Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Long-Sleeve Zip-Front Cashmere Cardigan

Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

I remember years ago in one of our discussions on the best cashmere for work, one reader mentioned that she always gets Akris cashmere on eBay. I haven’t made the leap yet myself, but there is a lot of it on eBay right now. This really lovely zip-front cardigan at Neiman Marcus is a mere $2,490, and I kind of like that it has an almost boxy cut. I love the way it’s styled here with a bunch of different grays. This comes in sizes 4–16. Long-Sleeve Zip-Front Cashmere Cardigan

Two much more affordable options are at Macy’s and L.L. Bean, and here’s a plus-size option.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for everyone’s advice last week on smoothies. I’m basically approaching them as a bloody mary sans booze…healthy, huh? Essentially, just not sweet; more on the savory side, I suppose?

    Today it is half of a really comically small avocado, one persian cucumber, one medium tomatillo, about a 1/3c of sun gold tomatoes, half of a lime’s flesh only, maybe a 1/3c. of frozen spinach, lubricated with some already open grapefruit seltzer. It’s pretty good. I’m pleased. MFP tells me it’s only 3g sugar, so yay.

    • As someone who stress-ate a McGriddle in the car this morning, this sounds delicious and you’ve inspired me to do better the rest of this week!

      • Shenandoah :

        Ain’t no shame in a stress-eaten McGriddle. They are admittedly pretty tasty.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I have managed to not stress-eat any bacon, egg and cheese biscuits for two months now. To be clear, I’ve stress eaten a LOT of other stuff. Like, for example, pizza twice a week. But now that I’ve read this, I might break that particular streak, because daaaaaamnnnn does it sound good.

      • I credit the McGriddle with my law school exam success. It was an important part of my day of test prep.

    • Yum!

    • Sounds like a nice gazpacho!

      • Yes, this! I’m basically slurping cold soup for breakfast. Looking at it that way opens up the creative juices…!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      When I was pregnant, all I ever wanted was virgin bloody maries. Mmm.

      • Anon in NYC :

        When I was pregnant, all I wanted was a non-alcohol negroni. I couldn’t figure out how to replicate one!

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Oooh now all I want is an (alcoholic pls) negroni. Mmm bitter.

          • They have a soda in Italy that is basically a non-alcoholic negroni. I looked into getting it here for my negroni-loving DH, but IIRC, it’s prohibitively expensive to get here. It may have been this https://www.amazon.com/San-Pellegrino-Bitter-Red/dp/B0000D15YQ (although I remember it costing much more, so I could be wrong on the link).

    • Sounds good! If you want a bit of fruit next time you can add just two strawberries. I find that just a teeny bit of fruit cuts the bitterness of the greens, and berries are low sugar anyways. But all veggie is probably the best so if you’re fine with no fruit stick with that!

    • This sounds good. I keep trying to reproduce the Suja juice “Uber Greens.” I haven’t quite succeeded yet, but I really like the grapefruit/lime/cucumber base.

  2. Workout pants/leggings :

    My sister has asked for “leggings, for working out” for Christmas. She typically wears old navy stuff, size small.
    I want to give her a splurge-y Christmas gift so was thinking some high end/super nice leggings/pants.
    She’s about 5’10 and has gone from about a size 16/18 to size 4/6 over the past few years through mostly diet but a little bi of exercise (mostly yoga and walking/elliptical), so she’s got a bit of extra skin as well.

    What would work? I asked and she said either long or capri would work. She’s in a moderate climate so cold winters aren’t a factor.

    No budget, but I do want to buy for quality vs brand name (Lulu is fine if that’s what’s best! But if there is something cheaper that’s the same/better, I’ll get that and some other stuff).

    And any other related accessories that you think she’d like? No need for a cold weather headband (both because she won’t exercise outside if it’s cold AND she’s not in a super cold area).

    TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      I would do Lululemon or Athleta in a higher waisted legging. Lulu has a slightly wider cut waist than other brands, which is why I prefer that brand.

      • I absolutely agree – Lululemon or Athleta in higher waist!

      • Specifically, high waisted wonder under

        • Workout pants/leggings :

          That was my original thought but the recent reviews are really bad on these- are they decent?

          • I don’t wear them but my daughter does and I have nothing bad to say about them. She wears hers at least once a week (as pants, don’t get me started) and they have held up really well. Her most recent pair is about 6 months old and i just bought her another pair for xmas – just to get her a different color, not because the others are worn out.

            Her first pair about 2 years ago got some pilling between the thighs and she happened to be in a Lulu Store wearing them and showed a sales associate. The SA said, that shouldn’t happen. Wash them and bring them back and we will give you a new pair. And they did. No receipt. No arguing. She’d had that pair for at least 6 months.

            For reference, she’s 5’8” and very athletic, size 4-6 in Street clothes, wears a 6 in the lulus.

        • I have all of these brands and lll high waisted wunder unders in “luon” are the best.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Does she have a nice bag for taking things to yoga? I would look for a secure external water bottle pocket and sturdy zippers.

    • Anonymous :

      Lululemon is very small in the waist, which would be problematic for any excess skin. It also runs at least 2 sizes small, so if she’s usually a 4-6 she would take at least an 8 in Lululemon. I would go with Athleta high-waisted leggings in a size small tall, capri or 7/8 length.

      • Marathon runner here. I’m around your sister’s height and I pretty much exclusively wear lulu for running. I disagree it runs small, I am my same size as in street clothes at lulu. I think it depends on your body type. I find it more fitted in the waist so that they don’t fall down when you’re running. I would try to get leggings with side pockets because they have been life changing for me! I can put my phone in it while I run (as well as all of the other goodies I need).

        Just some food for thought.

        I also like athleta stuff.

        • I do not find that Lululemon runs small either. I suggest buying her a size 4 or 6, if she’s a size 4/6.

          • At what end of the size range are they not running small? I am a 0 in vanity sizing, a 2 in real sizing, and a 4-6 at Lululemon. Is this like Boden where the small sizes run small and the larger sizes run TTS or large?

          • +1. I would recommend buying her a size 6 in most Lululemon pants (I am an apple-ish size 16, and I wear a 10/12 in Lulu). They can be returned for up to 30 days after purchase.

        • I’d go with the size 6 over 4 because slightly too big is better than slightly too small.

      • All my Lululemon leggings are TTS – I wear the same size as I do in jeans.

        I also love Calia (Carrie Underwood’s line at Dick’s). It has nice accessories too – bags, socks, headbands, etc.

    • Anonymous :

      Sweaty Betty

    • I really love Zella’s high waisted leggings for working out. I get the solid capris with mesh at the bottom but they make fun colors if she’s into that. They are thick-ish so forgiving of flaws. I’m a 2/4 and wear a small.

    • Anonymous :

      I vote Athleta,

    • An Outdoor Voices kit runs about $100 for two pieces, I’ve been happy with what I’ve got from them. Girlfriend Collective and Senitas (they have an awesome phone pocket) are popular in my group too, but note that the GC leggings are tight at first, them mold to your legs so she may be not like the fit for the first wear. But my favorite is still the Old Navy leggings, those wear like iron, I prefer them to my Lululemons. I haven’t tried Athleta, but people here love them.

      As for accessories, I have a few ideas:
      -Swell waterbottle
      -Exercise bands for portable workouts/light resistance training if she wishes
      -Yoga mat/holder (upgrade her current one?)
      -Yoga blocks
      -Yoga tanks (check out yogaoutlet dot com, Spiritual Gangster and other brands very discounted) slightly fitted works best since it won’t fly up in downward dog
      -Foam roller
      -Gift card to her favorite yoga studio?
      -Yoga-on demand (I think Gaiam has this service)
      -Meditation blanket (also on yogaoutlet)
      -Grippy socks if you know she wears them

      • +100 to Outdoor Voices. Specifically, the “warmup legging” or crops in shorter lengths. It holds everything in like you wouldn’t believe, and still feels easy to move in. I’ve stocked up on them and demoted my Lulu leggings to loungewear because I feel so unsupported in them now compared to OV.

    • anon a mouse :

      A long time ago someone here recommended Senita leggings because they have pockets. I don’t have any experience with them, but added them to my Christmas wish list because of the rec.

    • AnonLondon :

      Sweatty Betty’s leggings are great, super cute patterns and the high waist is really flattering and STAYS PUT.

    • I really like Oiselle. Price wise, I think they fall between Athleta and Lulu.

    • Zella high waisted from Nordstrom.

    • Balega running socks.

    • My best workout leggings so far are Nike Legendary (not sure if this is the right name) in a high waist variant. They are indesctructable – have survived nearly daily long-distance running, my marathon training, gym and yoga workouts for the past 7 (!) years and still going strong. They are also 100% opaque and 0% see-through, they do not ride up or down and can provide support for extra flab or skin if needed.

    • Other options :

      Superfit Hero and Virus International have amazing wide waistband leggings. Superfit has them with pockets!

  3. Culinary advice needed! I’m a good cook, and I looooove French Onion Soup. But I’m somehow terrible at making it. Caramelizing the onions isn’t my problem…I take the time to do that right and let them caramelize slowly. But the soup always ends up too sweet somehow. Is it my broth (I use store-bought)? Help!!

    • Cornellian. :

      Are you maybe using yellow onions instead of white? I was taught to use white. That could make things sweeter.

    • Serious Eat took a look at how carmelizing the onions too long can cause sweetness, also the type of onion. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/01/french-onion-soup-recipe.html
      I’ve had good luck adding a splash of acid (vinegar, wine) to break up the sweetness.

    • Anonymous :

      It may need some salt or acid to balance out the sweetness. No advice on your broth, other than to taste it alone and see what you think.

    • You need French Guy Cooking – google “french guy cooking french onion soup” and watch the youtube video. That’s the perfect recipe.

      Anonymous at 9:21 nailed it – onions are sweet and you need to balance the sweetness. I use dry white wine after caramelizing like he shows in the video, and if you don’t want to use wine you can use apple cider vinegar. I also throw in a splash of brandy at the end (letting the alcohol cook off for a minute) because life is short. The combo of cheese and bread on top also helps to make a complete bite – you get the sweet and tart from the soup, the nuttiness from the cheese and the crisp edges of the bread all coming together.

      • I did use white onion because I know that yellow are sweeter. I did add ACV (after reading that could help) and it gave the soup a weird flavor profile (possibly because of when it was added). I didn’t use white wine though – I’ll attempt this again using French Guy’s exact method! Thanks everyone!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Try Ina Garten’s french soup recipe (she uses a combination of beef and veal stock, but I’ve used beef and chicken stock). To this, I also add a beef glace packet (you can find them on Amazon) for a richer tasting broth. And I salt the heck out of it.

  4. Veronica Mars :

    Does anyone have experience traveling with a nervous flyer? My fiancé has only flown on two trips before and he insists that he wants to continue flying and getting more comfortable with air travel rather than avoiding it. For the honeymoon, I’m considering two short flights might be easier on him (maybe 3-4 hours in the air total) versus a long flight (8 hrs international) (we have limited connections from our airport but a few good international connections). Any other tips for getting someone more comfortable with traveling in general? He says he could do an 8-hr flight (takeoffs and landings are what really bother him), but I think that may be too much, especially if there’s turbulence. Any thoughts? We could also scrap flying altogether and drive somewhere.

    • Anonymous :

      If he doesn’t like take off and landings, then one longer flight would probably be easier. Make sure he takes lots of things to distract himself. Maybe noise cancelling headphones and his ipad to binge watch whatever show he finds totally engrossing. Avoid caffeine so he can sleep if tired.

      He might also prefer a flight with a 2-5-2 configuration on the seats so he doesn’t have to sit next to a stranger if you book the ‘2’ for you both.

      • Veronica Mars :

        I know, he says its the takeoffs/landings but I’m worried that if there’s lots of turbulence on the long flight, he might panic. Even the minimal amount of the plane moving/jostling around was bothering him on our flight together. I thought two shorter flights might build some confidence? But if 8-hours is really doable that could work well–the destinations are really nice. I don’t want to stress him on the honeymooon!

        • Anonymous :

          If he says it’s the takeoffs and landings that bother him (true for most nervous flyers, btw) believe him and don’t force him to do 4 instead of 2. The turbulence argument makes no sense to me. There could turbulence on either or both of the shorter flights.

          • Veronica Mars :

            I’m not forcing him to do anything. I’ve asked and he said both would work. But thanks to the consensus here I’ll look at the longer flight. The argument for the turbulence is that if there’s turbulence on an 8 hour flight—what are you going to do? You’re literally stuck there for 8 hrs. But if the flight’s only an hour–it’s over much more quickly.

          • Anonymous :

            Yep, small planes that fly short-haul routes are much more susceptible to turbulence than the jumbo jets that fly long-haul routes. Turbulence is much less likely in a long flight.

          • Anon 9:18 :

            This.

