Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Ribbed Merino Wool Skirt

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

I wanted to post this back when it was at Madewell, but then it sold out. Now it’s at Nordstrom, and it’s on sale. This does look like an actual sweater knit, so it’s going to be fairly clingy. If you’re not familiar with clingy sweater skirts I’d definitely wear a slip underneath or perhaps Spanx or Jockey slipshorts. But it does look like a nice change from the usual sleek pencil skirt for work. Madewell Ribbed Merino Wool Skirt

Update: Unfortunately, now the skirt is sold out at Nordstrom too.

Two plus-size options are here and here.

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  1. Starting a new job, any tips on what I should remember to do on my first day/during the first week/month to make the very best impression? Any tips on perhaps not obvious things to avoid?

    • Anonymous :

      The hardest thing about starting a new job, for me, is remembering everyone’s names and figuring out which cubicle/office belongs to which person!

    • This is a bit obvious, but I think the very best thing you can do is to get there a little bit early every day (just 15 minutes – nothing crazy) and stay just a few minutes late. And try not to have any doctor’s appts, etc., scheduled during those first few weeks if you can avoid it. From a hiring manager perspective, when I have a new employee, what I’m really worried about is whether they are going to be reliable. Showing that you are reliable will go a long way in building a good reputation out of the gate.

      • Thank you, I appreciate this thought. I’ve also read a lot of ‘leave on time don’t fake it’ advice, but with all the trainings/getting up to speed (unlike other jobs, I haven’t been provided a get up to speed packet, just a first week meeting agenda) I should be able to find a reason!

        • Oh yes, I definitely agree with that. Don’t stay hours later than normal. But just a few minutes helps you get a feel for when people leave, who leaves, etc. I’ve worked in places where everyone is gone by 5:30 and the lights started going out, and staying a few minutes late helped me be comfortable with the idea that there wasn’t an unspoken “actual” end-time to the day. And on the other hand, I once worked in an office where no one left before 9 p.m. Also good to know.

    • S in Chicago :

      Wear shoes you can walk in the first day or two or have some handy. Folks may want to take you to lunch, and the last thing you want is brand-new heels that bite into your toes after a few blocks–and that were you not with your new boss you would never have walked to begin with and taken a cab. Um….hypothetically though, of course.

    • Be prepared to fill out HR forms like direct deposit that requires your banks routing number and account number.

    • Yay! Fruegel Friday’s! I love Fruegel Friday’s and this skirt, but what does it cost? I can’t be fruegel w/o telling the manageing partner how much I want to spend on a skirt!!!! FOOEY!

      As for the OP, I learned early on to dress VERY Conservatively EVERYWHERE I worked, regardless of what the others were doing. I think that you can NOT go wrong by being conservative, and that is the BEST advice Dad taught me. Eventually, you may learn that you can dress more causal, but that takes direct approval from your management. I now dress the way the manageing partner wants, b/c he pays my salary, and he want’s me to look feminine for the judge. If you work in litigation, you will VERY likely have to please the court also, and that is what it generaly takes. In any event good luck on the new job! The HIVE will be pulling for you!!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m starting a new job too! Yay! Is it advisable to wear a suit on the first day? I have no idea what is normal, but I can make an educated guess that suits are only required when going to court.

      • Anonymous :

        First day = First impression. Suit. Also to remember names, repeat the name back to the person. When you meet folks always say “Jane, nice to meet you,” and then again, “I look forward to working with you Jane.” If you can get three–you will remember–but even once or twice improves the odds. (And people love hearing their own name).

  2. I don’t get the point of posting if its sold out? You write it like its an update but its 854 the post went up like 2 minutes ago

    • The post will have been scheduled yesterday to go up today.

      • Probably could’ve been scheduled much earlier than that, depending on software.
        But it is funny to think of her responding to an alarm three times a day, scurrying to type a post, and then sitting there, finger over the button, waiting for the right time to put it up.

      • Her update could have at least included other options in non-plus size

  3. After a trial, I’m aiming to take 3 weeks off to travel. Instead of just hopping around to different places, I’d like to actually *do* something as part of the traveling. Take a class, participate in a program, something to give the trip structure and as a way to meet other people. All I’ve come up with is a language school somewhere, but 3 weeks isn’t much time to really make a dent in a foreign language.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for something like this? Maybe a photography class somewhere cool, or a cooking class? I’d need to find room and board too. Thanks in advance!

    • If you have any interest in meditation or yoga, there are retreats out there of varying lengths. I want to do one of the week-long meditation retreats, but haven’t done it yet!

    • Cooking class in Thailand?

    • Camp camp camp :

      You can go to adult tennis and/or golf clinics in Florida/Arizona. I would totally do this if I had the time. Also, you can do cooking school bootcamps.

      See what Canyon Ranch and the Greenbrier have on offer (and maybe places like The Hotel del Coronado).

      Photography museums and the Smithsonian do camps.

      Finally, colleges have these away-adventures (often for retired alumni) that always look awesome.

      Also, if you are a lawyer, there used to be a week-long CLE of 2 hours of instruction (tax law) followed by skiing followed by apres-ski drinking and talking about tax litigation. I would totally go to that (if I had the time). And it was 40 hours of CLE!

