft, etc.) that was mainly used for hanging out at the pool but did do a week at the beach and I thought it was great. Snug but not tight. We bought my husband a number of their men’s sun shirts (more loose fitting since he’s a little insecure about his current weight) and he wore those both in and out of water and really liked them (although we added a drawstring at the bottom so they didn’t float up when he swam).

      • Rash guard is a good idea. Do you wear it over a bikini top, or on its own?

        Seriously, I haven’t even worn a bathing suit in 7 years, which was my last beach vacation. I don’t know what to do!

        • In the Pink :

          I typically wear it over a swimsuit as I want to take the rash guard off sometimes. YMMV. Have a great time!

    • I don’t wear shorts either and always pack cheap jersey skirts and dresses from ON when we travel to the beach. I do bring a few nicer sundresses for evenings out but don’t want to ruin nice clothing at the pool/beach. Have fun!

    • On my Maui vacation last year, I lived in a soft drapey maxi dress from Target that made me feel like a goddess! Also recommend bringing dangly earrings if you’re into that look :)

      A giant floppy hat is a great investment for the summer.

      • mintberrycrunch :

        +1 to maxi dresses and skirts – they are my summer go-to and can easily be dressed up or down. I got a few from Old Navy and Gap last year that are still going strong. I also just recently bought a maxi skirt from Ann Taylor that I’m loving!

      • Any source ideas for a packable big floppy hat?

        I should try a maxi dress on and see how it looks. I can’t get over my childhood long dress = fancy dress training, and am only 5’4″, so I’ve ignored maxis since they’ve been a thing.

        • BankrAtty :

          We short gals look great in maxis! Just make sure the dress doesn’t drag on the ground, and avoid large prints. I’m shorter than you and live in my maxis come summer.

        • Silvercurls :

          Try department stores, but shop carefully if you’re in the lower tier (Target, JCPenney, Kohl’s…) I got 2 packable hats last year at Target. But a warning: “Packable” for these hats means “has a flexible, but not creas-able and recover-able thin plastic piece that goes all around the inside of the brim.” (It’s sewn in so you can’t see it.) I learned this after pressing down too vigorously on the brims. One hat is still functional although the brim tends to flop around in odd directions. The other hat brim stabilizing band got zig-zaggy to the point of making the hat almost useless.

          For a higher price point, try LLBean, Lands’ End, REI (or other outdoors outfitters–I had one made by Columbia that I’ve worn into shreds), or possibly Sierra Trading Post. Some of the outdoor outfitting brands like Columbia are available online as well as in bricks-and-mortar stores.

        • I always just buy a hat in Hawaii. They sell them everywhere for 20 bucks and it’s a lot easier than taking up space packing one.

    • petitecocotte :

      A light beach coverup (i.e. tunic, romper) that will take you from the beach into town and can function later as an easy summer weekend piece. They can be pretty pricey, so you may have to shop around but you only need one and it’ll always be one of the first things you grab for beach weekends/vacations for years to come. LOFT and Bloomies have some cute cover ups in the $50-$60 range.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      I’m much more of a dress than shorts person (rarely wear shorts), but when we went to Hawaii last fall I think I wore shorts almost everyday. Something about the casualness and what we were doing–a lot of time on beach, short hikes (I was pregnant), etc–just were really more shorts-appropriate. I had a suitcase full of sundresses that I didn’t need. So I would recommend getting one or two pairs of shorts you like. You don’t have to cut the tags off…so if you don’t wear them, you can return them.

  6. I don’t know how to do casual shoes – I have pumps for work and sneakers for the gym but not much in between. I feel like Chucks make my feet look big – and I’m a 7.5, wide-ish.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Birkenstocks are having a moment. And if you have wide-ish feet they will be very flattering on you. (I have regular width feet and had to size down and get the narrow width to get them to fit, FYI.) Get a light color like white or silver. I just got some silver ones and I heart them so hard!!

      • Lady Harriet :

        My Birkenstocks are so comfortable that I could never go back to regular sandals. I have a pair in the Bali style that I’ve just about worn to death, and I’m about to buy a pair in the Mayari style. The key is to pick one of the more feminine styles and get them in a fun color if you can.

    • I feel the same way about laceless Chucks but am seriously considering these. The deeper cut on top shouldn’t have the same impact.

    • Anonymous :

      How about canvas boat shoes? There are feminine versions that make my wide feet look great. For instance, search llbean for “Deck Boat shoes”.

      • Sperrys are my casual, go – to shoe.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I have a pair of Lands End Canvas Gatas Slip-On shoes that I like. They come in wide and are comfy and cute.

    • Sperry boat shoes. They’re cute and dressy in a fun preppy way and come in a million colors. I just feel like a total hipster try-hard in converses.

    • I agree! I like keds as an alternative

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve been living in the Cole Haan Manhattan ballet flat lately. It comes in fun colors, so it’s pretty casual looking.

      • S in Chicago :

        Those are adorable. How true to size are they? I always have a tough time with CH. I’m a true 10. 5, but I wear a 10 in the air tali-lace-up wedges and a bunch of other wedge styles, a 10.5 in most of the pumps and the air sadie deconstructed and the monroe loafers, and an 11 in the air bacara flats and regular air sadies. It’s so frustrating sometimes that the sizing can’t be more consistent.

    • anonyomous :

      I can only wear tennis shoes to my work, but they need to look professional enough for meetings haha weirdest dress code ever. So I have a lot of tennis shoes that are not gym worthy but are cute for outside. My favorites include: Tretorn, Superga, Bensimon, and Onitsuka Tiger.

    • This spring I bought a pair of d’Orsay flats and I love them! (In my mind, flat = casual). They are easy to wear and I find them more versatile than a Birkenstock or boat shoe… seems like they can dress down or up very easily.

      Just like ballet flats, though, it helps to try on several pairs to find the one with the right amount of arch support. A lot of flats lack that completely. My pair is from Vince and I would describe it as medium support. Definitely comfortable enough for all-day weekend errands.

    • ContractsinTX :

      I bought a par of Tretorns – specifically the Otto canvas – when on vacation recently. They are kind of a mix between a a canvas slip on and a boat shoe. The comfy insert is a definite plus.

  7. Are denim shorts now a fashion faux pas? I keep hearing them derogatorily to as “Jorts”. Or are Jorts something different?

    • *derogatorily referred to

      • It Depends On The Shorts :

        I think of “jorts” as being baggy (i.e., loose in the thigh, to the knee or below) jean shorts worn primarily by men, often in a “carpenter” style. Jorts would generally be in a mid-to-light wash. They can primarily be purchased at such establishments as Kohls, Sears, J.C. Penney, etc. I do not recommend that they be worn by any woman, or man for that matter.

        Conversely, a pair of fitted denim shorts, such as a close-fitting bermuda style in a darker wash or even shorty-shorts — if you’re not like me and enjoy showing some leg — can be very cute.

    • I think denim shorts have been out of style for a while now. Although they’re coming back for youngens in high-waisted styles.

    • Wildkitten :

      I think jorts are also primarily when guys wear them.

    • Yes. And they have been for quite some time. Jort is accurate.

  8. Anonymous :

    My husband’s parents have been bringing up the idea of retirement. My FIL is in his late-60s and has never been a high earner. My MIL has always been a SAHM, taking care of DH’s disabled sister. DH has two brothers, one older and one younger and neither are financially responsible. DH suspects that his parents probably have about $100k in retirement. We (and they) live in a high COL area. I know his father really would like to stop working but I don’t see how they can continue paying their mortgage, medical bills and monthly expenses without him working. The retirement money will probably only last 1-2 years. For context, DH and his parents grew up in a South Asian country where people don’t save for retirement but instead depend on their children as they age. I don’t begrudge them for this. Also, his parents have never asked us for money. My husband would like to contribute to his parents household, perhaps $500-$1000 a month so his father can retire. I think that this is probably not enough and DH should probably at least talk to his parents about their retirement plans before commitment to an amount we can contribute every month. His parents are wonderful, kind-hearted people and I would love to help them as much as we can; however, I am concerned that if they retire now then we will need to be responsible for two households. We are just not financially capable of that. I hope to be some day in the future, but until then, I feel like we need to encourage his father to continue working. Of course the decision is ultimately theirs. DH feels like we make enough to support his parents, although he is not insisting on supporting the whole household, but I don’t think we do. I make about 70% of the income and work in BigLaw. I don’t see myself at this salary for very long. Am I being selfish in being very cautious about this? Are we over-stepping if we insist on having his parents explain their retirement plans? I think we can afford $500/mo now, but what about in the future – how can we avoid making them dependent on this?

