All posts filed under: Wisdom

Decades of experience has a to count for something, right?

An Astrologer’s Self-Care Checklist to Get Us to Inauguration Day

November 4th has come and gone, and guess what? We finally have a President Elect! But we’re a far cry and a million angry White House tweets away from the moment ole Orange Crush exits the building. Until then, you’re still here. You’ve still got bills to pay, a family to feed and a life to live. Pace yourself and start preparing for the changes ahead in 2021. As an Astrologer, I can tell you this election mess hasn’t reached its conclusion just yet. In fact, the current astrological aspects point to a “flip flopping” of information from the media for all of November. With Mars in Aries going direct on November 13th, we’ll see tensions and violence rise amongst the people and possibly even the threat of war. And then the lunar eclipse on November 30th will bring a big expose about our mass media, pointing to corruption we didn’t even see coming.  The only thing that will remain the same in these coming months is your need to pace yourself and start preparing …

An Astrologer Tells Us Why We Need to Take a Nap Right Now, And Start Dreaming

“I just don’t know what I should be doing right now!”, one of my clients lamented recently.  “The world is so messed up, there’s so much I should be doing, but I don’t know what to do!” “Get some sleep,” I said. “Sleep? There’s literally a protest going on outside my window!” “So, go join it. And when you get home, take a nap. Neptune is in Retrograde right now, which means all your illusions are being stripped away. Now, you have the space to dream big, without the limits of money, patriarchy, racism or age-ism. But you can’t dream if you don’t sleep.” As an astrologer, I deal every day in the area of dreams.  In the beginning, I thought becoming an astrologer meant I would be reading symbols that helped people discover their true, radical, unapologetic selves, so that they could stop trying to live the lives of others and fully embrace the life they were born to live. Astrology had helped me do that in my own life, and I wanted to …

Nope, It Doesn’t Need to be Steamed, Sprayed or Douched

A few years ago, I was talking with a relative and the talk turned to douches. I don’t remember how we got on this subject, but there we were, biding our time at the grownup table of a kid’s laser tag birthday party, talking about vaginal cleanliness. I was saying that while I had previously douched every month at the end of my period, I had stopped because it gave me a fire crotch of yeast infections. I had even given up the long, super-hot baths that I loved. “Wait…you don’t douche?” my relative asked, her voice full of judgment. She side-eyed me. She might have even sniffed the air in my vicinity; I couldn’t be sure. She’s only about seven years older, but suddenly I felt like I was talking to my mother or my grandmother, the women who raised me. Growing up, a hot water bottle with a hose and applicator attached always hung inside the shower in our bathroom. At some point, I must’ve asked what it was for and was told …

61% of Women Would Rather Talk About Their Own Deaths Than This Topic

My trigger to stop being so secretive about money occurred in a Palm Springs hot tub, while my sister and I were parboiling ourselves under a clump of shaggily glamorous palm trees. She is 61, I’m 59 and we were talking about money for the first time since the days when our “salaries” came in the form of weekly allowance from someone we called Mommy. Which is to say, we were having a meaningful money discussion for the first time in a half century.  “How much do you make?” she asked. I told her. I asked her the same question.   She answered it.  “Oh, O.K.,” we said simultaneously.  And then, as if we had walked through a heretofore unseen wall, we started talk openly about all sorts of money matters: how much money the family lost after the IRS caught up with some early-80s tax-filing shenanigans; “Mommy’s” financial situation; how much we had saved for retirement.  It was an inexpressible relief to discuss our family’s complicated relationship with money. The short story: my mother’s father made …

6 Things I Learned Tracking the First Jobs of Famous Folk

Photo (Stocksy.com) Everyone gets a start in the working world somewhere. So, as the Money editor at Reuters, I thought it would be interesting to use the monthly jobs report released by the U.S. Department of Labor as a springboard talk to notable people about their very first gigs. (For non-financial types, the jobs report is by far the most closely watched economic gauge of the U.S. economy’s health.) After all, no matter how famous or powerful they have become, all of us remember the first moment of bringing home the bacon. Here is what I’ve learned from editing three years’ worth of first job stories: 1. Many people got their start delivering newspapers It sounds so old-timey, but the list includes MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, baseball legend Ron Darling and financial wizard Warren Buffett. However, so far no one has mentioned being chased by a dog. 2. Many more of them worked in restaurants Fredrik Eklund of Million Dollar Listing New York, Olympic gold medalist Carmelita Jeter, football star Damien Woody, Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna …

