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Thursday’s Workwear Report: Ottoman Stripe Bodycon Dress

Cap Sleeve Work Dress: Aqua Ottoman Stripe Bodycon Dress  Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

This well-reviewed dress comes in a zillion different colors and prints over at Bloomingdale’s, and this sliiiight ottoman stripe looks nice to me. It’s available in cobalt, black stripe, plaid, and plain black ponte — note also this fancier chevron knit version that is one of Bloomingdale’s bestsellers. (Note that a “body con” dress can be hit or miss for work, but a sure way to have a “miss” is to buy one that looks like it’s painted on — so size up if you need to!) The dresses are $70-$88 at Bloomingdale’s. Aqua Ottoman Stripe Bodycon Dress

Here’s a plus-size option.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

(L-all)

Comments

  1. You guys, I need tips on how to survive cubicleland. I have been fortunate to always work in an office, but my company has done away with offices for virtually everyone. Ugggh.

    • Noise-cancelling headphones. Otherwise, no suggestions, only commiseration.

      • Headphones/Podcasts. Even if your are only half listening the noise helps cancel out the chatter.

        I despise cube life. But here I sit.

        • Listening to a podcast in my cube right now…

          Of course, I’m in IT and have spend my entire working life in cubes, except 2 brief periods in the late 90s.

      • You don’t need to pay arms and legs for active noise canceling headphones (unless you already have a pair, or want them for plane or train travel) because the noise canceling part is really best for canceling out things like jet engines or air handlers – it doesn’t work all that well for office noise/voices.

        “The short version is this: noise isolating headphones physically block ambient noise with their seal against your ear; noise cancelling may do that too, but also electronically cancel the actual soundwaves”

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreymorrison/2013/09/19/noise-cancelling-vs-noise-isolating-headphones/#31465e8274e2

        I’ve never tried true noise canceling headphones, because I’m too cheap and I destroy headphones, but I’ve found some sanity with a pair of well fitting earbuds or over the ear headphones and either music I like or white noise mp3s to dull the background sounds.

        Does your job allow for (at least occasional) work from home? Do you have everything you need to be able to work from home (laptop, VPN access, etc)? Because sometimes the only way I could get anything done was to go somewhere, anywhere, other than cubicle land.

        Is it at least some type of well thought out, well designed cubical space, with things like white noise machines and appropriate lighting and airflow? Or is it just a big room that had office walls knocked down and cubes tossed in?

        My only real tip is to do your best to stay on good terms with your cubical neighbors, and if one of them does something that bothers you, try to address it politely when it’s still just a minor annoyance – don’t wait until it reaches “b*tch eating crackers” stage and then explode one day when you are stressed out (been there, seen that).

    • It’s at least better than an open office floorplan! That is the worst and most mind-numbing.

      Do what you can to improve the space. Can you position your computer so your back is against the cubicle wall? I hated it when my back was to the walkway and people would surprise me and make jump.

      Headphones or a white noise machine is a godsend.

      Decorate a little. A few plants and a few comforting pictures can make the space more yours.

    • Anonymous :

      Yep, cubicles provide a lot more privacy than open space. Read a few articles about how workers of all generations detest open office space, and consider your glass half-full.

      • +1 – there is a real distinction between cubes and actually open office plans (no walls, just desks as far as you can see. The illusion of privacy is still useful.

        Of course, I sit in a relatively quiet cubeland where everyone does a lot writing, so it’s not too overwhelming. Headphones + Noisli help when people nearby get chatty.

    • Commisseration. I have never had an office – and now we are moving to 6×6′ cubes with 4.5′ walls (almost office space). I am miserable. Nothing makes you feel like you are working for corporate overlords quite like an open office environment.

    • Ugh, I work at a hedge fund, so we do an open floor plan, AND you can get fired for wearing headphones – seriously! It is not conducive when you need to crank out some major work… The worst is making personal phone calls, especially if you can’t leave your desk when you need to make them.

    • lost academic :

      Are there any good recs that don’t involve headphones? They are really frowned upon here and we have short walled spaces with a semi-open floorplan.

      • I use the foam earplugs that you can buy at the drug store. Headphones are fine here, but I need silence to focus. The ear plugs are better than nothing.

      • White noise machine? (I’ve never used one, but it’s not headphones…)

    • Is there a place you can go work away from your cubicle? We had a little courtyard at one of my buildings that was usually pretty empty – the wifi was spotty but I liked to take my laptop there to get away for a bit if I needed to focus / just escape.

      Can you re-orient your desk to a position that feels better? I hated sitting with my back to the cubicle opening – it made me weirdly paranoid – I felt a lot of relief when I finally just rearranged everything so that I sat more sideways.

      If you think it would be okay at your organization, you might consider a little hangar on the outside of your cubicle to indicate whether or not you wanted to be interrupted? One place I worked, most people had things like cutesy two sided signs that they could flip between “come on in!” or “please come back later”, or “Do Not Disturb” signs swiped from hotels, and the culture there was pretty good about not just idly stopping by for idle chatter with someone who had a “Do Not Disturb” sign up.

    • When I moved from an office to a cube I bought Bose noise canceling headphones. They’re expensive but worth it. When I got a new job with an office I sold them to a co-worker in a nearby cube that wanted them. So I used them for 2 years for a net cost of $100. Not a bad deal…

  2. I don't golf... :

    … but I’m golfing next week for a business event. It’s a public course. It’s just 9 holes. I’ve been to the driving range 2-3 times in my life. I’m naturally athletic, but haven’t put any time into the sport – whiffing the ball is probably what I do best. It’s a super low pressure event next week – they know that I’m not a golfer – but what can I do between now an Wednesday to prevent utter embarrassment? I have my cousin’s clubs at my house. What do I wear? Should I just go to the driving range this weekend?

    • Amelia Earhart :

      Certainly go to the range but also see if any of your local golf courses have a PGA/LPGA pro coach and book a lesson. In 30 minutes they should be able to teach you enough to get the ball lofted.

      And get yourself a golf glove so you don’t tear your hand up. They’re pretty inexpensive. At the course, I’d wear a skort, collared top, and golf shoes. My local D!ck’s Sporting Goods was having a huge tent sale and I just got a decent pair for about 50% off.

      • I second the suggestion of a quick pro lesson.

        Try to spend some time at the range after your lesson.

        Consider buying gloves for both handsm you won’t find out you need them for both until it’s too late.

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      At a public course, you’ll be fine khaki pants, shorts, and or skirt and a collared “golf”/polo type shirt. Check for dress code before you go, but even if they’re permitted, I would avoid denim or shirts without collars to help look like you belong.
      No need to buy golf shoes–sneakers will be fine.
      Driving the ball will be the most difficult thing you do, but remember you’ll have the benefit of the ladies’ tees, which is nice because you don’t have to move the ball as far for it to be often helpful to your (presumably co-ed) team in a scramble or like format. If you want to spend an hour at the driving range this weekend, you’ll probably have a positive yield on your time, but you likely don’t need to if everyone knows you’re not a golfer, you’re naturally pretty athletic, and the only goal is to prevent utter embarrassment.
      I play golf once or twice a year (at an annual firm retreat and because it delights my husband for me to go out there with him), and my enjoyment of the experience is inversely proportional to how much I care whether the ball ever goes in the hole. Generally, golf courses are pretty settings, the weather is necessarily nice if I’m going to play, and there is almost always beer. Add good company to that, and it’s not a bad way to spend a few hours even if if you whiff the ball every time. Have fun!

    • I’m a non-golfer who attends 2-3 low pressure golf outings a year for work. I just sell 50/50 tickets or run a hole contests, which works really well for me. But from that, I’ve gathered:

      – No jeans. Wear something (skort, shorts, or pants) with pockets.
      – Tennis shoes are totally fine. Personally I wouldn’t buy golf shoes just for one event.
      – Try not to slow down the game too much.
      – Have a good sense of humor about not being great at it. Just get comfortable with the idea that you’re not going to be very great at it, don’t get competitive, and try your best. If you’re awful but serious/embarrassed about it, then that’s a bad day. If you’re awful but a good sport about it anyway, that’s a good day.

