Something Old, Something New

Dear Stephanie,

My mother is buying my wedding gown–and wants me to buy a second-hand wedding dress. I just don’t want to. I know it is practical but it feels less fun and less special. It is the most important and special day of my life and I want to wear something that reflects that.  I know it’s just a dress but how do I handle this?

Sincerely,

I want what I want


Dear I want,

Thanks for writing in, and congrats that you have found someone that you love and they love you,  and you want to spend your life with them!! It’s pretty amazing because not all people are so lucky.

So, a second-hand dress is not what you had in mind for “something old”, is it? ; ) I  can 100% relate to you and your feeling of wanting a brand new special wedding dress of your own. I will want the same thing one day when I get married. Now aside from being happy for you, my first reaction was, “Well, you can’t make your mom pay for something she doesn’t want to.” Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we could get whom ever to buy whatever for us?! If you want the brand new dress of your dreams I have a few options that I think will help you decide on how you want to proceed.

  1. You could just buy your own damn dress. Problem solved. Then you can buy exactly what you want. It won’t matter what anyone else thinks about the price, new, used or otherwise. If she feels upset about that, say that you would rather she buy your veil, shoes, or lends you your “something borrowed.”
  2. Your mom is probably a very practical women being that she wants you to buy a second-hand dress. So, I am sure she can handle a practical conversation about money. Have a discussion with her letting her know that you would much prefer a new dress not second hand because it is your special day, but that you also understand she has a budget. You could suggest that if your new dream dress falls within the budget: great! If not, then you would like to pay the difference. That is a reasonable and fair compromise.
  3. Do some research. There are some amazing places out there where you can find a brand new designer dress for only a couple hundred dollars. Check out the The Bridal Garden. I am certain they will have the dress of your dreams at the price point your mother’s dream.
  4. Finally, consider getting a second-hand dress…. I know this option is exactly what you do not want to hear, but hear me out. You will only wear the dress once. One day and never again. Right? Also, while this pains me to even say as a person working in the  fashion industry, it is still true… Who cares what you wear? (Yes, you do. I know. But hear me out) It will not make or break your marriage. It’s just a really beautiful dress that will be fun to wear but will not guarantee the success of your marriage and future happiness. Or even how fun your actual wedding day will be. So save the money and put it toward your honeymoon where you can cultivate exciting memories that you can draw on when life gets a little hard. Because let’s face it.. It always does at one point or another.

So with that, I hope you find the option that works best for you. No matter what you choose you will be radiant. It is a state of mind more than anything. I wish you a life time of happiness, joy and health with the love of your life.

 With Love,

Stephanie

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Less Money, More Problems

Hi There Everyone,

Sorry for the long pause between posts. I have taken some time for myself to enjoy my family and friends and relax a little during the holiday season. I hope you have all been able to do the same and are now ready to finish off 2017 strong and ring in 2018 on a high note.

So without further ado let me get back to giving you my solicited advice…




Dear Stephanie,

I’ve been working at a small privately owned company for about 3 years now and I have been compensated well thus far. I recently had my yearly review and felt it didn’t do justice to how my year actually went. This past year, I worked even harder and more hours than my previous years, because the company is growing and I’ve had to take on more roles than normal. Everyone in the company gets a generous bonus; but I felt my actual yearly wage increase was extremely low, and was not even close to what I got the previous year percentage wise.

I’m extremely disappointed and know I deserve more, but I’m scared to bring it up to my boss because I don’t want to be a complainer and seem ungrateful.

What should I do?

Thanks,

Overworked Under Paid


Dear Overworked ,

Thank you for writing in. This is a tricky one for me because I know in the same scenario I would be unsure of what I wanted to do and how to proceed in a professional manner but still look out for myself.

However,  my gut reaction when reading your question is that you know your worth and what you bring to the company so you should speak up and ask to meet with your boss on why you deserve a larger raise and why you were expecting one. I think that there will be two outcomes, and both positive.

  1. The best and ideal scenario – You get a bigger raise. Woohoo!!
  2. The good and positive scenario –  A constructive and informative conversation where you learn more in depth on why your review when the way it did and why you were compensated as such.

I would say the trick to achieving either of these outcomes is to go into the conversation leaving you’re feelings at the door. You need to come into the meeting prepared with facts and numbers. By that I don’t mean the number of hours you are working, but instead the quantitative results of your work in those hours. For example, you came up with and implemented a new procedure within the company that saved them X amount of dollars or you developed and brought to completion a  new product/ ad campaign/ service that brought in the company in X amount of dollars.

Do you see what I am getting at? You need as many of these relevant examples as possible to make a strong case on why you deserve X% raise over the percentage that they already offered you.

