Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Leather-Trim Ponte Flounce Skirt

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

Jason Wu Leather-Trim Ponte Flounce SkirtI spied this ponte flounce skirt on a “midday dash” last week — but this morning there’s actually a better price on it. It looks to be the perfect flounce skirt for work — fully lined in silk/spandex, all-around pleats, and a bit of a lux touch of lambskin leather at the waist. The price is pretty good, too: the skirt was $825, but it’s now marked to $330. (There is another listing for a Wu ponte skirt that looks almost identical (and has more sizes), but is only marked from $825 to $414. Curious.) Happy Monday! Jason Wu Leather-Trim Ponte Flounce Skirt

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  1. I really like this! Way outta my price range right now… I think we may have touched on this a few weeks ago, and I have a sort-of follow-up question. Does anyone have thoughts on holiday season/Happy New Year email (not card) to what I would call my “network”? Not close friends and family, but acquaintances and professional contacts.

    I know someone who does this, and I think it is a nice way to stay in touch without being too personal. He keeps his email short and sweet. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

    • Yeah, I really like this pick, too. So sick of sleeveless dresses. Good price-sleuthing, too, Kat!

      Re: have you ever received a Happy New Year/holidays email from someon in your network that you liked? If you have, how about using that as your template. Or ask that someone you know to send you his form email.

      • I think my response was eaten. Susedna- that is a great idea. I will follow this guy’s template.
        I’ll keep it short and sweet. I guess it is 2013, and you never know when the sender of the recipient of such an email will be very happy to have that connection. It is always nice to get email that isn’t an ad or work-related. :)
        BTW- Susedna. I wrote a few months ago about a bully at work. I got my manager involved, and the behavior has stopped. Plus, the bully got a talking-to from HR.

        • Re: the workplace bully you dealt with
          I’m really glad to see this update, Avodah! And glad that your manager stepped up. It’s only when the manager is a wimp or a bully him/herself, that calls for some guerrilla tactics!

          • My situation that I wrote to Ask A Manager was the latter. It got resolved when the president of the company got on the bully HR manager and then the bully himself, quit. It all worked out, but it portends very, very badly for the company that the HR manager is a bully herself.

        • Unfortunately, in my very short work history (I’m in my late twenties) I have found HR people to be the worst. Like, the Office Manager/HR person/Angry Superintendent types to be the worst of them all. I know how to spot them now, and if I ever interview with one again I will turn down the offer.

    • Many managers in sales/ relationship management functions discourage their staff from sending blast e-mails with generic greetings because they come across as low-effort and impersonal to the point of being irritating. A personalised email is better and it would be even better to propose an in-person catch-up at the same time. The new year is ideal for this because many people start the year with open diaries and in a relatively state of mind.

      • I don’t think anyone in this thread said anything about a blast email. The OP can easily take a template (short, sweet), and personalize a bit to each recipient.

        • Amen. I did not mean a blast email to anyone who I’ve talked to ever. I just meant a nice New Year update to people who are contacts, but I usually only talk to a few times per year.

    • wildkitten :

      Paperless post might be good for this.

  2. East Coast Anon :

    Some Monday morning inspiration for those of you who dream about leaving the law profession.

    How Keija Minor Became Editor in Chief of Brides Magazine

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I really wish that articles like that would go into the person’s background a little more. How did she know that publishing was what she really wanted to do? I think that is the part many people get stuck on. Good for her for realizing what she really wanted and making it happen though.

    • FYI, that link is NSFW (or at least my work place!). See: Ms. Kardashian’s get-up towards the bottom of the article.

  3. Immediate TJ :

    Does anyone have experience applying for short-term disability insurance in the US? DH and I are TTC, but I’m a fed (non-union) and hence have no optionto sign up for employer-sponsored short-term disability insurance. Any recommendations on carriers to look into would be helpful! It seems many only offer employer-sponsored plans.

    I’m thinking I’d like a short benefit period (maybe a bit more than the 6 weeks typically allowable for a “normal” childbirth), and immediate benefits (no elimination period).

    Thanks in advance.

    • I have Aflac and used it with a pregnancy and when I had my gallbladder removed. Very worth it! Painless to apply and to have benefits distributed. Childbirth benefits are pretty standard across all carriers, I think — 6 weeks for a “normal” delivery, 8 weeks for a c-section.

      • cold in Chicago... :

        Interesting. How much was your benefit, and there wasn’t a waiting period?

        • Hmmm. There was a waiting period — maybe 2 weeks? — but my sick time covered it. My benefit was something like 80% of pay, I think? It’s terrible that I can’t remember! They have all kinds of plans you can choose from, though.

    • cold in Chicago... :

      Wow, you can do this? You mean a private insurance plan you purchase? I would be amazed if they would allow you to to take advantage of the benefit for childbirth, and even if they did, I would be amazed if they didn’t have an exclusion/waiting period before you could use. If they didn’t, every woman would buy one when needed.

      Maybe I’m clueless though…. I’ll be following this thread.

      Employers really let you use short term disability for childbirth? Pretty sweet.

      • marketingchic :

        I used short term disability (and vacation) for my maternity leave. My employer offers no paid maternity leave – this is how we’re expected to do it.

        • sweet as soda pop :

          Same at my Fortune 5 company.

        • +1. I work for state government and used a combination of short-term diability, vacation and sick days and still had a small portion of unpaid leave at the end. I hoarded my sick days during my pregnancy. It was hard to never take a day off during the pregnancy, but I wanted to save as many as possible for after my baby was born.

        • In House Lobbyist :

          My large company provides maternity leave with short term disability plan. I was “lucky” that I had a c-section and got 8 weeks. The first 7 days I had to use my vacation days however. Regular deliveries were 6 weeks.

      • To answer your question, the exclusion catch is generally a 9 month waiting period. So you need to have it in place before you get pregnant. And yes, many employers/employees use disability as a way to offer some “paid” maternity leave. Childbirth is a significant event to happen to your body. A c-section is major abdominal surgery. Even with an uncomplicated vag birth, there was no way I could have gone right back to work.

      • I actually realized this when looking at a thissite thread a couple of months ago…I think the Tales from the Wallet one on insurance. Just google thissite + Tales from the Wallet and it will come up.

      • Pretty sweet? Try pretty crappy. A decent workplace should offer paid parental leave (to both parties). The fact the federal government doesn’t again says something about our priorities as a country.

        end soapbox rant.

        • Agree. I resent the “cold in Chicago”‘s implication that women are somehow gaming the system when they’re actually trying to do the best they can with a crappy system. Pregnancy, birth, and recovery are hard enough without this ungenerous attitude. If people want to keep a healthy (a.k.a. not-like-Japan’s) birthrate, they need to cut this crap attitude.

        • +1

          • warming up in Chicago... :

            Wow – nasty … I didn’t know this and was happy to learn about it for myself! That’s why I asked more questions. Another poster also said she only learned about this on this site.

            No wonder people resent us for taking maternity leave… wow, take a chill pill.

          • Grow up already, warming up in Chicago.

            Your asking a stupid question that presumed that women were taking advantage of the system does not justify resentment of women taking maternal leave.

          • warming up in Chicago... :


            No, you are nasty. Was that really necessary?

      • Yes… being pregnant is actually considered a special medical condition and childbirth is a major traumatic event for your body! It takes at least a full six weeks to recover from giving birth vaginally (or 8 for a Cesarean). I am going to assume that you are just clueless here, and not against women having children. Most women in America have to take disability because their employer doesn’t offer an alternate leave. It’s just how it works. Same if you were out because of surgery or chemotherapy or any other medical condition.

      • Flying Squirrel :

        STD is a pretty standard way for employers to cover at least part of maternity leave benefits (even if they offer extended benefits beyond the post-partum recovery period). In some states, like California, it’s mandated if the employer wants to opt out of paying into the state disability plan.

    • I have a policy through Colonial that I pay the premium for. Not sure if they take individual policies.

    • I don’t have paid maternity benefits or disability through my employer. I tried to buy some individually when we started thinking about having a baby and every carrier told me they didn’t sell private plans — I could only get it through my employer.

    • Houston Attny :

      I have one through the State Bar Insurance Trust. If you’re are an attorney or are licensed in some way, perhaps check your licensing agency to see if there is something there.

    • My (company) policy is through Unum. They might have a policy you can buy as an individual. They do have an exclusion – you can’t give birth within one year of purchasing the policy (otherwise its considered a “pre-existing condition”). My premium is based on the lenghth of disability and amount of payout – which is based on a dollar amount rather than a percent of paycheck. I get up to 6 months, with a 2 week wait for benefits.

  4. Back to Work :

    Today’s my first full(ish) day back to work after maternity leave. I need a pep talk. This has to get better, right? Baby is only 3 months old, and we had a great morning together. And I left her happy as a (slightly overwhelmed) clam in the swing. But then I cried the entire way home, and basically haven’t been able to pull it together since then (luckily, I’m working from home for the next few weeks to help with the transition).

    I guess I just want sympathy. Or encouragement. But tips and tricks on how to make being a working mom successful would be appreciated, too.


    • Oh, hugs. You can do it! The first two weeks are the hardest, emotionally. Every working mom that I know (myself included) that has cried at some point when they came back to work. It’s a rough transition to go from being with your baby for almost every hour of every day to working for most of the day.

      When I came back after my first, for the first few days I would literally sit and count the hours until I could leave and pick up my son. And I basically wouldn’t put him down once I got home with him. But you learn to adjust and start to get in to a new routine. And you’ll figure out ways to spend quality time with her in the mornings and at night. In the meantime, focus on things that you can’t do while you are with your daughter. I love the ability to run to lunch whenever I want. Or go to the bathroom whenever I want. Focusing on things like that always helped me.

      • Out of curiosity, do any of you know about how the fathers feel about this transition if they took any parental leave?

        I think it’d be depressing if this is just a mom thing. (As in, easier for lazy men to make the argument to try to push women to stay home when they don’t want to because of the ’emotional impact.’)

        • I asked one of my male colleagues if it is hard for him to be away from his kids, and he said, “no.” Pretty much like that. I’m sure/hope that many others do struggle. He did say that he wishes he was around to help his wife more during the day.

        • I can tell you that my husband took about two weeks leave for both of our sons and, while he didn’t cry (he’s the type that doesn’t…we’ve been married 8 years and I’ve literally never seen him cry), he did say that he really missed the babies during the day. Just anecdotally, the young dads that I’ve talked to at work also say the same thing. I think they’re quicker to say, though, “But I really enjoy having more free time/time to myself now that I’m back in the office!” …even if moms also eventually feel that way. We just think we shouldn’t say that.

        • Men don’t get the horrible “mommy-guilt.” We women really really really need to stop feeling guilty about leaving our children at daycare. It’s GOOD for them to socialize with other children! It’s GOOD for them to have moms who have lives outside of their children.

          • Back to Work :

            Yeah, I’m sure the baby is fine. It’s just me. She’s a really well behaved baby and fun to be with, so I just miss hanging out with her.

        • I think some men do have trouble with it, but it’s just not physiological in the same way. Women have hormones that make them want to be with their babies. And while men’s bodies release some bonding hormones after birth, they’re not quite the same. I’m not sure it’s men being lazy. I just think there are chemicals in there doing their thing that makes it more difficult for women. I don’t believe in gender essentialism (I clearly lack several “essential” feminine traits) but childbirth is just totally different from everything else.

          • I completely agree with this. I’ve talked about this often with my husband, and my feelings about our daughter are just more visceral. Hormones definitely do their thing.