I’ve Pivoted My Career So Much, I’m Pirouetting

In August 2014, I lost my freelancing job as the Director of Content at Grey, a global, 100-year-old advertising agency, often referenced in Mad Men. (It’s where Duck Phillips landed after being dumped by Sterling Cooper.) Because Grey slashed my short-lived position, a frequent mini-tragedy at ad agencies, I was searching for a new full-time gig. I became obsessed with joining one of the bright, shiny digital media start-ups in New York City, partly out of fear that if I didn’t work at a hot, tech-based company, I would soon become a dinosaur. I had studied journalism, and traditional media were on life support. As a Gen-Xer, I felt that my professional currency was quickly fading and I needed to switch gears so I could sparkle…or, at the very least, find a job. I interviewed at a small hybrid PR/social media agency where a dozen under-30-somethings sat shoulder-to-shoulder on ergonomic chairs, huddled around an eco-friendly, reclaimed oak table. Macs lit up the room as an Irish Setter meandered down the narrow aisles, looking to be …

25 No-Bullshit Things I Wish Someone Had Told My 25-Year-Old Self

We live in a cult of youth. This is nothing new, especially if, like me, you grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s and every bit of our pop culture pointed at old people and laughed. I always assumed I would never be one of them, or, as Deanna Carter sings in the 1995 country song “Strawberry Wine,” “I still remember when 30 was old.” Not much has changed these days except semantics. Now it’s all about the millenial demographic…but why? My high school days were so bad that I used to say, “If anyone offered me $10 million to be 16 again I’d punch ‘em in the throat.” While my 20’s and 30’s were better, I still feel the same (minus the physicality) because, despite my back starting to ache and my body breaking down in ways I’d only ever read about, I finally realized that I get better as I get older. When I was 25, I was a brash, bold, smack-talking, I-can-do-anything kind of girl on the outside. But in reality, I was insecure, …

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How I Avoid Gossip in a Small Town

I hate to admit it, but I love gossip. It’s fun, it’s easy, and as I am a naturally nosy person, completely satisfying. But as with drive-thru French fries, some delicious habits simply are not good for you. Despite my love for it, I’ve had to reduce my indulgence. I live in a small wine country town, and, as you can imagine, we socialize at lots of wine and food events. In this kind of atmosphere, it’s a real challenge to avoid talking about each other. Wine-fueled + small-town = the perfect storm for gossip. A quick definition: Gossip is social talk that judges someone when they’re not there to defend themselves. It’s usually personal, sensational, or far too intimate. Often, gossip is mean-spirited. An easy test for me to decide whether or not something is gossip is by asking myself the question, “Is this something I want the subject to hear?” If the answer is no, well, it’s gossip. Avoiding gossip is tough because we humans are hard-wired to share information about each other …

Ditching Multitasking to Be More Mindful

I’m sitting at my desk with my phone on speaker mode. This allows me to participate in this conference call but leaves my hands free to type away on my keyboard. That, in turn, enables me to take care of all manner of business from booking Christmas flights to Miami to checking stats on my football pool to ordering a new coffeemaker. I am a master multitasker! Or, not so much. Turns out I missed half of what each person had to say on the call and added no comments of my own since I was only partially listening. I ordered the wrong carafe for the coffeemaker because I wasn’t paying full attention to that chore either. As for the tickets? Hopefully, I’ll end up in Miami, not Minsk. What’s behind this drive to tackle multiple tasks simultaneously? The obvious answer is that it feels good to get stuff done. But it turns out that a sense of accomplishment isn’t the true driver of this borderline manic behavior. The culprit is actually the rush we …

14 Ways to Be an Ally Right Now

(Photo: Chanel Dubofsky) The physical and emotional well being of our friends and families require that we show up. This means leveraging our privilege, should it come in the form of religion, class, gender, race, etc., to fight against the tide of awfulness that’s coming. Here are some ways to do it: 1. Walk folks who have been specifically targeted by Trump (Muslims, Latinos, etc) home. This form is for New Yorkers who are willing to accompany their neighbors on their commute in light of recent harassment and threats toward people of color, LGBTQ folks, and Muslims. 2. Diversify your media consumption. If everyone you follow on Twitter is white and straight, and if you’re getting all your news from CNN, you’re doing it wrong. 3. Do not dismiss or diminish people’s fear. People are not overreacting, and it’s not your job to tell them to be positive. 4. Distribute information to other allies so targeted folks don’t have more work to do. 5. Make yourself available to friends who need help/support securing a passport, going to the doctor, …