    • Anonymous :

      I would do a week long cooking class in Italy then travel north to Austria for a week or so of ski lessons and a few German language lessons (if you’re an English speaker, German is one of the closest languages so not too hard to pick up a bit). Casual exploration of nearby cities in between/after.

    • I spent a week at a writing centre learning how to write non-academic prose last summer. It was fantastic.

    • I learned to sail in Corfu

      Highly recommend.

      Corfu Sea School. Google it!

    • Does your university sponsor trips with professors? My undergrad does (pretty sure anyone could go) and they tend to be with well known, respected and fun professors to learn about an aspect of the place (art, history, sociology) to which you are traveling.

    • I would look into the National Geographic trips. I’ve heard great things about them. You get to see a gorgeous place and learn a great deal.

      • BabyAssociate :

        I have family who have done these trips and they’ve said fantastic things. They are quite expensive though.

    • Wanderlust :

      Are you SCUBA certified? Bocas del Toro is an awesome place for this in Panama, or Roatan in Honduras, or Belize…

    • Anonymous :

      I’d pick an adventurous skill or two to learn- like surfing, and I second the SCUBA rec. You have 3 weeks to really get to a comfortable level, and then you can take that forward with you for the rest of your life.

    • I’d go for a week-long backpacking trip. Just head out into the woods and conquer a trail of the appropriate length. That type of total disconnection combined with physical challenge is so special and not possible in short chunks of time.

    • There are some photography/night photography classes held at national parks. That might be fun. I’d probably combine that with a backpacking trip, which would be awesome.

    • Surfing camp or yoga retreat in Costa Rica. Depending on the length of your trial, I’d build in a day or two to just sleep.

    • Coach Laura :

      These all sound so great and make me jealous/envious of people who get to do these trips.

    • I recommend trips through The International Kitchen, which does small group (like under 12) person tours that have a substantial cooking component. We used them for our trip to Tuscany (stayed in a family-run agriturismo, toured with group most days (olive groves, sheep farms, wineries, historical sites) and then had multi-hour cooking lessons on site where we cooked our dinners) and Morocco (12 days, 1000 miles by van, multiple cooking classes, all the history you could want and a camel trek and overnight in the Sahara, highly recommend!). They regularly have singles join the groups. I vote for Morocco with a stop in France on the way and Spain on the return.

    • One of the organized bike + eat trips around the South of France, or the Italian Coast.

    • Anonymous :

      get scuba certified (get all your open water dives done!)

    • Anonymous :

      Learn skiing in a resort, as part of your travel.

      Or surfing.

      Or cooking, wine appreciation, etc.

  4. old-school blueing :

    For those of you who use it for laundry, where do you get it?

    My local grocery store doesn’t have it. Would Wal-Mart? Somewhere more granola (whole foods / earth fare)? Somewhere more bare-bones (Aldi)? Can you order it online?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I don’t use it, but I feel like I’ve seen it a craft stores (with the Rit dyes and other fabric stuff).

    • There’s some on Amazon, but I think checking out craft stores is a good in-person idea.

    • numbersmouse :

      Look for Mrs Stewart’s or Bluette on Amazon.

    • I got Mrs Stewarts at a small town, independent grocery store, and have also seen it at an independent organic/hippie shop.

    • Grocery stores where older people stop typically have it, like a big chain like Albertsons. It also seems like the type of thing True Value hardware stores would carry.

    • Constant Reader :

      Apparently Ace Hardware; but you can buy it from Mrs. Stewart direct, too. We have Kroger, so that’s where I get mine.

    • Tack shops or horse supply stores will likely carry it, if you have that kind of thing in your area.

  5. Inhouse Informant :

    What resources have you found helpful in getting compensation information for in house jobs? In my experience, I was able to find out info from recruiters, close friends willing to talk money, the Robert Half guide, and sites like Glassdoor. The informal salary threads on this site have also been helpful. As helpful as those sources are I find that it can be still be difficult to get info about things like stock options, bonus, and other types of compensation aside from base salary.

    What does the hive think about a site that provides people with an opportunity to share compensation information and reviews on companies and their legal dept? I know that there are already sites like Glassdoor and payscale but the info on in house positions is almost always very limited. Would you visit a site that had all of this information compiled in one place? Would you participate and share your compensation information and in house experience? Does this resource already exist and I don’t know about it?

    • Most of my friends that are in house are in-house at Tech companies. A site like this would not work for most in-house legal deparatments that are smaller–as in five or less attorneys. People would know you participated/it’d be too easy to identify you, etc.

      Stock options are not standard, but if you read blogs like the Lawyer Whisperer, she gives typical band ranges. As with all job negotiations, it simply depends on how much somewhere wants you!

    • Wanderlust :

      I would love this, but as someone in-house in a small legal department, I’d be afraid of being outed.

      • Anonymous in Texas :

        I’m in-house at a Fortune 100 and stock options are awarded based on performance annually and not something that is negotiated upon hire. Do other companies offer stock as part of an initial offer?