      • I don't golf... :

        I was just told I need golf shoes… but other than that no dress code. The shoes I find on Amazon look just like tennis shoes. Should I be getting spikes or something? Oh lordy. I’m hopeless.

        • Can you call the cousin that is loaning you the clubs? I’m assuming if they own their own clubs they probably have a clue, but will be relatively patient with you as a newbie.

          Do you know what course you are going to? Does it have a webs!te? That might have more info. In my area public courses don’t have a dress code

        • Golf shoes should have rubber spikes. The last pair I bought looks almost identical to tennis shoes minus the rubber spikes on the bottom. Amazon should have some inexpensive options available. Definitely no metal spikes as most courses no longer allow them. Second the recommendation for a couple of quick golf lessons and I would ask the pro to teach you how to chip and pitch. If they can teach you how to use the pitching wedge you should be able to contribute some decent shots on the short game portion without too much effort.

        • lawsuited :

          Most golf courses no longer allow metal spikes, so most golf shoes have rubber spikes. The dress code is determined by the golf course you’re going to (so the invitation or event flyer likely wouldn’t include the dress code but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one). Check the website of the golf course, but the dress code is usually “a collared shirt and no jeans”. Obviously there are lots of outfits that fit the dress code, but for business golfing, my uniform is non-denim ankle pants and a sleeveless collared blouse.

  3. Friend troubles :

    I have a problem I could use the wise Hive’s advice on. I have a very good friend who I have known my entire life (30 years). We grew up on the same street, our mothers were best friends, our families vacationed together, etc. – basically grew up attached at the hip. We have had a lot of fun over the years, but she also has a darker, depressive, manipulative side that has affected both her family and me a lot (she was eventually sent to a camp for troubled youth to deal with some of the issues, a fact she resents to this day). When we fought as kids and teenagers, I very frequently found myself walking on eggshells around her, obsessing over whether she was angry at me when she’d do the silent treatment for no discernible reason, etc. It could be very severe at times. Now that we are in our 30s, she is a much better communicator overall, but I still see a lot of signs of that manipulative past and I find myself caring way too much about issues that should be minor, like her getting annoyed at me for not agreeing on a subject or something. I need advice on how to care less about this and how to maintain boundaries with someone who still likes to psychologically punish others when she doesn’t get her way. It’s hard because when she’s in a good mood, she is truly one of my very best friends – but when she’s not, everyone knows to steer clear because everything you say will be turned back against you before you even realize it (she’s lost several friends over it, but doesn’t seem to realize why). How can I stop caring about her unfair reactions and set boundaries when I do care about her and want to preserve the best parts of our friendship without continuing to walk on eggshells all the time? I’m also making efforts to make more close friends outside of my circle with her because I think having other people to talk to on a deeper level will make me miss having her there less, but it’s hard to throw away 30 years of friendship.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Sounds like someone I would stop being friends with. Because the actions you describe are not how friends act. Not worth it, move on and be happier!

    • You’re probably going to get a lot of responses telling you to cut and run, but I’m not sure it’s time for that yet. I don’t see anything in your post about your efforts to establish boundaries with her when she’s being awful. You’re basically sisters; you’ve never sat her down and said, “When you do X, I feel Y”? Or, “You’ve alienated people because of ABC behaviors”? Or even, “Stop. You’re being awful. I’m hanging up now.”

      You need to redefine this friendship. She is not your BFF. She is a toxic pseudo family member that you’ve decided to tolerate. Do not confide in her, do not expect her to be there for you, do not go out on a limb to be there for her. Take her in small doses when she’s nice, and walk away when she’s not.

      • Friend troubles :

        I should have added that we have had a number of fights in more recent years that were more open – there was a point a few years back where I said things like “that was manipulative” and “I’m not a bad friend for not doing exactly what you want when you want it,” things I had typically avoided before. That was a low point in our adult friendship, but since then, most of our arguments have been much more civil and “normal” – there’s just always a hint of the manipulative behavior I saw so strongly in the past. That’s why it’s still kind of unsettling, even though it’s not as overt.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

        Expand your friend circle so you are less reliant on this relationship.

        Manage your expectations – expect her to be difficult and enjoy the rare moment of good friendship when they occur.

        Old saying about ‘a friend is a friend for a reason or a season’. It sounds like your shared history has value. That’s your reason to continue the friendship but you need to step back from her being a BFF.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I have a friend like this – not exactly the same situation, but someone I have made a decision to keep in my life regardless of behaviours I don’t like. However, my rule with myself for this friend is to a) set boundaries and b) enforce them. For instance, this person is often rude to people serving her. That is something I will not tolerate. I have told her I don’t tolerate it. And now if she does it in front of me, I step in, apologize for her, take over the interaction with the person serving us, and tell her that was rude. If she wasn’t willing to accept that, then too bad, we’re not hanging out. Yet, surprisingly, she is. And I’ve seen some changes in her for the better. Obviously sneaky manipulation is tougher than just be a doosh. But I think if this is someone you’ve decided you want in your life, you need to set boundaries of behaviours you accept and then enforce them, rigorously.

    • Friend troubles :

      Ugh, and this very morning, the friend (“friend?”) vented for a long time about a personal issue and then got mad at me out of nowhere for saying my response made her feel “much worse” and “anxious” and that she “didn’t ask for my opinion.” Wtf? Talk about walking on eggshells again.

      • No, talk about you not drawing boundaries. Did you respond? “Excuse me? If you don’t like my responses don’t tell me about it.”

        • Friend troubles :

          I just said a quick sorry and that I was going to head off to my appointment anyway so it was a good time to end the conversation. She then said “way to make me upset and then leave,” so I pointed out that she had just said how I make everything worse and that she didn’t want my opinion. That’s where it’s at for now and I wish I didn’t care that she’s “mad” at me, but I’m also mad at her.

          • Anonymous :

            My hunch here is your friend needs professional help. This sounds very lopsided.

            You could give her something neutral and say – well aren’t you glad you got that off your chest, and listen to how she responds. What is she seeking? If it’s listening and offloading, just roll with it.

            Work in something like…I know I can count on you to listen to a vent when my patience is at the breaking point…and see how she responds. If she is on constant overwhelm (for any reason) and steps back…it’s ok to ask her if she’s calling in the professionals because she is personally out-of-balance. We all have seasons of need – the *constant* part is where friends talk about using the best resources beyond friendship.

            And I say this after putting a friend of mine at arms length when she intruded at my Dad’s parish when he went into hospice without talking to me or other family. I’ve known her since grade school, and this was a really healthy move. She is horrible with boundaries and impulsiveness and has improved considerably.

      • Senior Attorney :

        No, no, no.

        This is ridiculous.

        I was married to somebody like this and honestly, there is no pleasing them and no managing them.

        Be polite and friendly when/if you see her at family events, but take a very big step back and cultivate other friendships with people who are not malignant narcissists.

        • Agree so much with this, especially with the guidance to be polite and friendly at big events. She is not acting like a friend, you have tried to address the underlying issue, and she doesn’t change. You’re not going to change her, and you should look forward to spending time with friends.

      • Is this the kind of response you often get from her, or is part of her manipulation that you never know how she’ll respond – today she’ll be mad at any response you give, next week she would be mad if you didn’t give advice, etc?

        Otherwise, this sounds like the kind of fights my sister and I have sometimes when one of us is stressed. I’ve learned that if she doesn’t lead with a direct “ask” for advice or if she leads with “I need to vent about something” than what she really wants is just to hear me say “mmm-hmm” and “wow, that sucks” or “that must have been really hard”. And doubly so if it’s a situation where she also screwed up – because she probably already knows that, she doesn’t need me to point it out.

        It’s hard because my natural tendency when someone tells me a problem is to suggest ways that I would fix it – but I’ve learned that most of the time my sister doesn’t actually want advice, or at least she doesn’t initially (she might come back in a couple of days and say “remember that situation we talked about on Wednesday? What do you think I should do/say?”).