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My #FirstSevenJobs… and the Shitty Lessons Learned

While everyone’s sharing their #firstsevenjobs on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve gone a step further to talk about the bonuses at each — and the shitty lessons learned. 1. The Job: Underpaid neighborhood babysitter at a rate of fifty cents to a dollar per hour Bonus: Getting to watch MTV since we never had cable at my house, plus junk food. Shitty Lesson: Childcare doesn’t pay well, and it’s even more stressful than watching your three younger siblings try to kill each other at home. And that world premiere Bon Jovi video wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. 2. The Job: JCPenney sales associate at minimum wage, $3.35 per hour Bonus: With commission during the Christmas rush, this could soar to a dizzying $9 per hour, my first taste of the American Dream and the perfect occasion to learn applied math. Shitty Lesson: When I took the job in 1986, the dress code stipulated women could only wear skirts, not pants, and the skirts needed to fall below the knee. So men apparently like …

4 Things to Consider Before Getting Inked

Sorry, Mom. (Photo: itwaswhatitwas/Flickr.com) If you’re thinking about getting inked, you’re not alone. According to a 2015 Harris poll, three in ten Americans (29%) have at least one tattoo, a marked increase from 21% four years prior. Maybe you’re thinking about getting another? You’re not alone there, either. Among those surveyed who have tattoos, seven in ten (69%) have two or more. Remember when Cher was badass with six? Angelina has 20. If you are a newbie, though, here are some considerations to keep in mind: 1. Think about why you want one. This is not like a piercing that can grow in or purple hair that will grow out. So think about it for a while to make sure this is something you really want. I wish I could say I got my tattoo to commemorate some life-changing experience like adopting a child from Cambodia. Or winning a Pulitzer. Even winning a scratch-off would rate more meaningful that my reason for getting one. Still, I had thought about it for nearly three years, which …

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Talking Politics Without Losing Friends

I used to manage political campaigns in Florida, a truly competitive state when it comes to the number of Democrats vs. Republicans. Dreaded was the moment when I would be asked what I do for a living because that was the point in the conversation where one of two things would happen: Either the person would “spot a friend across the room” or “suddenly have to use the restroom,” ending our conversation, or they would lean closer and say something to the effect of “I knew I liked you” or “fascinating, tell me more” and our relationship would be solidified. Fifty-fifty. That was the risk that my conversation and new friend would evaporate as soon as I revealed my political orientation. Over and over again, I saw how divisive politics were when, just by claiming my political party aloud, I would lose friends. How could I explain what I did for a living without alienating half of the people I met? I experimented with many different ways to say it. For the record, this was …

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Your Nag Hath Made Me Stronger

“Why do people who least have their shit together always want to give you advice?” my friend John said to me with an exasperated sigh. I had called John because I was dealing with some family issues, and we share some common family dynamics. He was lending a sympathetic ear and sharing the latest advice from his born-again brother, who persisted in being John’s self-appointed life coach. “He has been divorced twice, he goes to church, but he hates poor people and can’t hold down a job. And he has the nerve to give me advice on how I should be living my life.” This dynamic has always puzzled me: the compulsive need to give advice when none has been asked for. What is this dynamic all about? I have seen it so many times in life, with micromanager bosses, overly critical colleagues, overbearing friends and well-meaning family members. Who actually welcomes this hypercritical and unhelpful feedback? And when does it actually help? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this – my interaction …

Walking It Off: How My Morning Habit Helped Me Find Myself Again

I looked at the calendar and couldn’t believe it had been five months. Five months since the last time I had gone on what had been a daily, one-hour walk. I could feel the changes, too, and it scared me. My body missed the exercise: I was more agitated lately and having trouble falling asleep. During the day, my legs were cramping and I felt tired. Things just didn’t feel right, and I knew much of this fatigue and discomfort was caused by lack of exercise. I knew the importance of daily movement for health and emotional well being. But every day, something got in the way of my walk. Even if the first thing I promised myself when I woke up was that I would walk. But here it was, almost half a year since I had exercised. I have been active my entire life, which made it even harder to believe that I had become someone who didn’t move. For the first time in my life, the excuses were winning and it all …