          • I do sometimes wonder if there’s just a pre-programmed instinct thing too. I am a stepmom to a 13 year old girl. I’ve only been in her life for 3 years so it’s not like I’ve watched her grow up or have any hormonal bond with her, but I tend to have more visceral reactions to her hurts, problems, etc. than my husband does. He’s just kind of like “eh, crap happens, she’ll be fine. I’m not worried.” And I just want to yell “how are you not worried????” But maybe I’m just an emotional sucker. :)

          • So much this. I had no idea how powerful the hormones would be until I had my son. They are no joke. Intellectually, I don’t feel guilty being away from him because I know he’s in a great daycare with caretakers who know a lot more about infant care than I do. But it hurts deep in my bones to be away from him. My husband loves him and misses him, but doesn’t feel that same fierce ache when we drop him off for the day.

        • I asked my husband about this when I was going back after maternity leave. He said it was easier for him because when he was going back to work, he knew the baby was home with me. By the time the baby was in day care (when I went back), he had already been leaving the baby for 11 weeks, so he was used to it. The transition was different for him. It also made a huge (HUGE) difference when we switched to a day care we loved instead of one that was just mediocre.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. It is hard to go back, especially when they are so small! If you can get your caregiver to send you videos of baby during the day, I found that that helped.

        Hugs – you can do it!

        • +1 on the videos. I still watch videos of my baby during the day (that I recorded earlier) and they really help me when I miss her or just need a boost!

    • Hugs. This is exactly how I felt on my first day back from maternity leave. My daughter was about 2.5 months old when I went back (part-time, from home). I dropped her off and then immediately fled daycare before I started bawling. Cried all the way home and barely pulled it together in time for a 10 am conference call. It gets easier – it really does. You always hear that the first year is the hardest, and it’s true. These first few months will be a bit of a blur – but you will get more comfortable with your childcare situation over time. Give yourself permission to revisit the whole thing at some specific interval – 6 or 9 months, for example.

      Most of all, sending you hugs. Also, read the milk memos for some laughs and cries.

      • Back to Work :

        I’m sure I can do it. And working is definitely the right choice for me/ our family. It’s just hard. And she’s just so darn cute. And an angel of a baby. Maybe I’d feel a little better if I was leaving a fussy grouch at daycare, but this kid sleeps like a champ and is all smiles all day long. No idea where she got this laid back personality because DH and I are super high maintenance. :)

        • Senior Attorney :

          I had a pretty easy baby, too, and my theory is “you get the baby you need!” ;)

          Hang in there! It’s only the first day! Give youself a break during the transition!

    • Big big hugs to you!! It does get easier, I promise. I agree that the first two weeks just kind of suck. After returning to work after my son was born, I bawled on the phone to my mom that it just didn’t feel right and I felt like my heart was being ripped open. And I think I continued to do that for a couple of days, but it does get better. You and your baby will get into a routine. I second the suggestion to do some things that you really enjoy: go out and get a cup of coffee. And then, drink it while its hot! And while reading the paper online or doing something else you enjoy. I think the first day back really is just about making it through the day.

      And I’m right there with you! Today is my first day back after my second. It is easier coming back from maternity leave the second time, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. I cried after I kissed my daughter this morning. I cried a bunch yesterday and last night. I just keep repeating this: “She is still my daughter, and I am still her mom. Working is not going to change that. She will love me and I will love her when I get home. She won’t have forgotten me in ten hours. I am providing for my family and providing a role model for her.”

      But, it still sucks.

      My husband is home with my daughter for a month. He did the same after our son was born, and he had a really rough time going back to work too. He missed my son, so I don’t think its just a mom thing, but instead that moms talk about it more.

      • This is a really interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. Interesting that your husband experienced similar.

        I do wonder, though, if because primarily it’s the women who talk about bawling and having a hard time on the first return to work, that it makes other women who might not feel guilty or bad about going back to work at all feel guilty. That old “guilty about not feeling guilty” thing.

        Seriously, I think the human desire to conform is just so damaging. And I do think that women have been socialized to be too other-focused, often to a fault. It doesn’t help anyone, and at worst, it bleeds into codependency.

        • Back to Work :

          I don’t actually feel guilty at all. Just sad and missing my little buddy. I asked DH how he did it (he had 3 weeks off), and he said he was sad but got to enjoy her when he got home. And I think it’s slightly different because when he went back, I was home. And now that I”m going back, she’s at daycare and I have to pump etc.

      • Back to Work :

        Yeah, no way I’m calling my mom. She stayed at home for 12-15 years (depends if you count “back to work” the way she does…) and “can’t imagine letting strangers raise your baby.” She doesn’t give me an actively hard time about it, but does/has made it clear that my choices are a whole lot different than hers were. Frankly, she was miserable and never really was able to re-enter the workforce because she left before she had established any kind of career.

        DH’s mom was a working mom, but took a year off when she had DH (only kid). She’s just sad for us that I can’t/ am not taking more time off, wishes she were closer to help out/snuggle the baby, but ultimately is just happy that I’m breastfeeding and that we make enough money that the baby will be able to go to college. Yes, these are verbatims.

        • Just another voice of support because I was raised by a SAHM mom who also can’t imagine letting strangers raise her babies. She was (is) an amazing mother and grandmother, but this is where she and I will just have to disagree. If you enjoy working (like I do) and the sadness is just from spending less time with your baby, I promise it will get better. The days will begin to fly by once you get into a routine and you’ll learn to cherish your quality time with your daughter.

          Oh, and pumping at work gets better, I promise. It’s never fun or easy, but you can quickly get into a groove that makes it tolerable.

        • Yikes. Then, no, I wouldn’t call either. Just know that there are other working moms out there who totally feel your pain. If you have any good friends who have gone before you, ths is a great time to reach out.

          Both my mom and DH’s mom were working mothers. My mother was a career Army officer and my husband’s mom worked for the federal government. This morning as I was getting ready, I remembered that we both had kick a#@ working moms who were great role models and we both turned out fine, neither of whom were able to take off more than a few weeks with each kid. (Seriously, my mom took off like 6 weeks after I was born, several weeks of which was her saved vacatation. Thank you FMLA, even if you are unpaid.)

        • Oy. I’m sorry you’re dealing with so much judgement from both parents. I read my parents (mom and dad) the riot act because those types of comments were infuriating and completely unhelpful. I told them that if they had nothing nice to say about how we were living our lives and raising our child they were welcome not to be a part of our lives or see our child. That stopped it (mostly).
          My husband totally backed me up and read his own mother the riot act for her ‘innocent’ commentary about how she ‘could never have left her precious babies’ etc. etc.
          It does get easier to be away the older they are and honestly, I enjoy working and being around other adults. It helps that we dedicate the majority of our evenings and weekends to the baby so I feel like we get lots of quality time in there.

        • Oh my, you have my sympathy. My mom was a SAHM and was miserable about it 90% of the time. She kept railing against how vulnerable it made her feel, how crappy she felt contributing no income, and how she never felt like a grownup because she was a financial dependent on my dad. She really would have been happier (and my dad would have been happier) had she just gone back to work.

          Now that I’m out of the house, she enjoys judging working moms for putting their children in day care and enjoys forwarding me (childless, not married) horror stories about children abused by caregivers and telling me I would never have the success (ha!) I had today had she allowed [gasp] strangers to take care of me.

          It really makes me uncomfortable to hear her self-justify a bad decision.

          • Back to Work :

            Yeah, my mom is crazypants. But I know that, so I tune her out. She is a lifelong martyr who GAVE UP HER [nonexistant] CAREER TO RAISE US. I used to feel bad, but then I grew up and realized she just likes to play the martyr about everything (her personal life, her family life, her work life, etc). I made a drinking game out of it with DH over Christmas.

        • You know, my mom was a SAHM and was (and still is) a wonderful mother, but she also pushed us all to get college degrees and graduate/ professional degrees after that. So, when she starts harping on us about leaving a three month old in daycare or stopping breastfeeding “too early” I remind her that its a different world and it was her influence that led us all to have multiple degrees (that involve debt) and careers and now we’re supposed to drop all of that? Its incongruous. I wouldn’t have gotten the degrees and wouldn’t have worked so hard just to drop out for 12 years like she did.

          Not really anything to add; just sympathy about the mother thing and the difficult position that women are put in / the incongruity between what we’re told in our 20s about how we should be vs. in out late 2os and 30s when we start having kids.

        • On the “strangers raising your baby” point, your daycare providers will not be strangers for long! I have been back to work post-maternity for three months now and my son is at an excellent daycare center. There are three women in the infant room who take care of him all day, and they have become essential parts of our life. They are so warm and loving with him and obviously care a lot about him. He knows them, smiles when he sees them, and is always laughing when we show up to get him at the end of the day. When I dropped him off the first week or two, I did feel like I was leaving him with “strangers” and that felt awful. But I don’t feel that way anymore — I’m leaving him with his teachers and his little baby friends.

          I know it’s kind of cheesy to say, but it takes a village, and his daycare teachers are part of our village. It doesn’t matter that they are not his grandparents/aunts.

          • Not cheesy, but really kind and inclusive and awesome. Shared connections (both the care worker and you care about the well-being of your child) mean that someone isn’t a stranger for very long.

          • saltylady :

            Exactly. And nannies are not strangers either. The one I had for five years still gets my kids Christmas gifts and asks to take them on outings. When she worked with us, she would have stepped in front of a train for my kids– she was utterly devoted. Our current after school sitter, a younger woman, is head over heels for my kids. I just can’t with all this “how can you leave your kids with strangers” garbage.

    • Hollis Doyle :

      I will just echo the sentiments above re: hugs for you and trust that it will get better and easier as time goes on. Can your child care provider text you some pictures of your baby throughout the day? Mine did that and it helped me to see that she was happy and doing just fine.

    • Hey, same boat here, back at work today. My parents are watching my 3.5 month old, which sounds better than daycare, but is in some ways harder. Although they are very loving grandparents and I’m sure will figure things out quickly, they haven’t done childcare since I was an infant myself. This morning I left later than I had intended because my dad didn’t really believe me that a baby needs to nap within 2 hours of waking up (yes, dad, that *is* why she’s crying, and trying to get her to play with her toys is going to make it worse rather than better).

      That said, I’m trying to concentrate on the nice things about being back at work – time to check my email without interruptions! Going to the bathroom without having my daughter in the same room as me! And it’s going to be so fun to play with her when I get home this evening.

    • I am not a mom (both as in never had kids and as in don’t have the motherly instincts), but my gut says your caring this much means you are a good mom.

      Just from observation, I understand that is does get better with time.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      You probably aren’t still reading this but I also want to say that it takes awhile to get ramped back up again anytime you have been out of the office. I’m having a hard time doing work now because my brain is still on holiday/snow day time. When I returned to work after working from home from surgery it took me almost a week to get my in office routine back down. I know what you are experiencing is super complex but try to remember that part of it is missing your baby and new mom stuff and the other part is the usual “how do I get back into this routine?” pain that you would have experienced if you were out of the office for any reason. Too many new moms come back thinking they are now “bad workers” forgetting that everyone has to get back into the habit of working after they have been out awhile.

  5. anonforthis :

    Love the skirt!

    Looking for input on a relationship timing question… I know the answer to these types of questions is usually “talk to him. talk to him. talk to him,” but in this case my question is about WHEN to have this conversation; I don’t want to have it too soon, but I also don’t want to wait indefinitely.

