Call for Opinions

Call for Opinions: Redecorating a Little Girl's Bedroom

If the title of this post sounds familiar, it's because I asked for your opinion on the same subject a couple years ago. (Check it out.) I didn't buy new furniture at the time, though. My older girl came out of her crib and moved into the daybed (with trundle) that used to be our guest bed. My younger girl went into the crib we originally bought for the older one. My older girl is now four, and my little one is two, and potty-trained, and still sleeping in her crib.

We'll be moving soon and I don't want to move the baby furniture. I'd like to sell the crib and matching dresser as a set. Both girls will need new dressers and we will need one bed; two if we'd like to have a guest bed again. I love little girl bedroom sets, but I don't want to be going through this again in five years when my oldest girl decides her furniture is too babyish. I'm going to start with her room first and then do the little one's room.

I want to find a great bed and a great dresser. I'll build the room around those two pieces. Start sending me stuff! I am keeping it all on Pinterest. Here is some of what I have so far:

Dresser-landofnod
I love a dresser with a cupboard. Even though this is from Land of Nod, it doesn't look like kid furniture.

Dresser-hutch-pbk
Adorable, two separate pieces from Pottery Barn Kids.

Loftbed-pbk
Awesome, from Pottery Barn Kids.

Dresser-anthro
Rustic, and easy to open for kids, from Anthropologie.

Dresser-CB
I love this one for me, from Crate and Barrel.

More.


Call for Opinions: What is your minimum definition of cheating?

I received a comment on a five-year-old post about cheating at The Peevery. What is your minimum definition of cheating? Where is the line between cheating and inappropriate behavior?

This is what I think, but I want to know what you think.

I am now forced to broaden my definition of cheating... If you are in an exclusive relationship and you have a conversation or an encounter with someone else, if you cannot recount that conversation word for word to your partner or you cannot describe that encounter to your partner in detail without discomfort, then you have behaved inappropriately. It's like foreplay to cheating and it is going to earn you a punch in the mouth if your partner is me.

Read the whole post: Exploratory Poonani


Call for Opinions: Meal Planning Resources

I need help with meal planning. I don't do it. At all. I barely even cook these days, but I think that if I had help with the meal planning, I would cook. And by "help," I mean someone to do it for me.

I started my search on Amazon.com thinking that surely someone had written a meal planning cookbook that lays out a week's worth of meals with a shopping list. I was shocked to find almost nothing online.

I just want someone to tell me what to buy and what to cook (that's easy), and I will do it. I don't want to plan every meal and come up with the shopping list and then find out I didn't plan very well and I have a ton of groceries I don't need and can't use before they spoil, or a ton of leftovers that I don't have room to freeze or that we don't eat some night that same week. I know that some of you are diligent meal planners, so please help me out with some resources. If there isn't a cookbook, surely there is a good online resource somewhere.

What do you use to help with your meal planning?


Call for Opinions: Wedge Sandals

Select styles of Jessica Simpson shoes are on sale at endless.com today. (Don't go looking for those awesome purple ones, they are not on the site. WTF?)

JS-shoes

I didn't see any that I wanted (well, that I wanted and that I think I could walk in), but looking through her shoes did make me want to buy some cute wedge sandals. I know you are shoe-lovers, so please recommend some cute styles for me.


Call for Opinions: Should I wait to find a new job?

Anonymous asks:

I'd been planning to leave my job of five years in the summer of 2009. Unfortunately, the economy tanked and the jobs in my field dried up. I was happy to have the job I had and that I didn't have to take a pay cut. Now, my industry is picking up and jobs in my field are available again. I am torn about whether or not I should be looking right now. I have a lot of stressful things going on in my life and I know that starting a new job would add to that stress, but I am not happy in this job. Would the happiness from a new job offset the stress that starting a new job would cause? (I have two reasons for my dissatisfaction: (1) my company has grown to the point where office politics increasingly outweighs sound business judgment, and (2) my current duties are really fucking boring.)

My advice is to keeping looking for a new job, but hold out for one that you REALLY want. Don't apply for jobs that are only as good as your current job just because you are unhappy. The change will be nice in the beginning, but you will find yourself in the same predicament not too far in the future. Since you are going to be very discriminating in your search, I think it is fine to keep looking even when the rest of your life is stressful, unless the search itself is starting to stress you out, then take a break. Otherwise, I think that the search will help you see that you won't be in your suck job forever.