            He will be miserable if he has turbulence on the first flight and then has to deal with a second takeoff and landing in addition.

            Make sure he stays distracted on the plane. Turbulence is miserable if you don’t have a book to read or a movie to watch. Plan how you will spend the time onboard. Does he like games? Could you play electronic scrabble or chess to distract him in between movies?

          • Anon 9:18 :

            Adding that my worst experiences with turbulence have been on shorter haul flights. The small planes don’t seem to handle it as well. A friend developed a fear of flying after an awful 1 hour flight between Toronto and Montreal.

            I think the larger planes on longer haul flights have more ability change altitude to avoid the turbulence because the skies are less crowded higher up.

          • Turbulence usually won’t last for an entire 8 hour flight. There would have to be a huge weather system for that. Pilots can usually go above or below, or avoid all together if it’s a weather system that large.

    • Xanax. His doctor can give him a small dose. It’s doesn’t knock you out or make you loopy or anything like that. You’re yourself, you just don’t care about all the anxiety you usually have. It’s great!

      • Veronica Mars :

        I’ll ask if he’s willing to get some. Good call. We got a drink on the flight and he said he felt much better after it (I wanted to give him something to look forward to on our flight).

        • If alcohol helps, Xanax will help even more. And then you have complete control when to take it.

        • Get a drink before the flight at the airport bar! (Do not combine this with Xanax). This will relax him a little more for takeoff.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Xanax is the answer. It is a game changer for my nervous-when-he-flies husband. He hates the takeoff (landing he doesn’t mind so much) so unless it’s much more expensive, I find it’s worth it to fly direct.

    • Anonymous :

      It sounds like he’s willing to do a long flight, so you should do that.

    • If taking off and landing is what bothers him, you should not do two shorter flights! Also, if he is at all into statistics, that is when most planes crash so it literally is safer to take one longer flight, which he may know or you can tell him.

      As for making the flight better, my flight phobic friends generally rely on meds, but that’s obviously not for everyone.

      • Veronica Mars :

        I know, I was just thinking that it would be over much quicker than a long travel day.

        • Ekatern Nike :

          Hi, I’m a nervous flyer but I fly frequently for work. First, I’d go with what your BF said he prefers—the longer flight. If things go badly at least there’s isn’t the added “I told you what I thought would work and you ignored me” possibility from him. Second, Xanax. I got a prescription for flying years ago and it’s a game changer. Makes life a lot more pleasant for me and everyone around me on the plane. In fact, I don’t usually need it any more, but I still have a prescription just in case. I would highly recommend that he get himself to a doctor. This is a very common request.

          • Ekaterin Nile :

            Wow, autocorrect botched my name.

            Also, I would strongly suggest earplugs or noise canceling headphones plugged into music or a distracting movie for takeoff and landing. The sounds a plane makes (landing gear, flaps, people dropping suitcases, etc) can really add to my stress. Better to block as much as possible.

    • FWIW, I find that the longer flights typically have far less turbulence than the shorter ones — perhaps because you’re at a higher altitude? Adding to the chorus of 1 8-hour flight as way way easier than 2 short ones, plus HALF the airport hassle.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah stop babying him. He says 8 hours is fine, he wants to fly more. Have him get a prescription for Xanax and go for it. Don’t make it worse by suggesting he isn’t capable of doing this.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I am your fiancé! I do not enjoy flying at all, but I love to travel and I sometimes have to for work, so I have learned to manage. For me, it is also takeoff and landing.

      I always sit on the aisle rather than the window. Holding someone’s hand through takeoff and landing helps as does talking. Sometimes, if I am with my husband, he will kiss me to distract me. On longer trips, I prefer to fly at night and, as I am waiting in line to board, I will pop a gravol and then have a glass of wine on the plane, just enough to make the edges hazy and I feel a lot less stressed.

      Enjoy your honeymoon!

      • I would feel awkward sitting next to a couple that were kissing throughout the take-off/landing.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          Oh, I didn’t mean prolonged making out or anything, ew. Just little pecks and nuzzles, just to keep me from too much focus on the plane.

          • No…that’s still weird. Talking, hand holding and reassurance through touch, no prob. But lovey-dovey pecks and nuzzles is still weird.

          • Eh, yeah and? Lots of people on planes are weird. Ya just gotta deal.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            That still sounds a little weird, but probably less annoying than the kissee shaking and chanting “Oh no oh no we’re gonna die oh no!” ;)

          • Deal with it, Anonymous.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        And this is proof that everyone deals very differently. I hate flying. Sometimes xanax isn’t enough. Hypnosis has helped. Some flights I’m great. Some flights I’m a mess. I do best with an aisle seat near a bathroom and not sitting with anyone I know. I hate trying to keep up the chit chat with a friend. My husband is nervous that I will be nervous and that makes me more nervous. Long flights are fine. Each flight I successfully do builds confidence for the next. Short flights tend to be more turbulent because they don’t have time to get up high. Also, different airlines have different reputations. He can read about them online and figure out what works best for him. Southwest has very fast take offs where you might have more turbulence but for a much shorter time. They get their seatbelt sign off very fast which is important to me. Delta goes long and slow and sometimes has the flight attendants do the first round of drinks before letting the passengers up. For a lot of people being super nervous = nervous poops so being near the bathroom and having Imodium helps.

        Also, if he ends up visibly distressed, tell him not to be afraid to let a flight attendant know he’s nervous. The pilot will sometimes make extra reassuring announcements. On a recent flight I kept having to get up, despite the bumps because I was so scared I was making myself sick. The flight attendant was concerned I was so sick and I told her it was just anxiety from the turbulence and I wasn’t contagious or anything. The next time the seatbelt sign came on the captain added that the turbulence was expected to be short, less than five minutes, and was perfectly safe and the aircraft would handle it just fine. I’m guessing that message was meant for me but I have no idea.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          My sister is very nervous at takeoff and takes 1/2 a xanax (she is petite). I think everyone appreciates when the pilot is as transparent as they can be with regard to the amount and length of turbulence – if there are any pilots/friends of pilots reading, spread the word!

    • As a former panicky flyer, can he figure out if it’s really the flight that is upsetting him (stay with me here. . .)? For me, it turns out it was all of the planning for travel and leaving things behind that left me very anxious, not the flight itself.

      • Frequent fearful flyer :

        Lots of good stuff here already, but I’ll just say he might want to test out the Xanax first. I had an epic panic attack on a flight while on Xanax – it just didn’t work for me. Ativan is more my jam. Other things:

        – familiarize yourself and him with the noises, as Blonde Lawyer recommends. Those bells and dings mean everything to the nervous flyer.
        – determine if the aisle or window seat is better for him. Personally I like to be able to look out the window to see the cloud cover (and determine if bumps are coming up if I see crazy cloud formations) and the view, and especially to be able to watch during takeoff and landing. I know this isn’t everyone’s thing, but for me it’s really important to see our progress.
        – second the recommendation for noise-cancelling headphones. I also wear a watch so I can track the time, in case there’s no flight tracker available.
        – splurge as much as you can on the best seats available. I like to be near the front of the plane (less turbulence than back half).
        – buy some treats to have on the plane – crappy magazines or books or games or food. Whatever floats your boat but is some way to break up the time.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I hadn’t recommended familiarizing yourself with the noise this time but I have in the past! There is a great website written by a pilot where you can take a free course on fear of flying. I think it is fear of flying help dot com. I’ve done it and it was very helpful.

          Also, believe him when he says he wants to do this. I love to travel. I hate getting there and back. No matter how panicky I am on the plane, the trip ends up worth it. I just know it is the hurdle to get to the fun. Giving in to anxiety and avoiding triggers can be a slippery slope. Obviously different for phobias but still something to keep in mind. My friend equates fear of flying to child birth or a bad hangover. In the throes of it, you say NEVER AGAIN!! Then you quickly forget how bad it was and are willing to try it again because you have so much fun outside of that part of it.

          • anonshmanon :

            similar to the noises, look at this grainy youtube video about how airplane wings are designed to bend really far: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai2HmvAXcU0
            This helped me not worry when I look out the window and I see the wings wobble a bit.
            I am the nervous flyer you are describing and for me takeoff and landing are much worse than turbulence. Most things have been said here already. Distracting myself with a game on my phone or a really good tv show/podcast helps, noise cancelling headphones are great too. When I wear them, I can’t hear the engine changing frequency (what I describe to myself as breaking mid-air).

      • Oh! One more idea that worked really well for me – listening to loud rock music when we take off, land or hit turbulence. It sounds counter-intuitive, but listening to calm soothing music just accentuated that I felt panicky and couldn’t calm down. Listening to something that matched my mood worked much better.

    • I have flown several times a year since I was young and used to be very nervous about takeoffs and somewhat nervous about landings. In college, I found myself on a super empty evening flight, where a friendly flight attendant brought us extra cookies and hung out to chat – and ended up teaching us all about the aerodynamics of flying and turbulence. I did a little more research when I got home to get visuals on how it actually works, but that did it for me – since then I haven’t had a problem. Turbulence is like driving down a gravel road vs a paved road: but you don’t get nervous in a car because you can see the difference and understand why it feels different. If you think this will help him, there are a ton of youtube videos out there that can help him understand what’s going on and be reassuring to him. But maybe have some Xanax as a backup.

    • I’m the nervous flyer. When I realized I was dreading trips that I had been really looking forward to, considering not traveling because of my fear of flying, and realizing I was trying to figure out how I could stay buzzed on alcohol for 9 hours, I went to the doctor (a psychiatrist, although my GP has helped me in a pinch). He prescribed Xanax for me which really helped, to the point where I now don’t need to take it for every flight – just having it in my bag makes me feel better because I can take it if I need it. It also helps me sleep on planes which was otherwise impossible for me. That might not be the right med for your fiance, but a doctor/psychiatrist visit could help them identify something pharmaceutical (or otherwise) for his needs. My doc recommended I try the meds at home first.

      Other things that help me:
      Having soothing music, podcasts, or an audiobook to listen to (Can’t always watch movies during takeoff, sometimes takeoff is too bumpy for reading, and need other distractions);
      Game apps to keep my mind occupied – The NYT crossword puzzle app has been a lifesaver for me;
      Seats near the front or over the wing;
      Noise cancelling headphones;
      Kindle;
      A window seat – less jostling around, more room, and if the flight gets bumpy I can look at the horizon line and see the plane isn’t really moving around;
      Having a routine/checklist and being early – nothing worse than getting all charged up with adrenaline while you worry about being late to set your flight off on the wrong foot;
      I also try to stay away from other stressed out people in the airport – screaming babies, other obviously nervous flyers, people anxious to board first, etc. I try to stay away from the gate as long as possible and find a seat in a restaurant where I can get a bite and listen to my music/podcasts, surf the web, etc. until boarding time.

      Also just be kind to him -hold his hand, smile, etc. without being overly solicitous. If my husband is relaxed than so am I – if he squeezes back when I squeeze his hand, it helps.

    • Nintendo DS (or other handheld game option). I know it sounds silly but by SO does 100x better when he can just get immersed in beating some silly game for the entire flight and stops focusing on the flight. For some reason, this works better than Candy Crush on an iPhone.

    • I’m a former nervous flier who used to travel a ton for work. Honestly, noise cancelling headphones made flying 100x more bearable for me. I would read way too much into the engine noises of takeoff and landing, and the rattling of the overhead bins during turbulence made it sound much worse than it actually felt. Once the noise was reduced, flying felt a lot less overwhelming and scary (though you can still hear in-flight announcements – don’t worry).

    • I am an experienced flyer, and I still don’t love turbulence.

      What helps me is remembering the science and physics behind airplanes/flight, how the plane is built to deal with this stress. Probably does not work everyone though.

    • Definitely vote for one longer flight. Also Xanax or if it is an overnight fight, Dramamine or melatonin so he sleeps. Do not drive somewhere for your honeymoon. This is your chance to go some place farther away.

      • If feasible, uograde to first class. The bigger seat, food, and booze will all help to distract from any turbulence.

    • I developed a fear of flying that kept me on the ground for years. Finally I worked myself up to do a dear of flying course with BA. I’m not cured, but I can fly a couple of times a year and almost enjoy it.

      There are several courses in the UK so I’d guess some will be available in the US. I picked BA as I wanted a big name and not a discount company.

      Wasn’t that expensive and made such a difference to me.

    • Anonymous :

      I love to fly, and still, on every flight, I have a moment of OMG, plane crash. However, I remind myself of the statistics and that everything will be okay, and the moment passes. Perhaps reading up on how driving is way more dangerous? I think it’s the control factor–when you’re on the plane, you don’t really control your safety/the plane, etc, whereas in a car, we can pretend that we can defensive drive out of a crash…

  5. Hubby wants a watch with a leather strap and a simple face, and he’s got a milestone bday over the holidays so I’d like to surprise him with one. I’ve narrowed it down to a Raymond Weil Toccata and a Tissot Heritage Visodate Watch, both with a brown leather strap and light silverfish face. Both on sale at Bloomingdales now. I was originally going to go with the RW, but the Tissot has a second hand and just appeals to me.

