Eileen Fisher and #menocore fashion

by S&M

Eileen Fisher is worn by
A. an eccentric ceramicist exiting her beach house studio
B. women studies professors
C. revolutionaries
D. Moms on vacation
E. Totebaggers

All of the above?



Online shopping and excess stuff

by S&M

I haven’t been around much lately, or online at all, really, but I did see this article which reminded me of the group and the high percentage of people there who use Amazon. We’ve talked about clutter before, and how to get rid of it, but what about the nature of  online shopping habits themselves?   Have you observed changes in your habits in the last decade?

I bought lots of clothing from Nordstrom Rack online over the past two years as I lost weight. At variance with the article, I returned nearly everything I didn’t wish to use (I was caught earlier this year when they tightened up their formerly generous return policy). My son uses Kindle Unlimited reading, but not Prime Reading; our Prime anniversary date is on the calendar to remind me to cancel later this year. I don’t need incentives to shop online, and “free” shipping is easy to get without paying the annual fee.


Invisible disabilities in the Workplace

by S&M

We often discuss how to navigate the education system for our children with special issues.   As they   move up and out into the big wide world including employment, those “kids” will need to take on the task of negotiation themselves, in a very different environment.

Life changing tech at school and work

by S&M

We often discuss our favorite new gadgets.    But let’s look at the ways you can use technology or even mechanical improvements  to change your life, not just how to be lazy about the light switch.     An example might be kids and adults with anxiety or other quirks/disabilities who need to be able to wear earbuds with soft music to get them through their work/school days.     Or the use of word processing software for children for whom handwriting is a barrier to completion of assignments.     Not to speak of medical conditions that can be ameliorated by improvements.

How have electronics & other tech developments changed the way you or your loved ones live?

Setting Personal Boundaries

Text taken/modified from a seminar description sent in by S&M

Did anyone directly teach you about boundaries?
No? Me neither. Don’t you wish someone had?
Most of us fumble through, making mistakes over and over before we hopefully learn from them. Much of that can be avoided though, with a little bit of clarity.
Here’s one of the biggest mistakes people make:
They confuse “I can’t take it anymore” with their Boundary. These are not the same thing! Your boundary is crossed much earlier.
We’ve become so good at delayed gratification. It seems like if we can just tolerate an uncomfortable situation a little longer, it might resolve without any drama.
Then the tension mounts.  By the time we take action, it’s not calm and measured…but it could have been! We missed the opportunity. We could have handled it well, if we’d been more attuned to our boundaries and taken action sooner.
What are some of  your boundaries and what do they feel like?
Our teenaged children’s ability to experiment safely depends on them feeling and defending their boundaries, especially in social and/or intimate situations.   How can we help them to identify their boundaries and assert them in time?

Relationships with our parents as they age

by S&M

Milo mentioned no longer being able to tease his parents about certain topics (I can’t recall teasing my parents ever having been appropriate). Louise commented on expecting her parents to call when they get home from a long trip, which I think many of us do. After months (maybe over a year) of me pointing it out plainly, my mother may be beginning to realize that when she refuses to put things into words, or thinks things go without saying, I probably won’t have any idea what she’s thinking.

How has the relationship changed for you over time?   For older posters, are you seeing changes in the ways your launched adult children relate to you?   For those who no longer have living parents, please share your past experiences.

Travel Topic and Schedule for the Week

There will be no topic tomorrow on the holiday, the college process recap topic  on Thursday, July 5 and no new topic on Friday    Back to regular schedule next week.

If it’s from Apartment Therapy, you know it’s from me [S&M]

We’ve discussed the pros and cons of packing cubes so often that most people on the blog can probably tell you who does and doesn’t use them. But what about other travel organizers? This article, which first came out a year ago, includes a variety of organizers to take on the road.

I can vouch for the usefulness of a toiletries bag, but it has been years since I used the folding one from LLBean with a hook on it. I think my mom uses the one I gave her, but she checks luggage. We almost always carry everything on, so our bottles of liquids are much too small to take advantage of that bag. What I use most often is a little one from American Airlines that has a mesh compartment and a couple of pockets. I love it, and am surprised ti’s held up so well for several years. I wish I could find similar for sale, for when it eventually gives out. On the other things on this list—that’s a swanky looking jewelry organizer, and an itinerary that required so many baubles would probably be pretty luxe as well. Sigh. Not my life. I’m a sucker for things like the $5 organizer bag, but doubt I’d actually use it or the tech accessories thingy. Further downhill, replacing my usual system with a passport wallet would probably throw me into disarray, and the thought of a special bag just for bras makes me laugh. I’m on the fence about laundry bags; of course it’s useful to separate dirty things from clean, but if I shift things around in my packing system, then it doesn’t all fit together the same way. Besides, when I’m traveling, the only things that I absolutely rule out re-wearing because of hygiene are undies, and those don’t need a whole bag. Even a shirt with something dribbled down the front can work as a layering piece. I note that many commenters mention plastic bags and clear vacuum bags. I’ve been using vacuum bags recently (I like U-Haul’s much better than Zip-Locks; they’re harder to rip and easier to zip), and compression cubes are the one type that make sense to me.