        • Most tech companies do offer stock upon hire, but it vests over time. Many public companies offer RSU bands upon hire.

        • In house at a Fortune 1000 – stock grants are negotiated upon hire similarly to bonus targets (ie X% of salary, with adjustments up or down based upon individual and company performance).

        • At my company (about 1100 employees, and not on the Fortune lists) stock options are purely performance based according to formula and criteria complete opaque to us cogs. The only negotiation on hire was salary.

        • Triangle Pose :

          Yes, I’m in house at a fortune 50 and got a restricted stock grant upon hire and as part of my comp %20 bonus in the form of equity (can sell it after a year), the other bonus is also %20, but cash.

      • Non legal but in a tech company. Not silicon valley tech- think like, IBm or Oracle (but privately held). I got options at hire, have gotten true bonus options (great year! Here are some extra options) , and got more with a recent promotion.

        I get a separate bonus- targeted at a fixed $ (about 15%).

    • Anon for this :

      I’m dealing with the same issue. I’d be interested in the info but I’d be afraid of providing mine. What I have found most helpful is finding someone else that works for the company, even in a totally unrelated job, that has access to the usually internally public pay scales for posted positions. So my friend the engineer might be able to tell me that the pay scale for x counsel position at his company is x-y upon hire.

    • Check Ask a Manager – she just did a community post where people were posting salaries for all types of jobs and I found it pretty awesome.

      • Triangle Pose :

        +1, and you can look at the last couple years of the Ask a Manager ones. Some commentor helpfully put them in graph and excel form so you can look at it across industries. I’m in-house and I used local recruiters, Robert Half Legal guide (which is great because it has multipliers based on region/cities/size of company/type of company and includes how many years out of law school – all helpful calibrations. I also spoke with other women who are in-house and asked for salary negotiation advice, usually the people willing to give advice also disclosed their salaries or starting salaries when they first started in-house.

    • I will warn you that the RH guide isn’t particularly accurate (the figures are pretty inflated), in my experience (I’m in-house and have several friends who are in-house at different sized companies throughout the US)

      • Triangle Pose :

        That’s funny I had the opposite experience. My company’s initial offer (which I negotiated to a higher base) was actually lower than the lower Robert Half guide for someone 3-5 years at a company of my size in my city. And I was at 2.5 years.

    • New Tampanian :

      Check the ACC website to see if they have something.

      Except for larger Fortune companies, many companies have very small legal departments which would make a site like this difficult. I, for one, would not participate if I had to tag the specific company that I work for.

  6. Does anyone have any tips for improving posture (without buying one of those devices)? I feel myself slouching a ton but whenever I focus sitting up straight my back gets sore (and I forget and start slouching again).

    • Yep, buy a device called the TushCush. It aligns you in your chair. My PT recommended it and it makes a huge difference.

    • has a posture series. Quick exercises, different every day for a month, to work on all the different things in your body that contribute to posture.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I find that when I work on strengthening my core and shoulders, my posture is better and I have less back pain.

    • Anonymous :

      Core-strengthening exercises with a focus on proper form, preferably with a personal trainer: squats, deadlifts, planks. Makes a HUGE difference in how easy and natural it feels to have good posture.

    • It sounds like you might be arching your back when you sit up straight, which is causing your back to hurt. I really try to engage my core while I am sitting up straight. Try tucking your behind under and holding your abs in towards your spine, like you would if you were in a yoga class. Your back should be flat, not arched IMO.

    • Engage the core!

      What kind of exercise do you do?

    • This sounds wacky, but my upper-body posture is better when I stretch or foam-roll my legs, specifically hamstrings.

      • Not wacky at all! Hamstrings are connected to your abdomen and when they’re particularly tight they can affect the tilt of your pelvis, which in turn affects posture.

        These diagrams are helpful in illustrating where leg muscles connect to your torso:

    • Sit on an exercise ball at work.

      • Anonymous :

        I did this at home for a couple of years until I realized I just got really good at balancing while slouching.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Lift weights! When I was doing NRLFW I stopped slouching. It was great.

    • I was slouching a lot and having back pain so I switched to a standing desk at work. A year later, and it’s just awesome. No back pain at all and I move around more during the day.

    • I started taking adult beginner ballet classes once a week, and my posture has improve dramatically. My core is stronger and I’m just more conscious of it (and I have a better understanding of what correct posture feels like!) people have even commented. And the class is fun and great toning!

  7. TwoLeftFeet :

    Hi ladies!

    One of my workout goals this year is to add a little variety and work on something I’m REALLY bad at. I decided to give dancing workout videos a shot (because NO WAY am I doing this in front of people!) but I’m actually SO bad I can barely get through the first several minutes. I try really hard but I am super uncoordinated and the simplest things really trip me up. (I’m a pretty good tennis player and lift weights so it’s not like I’m a complete workout novice.) I tried a few and so many of them seem to expect you to already know how to do certain things. The last one I did said how footwork is the key to the whole dance and then they don’t explain the footwork nor even show the dancers’ feet for the next 5 minutes after that. I kept trying even though I got super frustrated, but I wonder if there’s some videos/instructors out there that start out REALLY basic for us really uncoordinated people. Any ideas??