If the dollars are not available for a further increase in salary, be strong and continue to ask how you can further improve as an employee and what is needed and expected from you in order to get the raise you are looking for. Sometimes, no matter how hard we are working it is not quite the exact way your company needs you to work. Creating an open dialog in this conversation will insure you’re moving in the direction the company is going and needs you to move with them in order to get to both their and your end goals.

Now go forth an pick the right time for this conversation, when you and your boss do not have urgent matters to attend to but sometime in the near future so it is still relevant.

I would be surprised if your boss would find you ungrateful. Instead I am sure they will be impressed that you are brave enough and believe in yourself enough to get the compensation and answers you deserve.

We are all rooting for you!!

With Love,

Stephanie

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Leaving the Nest

I received the below submission as comment on a previous post:

“I have a question! Next Fall my daughter is going away to a University. I’ve been preparing her for over a year now on how to live alone without a parent and what things to watch out for, yet I still have a lot of anxiety over her move and being without me. We will be 3 states apart and it is really hard for me to let go. What tips do you have on letting go and not freaking out when I say good-bye….. ”

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Dear Reader,

As you may, or may not know, I am not the expert on sending daughters off to college. So, I consulted the authority on this matter…my own mother. She has successfully sent 3 daughters off to college. I thought she might have some valuable insight, having lived it 3 times over.

If her insight isn’t what you needed to hear, I just have to say it was what I needed to hear this weekend. It gave me a boost for the week, I did not know I needed. Since our quick chat, I have felt continuously thankful that I have a mother that is so self-aware, wise, selfless and encouraging.  I know not so many people are as lucky as I am. However, dear reader, I think your daughter must be as lucky and me and my sisters have been.

My Mom expressed that she felt similar emotions to what you are feeling about the impending move and separation. That worrying about the “What if she can’t or won’t?!” is perfectly normal, but instead try to think about the “What if she can and will?!”. She said that positive outlook really made a big difference for her. She was able to be excited about our futures and be excited with us for the next step, instead of dwelling on something negative. Personally, I always feel the most excited and prepared when my parents are also excited for me. Their approval and belief in me gives me an extra boost of confidence when I might normally feel unsure.

From my perspective, I feel that it is human nature to fulfill the roles people assign to us. People who are labeled as”losers”, have been told over and over again they are a loser, they are lazy and are good for nothing. The same goes for people who are confident, successful and happy. They are built up by those around them. We start to believe and embody what the people around us think and say about us.  Since your daughter already has the tools needed to succeed, keep on encouraging her and reminding her of how great she will do on her own. Of course, there will be hard parts to college, but going in believing that she can handle it, that she is aware and that she will succeed will give her the upper hand in most situations.

In terms of letting go and how hard it can be,  my mother suggested, to be so thankful that you were able to raise a healthy young woman who can be on her own. That you can “let go”. There are many parents who wish that their child was capable of such an accomplishment. But on the day of the move, tears are inevitable! Do your best to keep it together, because it is not your daughter’s  responsibility to make you happy, but it is your responsibility to make sure she doesn’t feel guilty about pursuing her dreams.

All in all, you gave her the tools she needs, now believe in yourself that you succeeded in raising her right and share the joy and excitement that will come with the future.

With Love,

Stephanie

Working Like a Dog

Dear Stephanie,

Apologies if this is not the right way to write in. I’m having an issue at work where I’ve now basically doubled my hours. Writing in now, I’m still working on projects. ( Editor’s Note: I received this message on a Saturday at approximately 3pm.)

I’ve been asked to help out on something at work with 0 details and have basically been thrown in the shit. I didn’t mind at first, but one of the people on the account is disgustingly entitled and is so disconnected/rude that it is affecting my morale. I’ve been very transparent on how I feel, but at this point I think it is becoming something of an arms race. She knows I won’t take her shit, and she is not my boss, but seems to get more aggressive/passive aggressive as the weeks go by.

I’ve escalated but have been ignored and think I’m going to start looking for a new job because I’m honestly very angry but don’t want to hurt my team. How do I honestly approach this without looking like I’m over reacting. Am I over reacting?

Sincerely,

Unfortunately Angry

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Dear Unfortunately Angry,

Thank you for writing in. Your work situation sounds tough. I bet nearly everyone  can relate with a similar scenario. Doesn’t it always seem like the same miserable person works in every office?

First, I want to point out that you were brought on to this project because someone trusts you, needs your help and your particular skill set to get the project done. You may not have all the facts you want or need, but someone knows and believes that you will be a key player in reaching the goal. Try to remember that as a small motivator when you are in the thick of it.