6 Ways to Brag About Yourself (Without Being an A**hole)

For women, bragging is a necessary but tricky endeavor. We’ve heard that women need to brag more, and that’s true. The only way people will know how awesome and competent we are is if we show them. And lucky us, with our social media presence, we have the show-and-tell platform of every kindergartner’s dreams. So, go ahead and tell the world that you’re totally winning at this life thing. A promotion! A new client! You lost weight! You overcame a yearlong illness! You overcame the yearlong sleeplessness of new motherhood!  But guess what? As necessary as bragging and show-and-tell are, no one likes a showoff. So, here are tips for how to express yourself when you know you’re the sh*t — because you should also know better than to act like your sh*t don’t stink. 1. When you score a sweet new job or promotion. Avoid thanking God and giving an Oscar speech. I’m not against people publicly sharing their religious/spiritual gratitude. I do it all the time. But, like bragging, acknowledging one’s faith on social …

#SoProud Moms on Facebook, We Need to Talk

(Graphic by Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight) Dear Moms on Facebook With Above-Average Kids (hereafter referred to as MOF-WAACs), Your children are unique in their accomplishments. They exceed in a wide range of sports: soccer, basketball, field hockey and then soccer again, but of the “travel team” variety. They are given baffling-to-me-and-perhaps-other-people-who-don’t-live-in-your-town awards like “regional,” “all-city” and “division champ” (I say choose one geographical designation and go with it, but I don’t live in your town.) They always get A’s, and you, as a MOF-WAAC, have never failed to photograph their report cards and upload them to Facebook with the hashtag #soproud. In fact, from their post-natal APGAR score (perfect 10s, scanned and uploaded) to their college diplomas (magna cum laude, ditto), they’ve done nothing but made you #soproud. One noteworthy example (and I’m not making this up): Your toddler photographed mid-defecation, straddling a low plastic toilet with the caption “First poop in a big-girl potty!” And the hashtag #poophappens. On this point I couldn’t agree more: Poop does happen. But ask yourselves, MOF-WAACs, do we need …

My System: “The Daily Mirror”

Who: Rachel Simon, novelist, memoirist and speaker. System: Communicate daily to-do list tasks via sticky notes left on the bathroom mirror. How does it work? “If there’s something I need to remember, I write it on a yellow sticky note and put it on the bathroom mirror so I have to see it. ‘Mail check on Wednesday’; ‘Review my Powerpoint.’ I wrote a sticky note this morning that said ‘Call Margit.’ “ Well, I’m glad you did. So how does this system work with your husband? “My husband is also creative (he’s an architect) and we’re secluded in separate studios for good part of day. Our house often has the feel of an artist colony. So this way we’re able to have those household conversations you need to have, like ‘would you reread blog post I wrote?’ Or ‘when are you going to work on broken toilet?’ Or even, ‘remind me to tell you about conversation I had with my father.’ “ Does he respond? “Sometimes the way he’ll respond is that he’ll write something right on the yellow …

The Recently Divorced Dude — Is He Dateable?

Welcome to of our new advice column where we try to answer all of your confounding “What The…?” questions. We’ll be getting advice from experts, but we may not always have the best answer. Feel free to share your own advice in the comments below . Q: I really like this man and would like to date him seriously. We’ve been friends for a long time — decades in fact, but he was married and therefore off-limits. Not anymore! Everyone tells me not to be his first post-divorce girlfriend because it won’t last. Myth? Truth? Signed, Rebound or Romance? A: Upon dissolution of his relationship, the long-married man could behave in a variety of different ways. Some go completely apeshit-horndog, sliding their penis into any and all willing receptacles. After decades of mundane marital life, they can’t believe they’re suddenly in demand. They see vagina around every corner. They are the binge-eater at the buffet, gorging themselves on an abundance of boobies and beav at their collective fingertips. After all, these once longtime married guys (usually) haven’t …

