Coffee Break – Stainless-Steel Insulated Thermos

Thermos Nissan 26-Ounce Travel Companion Stainless-Steel Insulated BottleReader K wrote in to recommend this thermos, noting “Maybe I’m the only nerd who brings her own coffee in a thermos to the office, but this one is FABULOUS for anyone looking to break their Starbucks habit. I make my coffee at about 7am and have my last cup at about 3pm, when it’s still piping hot out of the thermos. Well worth the $28 and saves a bunch of money I’d otherwise spend at the coffee shop. This 26 ounce version fits nicely in my briefcase and holds almost 3 standard coffee mug cups for me.” Nice! I’ve never been such an aficionado of coffee that the office swill wasn’t okay for me, but if I were, I’d definitely be looking for a thermos like this one. It’s $27.95 (was $35) at Amazon. Thermos Nissan 26-Ounce Travel Companion Stainless-Steel Insulated Bottle

(L-2)

Comments

  1. I’ve become addicted to the Klean Kanteen insulated stainless steel one after using it for the past year. Great for hot and cold; and for anything from soup/chili to coffee/ice water.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Me too! I have two caps for it: the drinkable one stays at work, while the non-leaking one keeps it from spilling in my bag (I no longer drink ON the train due to too many unfortunate spills).

  2. caffeinator :

    very nice. while we’re on the subject of coffee, can anyone tell me:

    - is it possible to make a decent mocha at home? do i need to buy a special kind of mocha powder? do i have to make chocolate syrup and then add it to coffee? is it ultimately easier to just buy it?
    - what is the best way to clean a coffee pot/machine? vinegar rinse?
    - can anyone recommend some beans? i like very smooth, non-bitter, non-sour coffee (with skim milk and a packet of sugar). call me a coffee wimp. i actually find starbucks too bitter, but i drink it anyway b/c it’s close by. would love any recs to start making coffee at home.

    thanks!

    • Research, not Law :

      Have you tried Peets? (And Starbucks IS bitter, IMO).

      • and so anon :

        I’ve heard many people complain about Starbucks, but I love their espresso drinks. I generally find the espresso has a slightly sweet, chocolate-like flavor. I never use sugar and add only skim milk, which is unforgiving of bad coffee.

        There must be hundreds of coffee-related sites, but I once called the proprietor of this one with a question about my espresso maker and he answered it.

        http://www.wholelattelove.com/

        I like the spirit of this site, although I guess it is slightly hipstery.

        http://www.joetheartofcoffee.com/

        For regular coffee (not espresso), I like the French Press method best.

        A friend of mine used to order either from McNulty’s or Porto Rico in New York City.

        • I like the websites you recommend and can say I’ve had excellent service from wholelattelove.

          If you really want to go down the coffee rabbit hole, check out coffeegeek dot com.

      • spacegeek :

        I heart Peets! When I lived in TX, we mail ordered Peets. Now I just pick it up! Garuda blend is my all-time fav. Hate Starbucks coffee. I can only drink it with much “pollution”–nonfat white chocolate peppermint mocha anyone?!

        Hershey’s chocolate syrup makes for a good mocha, IMO.

    • My husband and I are huge fans of Boca Java, which we order online. They roast the beans to order, and it is just wonderfully fresh without that bitter, overroasted taste you get from Starbucks.

    • To clean my coffee maker, I’ve been doing 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water rinses and then plain water 2-3 times after that (or more if the vinegar smell doesn’t go away). If it’s really gross, then I may do half vinegar, half water.

      No specific bean recs but when I make starbucks coffee at home, it’s not bitter, whether I make espresso or regular drip coffee. Also, do not reheat your coffee or keep it sitting in the pot for too long, that releases the acid in the coffee and makes it sour.

      • Oh and my ghetto mocha recipe is to add hot chocolate mix to my coffee. Or chocolate milk. Or chocolate ice cream. Yum. Ok, I’m going to stop talking about food/drinks now ;P.

        • Always a NYer :

          That sounds absolutely delicious! I now want to try that with French Vanilla coffee, yum =D

        • somewhere(less)cold :

          That’s my mocha recipe, too.

          I used to drink Dean’s Beans coffee when I was in my coffee days. They have good explanations of different beans on their website, and you might be able to find a shop local to you that brews their stuff (I think they have a listing online).