    • Zumba! Preferably in person (at least at first) so you can see that there are lots of uncoordinated people there just giving it their shot and having fun. It’s repetitive so quite easy to pick up.

      • TwoLeftFeet :

        You guys. I don’t think you get how bad it is. A zumba class would be a waste of money. I can’t get it right when they’re going over the super slow part in the beginning, there’s no way I’d keep up in real time. It’s not a pride thing, it’s more about knowing how much I can handle in one shot. I’d really rather work at my own pace because I can try it in 10-15 minute increments (the point at which I generally get super frustrated) a few times a week instead trying to keep it up for a whole class. An hour straight and I’d probably never want to come back. Baby steps!

        • BabyAssociate :

          Oh I’m with you here. Zumba is hard! I end up getting lost almost immediately.

        • I feel your pain, gave up on exercise videos when the “basic instructions” at the beginning said something like “and then a simple grapevine” with zero explanation.

          Are you bad enough at yoga that it would fit your needs?

          • But I think the one based on ballet wasn’t hard to get the hang of. It wasn’t really dancing, more just an andless series of plies (however you spell that)

          • TwoLeftFeet :

            Hmm. Ballet may be an option. I’m pretty good at yoga actually. This is largely about attacking my lack of coordination (which you would think a tennis player would have, but it seems I’ve learned it only on a very limited plane).

          • That was me, too. A friend really loved “step” class and dragged me to it and I hated it because I was so bad at it, that it wasn’t an effective workout. I took dance classes through college, and I know what a grapevine is but when you say “tap” is that heel or toe? Left foot or right foot? Before I can check, it’s onto the next step. (This disconnect is because dance classes start out slow and then build a sequence. These classes often start right into a sequence and at the pace of music, so if you are new, it’s miserable. To combat this – you could just re-watch the video, but I get the frustration of having to watch something twice to get a good sweat in.) I was so bad at step the instructor put me in the back of the class so I wouldn’t confuse others but then of course I couldn’t see and correct.

            I really like barre for walking away with a good workout and yet still able to follow. Instead of 8 steps, it will be multiple moves that build on each other in reps – so first you will do a small squat for 16 reps and then at about the 12th count, the instructor says ok, now pump your arms! Easy enough to follow and boy do I sweat and feel sore the next day.

        • I am also a truly terrible dancer and did Zumba for a while and loved it. I did it at my YMCA and there was huge diversity of ages, fitness levels, and dance ability. It zero pressure and just a blast. I probably spent a solid third of any class at just laughing at how bad I was. I’d say check out a Zumba class in a place like that rather than a fancier gym to get a good, unjudgemental mix.

          Also, remember from HS, you feel like way more people are looking at you than actually are

        • I can’t dance for s**t and I love Zumba. My class is all in Spanish (which I don’t speak, really) and there is everyone from gangly teens to beautiful 30-something dancers to stumbling moms like me to women who are great at other sports but can’t dance to elderly women who physically can’t do the moves. It’s at a cheap gym. I love love love it.

          The way I see it, I sweat my butt off for an hour and have fun. Because I have no expectation that I will ever be good, I manage to not beat myself up for never improving. I’ve had a change in my schedule that made it impossible to go to my class and now working out alone is so boring and lonely.

        • But dance doesn’t have to be about “getting it right”! Nor is Zumba, as far as I can see, though I’ve never taken a class. It’s about moving to the rhythm, not necessarily doing a perfect sequence of steps. Unless you’re actually trying to do a choreographed dance coordinated with other people, I don’t think there’s a “getting it right” to dancing.

          Good for you for getting outside your comfort zone! You’ll get more comfortable with time. :)

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Sure, there’s not really a need to get it 100% right, but I get you- they say left and suddenly I find myself stepping right and oh hey, neighbor, sorry about your feet.

          I’m not sure if Wii Fit is still a thing, but their basic step on/step off exercise helped me slightly with rhythm and going left when I’m supposed to go left.

    • old-school blueing :

      Are there any dance clubs you can go to that do dancing in a certain style? In my old city, we could do salsa dancing at lots of restaurants after the dinner rush. In my new city, there’s a lot of western-style line dancing.

      I always thought of it as cardio-drinking :)

    • anonshmanon :

      I found the “just dance” games on the Wii console a ton of fun. You can repeat a song that you like and directly see your improvement through the points.
      My coordination is pretty average, and the early DVD’s they released had a ton of fun videos and several of them were very easy for me. The newer ones I have seen seem really involved though.

      • Yes, I was just about to suggest this! Get a Wii. There are a bunch of different dance programs, and they all have intro lessons for the moves that will be in the actual dance programs. You can see your silhouette doing the moves on most of them, so you can tell if you’re doing it wrong.

        Also, there are a couple of organizations that do “lunchtime raves” that are intended to be a place for people to dance for exercise/burning off steam during their lunch breaks. NYC has these regularly, not sure about other cities – worth searching for if you’re in a larger city.

