Budget Thursday: Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Cardigan

I’ve always heard great things about Uniqlo’s very affordable merino wool cardigans, and they’ve got a bunch of merino wool things on sale right now. This cardigan comes in eight colors in sizes XXS-XXL and is currently $35, marked down from $40. Whether or not you get the sale price or not, though, it’s still a great cardigan that’s affordable and machine washable. Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Cardigan

Here’s a plus-size option that’s also on sale and available in several colors.

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  1. Any idea on how Uniqlo fits women with a longer-than-average torso (and arms)?

    • Half my work wardrobe is from Uniqlo! I’ll share. I wear XS-S in Uniqlo, XS/ 0-2 in most other mid-market brands (Loft, Express, JCrew). I’m 5’4 with a long torso and arms.
      Tanks and tops – Bra tanks (S) are definitely short, but fine for wearing tucked into skirts. Most tops are a smidge short, even when I size up.
      Sweaters and cardigans (S, sometimes M for a roomier fit) do hit the top of my pelvic bone, which is fine with a longer layering tank and skirts/ jeans/ pants but can veer into preppy twinset territory. The sleeves don’t expose my wrist, but neither do they reach the base of my thumb. At work I push the sleeves up to 3/4.
      Strangely, the one jumpsuit (XS – the S looked frumpy when I tried it on) I bought fits my torso perfectly!

  2. Apparently can't speak real good says:

    Ok… how do you say the brand name? Unique-lo? Unic-lo as in unicorn low?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Recommendations for best pregnancy tests? (Yes, I’m the poster from yesterday who’s concerned about possibly being pregnant due to my recent cravings for spicy food. Found out the pregnancy tests at home are expired.) I am attending a milestone birthday party this weekend for a close friend (which obviously means heavy drinking), so I’m not sure what the most responsible plan for this weekend is. Option A: take a pg test the day of the party, if it’s negative, go out, then wait and see. Option B: skip the test, go out anyway. Option C: make up a lame excuse about being on antibiotics and not being able to drink, go out and not drink, then wait and see. Thanks ladies.

    • Anonymous says:

      No recommendations on test brands – I used clearblue but I think they are all the same. You can always go Option D: limit drinks to 3-4. Do club soda or sprite with lime in between each.

      • Cornellian says:

        Agreed with 9:39. I’d go out, have a drink, fill the rest of the night with soda or whatever. I actually had the most luck with hiding my not-drinking habit with non-alcoholic beer. You can just carry it around with a napkin and no one ever seemed to figure it out. Obviously they normally have 0.5% alcohol or whatever, so you have to be okay with that (I was).

        No brand recommendations, suspect they’re all made in the same factory.

    • Marilla says:

      +1 to ClearBlue, but call your dr for advice!

    • If I remember, you said your period is still 8 days away? So this weekend, you still won’t have even missed a period? Every piece of research says that binge drinking before a missed period is basically fine. (In the sense that it’s all or nothing – either you drink and it’s fine, or you drink and don’t actually become pregnant. Hence the “chemical pregnancy” term for seeing a positive before your missed period, but not actually staying pregnant beyond the missed period.)

      I get that people have different risk profiles, but I don’t see the problem with living your life until your missed period.

      Also, I do wonder about your “recent” cravings for spicy foods. Assuming a 28 day cycle, the embryo didn’t implant until about Day 19, which was like Tuesday. So your body wouldn’t have even known you were pregnant until then.

    • CPA Lady says:

      Your period is not even due for another week, right? I’d just go out and act however you normally would. Maybe be a little more moderate if it would make you feel better.

      Even if there is a fertilized egg in your uterus, it does not share a bloodstream with you for a couple of weeks after conception.

      • Katala says:

        If anecdata will help you feel better, I took a test that was negative, partied hard all 3 days of labor day weekend (assuming that month #1 of trying hadn’t worked, so enjoy it), then got a positive on Tuesday. Kiddo is 2 now and healthy, smart, beating milestones, etc. You’re totally fine before the missed period.

    • I think it doesn’t matter but I’ve always used EPT with accurate results.

      On the dilemma, I think it depends on what you feel more comfortable with. I think you’re fine if you keep the drinks to a few and drink water and eat in between. I was caught by surprise with my current pregnancy and when I raised the drinking issue with my doctor she assured me that super early it’s really not a big deal. Not to say you go and binge drink but I don’t think 3 glasses of wine over the course of a long evening is going to be a big deal. With my first pregnancy, I just drank seltzer in a rocks glass with wine and everyone assumed it was a vodka tonic. It was actually sort of funny because I did this at a work party and this guy ended up commenting on how I was really able to hold my liquor and proceed to tell everyone how amazing I was – meanwhile I was just thirsty.