        • I work part time in a coffee shop and when we run out of things we “cheat”,
          You can use extra chocolate or mocha powder and dissolve it with coffee for a chocolate flavored coffee
          or! Make a mocha au lait- chocolate or mocha powder, steamed milk and coffee– milk and coffee are equal proportions so it works.
          According to my boss lightly roasted coffee has more caffeine than dark roasts or espresso because the longer the beans are roasted the more caffeine seeps out of them… I’m not sure if I buy that theory but for a caffeine hit it’s worth a shot :)

    • If you can get it anywhere, try Dalmayr Prodomo… it’s from Austria. I have the fortune of shopping at the commissary.
      I never cared for the strongly roasted, bitter coffee you can get in most shops.

    • CA lawyer :

      I’ve found using water that isn’t super hot works well for a non-bitter cup. I have a simple ceramic cone, but there might be electric coffee makers with the option of cooler water.

    • healthcare anon :

      This is going to sound nuts… But as the mother of two kids, I have nesquick in the house, and I SWEAR by it. Totally works, and you get some vitamins too.

      • I’m totally going to try this, knowing that if I don’t like it, DS will lap it up. :)

      • LLM in BsAs :

        I do the exact same thing. I skip the sugar though, since nesquick is usually sweetened. Add some whipped cream for extra decadence, or just cream if I don’t have any whipped handy.

    • I am a coffee wimp too, then. I am addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts original blend coffee! (I like Peet’s lattes but can’t drink their regular coffee b/c it’s far too bitter, and Starbucks is just awful. If all I have is a Starbucks — airports, etc. — I get tea instead.)

    • My favorite coffee is Dunkin’ Donuts. You can buy it at most grocery stores/Targets. Nothing fancy–just smooth, simple, beautiful coffee. I know a lot of others who share the opinion, so apparently there’s a DD afficianado club!

      • Slate recently did an informal taste test with some of their staff and Dunkin Donuts won both the regular coffee and latte categories, over strabucks and mcdonalds.

    • I really like Whole Foods “Pleasant Morning Buzz.” It’s very mild and pleasant, and just a little bit sweet. And I agree that Starbucks is too bitter/burnt.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Find a local coffee roaster – whatever beans are roasted most recently are a good idea for you to try. Anything more than a week old is too old. We’re blessed with lots of wonderful roasters out here (Ritual, Barefoot, Verve, Blue Bottle, Philz, just to name a few), but most major cities should have at least one or two artisanal roasters.

      Most commercial roasters (Peets and Starbucks included) overroast their beans, causing a burnt, bitter taste. However, Starbucks new super fancy coffees (the ones they brew with the fancy clover roaster) are actually quite good and properly roasted. They will give you a free taste of whatever one you want to try.

    • rather than making coffee and adding chocolate syrup, make a shot or two of espresso and add it to chocolate milk. viola!

    • Intelligentsia (intelligentsiacoffee.com) and Zingerman’s (zingermans.com) both have great coffee beans that they’ll deliver to your door.

    • I recently read that to make a better and less bitter cup of coffee, buy whole beans and grind them for each pot. Also, don’t freeze the beans.

    • To answer the mocha question

      If you have an espresso machine, pull a double espresso shot into a cup that already has a squirt of chocolate syrup in it. Stir that up, then steam some milk as you would for a latte. Add that and stir again. Add whipped cream if you like it.

      If you have only a coffee maker, make a very strong, small amount of coffee and do the same as above with the syrup. Microwave your milk in a pyrex cup and add that to the coffee/chocolate mixture. There should be a relatively high proportion of milk to coffee.

      If you want to make espresso type shots without an espresso maker, check out the Aeropress on Amazon. It’s a really nifty little invention.

      I have found that the coffee I make using the Aeropress is the least bitter of all my methods, which include a real espresso machine (not a steam version), french press, filter drip and auto drip. (See my coffeegeek comment above)

    • I make a “mocha” by making coffee, adding powdered hot chocolate and sugar (not the cheap kind like Swiss Miss, but the pure kind you get at a store like Whole Foods that is just chocolate and needs sugar to be added), and adding foamed milk (I have an Aerolatte). Tastes way better to me than a syrupy Starbucks one.