        I’ve also learned that my sister and I are different enough people with very different tastes, preferences, jobs and husbands that I really can’t give her much advice that would be good advice for her – so I stick to just sympathizing, or helping her narrow down to choice A or choice B, or playing therapist and turning her questions back around on her, like “well, what do *you* think?”

        Can you just stick to being a sounding board for this person, and not relying on her to be a confidante for anything you don’t want thrown back at you some day? She can still be a person you have good memories with, and a person you have fun doing certain activities with, but she doesn’t need to be your one and only BFF.

        My sister and I are each other’s “safe” person, and also the only person we can really vent to when our parents do something crazy, or about our respective in-laws. It sounds terrible to say, but we aren’t always exactly nice to each other – but that also means that she is one of the only people I’m willing to have around when I’m really stressed or sick, because I know I don’t have to try to be polite and company ready. We have both said things like “I need you to just shut up, stop talking and sit here with me” or “I just need you to tell me it’s going to be ok” or “I really need you to just go away for about an hour” or “don’t ask me to make one more decision, just make food show up in front of me” (that was during wedding planning) or even “yo sis, you really need a shower before you leave the house” or “you shouldn’t wear those pants anymore”. It sounds like even though you refer to this person as your BFF, she is really more like a sister/cousin type of relationship – which sometimes can mean a person you can be your honest unguarded self with, and trust that they will still stay in your life.

        • Friend troubles :

          Thanks, Meg. This hits the nail on the head, although I still do have some misgivings about whether it’s healthy. On the one hand, it’s nice to have someone you can completely be yourself with, but on the other, it’s hard to be yourself or to be there for them when you know they’re in a mood and everything will be a constant minefield. I’m going to have to decide whether her being my “safe” person is worth it enough to make it work with boundaries…I don’t know.

          • Meg Murry :

            Oh, I know that sometimes my relationship with my sister wouldn’t be described as healthy. So it also means that sometimes we screen each others calls, that we don’t hang out quite as often or that I cut some visits short – and it means I have to have other people besides just her in my life that I can turn to.

            But I know that if something is going on with our parents, we would be there for each other in a heartbeat. And that if one of us said “I have the flu and my husband is out of town, can you please bring over some chicken soup and help me keep my kids from killing each other until bedtime ” or “I just got into a terrible fight with my husband and I need to come sleep on your couch but I don’t want to talk about it” – we would be there for each other (because both of those things have happened). But although we love each other, sometimes we don’t really like each other – so we can’t spend more than a few hours together before one of us turns into a whiny 13 year old again.

            But it works for us because it’s been give and take over our whole lives. If she is only taking from you and never giving, or if she’s regularly crappy to you and never apologizes for it or thanks you for what you do for her (my sister and I at least say “sorry I was a brat yesterday” or “thank you for bringing me soup”), then I”m leaning more toward the “fade out and don’t be available to her” or “call her out and tell her you won’t put up with her being sh!tty to you anymore” camp.

          • Senior Attorney :

            OP, how on earth can you describe this person as your “safe” person when the relationship you describe is the exact opposite of safe? Walking on eggshells and feeling as though the relationship is a minefield is as unsafe as it gets!

        • Tinkerbell :

          I have this kind of relationship with my sister. For all of the wonderful things in our relationship, I would cut her out of my life if she wasn’t blood. I would not put up with this from anyone else (maybe a child).

    • I’ve been through this and it sucks. I had to cut the person out of my life and it still makes me really sad, even a few years later. However, you should never feel like you are walking on eggshells with someone you consider a good friend (or a significant other, for that matter). I’m sorry you are going through this.

      • This is not a friend. This is a predator. The very best thing you can do for your own sanity if you want to maintain the “friendship” is to make it an arm’s length relationship. Otherwise you will forever be open to the manipulation and guilt cycle that this person thrives on. Save yourself!

  4. DC Job Search Resources? :

    I’m hoping some of the wise DC ladies might have some input. What are the best resources for looking for non-law firm legal jobs in DC? Are there specific websites, listserves, or networking groups that you’ve found to be useful or that you’ve heard are useful? Thanks in advance!

  5. People in real life have been kind of brushing this off as “Well, good, I guess, but it sounds like you could have done better,” but I’m just flat out proud of myself for setting boundaries yesterday with someone who I historically have not set boundaries with at all because I was scared of their reaction and hate any sort of confrontation. I could have set more, sure, but the two instances I’m thinking of are both things I wanted to do for a long time and never did. So yay. :)

    • Friend troubles :

      Details? As you can see from my post above, I need advice in this area. Good for you – that’s so hard to do.

      • Well, I’m definitely and 100% NOT the best person to give advice here, but I’ll tell you what happened. These were tiiiiiiiiiny steps and I haven’t spoken to the person in three months before this.
        Long story short: They were an abusive friend, both emotional and sometimes on the very edge of physical (only got physical once), exacerbated by alcoholism and probably depression. I finally, finally said “Okay, this is enough” in March and cut off all communication. Since then, I’ve had one short conversation and communicated very briefly twice to pick up some things of mine I wanted back. Before this, we pretty much had constant conversation ongoing where they talked at me and I still pissed them off constantly. Nearly every conversation was a fight and I never knew how or how I allegedly screwed up.
        We were both at an event yesterday and stuck in the same classroom for 6 hours. In the middle of those six hours we had a break where we both ended up sitting in the same area alone (decision made by me, I wasn’t going to let them control where I sat anymore, I had just as much right to sit in that area as they did).
        They started to talk to me, sort of. I did respond (again: confrontation, not my thing, and history says it would have turned into a huge big drama THING if I totally ignored them, probably involving them texting me angrily and without pause), but I kept my responses short. At one point, they asked me where I was in a particular undertaking we are both doing but not doing together by any means. A lot of this person’s behavior has always been being a narcissistic know it all- I’ve never been good enough to please them, I’m a failure, I will never succeed, etc. So I told them I wasn’t comfortable telling them (#1 boundary setting!). They whined and I told them I would consider telling them if they told me first (Didn’t cave!). They did and it turns out I’m doing better (which satisfies me to no end….).
        We went back into the classroom and they started holding court- talking loudly about their career goals, etc. In response to a question, but obviously meant for everyone to hear just how awesome they are. I have some huuuuuuuuuuge problems with their career goals (they told me I was racist and dead to them for going into exactly what they want to go into now about a year ago- and their beliefs haven’t changed, they’re just a special snowflake), so I got up and very clearly walked out, knowing they were watching me and knowing they know me well enough to know I left because I didn’t want to hear them talk about this (#2!). Even recently I would have stayed and just ended up upset and frustrated but I realized that there is literally no reason for me to stay in social situations with this person where I am feeling unwelcome or unhappy. I can just leave. Without having to feel bad. I don’t have to cater to them and their ego. It’s liberating.
        Leaving this friendship was the best decision I made in the past few years. Everything is better.

        • Friend troubles :

          I’m really happy to hear that. Good for you – even “minor” boundary-setting feels great and it’s something that can be so hard to implement in the moment. Keep it up!!

        • This reminds me of an article I read recently – I cannot find where it was linked for the life of me – about levels of warmth/chill in social settings. Basically, you can politely great somebody with a smile but not let it reach your eyes (as one of the levels). I wish I could find it.

          I’ve also dumped toxic people, and this is a good reminder that they don’t deserve a spot back in my life!

          • Sydney Bristow :

            There was a warmth/chill discussion on Ask A Manager sometime in the past 2 months.

          • I briefly searched AAM and didn’t see it pop up – I’ll have to dig in again, thanks!

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Found it! She links to Miss Manners. http://www.askamanager.org/2016/05/i-have-to-work-with-someone-who-sexually-harassed-my-friend-im-bad-at-responding-to-positive-feedback-and-more.html

          • Your google-fu chops are better than mine!

    • It’s the first step to creating a new habit! Yay!

  6. I could use some shopping help! Before having two kids I was a size 12 or 14 and most of my work clothes were from Limited/Banana/Ann Taylor/etc. Two kids later and size 16 is too small but 18 is too big. So I’m looking for 16W workwear I guess?? What are the best stores for basic sheath dresses and suits in this size? Just looking for a basic wardrobe to get through until I lose some weight.