    • As someone who didn’t know she was pregnant yet and got very, very drunk (5-6 glasses of wine on a slice of NYC cheese pizza) at a birthday celebration in NYC about a week or two before I missed, my OB said she was not worried about that at all. Her view is that high, repeated exposures are the problem. She is French and is not anti a glass of wine here or there after the first trimester though, so your OB may feel differently.

    • anonanonanon says:

      Clear blue NOT the digital, but the old fashioned plus or minus sign. With both my pregnancies I had a positive 10 days after conception. This time I was TTC, so Ihad a bunch of different types on hand, and others took about a week longer to show up (digital showed a positive 13 days after conception).

      Take one to clear your mind. If it’s negative, you’re in the clear to go for it. Even if you get a positive after, it’s too early to have done damage, as others pointed out. If it’s positive, then you know!

    • ElisaR says:

      One more argument for living life normally…..I also think IF you are pregnant (warning non-medical expert wording here) its so early that the baby isn’t taking nutrients (or alcohol) from you yet because it hasn’t fully implanted and developed its umbilical cord.

      Medical friends feel free to tell I’m off here….

    • Walnut says:

      Prior to taking a pregnancy test with my last baby I attended a work conference featuring excessive consumption of Texas sized margaritas and had more drinks that I planned the night of the election. I had suspected possible pregnancy, but let’s be real. That election required alcohol and it required even more as the night went on.

    • Pink dye tests are a little more “accurate,” in that the blue dye tests are prone to evaporation lines. First Response is the gold standard, it seems.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I used the clear blue easy that can give you a positive 6 days before your missed period. It gave me a positive exactly 10 days after conception, so I think literally the first day I could medically get a positive result. So if the party is on Saturday I would take the test, have 1-2 drinks if it’s negative (say you have plans early Sunday??) and then retest a few days later if you have any other pregnancy symptoms

  5. Rash question – my five month old has what looks like hives on his back. Based on the circumstances over the last week, it is clear that they are made visible whenever he gets in a bath. Only hot water – nothing happened at the pool. It has happened first with J&J soap and then again with Aveeno oatmeal soap. I don’t think it’s anything to be worried about since it does not seem to bother him, but I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do – call the doctor? Do nothing? Take baths in cooler water? Elimination diet (jk, mostly). Oh, and he just had two teeth pop through, so it’s possible it is just related to this. Does anyone have any advice?

    • Anonymous says:

      Probably related to teething. Oatmeal soaps always bothered my kids. Try lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser like cerave or cetaphil – both have baby lines.

    • Hot water makes hives worse, so definitely try cooler water. Is it possible that they’re coming and going and are light enough you’re not noticing? My daughter has had hives a couple times, and you could literally watch them form and go away, but we wouldn’t have noticed when she was dressed because they were limited to her torso and upper arms, and they didn’t seem to bother. We called the doctor because we weren’t sure it was hives, and she had us dose her with Benadryl for the next couple days (but I don’t know what the age minimum is for Benadryl). She had another round a few months later and we’re still not sure what’s causing them. Sometimes they’re viral, sometimes they’re a reaction to a food/environment. If cooler baths don’t fix it, I’d call the doctor now, otherwise I’d wait to mention it at the 6 month appointment.

      • AwayEmily says:

        Also, I don’t know how common this is, but my baby just kind of got random rashes at random times. Like, for awhile she’d get them after breastfeeding, on her face. Then they went away. Later she got some on her legs, that seemed like they might be caused by her sunscreen. Then those stopped. At one point we were convinced that some on her arm were related to pineapple, but now she eats pineapple with no incident. My conclusion from all this is that babies are weird and their skin does crazy things and as long as they don’t seem bothered, it’s fine to just ignore it for awhile and see what happens.

        • ElisaR says:

          I agree – I find I can never figure out the random rashes my son gets….

        • +1. If they are not otherwise vomiting/short of breath/other signs of allergic reaction, it may just be a one-off. I was convinced with one kid it was honeydew…with another kid clementines…never proven.