Help! I’ve Forgotten How to Say Thank You Without a Computer

Welcome to of our advice column where we try to answer all of your confounding “What The…?” questions. We’ll be getting advice from experts, but we may not always have the best answer. Feel free to share your own advice in the comments below. Q: I send so many emails, I’ve lost all ability to create a hand-written thank you note — and I forget the protocol. Can you give me the modern manners on the thank you note so I can properly thank Aunt Louise for the gravy boat she gave me last Thanksgiving? Signed, Thankless in Iowa City A: Ah, the thank you note. It’s either a charming throwback to a lost era of civility, or a guilt-inducing chore that has outlived its usefulness. But whether you love them or hate them, sooner or later you will have to write them. From birthday gifts to job interviews, there is a range of occasions for which thank you notes are appropriate. But while the reasons for writing them may vary, the guidelines for writing …

My System: The Four-Pocket Office

(Photo: Margit Detweiler/ TueNight) Who: Mary Pat Boian, editor of the Lovely County Citizen, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Originally from Denver, Mary Pat visited Eureka in the ’70s, fell in love with the town’s beauty… and the sound of bugs: “The first thing I noticed were the sound of beetles, cicadas, mosquitoes… It’s rich here. There was nothing like this in Denver.” So, she stayed. (I met Mary Pat while I was at a writer’s colony, in Eureka Springs. We chatted about her system over cocktails at Rogue’s Manor.) System: Mary Pat uses her carpenter jeans as her purse or as Mary Pat says, “my office.” Each pocket has a purpose. “I have to buy jeans with decent pockets. I can’t buy girls jeans. These were $12 at Freds.” Her 4-pocket office: 1. Left Front: “I keep my pocket knife there, and my iPhone.” She shows me her slim pocket knife. “I gave this pocket knife to my dad for Christmas and he gave it back to me.” She looks at me dead in the eye, “Never give …

My System: One Blackboard to Rule Them All

(Photo: Adrianna Dufay/ TueNight) Who: Adrianna Dufay, founding member of TueNight  System: My family uses a huge (4′ x 6′) blackboard on our kitchen wall that holds our weekly family calendar, nightly dinner reminders, grocery list, general to-do list and notes passed back and forth. Inspiration: My husband and I both work full time, have lots of evening events and have two kids in two different schools. We’ve experimented with different calendars for years now — online or not, separate or together, paper or write-erase, monthly or weekly— and this is the system that has inspired the most calm. How it works: On Saturday morning, we turn on cartoons in the other room and banish the children. Then we pour ourselves some coffee and dump everything from our shared electronic calendar (and anything else we forgot) onto the board. As we talk through the next week, we’re writing our to-do list on one side of the board and groceries on the other. How long it takes: It takes about an hour, but when we’re done with that, we’re ready …

What’s Your System: How I Prepare To Sing

(Photo Courtesy: Nora York /Norayork.com) Who: Nora York, New York vocalist and composer. System: Before a show I try and do some yoga, I do my digital pranayama and I take a bath, if I can. I like a bath. And then I usually try and do some kind of meditation. I like to apply my makeup while listening to (the late) Irish tenor John McCormack. I listen to the stuff he recorded with just piano, not with orchestra. Why John McCormack? He has the most clear emotional delivery of singing and I find him incredibly inspiring. Songs like, “Off to Philadelphia in the morning…” LISTEN And then sometimes I’ll listen to Jimi Hendrix. That’s quite different. And now that I’m blind, well, older, I have to wear glasses. But I don’t like to wear them for the stage. So I apply my contact lenses, I have special ones for the stage which are bifocal. And it takes me a really long time to put them in. How long have you been wearing them? I convinced the Chinese …

Serious About SPF: Expert Tips & Busting Myths

I love the beach but I don’t love UV rays. So I’m always suncreened to the gills. (Photo: Andy Kropa) By now we all should know that the days of tanning oils and silver sun reflectors are dunzo. As good as the warmth may feel on our face, as lovely as it may make our skin look (at first), the fact of the matter is that the sun emits ultraviolet rays that are incredibly harmful to our hides. It wasn’t that long ago that the majority of sun-lovers were blissfully unaware of this. But as science began delivering the unhealthy news, and as the sun-is-bad-for-you stats got worse and worse, so did the myths and misinformation. Which still continue today. “No sunscreen is 100% effective in protecting the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays,” says Fayne Frey, a 20-year board certified dermatologist and founder of the resourceful skincare site FryFace.com. “Sunscreen use should be the third line of defense against the sun; the first two being seeking shade and wearing protective clothing when outdoors.” Now if your …