    Two questions: 1) is one brand particularly better – or better regarded – than the other? and
    2) he wants a formal watch; is a black band better? I feel like brown is more versatile and he ‘deferred’ the decision to me but curious if I should reconsider black.

    • When you say “formal” what do you mean? Wearing it with a suit to work everyday or wearing it to a wedding? As far as suits go, brown strap usually goes best with brown shoes and belt, meaning a navy suit or a lighter gray daytime suit. For a tuxedo or charcoal gray suit, he will want black accessories and therefore a black watch or at the very least with a charcoal gray suit, darker chocolate brown shoes. As you can see, it really varies on what he already wears and the shade of brown – the lighter is more daytime.

      My husband wears a watch everyday and mostly wears the brown alligator strap or the stainless bracelet. He wears suits everyday and the brown goes great with the navy suits and also looks great with jeans on the weekends. He also has a black alligator strap for weddings and the like/more evening looks. And he also has a stainless bracelet which looks more dressy than most sporty stainless ones because it is gold and stainless with a gold face. His coloring is lighter and he wears lighter colors. I wear a lot of black and darker colors and wear either a navy or black alligator strap or a stainless bracelet, no brown for me.

      • Mostly to work/Court. I know the rules isn’t strictly followed anymore and many people wear metal bands to work, but he wants a leather band watch. Thanks!

  6. Does anyone have experience with cry it out for a toddler? My baby is 20 months and until 18 months was a great sleeper. We did minimal sleep training with 5, 7, 10 min checks around 5 months but didn’t need to do much. Now she is up screaming at all hours. If I pick her up she is fine but as soon as I put her down again she freaks out. I’ve tried letting her cry for up to 10-15 min but it’s so hard. I’ve resorted to bringing her in our bed or sleeping on couch with her which is not ideal. Husband wants to commit tocry it out consistently and see if that works. Doctor has said that’s what she would recommend as well. I’m debating saying okay and putting on headphones and letting him deal. I can’t control myself if I hear the crying and will pick her up. Other issue is we live on bottom floor of duplex and I can hear neighbors getting up at night when she cries and I feel super bad about it. Any advice? Has this worked for anyone else at this age? I know there isn’t mom’s site but it doesn’t seem to get as much traffic so I’m trying here first.

    • Sorry – I know there *is a mom’s site.

    • I had this done to me as a toddler and I can tell you that I neither remember it nor have any trauma as a result.

      • Isn’t that kind of what happens if you have second (or other) children or twins? Often, by the time I could deal with the cryer (say kid #2 was nursing), the cryer was asleep.

    • We had to re-visit sleep training a couple of times over the years. Gritting our teeth and being consistent for however long it took (maybe a week?) was the only thing that worked. I remember sitting out on our deck with the monitor so I wouldn’t go back in. If you are close to your neighbors, maybe give them a heads up. I found that people were pretty sympathetic if they realized that this was some temporary noise.

    • Anonymous :

      How long has it been going on? Have you tried advil? Teething pain was the main disruptor of sleep at that age for my three kids. They needed advil at bedtime for at much as a week at a time when their teeth were coming through. 2 year old molars are so painful. If advil doesn’t help, and you want a CIO alternative, try ‘ the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers by Pantley.’

      Has she been checked for an ear infection? So kids have no other signs and their ears don’t bother them a lot until they are lying horizontally at night. You mention visiting the doctor so I think yes?

      • +1 try Advil for teething and ensure she doesn’t have an ear infection/s. This was always the cause of my kid’s sleep disruptions at that age.

      • Anonymous :

        I was also going to recommend checking for an ear infection. I let one go way too long b/c I thought it was just a sleep problem.

    • I did both “cry it out” and “Ferberizing” (original sleep training method) and found the Ferberizing less painful and more effective. Babies were younger though. I would be concerned if a child slept really well until 18 months and want to understand why she suddenly stopped. Did anything change at home (work or caregiving schedule, bedroom) to upset the sleep routine?

      Sigh – one of my kids didn’t sleep consistently through the night until age 4.

      • Thanks for the replies. Nothing changed at home although I know she is working on a few teeth that seem to be taking forever. My mom suggested ear infections as well so maybe I will take her to doctor for that. I talked to the doctor about her sleep at the 18 month appointment but not specifically about ear infection, although she did check her ears. We’ve tried Tylenol at bedtime and when she gets up. Some night she sleeps okay until about 5 or so but other night she is up at midnight or one and will not go back to bed.

        • Oh and this has been going on for about a month. Up until then she slept 7 or 730 to 6-6:30 every night

        • I found tylenol useless for teething. It only lasts like 4 hours so it wears off by midnight and then the wake ups would start. Advil was much better for us because it lasts 8 hours so that often got us until at least 4-5am before a wake up. The ibuprofen seemed to take the edge off the teething pain better than the acetaminophen.

          • Ditto the Motrin recommendation. Def works better for us, too. We were able to find a concentrated Motrin that is way easier to dose (1.5mL) and administer than the ~5ml of Tylenol.

    • 18 month sleep regression is pretty common.
      what worked for us was keeping lights low, changing diaper, and going through bedtime process again, quick story, lullabies, lights dim. Crying for 5-10 minutes if that’s their thing. Don’t put the kid down to run all over. Keep baby/toddler on your lap, in your arms, they like cuddles but need SLEEP.

      They wake up and want to play. Don’t let them.

    • The thing with CIO is that you have to keep doing it (e.g. baby wakes up, you let her CIO, she goes back to sleep), and we’re committed to CIO (love the results for all of us), so I’m pretty sure most people who have done CIO have let their toddler CIO, we certainly have many times.

      • How long would you let her cry? What if it’s 30 min plus? Does going in at that point defeat the purpose?

        • Going in at 30 minutes makes it worse because they learn that the crying eventually gets results. However, 2 points: 1) if there is pain or illness, crying it out is not a good choice; 2) even with healthy kids, crying it out just does not work for some kids.

          • Anonymous :

            CIO worked for my two older kids. Then my youngest just would not ever stop crying. So I would get him out of the crib, go to the living room and watch some boring tv show (like a home shopping channel), and then after about 15-20 minutes, I would take him back to bed, and he would not fight it.

        • Sorry – day got busy. Our LO usually only cries at most for 10 minutes since she then just soothes herself back to sleep. When we first did CIO at 4 1/2 month we let her cry for hours, it was terrible but worked. When we did CIO for naps at 13 months, we had to let her cry the entire hour of the nap five or six times, which was also terrible but worked. If you go in you defeat it, so you really have to be committed to letting them learn to soothe themselves to sleep (which once it works, I think is really great for them).

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      If your husband is offering to take point while you put on your headphones, I think you should absolutely take him up on that! Maybe you could also arrange to be out at a friend’s house for a few evenings?

    • I’m a big fan of ferber and recommend getting the book if you don’t already have it. It is hard to let your LO cry, but he/she will end up sleeping better the less you interfere.

    • We are big fans of cry it out. Some babies/toddlers need to cry as a way to release tension and relax to get to sleep – if they don’t, and get cuddles/snuggles/kisses/etc, it’s like the whole process starts all over again and again.

      Here’s how we do it: we start with a predictable bedtime routine. Bath, rocking, bottle, book and/or lullaby. Then we just simply put baby in his crib, give him his lovey (a small blanket) and walk out of the room. We keep the door cracked a little. He will cry sometimes for 5-10 minutes. Our rule is after 15 minutes of crying we go back, will rub his back and say something soothing – but the key is to NOT pick him up. 99.99% of the time he’s done after this and sleeps through the night. Very, very rarely we will have to give him a bottle – again, in the crib, and that’s it.

      It’s hard to hear your baby cry, I get that. Don’t worry about your neighbors. Sleep training will result in quieter nights for all of you. CIO has been lifesaving for our sanity and marriage. :)

    • Cry it out :

      We tried the cry it out. Our child screamed for 6 hours (intensity waxed and waned) and threw up in the bed. When I finally got her, she also had an explosive diaper (never before during the night). Since she was in the dirty diaper that long, it took two weeks to heal the diaper rash. The next night we were all so exhausted that everyone slept the whole night. I do not know if that is a success or not. Eventually everything leveled out. Good luck!

      • Cry it out :

        p.s. Everything leveled out by doing what Stati suggests above – checking on, rubbing the back but NOT picking up.

      • You let your kid cry for 6 hours without checking her? And she had a messy diaper the whole time?

        That seems way too extreme.

      • A gentle suggestion to not do it :

        I had terrible sleepers. I had a bad first year with each kid. But I still do not recommend trying CIO. If your every instinct says that this feels wrong, please don’t do it. Just sleep with the baby in your bed and nurse to sleep or whatever it takes to get peace for both mom and kid.
        I don’t think it’s worth it and I know how painful it can be. Believe me, I know. But it just does not feel right to me to let a child cry when it is a cry for help. This too shall pass. In the meantime, do what feels easy for you. This time next year, your life will be so much better. Just get through.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Oh gosh, this is really dangerous! Please don’t do this–too many babies have suffocated this way. :(

        • Anonymama :

          Well, there are a lot of things you do as a parent that are very difficult, and that your instincts tell you not to do, that are actually beneficial or even necessary in the long run. (Like, say, vaccinations, or leaving your child in someone else’s care, or letting them run or climb when you know they are going to fall.) That said, there is such a spectrum of sleep training, and finding the ne that you will be able to stick with consistently is important.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I really recommend the Advice Smackdown at AlphaMom. She has three kids who all approached sleep very differently. The 18 month sleep regression is very real.

      https://alphamom.com/author/amy/

  7. There was talk about holiday cookies recently – I made these this weekend and they are the. best. cookies. ever!!! I even had one for breakfast this morning :) I made two small changes – only 1 tsp of peppermint extract and only 1 tsp of coffee (not espresso). Brought them in to work this morning and everyone went nuts for them!

    https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/12/07/peppermint-mocha-cookies/

    • Another rec. Smitten kitchen chocolate olive oil cake. Vegan, one bowl (I put a bit of powder sugar instead of glaze) and delicious.

    • Oh man, I really want these now. Sally’s cookie recipes are always home runs.

    • This seems like a good place to mention that my family is obsessed with smitten kitchen’s key lime pie. I use regular limes. I have never had a key lime slice in a restaurant that i like as well as Deb’s recipe.

    • I made Ina Garten’s chocolate chip blondies for the first time this weekend and they are amazing. I don’t normally make blondies, but there’s so many cookies around during the holidays that it was nice to mix it up. I would 100% recommend adding in to your holiday rotation.

      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chocolate-chunk-blondies-recipe-1925477

  8. Isabella the She-wolf :

    Just wanted to thanks whoever recommended Sky Images last year. Just ordered a print from the Hubble telescope for my grandpa, who is the toughest to check off my list!

  9. Are there things that you do to make yourself a more interesting person? What would you suggest?

    • When I feel like I’m in a boring slump, I try to read more. Makes my mind go to new places, consider new perspectives, and hopefully I come out on the other side a slightly more dynamic person with new things to share or consider.

      • All previous replies are excellent, but I want to add one: ask questions! I’m a low key person, so when I meet new people or feel like I don’t have anything to talk about, I ask the other person about themselves! People love to talk about themselves, and you may find you have something in common, or that person has interesting hobbies or has traveled somewhere you’re interested in visiting.

    • What’s that expression, if you want to be interesting, be interested?

      I know the standard advice is travel, volunteer, etc., but I know lots of people who do all those things that should make them interesting and yet talking to them is like pulling teeth. On the other hand, if you just ask people about themselves and volunteer stuff about your own life, you’re more likely to find connections. If nothing else, asking questions is an easy way to get people to like you.

      • +1. The only people I uniformly hate talking to are the ones who never ask any questions. Some don’t even pause to allow you to get a word in at all! It’s almost worse when they have an interesting job or travel a lot, because it can feel like just a wall of bragging with no interest in who you are. That is not a conversation!

        Whatever you’re bringing to the table, the other person is bringing something too. If you go on that principle, you don’t have to dazzle with your “content.” Gretchen Rubin has some tips about being a good conversationalist too. Link to follow.

    • Vacation planning. It gives me something to look forward to and something to talk about. Plus people love talking about their vacations and giving unsolicited advice (my sister in law’s cousin’s coworker just went there!) so it makes me seem likable without actually having to talk much.

      • Depends on your circle. I’m in the Midwest where salaries are lower and people tend to live more frugally. Most of my friends and acquaintances don’t travel internationally even though they could literally afford to, and those that do (including me) don’t really talk about it. If I talked about all the vacations I was planning, I’d be seen as super obnoxious.