    • Anonymous :

      wow, that was a veryyyy long post. Thank you to anyone who read it all.

      • I read it all :) Interested to hear what others say. It’s a tough issue – I think there is a difference between the cultural expectation that you take in your parents when they age – meaning they live with you and share some household duties and do not require additional rent, transportation, etc costs as opposed to parents retiring, living separately and wanting you to finance them.

        I’ve always been prepared to do the former (take in my parents or in-laws when they are older and can’t live alone) but I agree that sending money every month so they can retire is a big commitment. How much do you know about their finances? What about their plans? It makes me nervous to think about financing my parents at all, as I’d then inevitably end up being bitter at how they spend “my” money.

        • Anonymous :

          Snowy, thanks for reading my rambling post! I think you’re right in that its different if we were able to take them in, but our house is TINY and can not take in an additional four people (FIL, MIL, SIL, and younger 19 y/o BIL). I feel like I am already feeling a bit bitter because I’m thinking of it as “my” money and I get tense when they talk about future plans to do some, admittedly much-needed, renovations. I can’t tell if this is normal or overly selfish of me…

          • I’m sorry if I missed something, but why would you have an obligation to take in 19 y/o BIL? SIL yes (if ILs are caring for her due to her disability then that goes w/o saying), but why BIL?

          • Whether you should be thinking of this as “your” money really seems to go to how you as a couple manage your money (as was discussed on here earlier in the week). But I empathize with you–my husband and I come from different cultural backgrounds with very different view on how much and to what extent you should give money to your parents in their old age. So I know what it is like to feel like you are being selfish. In your case, though, the real issue seems to be that you don’t anticipate having this “extra” money in the future. Presumably your husband knows that, but perhaps you need to talk about it again specifically in this context of helping his parents. Your husband is probably going to want to help them no matter what, but hopefully he would look at things a little differently if doing so would limit your ability to take a different job in the future. And that’s important because I don’t think you can stop them from becoming dependent on this money based on how little they have saved.

    • Anonymous :

      In short, DH would like to contribute $500/mo to help his parents retire. I think that although we can probably “afford” to pay $500/mo right now, it may not be possible in the future and I don’t think that $500/mo will really help DH’s dad’s prospects of retiring so I don’t see why we should start contributing right now as opposed to when they really need it (after retirement). Am I being selfish? Should we talk to DH’s parents about their retirement plans or would that be over-stepping?

      • I'm Just Me :

        Something you might consider is investing the $500 a month starting right now while your fil is still working and you are considering things. That way you would be able to have a trial period to see if your household can do everything it needs to do with that commitment and if you can really afford to give them that much. Then when you are ready to begin helping your ils, you can gift them that money as well as the continuing $500 payments per month.

        • I’m not sure if a “trial period” is realistic. I don’t know these people of course, but often once you start something, taking it away can be hugely difficult, especially if they are truly dependent on this money, and it’s not just an extra for them.

          • Penny Proud :

            I’m Just Me isn’t recommending giving the in-law’s money during the trial period. Just not using the $500 (and investing it) to see if it is feasible.

        • Anonymama :

          This is a really good idea, to start now setting aside that money which in-law’s will probably need in the future, both from the perspective of what it would mean to your budget in the short term, and a longer-term view of then you will have a chunk already set aside for when they need it, regardless of your changing financial circumstances.

    • I assume your FIL will receive SS benefits, and the daughter/sister too, if she’s disabled. I imagine these might not be large sums, but it’s something. Does he have any other pension? I might have missed this info if I read your post too quickly, so apologies for that.

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t know whether FIL will receive any SS benefits because he lived and worked in South Asia the majority of his life. SIL gets some SS/disability benefits but they only really cover her medications, food and personal expenses. Unfortunately, there is no pension. It took them a long time to save to $100k for their retirement, and to them, living paycheck to paycheck, this amount seems very large. They actually are planning to do some renovations to the house and retire on this money. I don’t think its feasible. The house needs renovations – its leaking and breaking apart – but again, I just don’t know what to do. Pay for the renovations? Contribute monthly? Support the household? I feel we are too young to be dealing with this, 26 and 30, and perhaps if we were more established we would be able to support them better… *sigh*

        • I think you might want to consider offering to pay for a financial consultation with your in-laws (fee-based, and maybe someone from South Asia that they can relate to) to go over their budget and their needs – it does not sound like they have enough to retire (even if you helped), and they should go into retirement with their eyes wide open. Getting a third party involved might help. Also you and DH might consider doing the same, since it sounds like you both have different expectations/understanding of your current budget and what the future might hold (totally hear you on the traps of working in Biglaw!)

        • Meg Murry :

          Another thing to consider is what is going to happen to your SIL in the future. Would she be able to live on her own or in a group home? Or is there a high likelyhood of her living with you someday? I would be cautious of spending a lot of money on your in-laws now if you are also going to have the responsibility for SIL in the future. Instead of renovations to their current home, would it make more sense to talk to them about moving somewhere with minimal maintenance and stairs, like a condo?

        • Are they US citizens?

    • I don’t think you are being overly cautious. IME, the typical South Asian/Asian families tend to expect some support and help from their children, but your situation is more complicated in that it is: (a) not divided up among all the children and an unfair burden falls upon you both, (b) not just caring for parents but a SIL is involved too, (c) as someone mentioned above, having them in your home is more traditional and less burdensome usually, since they help with some housework and childcare in return and that becomes a mutually beneficial arrangement.

      In your situation, for you both to single-handedly pay for parents’ lifestyle maintenance, home repair, and SIL in addition to caring for your own home and family is certainly a huge, huge deal and would be a huge deal in many/most South Asian homes as well.

      To begin with, I’d suggest just listening and not saying much or committing to much. It doesn’t have to be one single sit-down conversation. You can gradually elicit their ideas of what they expect, when your FIL expects to retire, what their plans are afterward (downsize? sell their home? move into smaller condo in inexpensive area?) and so on. It seems that they are nice people and not looking to take advantage of you, so just try and gently elicit what they have in mind first.

      Second would be the time for you and your DH to talk about what you both can feasibly do for them. It’s ok to have strings attached (we’ll pay for x if you promise to do y – move to a cheaper area, for instance).

      One caveat is that you should let go of the idea that it is ‘your’ money but try and frame it in your own mind like a question of putting your future family (with DH, or your retirement, etc.) first over his family. It will help you in feeling less resentment, and will help your discussions with DH to be framed in the right way (us v. extended family and not me v. you and your family).

    • Could you pay for the renovations and, perhaps, property taxes, with the condition that the house be left to you in their wills? I’m guessing that this would go a long way to supporting them, and might help you feel better about it.

      • Meg Murry :

        If either of the parent have to go into a hospital or nursing home at the end of their life, the house will most likely have to be sold before Medicaid covers the medical bills, which often range into the 100s of thousands. So I wouldn’t count on getting the house unless you outright buy it from them.
        Alternately, could you and husband offer to cover specific expenses for them – like long term care insurance, hiring someone to do yard work, the cell phone bill, etc? That way you aren’t just cutting your in-laws a check each month for them to spend as they see fit.

        • Anonymous :

          In most cases a residence is an exempt asset for Medicaid eligibility determinations. That said, after the person receiving Medicaid benefits passes away (and spouse), the house can often be “recaptured” — so it’s right not to assume the OP and her spouse would ever get anything from that.

    • Olivia Pope :

      I like the idea of getting a professional financial advisor to talk to them about their retirement. This will help them figure out what their goals are and how close they are to meeting them. Perhaps you and DH could go with them.

      Also, you and DH need to discuss your future plans as well! I would not want to tell someone that I could give them a certain amount of money based on a BigLaw salary, and then leave BigLaw later and have to reduce it.

      The approach should be “Let’s figure about good, sustainable ways to help your/our family as they get older.” That could mean selling their house and moving to a less expensive place. Or all of you moving into a large home while FIL continues to work for X amount of years and the in-laws contribute to the household financially and chore-wise. I know a family that switched houses with the in-laws. So many options. You just need to figure out what will work for your situation.