    I’ve been dating my bf for about 9 months. I’m 27, he’s a couple years younger. He initiated the labeling-the-relationship talk after 6 weeks and told me he loved me after 3 months. So he definitely hasn’t shied away from that sort of commitment. He also introduced me to his family very early on, we’ve gone on many trips together, and he casually references trips/events/random life stuff a year from now, which makes me think he has no problem thinking long-term. I guess my anxiety comes from not knowing when I’ll *know* if his general “life timeline” is similar to mine. I know he would not intentionally date me with no intention of ever committing to me long-term. But he’s also 25. I don’t even think it’s a good idea for people to get married before they’re around 30, and I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to wait until then. But I would also like to be married when I’m 30 so that I’m not in a rush to have kids… my ideal time frame would involve being married for at least 2 years before kid #1 shows up.

    I know he can’t read my mind and it’s useless hypothesizing about his thoughts. But I also would feel very uncomfortable at this point even mentioning a timeline or marriage (ugh, the thought makes me cringe) or babies. And the fact that he’s 25 right now makes all of that even scarier. At what point do I need to suck it up and bring up the subject? I want to protect myself and make sure I’m not investing in something that will blow up in my face, but I also want to protect the relationship and not bring up this big scary subject way too soon.

    • Given your age(s), it’s likely that you will be attending weddings together. Any thoughts on bringing up overall life/marriage timelines in that context? That’s actually what kicked DH into “marrying mode” from “I love this person and don’t see myself dating anyone else, ever, but getting married is for old people” mode. We dated for several years in our early 20s (right after college), and I wanted to know if he was in it for the long term–and what that meant to him– but didn’t want to jump in and be married at 23! But I did work it into a conversation at a few of the weddings we went to one summer. I think the slightly boozy/very mushy environment helped him see that I wasn’t OHMYGODWEDDINGNOW but “hey, is this something you see yourself doing in the next few years or are you having panic attacks just being here?”

      • Similarly, we talked about big-picture items in our life, like buying a house, or where we would want to live/work (in addition to going to friends’ weddings as Brant suggests, and bringing up the topic). If your priorities are lining up, and you each see the other person involved in those events, I think the timeline works itself out (ie, you both want to buy a condo downtown within the two years, that sort of forces questions about your long-term commitment to each other, since wouldn’t it make sense to buy the condo together!)

        That said, I met my husband when I was 20, so I was in zero rush. While mature, he was 24 and needed five years before he was ready to get married. But I would say we had serious conversations like the ones I mentioned above (which gave me an idea of commitment, timelines) 9 months into our relationship. Don’t be scared!

      • anonforthis :

        OP here. Bf has talked a lot about buying his own place next summer, but then recently said he might wait til the following summer (2015) which made me wonder if that has anything to do with me and waiting to see if we move in together before he commits to buying something.

        • This is something you can ask him. Probably the sooner the better. No sense in agonizing over it.

          I have a male relative, about 22. He lives with a GF and has been with her for probably 3-4 years. He talks all the time about the jobs he’s applying for out of state. He talks about where “he” wants to live. We have no idea whether she is part of his plan or not. She’s certainly part of our family. It’s awkward.

    • I’m 25 and married, and know lots of other 25-and-married people (men included). It’s really not that young. I agree 9 months is a bit soon, and think Brant has some great advice for how to bring it up, but I do think you should reconsider the line of thinking that he won’t be ready for marriage until 30-ish if he has demonstrated that he is a mature person already.

      • Totally agree. I married my husband when we were both 23, as he was (and still is), the most mature, level-headed, driven, pragmatic person that I’ve ever met. If your BF is demonstrating that he’s willing to commit, mature, and not scared to be with you, I wouldn’t be too focused on “30” as the bright-line rule for men and marriage.

        • thanks for the advice ladies! We will be going to a wedding in the spring… actually a day or so before our year anniversary, so I’ll be on the lookout for an opportunity to gauge his thoughts.

          • I agree with the above about bringing up other longer-term life conversations. Does he want to go back to school? Buy a condo/home? Is he in the area for the long term forseeable future? Is he at a job he sees himself at for a decent amount of time, or will he be looking to make a move soon? what’s he willing to do for a new job (hours, location, salary, etc)

    • MaggieLizer :

      Think of it in terms of opening an ongoing dialogue rather than having A Marriage Conversation. Nine months (or even a little earlier, imo) is a good time to start talking about long-term life goals, including marriage and children, which it sounds like is exactly what you’re looking for. You want to know if your goals are compatible, if you want the same things out of life, and if there’s room for compromise where your goals might differ. It’s fair to have a kind of check in on where the relationship is too – given what you want out of life, is this relationship on a good path? Is there anything that’s concerning to you? What do you like about this relationship that you’d like to see more of? I would let it come up organically when you’re talking about other long-term goals, or, as Brant suggests, upcoming weddings and such.

    • Why not just ask him?

    • I am 30 and my husband is 23. Why “shouldn’t” people under 30 get married? Did you get this idea from your family, maybe? Irresponsible people, or people who haven’t thought through the consequences, shouldn’t get married. This might be more likely at 25 than at 35, but it can happen to anyone.

  6. What to do :

    I need some advice. About two years ago, we moved back to the town that my husband is from. It is definitely a rural area, and although it feels from my perspective that I’m trying, I’m really striking out on making friends/having a social network.

    Most of the people who live here (as in most rural areas – I’m from one myself) grew up here and did not move here as young adults. So they already have very close-knit, dynamic-established, relationships they’ve had since at least high school and are nice to me as Husband’s wife, but have not ever invited me to any of their social events (which of course Facebook curses me with knowing about).

    My husband is currently working a full-time job and working nearly a second full-time job starting his own business (plan is to be FT business owner within 3-5 years – why we moved back), so he is honestly only around/available Saturday mornings and some Sundays.

    We have a 14-month old and for the first 6-10 months of her life my own social life revolved around “surviving” as a full-time attorney and mom. Now that she’s a little older I would like to connect more with others, but quite truly, with no exception, every other woman I have encountered with an under 3-year-old is a SAHM; all of the mommy groups and playdates occur during the week.

    So my schedule involves M-F busy working/baby care, but no real plans any Friday night through Sunday, but of course a small one on my hip. Most of my life I’ve been a real extrovert and we had a vigorous social life. If you expand the radius to college and early career friends, I have plenty.

    I know that the tide of social life ebbs and flows with life changes and certainly things will be different for us (I hope!) in 2-3 years. But I sat down this weekend and could not think of a single person in a 50-mile radius that I could invite over for a brunch or dinner or playdate, not to mention the lack of a single holiday party invite or invitation our way for over a year.
    So hive, please help: how can I make the first friend or two? How can I reach out? (And why is this suddenly so hard at 32?)

    • Without trying to sound harsh, I think some of this falls on your husband, regardless of his busy schedule. You moved to his hometown, so he needs to reciprocate your sacrifice by spending time introducing you to people and socializing with you. You say you didn’t get any holiday party invitations- is your husband still close with his childhood friends? What about your husband’s family- do they live in the area? They should also be reaching out to you and including you in goings-on.

    • Diana Barry :

      +1. Does your husband have friends in town? I might try doing the inviting of his friend + spouse first, just to get together for a casual brunch or dinner at your house. But definitely lean on him to figure out people to get to know, etc.

    • Does your child go to daycare? If so, pass out a note with your contact information (with daycare permission) to see if anyone wants to get together for a playdate. I met a few new friends that way when I moved recently.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Could you start inviting your husband’s friends over for brunch on Saturday mornings or dinner on Sundays? A couple of events could lead to a friendship that could continue outside of your husband’s relationship with them.

    • Having done some moving around as an adult (although not with children), I can say the only way to do this is to be far more proactive than is comfortable. Usually you might invite someone to do something with you then wait for the invitation to be reciprocated before reaching out again. In this case, you (and your husband) need to take on the role of social director. Your husband must have friends in the area. Many/most of those friends must have wives or girlfriends. Invite one or two couples every Saturday morning for brunch. After you’ve had a couple over, reach out to the wife or girlfriend that week and see if she wants to get lunch or do a playdate (if she has kids) the next weekend. Keep doing this. Even if someone turns down a couple of invitations, keep inviting them. (Obviously at, say, three declined invitations you might want to assume she’s not interested in being your friend.) It will feel pushy for awhile, but you need to make new friends and they don’t, so you need to make it incredibly easy for them.

      • What to do :

        Thank you for this! I think that’s what has been making things so difficult, and I’m trying to not take personally, is just that: I need to make new friends and they do not.

        So I feel like I’m being pushy/weird/that girl who keeps awkwardly inviting herself to things/inviting people over she barely knows.

        • So one benefit of smaller towns is that there are only so many outlets for socializing. Volunteer organizations and houses of worship are two of the most likely places to meet people. I also agree with reaching out to parents at daycare. You know that they are working parents and likely have a similar schedule. It was awkward to exchange numbers the first few times, but it was almost universally warmly received.

        • Anonymous :

          I worked and moved a lot with our kids. I did do the school pick up however, and echo the advice about keep asking the ladies to meet. It gets easier.

          A funny story from one of our postings (hubs is a exec banker, moves every 2-3 years) I was finally comfy with the gang of ladies and drinking at ‘book club’ when one of them turned to me and said ‘Remind me again how we included you’. I answered with a straight face ‘I just hung around the edge of your circle long enough until you felt obligated to invite me’. We guffawed.

          It was hard and sometimes it felt like it was tough on my self esteem, but I did meet some great friends. I also joined a social club at the nearby church even though I am not remotely religious, I tuned out the ‘churchy’ bits and did some fun things with those girls too.

          We are onto our next move in June, keep your head up :)

    • lucy stone :

      I live in a similar area (no kids yet, but lots of friends who do) and some of them have had success making working-mom friends through programs like Kindermusik. Do you belong to a church? My husband’s church started a Bible study for working moms that seems like it is popular.

    • Ugh, cousins! :

      Did you guys throw a holiday party? If not, pick an upcoming one. St. Patrick’s Day, Australia Day, Olympics watching- whatever really. Invite everyone you could possibly consider a friend- his friends, their wives, your neighbors, co-workers. This gives you a chance to suggest going to a movie sometime.

      And what about church? Do you go, could you go?

      • +1 Throwing a party is a great way to get people to think of you as part of their social circle.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Does the local bar association have any activities? Would your husband or his family watch the baby while you go to networking events? Taking some kind of class is also great because you see the same people regularly – yoga, spin, art classes, cooking classes, etc. There might be kid-focused classes too that others can comment on.

      If you’re comfortable posting your location here, there might be some r e t t e s in your area who would like to meet for a drink, lunch, brunch, etc.

    • I had a similar situation as far as the SAHMs, although not the new location. Our area has a ton of SAHMS, many grew up nearby or have college friends in the area, or otherwise somehow all knew each other. I had zero mom friends when the kids were small. Later on, in preschool, that changed– kids started having playdates, going to birthday parties, and we joined groups like Adventure Guides (camping thing with the dads). I’m actually friends with some of the SAHMs now, with a small handful of working moms, as well. I never feel totally part of it, but we do get included in a lot of stuff and I know people. So it’s different than when they were babies.

      One thing that helped me get to know a few moms was going for long walks, like for exercise. It’s something you can invite someone to that’s not, say, lunch or drinks– it’s more functional. On the weekend, obviously.