        • I’m finding this now with the people where I work. Our hobbies are eating out and traveling. I have learned to not talk about the pricier things in my new (very lovely!, very cultured!, but lower col city, after having lived in DC, for example).

          • (I should add: where I live now is very similar to where I grew up. Talking too much about “fancy” travel is seen as bragging. Which, I hate. But I digress.)

    • anonymous 4 u :

      A sense of no complaining but looking on the bright side of things. Being open to other people’s ideas.
      Complaining is the WORST. If people complain too much, it makes me not want to hang out with them. Even if it’s my mom.

      • Yes — complaining is the worst.

        The best is that some complainers are actually wildly funny. I think it’s how they know their audience and if they just vent, people will avoid them but they can somehow get stuff of their chest in a way that is howlingly funny.

      • Thank you for the reminder. I’ve been working on this for a while – complaining =/= conversation! No one wants to be subjected to my monologues!

      • Complaining is the worst when it’s all you do. Dated a guy who complained all the time. Like, that was his go-to conversation starter/style, complaining about something/someone. And it was totally a learned trait (the rest of his family did it too). Even a conversation about things his liked was framed as “other people are stupid for liking something else”. I once went to a family dinner with him (fancy steakhouse) that was celebrating his sister’s engagement and the entire meal was complaining that the other people at the restaurant weren’t dressed up enough, or that his mom’s steak wasn’t cooked properly,etc.

      • I feel bad saying this, but I have a coworker, who is currently on leave, and I’m not super excited about her coming back because all she does is complain. We got new folks on the team while she was out and I really hit it off with a few of them–all super positive and upbeat (like me!). I’m curious as to how the dynamic will be when she gets back, but I always hate it.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Read a lot! Seriously, just go to the bookstore and grab something that seems interesting. And join a book club if you can–they’re lots of fun! :)

    • Different people find different things interesting. What interests _you_?

      Whether or not you’re boring depends on who you’re talking to. The conversations I find most boring are with people who have no hobbies and never go anywhere. As a consequence, they tend to talk exclusively about work or professional/college sports. Most people’s jobs are just not that interesting (we are most of us not Amal Clooney), and the only thing more boring than watching sports is listening to people talk about watching them. OTOH, I’m sure plenty of people would find conversation with me boring because they have no interest in politics, traveling, feminist issues, science fiction, or rock climbing.

    • What is your objective? Be less bored? Meet new people? For me being more interesting means getting out and doing things, whether it is making dinner plans with friends or walking in a pretty location in my city. While I love quiet nights in with DH at home, I also go a bit stir crazy if we don’t get out and do stuff. It can be simple, but I just like getting out of the house.

    • Take a course in something that interests you! I’ve tried a summer course in pottery, joined a boxing gym, started practicing yoga, took a barre class, took a running class, joined a supper club, taken a Spanish language course, a Thai cooking class, learnt about different knife’s and improved on my chopping skills, took a class on the history of comics & cartoons – all of this has led (lead?) to finding interesting people to talk to, finding a common ground in interviews etc.

      Get out of your comfort zone and go explore the big world out.

    • Anonymous :

      Hobbies.

      My hobbies are hiking, cooking, reading. I mean I study them, I do them, I read about them a ton.

  10. Road trip :

    Recommendations for podcasts for my 16 year old daughter and me to listen to on an upcoming road trip? Or an audiobook? She is not a big reader, but she has liked The Giver and the Divergent series. She also liked The Color of Water.

    • If you haven’t listened to Serial, it’s a great one to listen to all the way through on a road trip. It is a murder investigation, but nothing too edgy really. Also love stuff you should know and the history chicks, which are more one-off episodes.

    • If she is interested in sports at all, there is a podcast about women who work in sports which is pretty good. Some good “possibility models” for her in that. It’s called Leveling the Playing Field.

    • At that age, I really loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I’m sure there is an audiobook version.

      • oh, that is a good suggestion–she read and loved that book. Anything else along those lines? I think the sports podcast sounds good for her too.

      • New Tampanian :

        OMG ATGiB is my favorite book of all times. I still have my copy from when I was 15-16. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I read it about once a year.

    • LORE

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe some of the Tortall books by Tamora Pierce? The earlier ones in the series set up all the characters/universe/etc., but the Trickster duology is a lot of fun if you’re 16.

    • My teen boys love listening to TED Talk Radio podcasts on road trips. I download ones that are geared to their interests (science/tech) and they usually spark a good discussion afterwards.

    • Anonymous :

      Welcome to Nightvale.

  11. Anonymous :

    This is kind of an odd question and I’m not sure if there’s a solution. I’ve noticed that I have a hard time concentrating when I’m in a very crowded space. This sometimes happens in the grocery store, for example (Trader Joe’s, I love you, but only at off times of day). I don’t feel flustered really, I’m just spaced out and loopy, almost like I’m drunk (I’m not) or on autopilot. I manage to pick up my everyday items but when I get back to the car I realize I forgot those couple of things that I rarely have to buy. I’ve tried lists but I either forget to look at them or I have trouble reading all the way through it. Does this happen to anyone else? What on earth is this?

    • Part of my grocery store routine is stopping in the bakery section (never crowded, in between milk and the cashier) and checking my list. With a pen. Nothing wrong with you, you’re just distracted. Make a moment of focus part of the plan

    • Do you have any vision problems? Depth perception issues? Motion sickness? This could be some weird kind of anxiety, but the fact that you specifically mention the grocery store is a characteristic of binocular vision problems and the spacing out is a way your brain manages overwhelming visual stimulus. I don’t have exactly the same problem, but I do get nauseated and a little dizzy at the grocery store, which makes me cranky and spacy pretty fast. It’s worse when it’s crowded (so I’m dodging people and carts), when I’m at an unfamiliar store and have to search for things, and at larger stores with taller ceilings (so TJs is actually better than bigger stores).

    • Frozen Peach :

      This happens to me in similar circumstances– I’ve always chalked it up to my general dislike of crowds. Because I know sometimes I’ll be in the grocery store at crowded times of day, I write lists that are organized by the sections of the store– produce, etc. I frequent the same few places often enough that I know the floorplan. That’s the only way I don’t forget the stuff I really need!

    • Sounds like brain fog, which is a really common symptom of anxiety.

    • Following here, because I occasionally have the same experience.

      I had my first panic attack when I was 19 in a grocery store. Excellent! Ugh.

    • I have this problem too. For me, I think it’s an introvert thing. Since introverts have a stronger reaction to external stimuli, we get overwhelmed more easily. My #1 piece of advice is to do online ordering if that’s feasible for you. My grocery store charges $99/year for unlimited ordering and occasionally has a special – something like $59/year unlimited. It’s great. If that’s not possible, I just have to have a physical list, with a pen, and check off the items as I get them. When I was a kid, my mom used to organize the list by section (e.g. produce, bakery, deli, dry goods aisle x, dairy) which made it easier. This works best if you know your grocery store really well, of course. Hope you find a solution that works for you!

      • Trader Joe’s and Target (during the holiday season) and sometimes Bed Bath and Beyond all have that effect on me.

    • Not to diagnose you over the Internet but that sounds SO much like ADHD. Like you have just described the “yes” answers to an in-office ADHD screening.

      I don’t think it’s urgent but maybe mention it at your next regular appointment.

    • Linda from HR :

      I hate crowded stores. Haaaaate. If I forget something in a crowded store, it’s probably because a) I wanna GTFO as soon as I can, b) I worry so much about being in people’s way and potentially even getting yelled at by an irate fellow shopper that that’s all my brain can process, and sometimes that means I don’t take out a list because I worry if I stop to do that, some dude is gonna get mad at me for being in the way.

      So I avoid crowded stores, and I am so glad most things are easily purchased online nowadays.

    • I’m the same way. I get overwhelmed and it takes so much energy to maintain my focus when I’m shopping in a crowd (I don’t have this issue in all crowds, e.g., I’m fine at a concert or amusement park). I just deal with it and shop at off times, usually at the end of the day.

  12. I passed my PhD defence! I was so nervous but think I handled myself well and got very minor corrections! Baby did great with dad and managed with a quick feed while they were deliberating.

  13. My mom and I are going to spend a weekend in NYC for her 60th birthday. We’ve both been to the city many times, but not in the last few years. We are seeing one play (she loves Bette Midler), but I’m at a loss at what else we can do. She doesn’t enjoy shopping, but otherwise we both have wide-ranging interests and are up for almost anything. Any thoughts on must-dos for the weekend?

    • We’ve been lucky when requesting tickets to show tapings – John Oliver, Colbert, etc. not sure how many tape on the weekend though. Brooklyn Flea (a little different than shopping), or a DIY “food tour” pick a a type of food and try it out at a few different places across the city.

    • Whitney + a walk on the highline? Spend some time in Brooklyn (subway museum, ride bikes over the Brooklyn bridge, Smorgasburg)? If the winter, ice skating in Central Park or Bryant Park? Drive out of the city to Storm King (sculpture art)? Take a class in something you don’t have access to in your home city (e.g., cooking a certain type of cuisine? Check out the Frick and then explore Central Park?

    • My mom and I went to see the Downton Abbey Exhibition (on 57th between Broadway and 7th) this past weekend. We both loved the tv show, and thought the exhibition was really well done- there are sets from the show, as well as many of the dresses and other costumes worn by many of the characters.

    • The Met has a lovely little cafe with a bar and has a Michaelangelo exhibit right now.

    • Depending on your mom’s interests, fitness, and the weather, you could do some of these:

      – Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, have pizza at Grimaldi’s afterwards
      – Visit the Tenement Museum, then eat somewhere that reflects the Lower East Side ethnic heritage – Chinatown, Little Italy, or delicatessen (Russ & Daughters cafe is fantastic)
      – Formal afternoon tea at a midtown hotel
      – Visit the museum of TV & Radio to watch/hear her childhood favorite shows

      • Senior Attorney :

        And there’s a great Vietnamese restaurant just a couple of doors down from the Tenement Museum — An Choi. Yum!

    • Comedy shows. The Met on Friday evening (less crowded, pick one set of rooms and explore for an hour) + dinner nearby. The Cloisters. Restaurant of a cuisine neither of you has tried before. The Tenement Museum.

    • AlexisFaye :

      Go to the Cloisters. Beautiful area and unique exhibit.

    • this time of year love all of the holiday decorations, though it will be crowded. Plaza for decorations and food hall. Tenement Museum, Highline, Met, MOMA.

    • *High tea (Plaza, The Pierre, Ritz, Russian Tea Room, Tea & Sympathy, Crosby Street Hotel)
      *Manicure/pedicure (10 over 10 nails is excellent)
      *(free!) Louis Vuitton exhibit currently ongoing in the old American Stock Exchange building
      *Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
      *Central Park and/or Zoo
      *Downtown water view walk: start in South Street Seaport, walk along the water south, around the southern tip of manhattan, past the Staten Island ferry building, through Battery Park, and up through Battery City (you can end inside Brookfield place and eat at Le District or the Food Court)
      *City Vineyard or Pier A (grab a drink and enjoy great water views and NJ skyline)
      *Cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education (downtown manhattan)
      *Eataly (financial district or Flatiron)

      • came here to suggest the louis vuitton exhibit! it’s fab and even if your mom is not a shopper it is very enjoyable. it is also close to other landmarks so it’s a great stop for a downtown tour.

    • You could do a food tour. I’m a big fan of eating so it’s fun when it’s an organized event. There are a few that sell tickets and are actually very comprehensive. Or you could do your own! On my most recent trip I did a dumpling tour – picked a couple places in Chinatown that had rave reviews and went from shop to shop eating small amounts of food at each shop. You could also attend a supper club event. I went to afternoon tea at a cute Japanese teahouse as well, that’s definitely something you could do.

  14. Xmas suggestions for my 12 year old niece? She’s in 7th grade, and is already becoming a jaded tween. She’s had a really rough year with family instability.

    A big reader, but has read everything and I am wary to buy her anymore books because of this. Loves Hamilton but has never seen it (? I still don’t understand this phenomenon).

    • Can you afford to take her to a near-Broadway quality musical, whether or not it is Hamilton? Even a Disney touring show (which I know run to $200/ticket) or similar known touring show in a lesser city would be A Big Deal to her at this age.

      The other gift I can think of is the ever-present giftcard to either Barnes & Noble or Amazon…

    • The Hamilton libretto is very giftable.

      Also: Hamilton road trip.

      Finally: Come From Away is what I want to see b/c I will never get Hamilton tickets until it’s so old that I can see it at a local high school or community theater

      • +1 for the annotated Hamilton libretto (Hamilton: The Revolution). My 11-year-old loves it. It points out the references to other plays, music, etc. that kids may not pick up on their own. Also a Hamilton t-shirt or sweatshirt.