      • Just A Thought :

        What if you and your husband agree to open and contribute $500 a month to a high yield savings acct or in a conservative index fund for as long as you think you can afford it. I don’t believe you said the need the money right now. Doing this might satisfy your husband’s need to do something to care for his parents’ retirement interests down the line. Whether the two of you let his folks know that is being done is a judgment call. Meanwhile, he can start building a dialogue with his folks about their plans – maybe couch it in terms of that information helping the two of you plan for your own future. Who knows, maybe his dad is open to easing into retirement by working part-time for some time before fully retiring, or maybe they intend to sell their home and plan to retire out of the country where COL is considerably less. There’s lots to discuss there.

    • It sounds like there are a lot of unknowns here — what their expectations and needs really are, for one thing. The first place to start is having an open and honest conversation with them, or many little conversations along the way. I think you are right to want more information to see how much of a future commitment this will involve. And who knows? Maybe they’ve thought this through and have more resources than you know. Maybe they don’t. But it would help everyone to be on the same page, to the extent that it is possible.

      • If they are citizens they will get some SS even without a long earnings history. My mom was a SAHM pretty much her whole life, she worked at Walmart for about 10 years when I was in my 20’s, but that’s the extent of her earnings history (so you can imagine, walmart pay- it wasn’t much). She gets about $700 a month from SS. Which, is not much but if both his parents could get that it would be $1400 coming in which I have to think would be helpful.

        Also, perhaps them moving to a nearby but lower cost of living area? I think this might be something that should be considered.

        • Anonymous :

          Not quite accurate – just because you are a citizen, does not mean you get SS. You normally have to report earnings to the IRS for 40 quarters to get SS. Sounds like your mom maid that cut-off. The other way is to claim SS based on your spouse. So, in your case, your mom’s SS might be based on your dad’s earnings.

          • No, it is not based on my father’s earnings. But you are probably right in that she just made the cut off.

  9. Gift ideas? :

    Our babysitter is getting married next weekend. We had a perfect present planned for her, and her aunt “took” our present idea, I just found out yesterday! Now I’m at a loss…

    She is our daily babysitter/nanny of only our son in her home.
    She is AMAZING. I’d totally double her salary just to keep her. Amazing. I want to still employ her for several years.
    She is 22, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, but (on her on time) listens to rap and hip-hop, came from the city but now lives in a small town where we are.
    She and her husband-to-be aren’t super poor, but aren’t super rich.

    I’d like to get her a present from us, and also one from our son. I’m pretty comfortable spending ~$400 on this. Any ideas?

    • Senior Attorney :

      Honestly, give her the four hundred bucks, plus maybe something awesome and handmade by your kiddo(s). (Maybe a picture of her and her fiance as bride and groom, drawn and signed by said kiddo(s)?)

    • Something from the registery or cash.

    • Anne Shirley :

      A check for $400. She’ll really really love it. And a beautiful thoughtful card.

    • I’d give cash and something handmade by your kid (maybe a plate or something from a paint your own pottery place if you cannot think of anything else). That and a nice card saying how happy you are for her and how much she means to your family.

    • Meg Murry :

      I agree with the straight up $400. Alternately, if you give her vacation time, offer to pay her during her honeymoon but not charge it against whatever block of time you give her for vacation time?

    • Gift ideas? :

      Oh, I am already giving her a generous cash gift! This is in addition (literally this girl is my lifesaver and worth her weight in gold and my son jumps in delight when we get to her house).

      The only problem is that my son is only thirteen months – she’s been keeping him since 6 weeks. So he can’t really “make” anything – except a mess! She already has handprint/footprints from him.

      I would like to give her (1) a generous cash gift; (2) a nice piece of jewelry; and (3) a gift bag of books on the “adult life” – cook books, financial literacy, etc.

      What books would you recommend?

      • Everyone needs the Joy of Cooking, my chef brother is adamant that you can cook anything with the help of that book. It will teach you the basics plus. I am a big personal fan of the Dave Ramsey financial books as I think they are pretty easy for most people to wrap their minds around. I would also recommend the five love languages. Great for newly married, especially when they are young.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Joy of Cooking is great. I like Debt Proof Living by Mary Hunt although there is Christian content so be warned. Your Money or Your Life is a classic that should be in everyone’s financial library. Relationship books by John Gottman are great — The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, for marriage in particular, or The Relationship Cure for relationships in general.

          • Philanthropy Girl :

            I’ll third Joy of Cooking.

            I used a Barnes & Noble gift card from my wedding to purchase the King Arthur Flour Baking Book, which I love. It has wonderful recipes, but also a lot of tips, tricks and methodology.

        • Lady Harriet :

          +1 to all of Shana’s recommendations. The Joy of Cooking is great, and I really like Dave Ramsey too. I’ve never read the five love languages, but I’ve heard really good things and the approach seems to make sense.

      • You know her best, but consider whether giving “adult life” books would be construed as a comment that you think she can’t make it on her own.

        Maybe a nook or Kindle, and gift card, with a list of “recommended books that helped me when I first started out”. That way she can pick/choose what she wants to learn about.

        • Gift ideas? :

          Oh, totally I agree. I just know she’d like this because she is always asking for advice on stuff (she had a funky family situation and was sort of thrust out on her own at 18 with no skill whatsoever) and has already asked to borrow several of our budgeting/living books and magazines.

          • You sound like a great boss and mentor for her! I think your gift ideas are really good. I got the Joy of Cooking as wedding gift, and I use it ALL THE TIME! The person who gave it to me paired it with a le creuset pan, which I also use a lot. Some of the more expensive things from my registry that I use a lot are the kitchen aid mixer and a nice lamp. I wish I had a food processor, though!

      • Anon in NYC :

        Some of the cookbooks that I have been using recently: Ad Hoc, New York Times Cookbook, Joy of Cooking, It’s All Good (Gwyneth Paltrow — I know, but the food is actually tasty and pretty healthy), Nom Nom Paleo, and the Oh She Glows Cookbook (vegan, but you can non-veganize her food easily).

      • AnonLawMom :

        I would go on Nordstrom.com and check out the fine jewelry section. There are a lot of really great rings under $400 that I would love now and would have died over when I was 22. Plus, free shipping!

        • AnonLawMom :

          Links to some that would be great for her other hand:


          • This is a great idea. I would have died for these at 22 as well and still like them now.

  10. I bought a cute pair of Adidas in Heathered gray last year and they have saved me with this foot injury. And they’re so cute I’vee gotten a ton of compliments.

    • workingmomz :

      Oh did you have surgery or something?

      • I'm Kind of a Big Deal :

        I had foot surgery!

        Let me tell you about it!

      • No, just walked into a cabinet (barefoot) in my hallway last Sunday morning. My toe has been black and blue and swollen all week (but not broken, thank goodness). I’ve been buddy wrapping the toes together and that has helped, but I haven’t been able to wear anything except the Adidas. Even my Converse (not Chucks) weren’t comfortable enough. It’s definitely getting better!

  11. Ladies, I have a family/substance abuse issue that I could really use some advice on. Sorry in advance for the novel:

    My dad has had a longstanding addiction to alcohol and rx pain pills. He finally went to rehab my senior year of college (about 10 years ago). Since then, he’s been sober on and off. In the past year, he’s had a number of severe health issues, to the point where I would not be shocked to get a phone call telling me he has passed away.

    He and my mother divorced several years ago, but she has regular contact with him and his new wife (a woman he began seeing about 15 years before my parents got divorced… we all knew about her, no one said anything, it was a messed up situation). My sister and I are completely estranged from my dad, which my mom is not pleased with. My sister lives in another country, and so when she had her baby, there was no problem. I live about an hour from my dad, and I’m currently pregnant, and my mom is pressing me to tell my dad, or asking me if she can tell him.

    As far as I’m concerned, I will never see him again, my child will never meet him, and it is almost cruel to tell him “hey, I’m pregnant, I live an hour away from you, you’re really sick and may be dying, but you’ll never meet this child.” Basically, I don’t want to tell him I’m pregnant.

    Is this a huge disaster waiting to happen? Have any of you ever dealt with this sort of thing? Any advice? He doesn’t have any extended family, and none of my mom’s side of the family has contact with him either at this point.