    • Talbots, hands down. Nordstrom also.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m about that size. Talbots seasonless wool suiting is the best I’ve found for suits/sheath dresses in black and navy. I’ve also got a couple of those Calvin Klein everyday suits from Macy’s that work for in office days.

    • Talbots is great. Dress Barn is surprisingly helpful for suits.

      For dresses, check out Kiyonna. Their wrap dresses are gorgeous and comfortable and never wrinkle, and you can always tie them tighter as you lose weight until you go down a full size.

    • Is 18 too big all over, or is the issue that 16 fits your top half but you need an 18 for your hips (or vice versa)? If the 18 is close but just a little big, you could probably have a tailor take in the side seams on a sheath dress fairly easily and not too expensively. An 16W that is a slight A-line is my closest fit off the rack, but my most flattering is actually an 18W or 20W that just skims my hips without stretching and the has the top half tailored so it doesn’t gape under my armpits, fits closer at my waist, etc. After working with my tailor/seamstress, I’ve learned that I can try on a dress inside out, pin the side seams closer to fit, and then turn back right-side out and see whether it would work to just take in the side seams or whether there are darts or other seams that would look wrong without more complicated tailoring.

      When I’ve needed a suit in the past and was borderline plus sized, my best option was to go try on a ton at a Macy’s with a decent sized women’s department, and then order a bunch more online – so maybe I’ve find a 16W jacket in Calvin Klein that fit ok in black, but they I’d go online and see if it was available in gray instead, or I’d find that the 16W skirt was too snug but the 20W was too big, so I’d order the 18W online.

      Basically, I’ve given up on stores carrying the size and color combo I want, so I use them just to narrow down the size range, then I order a couple of styles in 2-3 sizes, and then if I find something I really like, order more in the same size but a different color. Its a total pain to keep ordering and returning, but at least I can try them on in the comfort of my own bedroom with tops and shoes I already own.

      Also, for basic not too expensive sheaths you could also try Lands End in a 16, 18 or 16W if you are ok with ponte instead of suiting material

    • Talbots, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom and Macy’s have the best plus-size work offerings. For suiting, I really like Talbots and Tahari ASL Plus.

    • Have you tried Talbots? Some of the styles can be a bit frumpy, but others are surprisingly modern and flattering. They offer misses, women’s, petites, and women’s petites, so it can take a few tries to find the right fit, but I’ve had good luck there during times when my weight has fluctuated.

    • lucy stone :

      Absolutely Talbots. Their ottoman knit dress is incredibly forgiving and can be dressed up for everything but business formal settings with a jacket. Seasonless wool suits are the nicest, but cotton viscose is on a huge sale right now and is great for the hot days of summer. I like their suits over other stores because they’re all sold as separates so you can get a different sized top and bottom.

  7. Help me word an email.

    Left a law firm in small market to be in-house at nonprofit last fall. Slow start at law firm, some mediocre reviews early on, but switched practice areas and things were looking up. Two people went to bat for me a lot (One was managing partner of Old Firm, officiated my wedding, but not super helpful in helping with career guidance/including me socially).

    Nonprofit is wild, I cannot ethically stay. Old firm has historically had an unofficial “don’t come back” policy. I did not even approach them for a return job. I told one mentor I was considering a move to competitor, and he was supportive. Didn’t talk to other mentor.

    Starting at a new firm soon, obviously competitor of old firm. I’ve procrastinated in telling other mentor. Now it’s public knowledge (small market) and I feel kind of crappy for not letting other mentor know.

    Trying to word an email to other mentor.

    • Anonymous :

      Ummmm chill. You don’t owe this person anything. When you start, send an email from your new firm email “hey joe, I am now at NewFirm. Would love to take you to lunch and catch up when you’re free.”

    • ok, I get why you feel awkward, but no need to overexplain/apologize. I’d send a short note — Hi Mentor, as I’m sure you’ve heard I’ve accepted a position at Competitor. I appreciated your guidance as I previously transitioned to NonProfit but it was not the right fit. I look forward to crossing paths in the future and would love to grab lunch or coffee sometime soon. Regards, Halp

  8. Anonymous :

    “I knew Philando Castile. He worked at Peter and Margaret’s school. He is a HUMAN who was smart, kind, good at his job, and SHOWED UP EVERY DAY for hundreds of children. He encouraged kids, sort of like a grandma, to take “a little more food.” My son with some sensory issues, who is not prone to spontaneously touching a lot of people, often gave Mr. Phil hugs and high-fives. This was a good man, a kind man. I have no words for how broken I am for his girlfriend and daughter, and his whole world.”

    Quoted from the comment section over at Jezebel. I just can’t anymore. I have a 4 year old daughter and I can’t imagine what I would do if this happened in front of her. Just want to go home and crawl into bed and pretend this isn’t the world we live in. And I’m white. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to be black in this country and worried that you might be the next Phil.

    • Bewitched :

      I agree. I’m pretty sick about these two shootings as well. Per the Guardian website, 561 people have been shot by police in the US to date. New Mexico (population 2M) has had 15 people killed by police and NY has had 14. I don’t wish the police any harm and fully recognize there are dangerous people on the street, but can’t we do better? Isn’t there another way?

      • Wildkitten :

        Yes. Yes. We are actively choosing to not do better.

      • Also, on a related note, it really, really saddens me that 20 veterans per day commit suicide in the US. 86 suicides per 100,000 male veterans compared to 13 per 100,000 in the general population. That’s another statistic that is super hard to process and makes me sad for our country that we can’t do better by those who served us.

      • There is a better way. There were ZERO police deaths in my non-US major city witha population over a million. ZERO, not a single person of any race lost their life to the police last year. America can do better they just choose not to look at the examples the rest of the first world is setting.

    • Frozen Peach :

      I’m right there with you. Almost as horrifying to me is the quiet complacency. I hate that I don’t feel like I can be open, even quietly, about how much I’m grieving and angry today. Because it’s not professional. It also freaking terrifies me that it’s not professional.

      • I think you’re being over dramatic unless you knew this person. So yeah I’d say it would be unprofessional if someone at my work went on about this.

        • Wildkitten :

          I agree that it is unprofessional but I think that is part of the problem – with society, with professionalism, with our adamant and active stance that black lives do not matter. I don’t think it’s overly dramatic at all.

          Everyone should be grieving and angry today, Frozen Peach. But if you have to hold it together, I’d recommend staying away from the news until you get home from work. Self-care for activists is good for all of us today.

          • Frozen Peach :

            Yeah, I disagree that this is overdramatic. I agree that it’s unprofessional, and yes, Wildkitten, the fact that it’s unprofessional is part of the problem. I would never go on and on about it. But it’s not even water cooler talk in most workplaces.

            And yes, I have been avoiding the news. I don’t have trouble holding it together most of the time, but I also look around me and am beginning to feel some quiet desperation, and fear/anger that the status quo just keeps rolling along as though nothing has happened. I’m pretty comfortable with feeling that way.

        • Marshmallow :

          I’d think you were being overdramatic if you personalized the grief– I’M so sad, this is horrible for ME, etc. But grief about our society and the systematic state-sanctioned murder of peaceful black citizens is entirely appropriate and not overdramatic at all.

        • It’s only “overdramatic” if you don’t worry everyday that you, or one of your loved ones or community members will be murdered by the police. If you are a black person in America every event like this is a reminder that you could be next, and it is very personal. Nothing overdramatic about that.

        • It’s not overdramatic to care deeply, and feel deeply, about a system that is set up to murder and oppress other humans’ lives. That same system is simultaneously set up to cater to the feelings of white people who don’t want to feel uncomfortable when something happens (Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, the sickening roll call of lost Black lives goes on) to demonstrate that our society is still systemically racist–hence why it’s “unprofessional” to discuss the fact that Black lives matter at your prototypical American water cooler.

          At a minimum, please read this article (https://thsppl.com/i-racist-538512462265#.jlt9e2ymq) and just sit for a while, quietly, with any feelings that you have after you read it.