    • I would call the doctor for peace of mind (I ALWAYS call the doctor) but my son got random hives periodically fairly frequently as when he was younger for no apparent reason.

    • We had something similar recently and I chalked it up to heat rash. We tried cooler baths and looser clothing and it seemed to help.

      • +1. My first had this for a while, and I finally connected it to the fleece pajamas. She can only wear the thin cotton ones (and a cooler bath beforehand) or else she gets too hot.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah heat rash is a likely culprit if there are no other symptoms (fever, pain, itching, trouble breathing, red eyes, runny nose, diarrhea, family history of eczema). Kiddo gets it when she sleeps sweaty (in stroller or car seat especially), mostly around the neck/top of shoulders (she has shoulder length hair).

        Cool baths, extra time in the AC and putting her hair up (hahaha!) help.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Advice on choosing a pump? I’m expecting #2 this fall. Two years ago, I got a brand new Lansinoh pump from a friend who had an extra SignaturePro (double electric). I found it worked fine but not as well as the Medela Symphony I used at my office (which makes sense, as it is hospital grade). I did find it was a pain to have two different brands, as bottles and parts were incompatible and we spent a lot of time moving milk from the Medela bottles I pumped into at work into the Lansinoh bottles we bought because they were compatible with the pump we had (and that I had heard good things about compared to Medela bottles, for feeding purposes).

    I mostly use the home pump for traveling or, for a couple ambitious weeks before I went back to work, pumping the opposite side when baby was nursing. I didn’t use it on a regular basis at home, hoping that will be the case although there’s always a chance baby 2 won’t be as adept at nursing as #1 was.

    Thinking of getting a Medela pump for home this time around for part compatibility (I’ll again mostly be using the Symphony at work to pump), although I have heard the bottles aren’t as good for feeding baby. And I’ve heard good things about other pumps (like the Spectra). Any thoughts?

    • What kind of bottles do you use? I used a Medela in style and had the converter thing so I could pump directly into tommee tippee bottles. Never used the Medela bottles for feeding baby. Maybe other brands have converters too?

      • Anonymous says:

        We used Lansinoh bottles and they worked fine for Kiddo #1. I’m thinking we might get new bottles for Kid 2 (do people do that? I kept the Lansinoh ones, but they’re two years old at this point… should we replace?). We tried one of the “fancy” bottles (Born Free) but there were way too many small parts and we didn’t want to deal with them every day. Good point on converters, though.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Not sure about the Symphony, as I’ve never used one, but the Medela pump parts are not necessarily compatible across the system. Some pieces are – the bottles, cones and membranes – but the flange itself is different with each pump (I have a PIS, handheld, and a freestyle).

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh good point, thanks for pointing that out.

      • Katala says:

        Symphony and PISA are interchangeable, I believe. I used a hospital grade medela (can’t remember if it was the symphony, sounds familiar though) and now have a PISA. My home pump with #1 was Ameda purely yours, which I liked for being closed system. I like the PISA better, I would say it’s close to the [symphony] I used before. Ameda seems kinda pathetic now when I switch back to it, and I don’t think the closed system matters much if you’re the only one using it.

        I always pump into glass bottles, so no recs on feeding from medela bottles, but most bottles work with the pump (or get a pair of adapters if you feed from wide-mouth bottles).

    • I have a Symphony at home and PISA at work, so both Medela, but I actually use the freemie cups at work and then pour the milk into the little medela bottles. I feed out of dr brown and comotomo bottles, so move the milk around anyways, but that does not really bother me, since I would be moving it anyways to portion it out for separate feedings. So I guess I am not much help on the bottle compatibility issue, but I will say I have not found a huge difference between the two pumps themselves, and while other reviews I read said that freemies do not work as well, I have found them to do a good job emptying me each time and it is SO much better to not have the horns. Yes, now that I think about it, that is my biggest piece of advice – try the freemies!

      • Anonymous says:

        Good to know you like the PISA as much as the Symphony! My Lansinoh definitely was inferior compared to the Symphony. I’ll look into the freemies, thanks.

    • Walnut says:

      I’m currently renting a Medela symphony, since I don’t plan to pump longer than just during maternity leave. Is that an option for you to maintain consistency across systems?

      • Anonymous says:

        I plan to pump for several months after going back to work (I’ll go back after 3 months). Already sooo not looking forward to it!