    • I don’t think you need to tell him, see him, etc. if that’s the choice you’ve made. But you can’t control what other people do in terms of your mom telling him. Tell your mom “As far as I’m concerned, I will never see him again, my child will never meet him, and it is cruel to tell him I’m pregnant and that he will never see me or my child despite the fact that I don’t live in another country like sister.” If she tells him anyway, so be it. You don’t have to act any differently towards him than you have in the past.

    • anon in tejas :

      I’m a big fan of pros and cons lists. I would suggest one here, because it sounds like you don’t want to tell him, but it’s not really clear to you why. Do you not want your kid/his grandkid to have a relationship with him? Are you worried about how you feel about his health issues? Do you think that he’ll try to insert himself into your life in an upsetting way?

      I think that figuring out what you are scared of might help you figure out how to balance the decision and relationship.

      Did your sister tell your dad at all? Did your mom?

      I think that you are in the best decision to do this, and I hope that your partner and your mom support your decision whatever it may be. Although that would be the best case scenario, protect yourself in case that is not the case.

      Avoiding figuring out what to do will not help you in the long run. It sounds like that’s what you have been doing for a while.

      I don’t have a relationship with my mom, and my relationship with my dad has been very difficult. So, please know that may make my advice colored with my own family issues.

    • Need to Improve :

      It’s your choice, and if you don’t want to see him, you don’t have to. It is not your mom’s choice, and she should respect your decision.

      That said, I think you should wait and see what happens when you have the baby. My dad and I were on horrible terms because he was an abusive jerk to us and my mom my whole childhood. I literally used to pray for the day he would divorce my mom. And then he did, and I was free of him.

      He has softened with age, and after 15+ years of almost no relationship between us, I slowly let him back into my life, in little bits. When my first baby was born, he came to stay in our city for a week to spend time with us and the baby. It was a visit I had very mixed feelings about beforehand, but I am really happy now that it worked out. Since then we have had two visits–once me and fmaily visting him him and once him visting us–and they have been fine. It gives me joy that he can play a grandaftherly role and that he has found a way to be tender. I still see pieces of his old self all the time, but seeing him in these small, controlled ways has been fine. I am never going to go to him with my problems, ask him for advice, call him to chat, etc., but I am comfortable with what we have.

      Point being, time and kids do change things sometimes, but it has to be right for you.

    • Wildkitten :

      Take care of yourself. If that means not telling him – don’t tell him. People who grew up with rainbows and puppies don’t understand that sometimes kids from situations need to cut off contact with their parents in order to have healthy boundaries for their own lives.

      • Anonymous :

        + 1 million

        You can’t control what your mom actually does (and she may end up going against your wishes and telling him at some point), but if you’d feel more comfortable without him knowing, you can certainly ask her not to say anything and hope that she abides by your request.

        Also, in that same “please don’t tell him” conversation, I’d probably add “and we’re not going to talk about this again.” Then, when mom starts, you get to say “like I said, we’re not talking about this again,” and hang up/walk away/leave the room.

      • Wildkitten :

        Everyone is welcome to email Wildkitten r3tt3 @ google mail to talk about this. I’m opinionated but happy to chat.

    • Anonymous :

      I can sympathize with your feelings toward your dad, and I imagine being pregnant and having a baby just makes that situation all the more painful and complicated. But I wanted to suggest that maybe you find a way to forgive him and let him back in your life–at least a little bit. Clearly I don’t know your whole situation with him, but I didn’t speak to my dad for a very long time, and I thought I never would. I eventually realized that it didn’t really fix things for me because I still felt angry at him all the time. With the help of a counselor, I figured out how to let go of a lot of my anger toward him and let him back in my life. We by no means have a fantastic relationship, and I only see him in controlled doses (e.g., we go to dinner together every once and awhile). But even that little bit has made things so much better for me because I don’t walk around harboring a bunch of anger.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        To present a contrasting view on this – I don’t really speak to my dad, but I’m not harboring any anger towards him. I’ve worked through it, I’m over it, he did what he did and things are what they are, and I’m okay. That said, just because I forgive him for the past doesn’t mean I owe him anything in the present, and so I continue not to see him, the same way I’d avoid any other unpleasant person who made my life stressful. If it’s helpful to you to speak to your dad because it allowed you to get over your anger, that’s great, but not speaking to someone =/= definitely harboring unhealthy anger for that person. You can forgive and let go without renewing the relationship, if that’s what you choose to do.

  12. Shopaholic :

    Thoughts on the Rebecca Minkoff MAB mini? There’s one for sale on the outnet in a beautiful cobalt colour (link in reply) and I’m trying to decide if I should pull the trigger.

    • Shopaholic :


    • I’ve been very happy with mine.

    • I just bought a (fairly large) Kate Spade bag in cobalt, and I cannot tell you the joy it brings me. My style is pretty preppy and heavy on navy (as opposed to black), and I love the cobalt with the navy. I’ve carried it when I wear black as well, and it also looks very nice. So I guess I can’t comment on the MAB in particular, but I love the color and have found it very versatile with my wardrobe.

    • No experience with the specific bag, but I love love love my own cobalt bag. I get tons of compliments and I find the color very cheering. So I encourage you to go for it.

    • Shopaholic :

      Now I’m also thinking about the Pippa in the blue (I was motivated by posts on this site). Thoughts? Any preferences?


      • I know many who love the Pippa and see many carry it in NYC, but I found that for my purposes, it was just too heavy to carry while walking/commuting.

        • Same here. It’s a great looking bag, and I carry it when I want to look polished, but way too heavy for everyday use. The bag feels like it weighs 10 pounds with nothing in it.

      • Maggie P. Dixon :

        I love my Pippa bag in Shark (soft grey), which I think is more versatile than blue — but the blue is very pretty too! The quality of the bag is excellent: soft buttery leather, nice hardware, lovely lining with the Modalu shell motif.

  13. anon in tejas :

    I am looking for graduation ideas for my half-brother, who is graduating high school in a few short weeks. We are not very super close. We live in the same city, but due to busy schedules (both of ours, he may be busier than we are), we don’t see each other as often as we would like.

    He is graduating at 17 going to a state school honors program which is about 150 miles from home. He is a lot more naive/innocent/emotionally immature than I was at that age.


    I love him and I am proud of him. I am excited to see him develop into an amazing young man, and I am hopeful that he’ll have an wonderful time at school– it was truly transformative for me to leave home.

    • Anne Shirley :

      New wallet, loaded with a few gift cards to the campus bookstore/local coffee shop in reasonable denominations, AAA card if he drives, emergency contact card with family info, a $2 bill for luck, and a quarter minted the year he was born (eBay) and the year he graduated. I’d also include any assorted foreign currency you have, for dreams, and $100- because sometimes you just need to buy something fun.

      • This is both sentimental and practical – I love it and will be stealing it!
        Otherwise, my family’s go to college gift was always a pop-up hamper, detergent, rolls of quarters, magazines ,and assorted cleaning supplies. Stuff you need to buy but don’t ever enjoy spending $$ on.

        • Good idea, but I think laundry machines don’t run on quarters anymore ;)

      • What a fun gift idea!

      • Spectacular. Love it.

      • anon in tejas :

        beautiful idea. Yes. I do like this one a lot. Thank you!!!

    • In the Pink :

      swiss army knife in his fav color w/monogram!

  14. Anon in NYC :

    I’m thinking about getting a pair of the Reebok Skyscapes because I need a fashion-y sneaker for running around on the weekends, and I really like that they’re machine washable. Has anyone tried them?

    • I haven’t, but almost all sneakers are machine washable, if that’s important to you. It’s just not advertised.

  15. Ladies, what’s your favorite conditioner? I’m on the market for something new – I have thick, wavyish hair that tends towards frizzy that I prefer to blow out. Would really appreciate any recommendations! TIA!

    • Canyouwink :

      My hair sounds similar to yours and I’ve been loving Frederic fekkai Shea butter conditioner. It’s a little bit expensive, but I got it once as a free sample and my hair just felt amazing afterwards so I’ve been using it and the same shampoo since.

    • Kirkland moisture conditioner (from Costco).

      I know it sounds crazy but I have been using the shampoo/conditioner for almost a year and my hair has never looked better. Sulfate/paraben free and I think vegan as well.

      • +1

        Cheap and awesome, my hair behaves so much better using their shampoo + conditioner.