  3. Research, not Law :

    I believe I have the exact same thermos (but it’s a logo-ed freebee, which I suppose makes me extra dorky). I whole heartedly second the recommendation! It’s a great thermos: keeps things hot (or cold) forever, never leaks, and has held up beautifully after about four years of heavy service.

    My only complaints are that it’s a thermos, not a travel mug. If it’s like mine, you can’t drink directly from it. The cap can be used as a cup, but I used to commute 1.5 hours by bus and started many days with splashes of tea all over myself because I couldn’t wait until I landed on steady ground. And, while its thinness makes it very easy to hold and pour, it’s a bit tall for my Built lunchbag – although it fits perfectly upright in my briefcase/shoulderbag, happily nestled next to my notebooks.

  4. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    I alwayy have trouble cleaning items like this (where I cannot fit my hand inside to get the sponge around the whole container). Any suggestions?

    • Sigg makes a bristled brush with a long handle–should work on any bottle.

    • I use denture cleaning tablets to clean my thermos.
      It works especially great on the brown stains caused by coffee and black tea.
      I let it sit over night on the weekends, but I have to rinse it very thoroughly after it soaked or the coffee will taste minty (or whichever flavor the pills had)

    • A baby bottle brush! Cheap too!

    • I put soap and a little water in the container, put the lid back on, and shake vigorously for several seconds, then pour it out and rinse. I don’t drink coffee, though, so I don’t know how well this method would work at getting rid of coffee stains.

    • I bought a baby bottle brush from the dollar store.

  5. I have 2 of these mugs: http://www.amazon.com/Timolino-PAB-04KGSB-12-Ounce-Vacuum-iTumbler/dp/B000B6B1II/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313434302&sr=8-1

    I make tea at 7 am and it’s still hot at noon, if I haven’t already consumed it. Also, Izzie on Grey’s Anatomy had it in pink, at least in the first season.

    • I love the Timolino mug! I got it about a month ago and it is so good that it has now let me throw out all my other leaky, drippy travel mugs.

    • I got two of these Timolinos after searching forever for a BPA-free and right-sized mug:

      http://www.timolino.com/products/pab46k.htm

      I have to dissent from the praise. Coffee is always sloshing out of the lids, and I’ve found after prolonged use the lids have really absorbed coffee smell. I gave up on one and started running thru the dishwasher (manufacturer says not to), and the lining got wrecked.

      • Rats. Sounds like I may be disappointed down the road.

      • I’ve had one of mine for 8 years and still love it. And after posting the link, I realized the lavender and tan ones are only $11.99, I just bought 2 more.

        • Mine is the PAB46K (the one AEK linked to), rather than the Vacuum iTumbler. I will withhold judgment for now, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  6. Research, not Law :

    Bottle brush: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/sinkArea/brushesSponges?productId=10000752

    I prefer the cheaper ones with the wire handle and loop at the end, because we hang it on a 3M hook on the inside of our sink cabinet drawer. And they seem a bit thinner and easier to negotiate to tight spaces.

    But usually I just rinse with soapy water, to my husband’s disgust.

  7. Since the topic is bringing coffee from home – a couple of DIY links that I thought looked interesting. I don’t drink enough coffee to make it worth it for me, but someone else might find it useful:

    DIY Iced Coffee: http://annies-eats.net/2011/08/01/diy-iced-coffee/
    DIY Flavored Syrups: http://annies-eats.net/2011/08/15/diy-flavored-syrups/

  8. I kicked my Starbucks habit by purchasing a Nespresso machine. It makes phenomenal cappuccinos and lattes. The milk frother thing is amazing. The espresso itself – unbelievably good, better than Starbucks ever was. I am thinking about buying a second machine for my office.

    • A.C., I have longed for a Nespresso machine for work, but worry about replenishing/cleaning the milk frother thing. How much of a pain would the cleaning be at the office, and do you have to put new milk in every time you want to make a latte? (We have a communal refrigerator here, but it’s a mile away and I am lazy in the morning. Due to not having enough caffeine.)

      • I was worried it would taste like the Keurig coffee, which I find to be pretty awful. Do you have any experience with that vs. Nepresso?

        • I have a Keurig and it does seem like the pods have gotten better. That said, I have one at work that I inherited and one at home, and the one at work makes coffee that is pretty horrific no matter what pods I use.