I do not think you are overreacting, but I do think you’re feeling really emotional about this issue. Which I can totally relate to. I really allow myself to be defined by my career, and because of that, so much feels personal. So, when and if I am working with someone miserable and difficult, like your co-worker, I can easily end up walking away at the end of the day feeling frustrated, sad and angry at the situation. When that happens, I try to take a breath and look at what I am facing as an opportunity for success. Even if it is just the small, but personal success, that I can be proud of the work I did in less than ideal circumstances.

So plow ahead, and keep your head up. Make sure that this co-worker, has no real reason to give you a hard time because you are doing amazing work. She will just end up looking like a fool, after you prove her wrong over and over again.

In terms of looking for a new job, only you will know when the time is right  to move on. If you really love your job outside of this issue, do not let this or your co-worker push you away from something that you love.

Although, I think it might be time for you to ask for additional financial compensation if have been working this much overtime for an extended period of time, not just with this project. You are not a salve, you are an employee and they should care about you in that capacity, if they want to retain talent. Depending on their response and how you feel about it leads to my final point.

Before I left my last job for my current job I felt the same way, you mention above, in that my team needs me and I didn’t want to let them down. However, one event after another made it clear it was time for me to move on.  I realized that I deserve to enjoy my job. You and I will spend most of our adult life at work, and it should be as enjoyable as possible. So my advice is, don’t worry so much about the team, they will be ok. As important as you are, your not going to make or break the company if you leave. At the end of the day the company will be fine if you stay or go, but will you be fine? If that answer is no, start sending out your resume and meeting with headhunters. A better opportunity (more $$$) could be right around the corner.

With Love,
Stephanie

Please feel free to let me now below if you would approach this situation differently. If you liked my advice, submit a question of your own.

Oh, Brother!

Dear Stephanie,

My brother is 22 and, although he certainly could be doing worse, he has always been the cause of much family contention and isn’t moving in the direction he could/should be.

He recently graduated college and continued right into his MBA at the same school, with no work experience or plan of what he wants, and did not want to answer any questions my family had or take any advice on maybe waiting and getting work experience in the field he thinks he wants to work in first. Leading up to graduation, he did not put much effort into recruiting for jobs he wanted. Once he saw he wasn’t getting any job offers, he just decided to keep going to school. I’m not sure if he really thinks this will help him get a job, seeing as it was really a lack of effort on his part that resulted in him staying in school.

Grad school is not a plan he had or something he ever expressed interest in before, and he did not have a reason (that he told us, at least) for continuing school. From our experience and what many successful people have done, we all agreed it would be better to wait and perhaps have more of a plan before paying for a graduate degree. He didn’t listen to what anyone said and just signed up for the program. He is also at a temp job but not treating it like an opportunity for full-time employment.

He is living with my parents now, which in itself is not a problem, but he has never gotten along with the family very well and doesn’t help around the house, interact with my parents, or even answer their simple questions most of the time. I know it is hard on them because they want to help him out any way they can and he barely speaks to them. Even if they aren’t probing or trying to offer advice, he is unresponsive and doesn’t want to be around them.

We joke about it as a family, but I want to be able to help him out. What can I do to get him to listen, or at least want to have a semi-serious conversation? Do I leave it alone and hope he’s just a (very) late bloomer?

Sincerely,

Trying to Help a Brother Out


Dear Trying,

Thanks for writing in. To be quite frank, it sounds like your brother is self-centered and needs to grow up. He’s taking your family’s interest and your parent’s generosity for granted. It must be really frustrating when your whole family is trying to help him but all your getting is the reaction from him that you mention above. However, on the other hand a MBA is never a bad choice; even if he is going about it in an unconventional way and he is unsure of what he wants after he gets his degree. A business degree will always be applicable in any field he will eventually pursue and future employers will take notice. So, I think maybe, cut him a little slack in that area. Just because it is not the exact way you or other people would do it, does not mean it isn’t the right choice for him.

If you still want to have a serious conversation with him about his education, I would approach from the angle of helping him discover what he wants to do after school. I don’t doubt you that he didn’t put the effort into finding a job, but maybe he did not put an effort in because he has not found something that excites him and motivates him. Which, if I am being honest, IS an immature outlook, but an outlook none the less, and one that many many people subscribe to. I would try to have a low pressure, brain storming type conversation about what he likes and wants to do in life. He probably needs some inspiration, and as his sibling, who is better to help him with that? Maybe, it will help you see him in a new light too.