      • Yes! I’ve been using the Kirkland Shampoo & Conditioner since the winter and my hair has never looked better. The shampoo is conditioning enough that I can go several days without using the conditioner, too, which is key for my fine/limp/tangle-prone hair.

      • +3

      • +4

    • Yes to Carrots.

      • I'm Kind of a Big Deal :

        Yes to Carrots is the bomb dot com. Bonus: smells like Cabbage Patch Kids!

    • Well, I ‘m currently committed to bumble and bumble’s superrich conditioner for long, thick, wavy hair. I rarely have split ends and my hair feels nice to the touch.

    • Sounds like my hair, too! I use Pureology (the moisture one in the purple bottle). Smells incredible and leaves my hair very soft. I also find the best thing for my hair is Exquisite Oil from Biolage. I put that on at the ends before I hop in the shower. Then I put it in again as I am drying it and it keeps the frizz away and makes it very shiny and soft.

    • I have thick curly hair and when I use conditioner it’s Redken Smooth Down (bronze bottle). But lately I’ve been using Hair One cleansing conditioner, which is similar to a generic version of Wen (and so much cheaper!).

    • I have thick, long, wavy hair. Thick as in many strands, and having thick strands. I have tried almost every anti-frizz creme there is. But I always go back to the same product. It is fairly pricey, but absolutely great results.

      I use the Nexxus Frizz Defy line – Shampoo, Conditioner, Styling Creme, and Argan Oil Leave-in Shine Treatment. I blow dry my hair. Apply the styling creme prior to blow drying. Use the supplemental argan oil after blow drying if needed.

      If you prefer a cheaper option, I have heard good things about the new Keratin Infusion line from Suave. I used to also do shampoo/conditioner of any brand (something like Tresemme Moisture Rich), then prior to blowdrying, I’d use an anti-frizz styling creme. I used to love the stuff from Sunsilk but haven’t seen those on the shelves since 2008/2009. Herbal Essences Touchably Smooth Anti-Frizz Creme is good, and so is Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioner.

    • gingersnap :

      I have thick, wavy hair, and use Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus curl&shine shampoo (the pink bottle). It’s rich enough that my hair doesn’t need conditioner afterwards, and it’s been absolutely amazing for my hair (plus affordable and easily found at Target/Walgreens/etc)

    • Aussie’s Moist Conditioner & the 3-minute miracle one.

    • I really like the Organix Kukui Nut conditioner. It’s new, in a brown bottle (They make all the rounded bottles that are short and squat, in different varieties). It’s really moisturizing, tames frizz, smells like Hawaii and doesn’ t make my neck break out like nasty Herbal Essences does. I love it!

      I have medium, curly hair, can be frizzy without products, which needs moisture. Seriously–just smell it in the store. It’s delish.

    • Terax Crema or the L’oreal Feria kind that comes in the hair dye box, but they sell it seperately in tubes at Sally Beauty.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Ojon. It is amazing.

  16. lucy stone :

    Friendly reminder we have a FitBit group for fans of this site – email me at fivetomatoes at gmail for an invite!

  17. I just ordered a Fitbit thanks largely to all the fitbit chatter here. Cannot wait til it gets here. I think it will be hugely motivational. Also I’m curious to learn what it thinks about my sleep habits. I’ll be looking to join the group once it arrives! Yay.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I just ordered one too, yay! Takes ages to deliver though (only because I am cheap and didn’t want to pay for express delivery).

      • I thought it would take ages to deliver, but I ordered it from amazon yesterday, chose free shipping, and just got a tracking notice saying it will be here tomorrow. I may be fitbitting sooner than i thought!

    • Anonymous :

      Just wanted to let anyone waffling about one know that Target has the Flex (bracelet) full price this week but your purchase gets you the three colored bands (mint, blue, orange priced at $30) for free.

  18. I’m making family brunch for Mother’s Day and need some more ideas. I’m making veggie frittata, chicken sausage, fruit salad, and biscuits. Would love any thoughts for something else that I can make ahead of time. Scones?

    • Bread pudding with bourbon sauce. The bread pudding is delicious and perfectly fine cool/room temperature especially with the warm sauce. Warm syrup also works if you don’t do alcohol.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Smitten Kitchen had this “how to host brunch and still sleep in” post with links to recipes: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/12/how-to-host-brunch-and-still-sleep-in/

      Also, she made this the other day and it looks delicious. I know you’re already making eggs, but these look amazing: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/04/baked-eggs-with-spinach-and-mushrooms/#more-11756

    • Clementine :

      Get thee to Smitten Kitchen!

      She has great recipes for just this thing and scones or muffins or even croissants from a good bakery would be a nice addition. I actually freeze scones right on a baking sheet (something I got from smitten kitchen) and amaze people with my ability to have hot, delicious scones fresh from the oven. They also love my croissants which are definitely from the bakery down the road.

      For my family, add coffee, some fruit juices and maybe champagne and that sounds like a feast!

    • Meg Murry :

      If you have a waffle maker or can borrow one, waffles with a fruit sauce is popular at our brunches. I’ve pre-made them then reheated in the oven or toaster (if they fit).
      Oatmeal bars – I’ve made this recipe with blackberries, blueberries and a blend of the two and they are great – not too dessert-ish, but more fun than just fruit. http://theusualbliss.com/2013/09/14/blackberry-cinnamon-oat-bars/
      If you are talking brunch as in closer to breakfast than lunch, crock pot oatmeal would be easy.
      And mimosas or champagne with sorbet is always fun at brunch!

    • Miss Behaved :

      We did a brunch for Easter this year and served strawberry shortcake for dessert. We actually used southern biscuits as the shortcake so you could use the biscuits you already plan to serve.
      For the berries, we used a mix of fresh and frozen strawberries, plus a 1/4 to a 12 cup sugar and 1/4 to a 1/2 cup orange juice for the sauce. And then just fresh whipped cream.

      It was a huge hit.

    • Anonymous :

      I think scones would be rather close to biscuits, flavor-profile-wise and texture-wise. Since it sounds like you have a nice mix of savory thing, I’d suggest something sweet — specifically Smitten Kitchen’s baked French toast, which you can definitely make ahead and bake the day of!

  19. Can anyone recommend a relationship book that might help me? I’ve read Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, and it didn’t speak to me. I’m in a sort of stereotypical “starter marriage” that I’m unhappy with. We got married in our early twenties at a point in our relationship where we pretty much could have either broken up or gotten married, and marriage felt easier at the time. Now we’re basically glorified roommates in our late twenties. This should be the easiest/happiest time of our lives, and I’m just not happy. I’m planning to start counseling soon, but I’m hoping to find a book that can get me started figuring out what I want.

    • This has a schmaltzy self-help type title, but if you are interested in possibly trying to save your marriage, and your husband is willing to go through this book together with you, I found “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” to be incredibly helpful.

      It saved my marriage and strengthened it in ways I could not have imagined would be possible. My husband and I got married in our early 20s, and we’re now in our early 30s, and I am the most happy with him I have ever been. We went through the book together during a horribly rough patch where I thought about leaving on a near daily basis. The book was an act of desperation– a “you do this, or I’m out of here” sort of thing.

      • I feel you. I’m in a similar place and someone recommended No Cheating, No Dying (http://www.amazon.com/No-Cheating-Dying-Marriage-Better/dp/1439168229) I’ve just started it, but so far so good.

        Good luck in finding the best solution for you. I also highly recommend a few visits to a therapist. It’s amazing how helpful I’m finding that.

        • I read that and didn’t love it, and I doubt it would have been helpful if my marriage were troubled. YMMV, but I suspect it won’t be very easily relevant. It is basically a description of a year in a reasonably happy couple’s life when the wife tries all these classes and therapies and theories to strengthen their relationship further. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t find it particularly enlightening.

    • The book “Project- Happily Ever After: Saving your marriage when the fairy tale falters” has been mentioned by several people as a helpful book, if you wish to save the marriage. It might also be helpful to show you that there’s nothing to save. Good luck.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’m a Gottman fan and second the recommendation for Seven Principles. I also love Passionate Marriage by Dr. David Schnarch. He also has a newer book, the name of which escapes me. He approaches marital problems by starting with the sexual relationship, which I find interesting and compelling.

      The one thing I learned from my own (failed) marriage is that both parties really need to be bought in and willing to work on the relationship. If only one spouse has any skin in the game, it’s pretty well impossible to make it work.