Do you have any advice for anonymous?


Call for Opinions: Mascara and Eyeliner

First, I am always looking for new eyeliner. I like a pencil or a pen, not a brush. Do you have a favorite eyeliner? Second, I am terrible at mascara. I have long lashes that are stick straight. They aren't thick but they aren't sparse either. I try to curl my lashes, but by the time I'm done applying mascara, they're straight again. I need help with utensils, products, and techniques. I would appreciate any advice you have in this area.

Call for Opinions: What do grown-ups do for fun?

Jamie asks:

My husband and I have discovered that we are the most boring people on earth. With every day being a 12-hour workday we don’t have a lot of free time, but what little we have, we have no idea what to do with. When we were younger we loved to go out and party, but we’ve outgrown it. And we never replaced these activities with anything else. Also, all of our friends have either had kids or never grew up, so we don’t really associate with anyone anymore.

So, basically we have no friends (we both work at the same place and everyone here is either way older than us, or has kids, or is weird or all of the above) and no hobbies. All we do is sit and stare at each other going “What do you wanna do? I don’t know, what do YOU wanna do?”

Is there some sort of match-making site for couples in their late 20’s-early 30’s to meet other lame people with no friends? If not, there should be. It’s hard to make friends as an adult.

Anyone have any suggestions for hobbies? We are not athletic and are both very accident prone, so anything with sharp pointy things (like darts) or heavy things (like bowling) or physical activity (like, um, sports) is not good. Also, anything that takes a long time (we have no attention span), or involves weirdos (like Renaissance fairs or Civil War Re-enactment) is out.

This is a good topic, about which I have surprisingly few opinions. My husband and I watch TV, go to the movies, and hand out with family (I have lots) and friends (we have few). We don't have tons of free time, though. We both have long commutes. We have two small children. I am taking MBA classes. I have to blog, and tweet, and post reviews on Yelp or the world will end. My husband plays online games. We're both fat because we don't exercise.

Anybody have some ideas for Jamie?


Call for Opinions: Short Hair vs. Long Hair

I've had a short hair jones lately. I am constantly going back and forth between short hair and long hair, or at least shoulder-length hair and long hair. Right now, my hair is about bra strap length. I was thinking of letting it grow another 4-6 inches, which would mean getting it cut next Summer or Fall.

Lately, though, I've been thinking about getting some sort of bob. Now is a good time for me to get a short hair cut. Because my hair has thinned out due to post-partum hair loss, a short hairstyle wouldn't be bushy like it normally would for me. My hair will eventually get thicker but, by then, I will have probably decided I hate short hair and will have started growing my hair out again.

When I see short hair on other women, I think it looks cool and fashionable. When I see long hair on other women, I think it looks pretty and sexy.

Opinions?


Call for Opinions: Do you think really deep thoughts?

I don't consider myself to be a deep person who thinks deep thoughts and contemplates all sorts of deep issues. For the most part, I think I am shallow. I like pretty things and shopping and making my house nice and dressing my kids in cute outfits and having shiny hair and writing funny blog posts and tweets and status updates.

I am interested in a variety of topics. I like to learn about things but only enough to form a general opinion about them and then I like to move on to something new. I like to know about a lot of things but I don't like to know a lot about things.

I don't have a burning ambition to find myself or discover myself or explore hidden areas of my psyche. I don't think I have any hidden areas. I feel like I know myself very well. I am conscious of my flaws and prejudices. If I do have a hidden area, it is where I hide the reasons why I stay fat. If you can help me find that one, you will be my hero.

What about you? Deep, shallow, wading in up to your chest?


Call for Opinions: Time Off for Good Behavior

When you ask for time off from work, using your earned vacation time, do you tell your boss what the time off is for? I generally do not. Now that we have an automated system, I put nothing in the comments field. Before, when the boss had to actually sign a piece of paper, I would just leave it on his desk with no comment. It has been a long time since I have been in a position where I felt it was necessary to justify using my time off.

Recently, like a week before he got laid off, my husband was questioned by his boss about his time off because he was taking a half day one week and a day off the next week. One was to get a free flu shot at my office and the other was to get a fricking vasectomy. I helped him word his email reply to his boss so as to maximize the discomfort his boss would feel for having asked the question.

Do you have to tell your boss why you are taking time off?