        • I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to feel gutted over the events of the past few years (and weeks, months, years…), even if you didn’t know Philando Castile or Alton Sterling or Michael Brown or Eric Garner. I am not black or someone who would be readily identified as ~not~ white, but I am a parent so I can only imagine the very specific fear and despair black parents feel when their sons and daughters leave the house, never knowing if their kids are going to return. EVEN IF they have raised their kids to be “good kids” and be compliant with authority figures. And I can understand the systemic outrage because of that – how is the system NOT rigged if “good” blacks kids are being killed (while both “good” and “bad” white kids aren’t) and those responsible for those deaths are not being held accountable?

          All that said, I agree that discussing this in the workplace is not particularly professional.

      • I’m having trouble keeping it together today. I didn’t know him, but we went to high school together and I have friends with kids at the school where he worked. I live in a far away state, so nobody here is especially upset by this one case in particular, but it makes me horribly sad.

    • After Alton Sterling and Philando Castle (and all the others), it would not surprise me in the least if there was rioting. Like, after seeing that horrific video, I would come to expect it. Alton Sterling’s wife showed much more grace and dignity that I think I could have ever mustered. I am seething with rage right now and if I didn’t know better I’d be inclined to riot as well.

    • Name Goes Here :

      Yeah – This is so heartbreaking. I just read the transcript and cried at my desk…I don’t think I could handle the video.

      • Watch the video. It is literally the least you can do. I’m tired of people saying they can’t watch the videos.

        • Anonymous :

          Why? Does watching the video deepen your understanding in some way? No snark, I’m really struggling to understand why I need to see a video of someone being shot or the immediate aftermath to feel it’s real. I watched the statements by Sterling’s family, I’ve read several articles. I feel gutted and horrified and scared for people in my community. What, specifically, would watching the video add?

          • I was talking about the Philando Castile one, but generally all of them. This woman risked her life to record this. I believe it’s your duty as a citizen to acknowledge that and acknowledge her and what her 4 year old witnessed. So many people have the ability to protect themselves from this. You CANNOT know what it feels like to be them. Watching a damn recording is the closest you will get, and it’s cowardly not to do so. Feel it. It’s important.

        • Honestly, sometimes I just can’t deal with things like this. I can’t watch a video, I can’t be informed, I just try to cut myself off from all news of that variety for a while. I’m black, and I’ve had some really personal experiences with racism over the past few years that sent me to a really dark place. Things are different and I’m a lot stronger now, but sometimes I find it necessary for my peace of mind and ability to function to just turn it off and think about anything else for awhile. Otherwise I get too emotional .

          • I wish you the best but I still think you should watch it. I’m mixed. I’m a criminal defense lawyer. Maybe I have a higher tolerance for watching violence, but I believe it’s important to face these events.

          • I’ll watch it. I’ll just give myself a few days or however long it takes to calm down. I agree that it’s important to face events- I just want to do it in a way that allows me to be in control of my negative emotions.

        • Name Goes Here :

          Hey Solo: You don’t get to tell me (or anyone) how to process this. I read the transcript, and I am informed. It’s not “cowardly” not to watch the video. I didn’t mention it above (because my this isn’t about me), but I live less than a mile from where he was killed. I don’t know him, but many of my friends know him, or their children know him from school. Believe me, this has been witnessed and felt. The community here is witnessing what happened. There’s been loud out cry, and protest, and hopefully–with the work of many–change is next. But in the meantime…back off.

    • I’m so sick about this.

    • For what it’s worth, love and solidarity to those who see Phil and Alton (and all the other black lives lost) and fear for the lives of their partner, daughter, son, father, mother, friends. I stand with you, ready to do what it takes till it stops.

  9. Partnership Q :

    In my law firm, we have income partners and capital partners.

    If you are an income partner,
    you still don’t get to see the partnership agreement
    you still get a W-2

    If you are a capital partner,
    maybe you finally get to see the partnership agreement before you sign it
    you get a K-1
    you do have to put in some $
    you share in losses (but also in profits)

    Income partners aren’t really partners, are they? This is all just for optics to outsiders (ooh, you are dealing with a partner! now pay a higher hourly rate), no? And wouldn’t it be much better to see the potential investment opportunity (the pship agt) for toiling a way for years / decades?

    • this sounds pretty typical… and also why relatively few associates want to make partner… the financial rewards later in your career can be great, but it’s also a large % of your life that it takes to chase it.

      the immediate change is nothing more than plucking you from the “senior respected associate” pile and dumping you on the “youngest partner who is given the worst deals and slowest-paying, most-demanding clients” pile. You often end up with a net decrease in pay. Then you have to battle to land clients WHILE succeeding as the grunt-work junior partner.

      • Yay Kat! This is SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DRESS, but I can NOT get it b/c it is at BLOOMIE’s! Mabye Rosa can get it in Weschester and give it to me. But then I can NOT get my 50% back from the manageing partner! FOOEY! Why is it that I am always on the short end of the stick? DOUBEL FOOEY!

        As for the OP, you are right, there are many different form’s of partner. Dad tells me I get the Form K, which is related to the special 401K we have for partner’s. Also, I am tecknicaly responsibel for the Partnership’s debits, which means that I am at risk. But that come’s with the positives of revenue shareing, he says. Dad warned me to watch out if the partner’s start takeing out to much money from the firm, b/c then it would be like Madeoff and the phony statement’s peeople got from him. I hope the HIVE is smart on these thing’s b/c I realy am NOT. I am still trying to figure out BREXIT. TRIPEL FOOEY!

      • I’ve heard this as well – that it can be a net decrease in pay from senior associate to partner. This is all really timely for me as I am likely to be reviewed for partner this year. Sometimes it feels like the financial reward is minimal (if at all) and the responsibility just continues to go up. With two small kids, it’s just a lot to think about when realistically I could probably have a decent little practice on my own and make approximately the same take home on about 45 hours per month of billable work as I make now working about 175-215 / month.

        End ramble… just seems like partnership is a bit less enticing once you are really upon it.

    • If you’re still receiving a W-2 (i.e., still an employee), I think partner is a title rather than a legal designation in that case. Our income partners receive K-1s and aren’t employees anymore.

    • anon today :

      I’m an income partner at a biglaw firm. We do have a partnership agreement, but its a different one than the partnership agreement equity partners get.

      We are also no longer employees. I get a k-1, not a w-2, have to pay quarterly taxes, join composite tax returns for offices in other states, get paid monthly rather than every other week, etc. W have to cover all of our insurance costs (employees typically pay half and employer pays other half), etc. But we are entitled to different insurance options, including a high deductible option that allows for an HSA account (different from an FAS, as you can roll over and money grows tax free). You also have different, and much more significant, retirement plan options.

      • Partnership Q :

        That is what is bad re our income partners:

        we have to pay for 100% of our benefits (associates have free health insurance)
        we lose our tiny 401k match
        no better retirement options than unmatched 401k

        They are partners in name only.

    • The pie eating contest where the reward is more pie.

    • So those of you who have become salaried partners, did your total take-home comp decrease? This is so opaque at my firm.

      • Partnership Q :

        I think that if you carry family health insurance, your comp may be flat / downish.

        Now that first year salaries are going up (so other associates, too), it is probably confirmed to be down for salaried partners due to benefits costs.

      • Mine increased, but I made partner early, so I had a bigger jump up. For associates who are on a year 8 or year 9 salary when they move to income partnership, I think it’s about flat.

        But that’s take-home pay after mandatory retirement savings. So even they are still making more, they just don’t have immediately access to it.

    • What about for equity partners? :

      I have heard that this can be even worse for junior equity partners (like any increased $ is offset by onerous retirement contributions AND loans for capital contributions). You might only get tax distributions and have to seriously budget for any fixed expenses you’re already on the hook for (mortgage, car, tuition, quarterly tax payments in all sorts of places, including foreign jurisdictions, etc.). It’s a bit terrifying.

      • Ally McBeal :

        I wish that Above the Law would do some work on this. It’s great that they’ve focused on associate salaries but I really wish there was some transparency (even in the abstract) on junior partner income.