    • Anonymous :

      The Truth About Love by Dr. Patricia Love. I liked that it explained/made sense of why I was feelings some of the things I was feeling.

    • Silvercurls :

      I’m sharing these three titles (listed below) because the books have accompanied me through several moves and more than one decade of marriage. The last title sounds preachy but I don’t remember the book as being so, and I’m definitely _not_ listing it here in that spirit. Good luck to you, whatever you decide. I hope you and your spouse find your way either to whole-heartedly reconnecting or resolving to go your separate ways.

      You don’t specify gender, so I”ll just give a blanket apology to you and anyone else reading this: These books are 25+ years old, so they probably just assumed that “marriage” meant “heterosexuals only.” Post-industrial modern society has significantly improved re marriage equality since I was in my early, middle, or late 20s.

      Oh–not having any electronic readers I have no awareness re whether these books are available in formats other than print. BUT as a longtime library lover I can suggest you look them up online…and check out whether you can use the library in the next town, city, or county because lots of areas have reciprocal agreements. Enough from me. Hugs and good reading and thinking.

      Love is never enough: How couples can overcome misunderstandings, resolve conflicts, and solve relationship problems through cognitive therapy / Aaron T. Beck, MD . 1988. Frequently reprinted, still in print.

      Getting the love you want: A guide for couples / Harville Hendrix . 1988. Also still in print. Subsequently published titles include “The Getting the Love You Want Workbook” and “Keeping the love you want.”

      Necessary losses: The loves, illusions, dependencies and impossible expectations that all of us have to give up in order to grow / Judith Viorst. 1986. Quotes from a lot of poetry & prose.

    • Calling in the One. It has a super cheesy title, but the book is pretty good and would benefit anyone, even those not looking for a mate or seeking relationship help.

  20. Anon Associate :

    Ladies, just want to vent/be sad that I messed up a deadline at work and now we can’t provide a service to our clients that we promised… I feel terrible, and I brought it to the attention of the leads as soon as I discovered my error, but there’s not really anything to be done about it. I just feel so bad that I missed it. I will triple-check things like this in the future, but is there anything else I can do to move on from this and redeem myself? Thanks so much.

    • That’s a terrible feeling. I think the only thing is tell yourself that everyone has been in this situation before (not an excuse, of course, but it’s nice to know that you aren’t the only person making stupid mistakes), and the best reaction is to learn from your experience. I once sent what I thought was a blank form to a client; it was actually filled in by another client. !!!!! You can bet that I open every attachment before sending an email now. Live and learn.

    • The same thing happened to me this week, and the consequences for my client are pretty dire. I felt sick about it. Luckily, we were able to schedule a short order emergency motion hearing for Monday.

      All I hope to take from this is the memory of my client’s heartbroken voice on the phone to keep me hyper-vigilant about these things.

  21. Meg Murry :

    I’ve been trying to step up my weekend look a little from my typical jeans & t-shirts, and I’ve been playing around with skirts and leggings as suggested here a while back. But what shoes would you recommend with that? Plain ballet flats tend to cut up my feet, and aren’t so great for chasing my kids around. With jeans I just wear sneakers, but the ones I have look silly with leggings and skirts. What’s your go-to weekend shoe?

    • If it’s cold enough out to need leggings with skirts, flat or low heeled boots or booties would work well.

    • Weekend shoes :

      Check out Keen mary janes. They have several styles and they’re cute and function like sneakers in terms of children chasing.

    • A good blog for casual outfit ideas is Ain’t No Mom Jeans. She rocks skinnies, leggings, and casual skirts all the time, and always has cute shoes that she can run after kids in.

    • Gentle souls bay braid

    • Brogues :)

  22. Any recommendations for an eye cream for someone with very dry, sensitive skin (to the extent that I sometimes get eczema on my eyelids)? I went through a few that either weren’t hydrating enough or irritated my eyes/skin a while back and quit using anything except Cetaphil cream, but that just isn’t enough. Thanks!

    • My skin is really sensitive – gets red if I smile too big, even – and I swear by Josie Maran 100% argan oil. I use a few drops all over my (clean, dry) face and let it sink in before using any other moisturizer.

  23. Miz Swizz :

    Should we get a dog?

    My husband and I are buying our first home (closing in less than a month!) and we’re both dying to get a dog. We both work full-time and wouldn’t be in a position to easily go home and let the dog out over lunch but we have a fenced-in yard. Try to talk me into it, out of it, or just give me advice if you have some! Please and thanks!!

    • We both work-full time, and we have a (large) dog. He gets a long walk or romp in the play-yard in the morning and another at night, and then our awesome dogwalker comes daily (m-f) for a mid-day walk/romp. He definitely gets enough exercise, and is happy. And when we come home early, he’s snoozing on the couch, so he’s not moping around or eating our shoes.

    • Confirmation Gift :

      What sort of climate are you in? Would you have a dog door into the house or somewhere the dog can go in extreme temps or weather? We have a fenced in yard and leave our dog out there on nice days but still employ a dog walker year round for when it is too hot or cold or stormy to leave her outside (she is walked even on the nice days when she is outside as she is a super social dog). It is not cheap to do so, but I don’t think its fair to the dog otherwise if you can’t come home in the middle of the day.

      • I’m anon from 442, and yes, definitely do the math and make sure you are comfortable with the cost. After housing and groceries, the dog-walker is my third largest monthly expense (more than health insurance, gas, etc) – but it is the best money I spend because it means I get to have my best buddy.

        • Wildkitten :

          My pup is my single biggest expense (my BF pays rent) and she’s worth every penny.

      • Confirmation Gift :

        And by fair, I mean dog should either have access to somewhere warm/cool as needed or you have someone come check on them. Not trying to say everyone needs a dog walker!

    • I work full time, go to class on the weekends, and have a 6yr old shepherd/collie mix who is the best decision I ever made. We have been through a ton over that six years, including multiple moves and job changes and he rolls with it all pretty great.
      The best thing I can tell you is research. I had read all the books and knew what personality I was looking for. Breeds too, I knew I wanted a mutt, but specifically a shepherd mix as I like the personality, but no matter if you go the rescue or the breeder route know what the breed of dog you are looking at is like. I have a pretty lazy dog. He was a lazy puppy, that is why I picked him :) . A thirty minute walk after work and he is happy as can be and will sleep the rest of the night on the couch next to me. I have a fenced in yard and he usually spends the morning outside while I am getting ready for work checking out the squirrels but like I said lazy in general. Also, small dogs = small bladders. It will be harder to leave them all day without accidents.

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t know that the small dogs = small bladders thing is necessarily true. My two-year-old dog is 15 pounds and can go 10 hours without having to go to the bathroom. My friend has the exact same breed, exact same age, but 70 pound dog, and he pees ALL. THE. TIME. He pees inside, outside, and constantly on walks. And it’s a pretty large volume of pee each time, so it’s not just that he’s marking a tiny bit each time. He drinks about 5x as much water as my dog–when he comes to visit, I am refilling the bowl about every 10 minutes, whereas that bowl would last my dog all day.

        • I’m sorry to be nosy, but what breed of dog varies between 15 pounds and 70 pounds for dogs of identical age?

    • I would wait until you’re in your new house for a few months. The first few months in a new home can be stressful, taking care of house & yard can be time-consuming, you may be sorting out commuting, etc. — better to be more settled before introducing a new complication (albeit a fuzzy happy one).

      Good luck!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Consider getting an older rescue dog! They need a lot of attention at first to bond with you, but they’re generally able to entertain themselves, and there are fewer accidents. They also require less exuberant and constant exercise.

      • Just A Thought :

        +1,000,000 Only my rescue dog and I had each other at hello. The vet told me she was 10y.o. when I rescued her. She’s now 14-1/2 and going strong. She’s also the sweetest, most appreciative, and well behaved dog ever.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      From your comment about “fenced in yard,” I’m concerned you’re considering leaving the dog alone outside in the yard all day. This can be a really bad idea for the dog – there’s a lot more ways to get into trouble alone outside for hours and hours, your dog would be vulnerable to the elements (sudden rainstorms/temp drops/excessive heat), and (if the dog is a barker) you run the risk of really annoying your neighbors, which could end up posing a risk to the dog. (I hate to be fatalistic about it, but I’ve seen news reports about dogs in this scenario being poisoned or otherwise harmed by an angry neighbor who couldn’t take the barking.)