However, the way he is treating your family is unacceptable at his age. Sounds like he needs a real heart to heart (knock upside the head) to be reminded how lucky he is that he can live at home without contributing to the household while pursuing further education and still be a rude person and family member. If I were you, I would remind him constantly how good he has it and that he owes your parents more than a thank you. Obviously, I am no parent but I would also suggest to my own parents to give him a taste of reality. Leave him alone and don’t ask questions but since he has a job, he can pay some rent. He can cook his own meals.  He can buy his own food and he can do his own laundry… Or whatever other benefits he’s getting from living at home. This push in to a faux deep end might accelerate his delayed blooming process and help him and realize that your family has been more just roommates at a boarding house to him.

All in all, I think you should keep talking to and encouraging your brother to be a better person, family member, student and future employee. It could be like talking to a wall for years, but the optimist in me hopes one day he will get it.

With Love,

Stephanie

If anyone else has any other suggestions or a different approach, please leave a comment below.

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Busting a Move

Dear Stephanie,

I have been living with one of my best friends for 2 years and it’s been great. We have the same living habits, our apartment is in a cute old brownstone in a great neighborhood, and an easy commute to work for the both of us. The only downside is that I have a much smaller room and we pay the same rent. My room is technically part of her room, just with a wall divider, so there isn’t much privacy. This has never been an issue, just more of an inconvenience for me which I’ve never felt was a problem since, I’ve been happy with every other aspect of our living space.

Things started to change when she got a boyfriend last January. Which I understand and is part of life, things change. I started dating my now BF too, and we both spend a lot of time with our boyfriends and MUCH less time together as friends. This is fine, but it’s just been a very different living situation than it was before.

So, anyways, I hadn’t any intention of moving any time soon, but my boyfriend and I were talking about the future, and discussed living together. He recently asked if I would seriously consider moving in with him and I was open to the idea, but hesitant to leave my roommate to fend for herself. I knew I was not ready to move out in the next month or so. I said I would consider it for next year ( This discussion is happening in August/September) when our lease was up at the end of February. On that note, he researched and found some places for us to look at for the future and I was interested. So, one weekend we decided to take a look get a feel for the rental market.

I didn’t tell my roommate we were going to look, because I didn’t want to alarm her. Nothing was set in stone and it was just to see what was out there just for our own research. So, off we went to get ideas. I didn’t tell my roommate and I thought I was doing the right thing by not alarming her.

When we were looking we ended up falling IN LOVE with one of the apartments. As soon as we walked in the apartment, I could picture my life with my boyfriend there. I wasn’t expecting it to happen, but once we saw the place we knew we had to move. Bonus!! – the rent would be the same as my current, but I would be getting SO much more.

After speaking with a leasing agent, she told us a few places were still available and if we were seriously interested, we should put a hold on one of the apartments for March 2018. It all happened so fast, but we felt comfortable committing to a place since we wouldn’t have to move until the end of February. At the time a little less 6 months away.

It was perfect. I was only concerned about leaving my roommate and her having to figure out a new living arrangement. After thinking about it more, I decided that I needed to do what was best for me and my life. Since, the move was 5 months out when I told her, I thought  that was enough time to let her know and for her to figure out what to do.

I told my roommate 3 weeks ago that I am moving out in February. She was shocked when I told her, and I don’t know if I was communicating super clearly. It was hard to show my excitement but also my empathy. She said she was upset because she feels like this came out of nowhere, and said she has nowhere to go and doesn’t want to live with anyone else or anywhere else. I offered multiple times to help her look for places or roommates and she said no.

My roommate has now been ignoring me for 3 weeks, and I’ve tried to stay friendly and say good morning and goodnight, but it’s awkward. She literally hasn’t talked to me at all. At this point, I’m not sure what to do. Its awkward and uncomfortable being at my apartment, and I don’t know how to interact with her since she won’t talk. She’s not some random person I’m living with, she was one of my best friends. I didn’t think our friendship was going to end over this, and I don’t necessarily think it is over at this point, but I don’t know how to repair it, or even if it can be repaired. I’m 100% set and excited to move and I feel I’ve offered all I can to help her for the next step.  I don’t even talk about my new apartment with someone if she’s home so I don’t hurt her feelings.

Do you have any advice on how to handle the next few months living in this situation or how to mend things with her?? Or should I let the friendship slowly go if this is how things are going to be?

Sincerely,

A Frustrated Roommate

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Dear Frustrated,

First I want to say congrats on that exciting, and big step you are taking with your boyfriend! I am sure you will both be very happy in this next adventure.