    • Hope this gives you a smile. “Me at Zumba Class”

    • Watch the video more than a few times until you get the footwork. You will have to stop and start and replay some steps. You just have to learn the basics and then you’ll be fine – you can probably look up basic zumba steps on youtube. If you want to do something similar to zumba, it’s really just a million small variations on the same sets of steps.

      When you’re doing the steps, count in your head when you’re doing it (usually an 8 count). If you aren’t sure what to do pay attention to the feet and then pick up on the next count instead of flailing through and not paying attention and losing the count, and always worry about the feet first and everything else second – don’t bother doing the arms, etc until you can do the feet. It sounds though as if you may have made a poor choice with the video that doesn’t show the feet at all, though.

    • Just Do It! :

      Seriously don’t be so self-conscious. Go to the gym and just watch the Zumba class for a few min. If your gym is at all like mine, you’ll see a few really great dancers and a lot of other people doing some kind of variation of what the instructor is doing. I was one of those people but I still did it until it started to hurt my knees and I switched to other things. It’s not high school cheerleader tryouts. No one is wasting their valuable time watching Zumba and judging people who aren’t great at it. Other people in class are just tying to follow the moves themselves and not worrying about you. If you think you’d enjoy it, try it and don’t give up after the 1st couple of times. You will get better.

    • That girl from Dancing with the Stars that briefly dated Ryan Seacrest has some exercise videos. I can’t stand her, so I have to mute it, but the directions are very clear and slow and build up to a whole routine. Also, I vaguely remember Carmen Electra (probably misspelled that) had a lap dancing/strip dancing kind of workout video that was super fun and easy to catch on to.

    • Based on your description, we are probably similarly dance-challenged [despite being quite advanced in yoga]. I gave up trying and accepted it is simply not for me. I would try swimming and changing the styles during each workout [freestyle, butterfly, backstroke] – it definitely requires coordination, it is forgiving to your joints and you burn serious calories. It will also help with your general posture/alignment.
      Also, kickboxing with a trainer is great for improving coordination.

    • Hi! I did this

      She has a prep video explicitly dedicated to the moves that are a bit trickier, and there are always like 6 people on screen so you can see different ways to do the moves (and what their feet are doing). It took me a few rounds to pick things up, but it was WAY less frustrating than other things I’ve tried.

  8. Long cardigans :

    On the hunt for longer cardigans that are not slouchy/sloppy looking. I have a merino wool v-neck from Halogen that I love (hits at hips) but it’s dry clean only and that’s not compatible with my toddler/infant life at the moment! Any ideas?

    • I have several merino cardigans from Halogen, and have never once dry cleaned them.

      • +1

        They will last longer washing by hand or on the delicate cycle in a delicates bag (if you have a good washer) with a mild shampoo for wool/delicates.

        I haven’t dry cleaned for years.

        • Long cardigans :

          Good to know, that may be the answer! I tend to be skiddish about the washing machine but I’ll try this.

          • Anonymous :

            If you’re nervous about machine washing, you can also hand wash them. You basically put them in a bathtub (or sink), put a tiny amount of detergent, and swish it around without rubbing the fabric. Then empty the water, rinse it, fill it with clean water, swish again in clean water, rinse again, and gently squeeze out the excess water. Put it between two towels and roll it up tightly to press the water out (or use a salad spinner) and lay flat. It sounds intense, but it’s really like 10 minutes of work. Wool doesn’t really hold odors and shouldn’t need heavy cleaning, and gently handwashing keeps it looking new.

            They probably only tell you to dry clean only because it’s a lesser quality and they’re worried about pilling.

    • I have a few of the cashmere cardigans from Everlane (now in “choose what you pay” section so it’s a good deal for cashmere, and theirs is a good balance of soft and thick). I don’t go for the “relaxed” look like the model so I order one size down on this and it fits pretty smart. I machine wash these on delicate/hand wash setting and haven’t had a problem. HTH!

    • Bloomingdale’s cashmere has been on sale frequently for $59. For machine washable and dryable sweaters, I’d look at cotton options at Loft.

    • anonypotamus :

      I’m pretty sure the material is synthetic, but I have several long-ish open cardigans from Target that I really like. The front kind of curves down but they are about low hip length in front and are long enough in the back to cover my rear. They are fairly thin/lightweight but drape nicely and have a nice shape. Target’s had some version of them the last several years and they usually have multiple color options. I put mine through the washer and the dryer and they have held up quite well considering the cost (I think usually between $15-20).

    • If you’re still reading, check out the merino cardigans from Uniqlo. I have several, they’re great. I size down in them compared to the pull-overs (I’m large of bust) so they’re not sloppy.

  9. I wanted to share this blog post–it’s really relevant for anyone that’s looking up their game in 2017, even if you’re not a lawyer. Worth a read.

  10. NYC eye doctor :

    Reposting from yesterday: Looking for an eye doctor in NYC, preferably UWS, who takes UHC Vision. Would prefer an ophthalmologist but recs for optometrists also helpful. TIA!

    • Not sure what insurance they take, and not UWS, but I’ve been really happy with Manhattan Vision Associates. They are very thorough and professional.

    • I replied but it was probably too late. Dr. Andrew Nightingale. He is on CPW in the 80s. Ophthalmologist.