      As others have suggested, settle in to the house first – from what I understand, home ownership comes with a ton of “hidden costs” – make sure you’re set and comfortable financially before taking on this responsibility.

      I completely understand the impulse to run out and get a dog (because in this situation I’d feel the exact same way), but I think you’ll be in a much better position to be successful dog owners if you give it a few months.

      • Miz Swizz :

        You raise some valid points and I wouldn’t want to leave a dog outside all day everyday. I was including that because I didn’t want people to think we would leave our dog inside all day right after getting him or her.

        Also, as much as I’d love to run out and get a dog, I understand we need to get used to be homeowners. I just worry we’re both so enamored with the idea of a dog that I wanted some outside perspective.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      Are you using the dog as “practice” for a baby? I know a lot of people who bought a house, bought a dog, had a baby two years later, and then were really stuck with this dog that no longer fit their lives. Don’t be those people. I think the time to get a dog is either years and years BEFORE you have kids, or when your kids are all old enough to have the dog be their dog. (I have a four year old and we’re not there yet. Maybe at 8?)

      • Miz Swizz :

        We’ve wanted a dog for a while and we aren’t years and years from having kids but we also legitimately want a dog. This is all good food for thought.

    • I’m currently going back and forth about dog #2 :). I would definitely wait a few months to get used to your new house. I assume you’ll also have new commutes to get used to, and the money is an issue. You’ll have your regular costs with a dog (food, regular vet care, potentially doggie day care or dog walker) and then the occasional stuff, like dog sitting when you’re out of town and unplanned vet expenses (emergency vet can run $150+ just to walk in the door). Also, remember that once you have a dog at home, either you or your husband will have to go right home after work–no happy hours, workouts at the gym, meeting friends for dinner. It’s not the biggest deal for us, since my SO and I just coordinate when one of us has to stay late at work or wants to go to a happy hour, but it’s something to consider if you’re usually pretty busy on weeknights.

      Having a fenced in yard is nice (we don’t have one, though). You can get a doggie door and train your dog to go out to use the bathroom on her own. If you get the right energy level dog, you might be fine leaving her during the day with a walk/play session before and after work. I would suggest an adult dog. Puppies are super cute, but I just do not have the interest/time (our dog is so mellow and sweet, and was totally housetrained when we adopted her at the age of 4), and there are so many older dogs needing homes anyway.

      You might start looking at rescues in your area (or breeders, but I really encourage you to go the rescue route) to get to know how the groups work and how they know about the dogs they place, because it will be helpful if the rescue can give you reliable info about each dog’s activity level and temperament.

    • Wildkitten :

      Yup. You should get a dog. I have to pay for a walker every day in my tiny apartment and long hours and my pup still makes life worth living. Get an awesome older rescue so you can be grateful and not feel guilty.

    • We have a house, a yard, a dog door, and two big dogs. One of them would be perfectly fine if my husband and I both worked… he doesn’t bark, lets himself out to go to the bathroom when he needs it, and loves that when we’re not home no one yells at him when he sleeps on the couch. Our other dog can’t be left alone for more than four or five hours a day. He gets mild separation anxiety and will eat books, shoes, and even furniture if he’s not put in his crate… but when he’s in the crate he can’t go to the bathroom or even get a drink (we got him a waterbottle but he destroyed it) and he understandably gets stir crazy if he’s left in there too long. We have to exercise him like crazy before we leave, put him in the crate with treats and toys, and then hurry home after just a few hours (luckily my husband is a student and has a really flexible schedule). Our guys are the same age, same breed, but have hugely different personalities.

      My point, I guess, is that it’s totally doable (and worth it!) with the right dog but it would probably be a good idea to look for an adult dog so you can hunt out one who you know would be happy just chilling during the days.

      Also, doggy daycare can be a great alternative to a dog walker if you can commit to consistently make the pickup time. It’s not nearly as expensive as child daycare, ours is $12 and less is you prepay in bulk, plus a lot of dogs get so exhausted playing with the other dogs that they only need to go every other day to stay stimulated. Once my husband graduates, this is definitely what we’ll need to do with our chewer.

  24. I posted this earlier but it was probably late. Any recommendations for getting tailored clothing in Thailand or is that done mostly in China? I will be in Bangkok for 3 days this summer and would love to get a tailored dress made if possible.

    • West Coast :

      I’ve spent a lot of time over in both Thailand and China and have tried customer clothing a few times. This has been my experience:
      – You might not have time. A standard timeline would be: visit the shop night 1, first fitting night 2, final fitting night 3, pick-up day 4. Sometimes a 2nd fitting wasn’t needed, but it usually was for me.
      – They are pretty good at making men’s clothing, but not so good at women’s.
      – I am pretty busty and no one could really make a tailored suit that fit me–I tried multiple times
      – The quality was always so-so, e.g.: jacket material was fused and started to get wrinkles; they would put 3 buttons on the sleeve, but they were just for show on a closed sleeve–it looked embarrassing.
      – They make their money on the fabric markup, not the labor, so they skimp on any details that might require extra fabric.
      – Their fabrics are not very modern, another reason why they are better for men than women–most suits and dresses that are made now for women are made from fairly advanced fabrics (e.g. with stretch) that improve fit for us.
      – Any dresses I saw shown were more towards the ‘miss america’ end of things–it will be hard to work with them on a design that will not look dated.

      For my money, you would be better off getting a nice dress of ebay that is a size too big and having tailored to fit you.

    • I’ve done it before and had good success. The difference between shops is huge and, like many things, you will get better result if you go to a more expensive shop. However, then you are spending a similar amount to what you would spend back home (especially in Bangkok, which I found to be more expensive). So, it’s a fun experience, you can get a unique piece that really suits your style, but don’t expect that you will get some amazing deal.

      A few suggestions: 1) Given the short time frame, you have to order the clothing you first day. 2) If at all possible, bring a picture of what you want. Unless you are great at describing things, a picture of the dress style is going to held ensure you get what you want. (3) describe how you want the clothing to fit. I’ve had a few places make a work dress too tight because they didn’t understand the difference between work clothing and play clothing.

  25. My favorite casual shoes are vans–the all black ones that tie. I have also seen them in gray with hot pink that are really cute.

  26. Sydney Bristow :

    Does anyone know of a good book about Las Vegas? My sister will be moving there soon and I want to get her a housewarming gift. Someone gave me a book filled with stories from famous peoples’ first years living in New York when I moved here that I thought was so sweet. Is there anything similar for Vegas? Another idea I had was a coffee table book with pictures of the history of Vegas. Any ideas?

    • West Coast :

      Some of my friends that have moved to Vegas to work in management for the casinos. From my visits, I’ve learned that most locals avoid the Strip at all costs. What might be a nice gift could be a book on hiking near Las Vegas (a lot of the hikes are at a higher altitude where it is cooler). On a separate note, it’s a hard place to develop your network, especially given that the intellectually oriented community is small and transient. My friends been successful in doing so by leveraging alumni associations and and other groups such as the Junior League.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        A book on nearby hikes is an awesome idea. She and her boyfriend would love that. Thanks so much for the idea!

  27. Sorry if this posts twice, computer (user) problems…
    After the comments about the Austin Reed suit posted recently, I thought I’d add that they have a bank holiday sale on, 20% off all full-price goods (and free worldwide shipping).

  28. StockbrokerSuzie :

    Hey, I’m new to commenting but not to reading although I haven’t seen anything on this.
    Married, 3 kids under 10.
    Both highly responsible and stressful careers, but we both like our jobs for the most part. He’s quite stressed right now.

    We’ve been together 21 years, since we were both broke grad students. I am finding, as he becomes more and more senior at work, he more and more seems to think I am his secretary or personal assistant.

    His job is his job, and everything else is my job, or some other woman’s. He was complaining about our nanny the other day because she doesn’ t hang his shirts properly. He was also complaining that she had been late that morning (she sings in her church choir one morning a week and is always late that day. No biggie as I know this and don’t schedule early meetings that day).

    I find I am liking him less and less. He is yelling at the kids a lot lately too.

    Not that it makes any real difference but I make about $100k more than him. He’s very successful and senior in his industry, but I am in a more lucrative field (I am pretty middle of the road sucessful in my office, perhpas due to not having a SAHW like the vast majority of my male colleauges do).