    • I’m in the same situation, minus the husband and child. The only friends I have are other attorneys who range from early 40s to retired. They are welcoming and invite me when they have parties. I’ve had some really fun times here with them. However, I spend most of my nights at home. There are many weekends where I don’t see a single person I know. I’m afraid my only suggestion is to be open to friends of all ages and get out of the house as much as posible. Ultimately, I’ve decided I can’t live here anymore and am in the process of finding another job in a non-rural community. Wish this were more optimistic, sorry…

    • big dipper :

      Some random advice (some of it is repetitive):

      1. Be proactive. If you meet someone (at work, through your husband, at the gym, in line at daycare), make plans to see them again. Ask for their phone number, and then follow up with them suggesting an activity with a date/time.

      2. Be persistent. After the fist time you hang out with someone, it’s natural to wait for them to reciprocate with an invitation. They probably won’t – but it’s not because they don’t like you. Some people aren’t planners/inviters, so for the 2nd and 3rd times you hang out with someone, you should feel comfortable taking the initiative and making plans for the next time.

      3. I definitely agree with the throw a party advice. People like to be invited to things/feel wanted, it makes them more likely to reciprocate. People also like to meet new people, so if you can bring people together (even if they’re just casual acquaintances or someone you met at day care, etc) it will make an impact.

      4. In the same vein, I personally find it easier to create my own group than to try to join someone else’s group. You mentioned that everyone seems to have their own group dynamics from childhood, and I would find that intimidating. My approach would be to (a) ask basically everyone I meet to go on a 1 on 1 friend date and (b) once I’ve hung out with someone more than twice alone, I’d start inviting my individual acquaintances to group activities – brunch, a walk, etc.

    • What great suggestions! What hobbies are big among women your age in your community? Maybe take a quilt class or scrapbooking or whatever for friend-meeting? Or join a community soccer team or running group?

      Meetup.com tends to have activities listed.

      Volunteering for an organization or joining a committee also tends to work.

      But it is WAY HARDER as an adult to make friends.

  7. Woods-comma-Elle :

    I was going to post about this and then saw some people had touched on it in the resolutions post, so here is a follow-up.

    After a holiday period of over-indulgence, once again I’m thinking ‘gee, I really need to lose some weight’. The problem is, I’m completely missing the ability to make myself do it and I lack motivation. This isn’t specific to weight loss/exercise, but generally to a bunch of things in life where I want to do certain things, but then I just cannot be bothered. I love the idea of being really organised and efficient but somehow I never end up actually doing any of these things I wish I did more of and just sitting on the couch watching Drop Dead Diva

    This is, I think, a bit of a vicious cycle. Work was crazy before Christmas (I’m in BigLaw) and I was just so tired I didn’t want to do anything, ever. But not exercising makes you more tired. When I’m working long hours and I have a choice between getting up early and exercising or getting more sleep, I always choose sleep. Then (and someone said this in the previous thread) I think ‘oh, I’m so tired, I just want to do nothing all weekend’ which is sometimes great, but done too often makes me feel like I’ve wasted time.

    I used to be great in college – I was in All The Clubs, in student government, doing extra credit language classes and always go, go, go and getting loads done. And I enjoyed it! But somehow I’ve gotten out of the habit and now I’m just not a ‘doer’ anymore. At work, I’m Miss Efficient and Miss Organised all rolled into one ball of energy (well, except today which is my first day back after Christmas and I just want to go home), but then there seems to be nothing left for outside work.

    So the point is this – it seems others are suffering with this same thing, but how do you ACTUALLY make yourself do stuff? How do I motivate myself to unpack my suitcase tonight instead of crashing as soon as I get home? I’ve had plenty of those moments of ‘yeah, this is IT, I really need to start exercising/eat better/lose weight now’ but it’s just not sustainable and I somehow always just fall back into the bad habits!

    • Diana Barry :

      I think you may need smaller goals. If I try to do too much at once (eat better! lose weight! be more organized!) then I don’t do any of it.

      So maybe one goal for each day of the week? Tonight: unpack and clean up for one hour, then you can do whatever you want. Tomorrow: eat a healthy lunch. Wednesday: go to the gym after work. Or whatever. Maybe if work is slow you can make yourself a chart of SMALL things to accomplish each day, then you can check it off when done?

      • LifeScienceGoingToFinance :

        Small changes are the way to go. When I was trying to re-start exercising a couple of years ago, my final goal was to go swimming 3x per week. But I knew I would never accomplish this, so I said, ok, you try to go 1x and see whether that works. From there it was easy to start going 2x, then 3x, and on average it is a twice a week thing now. Same for eating healthier at work.

        For general goals like “getting more organized” you could similarly break it down into very small tasks. A few years back I did a thing called the “20min cleaning”, where every day you do a small area in your home for exactly 20min, using a timer. E.g. you clean the top shelf of your wardrobe, or the drawer with forks, knifes in the kitchen. You empty everything and sort it into 3 categories: throw, think about it, keep. The task is manageable in this short time, and the results are immediately gratifying.

      • I think this is good advice. I’m in a similar boat – there’s the person I want to be (organized! super social! really well read! always put together!) and the person I fall into being (watching two seasons of scandal on my couch in one weekend!). But doing small things tends to make me do more small things until actual changes start to happen. And when I think about it, the periods in my life when I was more active, etc., are all periods when the little things snowballed into lots of things — so, e.g., I make plans with one friend for dinner and it makes it easier to then meet my friend who always works late for a drink afterward.

        I recently read that you should always do anything that takes under a minute. So you wash that one cup, make your bed, put away your coat and shoes, take the stairs, walk to the farther bathroom so you can stretch your legs, etc. So for now, that’s more or less my plan and I’m going to build from there (e.g., take five minutes to pack lunch, take ten minute walk, take 15 min. to get off the train a few stops early and walk, etc.).

    • I’m a procrastinator by nature, so it really helps when I set deadlines that have a little “bite” to them – i.e., there will be some reason for me to get it done besides an arbitrary deadline that I self-impose. If you want motivation to unpack your suitcase, invite a friend over for dinner or drinks or something; you’ll want to clean up before they come over. Or place your suitcase somewhere really inconvenient (in front of the fridge, perhaps?) and not allow yourself to move it until it’s unpacked. For exercise motivation, sign up for a race (a doable distance!) or a similar athletic event for which you *need* to start training or you won’t be able to do it.

    • I can relate – and the end-of-year crunch in BigLaw is just plain rough. I’m a pretty regular exerciser and there were 2 weeks in December where I just could.not.do.it (and I missed it – running is totally my therapy). Anyway, I think you should start small — for example, tonight, set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes or something and use that time to unpack your suitcase, and make sure you do it *before* you make dinner, or sit on the couch, or turn on the TV or something like that. Then, you can do whatever you want. Or, if you’re not done yet, take a 10-minute break and then get back to it. Sometimes I am surprised by how much I can get done in 20 minutes. And then you’ve accomplished your task for today, and you can do a new task tomorrow. But don’t try to change All The Things overnight – it’s a set-up for failure.

    • bananagram :

      What’s worked for me is to set very small goals. I’ll set the oven timer for 10 minutes and unpack for that amount of time. Or I’ll decide to walk around the block (instead of committing to a full session at the gym). It’s easier for me to get off my tail for these small efforts. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part.

      • This is what I try to do also. If what I really should do is a 30 minute run, I will tell myself that I just need to do a 10 minute walk, and pretty much all the time once I get started I am fine to continue with the 30 minute run. It is just the inital getting motivated that is hard.

        • This. I always tell myself I can stop if I want, but I pretty much am fine once I start whatever workout or task it was I told myself to do.

          Also, and this is hard for me as someone who was formerly a Div. I athlete, any workout is better than nothing. I used to think, If I’m not sweating and puking my brains out, this doesn’t count. Now I tell myself “this snowshoe hike is my workout” or “30 minutes of yoga, with my heart rate elevated, is enough for today”. That way I don’t end up doing nothing, just because I don’t feel motivated to go for a 5 mile run.

        • I like this approach because it helps you make the distinction between “I am actually sick/exhausted” and “I am unmotivated”. If I’m just unmotivated, then once I am dressed and outside for a 5 minute walk, I have no problem doing the 30 minute run. If, after the 5 minute walk, the 30 minute run sounds just as bad as it did before I went out, I am probably actually sick, or too tired, and let it go for that day.

    • Definitely start small. Lifehacker had some thoughts on new habits – may or may not be helpful.


      But there if you are working mad BigLaw hours, your mental capacity for anything else might just be shot – so there is a bit of triage required. What are the top 5 (or 3 or 1) thing that you want to get done outside of work?

    • I’ve been thinking about this lately, and in my experience the principle that sums it up is “make the solution easier than the problem.” (I read that on The Happiness Project but think it came from someone else originally.) “Easier” should also be supplemented with “more fun” or “more appealing.” This makes a lot of sense to me because life is already full of boring/arduous chores, so it’s no wonder that when it comes to self-care or personal projects we just don’t want any more! In your case, it sounds like coming home from work means wanting to just be done, and that’s entirely understandable. So instead of being drudgery, I think we have to shape our goals into pleasures and focus on their rewards. The default will then mean you naturally tend to “fall back into” the right behaviors rather than the ones you don’t like. In other words it will take LESS effort to do the desirable activities than it will to avoid them. It may require a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for you individually, but I think it can work.

      One example from me: over the holiday I was talking to my BIL about running, and he said he has a lot of trouble motivating himself to go. I realized I have never once had this problem, and that’s rare when it comes to exercise. (In fact, I have trouble disciplining myself to rest sometimes, and it’s been an issue with injuries.) Without even noticing it, I have turned exercise into a treat. I now see all the little ways that this happened over time (years), but what matters more is how YOU could feel this way about the various things you feel you should do, but aren’t doing. How can they shift from “I have to…” to “I get to…”?

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I agree with a lot of this. Try to identify what the barrier is for you that gets in the way of doing what you meant to do or where it all falls apart and then adjust that. For example, if you seem to lose all motivation to go to the gym because the moment you walk into your home you feel done for the day, then figure out how to work out before walking in the door. If its that you lose motivation once you sit down at home, try putting your workout gear on the couch so you’d have to move it to sit down and can instead just easily change into your shorts. If its a problem of feeling too short on time every morning to pack a healthy lunch, buy 5 sets of containers and pack lunch for every weekday all at once on Sundays. The last one is what I’m working on right now. Make it easier to do what you know you should do than it is to give in to the laziness.

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          This is all so true – for me the only ‘real’ time I could work out is mornings before work and the barrier is that I would have to get out of bed and, short of not going to sleep, I’m not sure how to overcome that barrier :S

          I used to be great at getting up at University (which I think partly contributed to being such a doer). I never snoozed and I didn’t feel tired when my alarm went off, now all I want to do is get more sleep every morning!

          • Diana Barry :

            Are you getting enough sleep that you “should” be able to get up every morning? You might want to go to your GP and make sure your thyroid and vit B levels are OK to make sure that’s not why you’re so tired. Otherwise, if work permits, go to bed earlier! :)

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I’m not a morning person at all and used to have dance or gymnastics practice crazy early in the morning. One thing I did was to sleep in my practice clothes. Another idea is to experiment with how much water you drink before bed in hopes of setting it up so you have to get up to use the bathroom around the time that it would be best to work out. Then you’re already out of bed. Just some thoughts!

          • IT Chick in MN :

            I’ll second the advice to check on vitamin D and B-complex levels. I was stunned to discover that I was just barely above “severely deficient” in vitamin D. It took about six months to get my levels up into normal land, but it made a huge difference in my energy and in my ability to sleep properly.

            Also, you don’t mention if you’re having sleep problems, but if you are, I’d discuss them with your GP too. I’ve had insomnia since birth (possibly pre-birth, according to my mother), but I was over 30 before I finally gave in and saw a sleep specialist. Turns out while I don’t really snore and I don’t have obstructive apnea, I had 184 “arousal episodes” in 240 minutes of sleep. While on Ambien! As I got older, I just couldn’t handle the level of exhaustion it took to shut my brain off at night.