          I’ve only used an older Nespresso machine and can’t talk about the new frother (the old just had a milk steamer), but the pods seem to be consistently excellent. I’d say I like the Lungo coffees as much as the espresso pods. This is coming from someone who really does not like Starbucks at all.

        • There are good and bad Keurig pods. I like the bolder blends, like Nantucket blend.

      • The milk frother is easy to clean – I don’t ever submerge it because of the heating element so it’s simply a matter of rinsing with warm water and wiping out with a sponge then rinsing and drying. Takes less than a minute. You add milk on-demand; it does not hold milk for later use.

        Williams & Sonoma has demos of Nespresso machines in their stores – definitely worth checking out.

        • Alex – I’ve never tried Keurig coffee, so I don’t know but let me say this: I have had espresso in Italy made by a professional barista who had 40 years of experience hand-pulling espresso and many of the Nespresso varieties rival the cup he made me, which was awesome. Nespresso is SURPRISINGLY GOOD espresso. And the Lungo coffees are good as well, although not as good at the espresso, IMO.

          If you are near a Williams & Sonoma, go try a few samples. It is very surprising, how utterly incredible this “pod” coffee is.

          • Just wanted to add – if you can drink Starbucks espresso (which is fairly meh), you will love Nespresso espresso (which is awesome).*

            *I do not work for Nespresso!

    • I have a nespresso citiz and milk that I got a year ago for my office. I too adore it. I am a coffee snob (six years in Seattle will do that to a person) and while my Nespresso lattes are not as perfect as ones I got at my favorite place in Seattle, they are way way way better than average. The espresso is smooth and not bitter and there are all sorts of options. The milk frother is easy to use and easy to clean. I hated my office coffee and the nespresso machine was the answer. Our friends in Switzerland introduced us to it; many families there use it as their coffee maker.

  9. work work :

    Contigo Autoseal Mug all the way. Not only is it cheap (under $20), but it’s the only travel mug I’ve had that has never dripped/leaked.

  10. Does anyone have any tips to get the taste of coffee out of thermoses/travel mugs? I usually drink tea and I’ve found that if I ever drink coffee instead, my tea tastes like coffee for a week no matter how much I scrub it.

    Also, does anyone know about the health risks of drinking milk that has been kept warm in one of these all day? I’m usually from the “if it doesn’t smell funny, it’s fine to eat it” camp, but I worry a bit about drinking tea with milk that has been kep warm for hours.

    • anon-oh-no :

      use a different trael mug for each.

      • somewhere(less)cold :

        Same here. I have my tea travel mug, my coffee/hot chocolate travel mug, and my ice water travel mug. All of mine are plastic inside, though. If you had a metal one, I might try some baking soda to clean it, which is how I clean my SIGG water bottle.

    • Milk is one of those foods that will tell you when it’s bad.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, segregate your mugs. For me, I color code my mugs and use “warm” colors for tea nd “cool” colors for coffee. Then no worries about the coffee flavor. It definitely lingers.

  11. Anon for this :

    Re-posting on the later thread in the hopes of getting some more advice….

    Long story short, I recently had a filing that ran later than it should have because of repeated mistakes made by the staff. I was never unprofessional or less than cool-headed with the staff, but I was more stern/serious than usual. No harm was ultimately done so I did not rat out the staff to the senior attorneys (who were on my back all night).

    One of the staff members complained to the senior partner in charge of the case (who was not there the night of the filing; they did not complain to the partner who was there and who saw much of my interaction with the staff) that I was rude. I apologized to him and explained that I would be more conscientious, etc. in the future.

    First, do you ladies think I should apologize to the staff members involved? If they sincerely believed that I was being rude, I feel I should apologize. I don’t think I was rude, but it was late and I was frustrated and perhaps I was rude without realizing it. I have a pretty fantastic relationship with most of the staff in my office, though I hadn’t really worked with these particular staff members before, and I don’t want this to jeopardize my relationship with them either.

    Second, in the future, should I tell the partners about the staff’s mistakes ahead of time? I don’t want to get a reputation for blaming everything on the staff – ultimately the buck stops with me, so anything the staff does wrong is my fault too – but I don’t want to get stabbed in the back again either.

    Any other advice you have on dealing with this would be much appreciated. TIA!

    • Anon for this :

      Sigh, still really long. Thanks for reading it all!