Call for Opinions: I Need a New Raincoat

Columbia
Photo courtesy of REI.com

I need a raincoat that is more professional and grown-up looking than the one I have. I currently use a Columbia rainproof shell like the one pictured above. I have had it for 13 years.

Today I put that jacket on over fuschia knit top, black flowy pants, and shiny pointy-toed flats. The jacket didn't really go with my outfit.

Please help me find a new coat! (Plus sizes. XL is not plus size.)


Do I Take on Too Much?

Honestly, my assessment of myself is that I am kind of lazy and that I could be more productive in most aspects of my life. My house could be cleaner and more organized. I could be more proactive at work. I could be more proactive with my schoolwork. I could fit working out back into my routine. I could cook more meals at home. I could pluck my own eyebrows. (No I couldn't! I did it this morning because I had to cancel my wax last weekend and plucking hurts way more than waxing.) I could read more books instead of watching TV. I could keep on going with this list.

I feel like I could always do more but, even before getting pregnant with Kenna, I made a conscious effort not to overschedule myself, especially on weekends. I need alone time and I need relaxation time. If I don't have it, I get overstressed and then I start to get depressed. Because of all that, I never had an image of myself as a person who takes on too much but, recently, I have started to wonder if I am wrong about that.

Last year, I began an MBA program. I started out easy with one class that I'd already taken as an undergrad. Then I took off the next term because it was during the first trimester of my pregnancy and I knew I would be too tired. This term, I took only one class again because it would be ending when I would be only weeks away from giving birth and I didn't want to work myself too hard. Still, I feel like I could have handled two classes at a time.

On Facebook a few weeks ago, an old high school friend commented on one of my status updates about how amazed she was that I was taking a class while pregnant. Last week, a coworker who works from her home was in the office for a training. We talked about my MBA program because her employee wants to get his MBA. She, too, was amazed that I started an MBA program with a toddler and another baby on the way. Then, when she found out I also have a 100-mile commute, her eyes nearly popped out of her head. My response was typical. I said that you get used to it (the commute) and that the MBA program was only temporary; eventually I'll be done, plus it is only one night a week for class and I do most of my schoolwork at lunch time (or instead of watching American Idol).

I registered for two classes for the Fall, which actually start a week or so before my maternity leave ends. Today, I registered for one class for the Summer - it crams a full course into 2.5 weekends. My husband is ok with the Summer course even though it means he will be on his own with a newborn and a toddler every weekend in July because the weekend after the class ends, I am attending the BlogHer conference in Chicago.

I think maybe it is too much but the only reason I think that is because I have done nothing but gain weight for the past seven years - the same amount of time I have been married and the same amount of time that I have had a long commute. Clearly, my health is the one area that is getting the shaft. Also, I don't do anything with friends. And I tend to pay my bills late.

I work, go to school, blog, tweet, watch TV, spend time with family, and... well, that's about it.

I have made it my goal to fit working out back into my routine after I have this baby next month, but I am not sure yet how I am going to do it because I haven't identified any other areas where I expect to slow down. I could stop watching so much TV, I guess.

Obviously this is something I have been struggling with for awhile, so if you have some answers for me, I would appreciate them.


Toddler Bedding Update

Thanks again for all your opinions about what type of bedding I should get for Kenna's new room. I did finally find a garden-themed bedding set that I like. It was really difficult! All the ones I was seeing were just so pastel or so bright. They would have looked really cute with the white furniture I was planning on getting, but they weren't really my style.

Then, to throw another wrench into the works, a friend gave us her old crib and changing table. We are, of course, very grateful for it, but the coloring made finding bedding even more difficult. The set has a natural stain (like light oak), but the top rail on each of the two crib ends is a dark country blue. (This crib is in astounding condition after having gone through three boys.)

Last week, I got a JC Penney baby catalog in the mail and found this perfect garden bedding set. The colors are darker than I had been seeing in other sets, so the blue on the crib will go nicely. It was lots cheaper than the one from Pottery Barn I had been considering, especially since my mom had a 15% off coupon.

Now we just need to get the new crib out of the living room and up into Kenna's new room.

New_bedding
Note: We only got the 4-pc bedding set, not every matchy, matchy thing in the picture.


Call for Opinions: Should I have a second baby shower?

Since we are having another girl, I can't decide if I should have second baby shower or not. My mom and my friend are pestering me to decide. We don't really need a lot of stuff. We need a few things, but nothing we can't handle on our own. Plus, I did put everything on a registry along with some stuff we don't necessarily need, but would be nice to have.