      • Agree with making things easier. I’ve learned that working out after work is just never going to happen because I’m always tired so I’ve started working out in the morning. To avoid excuses, I prepare everything I need the evening before and have even slept in my workout clothes. That way, the only thing I had to do when the alarm went off was to put on shoes. The same is true of my meals for the day. Packing lunch in the morning always gets sidelined so I prepare my breakfast and lunch the night before.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Nothing useful other than to say I can relate to this so much. SO MUCH. I’m seeing what will happen if I just focus on one thing at a time. So, for the next couple of weeks I’m going to the gym every weekday morning and telling myself it is not an option to get back into the toasty bed. Then maybe I’ll add some of the other stuff I want to do outside of work. It is really hard for me to rustle up motivation when I feel mentally exhausted every day.

    • I totally empathize with you–I often feel the same way! I read something this weekend that really resonated with me: the article was discussing how to stay on track and keep your new year’s resolutions, and the author noted that you don’t actually need “motivation” to eat right, or go to the gym when you’re tired, or what have you. What you actually need is discipline. And, fortunately for us all, discipline can be learned and cultivated. I had never thought about the distinction before, but to me, it makes so much sense. When I’m exhausted, and all I want to do is sit in front of the TV but I know I should go to the gym, it’s not motivation that gets me out the door–it’s actually discipline. So I’d suggest doing little things each day that build up your discipline–maybe make your bed each morning, or always start out with a healthy breakfast. At least that is my own current game plan! Good luck!!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        The other thing about discipline is that you can see it as something you only have so much of each day and every morning you pass up the donut tray at work you deplete it a little, then when you make yourself call that client you don’t want to speak to its depleted a little more. All decisions you make throughout the day to do what you know you should do but don’t want to do deplete that reserve. This thinking can help too because you can try to set up your day to limit these decisions as much as possible so you have a reserve of discipline at the end of the day to do something big to you like working out. The other thing to remember is that once something becomes a habit, you aren’t depleting your discipline reserves, or at least not as much, when completing the habit. So if you’re trying to make something a habit, each time you do that action it will deplete your reserves but once it is habit it won’t do that anymore and you can shift your discipline to something else.

        • anonymama :

          Kind of like building up a muscle, or practicing a golf swing, the more you do it the easier it gets, and also the less you have to think about it. Once something is part of the routine it no longer requires discipline to do it, it is actually less effort to just do it than to have to think about what you will do instead.

    • Traditionalist :

      I’ve had some pretty good luck with a loosely structured “don’t stop, just keep doing things!” method I inherited/learned from my mother. I am not the kind of person who can take a power nap or “I’ll just sit down to watch this Friends rerun to unwind a bit, then I’ll start some laundry and go to the gym.” If I let myself do that, I’ll find that it’s 10:30pm and I’ve eaten peanut butter cups for dinner while still wearing my work clothes.

      So, to combat that, I don’t let myself sit down when I come home. I immediately start some productive thing — any productive thing counts! — and continue from there. Changing clothes immediately also helps. Sometimes, I kind of crash after emptying the dishwasher and decide that one productive thing is my max for whatever reason. But most of the time, I can convince myself that after this thing, I’ll do the next thing, and so on. The trick to me is not stopping at all, and just getting something started. I would bet that once you start, your work-mode will kick in and you’ll think, “great, while that marinates, I’ll just do this workout DVD” and you’ll have multiple irons in the fire, which will motivate you.

      What I really like about this system is that when when I relax, it is really, truly relaxing because I’m finally done (no matter what or how many things actually got accomplished, as long as I kept going for a while), so I can look back happily at the evening… instead of that guilty-relaxing where you’re not really even enjoying yourself (see above re: binge-watching syndicated TV).

      I think this method could be applied on the exercising front, and maybe prepping to eat well, too. I’m sure I have a long way to go myself, but making these things into everyday habits is helpful for me in the evenings.

      Now, if anyone can pry me away from my pillow in the morning, I’m all ears!

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Yes, this is exactly me! I know that I have to just keep doing stuff to actually do stuff. I can’t leave something until later or I just won’t do it. Hence this is exactly the mechanism I employ in general (weekends, mostly) to get things done.

        • Traditionalist :

          You can totally do this! No sitting down! Just do the smallest thing you can think of, and while you’re doing that, think of the next thing. You’re really poised to make this happen!

          You said you like the idea of efficiency and organization, which makes me wonder — are you naturally fairly neat and organized, or do you struggle with this overall? For me, things like unpacking a suitcase are burdensome, but I push through with the sense of returning to equilibrium by having everything in its correct place. If your things don’t have a home, I would start there on the organization front because it just becomes rote instead of a decision about ugh, where do I put this? Like others are saying, it makes a habit instead of an event.

      • I also do this. The tv doesn’t come on until I’m done working for the day.

    • Not a ton of advice on the motivation issue (I *so* struggle with that too) but I thought I’d share that my husband and I just started doing the T25 exercise videos from the guy who does P90x. Its a 25 minute work-out that combines cardio and cross-training and strength work. Its intense, but not TOO intense, and since its just 30 minutes in the morning, its easy to find the time. Much more reasonable than getting all the way to the gym and then working out for an hour.

      Might be worth looking into?

    • Yay! We are back for another year! Congratulation’s to Cat on another outstanding year!

      As for the OP, I have one answer for you. FITBIT FITBIT FITBIT. I have absoluteley no afiliation with that company but my DAD swear’s by it and he make’s me use it EVERY day. I walked in today with my FITBIT and I am near my comitted step count for the day. Dad see’s it at night when I come home to my Macbook Air, so I can NOT fool him. FOOEY! But I need to slim down my tuchus also and dad got a fitbit for he and mom.

      I get all the motivation I need by lookeing in the mirror at my tuchus. I need a smaller tuchus to get a better guy (or any guy at this point). YAY!!!!

      Now that I am a partner, I got a new chair. They wheeled the other chair away for the new guy to sit in. FOOEY b/c that chair smelles very funny. DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • I was in the same boat, until I realized that I spent many hours a week reading, hard books, on my iPad, blogs like this, etc.

      So I figured out how to download podcasts, books etc and take my phone/iPad etc to the gym. What I thought was no time was really me making excuses. I don’t do classes obviously but I can walk, bike etc while still ‘reading’ and NOT sitting lol

      • I agree with this — and just to add to it, I believe in the “sleep deficit” theory and I think your body is telling that you need more sleep. (That, or the vitamin deficiency someone mentioned above.) Not more relaxing on the couch, watching TV, or reading certain blogs (which is how I personally like to unwind) — sleep. For me, a glass of wine can exacerbate these tendencies, and I also never like to work out after I’ve had a drink. Try cutting out the sleep substitutes and the alcohol, and see if it helps you to go to bed earlier.

        After I leave this job, I will probably have to sleep 12 hours a night for the rest of my life to dig myself out of the sleep deficit I’ve racked up.

  8. I’m the poster who commented on the weekend open thread about my cousin basically using me as her therapist/never returning the favor. I just wanted to thank you all for your good advice and for phrasing things in ways that helped me get at the heart of the problem better. I had a family emergency this weekend (with the other side of my family) – in the past, I would’ve tried to go to my cousin for support and been disappointed, but this time, I tried to accept upfront that she isn’t going to change who she is and that I’m better off looking for support elsewhere. I also took a complete break from texting/e-mailing her at all for the weekend. I already feel more at peace with this approach (although it’s still kind of difficult to adjust) and I think it will be an improvement from the past. Thanks again!!

    • YAY!!!! Glad you are feeling better.

      It can be difficult, but it really is okay to stick up for yourself, set boundaries, and take a break from people who are dragging you down.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Nicely done!! :)

      Change is uncomfortable, but it’s worth it! You’re worth it!

  9. Ladies, thank you so much for your encouragement/support/stories this weekend. It helped – a lot. I have some preliminary results back, which ruled out a couple of scary things (yay) but confirmed that there is something problematic going on, and raised more questions (my symptoms don’t match the test result – as in, the test result says “you don’t have enough X” but my symptoms would indicate that I have too much of X). So it looks like more follow-up and some specialist visits are coming my way. I don’t feel like my GP is great – I’d only seen her once before this, and she wasn’t recommended (she was just the person in the practice who had room) but the specialists associated with this hospital are generally highly regarded, so I am hopeful that I will feel more confident about the next round of people that I see.

    Thanks again, for everything, and please keep me in your thoughts (and if you are of a religious persuasion, your prayers), if you don’t mind.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Glad to hear some of the scary stuff is eliminated! Continuing thoughts coming your way!

    • I have no idea which hospital(s) he is affiliated with, but I used to see Dr. Malamis for my GP and thought he was very thorough. They used to be at 14th/W.Ptree but I believe the offices moved to HMill.

    • Hi cbackson, I’m relieved that some of the really scary stuff has been ruled out. I hope whatever they foind is easily treatable and dealt with. Good luck! Sending prayers in your direction!

    • Missed the original, but fingers crossed and good luck! If you don’t feel confident in your GP, perhaps try asking the specialists you’re seeing for recommendations. Also, if you’re in the DC area and willing to travel via car, I’ll send you my PCP practice information. I love love love them.

      Also, as you go through this, bring someone with you to appointments if you can/feel comfortable. Having someone else who can ask questions or just listen and write down information while you’re freaking out hearing every third word is really very helpful.

      Don’t be afraid to tell your doctors that you’re scared and you need a minute or two to process. Crying, totally acceptable, even if its just out of frustration. Let yourself be upset, mad, sad, frustrated and don’t beat yourself up for it.

      Rooting for you!!

    • Hugs to you cbackson.

    • Fingers crossed for you.

    • Senior Attorney :

      You remain in my thoughts, cbackson! Glad you got some early good(ish) news.

    • I just re-read off the weekend thread and wanted to add my “omg it was so scary but turned out to be nothing story”:

      I thought I was having a miscarriage (or something else was really, really wrong) so I went to the walk-in clinic and the first round of tests showed no miscarriage but some very scary blood-clotting issues (like, my blood was not clotting in the tests they do. At all. Immediate appointments with gyn, hemotologist, etc etc). However, to find out for sure exactly what was wrong, they needed to run more tests. They didn’t have enough blood, so I had to go back to the hospital and get like 12 vials drawn so they could run it correctly. Naturally this took days and I was freaking out.

      Turns out it is a very rare, almost benign clotting disorder, that was UNRELATED to the initial incident (apparently some freak period situation, thanks uterus)! Put down Dr. Google and keep your mind on anything else.

    • Coach Laura :

      cbackson, thanks for the update. I’m so glad that the news is a bit positive and less scary. I’ll continue sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

  10. AnonInfinity :

    Gift ideas? Two of my good friends since college snuck away and got married a few weeks ago (they only told their parents). They’re not having a reception or anything, but I want to get something to commemorate the event. They’ve been living together for many years and have all the nice kitchen and home things I normally get for newly married friends. They’re also both keeping their original last names, so a monogram is out.

    Any ideas about something that fits this occasion? I was thinking about engraved wine glasses (First name & Firstname and date of ceremony), but now I’m afraid that might be cheesy.

    • anon in tejas :

      I think that this is a cute idea!

    • lucy stone :

      I think that’s cute! We both kept our last names and I got a few things monogrammed with both of our last initials, which I liked. We have friends who eloped and we sent them a gift card fora nice night out on the town.