        The entry-level Beats headphones are another good big-kid gift, if she doesn’t already have nice headphones.

        • SF in House :

          I got my 12 year old Hamilton-obsessed daughter a “Burr 1800” campaign style shirt from Amazon.

        • Anonymous :

          What about getting her the cast recordings for some of the other musicals that Hamilton draws from? Or making her a playlist of some of the core music that Hamilton references? I would have LOVED that when I was a Broadway-obsessed pre-teen.

          • Anonymous :

            Get her the cast recording of In the Heights (LMM’s other Tony award winning musical from 2008).

      • A libretto is nice, or a score if she’s musically inclined (ie can read notes). I’m a huge nerd about having a score to follow along to music – I love it.

    • Modern Mrs. Darcy has a “Gift Guide for Book Lovers” that has some cute ideas for book accessories if picking a book itself is intimidating (and it is!). Also look into subscription boxes- at that age I would have loved getting a box of goodies in the mail each month, or a few time a year!

    • Baconpancakes :

      I swear I’m not actually a shill for them, but the Book Drop does new releases for its book subscriptions, so there’s little chance she will have read the book already. They have a YA subscription she would probably like, and you can get month to month, 3 months, or 6 month subscriptions. http://www.thebookdrop.com/

    • Mean Girls the musical tickets. It’s fabulous.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      For my very similar 12 year old niece, I’m going with an Amazon gift card. She loves being able to choose and buy her own books to read on her phone or her tablet.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      How about a day with you? My 13 year old niece loves the one on one attention (sounds like yours might too after a “really rough year”). Anything beauty related: manicure/blow-outs is always a hit. Or find a book signing event that she might like. Or a lunch and a show? Even something quirky like that off-Broadway show Puffs (assuming she’s a Harry Potter fan).

    • Senior Attorney :

      And Out of Print Clothing dot com has fun book-related tees and socks and so on.

  15. I need some advice or maybe a pep talk.

    A fancy but small financial firm was looking into an entirely new market where I have some experience. Through a personal connection, they were put in touch with me a year ago, and I did some free research for them and talked them through how to think about the opportunity. They decided not to pursue it for other reasons.

    Now they’re back and feel the time is right, and are interested in having me evaluate their options (for $), with the idea that if I do a good job and there’s an attractive option, I would write my job description to run it (or some other major position).

    They’ve spoken to me about substantial aspects of this maybe 6 times total and seen a basic scope I’ve laid out. There are certain areas of the work where I have direct experience and others where I do not, but can probably figure it out. I will have access to some of their internal resources, such as an analyst. Honestly, I’m not totally sure I can do it, or do it well enough, especially in the aggressive time frame they are pushing for. I’m not sure why they want me of all people to do it. On the other hand, I have seen that people make big leaps in their careers when they bring some knowledge to the table and then just commit to figuring things out as they go.

    Can anyone speak to having been in a similar situation? How’d it work out for you in the real world?

    Thank you!

    • Can’t speak exactly to this situation but this sounds like Imposter Syndrome to me. Give yourself the gift of “mediocre white guy confidence” and tackle this.

    • Take this and stop doubting yourself.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’m in the middle of doing something similar, although I didn’t realize how much of a leap this would be when I started this position. So far, I’m loving this. I know that stretching myself terrifies me in concept but I thrive once I’m in it. I absolutely love that my decisions have impact and that I’m leading the way on this project.

      As you aren’t working for them yet, having some pointed discussion about the risks, ways to mitigate them, and that aggressive time frame. You have a fair amount of power in this negotiation – they want YOU. You may not understand why, but they do.

      • brokentoe :

        Reminds me of a quote I have on a Post-It note on my computer from Ginny Rometty of IBM: “Be comfortable with the fact that growth and comfort don’t co-exist.”

    • They want you because they’re familiar with your work and know how awesome you are. If their deadline is too aggressive then tell them. Either the scope of work has to be narrowed or the deadline has to be pushed back or maybe their internal resources can be responsible for parts of it. Negotiate a humane schedule; don’t start off a potential new job by setting the expectation that you’ll kill yourself for every project.

    • anonshmanon :

      It doesn’t matter why they want you. It just matters whether you want this opportunity.

      Also, you can write the job description. Push back on the crazy time frame, insist that you need a report or a team to get it done, make sure no unreasonable deliverables/goals end up in the job description.

      You can do this!

  16. When interviewing for jobs, please don’t talk [email protected] about your current employer and coworkers, especially if the company you’re interviewing with has a long-established professional relationship with that employer.
    I thought this was a given, but every person I’ve interviewed in the past week for a director level position has done this! It puts me in an awkward position since I know the people you’re talking about, and makes me never ever want to hire you for fear that you’ll go around saying similar things about us!

    • Triangle Pose :

      Wow, what level are these interviewees? I can’t imagine this not being super obvious to anyone other than those super new to the working world.

      • Director of a department with 10 reports. The candidates who made it to these final interviews all have 10+ years of industry experience as well as management experience. How do they not know better?!

        • That’s really dumb of them. But my guess is that they think they’re at a level where they can break common-sense rules like that. They’re so sure of their own credibility that it doesn’t occur to them that it reflects on them as applicants rather than the companies they’re complaining about.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      On the flip side, employers also shouldn’t ask questions they don’t want the real answers to. I’ve been in interviews where the interviewer is clearly trying to pry the gossip out of the interviewee (where someone worked for a notorious yeller or something). If the person gives in and says “yeah, he could yell a lot but I got a lot of experience” don’t hold it against them. Don’t ask why someone left if you don’t want to hear it was a mismanaged $hit $how. These questions are often “tests” but they are ridiculous and we should stop doing them.

      • This is a good point. I don’t think we’ve been asking questions like that, but I’m going to examine them more closely now. Typically the negativity has been in response to questions like “tell us about a time you successfully led your team to complete a major project”

      • Similar vein…I wondered if you’re a person who is easy to open up to? If you have a good rapport going, the interviewee may feel like s/he is talking more off the record. Or you could be giving signs like you’re interested or open to hear more, so they are dishing to give you what you (appear to) want. You could try a blank stone face when you feel the story turning into a negative about their current company, and if they can read people at all, they should button back up into a more formal interview.

        “Tell us about a time you successfully lead your team to complete a major project,” shouldn’t lead to a session bashing their company or coworkers. But if they are trying to explain in their answer about how they found a way to motive “Jane,” then it makes sense to give a brief backstory on what Jane struggles with.

      • So much this. I always give the diplomatic answer when asked why I left my last job, but 9 times out of 10 the interviewer presses (hard) for details. If you don’t want to hear the truth, don’t insist on it.

    • Anonymous :

      This should be super obvious

  17. Advice on how to turn around a bad mood at the office? Feeling like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

    • Take a walk to get yourself a treat. Maybe a cupcake. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood while eating a cupcake.

    • More coffee, take an actual lunch break (and eat something tasty but healthy), schedule yourself a meeting room and do breathing exercises for 15 min. Take a nap in your car! Good luck – it’s Monday.

  18. Nomination :

    I’d like to nominate an acquaintance for an industry-related award. I’ve known her in passing for about 5 years but I’ve never met with her one-on-one. She’s done a lot of great work related to the subject of the award and I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

    I have to submit a description of her work when I submit the nomination. Can I email her a description that I’ve drafted and ask if there’s anything I can add? Is that completely weird and awkward or is this a normal thing to do? Can anyone suggest some language for the email? Thank you!

    • I think anyone would love to receive that email! Email away…I would say something like:

      Hey X,
      I came across this award and immediately thought of you. I would like to nominate you for the award and have written a short-description of your work based on what I know. Is there anything you would like to change or add something I may have missed out on?

      Thank you for being such an inspiration,
      Signed, Nomination

    • New Tampanian :

      Also, Good for you! I love seeing women recognizing other women in their industry!

  19. Koala Bear :

    (Reposting from weekend thread based on someone’s advice)

    I’ve been at the same biglaw firm (high end, lockstep, well regarded) since I was a summer associate. I work in a support practice, but a valuable one. They made one associate partner a few years ago; prior to that, the last promotion to partner occurred in the early 90s. One partner just retired (unfortunately probably my strongest advocate), and a few more will retire in the next few years.

    As a senior associate, I was initially told that I wasn’t partner material, but that maybe I could be a long-term counsel (something they don’t normally do). I worked really hard over the next 12-18 months, and at my next check-in was told that I had made a ton of progress and was now on track to make counsel in 2017, partner in 2019. I was pretty happy with that and had been working toward that goal (and was in fact named counsel earlier this year).

    I just learned that two associates in my group will be making partner this year. Both are junior to me. I’m sort of numb—I can’t believe I’ll still be up for partner next year, and even if I do, why did I need a two-year delay relative to these people (who in my experience are competent but not superstars—I wouldn’t have guessed that of all of my peers, they would be the ones to make partner, and right off the bat)?

    On top of that, I’ve worked past midnight every night this week and was in the office both days this weekend.

    What career advice can you give me? I know I need to initiate a conversation with the partners but could use some suggestions on how to frame this. I’m numb, but also furious and insulted and ashamed. And I guess I should start talking to recruiters too (in which case, any recommendations in the NY area)?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    • Leave. Spend all of your energy on marketing yourself and get out.

    • This sucks. I’m sorry.

      I don’t work in biglaw so take this advice with as many grains of salt as you like, but I would start looking. My company has made me a number of promises about compensation in the past 2 years and not followed through on any of them, and in fact I was just told last week that they’re breaking yet another one. I’m looking, come January. I’ve come to believe that the string of broken promises will only end if I end it by leaving; they’ve proven I can’t trust them. It sounds like you might be in a similar place.

    • I know a great recruiter in my support practice area (certain elements of your post sound similar to my area). If you email me at [email protected] with your practice area and it’s a match, I’ll send you their name.

    • It sounds like you need to start looking. I’d dial back the work hours (no need to kill it if they’ve shown you over and over again it won’t be rewarded). Spend that time and mental energy on reaching out to your network, polishing up your resume, and meeting with recruiters.
      Think of how much better you’ll feel telling them you’re leaving for an awesome position than coming out of another meeting with promises that you know in your heart they won’t keep.

      • I am in the same boat and i second this advice. You should only be doing what they are paying you for and no more. Get angry as you need to, but also get productive. It’s a terrible feeling i know.

    • This is incredibly frustrating and must feel awful. But. You’re taking this way too personally. Partnership decisions are about way more than doing good work and they’re definitely not about being ‘fair’ to everyone. Maybe those two associates have clients, cross-sold existing clients, have great business development potential, are very profitable for the firm, do a lot of work in the community, have really good mentors/sponsors, or have any of a zillion other traits that fit exactly what the partnership is looking for at this moment but that the partnership will never tell anyone about. In most cases it’s pretty impossible to know why seemingly-undeserving candidates make it while seemingly-deserving candidates don’t.

      This happens at pretty much every firm. Some associates will make it and some will get postponed, which means you get leapfrogged by your subordinates for a year or two. It’s hard and it sucks. But the firm did promote you – counsel’s not nothing – and you’re still on a path to partnership. If you otherwise like your job, see how this plays out before you think about moving to another firm.

    • turtletorney :

      I hate to hi-jack this so feel free to ignore me, but I am hoping based on this you could give some advice. I’m so curious what you did to work really hard and basically turn around your career to the point that they put you back onto the partner track. That seems so difficult to do and is very admirable. It seems like I’m always “working hard” so I’m wondering what specifically you did.

      To answer your question and not be super selfish :) I echo everyone else that you should look elsewhere. good luck!

  20. My company is hiring for a new position and they’re report directly to me – my first direct report. Tips or things to keep in mind as I move into a managerial role? Things you’d wish you’d known when you had your first direct report, etc.? TIA

    • anonshmanon :

      Ask a Manager wrote about this just today https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-12-04/first-time-manager-heres-what-you-need-to-know

      There are many more resources on the blog as well.
      Personally, I find it important to accept that hierarchy exists now, and not pretend you can continue acting as a peer. Comments you make will be perceived differently because you are in a different position. If there is a problem, it is your job to address it. Don’t expect strong personal friendships with reports. Professional distance is ok.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m my bosses first report and she’s been a manager for 5 months.

      Here’s what I value the most:
      1. Assume good intentions with any concerns you have. If you have concerns, talk to me about them in a non-accusatory way.
      2. Give me real work that will stretch my knowledge and skills.
      3. Teach me the history of the work that I am performing – what is the history of this work in our organization, why it’s important, and what I can learn from doing it. Also keep me involved from the beginning to the very end, if possible, so I can see the entire process.
      4. Letting me go early on slow Friday summer afternoons or before a holiday is very much appreciated.
      5. When I make a small mistake, like being a very little bit underprepared on a topic that arises in a departmental meeting (so i’m talking minor issues), again assume good intentions and that I’ll know to do better next time. Basically, avoid a huge discussion about the minor mistakes that everyone makes. Unless the typo is a game-changing problem, for example, let it go.
      6. Recognize good work; you can never praise your reports too much.