Two things I am thinking about:

  1. I have so many girl clothes, that I could be having triplet girls and still not need new clothes. At my last shower, I'd say 90% of the many, many gifts I received were clothes. To even think about getting that many clothes again makes me want to cry like the ungrateful, hormonal, pregnant woman I am. If I do have shower, I would really, really like to specify that we don't need any outfits.
  2. If I don't have a shower, I would like to have a "meet the baby" party instead, when she is about two months old.

So, what do you think? Should I have a shower or a party after the baby is born? I really can't decide on this one.


Call for Opinions: A Little Girl's Bedroom

Kenna will be 18 months old this week. We will also find out this week if the new baby is a boy or girl. Fortunately, we decorated the nursery in gender-neutral colors because we knew Kenna would not be our last baby. Before the new baby comes, Kenna will move out of the nursery, into her own room. She will stay in a crib for as long as possible, but the new room will have big girl furniture as well.

Here's where the need for opinions comes in. I have zero ideas about how I want to decorate her room. What color should I paint the walls? What type of bedding should I get? What should I put on the newly-painted walls? What should I put on the window, besides a black-out shade that is?

Do you have any ideas? To help, below are pictures of the furniture I have chosen, but not yet purchased.

New_crib 

New_bed 

New_dresser

(Links to the items can be found on Kenna's Amazon Wish List.)


Call for Opinions: Toddler Booster Seats

Booster My mom wants to get a toddler booster seat for her house for my almost-three-year-old niece and, later, for my toddler. She is considering the boosterPOD. I haven't had to look into booster seats yet since my toddler is still in a high chair and going to stay there until she is too big for it or the new baby needs it in about a year.

Do you have an opinion about toddler booster seats? Straps? No straps? Something entirely different from the one shown here?


More Interview Questions

Yesterday I posted about the worst interview question: "What is your greatest weakness?" Today, I am wondering what are some unique interview questions you have been asked or that you have asked of candidates? Please post in the comments.

Here are some that I have asked:

"What do you like to do for lunch?" (We were a close-knit team and I was concerned about fit.)

"Tell me about your favorite project and what it made it your favorite?"

"Tell me about your least favorite project and why you didn't like it?"

Here are some that I have been asked, which aren't unique, but I don't like them:

"How would you handle this scenario..." (A totally legitimate question for assessing skills, but I was barely qualified for the job, so I tanked it. Fortunately, they were hiring 11 people and used an objective scoring method for the interview questions, so I was actually offered a position. I turned it down because it was pretty clear I couldn't handle the job.)

"Why should we hire you?" (I just hate this one. They probably aren't looking for, "Because of everything on my resume and I want a new job." I feel like this is a crappy question because, not knowing the make up of the team or department, or their reasons for wanting to hire, how can I say why they should hire me? I know this is about calling out skills that are a good match for their circumstances but, generally, it seems like the people who ask this haven't done a good job of explaining their circumstances prior to asking.)


2008 Presidential Election

I am voting for John McCain and it isn't because I am registered as a Republican. I don't have any party loyalty. I would register as an independent but I like to vote in the Republican primaries.

If Hillary Clinton had won the Democrat nomination, I likely would have voted for her for president, first, because she is a woman, second, because she is sort of moderate, so voting for her wouldn't have caused me too much cognitive dissonance. It would have been nice to finally have the first female president and there isn't anything about John McCain that would entice me to vote for him over her. Too bad she didn't win.

I didn't know much about Obama when the campaigning started, primarily because I don't give a crap what Oprah thinks about politics or social issues, so I never watched the episodes with Obama as a guest. The more I learned about him throughout his fight with Hillary for the nomination, the more I disliked him. I think he is condescending and judgmental but, so am I, so that wouldn't have necessarily ruled him out.

What ruled out Obama for me is that he thinks I am rich and that I can and should foot the bill for every poor person living in this country, including the ones who are here illegally. He is basically a socialist and his naivete when it comes to both foreign and domestic policy is alarming. I fear for our country's economy and foreign relations during his term. In January, I called the primaries for Obama and McCain. In May, I called the general election for Obama. We'll see if I am right on that one.

As John and Ken on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles have said, this is Obama's race to win or lose. John McCain is the default option for anyone who doesn't want to vote for Obama.


Which candidate are you planning to vote for and why? If you are still undecided, what are you looking for to help you make a decision?