      • Honestly, I’m kind of shocked this even came back to you as an issue from the way you have described it. If you don’t have other complaints, I’d probably chalk it up to one over-sensitive staff person or one out-of-character night for you. Either way, it doesn’t sound like it will be a big problem.

        I only bring up staff mistakes if it comes up and in the context of “X didn’t do this right, but I’ve talked to him/her about it and it shouldn’t be an issue in the future.” That may be cutting my own throat at times (when something really wasn’t my fault), but I’m with you, the buck stops with me.

        If you are comfortable apologizing to the person that complained, it probably couldn’t hurt, although at this point it may seem like an afterthought on your part? I don’t know…seems more like a lesson learned and move on.

    • 1st: Staff. I’m a very polite and respectful person but I’ve learned to only apologize if you acted unprofessional. You had a deadline to meet and mistakes were being made. It’s understandable that you were frustrated and not completely happy with the work product and you should not have to apologize for that. With that said, if you think you were in fact rude (which is different from just being short and requiring them to get it right), then I would approach the people to whom you think you were rude and say something like “If I came off as rude yesterday, I apologize. I was extremely frustrated with how the filing was processed, and I’m sure you were as well. While my frustration was warranted, my rudeness was not. Let’s talk {now or later today} about how we can make the finalization process smoother so this doesn’t happen again”.

      2nd: In my own work life, I only complain to my superior if it caused some sort of disaster or if it becomes so common and is not something that I should be handling on my own. If you go to a senior partner every time you have a problem, they will start to question why you can’t properly manage your staff. Also, your staff will eventually discover that you are ratting them out at every turn. If they learn that their mistakes are safe with you (in moderation of course), your mistakes will be safe with them and you will build trust. If it’s a reoccuring problem and you’ve tried to fix it, then I would go to your direct supervisor and ask for his/her guidance on how to resolve the issue. Let him/her know that you are not going to them to rat out your staff but are merely seeking his/her advice as to how to best deal with the situation. It serves two purposes: (1) informs your supervisor that the repeated problems were not created by you and (2) helps you learn how to work with your staff to prevent future problems.

      You mentioned that you were concerned that the person complaining that you were rude complained to the senior partner that wasn’t even there. Don’t worry about it. If the partner who was there saw what was going on, then he/she will let the senior partner know what happened… if it is even brought up.

    • Unless there was something specific pointed out to you (like, you said X, which was hurtful), or you were acting out of line in some way, I don’t see the need for you to apologize. I would simply make a mental note, and try to improve your relationship with that individual in the future.

      I also think that while it’s good for you to not blame the staff, there are times where it’s appropriate to keep the partners in the loop as to certain issues that arise (like, errors that result in your filing being two hours late). Something like, “there was some confusion regarding Y, but I believe Mary and I have resolved the issue. It will take slightly longer than expected, but should be okay now.” Yes, the buck stops with you, but you also don’t want to give the partners the impression that you’re managing the staff poorly or that you personally can’t finish something on time.

      • Anonymous :

        Can stand people who are oversensitive. It is a law firm – deadlines are stressful. Unless you were downright demeaning, they need to get over themselves.

  12. Since we’re geeking out on coffee systems, I have to give a shout out to the Hario. It’s a ceramic cone filter and you slowly pour just-off-the-boil water over the coffee. This is the cone:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hario-VDC-02W-Dripper-Ceramic-Funnel/dp/B000P4D5HG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1313438476&sr=8-2

    And here’s a NY Times story about the method:

    http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/ristretto-pour-over-coffee-drips-into-new-york/

    My S.O. got me the cone and matching kettle for Christmas last year and it has completely revolutionized my coffee making. The results are very smooth and mild and nutty. And there is something wonderful about standing over a cup of coffee while it brews. The method might look a little bit complicated at a glance, but it’s really not hard and the results are fantastic.

    • I have a different brand coffee cone and love it.
      I have been using the “flood”, not “pourover” method though… but it seems easy enough.

  13. Random question: what words have you added to your auto-correct? E.g. Untied to United…

    • karenpadi :

      Quite a few actually. US–>U.S. (and similar for USC and CFR), alt+S for section symbol, ctrl+shift+space for non-breaking space, ctrl+D for strike-through (this messes up your printing if you want to do automatic stapling).

      My favorite: PAPN–>Patent Application Publication No.