    He’s in such a crappy mood lately I have trouble bringing it up. Easier just to hang out with the kids in another room.

    Any advice?

    • Wildkitten :


      • Senior Attorney :


        A good therapist can help you sort out your needs and your boundaries and help you figure out the best way to approach your husband.

        Because what you describe is not acceptable and it’s not likely to get better on its own.

    • You have to bring it up, even though it’s likely to be an uncomfortable conversation. I know that when my DH calls me out on crappy behavior, I feel defensive and sometimes embarrassed, but I also am grateful that he did it. If your DH doesn’t know that he’s making a jerk of himself, then he won’t do anything differently.

      You can start it out with concern instead of accusations. “Babe, I’ve noticed that you’re really stressed and acting different lately. Can you tell me what’s going on?” After he talks about it, and you respond to his stressors, then you tell him that he has been treating you like an assistant at home. Set limits for what’s okay – maybe he has something that, once he gets through it, he’ll be better – and then bring it up again if he backslides.

      I’m saying all this assuming that you want to like him again. If you do, you should give him the chance to step up.

      • Silvercurls :

        +1 to both of these. Sorry this is happening. I hope things ease up for both of you.

  29. Wildkitten :

    There have been good talks about how to be a good bride here. How do you be a good bridesmaid or be a good maid of honor? My Big is getting hitched and I want to be supportive.

  30. Flying Squirrel :

    I’m reposting. I may have a job interview coming up for a position for which I am an excellent match based on my technical background and experience. The challenge is that it also has management responsibilities. And while I am looking for that in my next role, I’ve never had direct reports before. Management experience is not required, but I’ve been told they will at least have some questions to assess whether the candidate has thought about what it would take to be a good manager etc.

    Any suggestions on things to think about/bring up? And if all goes well, any suggestions on how to prepare for the role?

    • NWanalyst :

      Having some limited supervisory experience myself (and having watched some colleagues transition into management roles), my impression is that you’ll mostly be asked about how you’ll handle both the day-to-day “manager” tasks, as well as the more infrequent challenges that are manager-specific. There’s probably, to some extent, a certain management framework or style that this organization prefers… I’d ask about that. In particular, the team you’ll be managing probably has a way that they’ve been doing things, so that’s good to ask about as well (and it’ll show you care about making your reports feel comfortable). You can probably expect to be asked about some of the “tough” specific challenges, like what you’d do if someone didn’t show up for work, or if they missed a deadline, or if there was conflict between one of your reports and a coworker.

      I’d certainly ask about how the team’s performance is assessed, and which areas they feel the team excels in. Definitely ask about challenges/problem areas… in my experience, those are the things that they’re hoping the new manager will fix. I’d dig into anything like that, ask for details, ask what has/hasn’t worked in the past, and why they think that is. I’d also ask specific questions about each member of the team–their skills, responsibilities, strengths, and weaknesses… this will show that you care about them as individuals.

      This is by no means a complete list, but I hope you find it helpful. Good luck! :)

    • West Coast :

      When I interview people coming into a role with supervisory responsibilities, I ask questions about times the person has mentored someone, given feedback to a colleague, done something for their teammates that motivated or created team spirit and managed a conflict within their current team. These questions let me gauge the level of leadership a person has shown within their current or previous roles that would be translatable to a managerial role.

      I also like to ask how a person might go about setting and communicating your expectations to the team.

    • Silvercurls :

      Combine the advice here and the advice available from blogger Alison Greene at AskAManager(dot)org. Also search archives both here and there.

  31. NWanalyst :

    Ladies, can you help me with a tough challenge? I’m looking for unscented hair products that are just generally low in chemical additives. Unfortunately, almost all preservatives and fragrances give me dreadful rashes and headaches, and even organic/natural products tend to have something that I react to. I have been using baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair for three years, and while I’m plenty *clean*, I am getting more and more self-conscious of the frizz. I’ve tried pure silicone and plain vegetable oils as hair serum, but I just can’t seem to get them to distribute evenly over my hair without turning it into an oil slick.

    This is where I need your help. Would you please give me the names of any unscented and/or low-chemical hair products that have worked well for you? If you can give me a list of options to test, I think it will make this hunt much less difficult. Thank you for reading!

    • Canadian Natasha :

      Have you tried using something like mashed avocado or full fat organic yogurt as a conditioner? I don’t use these myself- my hair need no help in that direction- but I’ve heard they work nicely from several sources.

    • I react to everything too. Nothing’s wholly harmless, but the free & clear shampoo &conditioner, and the fragrance free line at whole foods are pretty much as good as it gets. Both conditioners are okay w/re frizz – better than nothing, but no miracle.


      Hope it gets better for you!

    • I like the Live Clean line of shampoo and conditioner: http://www.live-clean.com/collections/Shampoo%20%7Camp%7C%20Conditioner

    • darjeeling :

      we use Dr. Bronner’s unscented (diluted) on our kids’ hair and it works well, if a little drying

    • layered bob :

      Jessicurl is the one that comes to mind – all of the products come in fragrance-free and there are explanations on the website for why each specific ingredient is included and where it comes from. I am pretty reactive and they do not make me react, although if you are super sensitive I would also stay away from two of the gels (the one that is flax-seed based should be ok?).

    • Try a coconut oil mask once every other week or so. Melt some in your hand and apply to your hair. If you have oily hair, avoid the scalp, and apply middle to ends only. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes. You can use a disposable shower cap or old towel to keep your hair out of the way during this time. Wash out. This will sometimes take two washings. Enjoy soft, shiny, frizz-free hair for a few days.

  32. Canadian Natasha :

    Does anyone have recommendations for a good non-aerosol hair product to asdd texture to short pixie cut hair? My hair is fine, but there is a lot of it and it has a bit of wave. I don’t want the wet look and the only suggestions I’ve gotten from people I know end up too greasy looking for my hair. Under $20 is a good price point. Thanks in advance!

    • Canadian Natasha :

      Oops,that’s “add”. Stupid tablet likes to throw extra letters in random places. Blame the technology not the operator, right? ;)

    • If you can get the VO5 products where you are then I recommend those. They have two salt texture sprays – one in a normal plastic spray bottle and one in a spray can. Personally I think the one in a can is better (it distributes the product more evenly rather than just in a jet) but the other one is still great.

      They also do a ‘tame and shine spray’ which I can’t not mention – it’s designed for use with hair straighteners but I put it on my brush and then brush it through, and it helps to tame my hair, which is, like yours, fine-but-lots-of-it.

      They also do an instant oomph powder which is meant to be good, but I haven’t tried it.

    • Wildkitten :

      Cap Hill Style likes this product that might meet your needs – I haven’t tried it yet myself: http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod4270041

    • Powder Play, by Big Sexy Hair (the red and black packaging)… it is amazing! A bit expensive, but the tiny bottle has already lasted me 6 months with daily use. It comes out too fast, so I recommend putting a piece of tape over all bit 2 of the shaker holes. It gives instant texture and lift and blends in instantly to my dark hair. I’ve tried a few other brands of “hair powders” and this is my favorite by a large margin.

    • Lawyer costume :

      shu uemura art of hair liquid fabric mineral texture spray

      I don’t know the price point. It might be more than $20. But incredible and absolutely worth it! I used to use it myself when my hair was in a pixie cut.

  33. Terrible Horrible No Good Week :

    How do you bring yourself back after a really bad week? I feel like I just emerged from the week from h*ll, and the thought of going back on Monday just makes me want to curl up and hide in bed. To complicate matters, I will be giving notice in a few weeks (although no one at work knows yet), so I really just have no motivation left to deal with the crazy. How do you get through the final stretch?

    • Wildkitten :

      After a really bad week? Treat yoself. Sleep in, clean yourself and your house for a fresh start. How to get through the crazy? I like the “drinking game” strategy that is popular on thissite. Don’t actually drink at work – but you can make a bingo of the crazy to play.

    • lawsuited :

      Take comfort in the fact that this h*ll will soon not be your problem. Your internal mantra = SEE YA, JERKS!

  34. Eddie Bauer :

    Has anyone ordered online from Eddie Bauer recently? Their free shipping says 7-10 days, does it seriously take that long?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve ordered twice in the last 6 months and it really does seem to take awhile. Normally it’s not that the actual shipping takes that long, but it seems to take a few days before leaving the warehouse.

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