    • Simon Pearce has some bowls that are customizable. Really pretty!

      Here’s one: http://www.simonpearce.com/products/engraved-celebration-bowl?via=51f28b7f75223071e50000ba%2F5249a12930702038a9000002%2F51f28b7f75223071e50000be

    • Do they live in a home with a yard? How about a tree or rose bush to plant in their yard? Of course you will need to wait for Spring. Otherwise, how about a photo album? They may enjoy putting a “wedding album” together to celebrate their relationship.

    • FWIW, Mark & Graham (affiliate of Williams-Sonoma) offers monogramming options designed for couples who don’t share a last name.

      • wildkitten :

        +1 I recently found this store and I love it.

      • AnonInfinity :

        Ahh! I want to order all the things. This site is perfect.

        I think I’ll do the wine glasses or maybe tumblers with the first-name monogram they suggest!

    • New Bride :

      Newlywed here, and I love that idea.

  11. Re-posting today, since I believe my post disappeared yesterday:

    Does anyone have any recommendations/resources for converting a portion of a space (i.e., a bedroom or basement) into a personal yoga space? I know there are a lot of resources for designing an entire room, but am looking for tips to redesign a portion of a room while maintaining the rest of the room for another purpose (i.e., keeping a bed, etc. in the guestroom). Any thoughts/advice appreciated! Thanks in advance.

    • Do you need more of a “how do I delineate these two spaces/make them look good together” or more “I need more space/Murphy bed/futon in order for these to coexist”?

      • I’d like to delineate the two spaces. Any recommendations are appreciated. Thanks.

        • Shelves (especially ones meant for storage, so you could keep yoga/whatever things in there) or screens, and a rug (for either space), or mats for the yoga space. Possibly different (soothing/yoga related?) things on the walls?


    Question for the lawyers out there re last night’s Downton Abbey: I’m having trouble seeing how Matthew’s letter, even if it were a proper will (and I’m not convinced that it’s not, but T&E isn’t my thing so I could be wrong) changes anything. The whole problem is that the estate is entailed. If you could fix that with a will, the earl would have done it years ago, but you can’t will what you don’t own and the earl’s interest in the estate was always in fee tail, so he couldn’t convey an interest in fee simple. Also, as was pointed out in a blog by a British barrister, Matthew was always just the heir presumptive, not the heir apparent — if, say, Cora miraculously got pregnant again and had a son, that son would be the heir, or if Cora died and the earl married a younger wife who had a son, Matthew’s claim to the estate would then sit behind that new son’s (as would baby George’s after Mathew’s death). Anyway, can anyone explain why a will from Matthew would mean anything? And why, if his will means anything, why the earl couldn’t have fixed the problem himself with his own will back in episode 1, season 1?

    • Dude, I’m a lawyer too – just let it go. Watch for the pretty frocks and the Dowager Countess zingers :)


        Usually I can, but when the entire foundation of pretty much the whole show hangs on this one issue (or at least the entire first and most of the second season), it just doesn’t work for me to let it go. I’m unfortunately one of those people. (I can’t deal with period shows or movies that have anachronisms, either. I realize there are a few here — like calling WWI the Great War way too early — but most of it hangs together on that front so I’m good.)

    • Diana Barry :

      No idea. When they started talking about “Matthew’s half” and whatever, I got confused. But maybe there was a change in the inheritance laws between the first season (1914) and now (1922) so that the ownership of the estate somehow changed between then and now?

      I am going with Slate’s theory of “TOTAL QUALITY COLLAPSE” because the writing is just NOT AS GOOD as it used to be. Grr! Argh!

    • Anne Shirley :

      I believe it has to do with how Matthew structured his investment in Downton when he put his Swire inheritance into the estate. That new money didn’t automatically become an entailed part of it but rather functions as a separate entity.

      So if Cora had a baby, that baby would eventually take all of Robert’s interest, but would not automatically take all of Mary’s share that she inherited from Matthew.

    • 11 PM is too late :

      IP lawyer in CA here, so no knowledge about UK trusts and estates, but I thought of the letter as a device to pit Robert against his daughter, as a metaphor for the changing times, and not as an actual legal document.

      Also, may I just say, something that ends at 11 PM on a school night is TOO LATE. PBS, please put it on earlier.

      • Only the first and last installments run until 11pm; all the others are only 1 hour.

        Unlike Sherlock that will run 2 hours every time and start at 10pm. Fooey!

  13. Commerical loan default? :

    Does anyone out there have any insight into the process (and particularly, the timeline) involved in a commercial loan default? My parents have a balloon payment due in late February on an inn that they operate (so the commercial loan is a mortgage, if that matters). They’ve already had one meeting with the bank to adjust the terms of the mortgage, but the bank isn’t being very helpful or reasonable. I’m curious: if they don’t make the balloon payment in February, what is the timeline for foreclosure/defaulting? Specifically, at what point can the bank physically lock them out of the building? This is in the state of Florida, if that matters. Thanks to anyone who can help explain!

    (Just to preempt any questions or tangents: I do know what the credit/financial implications would be for my parents if default occurs.) Thank you!

    • Long sleeve t-shirt recs? :

      My googling turned up an article called Nuts and Bolts of the Florida Commercial Mortgage Foreclosure Practice that may help your parents understand the process.

      The short answer to your question is “it depends.”. Not terribly helpful, I know, but in my experience, some lenders start the foreclosure process faster than others.

      • Commerical loan default? :

        Thanks for this! (I also Googled, but I think I was not using the right terms). I think this sentence in that article addresses my main question, but I don’t understand it:

        “Because Florida requires judicial foreclosure of any
        mortgage interest, any powers of sale or provisions in
        a mortgage recorded in Florida that give a mortgagee
        the right to take possession of mortgaged property,
        operate it, manage it, or sell it, without completion of
        a foreclosure action, are not enforceable in Florida.”

        So the bank (whom I believe is the mortgagee, correct?) can or cannot “take possession of mortgaged property” at what point?

        • Only in very rare instances is anyone ever entitled to “self help” under the law. If you want to compel someone to turn over property or money,or compel them to do or refrain from any action, it requires a court order.

          I work in residential foreclosre law in Massachusetts. Even after the auction (wherein the residents lose their title), the new owners (usually a bank) cannot force the former homeowners to leave. No one has to leave or do anything else until a judge orders them to do so. Now, commercial mortgages in FL are probably a bit different but even so, I highly doubt that the bank can actually in any way lock out or take posession of the property absent a court order (EXCEPTION: if the property has been abandoned and is at risk of deterioration). As to the specific proceedings/notice period required in court, you should look into the statutes as I suggested in another comment.

    • I don’t have any specific information for you, but foreclosure is a matter of state law, so if you are going to do any research on this, start with FL Law.

      Look into the mortgage itself for the “power of sale” clause (this is the clause that allows foreclosure), it should describe some notice requirements and maybe specifically reference the state law. You may be able to find a copy of the mortgage in an online registry for the relevant county.

      Also, Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, which means that in order to actually foreclose, the bank will have to take your parents to court – so they won’t show up one day and find the doors locked; they will know this is coming ahead of time because they will get notice of a court hearing (at which time they can present whatever defenses they may have). Probably there are requirements for advertising and holding an auction. Most likely they can’t be locked out until after the auction.

    • The poster above is right. These situations really do depend on the lender. That being said, a Florida attorney should be able to tell you what the typical time-frame is, legally speaking, from default to foreclosure. I am not barred in FL, so I can’t say.

      What I can tell you is that if your parents are cooperating with the bank (which it seems that they are) it is unlikely that a lender would move straight to foreclosure once the balloon payment is not made. They will likely agree to negotiate an arrangement where your parents continue to make payments for a short period of time while they look for alternative financing, agree to sell the property, pledge additional collateral, etc. Foreclosure is time-consuming and expensive in most jurisdictions.

      Another option is for your parents to start seeking a refinance now. Another lender might be interested in making a loan on this property if there is some value in it and the business is currently operating.

    • I’ll just add my two cents even though “it depends” –

      Although FL is a judicial foreclosure state, commercial foreclosures usually fly through MUCH quicker than residential foreclosures. There are a whole host of protections for residential properties that are not available for commercial properties.

      • Commerical loan default? :

        Many thanks to you and the above posters as well. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, actually. My sibling (who briefly considered foreclosure on a personal/residential home in another state) is *convinced* that the process on a commercial foreclosure would be the same, but I disagree (mainly because everything I’ve read in the news or in research of this issue talks about foreclosing on a home, and this is indeed a business. It just has a mortgage like a home does.) Can you list, even generally or briefly, the types of “protections” that may not be the same in a commercial scenario?

        • Commerical loan default? :

          Now I’m replying to my own thread, but I thought I should explain a bit. I think my parents need to have a plan in place in the event they default: what to tell customers, vendors, etc., in what manner does the business keep operating (or not), how much time is there to move personal effects out of the property, etc.

          My incredibly frustrating conversation with my sibling last night entailed me saying, “If we haven’t heard Mom & Dad speak of a plan by X date (a few days – one week before the impossible balloon payment is due) I think we need to bring it up.” Sibling’s response was that I was being “dramatic” and “they can’t move furniture out of the inn right now, there’s still paying guests there!” (Willfully misunderstanding me – we are still 45 days out). Argh. She believes a plan needn’t be made until they actually default – that there will be ample time and privacy to deal with the bank. I guess you could say her plan is to hope for the best, while I’d rather do that whilst planning for the worst. Vent over. Thanks for listening!

          • Maybe it’d be helpful to stop talking to your sibling about this unless she has an ownership share and you do, too?

            She doesn’t sound like she knows anything helpful; she isn’t a great communicator, and frankly, isn’t help you vent either. Keep your conversations w/her to the barest minimum if they have anything to do w/your parents’ commercial loan foreclosure.

    • To start with, does the bank still own the loan or is it in a REMIC (so the bank may still service the loan, or a new servicer services the loan)? I want to say that if the latter is true, you may have better luck if you can put together a feasible plan for modifying the loan after default when you are then dealing with the special servicer (but try around with whomever the servicer is — maybe there is a better person who will take a feasible proposal seriously). A big problem, either way, is that there is a huge risk of redefault even after a modification. But can they propose a feasible modification at all? And is the dealing with vendors issue b/c there are springing lockboxes?

      Sorry for all of the Qs.

  14. Random – but does anyone have any experience with the Cuisinart French Classic tri-ply cookware? I found an amazing deal on a 13 piece set but haven’t had much experience with this particular line…

    Thanks in advance!

    • marketingchic :

      It’s hard to say if Cuisinart cookware has always been made by the same company (it’s could be a licencee), but we’ve had a Cuisinart stainless set since around 1998 or 99 and it still looks almost new, with some pieces in daily use. I’ve been happy with even heating, etc.

  15. Has anyone here frozen their eggs? I just turned 35 and due to my spouse’s advanced/progressive chronic illness, this isn’t a good time for me to have kids. His illness may put him in a nursing home in the next couple of years – we just don’t know. I’m putting tremendous pressure on myself given my age and desire to have kids, and wonder if freezing the eggs now would help me stop panicking (obviously, I have a lot to be anxious about). I don’t know much about costs ($10-15k?), success rates, or at what age they can’t be used anymore. Has anyone pursued this? I’m in the DC area for recommendations.