    • Anonymous :

      aobut -> about
      agreemnet -> agreement
      i have some weird but persistent typo problems

      • same here. I have all kinds of “pen!s” corrections I’ve manually added to autocorrect. I have to type “pension” frequently and have always been terrified that inevitably at least once in my career I will end up sending something out with a truly unfortunate typo …

        • S in Chicago :

          I’m glad I’m not the only smutty typer.
          :)

          After a few too many “Go tit” replies, I’ve forced myself to the longer (and less dangerous): “Received. Thank you.”

          • My favorite (and incredibly common) typo from securities work…”public company” with no “l.” I’ve set an auto-correct rule for that one, to correct it to “public” if I ever type the more…intimate…word. :)

    • Haven’t auto-corrected it yet but I almost never type constitution/al/ality correctly the first time.

      I did an auto-correct of statue to statute, since I almost always mean the latter but sometimes type the former and then miss it upon proofreading. Same with compliant to complaint.

      I also have added “conclusory” to my dictionary. I don’t love the word, and try not to overuse it, but I think it’s pretty accepted in the law and is sometimes appropriate. I hate that word-processing programs want to spell-correct it.

      • I did the same thing with “dispositive.” It may not be a word to Microsoft, but it’s definitely a recognized word in my area of the law!

    • LinLondon :

      Corproate to corporate. I’m also always swapping the last two letters of my words. Abotu, thansk, anythign, etc etc etc…

    • Initiative – I somehow never type this word correctly, or the same wrong way twice, so I have multiple autocorrects for intiative, initative, etc.

      Also I was thrilled when I found out you can set up your auto-correct to replace with italicized text (I imagine you can do this with underlining, etc. as well). There are some phrases I use frequently that have to always be italicized, so it’s nice not to have to remember to do it manually every time!

  14. I just changed jobs and noticed that each morning (after my second cup of coffee), I was having a quick bout of nausea. It occurred to me that here no one is “in charge” of the coffee, meaning that it’s entirely possible that no one ever cleans the coffee maker. Additionally, there’s no dishwasher here, which makes me question the cleanliness of everything. I quickly stopped drinking the office coffee, which solved the nausea. Now I just have to figure out how to get my necessary caffeine intake, and this mug sounds like a good idea. On the other hand, have any of you ladies faced a similar situation and just brought in your own coffee-maker and foregone the communal pot?

    • Oh, that is really gross. Good thing you figured it out. I haven’t solved the coffee problem – we have K-cups, which I have never really liked. In lieu of that, I have an electric kettle in my office that’s great for hot tea and instant oatmeal, and just for a convenient glass of water when it isn’t heated. I end up picking up a latte on the way in about half the time, and the rest of the time making my own earl grey when I get to the office.

    • not your answer :

      Any reason you can’t clean the coffee pot or agree to schedule with your co-workers? Y’all seem to coordinate enough already to get the coffee made.

    • I had a co-worker who had a french press in his office – it’s easy enough to get hot water in the kitchen, then make your own coffee in your office. Plus, a french press is “different” than a regular coffee pot, so he didn’t tick anybody off by being a “coffee snob.”

      • seltzer pop :

        Seconded – a French press + an electric kettle for your desk area don’t take up a lot of space, and are relatively cheap. They even sell little battery-powered milk froth-ers for lattes and the like, but that might be a little extreme, haha.

        • Yes, third this rec. You can even get the single serving french press coffee mug. I would just say get Bodum, I have tried other brands and Bodum is the best.

    • Yep. I only drink instant coffee at work, and wash my own mug.

  15. Ladies,

    Your thoughts on the following would be much appreciated. I’m trying to keep things anonymous, so apologies if this comes across as unnecessarily vague.

    I very recently applied for a job with a state government agency. The agency is in the middle of a hiring freeze, so I don’t expect to be interviewed or hired any time soon. Still, a friend who now works in the agency urged me to send in my resume, arguing “you never know when the freeze will be lifted.”

    About a year ago I talked to someone who used to work in this agency. He is a friend of a friend. We talked about his experiences in the agency by phone and, at the end of the call, he said I should let him know if and when I applied. He still has friends in the office and said he could put in a good word for me.