What about you? What are your favorite travel organizers? Do you replace your usual daily routine when you travel, or expand it greatly?


Pair Novels With Your Destinations

by saacnmama

Skimming through a Popsugar list of ways to have a better European vacation, (https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Europe-Trip-Tips-43838449#photo-43838992 )  I found this direct hit for the Totebag crowd. It combines travel with fiction.

If you think reading guidebooks before embarking on your journey paints the picture, try devouring a delicious plot that captures the culture, scenery, and must dos of a destination all at the same time. There isn’t a destination anywhere (not just in Europe) that isn’t written about prolifically.
 As an example, if Cinque Terre is on your bucket list, read Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter first.

Pair Novels With Your Destinations


Totebaggers,  suggest pairing of literature, art or film with your previous, scheduled or wish list destinations.

What is GDPR and why should I care?

topic submitted by saacnmama

From an internet article.

If you’re a person on the internet, you’ve probably been getting a lot of emails from companies about privacy updates, all related to a new law that just went into effect in the European Union: the General Data Protection Regulation, known as the GDPR.

1. What is the GDPR?

It’s a set of data privacy laws that was approved by the European Parliament in 2016, and after a two-year transition period, it’s now law. It affects any company that handles the personal information of anyone in Europe, and that means any company that does business in Europe, even if it’s based in the United States or somewhere else in the world.

It’s much stronger than privacy regulations in the United States. It basically says that companies have to get explicit permission to collect and use your data, and that they have to let you see what they’re storing and allow you to remove it. If you’re in the EU, that is. 

2. Why is the EU putting new regulations in place (and why isn’t the United States)?

The EU, being made up of lots of different countries, has a lot of rules around privacy and data collection and how data should be stored by companies not based in Europe. So really simply, the GDPR is an attempt to create one set of rules that everyone can follow, and it happens to enact the most consumer-friendly set.

The United States essentially has no federal privacy regulations around data collection, use and notification. The difference is really cultural; privacy is considered a human right in Europe, and of course, it’s a much more regulation-friendly environment. American citizens have a lot less concern about trading information for free goods or services, like email, maps, chat or photo sharing, and it hasn’t seemed necessary.

3. What do the new privacy regulations mean for users in the United States?

It depends on the company. In the short term, it means a lot of emails about updated terms of service and privacy policies, which you’ve already probably noticed. But some companies, like Microsoft, have said that it’s going to make the rules of the GDPR standard for every user, even people in the United States. So in theory, that could mean that you could call up Microsoft, ask to see what personal information it has about you and maybe ask Microsoft to delete it.

4. What do businesses need to do to comply?

First, they have to figure out if this applies to them. It applies to any business that processes the information of anyone located in the EU. There are probably some businesses that don’t realize that their mailing list is international.

And even if they don’t understand exactly how to comply with the new rules — because they are a little bit vague — experts say that they at least have to make a good-faith effort to get consent from people in the EU to collect and use their information.

5. What does the future hold for new privacy regulations? Could this be a new standard?

That’s the hope of a lot of privacy advocates. It is likely to have a trickle-down effect on big companies, at least. It will just be easier in the long run to have one set of behaviors for how you treat personal information . And it could lead other jurisdictions to craft new privacy rules in the image of the GDPR. California is working on very strong regulations, for example.

It’s also important to note, though, that this will have a lot of downstream impacts on companies, especially small ones that can’t take the risk of large fines if they expand into Europe.    So the big will stay big and get bigger.

Totebaggers, have you been reading the new privacy notices?   Are you planning to take any action to examine the data held on you?    Are you actively concerned about privacy issues in general?

Note:   Our site was established under an earlier version of WordPress that allows fully anonymous comments with no requirement to provide an email address.  (Some posters have routinely filled in the box, but it is not necessary.)    So far an update has not been forced on us.   We therefore do not request or “monitor” personal data.    We also do not engage in economic activity.