    • Have you thought about freezing embryos instead? I understand the success rate is somewhat higher for those. But if you just want to freeze eggs, I have heard that the success rates have gone up in recent years. We went to Dr. Frankfurter at GW for IVF and I know he also does egg freezing. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover fertility treatments, it would likely cover the initial meeting with the doctor to discuss your options. I highly recommend Dr. Frankfurter. He has a low-key, facts-based, and patient approach to dealing with patients. (i.e., He talks to you like an intelligent equal instead of treating you like a frightened child the way I’ve found many doctors in fertility/OB do.)

      As for price, I think it might be a little lower than $10k. IVF for us, all in (including drugs — which are expensive! and which you’ll need) was about $13k, and that includes steps like sperm-washing, putting the sperm in the eggs, growing the embryos, transferring them, and then about 9-10 weeks of weekly follow up appointments once pregnant). So I’d guess just the egg part would be a bit cheaper.

      • I had a bad experience with Dr. Frankfurter and moved to Shady Grove Fertility for further treatment. They also have a higher success rate than GW. Freezing embryos is a better option if you can do that.

        • I’m sorry to hear that. As for Shady Grove, that is the other big option in the DC area. My understanding is that part of how they keep their success rates so high is that they screen out more difficult cases (which is typical of fertility clinics). As a teaching hospital, GW doesn’t do that. It’s therefore not possible to compare the success rates between the two because you’re just not dealing with the same patient population. Shady Grove does have a payment option that can make the process cheaper if you need more than one round of IVF, which isn’t available at GW (GW is cheaper if it takes you just one round, however, and I’m not sure what the payment options are for egg freezing alone).

    • Is freezing embryos fertilized with your husband’s sperm an option? Freezing embryos works better than freezing eggs with regard to future success rates.

      No experience freezing eggs, but have been through two rounds of IVF and at least the early process works the same. Timed off your period, you do shots to stimulate follicles (roughly 20 that you give yourself in the stomach), then a trigger shot, followed by an egg retrieval (mildly painful, but generally you would be at least somewhat sedated). Lots of bloating, doctor appointments every few days, mood swings like the worst PMS ever. But, overall, not the end of the world and only about a 2-3 week period of your life.

    • Have you read the old post on this? Might want to check it out (in addition to new responses here). http://corporette.com/2011/12/19/guestpost-oooh-my-oocytes-or-my-experience-with-freezing-my-eggs/

    • I am in moderation for a link, but there was a post all about this topic a while ago that might provide good additional info–try the pregnancy archive of this site.

    • frugal doc... :

      Agree with freezing embryos. That is much better. If you are certain you want to have your husband’s child, regardless of his future health issues, that is what I would do.

      Also, freezing his sperm is much easier, cheaper and much safer then freezing the eggs. Then you could fertilize in the future if/when you are ready.

      I am sorry that you are contemplating this in the midst of stress with your husband’s condition. I hope you have found the best possible doctors for him, have good mental health and rehab doctors working with him to maximize his daily health and slow any decline. I cannot emphasize this enough…. regardless of what illness he has, aggressive treatment of mood and ongoing/intermittent rehab can do wonders.

      I’ll be thinking about you. Please try to find a caregiver’s support group for yourself as well. This can be a godsend. Being anxious in this situation is completely normal, but makes life even harder to navigate. I speak from experience.

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you, everyone. Freezing embryos may be an option, but could be a challenge for us. Might be able to do it with donor sperm. Thanks for the kind words too. Unfortunately his condition is such that there aren’t any approved treatments except experimental/patient-driven treatment options (he has secondary progressive MS), but he does have good docs for symptom mgmt. I do have access to a new caregiver group, which I hope will have younger folks in it this time.

        • Freezing eggs may be worth it, too! Honestly, putting aside the financial factor (which was significant for me going into this), I see few reasons not to do it if having biological children is important to you. It’s relatively easy, very safe, and could possibly preserve your fertility for years to come. Good luck with this and good luck to your husband. I can’t imagine how hard this must be.

        • I don’t know anything about your husband’s health issues, but if he has any sperm, freezing embryos is an option. My husband has a very, very, very low sperm count (for unknown reasons), but the use of ICSI technology means they just have to find one viable sperm for each egg to be inseminated. My husband would generally do a couple “donations,” and we’d have some frozen, to be sure we’d have enough to fertilize 5-6 eggs.

    • I got pretty far along in the embryo freezing process, but had to stop mid-cycle to deal with a cyst. It looked like it would actually have been covered by my (admittedly extremely generous with infertility coverage) insurance, but it’s hard to say until it’s all said and done. The drugs ($4K of the cost) were covered because I had a diagnosed fertility issue. Regardless, I wouldn’t let the cost stop you from investigating further. You never know what will be covered or if there’s a deal available, etc. My doctor’s office had a program for free egg freezing for cancer patients, for example.

      The process generally involves a few consults, a transvaginal ultrasound on day two of your cycle (really not a big deal at all), then about ten days worth of injections (almost all in your stomach and way more manageable than you’d expect), and then a trigger shot (didn’t get to that point) and egg retrieval and freezing.

      I have to resolve some other health stuff before finishing the process, but I encourage you to explore it! Embryo success rates are MUCH higher than egg success rates and insurance may be more likely to cover embryo freezing because the insurance coding for it is identical to IVF coding (so unfair to women freezing eggs, if you ask me).

      Happy to answer any questions!

  16. Hey ladies, happy new year!

    I am going to Chicago with my husband and two friends to celebrate various birthdays, a partnership, and a promotion (for me!) to a director at my company. I have tons of boots, but I would like to avoid bringing multiple pair of boots on this trip. I’m looking for a recommendation for a warm, waterproof/water resistant boot with a low heel (for walking around all day) that is ALSO stylish … and not $500. Prefer either knee-high or tall. A tall order, I know. Max I’m willing to spend is about $250.

    If I am willing to compromise on anything, I guess it’s the water resistance issue, but I would love it if there was one that fits all the listed criteria. Thanks!

    • If you wear a 7.5 or a 10 –


      They aren’t super warm on their own, but they are if you pair them with warm socks.

    • What’s your shoe size? You could probably find lots of boots on sale now but in random sizes.
      Something like this could work: http://www.6pm.com/la-canadienne-idann-grey-patent
      Or check out other LC boots on 6 pm there are a couple others that might fit the bill.

    • First Year Anon :



      Something like these??

    • I have some Sperry (that of the boat shoes) winter boots that I love, around $200, waterproof and warm. I never would have pegged Sperry as a good boot maker, but sounds like exactly what you need. Check Zappos.

    • frugal doc... :

      Well, if you are willing to spend that much, go La Cannadienne. I just bought these…


      They fit all of your criteria… wedge heel, totally comfortable, completely waterproof for the high snow here, warm, and I think quite stylish for a knee high and weather hardy boot. Work best for slender calves.

      also check 6pm for more La-Canadienne

      • frugal doc... :

        And you shouldn’t compromise on water resistance if you are coming to Chicago. No way…. It is -11 degrees today with a lot of snow. Wet feet today = frostbite.

    • Re: Winter Boots :

      I purchased these Blondo waterproof boots just after Thanksgiving. They’ve been a godsend during the cold rain and snow we’ve had recently. Love them!


  17. It’s probably way more than I want to spend on a t-shirt but does anyone know who makes the top paired with this shirt? It’s exactly how I want all my tees to be.

  18. One of my good friend had a baby two weeks ago. We brought dinner over to their house on Saturday night. I was holding the baby (who is such a sweetie!) and she said she wanted to put him down in his crib because she’s trying to get him on a schedule. I handed him to her and she put him in his crib with a blanket (not swaddled). She also put a boppy around his head (she put his head in the U shaped part). My initial reaction was – this isn’t safe! I didn’t say anything because I don’t have kids and wasn’t sure how big of a deal it is. However, when I got home and Googled “boppy in crib” I found a whole slew of information regarding SIDS and how big of a danger it is. Most of what I read was regarding people who put their babies in a boppy pillow to elevate their back to avoid acid reflux, the risk is that the baby will slide down and suffocate. Everything I read said that nothing should be in the crib with an infant – not even a blanket. Now I’m really worried about the little guy! What is everyone’s opinion? Should I say something? If so, how should I put it?

    • Also in Academia :

      In general — none of that is recommended. However, according to what is recommended, none of us should have survived to be posting here. I would probably stay away from mentioning anything unless you feel the child is in acute danger.

    • I mentioned something like this to a friend who had DECKED OUT baby’s crib with all sorts of crap. I was ignored.

    • Yeah, that would stress me out too. People don’t generally respond well to advice about child raising though. Do they have any new mom classes in your area? Here in Boston, there is a store called Isis that runs an 8-week infant care class for new moms that covers everything from crib safety to post-partum depression, while also being a way to meet other new moms going through the same thing. If your city has something like that, could you get her a gift certificate for it? It would be a great gift anyway and might avoid making her defensive about how she’s taking care of her baby. (I would preface the gift with “I’ve heard this is an awesome class that people really like” rather than “I think you need to brush up on newborn care.”)

      • We live in a major metro area, so yes, there are a plethora of classes available. I would love to give her a gift certificate but I feel like it would come across as “I think you need to brush up on newborn care” as much as I wouldn’t want it to.

      • Back to Work :

        I’m in Boston. I wouldn’t get her a gift certificate for classes. But Isis (we did natural birth classes there) is also a store, so perhaps you could get something that she could use?

        But speaking as a new mom, unless your friend has been living under a rock, she knows putting stuff in the crib with the baby isn’t recommended. So do I. But we have bumpers anyway. Unless you have reason to think otherwise, your friend has likely googled something about having a baby (maybe even got a book or two, or ten) and has encountered “back is best” as well as all the other stuff they tell you to do to avoid SIDS.

        IF IF IF you say something, try a hugely ignorant/broad/open ended approach like, “crazy all the stuff that has changed since we were kids! I was reading about the drop-crib recalls, the swaddling movement–did our parents even know what a swaddle was?!– these sleep sack things, etc. How much of that is actually practical for you? Can you really have a baby and not let it sleep on its back? Do you really plan to keep your kid in a booster seat until she is 8 like the state guidelines recommend?”

        • Good to know that they tell you about these things 10X over. I had no idea since I don’t have kids myself.

    • If there’s one thing new mothers love, it’s getting advice from people with Internet access.

      You are right, loose blankets and boppies are not recommended, but the parents have likely heard or read about the risks already and made their decisions. Don’t say anything.

      • I know, that’s why I didn’t say anything! However, I do know that they didn’t take any caring for newborn classes. My friend said they were going to the class on X and Y date. I asked her how she liked the classes and she said, oh, we didn’t go. So, I would honestly bet that she has no idea.

        • Even if she didn’t go to classes, she probably has Internet access herself. The hospital may have given them further information.

    • Back to Work :

      I just had a baby (see above post about bemoaning my first day back at work!!). My mom has been on a “look at all these old pictures of you!” kick, and in every one of them, my crib is stuffed with blankets and stuffed animals and bumpers and bows. I survived, as did all my siblings. I also slept on my stomach.

      It is exceedingly likely that your friend is aware of the risks of what she is doing. Everywhere I went while pregnant, I was told “back is best” and “nothing in the crib” and “SIDS RISKS!” I’d have to be truly oblivious not to know what the recommendations are.

      It is also likely that your friend is just trying to cope. Maybe her baby can’t stand to be swaddled (mine couldn’t). Maybe s/he has all kinds of reflux issues–or even a head cold– and the boppy helps.

      What I’ve learned is that parenting is about doing what works for YOU and being aware of the pros and cons. In our case, our baby went for a period of time where she would only sleep ON ME, lying face down, and would scream when put into the crib on her back. It was not sustainable. Turns out she would also sleep on her belly. Did I let her nap on her tummy? You bet. But I DID neurotically check to make sure she was still breathing and didn’t let her sleep that way at night.