    • Despite buying at least 3 different kids of ‘best’ bottles, DD2 will only drink out of the Medela bottles. (DD1 used the Dr. Brown’s, so at least we got some use out of them!) Since the bottles stay with baby now, I only pack two bottles with my pump parts, and transfer milk into storage bags.

      • Anonymous says:

        That makes sense. I’m thinking the easiest will be to get new Medela bottles, pump straight into them at work, and give them to kiddo the next day. If they don’t work, we try something else. Maybe my Lansinoh still works fine for travel/occasional use.

    • I pumped with a Medela PISA for baby #1. Got a Spectra for Baby #2, born 6 weeks ago. If the Spectra is an option, go for it!! It is so much quieter than the PISA was. I haven’t done a head to head comparison, but I suspect it is more comfortable, too. You can get a converter from the Medela horns to the Spectra pump.

      • Cornellian says:

        I’m nearly LOLing at the image of a head to head comparison.

      • Knope says:

        I totally agree with the Spectra rec. It’s quiet and effective. Only downside is that the actual bottles that come with the pump are pretty crappy for feeding, but oh well – I just transfer the liquids to my preferred bottle (comotomo, which I could go on and on about why I love if you need bottle recs too :) ).

  7. Any recs for a birthday gift for a 7 year old girl? She’s pretty girly-likes ballet, unicorns, sparkly things-and likes crafts. Last year we got her a snow globe kit that was a hit. She’s also pretty into reading-any good series to start at that age? I think she’s already reading Little House in the Prairie with her mom. For our niece, looking to spend maybe $30-ish max.

    • Anonymous says:

      I recently got a 6 year old girl a personalized jewelry box (clear acrylic, from Etsy, so she could see everything), a charm necklace and stick on earrings. It was a huge hit.

      As for books, I loved the Anne of Green Gables series (although I’m not sure if she’s just a touch too young for them), and Harry Potter could be great.

      • avocado says:

        If she is a big reader, 7 may not be too early for Anne of Green Gables. I’d give the book and the movie (the one with Megan Follows) together. I usually don’t let my kid see the movie until after she’s read the book, but with the old-fashioned stories like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, etc., I’ve found that if she sees the movie or listens to the audiobook first she will enjoy the book a lot more.

        Another series she might enjoy about the adventures of two imaginative little girls is Betsy-Tacy. Be aware that the third and fourth books address issues of racism in a way that was well intentioned and probably viewed as progressive at the time, but is now rather cringeworthy. For this reason I’d only give the first two books as a gift, although I had no problem letting my own child read the third and fourth books and discussing the historical context with her.

        • I don’t know, I’m reading the Anne books now as an adult and I don’t think they’d go over well with a 7 yr old — the language would seem clunky to her and detract from the story. I remember reading one or two of them as a kid and hated them because of the writing. I think 7 yr olds are more on the level of Beverly Cleary…and on that point, the Ramona book series is great!

        • Little House books are pretty negative toward Native Americans, so I’d think the Betsy-Tacy books are OK (that is, if the parents are OK discussing the negative connotations in Little House, they’d be OK discussing Betsy-Tacy as well).

      • avocado says:

        For a ballet-themed book gift:

        Put Your Best Foot Forward (adorably positive advice for young dancers)
        Becoming a Ballerina by Susan Jaffe
        the YA version of the Misty Copeland autobiography (caveat: I have not read this one and don’t know whether it’s age-appropriate for a 7-year-old)

    • My daughter just got the Cutie Stix Cut & Create station, and it was really fun. (But the refills cost $$). My kids have also loved the Crayola marker maker (refills also cost $$, but for $30, you could throw in a refill pack or two). As for books, my kids really like Junie B. Jones.

    • Last Christmas, I bought my then-7-year-old niece an Aqua Beads kit. It was a huge hit! Apparently, she’d just run out of beads from the set she received for her birthday (in the fall), so she was happy to have more.

      I’ll be posting soon about what to buy an 8-year-old girl. She seems so grown up now!

  8. Eating better – need encouragement says:

    Hi ladies – I posted last week about belly weight hanging around 18 months after my last pregnancy. I don’t know that it’s diastasis recti, as I’d lost the belly weight initially – it was months later, when I had a laparoscopy to remove an IUD (sorry for all these bizarre details), that the weight started piling up right there. And as much as I’ve tried to eat well, exercise – the belly bulge stays and weight comes off elsewhere, which I don’t want, as I think it’s unhealthy and makes me feel all gaunt and drawn. I had an ultrasound and internally things seem fine.