Next, I want to say thanks for your question an all the background information you gave. It painted a clear picture for me and I’m sorry that while you are so excited for the next step with your boyfriend, your friendship is suffering. But, I admire you for wanting to mend the fence with your friend. I am not that sure I am as big of a person, especially since she can’t expect you to live with her forever, and 5 months is a crazy generous amount of time for her to get it together (2 months is standard), and you are offering to help her out  AND she is acting like an absolute child giving you the silent treatment. Sounds to me like she is the one who needs some advice! But since you asked, I am more than happy to help! =)

That being said, I think there are 2 ways to make to make a difference in the coming months where you can be happier and more comfortable in your home. 

1. If I were you, I would take a second to think about why she is so surprisingly upset? My first impression is that she is she is hurt that you did not tell her about this exciting news in your life, until after you signed your new lease. She felt excluded. Perhaps, she doesn’t even realize that things have changed? It might have been an abrupt wake up call for her to realize things are different now. That on top of the relatively small annoyance of figuring out a new living situation, is why she is so upset. I don’t think this is your fault, you are allowed to keep things between you and your partner until you feel the time is right. It is part of growing in a relationship. (I personally find your timing to be generous. 5 months is a lot of time to solve a small problem.)
But anyway, if you agree and think that it is possible that is part of the reason why she is so upset, try to express to her that you still value your relationship and still want that friendship. Just because your time living together is ending 5 months, does not mean your friendship is ending that day either.
Even though she is not talking to you she can still hear you. So it might feel like you are talking to a wall, but at least she will know you still care. From there, the ball is in her court. You’re doing all you can. If she doesn’t tell you what’s up how can you make anything better? If you get no response here then I suggest point 2.
2. Leave it be. She appears to be too selfish to see past her nose. If she can’t understand that you are trying your best to do everything right, then I don’t think she deserves a friendship with someone so giving and considerate.
Now, I know point 2 is starting off pretty hard in the paint, but all I’m really suggesting is you keep on saying hello, and goodbye and being friendly. She may come around or she may not, but you can go to bed every night knowing you are being the bigger, better, kinder person. I’m sure sooner or later she will see the light and come around. Water cuts through rock not because of it’s strength, but because it is persistence. You might not be buddies in the coming months but perhaps she’ll grow by your example and you can work it out.
Regardless, you being kind to her shows that she’s not getting to you. People who give the silent treatment are looking for a reaction and she is clearly not getting one. So keep being home and enjoying your space. If she breaks her silence or not, you deserve to enjoy the comfort of your home.
I personally, want you to work it out because that is exactly what I would want in the same scenario. No one is perfect and they are your friend for a reason! You have a bond over something! BUT, we all know not all things are meant to last. Some relationships are valuable in that you learn a lot while in them, but in order to move forward and grow things have to end. This always so hard and so confusing, especially with platonic relationships. So if that is the outcome of this particular friendship, just know that nothing was a waste and you should be thankful for all the good times. Who knows, may some time apart will bring you back together even stronger.
So, I hope this was helpful and has given you some ideas on what to do next. I think, it’s all going to work out the way it is supposed to. If anything, you’ll just be more excited to move in with your boyfriend… and that’s not so bad?
If anyone else has a suggestion for this Frustrated Roommate please leave a comment below. We would both love to hear it.
With Love,
Stephanie

Solicited Advice

Congrats and Welcome!  You have found this small piece of the internet now known as “Solicited Advice”!

Solicited Advice is an online advice column for your everyday awkward scenarios, problems, and conundrums. It never hurts to have a second opinion, with a dose of kindness and laughter.

I know you are probably wondering who is this weirdo, offering advice over the internet to strangers? Well, let me introduce myself. I am Stephanie, currently a young professional working and living in NYC. I currently work in the Fashion Industry, but lately I have been wondering if there is a way I can have more of a positive effect on the world around me? To help people just a little bit and maybe make them smile too. Especially, with all of the terrible recent current events.

So, I got to thinking, what am I good at and what do I like to do? When lead two to simple answers, 1. I want to help people and 2. I am good at giving advice. How do I know I am good at giving advice?.. Quite frankly, I have been told over and over again by my friends and I have to admit I agree. Granted, I really only “specialize” in the following: relationship and dating advice, beauty and simple health advice, fashion advice, friendship advice and roommate advice. BUT, I always try to put myself in someone else’s shoes, so if you have a question that falls out of those parameters. Lay it on me! I would love to help you out and learn something new in the process. Of course, please note I am not a professional just a regular person who is eager to help.

You can submit your questions via email to the below email address or you can submit your question through the contact page.

solicitedadvicess@gmail.com

So starting sending and I’ll starting posting. Questions that are blogged about will be posted anonymously.

Let me know below what you would like to see out of blog like this? I am excited to see how this will grow.

With Love,

Stephanie