      My boss does pretty well with all these things, which I appreciate.

  21. Helicopter Mom? :

    My nanny has been working with us for 9 months and I love her. I trust her and I think she has great judgment. I’m fine with her taking my 11 month old daughter to friends houses to play dates and love that she’s always out and about doing fun things (library classes, music classes, play dates, walks).

    She made a friend at the library with another nanny who watches another little girl the same age as mine. The girls and nannies get along well, and they’ve been having little play dates at the other girls house after library class once a week, which I’m generally fine with.

    My nanny just mentioned that the other little girl lives in a huge house with a pool and won’t that be fun in the summer? And my heart sank.

    I was an ocean lifeguard and grew up around the water. My daughter is in a baby swim class and has been since she was 4 months old. I’m not at all afraid of the water, but I have seen and heard of so.many.accidents involving pools. I didn’t want a pool at the house that we bought, and if our house had come with a pool I think I would have filled it in. I’m suddenly so nervous about my daughter going over to this house (which I’ve never seen) because of the pool (what if they accidentally leave the gate open? What if my nanny runs to the bathroom for a second and my daughter slips away?)

    Am I crazy, and overprotective? What are your rules for things like this? Should there be no more play dates at this house? We belong to a beach club with lifeguards and my nanny is welcome to take my daughter there to swim, but this house with no lifeguard is making me nervous.

    • Fortunately you have some time to worry about this regarding summer, though pools can obviously still be dangerous in the off season. I think it is 100% ok to tell your nanny that you prefer that she only take your daughter swimming in places with lifeguards. are you allowed to have guests at the pool club? can she invite this other nanny and daughter to the pool club? In terms of right now, I also think it is ok to tell your nanny that you want to make sure that there is a fence or something around the pool for when they play there in the winter. You can say to your nanny that you’ve just heard too many stories about accidents happen near pools and that your pediatrician also talks a lot about pool safety.

      • From someone with no kids- but I agree with the above absolutely. It’s your decision and I can see it’s based on very rational concerns!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I would want to scope out the situation for myself, in your shoes. We have a pool and it’s gated in a way that’s hard for grownups to open, so kiddo would have to (1) unlock and open a prone-to-jamming sliding door; (2) find the key to the pool gate; and (3) figure out the tricky mechanism before she could put herself in danger… in addition to somehow slipping out of our sight. So I would hope that parents would feel comfortable having their (supervised) kids over to play, once they saw the setup.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Oh. In the summer, I would not have Kiddo swimming without me or her father there. Maybe, maybe if there were a lifeguard and a nanny.

    • I think it’s completely fine to say that she can only go to pools where there are lifeguards. That is what I would do. Of course, you don’t need to actually have this conversation until the summer.

      My husband and I have taken our kids to small beaches where there is no lifeguard on duty, but I wouldn’t let my in-laws take them to the beach without us until the lifeguard was on duty. It’s not that I don’t trust them, but for my own peace of mind, I can’t give up that much control in what I perceive as a potentially dangerous situation.

    • You’re being crazy only in that this is easy. “Actually, she isn’t allowed to swim unless there is a lifeguard. She can’t swim at this house.”

      • THANK YOU for saying clearly what seems the most common sense solution; Communicate: Daughter cannot swim or be in yard near pool at that house; or the most reasonable caveat, nannie cannot leave yard with pool while child is out there (in the case of a gated pool; wholly agree a nongated pool is a no go).

        • Helicopter :

          My question was more about play dates generally and if that seems reasonable. I’m actually more comfortable if they are AT the pool than if they’re playing in the house and someone can wander off to an unattended pool.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think the concern is swimming at this house with no lifeguard, I think the concern is play dates at a house with a pool. Swimming would probably be safer because at that age the nanny would have to be in the pool with her hands on the child; during a play date, it’s possible that kids could run off and fall into the pool before the nannies figured out where they’d gotten to. No play dates at a house with a pool is a reasonable safety rule, just like no play dates where there is a gun in the home. It’s also reasonable to require that you visit the home and meet the parents and the other nanny before your nanny can take your child on play dates to any home.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree with all of this! I do not let my kids go to houses with pools unless I am there. And then, I have my eyes on them at all times. A friend’s nanny took her two kids to a club pool – lots of people and a couple lifeguards. Another friend jumped in to rescue one of the kids while the nanny was talking to someone. The kids was fine, but the nanny was not paying attention.

    • Aside from the whole pool thing, are you comfortable with your young child playing at the home of someone you don’t know? I would not be super comfortable with that, although I don’t have kids so maybe this is normal.

      • Anonymous :

        I have kids and do not think it is normal. But I do not have a nanny, so maybe this is normal with nannies?

    • The nanny/nanny friendship can be very helpful – your nanny gets sick and you absolutely can’t miss work, your nanny goes on vacation and you’re desperate for help – if you haven’t made friends with the other parents, it’s a good idea for lots of reasons.

      Regarding the pool, I don’t think this is a helicopter parent example at all and I think your concerns are valid. I would want to see the set up and at a minimum I would want my nanny CPR certified. Even if you don’t allow swimming, something could still happen.

    • anon for this :

      First, I think you can have any reasonable safety rule you want without worrying too much whether it’s reasonable or not.

      If it were me, I would want to meet the other parents and check out the house. I would be comfortable with play dates (out of the water) there if the pool were properly fenced in and gated. I would probably not allow another adult to take my child swimming unless they were trained as a lifeguard–but I worry less about actually swimming with my child than I do about everyone hanging out around the pool or going back and forth between the house, yard, and pool.

      My toddler loves swimming. My in-laws have a pool without a fence/gate and a large doggy door that they refuse to close. DH has lots of siblings who all live in town, so a typical gathering is 10 adults, several kids, and more than 5 dogs, all going back and forth between the kitchen and outdoors. DH and I have caused all sorts of drama about the pool (and lately about one of the dogs, who has started biting people without warning).

  22. Baconpancakes :

    Can anyone who knows more about sewing help me decide whether to try getting this tailored? I bought the twist front skirt from Halogen on Cyber Monday, and I like it, but it hits me mid-calf. Can this be hemmed or should I just return it? My seamstress is quite good, but I don’t want to pay more for alterations than I paid for it. https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-twist-front-pencil-skirt-regular-petite/4718964

    • Triangle Pose :

      Return, I think making it shorter will change the shape/proportions in such a way that and the skirt less flattering over all.

    • I disagree with the prior poster. I would take a consistent amount off all around – say 3” everywhere – and leave the hem asymmetrical.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      If your seamstress is good, she’ll be able to tell you if hemming it is a good idea and give you a quote. Fortunately, you can always return it!

  23. My fifteen year old son thinks he’d like a flannel shirt for Christmas. He has a relatively short wish list so I’d like to get him a really nice one.

    Who makes the best flannel shirts, and do you have an opinion on which plaid/color combo is most versatile? He wears a lot of gray/olive/navy cargo pants. Not jeans. And usually a gamer tee.

    • LL Bean flannel shirts LAST. Forever. Great value and quality.

      • Flats Only :

        And you can get the ones with fleece inside that are so warm! So he can look like one of those cool guys who doesn’t need a jacket, and yet not freeze to death!

        • I was looking at those fleece lined ones. He’d like those I think. He likes everything to be soft against his skin.

          What color would you get?

    • Could you get him a couple in slightly different colors? Maybe a blue colorway, a green colorway, and a red colorway? I’ve done this for people who had short Christmas lists but I knew they’d really use whatever it was they wanted.

    • LL Bean. Hands down!

    • Vermont Flannel has much nicer shirts than LL Bean, Lands End, etc.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Their flannel is super soft, but their shirts shrink horribly in the wash. Even washing them in cold and laying flat to dry, my VF sleeves shrunk a solid 1.5 inches shorter.

    • Anonattorney :

      Filson has great shirts. And Pendleton.

    • Anonymous :

      If I’m guessing correctly that he might be a bit (dare I say it…) hipster, the larger checked black-and-primary color prints will probably suit well. They are also classic–what the real lumberjacks still wear ;).
      However, they are very high contrast, and therefore won’t be flattering on everyone, or mix well with every outfit.

    • Bewitched :

      Vermont Flannel. I swear, they make LL Bean look stodgy. Check them out online! My teen and young adult sons love them.

  24. Helicopter Mom? :

    I just typed out a whole long story that got eaten. Short version- what are your rules for your kids/nannies around friends houses with pools? I’ve heard of so many tragedies around Home pools with kids getting through fences and “they were only gone 5 min” and it makes me nervous. My nanny has been taking my almost 1yo to a play date once a week and I just heard that the house has a pool.

    My reaction is probably a little intense because I was a lifeguard and grew up with a huge emphasis on respecting how dangerous water is. My gut reaction was almost like hearing that they keep a gun in the house, my husband was not nearly as concerned.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree that pools make me ultra-alert. Did the nanny say if the pool was fenced in?

      The only thing that worries me more are trampolines…… because almost no parents are alert about trampolines. They are one of the most frequent causes of spinal cord injuries/paralysis in kids. We have someone with a spinal cord injury in my family. I would never let my child on a trampoline, and I even avoid jump-y houses.

      If you have a pool or a trampoline, make sure you are insured up the wazoo and have an umbrella policy as well. If someone gets hurt in your home, you want to make sure that you can support them appropriately.

      • Anonymous :

        YES re. trampolines. My daughter is a competitive gymnast, and many gymnastics coaches warn against letting kids use backyard trampolines or trampoline parks because of the risk.

    • We filled in our pool because we didn’t want the worry. We moved into the house pre-kids and it was fun for awhile. Once we had toddlers I could not stop worrying about it – even though we had safety locks, a pool alarm and a fence – and when we got an estimate of $25k to repair the pool after if developed a serious leak, it wasn’t a tough decision to fill it in.

      Incidentally, after the fill-in our home valuation went up 20k and our home insurance premium went down by 1k per year.

      It really does only take a minute or less for a kid to get into trouble in a pool, and gates/safety locks are not foolproof. Anecdata, the company that did our pool fill-in had just come from doing another one where a toddler grandchild had climbed out a window and got through the pool fence and ended up in the pool. Fortunately the grandfather was right there in the yard and pulled the kid out, but they were done after that. More anecdata: we don’t miss our pool at all.

  25. Why are all my posts disappearing

  26. TorontoNewbie :

    I’m looking for a minimalist clutch with a shoulder strap that would work for cocktail networking type events to hold a cell phone / business cards / lipstick. Black, ideally leather, bonus points for silver hardware. Budget is under $2000. I have no idea where to look. Any thoughts?

    • Mulberry for a more classic look, Loewe for something more avant garde.

    • https://www.fashionphile.com/chanel-vintage-lambskin-quilted-small-flap-black-206534?referrer=google&referral_campaign=shopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiczc0-bw1wIViWx-Ch08dg8lEAQYAiABEgJfMvD_BwE

    • Botkier wallet on chains are on sale at various sites. Oh, wait, that’s 3 zeroes, not two. In case that’s a typo …

    • This is my current fave. https://www.bottegaveneta.com/us/crossbody-bag_cod45249796er.html

    • Never too many shoes... :

      If you are in Toronto, either Holt Renfrew or Nordstroms should have a variety of suitable choices in that price range. Or the Prada or Gucci stores on Bloor Street.

    • Anonymous :

      I bought this Brahmin bag for the exact purpose you describe. I like that it has a zipper, and it is large enough to fit in brochures/folded piece of paper if I’m at an event and pick up materials.

      https://www.brahmin.com/lenox-clutch-black-majestic/L8283611000001.html

  27. Help! I just signed up to go to a black-tie optional event tomorrow night for work. I don’t have anything black tie, and not really any work-appropriate cocktail attire (I have a short-sleeved, high-neck cocktail dress but it’s silver-and-gold-sequined). I have the MMLF Rachel, which might work, or I can go to Macy’s or Nordstrom Rack sometime today. What do you think?

    • I wear my black MMLaFleur Rachel as a cocktail dress all the time, usually with a colorful wrap.

    • Oh, and I also have a blue Ralph Lauren jersey dress with sleeves that’s nicer than a work dress, but I’m not sure which shoes would go with it.

    • Cornellian. :

      What city and how old are you?

    • I think the MM Rachel could be great- Wear metallic heels and sparkly earrings, and get a blowout, stand up straight, smile, and own it!