  10. Any suggestions from people handier than I…? I want to install very long, floating shelves in my living room that would hold a lot of heavy books. I might also want to do something where the bottom shelf is wider and more like a bench. What kind of professional do I call to do this? We had someone from Taskrabbit come hang shelves before, but they weren’t this large and supporting this much weight. Not too concerned about cost – just want to make sure I get the right expertise so I don’t have broken shelves.

    • I think carpenter would be best for this. I know you don’t want to DIY, but check out Chris Loves Julia’s reading room shelves – I think they’re similar to what you want. (http://www.chrislovesjulia.com/2013/12/the-reading-room-shelves-fully-loaded.html)

      I find sometimes the hardest part to getting what I want done to professionals is describing it. Or them telling me what I want isn’t possible, because I don’t know how to describe it. Maybe those blog posts will help.

    • This shouldn’t be too difficult, assuming you have regular sheetrock and wood studs. You’ll want to make sure you anchor each screw and you’ll want to drill into the studs where you can. As far as the bench one, unless you get really strong anchors, I think you should plan on having legs of some sort.

    • You don’t need an expert, they just anchor the shelves to the studs. Any handyman would do, but a random person who knows how to hang a shelf should be able to do a fine job.

  11. Paging LA Brunch Recs :

    I saw your post too late to reply yesterday but I wanted to say, have brunch at the Chateau Marmont! The other recs you got are terrific, but if you were only in town for a few hours, I’d take you to the chateau.

    • Name Goes Here :

      Thanks! I could go for a celebrity sighting or two!
      PS – I love having knowledgeable acquaintances across the country and globe.

  12. Recs for Girls' Weekend in August? :

    Looking for recommendations for where to go for a small group girls’ weekend in August (this summer). We’re all working moms with young kids, so our planned activities are limited to taking naps, eating good food, and walking around and exploring a bit. If we get really crazy we might go to a museum or a movie. We need something that is accessible from Chicago and Philadelphia (flying for a couple hours is fine). Maine? Toronto? Would love your thoughts!

    • I would do a beach week around the Carolinas, somewhere like that, where you can enjoy the beach/relaxing/naps but still explore historical towns with cute shops.

    • Charleston, SC if you can handle the heat!

      • Charleston, SC is a great town, but in August, temps are easily in the high 90s with 90% humidity. If you think you might want to go there, I can give you recommendations. You could rent a cottage on Kiawah Island which might be the best of both worlds if you want to do some beach time as well as good shopping and restaurants.

    • anon a mouse :

      I think you’ll want to target areas where it’s not unbearable to be outside, and also easy to fly to. I’ll throw a plug in for Cleveland – there’s plenty to occupy you for a few days. Boston or Providence would also work.

    • Ally McBeal :

      Maine would be spectacular. Fly into Boston or Portland, stay in York Harbor or Camden or even Portland proper. Some cute shops, great restaurants in Portland, gorgeous walking and kayaking and bumming around. Plus it’s pretty accessible.

      I also echo the Boston recommendation if you want something more urban.

  13. Wildkitten :

    Sorry about my comments on wedding planning behind a nightmare yesterday. That was too harsh of a generalization, but I do stand by the fact that they are a nightmare for many people, and if that’s you, it might be the stress of the season and not the guy.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Aw, don’t worry about it WK.

      I had a funny conversation with my wedding planner the other day. She said she just finished a really stressful event and it was really stressful because the mother of the groom was a longtime client and really needed everything to be perfect for her son’s wedding. I laughed my head off and said “don’t worry — ‘perfect’ is not a requirement for my wedding. As long as it’s fun and I end up married at the end of the day, I’m gonna call it a success!”

    • In your defense, part of the reason Senior Attorney is having a unicorn wedding-planning experience (good for you, SA!) is also that she and her fiancé are well established in their careers (so can afford the exact wedding they want), and (I’m guessing) don’t have parents intruding into their decisions. Most folks marrying in their 20s and 30s aren’t nearly so lucky.

      • Wedding planning :

        I think ArenKay is partially on to something. I recently got married and we are both in our 30s. My parents gifted us a lump sum of money (plenty to cover the wedding we’d envisioned) and told us it was ours to spend, they had no input, and if there was anything leftover, to put it towards a down payment. His parents couldn’t contribute financially but also did not have input. So we also could afford the exact wedding we wanted with no intrusion. AND IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh my gosh, yes!!

        Our venue manager (who is also a friend) told us we are the happiest wedding couple he’s ever dealt with, and our response was “that’s because we don’t have parents butting in!”

      • Cosign this. We paid for our own wedding and thus it was completely what we wanted it to be. My mom gave us a small cash gift that we ended up using for our rehearsal/welcome dinner, which she then got to plan and host (which she loved and kept her out of our hair for the actual wedding).

      • Ally McBeal :

        I thought wedding planning was super stressful because I was so worried about the money. My parents gave us a small lump sum, we paid for a whole lot of it, and I just really struggled with trying to create the wedding I wanted based on the budget we had. It’s not even that I wanted such a fancy wedding — I just wanted to feed my relatives and a handful of friends dinner in an indoor venue, and that alone was so expensive my brain almost exploded. I’m also not remotely a DIY-er or crafty person, so the Internet’s suggestions for how to have a cheaper wedding were basically impossible. And finally, I was not thin and felt all this horrible pressure to be a beautiful bride, which seemed like an impossible standard. It was really stressful. There were lots of times when i wanted to crawl into bed and hide from it. Doesn’t mean anything about my marriage or my relationship with my husband.

  14. I’m thinking about starting a solo practice, ideally making the jump next Spring. I have two kids (5 and 3). I work in-house, and as my kids age, I’m starting to hate the lack of flexibility in the position. I very much want to stay home, but worry that stopping work will be problematic down the road. This is my attempt to bridge the gap (more flexibility to practice remotely means I can spend more chunks of time with the kids, or stay with my out of town family for long periods of time over the summer).

    Without going into the specifics of my work, I have niche knowledge, and there is a demand for people who do it. Hopefully, I’d keep my current organization as a client on retainer (there is some internal precedent in other departments for this – I would pitch it as it being less cost to them for basically do the same thing, I just wouldn’t be in the office doing it), and would try to pick up one or two more clients (at the most).

    I’m starting to prepare to understand the ethical and logistical obligations of going solo, but would love any thoughts from people who have gone down this road. If it matters, husband is fully in support of this, and it is not a problem financially, even if I do not bring in any money. I am viewing it as a softer version of staying home. If I don’t have clients, theoretically I can still keep the entity operational (or do one off jobs in my practice area, also a possibility) and ultimately transition back to private or in-house with something on my resume.

    • I say go for it! I know it feels like a huge transition (I am actually considering a similar one) but it doesn’t sound like you have anything to lose. Go for it!

    • Solo Spouse :

      What are your questions? The biggest issue in hanging your own shingle is how are you going to bring in business. It sounds like you have that covered. Other things you may want to look into: building a professional website, how your want to set it up (S Corp, LLC, whatever), what do you want to do for office space… In many ways it’s easier now that ever to do what you want to do with minimal commitment. You could rent “virtual” office space, have an answering service to field calls, etc.
      My husband did this a few years ago and loves it. If you have specific questions, feel free to post.

      • Thanks so much for your post.

        The “virtual” office space is really intriguing, and a great idea to consider. Also, I’m thinking about things like conflicts checks. I don’t anticipate bringing on many clients, but my work would “face” many third parties. Contracting is a simple example. You work for one client, but negotiate contracts with a variety of third parties on behalf of that client. I imagine you’d need to track those parties? Does he have software that helps to manage that?

        Really, though, my biggest fear is really the intangible component — I have always worked collaboratively. I know I can do this kind of work, but the thought of removing any protection (a general counsel or other associates) is a little terrifying. Do you get over that as you do it?

        • Solo Spouse :

          Sorry for the late reply, just seeing this.