    So now I’ve applied. It took me a year since the call to do so for lots of different reasons (my current job got insanely busy, I had some personal issues come up, then I got married, etc.). Is it too late to reach out to the person I spoke with a year ago and tell him I’ve applied (with the hope that this message will remind him of his earlier offer to put in a good word)? Or has his offer expired?

    And if it’s not too late, should I explain why it took me so long to apply after our call? I don’t want him to think that I’m less-than-enthused about the job. At the same time, the hiring freeze has been in place for much of the last year, so there was no real reason to apply earlier.

    Last question: Assuming it’s not too late to ask for the good word, should I wait to tell him I’ve applied until the hiring freeze is lifted? I’m not sure how much good it will do me to have a “good word” put in now, versus closer to the time when hiring decisions are made. Then again, I don’t want to keep putting off contacting him.

    Lots of different competing thoughts — thanks for your help in sorting them out!

    • I don’t think it’s too late. What’s the worst he can do? I also don’t think you need to make excuses for your late application; a simple reminder of how you know him and his offer should be sufficient. I don’t think I would automatically assume that someone wasn’t very enthusiastic about a job if they didn’t apply during a hiring freeze.

      Good luck!

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t either, you could make a crack, like “where has the year gone?” or something. people get that people are busy.

    • Never Too Late :

      It’s not too late. No need to explain unless he asks, and then one sentence is enough. Do it now, so you are first in line when the freeze ends.

  16. Praxidike :

    Threadjack! Tomorrow is my last day at my current job. I want to write cards to the partners expressing my appreciation for all the years we’ve worked together. Is that acceptable or too mushy?

    ALSO: next Monday is my first day at a new in-house job. The company is super, super casual. I prefer to be at least a little dressed up. What should I wear on the first day? I’m leaning towards a suit with a sleeved shirt under it so I can take off the jacket for a more casual look, but I’m unsure if that’s just too dressy for this place.

    • Anonymous :

      Notes are nice, just keep it brief and not too mushy. I’d do like a pencil with a belted cardi and blouse for your first day.

    • Write the cards. Not only is it a nice gesture, you never know who you may cross paths with in the future.

    • Agree that notes are nice.

      To me, suit plus button down is very formal. Even factoring on you taking it off, you will be the person in a formal suit. I would go for separates — e.g., pants or skirt with non-matching, complimentary blazer. Wear a button down with that, if you like, and you can still achieve the same look/feel but minus the inherent formality of suit + button down.

  17. Repost – – Does anyone know if there are particular sites for jobs which you can telecommute/work flexible hours/compressed schedules? Any search tips are greatly appreciated. TIA

    • In-House Europe :

      I seriously doubt it – but would loved to be proven wrong! My experience is that these kinds of jobs come up on an ad hoc basis and are rarely if ever advertised.

    • Diana Barry :

      I have seen flexjobs.com advertised, but have never visited the site to see if it’s any good.

  18. Loving this post.
    I absolutely love coffee. I have two flasks just like this and have used them in much the same way as described, but have sometimes wondered if I the rubber rim in the top of the flask was flavouring my drink.

    I have an important exam on Friday – part of specialist training in a medical field and have been so stressed up all week. Just dropped by this site as a part of the “regaining normalcy routine” and hey, y’all talking coffee ;). Cool.

  19. have any of you coffee geeks mastered the moka pot? I got a Bialetti w/the milk frother on top and I know it should only take five minutes but I can’t do it in under 20… it’s so nice when it’s done but I need to be able to do it before I leave the house for work and I just can’t stand by the stove for that long.

    • I gave up on mine. It always either took too long or boiled over. I stick to my french press. But a friend of mine recently got a milk frother and it basically achieves the same result as the Bialetti should in theory but without all the hassle. You can make it with your coffee of choice, french press or espresso or whatever.

      • anonx1000 :

        urg. Thanks for the tip on the milk frother – I did just get a burr grinder so really no excuse not to use my french press more regularly…

  20. anonymous :

    A little late, but wanted to give a shout out to the Nissan Tea Tumbler Thermos. It’s less than $20 on Amazon and comes with an infuser and sipping lid. I’m trying to cut back on my caffeine intake and have found that loose teas have been a great substitute. It’s only a 12 oz thermos, but this is good for me, since I tend to use refills (just the hot water tap on the coffee machine) as a way to stretch my legs during the day. Bonus: I don’t add anything to my tea, while I drink coffee with milk and sugar!

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