    I’ve started a new approach this week, sticking only to lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. And my stomach not only isn’t budging – it’s getting bigger. I know this is somewhat superficial, etc, but I hate looking 6 months pregnant when I’m not! Any advice? Maybe it’s because this is only my 4th day on this diet?
    Thank you.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Is it gas? Cuz I can puff up two pants sizes due to gas….and veggies definitely exacerbate the issue.

      • PrettyPrimadonna says:

        Me, too. Also, OP, are you drinking enough water? It helps with bloating and keeping things moving…

        • Eating better – need encouragement says:

          Ooh, maybe- thank you both for your replies! If it is gas – what do I do? Great idea to drink more water – would that be enough?

          • NewMomAnon says:

            If it’s gas, you would be uncomfortable. You might even be very uncomfortable. Gas-ex tablets (or the generic version) sometimes help me, but sometimes make me even more uncomfortable. Small meals with lots of water help me a lot. Some of the yoga positions (child pose, some of the twists, cat/cow) help me resolve gas pain. Sleeping on your left side can help, just like during pregnancy.

          • Eating better – need encouragement says:

            Thank you, NewMomAnon.

    • Maybe try a probiotic or eating some naturally probiotic foods?? If it started after surgery, maybe your internal gut bacteria is just a bit off. The probiotic might also help with digesting veggies, I’m not sure. Completely unscientific, but I seem to notice a difference when I or my daughter skip our probiotic. I’ve also recently been intrigued by the 5:2 diet. I think I could actually follow it and it seems evidence based. Even better if you combine it with healthier foods (emphasizing veggies, fruits, whole grains, etc.).

      • Eating better – need encouragement says:

        Whoa, both these ideas are incredibly intriguing. I just looked up this 5:2 – so interesting. What probiotic do you take, if you don’t mind?
        Thank you so much for replying.

        • Katala says:

          I like getting probiotics from drinks (not sure why, just tend to forget the pills in the fridge when I take other vitamins) so I drink kombucha and this stuff called Gut Shot (from Costco) that’s fermented beets, I think? I take a shot first thing in the morning, follow with a glass of water, then coffee. Just other options.

          • Eating better – need encouragement says:

            Thank you! I’ll try with the drinks.

        • Sabba says:

          I’m late replying, but I get a refrigerated probiotic from a local store because it is easy for me to pick up when I am low. I can’t recall the brand, but it wasn’t the cheapest and it wasn’t the most expensive and I couldn’t find anything online about it that scared me, so I chose it. I can’t remember the name but it might be Ultra something and they have one formulated for women. I really do feel better on a probiotic, although it could just be a placebo thing.

      • mascot says:

        +1 for probiotic and lots of water. I take the CVS version of the rephresh pro-b womens. It doesn’t bother my stomach as much as some of others. There were some suggestions on the morning thread of the main site yesterday.
        I”ve monkeyed around with IF and read Obesity Code. I haven’t found exactly the right balance on fasting time yet and noticed some concentration problems so I think there is still work to be done with that and cleaning up my diet.

    • anne-on says:

      So, it is totally a personal decision, but I had some loose bulge-y belly fast that just would.not.go.away not matter what weight I was (got down to a very low weight while nursing and omitting eggs/dairy/alcohol, and it was still there). I saw a plastic surgeon, but it wasn’t ‘enough’ of a pooch to justify surgery (and I do appreciate her being blunt with me, while agreeing that she could see why I was bothered by it). I finally did the sculpsure procedure twice, in my OB’s office.
      And truly, it was a game changer. It is totally a spot reduction that took off the post-mom pooch, and tightened up the skin. I still have stretch marks, but I feel SO much better about my body after this procedure.

      • Eating better – need encouragement says:

        What is this glorious thing you are talking about?! I mean, I guess I can google. But that sounds great! Primarily because I feel I am very likely in the same boat as you. I am excited about trying these other very generously shared ideas – but keeping my hopes in check, because nothing else has worked. So – this sounds awesome. Thank you so much for sharing what worked for you!

        • Anonymous says:

          Have you talked to your doctor? Meaning your GP, not OB. Have you had blood work done (hormones, thyroid, etc.)?

          • Eating better – need encouragement says:

            Thanks for asking! I did go to my primary doc and had my bloodwork done, including thyroid levels, and got a pelvic ultrasound – everything was normal, so it remained a mystery.

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