          For office space, he was going to go the virtual office route but ended up just renting “space” in an office suite, but really what he rented was their address and the right to use their conference room and worked mainly from home except for when he needed to meet a client. This worked well while he got his business rolling and then he transitioned to an actual office. It sounds like you can just work from home and something like this could be a good long term solution.

          Conflicts are less of an issue in his practice since he represents individuals so no need to track as any issues are obvious.

          I think as far as the intangible component, it was hard in some ways – you still need to find people to bounce ideas off of, interact with, etc. He joined networking groups, made it a point to have lunch with someone once a week, go to events. I think it helped that I am also a lawyer and we could talk about stuff even though I am in a different field. I think it was also scary, not knowing if it would work and having all that time in the day to fill. That, at least, is prob. less of an issue for you. He loves it though; says he would never go back to having to deal with BS face time expectations or a boss. So there is that. Good luck!

      • Good to hear from someone who has lived through it, Solo Spouse. I am just about at the point of taking the leap. I do think it is somewhat easier than ever to go in with minimal financial commitment depending on your practice area and what the work from home culture is like in your area. For example, I won’t do personal injury because the overhead is just too high. I will probably stick with small litigation matters (eventually even phasing litigation out potentially although I have several of my own litigation clients right now) and drafting work. It’s generally pretty flexible and inexpensive as far as overhead goes. I am also in a city where working from home is common and my current client base /target market is not near my current office so I usually meet them at a local coffee shop or just do the work remotely. I will probably start with virtual space where I can have an answering service, office address, and a conference room and day office as necessary. Those services can be less than $100/month depending on your area.

        Did your spouse wait until he had a certain level of business to go out on his own? Did he feel there was a “right time” or was it just eventually taking the leap of faith! Unlike OP, I do HAVE to make money. We need my income right now, but I am about 90% confident based on tracking the business I have brought in over the last few months that it would work well. I am nervous about not having a “regular paycheck” though and battling how you know if it is the right time.

        • Solo Spouse :

          He just took the leap, but we did have some savings to cushion any potential tough times. His prior position didn’t really allow for any side business so it was stay or go. Luckily for us, I have good insurance through my job and we had low expenses at the time such that with the savings we could have weathered a bad first year and re-assessed. Through some good luck, he managed to actually do much better than expected in the first year but we basically budgeted for him to not make any money and still be able to survive. For us, what pushed it over the edge is we wanted to start a family and we knew that he wouldn’t be taking that leap with a child in the picture. So it was really “now or never” or at least “now or not for 25 years”. Best of luck to you.

  15. Wildkitten :

    I want a small jewelry roll or pouch to carry a specific set of jewelry that I wear only to specific events. I got a jewelry roll from Amazon but it’s like 12″ by 24″ and I have like – two necklaces, three pairs of earrings, one ring, so that is way too big for my needs. Anyone have favorites? It’s for travel and storage, so not a jewelry box.

    • I’m a jewelry roll hoarder.

      I have both of these:

      http://amzn.to/29RyOhG

      http://amzn.to/29RyTBE

      And they’re perfect for short trips or when I’mt ight on space in my carry-on

    • P.S.=—did you get the unicorns peaker? I had it blaring this morning and thought of you (in a non-creepy way)

    • Check out the Stella & Dot’s Roll With It.

    • Etsy might be a good place to look for this, especially as an artisan on Etsy may be willing to make a custom wee jewellery roll for you.

    • lucy stone :

      http://www.verabradley.com/product/all-wrapped-up-jewelry-roll-case/katalina-pink/1003544_202079.uts?Nr=AND%28Content+Type%3Aproduct%29&Ntt=jewelry+case

      I have an older version of this that’s a little larger, but I love it.

  16. Credit card recommendations? :

    Does anyone have any recommendations on the best credit card for balance transfers?

    • Have you looked at nerdwallet or similar sites for a comparison tool? I think there is also guidance out there for negotiating the balance transfer fee.

    • Right now, Citi Simplicity (long period) and Chase Slate (zero balance transfer fees), if you have the credit to qualify!

  17. Manhattanite :

    I bought the jacket from yesterday’s suit of the week last week and I’m having trouble figuring out how I’d wear it to work. I can envision it with jeans or white pants, but that’s about it. Any thoughts on how else to style it?

  18. Best time of year for Asheville? :

    Hyatt has a change to their award chart going on and the Hyatt Place Asheville is moving several categories (for anybody who has Hyatt points, it’s a Category 1 right now!!) so I’d like to put a trip on the books sometime before next May while the redemption are still dirt cheap. My best friend is in the process of relocating to Charlotte so we are thinking a girl’s weekend.

    What is the best time of year to go? Are winters harsh? We are both pretty booked with weddings through late fall. I was thinking maybe April or May?

    • Yup. Spring is perfect

    • If you plan to drive the BRP, you should plan your trip around when it will be open. Portions of it are closed off during winter months, which may extend into April. That being said, there’s not a bad time to visit Asheville. Winter is great for the Biltmore candlelight tours. Summer is great because it’s not too hot and there are lots of fun swimming holes. Fall is great because of leaf peeping. Spring is great because, well, spring. Just decide what you want to do and let that guide you.

      • Asheville local :

        Any time of year is nice. We can get snow storms of a few inches in Jan-Feb and yes the parkway closes in winter. But I’m laughing at “summer is great because it’s not too hot.” Been in the high 80’s and low 90’s for weeks with horrid humidity.

    • Winters aren’t “harsh,” per se, but if you want to be outside (hiking, outdoor patio drinking) you’d probably rather go when it’s warmer. It doesn’t snow much in NC but Asheville does get more snow than most other places in the state. High temps in Jan/Feb will be in the 40’s. It would be a good place for a cozy winter trip, but on the whole it’s probably more fun when it’s warm unless you enjoy hiking in the winter or snuggling with your girlfriends by the fire (no judgment ;) ). May would be gorgeous. Ideal temperatures, leaves budding, flowers in bloom, the area waking up for spring time. Gorgeous. April will be a little cooler but still lovely. I love Asheville.

    • Spring is really lovely so April-May will be fine. We’ve gone in December as well to see the holiday decorations at Biltmore and Grove Park.

    • Winters probably aren’t too bad, but there could be some snow. I think any time in March or April should be beautiful.

  19. Pinterest to organize clothes? :

    Any tips for using Pinterest to organize clothes? For example, keeping a handle on what I’ve purchased for my kiddo in his next size, and building capsule wardrobe for an overseas trip. What’s the best way to get good-looking photos of clothes I already own onto my board?

    • I use pinterest to keep track of my work wardrobe, but it basically only works because I shop online and add the photo of what I’ve bought to my board immediately upon purchase.

      • Pinterest to organize clothes? :

        Hmmm… that’s where I’m getting stuck. I do the same for online purchases, but can’t figure out how to include “off-line” things.

        • Do you have the app? I thought you could just snap a picture of something and upload it?

          • Pinterest to organize clothes? :

            No, but I think this is what I’m looking for! Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Try using the Stylebook app. It’s designed to track your wardrobe inventory, help you out together outfits, etc. It’s a bit tedious documenting all your clothes but for recent pieces, I just screenshot from the retailers website and upload, rather than snapping the actual garment. In any case, worth a look.

  20. Bay Area Bound :

    Just wanted to say thanks again for all of the advice on my upcoming NYC –> Bay Area move. It’s good to have those perspectives — both upbeat and realistic! — as I try to pump myself up. (And I’ll email everyone who volunteered email addresses as soon as I dig myself out of this week’s work chaos.)

    On a related note, does anyone with Bay Area work experience have any tips on how to get a job out there? I work in a tech-adjacent field currently, so it seems like I should be a good fit for something out there, but I’m having trouble even finding opportunities to apply to as I try to build my network from afar. Do I just have to wait until I get out there?

    • anon in SV :

      Well, because we have all of the kinds of tech, and lots of all of them, “tech-adjacent” is too broad a category out here. You need to be more specific and targeted. I’ve lived here my whole life and I still don’t know all the terminology. Software? For companies or consumers? Hardware? For consumer electronics? For cars? Manufacturing? Gig economy? Web 2.0/social media? SaaS? “Tech” is really generic as a concept, and I am not sure what you mean by “tech-adjacent.”