  11. Recs for cute basic stationary brands other than Poppin? Looking for a new pen holder/cup and was going to default to Poppin but thought I should try to branch out.

    • anonshmanon :

      See Jane work and kikki K!

    • she corresponds by hand :

      There’s a huge supply of personalize-able items on Stationery Studio dot com. I’ve been pleased with most quality. They have an overwhelming set of notepad options as well.

      If you want higher quality I have used American Stationery for decades … correspondence cards, lined envelopes, personalized. Really nice.

      I use products from both for personal and work correspondence. All well received.

      Just found that the great card company, papyrus, has a presence on the internet as well. Nice to get boxed note cards. No personalization.

    • Anonymous :

      Kate Spade has lots of cute office/stationery stuff.

      • second this, as a new job present to myself I got the clear and gold pen cup and 3 compartment bobble tray and it perks up my day and my office.

    • Rifle Paper Co! Also Anthro has great office stuff.

    • I like using cute mugs as pen holders. I bought one from Anthropologie years ago and it is a fun addition to my work desk.

  12. anon for this :

    Argggg a skirt like this is something I actually really want. Anyone know of a good substitute elsewhere?

    Sorry for this follow-up question about s*x drive so early in the morning…

    My drive is currently very low. Like almost non-existant. It’s never been robust, but it’s even worse right now. This has coincided with an increase in some mood swing/depression issues. I can’t be sure that these issues are the cause of my decreased drive, but I have a feeling they are. A provider has recently recommended medication (Lamictal, to be exact), which I know generally decreases drive. However, I’m wondering if, in my case, it could have the opposite effect since it would improve my health condition and therefore possibly improve my drive.

    I’m worried, though, that this is just a fantasy. Has anyone experienced this effect, where anti-anxiety/depression/mood stabilizers have actually improved your s*x drive?

    • Anon4this :

      This is such a specific/personal thing and everyone reacts differently to medication, but I will give you some insight on my experience.

      I always chalked up my (previous) low $ex drive to my on-going depression which, even while properly medicated, was luke warm. Eventually, I switched meds from Prozac to Pristiq. Prozac was perfectly fine for me, but I really like Pristiq and feel like I am not taking any medication at all in terms of side effects. It is pricey however. Neither medication on its own did anything to enhance my drive. What did enhance my drive was working through some past trauma, self-confidence issues, and a variety of other relationship-related issues in therapy. I’m leaps and bounds more interested in $ex these days. I saw a therapist who specialized in $ex trauma therapy, which helped me achieve orga$m for the first time in my life (on my own) around age 32. I then continued on with a regular therapist once a month, but that was mostly because I was having some relationship issues and it seemed like a good idea.

      TLDR; therapy and medication together helped me develop/increase my $ex drive.

    • Never thought about the connection before, but my interest has increased over roughly the same period of time that I’ve been taking anti-depressants.

    • My doc prescribed Wellbutrin to deal with that (/this weird crash I was undergoing) after I had been on Zoloft for six months or so. Wellbutrin has a reputation that’s like “happy, horny, skinny” and… the first two are moderately true, the last one, sadly not.

    • I have been taking Lamictal for 10 years or so now, and I don’t think it decreases my drive. My anti-depressant, cymbalta, that I take along side the Lamictal seems to affect it much more. I would definitely give it a shot though, it’s a wonder drug for me.

    • Fixer Upper :

      Are you on hormonal birth control? If so that may be the culprit and may be worth exploring.

    • Thanks everyone. I’m not on hormonal birth control (I used to be, and didn’t see a difference in my drive when I stopped it). Your anecdotes have given me hope :)

    • This one is similar:

    • I have the same problem. I tried Zoloft and Lamictal. Both lowered my drive. Lamictal also gave me a terrible rash that looked like shingles. Ultimately I’m on a low dose of Zoloft and attending therapy because that combo helps me function without ruining my drive. It was really affecting my marriage and happiness. I wish I had a better answer!

  13. Interviewing in Academia (Legal Writing) :

    I have a first-round interview in two weeks for a full-time faculty position as a legal writing instructor. Although I have taught in the (pretty distant) past, I would be a transplant from the legal world. Any tips for questions I should be prepared to answer that would be unique to this context? Any questions I could/should ask to help assess whether this position is the right fit for me? (Meaning, I have answers to ‘normal’ legal job interview questions and can subtly judge fit in that context, but the academic context is new to me.)

    Also, I’m sure there are at least a few reading who teach, or have taught, legal writing. Pros? Cons? Anecdata?


    • Often, legal methods positions are not on the tenure track. I would definitely want to know that.

      As an aside, I am teaching a legal methods contract drafting class as an adjunct and while I have only taught one class so far, it’s been fun!

      • Yes, this is the key question. Assuming it’s not tenure track, what’s the time period for the initial contract and how common is renewal of that contract? You should ask this directly, but it’s also helpful to know how long any other faculty members in this position have been around. Be prepared for questions about teaching methods you might use and, if this is a formal interview, probably at least one question about diversity.