      • It is worth pointing out that we all survived! I did see your post above – I hope you adjust to your new routine okay. We are planning on TTC soon and we have been having long drawn out talks about work/don’t work/work part time, etc. It’s exhausting to even talk about it let alone actually do it!

        • New Bride :

          We did not all survive.

          I have a cousin that died of SIDS and it still haunts my aunt to this day. (My aunt’s email address is [email protected])

          SIDS is real.

          I would give your friend a book like this. http://www.amazon.com/Baby-411-Clear-Answers-Advice/dp/1889392456/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389047265&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+411

          It’s not your responsibility to take care of that baby, but I would feel awful if I ignored it and the baby died. Maybe your friend will ignore the book, maybe she will take it as an insult. But I’d give it anyway. Or give it to the dad.

      • Don’t say anything. I agree that the info is there all over the place. I remember being given SIDS info at least 2 or 3 times before leaving the hospital, and then again by the health nurse that came by to check on us, and then again when I took my boys in for their immunizations. Unless she has her head under a rock she will have heard about the risks.

        I completely agree with Back to Work that parenting is all about doing what works for you. You don’t know your friend’s reasoning for what she is doing. Chances are good that she knows the risks, but most of those SIDS risks are very small, and always phrased something like “We still don’t know what causes SIDS, but it appears there is a correlation between having a blanket in the crib and SIDS deaths” (at least, that’s how things were phrased when my boys were young). For me, my first baby was born in February in Edmonton when it was COLD. There was no way I was putting him to bed without a blanket. I figured the risks of him being too cold & not being able to sleep were way higher than the risk of his dying of SIDS (and his being a boy & being born in the winter were already 2 strikes against him).

        And parents who are trying to make it through the day (and fighting hormones & exhaustion) with their new baby rarely enjoy receiving advice, however well intentioned, from anyone, except perhaps ‘how to cope’ advice from other parents of new babies. Unless they ask for advice. If they ask – tell them whatever you want!

        • Thanks for the points CKB. I think the overall consensus is to not say anything so I won’t! Thank you all – I always value your opinion.

    • hellskitchen :

      While it’s true that doctors advise not to put anything in a crib, many babies have such intense acid reflux that it’s impossible for them to sleep. I ended up using a cradle with a hammock of sorts so ; I have had friends who used triangle shaped wedge pillows underneath the crib flat sheet. We were all very aware of SIDS but My ped told us that whatever we used it should be positioned underneath the flat sheet so as to reduce the risk. More likely than not, your friend has read up on SIDS but made a choice to use a boppy pillow regardless. It’s also possible that she isn’t aware of the risks of SIDS. Before you bring this up with her, just talk to her to suss out how aware she is about SIDS… perhaps ask if the acid reflux continues to be a problem etc. If she doesn’t seem to know much, send her a couple of links of information you found, and let her decide after that.

      • Let me clarify, sorry if my post made no sense. My friend’s baby doesn’t have acid reflux. The bobby pillow serves no purpose at all from what I see. She is simply putting the baby’s head flat on the mattress with the hole of the boppy pillow (also flat on the mattress) surrounding the baby’s head. All he would have to do is turn his head to the side and his face would be almost touching the boppy pillow.

        I included the acid reflux stuff in the above post because it seems many people use the boppy in cribs to prop baby up to combat acid reflux.

        • Even if his face touched the boppy pillow, almost 100% certainty he would be fine. Babies don’t smother quite that easily. SIDS is a real risk, but there are definitely risk factors. If the baby has no risk factors the likelihood of SIDS is tiny.

        • hellskitchen :

          It does seem unnecessary then… perhaps she thinks the baby needs head support in order to sleep? I do think babies are hardy and survive a lot of crazy stuff but I also SIDS is a real risk. Unfortunately I don’t think there is any way for you to bring it up with her without it being awkward. Do you have any common friends who have kids? It might be better coming from them. Harsh as it sounds, I was happy to take parenting advice from mom friends or even people who talked about a specific situation with a nephew or a niece, but I wouldn’t be as open to advice from someone who wasn’t speaking from experience.

          • Having a boppy pillow in the crib may not be a good idea, but it’s hardly “crazy”, just unnecessary and possibly risky for a few babies with risk factors. I’d like to see people worry more about proper installation and adjustment of car seats and straps, which is far more important. Yet a lot of people just strap the seat in, don’t check to see if the straps are tight, and drive off. Far more risky than a loose boppy pillow.

          • No, she’s the first out of our group of friends to have a baby.

        • saltylady :

          You know what, I wouldn’t say anything EXCEPT for the boppy part. That, to me, seems more risky and more random than, say, blankets and such. “We all turned out fine” is great, except that the people who died of SIDS aren’t here to weigh in. I’m sure there’s a way to phrase it that wouldn’t be horrible, like when you’re over there asking, oh hey, do you keep the boppy in there when she sleeps– you can do that? Some super paranoid friend of mine was ranting the other day about how pillows can suffocate them or something.

          • True that none of the commenters died of SIDS (obviously), but we all had siblings and friends and our friends all had siblings, and while tragedies may have occurred, they were few and far between. I had a friend who was a pediatrician who let his own kids sleep on their stomachs. SIDS is a risk, but people have to weigh risk with benefits. If we didn’t weigh risks against benefits, none of us would ever get in a car because there’s a chance of having an accident you won’t have if you just sit at home. I myself can’t think of the benefit of the boppy (except that it looks cute), but I don’t think I’d have the nerve to tell a mother, who was probably drilled in the hospital about how a newborn should sleep, that she’s risking her baby’s life. Almost definitely, she isn’t.

            I wonder if we obsess about things like SIDS and boppies because having kids is so fraught with anxiety that we want to control *something*? Sure, be safe. Buckle that carseat and don’t feed a baby solids before 4-6 months. Be extra careful with a preemie or a baby with a chronic condition. But be reasonable. A boppy is not the biggest deal.

  19. Need to vent: I purchased a new sofa right after Christmas and scheduled delivery for this past Saturday. A few days later, my landlady made the very poor decision to have the front porch painted during the rainiest and coldest two weeks of the year. I rescheduled delivery from Saturday to tomorrow to give her time for it to be painted and to dry. She has been bugging me for three days now to reschedule delivery again to this coming Saturday. I texted her back to say that I will handle it, as I said I would, but that work is really busy. None of the numbers I have for the furniture store are working and I have no idea why (and no, they didn’t go out of business). I am ready to scream. I went to their website and sent an email but I don’t know what else I can do and I just don’t have time for this.

    • Sympathy here. Ordering furniture is such a hassle. I bit the bullet and ordered sofas from Macy’s over the holidays when they had good sales – I’m replacing 2 sofas that are 19 years old. I ordered my second choice because my favorite, while posted on the website, was “discontinued” according to the phone rep. A week later it was still on the site – I called and it’s (supposedly) available! So I canceled the first order and ordered the second set. Meanwhile, I took a screenshot of the items I *did* finally order just in case they’re different when they arrive. Each time I spent 45 minutes to an hour on the phone including holding time. And I wonder if I will even get what I ordered…

      • hellskitchen :

        Just got my sofa from macy’s delivered – 6 weeks after the estimated delivery date. I spent a lot of time calling up customer service and threw a fit. Turns out we ordered a sofa and a club chair and only the sofa was ready, but they were holding it in their warehouse until both items were ready. Meanwhile we were camping out on cheap foldable chairs in the living room. I convinced them to deliver the sofa today. Phew.

    • Turns out there was a power outage where the furniture store is so their phones aren’t working. And I just found out my landlady tried to call the furniture store on my behalf. I want to kill her. I have assured her that I am neither stupid nor destructive and I won’t allow a sofa to be delivered when the porch is wet.

  20. Mountain Girl :

    I recently upgraded from a Blackberry to an iphone. Is there a way to sync my outlook calendar but not the email?

  21. Nashville :

    TJ – I am planning a weekend trip to Nashville this winter. Any recommendations for where to stay, restaurants I have to try, or must-see activities?


    • Fun! Are you coming to be a tourist for country music? If so — definitely stay downtown. The Hilton, Hampton Inn, and Omni hotels are all in a good location for walking about.

      • Nashville :

        Thanks! We’re mostly just going to try a new place out, but definitely will want to see some country music while we’re there. Downtown seems like the best option! Do you think we’d need a car if we’re staying downtown and are just there to see the sights and explore a new city?

        • I don’t think you’d need a car if you’re spending 2-3 days in downtown. Beyond that, you might feel like exploring more – though cabs are plentiful and not terribly expensive to go to a new part of town. Nashville is not very walkable beyond downtown. For food, I’ll recommend: The Southern, Pucketts, and Husk. Tour the Ryman if you want some country music history.

        • We are just breaking into Uber which might be better than a cab, IMHO.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      Google Nashville Originals for a list of great local owned restaurants. Lots of good places to try!

    • New Bride :

      I was just in Nashville a few months ago. We stayed at the Home 2 by Hilton, which is a little further from downtown, but MUCH cheaper, and still walkable if you’re relatively healthy people.

      The downtown scene is fantastic for music. We bar-hopped and always found a great band playing in every bar.

      No car necessary.

      Skip Opryland.

    • Nashville an here – the best hotels are downtown or near Vanderbilt. My sister has had good luck with Priceline. If $ isn’t an issue, I’d recommend The Hutton or The Omni. We have an Indigo which I like in other cities

      As for restaurants, City House is my favorite; reservations help but seating at the bar is always pretty easy. Catbird Seat is the IT place and quite good, so I hear. For breakfast, Original Pancake House is the tourist favorite, but Fido (a block away) has great options and much less line. Noshville is also a local favorite.

      Hattie B’s offers Nashville hot chicken in friendlier setting than other hot chicken shacks. The Family Wash is good for local- but not country – music scene. For country try The Station Inn or Robert’s. Anywhere downtown will give you a honky tonk experience. If you can get a tour or visit to Third Man Records, that’s Jack White’s place and very interesting/good-looking.

      Our Yelpers are pretty solid, so check them out.

      You can email me thru my (linked) site if you want more recs. Enjoy!

  22. Anon Pro Bono Question :

    How do any lawyers out there say “I can’t help you” when a friend asks for legal advice or services? I was asked by friends to “help out” with a friend of theirs going through a contentious divorce about six months ago. I spoke with her on the phone several times, helped draft a couple of letters and came up with a plan of action for if her ex did not come through with what had been agreed on.
    And it all worked out, the matter concluded successfully. She is very grateful for the advice. BUT. I am not in family law currently (though I have worked in that field in the past, but ten plus years ago). And I have no malpractice insurance. DH has asked me, very kindly, not to do this again, pointing out not unreasonably that I am putting our family assets out there should anything go wrong.
    I get what he was saying and I did refer her to the bar clinic where she was turned down for assistance — but I would feel bad just saying “I can’t help you, go find $1500 for someone to tell you what I could tell you.” Is that really what I should have done?

    • I shift the blame and say that my employer will not allow me to help.

    • Yes. It is really what you should do. “I’m sorry, I don’t practice family law. I wish I could help.”

      You will get used to saying this.

      Acting as though you’re her lawyer or advocating for her or counseling her also creates a possible conflict for your firm if her husband calls up and wants representation, even if it’s not for the divorce.

      • Wildkitten :

        Also – a practicing family lawyer could do a better job (hopefully). That’s the angle I always use – a professional who is specialized in that practice is the best possible advocate for you, friend.

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