The 5 Bras Every Woman Must Own, Especially During the Summer

Warm weather = less clothes = the need for an excellent bra. (Photo by Shuttershock) Remember when you were in your 20s and you could get away with wearing a black bra under a white t-shirt? Or when a loose, neon-colored strap sitting on your shoulder was all cute and sexy-like? Occasionally, I miss those days. But on the whole, I find that ill-fitted, notice-me-now bras make me seem like I’m trying to look younger than I am. Which I’m not. I’m pretty happy with my almost-40 status. And since the days that I spend not working from home usually involve an office, a potential or current client, or a combination of the two, I want to look presentable, stylish, maybe a bit edgy —  but professional nonetheless. This isn’t easy for women during a hot-as-hell summer, especially when it comes to bras. We’re down to wearing thin, as-cool-as-possible fabrics, so it’s a challenge to disguise a bulky bra or avoid unsightly shoulder straps. Securing our boobs in a way that’s appropriate, comfortable and properly …

Do Sleep Habits Change With Age?

Welcome to of our advice column where we try to answer all of your confounding “What The…?” questions. We’ll be getting advice from experts, but we may not always have the best answer. Feel free to share your own advice in the comments below. Q: As a 40-something woman, I know I’m turning in earlier and earlier and rising at the crack of dawn more than ever. I’m not necessarily turning into a “morning person,” but I’d definitely say that my sleep has shifted. Is that nature or nurture? Does it matter if you’re a mom or not? And what tips do you have for a more restful sleep? — Person Formerly Known as a Morning Person in Seattle A: For this one we asked Natalie Dautovich, PhD, a National Sleep Foundation Environmental Scholar : “Some people do experience a ‘phase advance’ with age,” says Dautovich. “Meaning, that they get sleepier earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. This contrasts with late adolescence when many people show a “phase delay,” not getting …

How Can I Find That Discontinued Beauty Product?

Welcome to of our advice column where we try to answer all of your confounding “What The…?” questions. We’ll be getting advice from experts, but we may not always have the best answer. Feel free to share your own advice in the comments below. Q: I’m beyond devastated. My favorite foundation ever — Chanel Pro Lumiere Professional Finish Makeup — has been discontinued. DISCONTINUED! I’m literally in shock. I’ve seen it online and know I can take a chance and get it on eBay or Amazon, but I’m not really one to go rogue for a makeup product. How will I know it’s the real thing? So my question is, what do you do when a product you love is discontinued? I LOVED this foundation — it was the perfect color and texture for my skin. Is there a way to find discontinued products from legit sources? If not, do you have any tips for finding a new foundation that is similar to my beloved Chanel? Any help you can offer would make me — and …

How I’ve Taught My Kids to Give, Save and Spend

The “Give Save, Spend” system is something many parents use — it’s a great technique for kids (and heck, anyone) to learn the value of money. We ran this piece over on the WhatsYourSystem.com site back in 2010. We thought we’d republish it and check back in with Valerie and her girls to see how things had changed four years later.  2010 Who: Valerie (the mom), Maya and Rachel Gardner Job: Singapore denizens, world travelers. My sister-in-law and nieces. The System: Valerie introduced the concept of “Give, Save, Spend” to her two daughters a few months ago. The idea is that each girl gets an allowance equal to her age (Maya is 8, Rachel is 3) and then they allocate the money in three envelopes – one to give to charity, one to put in “savings” and one to spend. “They can do any allocation they want,” says Valerie, “but at least one dollar has to go into each category per week. So, yes, Rachel then only has one discretionary dollar but it’s just to get her used …

You Should Know: How to Buy Better Leather

In “You Should Know” we tackle the stuff you think you probably should know at this point (but probably don’t). There was a day, before I started working in the world of design accessories, when I looked down at my “Genuine Leather” handbag and noticed that it just didn’t look like a hers. That classy lady who sat across from me on the N train had a bag that looked relaxed but kept its shape, a handle that looked firm but soft, and a charismatic patina that attested to years of service. Mine looked like a lump of dimpled plastic, honestly! What made the difference? Fine leather represents an investment that should reward the wearer with years of great first impressions. Yet with so many gussied up fakes competing for our attention, and tags that say “Genuine Leather” sewn into veritable road kill, how can one choose leather that looks beautiful and ages with character? Having worked as technical designer for companies like Coach and Baby Phat, I can now help you answer that question. Use …