      • Eager Beaver :

        All of this. There are sooooo many ways you could be classified: instructor, “professor of practice”, non-tenured/non-voting, etc. I’m not sure how you ask it, but I would encourage you to get a sense of how the tenure-track faculty view the legal writing instructors. Regardless of title, are they viewed as part of the faculty? Are they invited to faculty events? Working in higher-ed as a non-faculty member can be a wonderful job, but going in thinking you will be part of the faculty and finding that to be untrue in practice can be a recipe for disappointment.

        • Eager Beaver :

          You may also want to ask if there is a mandatory curve and if it will apply to your courses.

    • I would want to know how closely (or not) I would be expected to work with other legal writing teachers. I taught Legal Writing as part of a fellowship, and the other fellows and I had to be very collaborative in designing our curriculum.

      There were a lot of concerns about fairness because, even though there were different teachers with different teaching styles (and levels of tolerance for sloppiness/tardiness), the course showed as the same course on every 1L’s transcript, so it seemed fair to try to curve across the whole class. It was tough.

      • So I guess implied in there is the fact that I would want to know how much I/the team would be responsible for curriculum design. It’s a ton of work coming up with problems from scratch and then making sure they’re appropriately focused.

      • Also lemme know if you want to email off this thread — it was a *great* job but there are a lot of things I wish I had known/thought of going in.

      • This is probably not the most constructive comment, but shouldn’t it be up to the students to try to get a good grade from whatever professor they’re assigned, regardless of variations in style, tolerance for tardiness/sloppiness? I doubt the partners at their eventual firms are going to coordinate to make sure everything is fair for everyone, and as associates these students will need to deal with different styles, tolerances, etc. Why not start learning that type of soft skill in law school?

        • Well yes and no.

          I worked with teachers who were like “I can’t help it, everyone in my class did GREAT!” and gave out all A’s, gave out extensions for any reason (including “I didn’t plan very well”), didn’t fail for plagiarism, etc. etc., while here I was giving only the *best* performers A’s, only giving extensions for significant medical issues… and so my great students would be suffering in competing for jobs, just for their dumb luck of being in my section.

    • Thanks all! This is extremely helpful so far – especially about curriculum design expectations.

      Another inquiry, given the obvious experience present: This is a job change I am exploring for personal reasons, but it may very well be (almost certainly, really) that I want to practice law again later. Thoughts on the potential for re-entry into the practicing world in a few years?

      • I had a helluva time getting back into the practice of law, actually. What ended up working for me was networking through professors I taught with who *used* to practice commercially. But I was doc reviewing and writing briefs at an hourly rate etc. etc. for a while.

        Factors that I think will matter a lot is the reputation of the school you’re teaching at and the significance of your practice before you move into academia.

      • I think it would be hard to on-ramp into private practice at a firm after that role. Other avenues — clerking, government, university administration — might be more open to you. In my city, some of the law schools have practicing attorneys teach legal writing as adjuncts while continuing their practice, and in that case I could see it definitely help you pivot into a new role (in another firm or elsewhere).

  14. Food delivery in philly :

    Hi, good friends are expecting a baby in phillyand id like to give them a gift cert to a food delivery company. I don’t live there so I don’t know which one is the best. They live in center city, east of broad and prefer to eat healthy.

    Any advice? Thanks

    • Snap Kitchen! I’m addicted to this place – they have locations in Center City and Old City.
      Check out Caviar for more options.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think Fresh Direct is in Philadelphia now. Highly recommend! They have everything from regular grocery store items to prepared foods that just require heating. Everything spans from healthy to not healthy too.

  15. NYC rettes :

    Recs for a good dentist in Midtown or Astoria? Ideally with morning appts? I’m behind on annual and cavities

  16. ACA & Pregnancy :

    I was too late for yesterday’s discussion on pregnancy and Obamacare, but for some firsthand experience, in many states, including the one I lived in, it was impossible to get covered for pregnancy apart from a large corporate plan. I was in a small satellite office of a global firm and a broker confirmed there was no plan I could get that would cover pregnancy, no matter the cost, no matter if I wanted to purchase a rider and no matter if I submitted to a year’s waiting period. I made a good salary, I’ve never been unemployed since I started working in college and I’ve never not held insurance – I did everything right, but because I didn’t work for a 50+ person company, nor did my spouse, I wasn’t able to be insured for my pregnancy??
    I ended up on my spouse’s student plan got pregnant over a year later but thanks to the ACA was able to transition to an Obamacare plan shortly before I delivered when the student plan expired. There is no option for COBRA with a student plan (or at least, my student plan).
    The ACA is far from perfect, but in my case it saved me from medical bankruptcy and perhaps saved my life given the fact that I nearly died in delivery. It’s shameful that Congress would take this away without having any plan to replace it.
    I’d strongly urge you – particularly those of you with representatives who are going ahead with the repeal – to call your senators and representatives. I had no problem getting through yesterday when I made these calls and it only takes a few minutes.

    • Totally agree. There’s so much bad news these days that I sometimes don’t know where to start, but the ACA is the issue that I’ll focus on today.