      Network is a lot of what matters out here, and a lot of opportunities aren’t officially listed until the last minute. How up to date is your LinkedIn? Start mining it. Alumni network? Sorority network? You should be able to do a lot of networking before you move.

  21. I just made my final student loan payment! I’m so excited to be done!!

    • CONGRATULATIONS. It’s incredibly freeing to step away from that weight on your shoulders. I’m so excited for you!

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Congrats! I paid mine off last month and it’s so great to be free!!

    • Way to go, & congratulations!!! I made my last payment, a large lump sum, last May, and it is LIBERATING!! Now time to reach those other financial goals! Warning, you are going to be tempted to start spending, big-time. I have a laundry list of home improvements I’d like to get done (new floors, etc) and I have to keep telling myself to breath, and slow down!

    • Senior Attorney :

      HOORAY!!!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Congratulations!!!! That’s fantastic!

    • Great news!

  22. I know the smart people of this community might have some advice for me here. I’m trying to determine how to or whether to deal with my mom’s alcohol/drug abuse. I’ve been attending Alanon but it doesn’t seem to be all that useful. They just preach detach with love, etc. and I’m not sure how to apply their teachings in a practical situation. Example:

    We returned from a long family trip on Tuesday afternoon. My mom called me Tuesday evening and was surprised when I answered the phone, she said she thought we weren’t coming back until Wednesday. We talk about how we got home yesterday (Tuesday), the car ride with the boys went pretty well, what we did on our trip, one of the boys got bitten by a mosquito under his eye and had to go to urgent care for antibiotics due to infection, etc. It was probably a 15 min. conversation. She starts slurring her speech so I told her I needed to go (my standard response when I can tell she’s under the influence of something).

    Last night she texts me “are you back? how was the trip? Did the boys do well in the car?” Obviously she had no recollection of our conversation. I’m a busy person. I work and have 16 month old twins. I have approximately 2 hours of me time in the evening and if I talk to you and you don’t remember that’s clearly a waste of everyone’s time. I’m just frustrated. Should I tell her exactly this??? I’ve encouraged her to get help (she’s probably been to rehab 5 times in her life) and she says she’s “not doing that right now”. Of course she’s not, she’s an addict. I don’t know where to go from here. I love my mom and I enjoy chatting with her, she is one of my best friends but I’m worried about her. Is this enabling behavior? I don’t know what I should/shouldn’t be doing at this point.

    • I’m not sure what to suggest, but hugs – that sounds really hard. I think it’s good you are going to Al-Anon, but maybe there are some other groups that can offer more practical advice out there? Sometimes you just need advice on what to do in the moment and I think there must be a group somewhere that is more geared towards that.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yikes. I might just text back “Mom, we had a 15 minute conversation about this Tuesday evening. We’re back, trip was fine, and I’m concerned you don’t remember and I still think you should get help be cause you’re obviously having blackouts.” And let it go per Al-Anon. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      • Anonymous :

        + 1

        refusing to repeat conversations with her. Remind her that you had that conversation already and she must have had a blackout – hopefully this will make her realize how much she is missing out on.

        Sorry you have to deal with this. I have twins too and it’s hard enough dealing with twin toddlers let alone dealing with your mom and this issue.

    • Bewitched :

      I have a similar issue with my dad. He drinks every night beginning around 5pm, so I make it a point never to call him after 5. He doesn’t call me, so I don’t have the same issue you do, but I would screen her calls after a certain point in the evening and follow the script SA has laid out. I’m done trying to pretend that a problem does not exist, but I’m also not super confrontational about it at this point (he always drinks at home, never drinks and drives etc).

      • I do the same thing with my dad. I don’t answer if he calls after 5, and I don’t attempt to call him either.

      • OP here. My mom works about 50 hours a week M-F so she uses on evenings and weekends sporadically. The times she uses are the only times I’m available to talk. Sometimes I can tell she goes downhill throughout the conversation. At the beginning she sounds fine but then I end up telling her I have to go because I can tell she’s been drinking/drugging.

    • I have similar issues with my Mom although she refuses to admit that she has a substance abuse problem.

      She has also begun falling regularly (which I believe is due to her drinking) and has seriously injured herself a couple of times. She lives alone on the opposite side of the country from me and is in her 70s.

      Any advice on this? I’m an only child and very worried.

      • Hugs. My alcoholic husband frequently falls down and I’m worried that I will come home one day to him dead at the bottom of the stairs. I wish I had advice for you. Is there anyone in mom’s city who can check up on her?

      • Anonymous :

        I hope this doesn’t come off as cruel, but if you haven’t already. make sure all of her estate planning is done, ask her to sign a power of attorney and get all of her affairs in order. It may not solve the immediate problem, but it’s something that will need attention eventually and you want to take care of it before she becomes incapable of signing documents.

    • Hugs. My mother died early because of alcoholism and my husband is now an alcoholic. It is so frustrating when they black out. With both of my alcoholics, I refuse to communicate with them when they have been drinking and refuse to repeat answers, only stating that we have already talked about this.

    • Anonymous :

      Ugh, I’m sorry your dealing with this.

      I’m an alcoholic myself and newly in recovery. So I’m on the other end of things. And as I’m sure you know nothing will change, no matter what you do, until your mom decides for herself she wants to change.

      Maybe try a different al-anon group? If it’s anything like AA they differ pretty widely from group to group. Or try therapy. A professional would have specific ideas for this. My mom did this when we were kids- her mother was an alcoholic.

      I wouldn’t talk to her when you think she’s using, just like you did. If she’s going to use she going to use but you don’t have to allow it to be in front of you in person or on the phone, so setting those boundaries. I would address the fact that you discussed the trip during your telephone call on Tuesday and that you suspect she doesn’t remember because she might have been drinking. She’s probably going to get defensive because she’s ashamed and I wouldn’t engage. Just point out what you noticed and tell her you love her.

      I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.

      • Another anon :

        Yes to telling her what you noticed and that you suspect she was drinking, and also yes to not engaging if she denies and gets defensive.

        When my dad does this, I say something along the lines of “Okay, well, then that is your side of the story, and I’m not here to have a debate about whether or not you were drinking. But, if you WEREN’T, then that says to me that you have other health issues that need to be addressed, because it is not normal for you to [fill in blank with behavior]. And I care about you and want you to take care of yourself. [Then change topic].”

        Also, I never got much out of Al Anon, but individual therapy has been very helpful.

      • Anon For This :

        Congrats on your sobriety! I will have 14 months in a couple of days.

    • anonforthis :

      Late reply, but I hope it helps
      My Grandmother was an alcoholic, and my mother had a rule that she would not speak to her after 6pm for this reason–the conversations were not remembered, and they often took an angry turn. She’d check the caller ID, and not pick up the phone.
      There were some other practical boundaries Mom created–there wasn’t a guest room in our house while we were growing up, so when Grandma visited from out of state, she stayed in a hotel. This protected Mom and us kids from Grandma’s drunk guilt trips.
      Grandma never recognized her drinking was a problem. Mom would sometimes have conversations similar to SA’s script above, and they might cause a small change in behavior for a short time, but nothing changed long term. Whenever Grandma bemoaned her distanced relationships with our family, Mom pointed to her drinking, but then tried to let it go. It strained their relationship, but it was important to her that we (mom’s kids) saw that we were shielded from Grandma’s worst behavior.

  23. Favorite shampoo for thin, fine, wavy hair that can be both dry and oily?

    I’ve been using matrix biolage- the purple one- but either it’s changed recently or I have. (9 months postpartum, so very well could be me, but also just got new bottle).

    • Costco professional shampoo and conditioner. It’s seriously amazing and cheap!

    • Rene Furturer- the one called Naturia
      I have hair similar to yours and it’s very gentle and kind to my thin, fine hair that is oily at the roots and dry at the ends.

      I don’t like their conditioner but the shampoo is great.
      Cheapest way to get it is on amazon.
      A big bottle lasts me about 18 months with shoulder length hair so its not as pricy as it initially seems.

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