      • I have several pairs of these shoes- the gold pair would be great with your Black Rachel dress, and the rubber sole makes them remarkably comfortable: https://www.macys.com/shop/product/michael-michael-kors-nathalie-high-pumps?ID=2944465&CategoryID=56233

        Add an evening-y wrap like this one: https://www.macys.com/shop/product/michael-michael-kors-metallic-stripe-scarf-wrap-in-one?ID=2987646&CategoryID=10704

        And big, sparkly earrings like these: https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/slate__willow_accessories/crystal_deco_earrings or these: https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/slate__willow_accessories/black_and_gold_lattice_drops

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Accessorize the Rachel and be confident!

    • Flats Only :

      You will be fine with any dark colored sheath dress and a sparkly necklace. If you generally wear your hair blown dry the idea of a professional blow out is a good one.

    • New Tampanian :

      Agree with all of this and add a little more makeup – eyes and lips. You’ll look fabulous.

  28. I’d definitely wear the Rachel dress.

  29. Baconpancakes :

    How would you style this velvet top for 1) casual gatherings (I assume just jeans would work fine), and 2) business casual office parties? The navy color throws me off, but I’m excited about a holiday top that isn’t red or black.

    http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?pcid=5001&vid=1&pid=886638002

    • Love that! Me personally – pencil skirt – could be red, black, winter white, could be sequined or shiny, and then jewelry inversely proportional to level of bling in skirt. I don’t “do” ankle pants but also would be good with flats or heels.

    • I’d do a light grey skirt, a sparkly necklace, and fun flats for the office party. Maybe these shoes? https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/kelly-and-katie-lovelian-flat/398557?activeColor=410

    • I think a maroon/wine colored pair of dress pants or jeans would work great with this. I would do metallic shoes in gray or goldish and match my jewelry accordingly. I love this top!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’d do a gold sequin pencil skirt.

  30. Career advice please? :

    In need of a virtual pep talk/wake-up call/smack in the face…currently partner track at a midsized firm where I have a great team and pretty great clients, and am teed up to take over the practice of a partner in several years. I am told (and have every reason to believe) that I will make nonequity in a year or two, and equity in another couple years after that. I’ve been approached by my former firm (biglaw) and offered equity partnership, at a not-insignificant multiple of my current salary, to return. On paper, I realize I should 100% take it, and my current firm can’t come close to matching the offer. But I’m struggling with a lot of emotions – feeling that I would be abandoning my current team and clients, including the partner who brought me in to take over her practice; making sure I’m not being blinded by the $$; probably a little bit of imposter syndrome; etc. I think I just need to hear that this happens all the time in business, that people won’t hold a grudge (including the partners at the biglaw firm who have taken a more traditional path to partnership), etc. – and if they do, screw ’em. DH’s advice is to not let other people’s feelings dictate my career choices, which I think is sound advice here, and along the lines of “think like a man.” Anybody faced a similar decision? Advice/resources for how to not let my emotions run this?

    • Part of this is also whether you want to go back to big law or if you are happier in a mid-sized firm. Just bc the big law firm might be more prestigious, if that isn’t what makes you happy you should not go back there. Yes, you can make the decision solely based on $, but the allure of the $ will wear off if you are miserable day to day. Why did you leave the big law firm in the first place? If you do decide to leave your current firm, this does happen all the time in business and what is important is how you handle your exit. But first you need to decide whether you actually want to leave.

      • That was the first thing that came to my mind too… Why did you leave the biglaw firm for the midsized firm?

        • I probably should have included this detail, sorry. The main reason I left was that I didn’t see a future (i.e., partnership) there…obviously, this offer changes that entirely. In talking with them now, there was clearly a misunderstanding in terms of how they felt about me and how I felt about them. I wasn’t unhappy with the hours or anything like that. As for my coworkers, I didn’t have any work BFFs, but it’s not like they were a bunch of a-holes either. I actually wasn’t looking to leave biglaw necessarily, but my current firm recruited me away with the prospect of taking over this practice which (at the time) seemed like much more of a sure thing than staying in biglaw. So, yeah, my main reason for leaving back then is kind of moot now.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Why don’t you go to your mentor at your new firm and tell her about the offer? Perhaps your new firm would accelerate your timeline for partnership if they knew what you are worth elsewhere.

      • I actually did that and was told that they could get me a little more money (not anywhere near the $$ I’m currently being offered) but can’t accelerate the time frame. :( It’s a pretty unique financial situation that the biglaw firm is proposing, and my firm isn’t set up to match it. My mentor has basically said that she understands if I go, and that she would probably do the same thing, which makes things a little easier when I think about leaving, but then it also makes it harder because I think about how great/kind my mentor is!

    • Last month, I was offered a position within the same company (different country) and had mixed feelings as well. The offered job has bigger responsibility (size of business and twice many people to manage), which is also scary as I do not feel 100% ready. Also, I painstakingly handpicked my current team and am very happy with my broader team, my boss and we are set for success in the upcoming year. But I took the challenge and accepted the position. Offers like this do not come around every month and I would rather regret giving it a try than playing it safe.

      • “Offers like this do not come around every month and I would rather regret giving it a try than playing it safe.”

        This is a great point and one that I am considering very heavily. If not now, then when? Thanks for the thoughts (and for all of the other replies to my post – this has been helpful!).

    • on being a partner :

      It all depends on the context of the offer. Why are they offering you equity partnership now? Is a partner leaving, and they need someone to take over their book of business? Are they in need of more hands, in which case you would be made equity partner, but wouldn’t have the credit for your own clients (however that works in your old firm)? If you’re going to be inheriting clients at your old firm, it’s a very different offer than if you are just being brought back because they need people to do the work. If it’s the latter, you should find out as much as you can about how sustainable being an equity partner will be without your own clients (or the prospect of them). While it is a longer time to wait at your current firm, being heir to a book of business may leave you better off long-term than equity partner at your old firm with no clients (that recipe is unlikely to be sustainable). But if you don’t want to be a partner long term and want to make as much money as possible as soon as possible, then maybe going back to your old firm would work better for you.

  31. Fingers crossed plz :

    I’m really close to getting a new much-needed job. Please send me all your good vibes. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much!

  32. A friend of a friend stood me up twice for an informational interview. She said she had a family emergency (but didn’t let me know until the next day) so I gave her the benefit of the doubt and rescheduled. She didn’t show again. She keeps emailing and calling asking for another rescheduling. I’m not inclined for this and other reasons. What’s an appropriate response?

    • Also this woman is ~30, so it’s not a case of youthful lack of judgment.

    • Cornellian. :

      Are you the one with the information, or who wants the information? If it’s the former, I would either ignore her contacts (not sure how close you are with the mutual friend) or say it seems like it’s a busy time for her, why doesn’t she reach out next year when things calm down.

      • Oh, sorry. I’m the one with the information.

        • I agree with Cornellian, and also if and when you ever do reschedule, I’d make it at a time and place where you’ll be anyway, and so will have zero disruption if she stands you up again.

          • Actually, you could just offer to answer questions by email instead…and then see if she ever sends any.

        • I wouldn’t reschedule with her. Twice is excessive.

          • +1. I can’t think of a polite way to phrase “It seems like you’re not serious about this meeting. I’m happy to schedule with you when you can make this a priority.” but that’s basically what I would say.

          • “Based on our attempts so far, it seems like now may not be a good time for you to meet. Why don’t you contact me again in a few weeks/months/when you can prioritize our meeting, and we’ll see if I can help then.”

    • Offer to do a phone call instead.

    • Just to clarify, both of these were supposed to be phone calls.

      It seems like the willingness to reschedule is higher among you guys than me. Like, I’m sorry she had a family emergency, but I think she could have done better than the way she handled it, and she sounds a little entitled to my time. Ultimately, I have time for very few things and I feel a lot less interested in making time for her now. Is this unfair/unreasonable? Should I be more willing to talk to her?

      • I wouldn’t even answer at this point but I have a low tolerance for this sort of thing. Informational interviews are favors, and she’s already shown disregard for your time twice.

      • I would absolutely not re-schedule. I’d say something neutral in tone but unambiguously a rejection: “Sorry, but it just doesn’t look like the timing is working out here. Best of luck with your search!”

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I am inclined to agree with you, OP. However, the other thing I would consider is how this might impact my relationship with the friend that sent this woman to you. If they are the type that would say, “thanks for your efforts but she is clearly a flake wasting your time”, then I would leave it without third try, but if your friend is the type to get upset over this, I might consider one more try.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I feel like this is a case where Captain Awkward would say “it’s already impacting the relationship with the friend because the friend sent me a flake who wasted my time.” And if the friend gets bent out of shape, then that is good information about the friend…

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Good point. I only considered how the friend might feel about OP, but you are right that this might also colour how OP feels about the friend.

            SA, I kind of wish you had your own 1-800 line for advice.

        • Honestly, a friend who would subject me to this, knowing how little free time I have, should apologize instead of getting upset.

    • Nope, wouldn’t reschedule. Even if she had a family emergency, she couldn’t take one minute to let you know? Then she stood you up for the second one. I don’t know how to say it kindly, but I wouldn’t waste any more time on her.

      I might say something like, we have made two previous appointments that you did not attend even though I had set aside time to speak with you. You also did not contact me to reschedule the appointments prior to the scheduled time. My time is valuable and I am unable to make any further appointments with you.

  33. Simple Will in 20s? :

    My husband and I are 29 and 27 and have a decent amount of assets. We live in Texas, which is a community property state. In the event of either of our deaths we would just want everything to go to the other. I am about to move abroad for a year and we are wondering if now is a good time to set up a will.
    A) is it worth putting together a simple will at this point in our lives?
    B) if so, how do we start this process? How do you find a good lawyer?

    • It’s always worth putting together a simple will and trust, and throw in advance medical directive and power of attorney. Estate lawyers do this all the time for a flat fee.

    • cat socks :

      Yes, definitely worth doing. My husband had legal service provided as an extra benefit through his company so picked one from the list that was provided to us. Any estate planning lawyer can start the process. We had one initial consulation with the lawyer and then got drafts of the documents via email. We made changes via email and then had a final meeting to sign everything.

    • At your age and if your situation is not overly complicated, you could consider Legal Zoom.

  34. Venice hotels? :

    Starting to plan a four day trip to Venice in early May. Anyone have a hotel rec? It’s a pricey place- looking for something under 1k per night for anniversary vacation! TIA!

    • I loved the Londra Palace and the Metropole, but I stayed there in winter – not sure how prices would be during May.

    • Venice recommendation :

      We really liked the Locanda Ca’ Zose. it was comfortable yet reasonable, had a great location, and a nice breakfast. It wasn’t anywhere near $1000 a night ($250ish in September), so if you are really looking to splurge it might not be exactly what you want.

    • I love the Hilton on the giudecca. And you can walk to figli dele stella

  35. Legally Brunette :

    I know that many people here are always looking for good suits so I thought I would spread the word about two suits I bought on Black Friday that I really like:

    – Jcrew suit – Campbell stretch wool suit in navy, with matching skirt – I really love this one! The jacket nips in the waist which I love, it’s a very tailored and not boxy at all.

    https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/blazers/suitingblazers/campbell-blazer-in-italian-stretch-wool/B3231?sale=true

    – Banana Republic suit, long and lean lightweight wool jacket and pants. The color is “denim” so it’s a brighter blue than navy but still perfectly conservative. The jacket is longer in length than I’m accustomed to but I like it (not sure how it would look with a skirt, but with pants it looks good). The jacket ran one size bigger for me.

    http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?pcid=5001&vid=1&pid=379608002

    • Thanks! I’ve been looking for wool suits and Theory/nordstrom is way too pricey for me.

      Does anyone know if JCrew does sales on suits regularly? I love the jackets but my size is sold out currently. Is it worth waiting? FYIW, I wear a petite 2 or 4

  36. This is cheesy but my SO and I have both had a really crappy past few months due to work and haven’t been getting along great because we’re both in bad moods a little too often. We are leaving next week for a much needed beach vacation. I want to do something thoughtful for him to set the tone of the trip, so we’re both happy, loving, and ready to have a great time. Maybe a gift for him to open on the way to the airport or a nice letter or something. Any ideas?

    • givemyregards :

      I guess it would depend on what you and he were both into – I think if my SO and I were in a similar position, he would appreciate if I brought his favorite travel snack to the airport (seriously, this goes such a long way and I’m not entirely sure why, haha) and maybe we had a glass of wine in the terminal before we left? I don’t know why having a glass of overpriced wine in a s****y airport restaurant is so delightful, but it’s always so silly and gratuitous that it makes us relax. I try to keep things cheap/simple in these instances so he doesn’t feel bad for not getting my anything, but if you want something a little nicer/more tangible, maybe a book to read on the plane/beach with a cute note tucked inside?

