Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

NPR recently re-aired an episode of The American Life in which a phone booth in Japan in featured where thousands of people go to feel close to the loved ones they lost in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. In this glass phone booth, atop a picturesque hill in a remote town, people come to speak to those they lost whom they never got to say good-bye to or to say the things they didn’t say before that fateful day. The so-called ‘Wind Phone’ is just a disconnected dial phone in a white phone booth that overlooks the Pacific ocean. And even though the phone doesn’t connect to anything or anyone in the literal sense, thousands of people have still stepped in and shared messages with those they lost — messages, we can assume, of regret, forgiveness, love, longing, hope.

I’ve been lucky that I haven’t lost too many people in my life yet, but if I had the chance to speak to someone who has passed away, I think I know whom I’d choose. [click to continue…]

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I am a 40-year-old married mother of four. My oldest is a son who is about to turn 11 and my youngest is 2. Tonight, I found pictures on my son’s phone of me that I had sent his step-father. A couple of topless ones, a couple of my bottom, and some close-ups my son had taken of me just walking around but concentrating on my breasts and bottom. I found them completely by accident, and, of course, he was mortified. He ran into his room and is very embarrassed. My husband thinks it’s just raging hormones and curiosity. I am concerned it’s more than just that.

I walk around the house braless but with a shirt on, and he was around while I breast-fed his youngest sister. I honestly don’t know how to handle it. I don’t want to make things worse, I don’t want him scarred for life. Based on how he reacted, he obviously knows it was wrong. I just honestly don’t know what to do or say to him. Please help. — Worried About My Son

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Wendy’s Weekly Picks,” is a feature in which I highlight stuff I like or recommend in the worlds of fashion, gift ideas, home decor, makeup, websites, entertainment, and recipes. Of course, ​much​ of the stuff I link to will be affiliate products, which means I’ll receive a commission on any click-throughs or purchases you make through the affiliate links. As always, I appreciate your support! Here are my favorite finds this week:

In the weekend open thread, Kate mentioned the meal delivery service Blue Apron, which delivers fresh ingredients and recipes for meals that you cook yourself, and how she and her husband have been using it for a few weeks. We’ve tried Blue Apron in the past and, while I liked the recipes, I found them too complicated and time-consuming, especially for someone new to cooking (i.e. Drew, who is trying take on a little more of the cooking in our household). A few weeks ago, we started using Sun Basket, which is similar to Blue Apron and the like, but we’ve found the recipes to be a little simpler, less time-consuming, and just as delicious. (Favorites so far have included: Mexican red rice with black beans, corn, and fried eggs; and Quinoa fritters with tahini-yogurt sauce and arugula-strawberry salad.)

A mom on the playground the other day was wearing the cutest little stud earrings. She whispered to me: “They’re from Old Navy.” Sure enough, Old Navy has some really cute little earrings for, like, $5-10. Perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to spend too much on casual, tiny accessories, including women who have 2-year-old daughters who think everything that belongs to Mom is theirs to grab.

I love this jacket for fall — the color, the shape, the style, all of it.

It’s the perfect season for clogs, and this beautiful vintage pair is only $20. Someone with size 9 feet, buy them!

Well, these are just too cute I can’t even handle it.

These are my kids’ very favorite PJs — they’re super soft and cozy and comfortable, and I like them because they wear well and don’t fade in the wash like most other PJs do. They’re pricey, so I only buy them on sale or when I see them on Zulily. Well, there’s a special right now — buy one get one 1/2 off. Maybe time to stock up for fall/winter! (I mean, what’s cuter than this?).

This is my favorite new low-calorie sweet treat. Yum!

I thought everyone already knew about Poshmark, but when I mentioned it to a couple friends last week — I just made my first purchase through the site — they didn’t know what I was talking about. So, in case you, too, are not in the know: Postmark is like eBay, but dedicated solely to fashion. “Poshmark connects you to people whose style you adore, allowing you to easily shop closets and boutiques. With over 25 million items and 5,000 brands, we know you’ll find something you love. Have items just hanging in your closet? We know the feeling. List items for sale on Poshmark in less than 60 seconds. Sell what you have in your closet so that you can shop for what you really love today!” I really liked the little cardigan my friend loaned me when I was in Chicago a few weeks ago and it was unexpectedly chilly one evening. I looked online for the same one and the only place I could find it was on Poshmark, where I bought a gently used one for $12. Score!

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My relationship with my parents was fine as a child and I had a great childhood growing up. However, as an adult, some issues have started creeping up, particularly as they retired and moved across the country to live in the same city as me — a positive thing, I had thought. They decided that they would start pressuring my husband and me into providing them with grandchildren — from jokey “hints” by holding up my old baby clothes and saying they wanted grandchildren to telling my in-laws that they expected grandchildren “chop chop!” I tried to be nice about it, but children have never been in my future; I’ve known since I was 10 that I never wanted kids, and at this point I have been married for eight years and I am in my 30s!

It bothered me though, so I reviewed an action plan with my counselor and set up an in-person meeting with them to set boundaries. In the week leading up to the chat, I learned that they had met with my in-laws (who had no idea this was coming) to try to enlist their support in coercing my husband and me into have children. I was furious when I found out, and my in-laws made it expressly clear that this made them very uncomfortable.

It doesn’t end there, though. Tuesday was the in-laws’ meeting, and then on Thursday I received a package in the mail from my mom containing a five-page handwritten letter telling me I had to have children because my parents deserved grandchildren, I would regret it forever if I didn’t, and I would die alone, sad, and lonely, surrounded by strangers. Oh, and that my pets were just “things” that wouldn’t be there for me when I died alone. This letter was accompanied by photos of my sister and me as babies and a collection of handwritten cards I had made for my parents as a child! The meeting I had planned with my counselor was held with my parents on Saturday, and I didn’t say anything to them about the in-laws’ visit or the package. Our talk went surprisingly well though, and they had to “hear” me for once.

Months later: I let them have their space, and I let them contact me when they want, but it seems like every time we have an interaction they use it as ammunition. (For example, a dinner party where I jokingly said “no kids for me” turned into me saying I “hated” children while apparently spewing hate speech.) I need space, and yet I still love my parents and want to enjoy a relationship with them. But it’s hard. At my sister’s wedding, six months after the talk I had with them, I had a mutual friend approach me saying my mom told her to tell my sister and me to have kids!

My question is: Where do I go from here? It feels as though every time I try to “be nice” and let things go, they do something that royally pisses me off and crosses my boundaries in a big way. — Being Nice Isn’t Working

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Weekend Open Thread

Hi, happy Friday! Over at Chez Condellberry, we survived the first full week back to school and my first full week as a 41-year-old — both of which kind of kicked my butt. I’m ready for some tequila. Who’s with me? Oh, that reminds me, I have to make a new Drinking with Dear Wendy! Any requests? I’m thinking something that will utilize these cool mugs Drew got me for our anniversary a couple months ago.

If you’re in a shopping mood, Anthropologie is marking down all regular-priced items 20% this weekend. This dress!

Have a great weekend, everyone! And those of you in Florida, I hope you have made it home safely, if you evacuated, and that power will be back on asap if it isn’t just yet. (My sister still doesn’t have power where she lives, so send some good thoughts her way.)

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