      • Anonymous :

        Great ideas! Thank you!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, I always like to get my husband a Snickers bar when we go on vacation because the first time we went away together we stopped at a gas station and bought Snickers bars and then we talked about how Mark Harmon stopped in a bodega to get a Snickers bar on West Wing and he ended up in a robbery and got killed and they took C.J. out of the opera to break the news to her and they played Hallelujah over it on the soundtrack and it was so sad, and then we sat in the parking lot and found it on YouTube and played it on my phone and we both cried and…

        So anyway, Snickers is the official snack of vacation for us now. YMMV. LOL

        • Never too many shoes... :

          That scene guts me every single time. I loved Mark Harmon on that show so much, especially when he takes CJ to the gun range.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m glad *something* good came out of that scene. Gutted doesn’t even begin…

      • Anonymous :

        Favorite travel snack is a good idea. I think part of the appeal is because it shows you really know your significant other and is thoughtful and useful all at the same time. I would also get a book of cross-word puzzles because my husband and I used to do them together all the time when we were poor college students and didn’t have money to go out. So it is really nostalgic for us to do them together and gets us reminiscing about our tiny apartment and how we would snuggle up to do cross-words. It showed me how smart he is and showed him how competitive I am (haha!) Anyway, maybe you have something like that in your relationship that can take you back to your early “falling in love” days.

  37. adult braces :

    Has anybody done invisalign or something similar as a working adult? I just started a three month course and did not realize how much of a pain they would be as far as taking them out to eat, not being able to drink anything except water when they’re in, etc. Any tips?

    • Anonymous :

      I did them as a 3L in law school and then a few months into my first job. I recall after the first few months you get a bit less…strict with the “rules”. For example, brushing my teeth/trays was definitely not practicable after every meal, and I didn’t find it necessary either! I also would drink other beverages with a straw. I also get pretty comfortable taking them out in front of people, depending on the context. You didn’t ask but some unsolicited advice: the best thing I did was purchase the iSonic retainer cleaner, and retainer brite cleansing tabs. Such easy, effective maintenance, and I still use them today for my retainers.

    • Efferdent denture cleaner tabs were a gamechanger when I did Invisalign. No tips about talking– I used to take mine out talking to people in person, but I did manage to get comfortable talking on the phone– I think it just required more exaggerated lip/mouth movement to sound normal.

    • I had them as an adult working as a senior associate. I relaxed after a little while – drank other beverages with a straw, got really good at taking them out in front of people without them even knowing what I had done, and got used to talking with them in. The end result was what kept me on track.

  38. Drugstore Beauty :

    Favorite drugstore beauty/hair/skin/makeup product?

    I have to stop at the pharmacy on the way home and could use a new treat for myself. Any suggestions?

  39. Is there an app for this? :

    I want to compile a list of my kids’ books. Anyone know of an app that will scan the barcode/usb and add it to a list or data set of some kind?

    I can’t imagine I have the patience to write then all down but scanning barcodes is within my (or my kids’) grasp.

    The goal is so our relatives who are so generous with books can avoid duplicates without having to shop off a specific wishlist they’ve asked for this).

    • Goodreads lets you scan barcodes like that and you can create your own shelves, so you could create one that’s “already own”

      • Oh this is a great idea (not the OP)

        I have too many books. Like, way too many. I give away a bunch but still end up with more than will fit on my many, many bookshelves. Do people sell books on goodreads? I’d actually give them away if local and it’s a book someone really wants.

        I’ve left books in a box on the sidewalk before (we live in a big walking urban neighborhood) but sometimes the books just get mistreated and flung around. I’d be happier to give them to someone who’s into them.

        • Is there a little free library near you? Library book sales, care homes, and Craigslist are other good options.

        • I know where I am there’s a small chain of stores that will buy secondhand books (for like mere pennies, but it’s $5 more than I had before and it clears out my shelves). Is there something near you that also does that?

          • Maybe. I’m in a city so the idea of hauling around a heavy box of books and trying to park in exchange for $5ish sounds … less than appealing.

        • Anonymous :

          You can sell on Amazon but most used books are just not worth much. If you just want them to go away, give them away on Freecycle or Craigslist.

        • My city has a “Friends of the Library” group that accepts donated used books and resells them at a big event (and in a small bookshop attached to the regional branch) to raise money for the library.

        • Mary the Librarian :

          You might check out the PaperbackSwap website. You can put books on there, people will request them you send them off via USPS and then you get credits you can use. They also have a DVD swap and a CD swap, and the credits are interchangeable.

    • Mary the Librarian :

      I use the BookCrawler App for my personal collection. It’ll connect to GoodReads, too.

  40. Anon for this :

    Going in for Br Reduction surgery next week and while I am excited not to have 20 pounds of flesh hanging off me, I’m really scared. Scared of pain, drainage yuckiness, busting stitches, regret, bad results etc. etc. I know this will be worth it, but any words of encouragement or tips for a good recovery?

    • Good luck! Everybody I know who’s had this done has not regretted it one bit.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I had it done a long time ago, and I had zero problems with it, and the techniques have only gotten better since then. I have pretty obvious scarring, but I barely even think about them, and I LOVE my boobs now, scars and all, whereas before I hated them. The shape, the lift, the size (even though I gained weight and they got bigger, they’re still smaller than they were to start with).

      Tips: don’t lift anything. I didn’t even put on mascara for two days because it would stretch my arm up. I was even super careful and gentle when brushing my teeth. Wear super supportive sports bras at first to help the stitches and avoid any movement. Don’t look at your boobs in the mirror for the first day or two and expect them to be great – the bruising is pretty gross, the flesh will be swollen, and if you haven’t had a major surgery before, it’s pretty distressing to suddenly see a part of you like that. Have someone else there to get the after care instructions and write them down for you verbatim. I had literally no idea what the nurse said right before I went under because I was so nervous, and while they handed us a printed sheet of instructions, there were a lot of things not on the sheet. (Why do they do that??) Good luck!

      • I have not had a br reduction, but I did have a brachioplasty (excess skin taken off arms) and lifting anything above waist height was brutal for the first week. Recommend putting cups, plates, anything you need to use daily on your kitchen counter for easy reaching.

    • Echoing the above – I know three people who have done a reduction and all three said they wished they’d done it years before they did. One woman was facing complex back surgery that became unnecessary after her reduction. Get ice packs ready (have two sets, one to use and one standing by in the freezer) and clear your decks so you can rest.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Good luck!

      My advice, based on my tummy tuck, is don’t be so eager to get the drains out that you get them out too soon. Only thing worse than having them is needing them and not having them.

      And if there’s a surgical aftercare facility where you are, it is so so so SO worth the money for the first night or two!

      • Anon for this :

        I remember you saying this before. Nothing near me but my doc is keeping me in the hospital overnight for the first night so that should help.

        Thanks to all of you! Will absolutely report back!

    • Anonymous :

      Best of luck with your procedure and recovery! Please keep us updated! I’ve considered having this done, but I also lost 60 lbs in the last 2 years. I saw a surgeon who recommended my weight stabilize for at least a year.

      • Anon for this :

        I will. I tried to lose weight but have come to the conclusion that I am where I am, plus or minus 15 pounds or so, which doesn’t really change my br size in any meaningful way (think, FF to G).

  41. Job advice :

    I was made redundant at the end of last year from a crappy job where I’d been for years and which paid poorly. I’d stayed out of misplaced loyalty and fear.

    I got a job (contract to perm) in June in a different industry with a poor reputation, but the company turns out not too bad. I like the new company and really like the people (They complain about our employer but don’t know how good they have it). The pay is ok and the benefits and holidays are good. But the work doesnt particularly excite me, there isnt really enough of it and I don’t see any chance of promotion for a few years.

    Out of the blue i got a call from a recruiter with a job that is close to home, pays really well and would be both challenging and look good on the cv. Plus they are desperate to interview me. Now I’m worried.

    I can’t work out why I’m not more excited. It is exactly what I was searching for earlier this year. I think I’m afraid I’ll not like the office/people as much. My old work was toxic and I’m loving being in a pleasant office. Would money trump the fun office? And what happens if I don’t like it, I couldn’t leave another company so soon. And it’s semi-public which is also scary.

    I need to grow a backbone.

    • Check it out! You can always say no if they offer you a position.

    • Anonymous :

      It sounds like me, too. I was made redundant from a job with kind of terrible people, but I liked the work and my boss. I found a job with nice people but the rest I could take or leave. Now, when I see jobs I would have killed for, I am meh. I have leaned way too far out but there are tradeoffs. LSS, do check it out, and you can see if where you are now was just a soft place to land.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      For me, change is always scary. Even really good change! You’ve spent a lot of this year fighting to get somewhere where you feel OK, and now out of the blue someone is saying, “How about changing everything up!?!” Of course that’s disconcerting. But remember that taking an interview doesn’t mean taking the job — you can investigate and see if it is a good fit.

  42. I love my parents but my dad can be a real a$$hole sometimes just to be an a$$hole. And then if I get upset about it, I’m the mean one or I’m ungrateful/too sensitive, whatever. He’s 77 so there’s no changing his behavior, but I just wish he could just be freaking nice to me for once.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Join the club. I feel like as people age, they become more of who they are, and my dad is a giant a$$hole who has only gotten worse as he goes into his 90s. Ugh. I just play a$$hole bingo in my head and drink a lot after I see him.

      • Metallica :

        Ha! Stealing “A$$hole Bingo” for my next meeting at work :) (Well, not the drinking part, although that would definitely make the meeting easier to tolerate.)

    • Metallica :

      I feel you. My mother has lost any remaining compassion as she has aged, and has also hit the point where she is really annoyed by anyone not sharing her political views. When we are in public she will pointedly say “Merry Christmas” to people in lieu of “Happy Holidays”–she’s not actually hoping they have a Merry ANYTHING, the emphasis is on the Christmas part.

      I try to handle her with humor and she’s learned not to push her views on my family anymore, but it took a major blow-up a few months ago in which she realized that she wouldn’t see her granddaughter anymore if she kept up that behavior towards us. I’m not sure if you’re prepared to go that route, but sometimes the threat of no-contact can work. (I didn’t spell anything out for her–we just went radio silent, and then I made a clear “no political discussion” rule when we began speaking again.)

      • Metallica :

        I forgot to add–you might want to check out the r3ddit thread “Raised by Narcissists.” Even though that may not apply to you, they have some stickies on a technique called grey-rocking that might really help. My sister is a pro at this (shout out to Sis if she’s reading this!)

  43. You guys I went to the opera this weekend. I went with my husband who had never been before. I had but only occasionally and ages ago.

    My husband thought he’d hate it (he had mental images of Wagnerian sopranos in horns basically screaming) but he LOVED it. I’m so happy. We happened to see a great show (Turandot at SF opera) but I think he would have basically any opera.

    I guess I’m writing this as a PSA. If you’re on the fence about whether you would enjoy going to the opera/not sure what to do/ are curios but put it off DO IT. Just go. It’s such a treat for the eyes and ears and the soul. I know I sound like an opera shill but I’m not. I’m just still glowing from the experience of being there this weekend and can’t wait to go again.

    • I read a book of essays by Ann Patchet and she talked about seeing opera at the cinema and her enthusiasm for it was incredible. So if opera is out of your reach financially or geographically, this seems to be a good option.

    • Legally Brunette :

      My then husband and I went to see Turandot at the SF Opera on our second date! We got all dressed up and had a blast. Glad that he loved it!

    • Anonymous :

      I am so envious! My husband will not go near the opera, or the ballet for that matter.

    • SF in House :

      This year’s Tourandot at the SF Opera was outstanding!

    • Baconpancakes :

      I will admit, I adore Russian and Italian operas, but if I’d gone to a German opera for my first, I wouldn’t have gone back. Just saw Alcina at the Kennedy Center a few weeks ago, and it fell far short of my hopes.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I am so glad that you wrote this. My mother loves opera so for her 75th bday next year I am planning to take her to NYC to see a show at the Met. She regularly watches the movie theatre screenings and Moonstruck is our favourite movie, so I know she will LOVE this gift. But I have kind of been dreading it and your message makes me think that maybe I will like it more than I think I might… so woo!

    • I have been a season-ticket holder to our city opera since I was 25! I love it! I used to be broke and bought one ticket for myself. Now I buy two every year; my husband comes to one with me and I invite friends to go with me to all the other ones. I have been to so many people’s first opera!

    • Ditto, but for the ballet. It’s religious to me.

  44. Anonymous :

    What are your favorite things to buy at Ulta? One just opened in my city. I’ve always gone to the nearby Sephora. There are very few Ultas in my state. I understand its like Sephora but with drugstore products, too? I can’t wait to check it out. What should I keep an eye out for?

    • The Ulta brand eyeliners are really good and usually on sale or some BOGO offer. I also like to stock up on NYX products there, and their haircare selection is amazing (so nice having drugstore & salon products in the same place).

      • Sometimes brands have products exclusive to Sephora or Ulta. Tarte Shape Tape Concealer is only available at Ulta, and is actually my favorite concealer.

    • Anonymous :

      Tony Moly face masks

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