      On a related note, is the IUD frenzy based on hysteria or reality? I read that IUD requests have gone up by 900 percent since the election. I’m currently on the pill and would prefer to stay on it. Is the issue that the pill won’t be covered anymore, which seems more likely to me, or that I won’t be able to get the pill at all, which seems pretty unlikely?

      • It’s a bit of hysteria.

        Insurance plans will still be covering medically necessary items like birth control. Of course, every plan is different as to co-pays, deductibles, preferred brands etc… What would likely be lost with an Obamacare replacement is zero co-pay.

        There is also some over the top hysteria about abortion rights being restricted n the future administration, hence….

        • Is it over the top hysteria, though? Anyone who’s pro-choice or even pro-women’s health should be extremely concerned.

          • Pence wants a personhood amendment, which would outlaw IUDs.

          • Wait what? Why would a personhood amendment outlaw IUDs?

          • Because a personhood amendment would classify a fertilized egg as a person, and there is a very widespread but false belief that IUDs prevent implantation.

          • How do they work then? Unlike the pill, they don’t prevent ovulation. Now I’m confused.

          • The theory is that they prevent fertilization.

          • Is there any way to really know? I have no idea how you’d ethically study this (and yet that must have happened. Yes? No?).

            Or is this like other things where it works and no one really understands why?

          • Anon at 10:53, hormonal IUDs also prevent ovulation, sometimes. I believe the “sometimes” is because it’s a very low and very localized dose of hormones, but my understanding is based entirely on having one in my body right now and what I remember from asking my OBGYN about how it worked before she put it in.


        • lucy stone :

          My insurance did not cover birth control prior to the ACA.

      • The ACA mandates that insurers completely cover all forms of birth control, whether it’s the pill or higher-price, more effective options like the IUD or implant. IUD requests are definitely up, according to Planned Parenthood. I believe the run on IUDs is from people who either 1) have an IUD or implant that will expire and need to be replaced after the ACA repeal is expected to go into effect, or 2) have been on the fence and decided to transition before they have to pay. I’m in bucket 1 and just scheduled an appointment to have my implant replaced ahead of schedule (in the words of my doctor, “Let’s go ahead and get you covered for four years and pray it’s only one term”). It’s up to $800 for the implant and up to $300 to remove my current one. No way am I paying that if I have another option.

        All that said, I’m sure that in Mike Pence’s perfect world, birth control wouldn’t be available at all.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Argggg ok you’ve convinced me. I was hoping to wait it out since I still have two more years on my current IUD but I don’t want to have to pay $1200+ when it’s free for me right now.

          • Unfortunately it’s not necessarily free right now if you haven’t had it for five years. My NP told me my insurance won’t cover it unless it has been five years and a day since it was put in. So you should probably check into that before scheduling an appointment.

        • My BCP is not completely covered by my insurance co; it costs me about $20/mo.

      • The timing is hysteria (plans are locked in for 2017) but the change (from free to… decidedly not free) is real, and likely coming. Personally, I bit the bullet and went for it since I’ve been thinking about it for the last year anyway, and this was a good excuse. I’d also like to be able to handle any problems related to it under ACA-mandated benefits – no co-pay on consultation, insertion, and follow-up was great.

      • Shopaholic :

        I think part of the IUD frenzy is that women are worried about losing their right to choose and IUDs are considered by many doctors to be more reliable.

        • This this this. An IUD cost $600 before the ACA. I wanted one in law school but couldn’t afford it, so I stayed on the pill, which was covered by insurance. Women who have been considering it as an option for birth control are now pulling the trigger because it may cost a lot more in the future if it’s not required to be covered by insurance.

      • ponte python's flying circus :

        I think it’s more the risk that the IUD and other long-acting reversible birth control won’t be covered any more.

      • I also wonder if IUDs are simply more popular than they used to be? Personally my first several OBGYNs didn’t even tell my they existed as a BC option. Now that I have one, my concern is less that it’s going to be taken away as an option entirely and more that it will become significantly more expensive under an all red government.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          They’ve improved in quality, there are more options (Paraguard/Mirena/Skyla) and they are now recommended for all women, whether or not they’ve given birth. There have also been studies linking them to drops in unplanned/teen pregnancies in several states.

    • Anon for this :

      This applies to all pre-existing conditions. I have an autoimmune condition and pre-ACA either I or my husband always had to be employed at a 50+ employee employer. We actually made our career decisions based on it at that time. He turned down job opportunities while I was in law school to stay at a 50+ person gig. But what about the unmarried folks? If you get sick, you can’t work and the only way you can get treatment for your disease is through your employer provided health insurance? It’s a mess.

    • Sort of related to pregnancy… a good friend had a child that, at her two week check up, was found to have a heart condition that turned out to be due to an extraordinarily rare genetic defect and required a heart transplant, which she received at 9 months. She is now 2.5 years old, and still on a feeding tube because she didn’t learn to eat during the crucial first year, when most children do, because she lived in the hospital.

      Without the ACA’s unlimited lifetime coverage and pre-existing condition clauses, her family would have exceeded coverage limits before her first birthday, they would be ruined financially, and the child wouldn’t have received the life-saving treatment she needed and continues to need. Just another anecdote in favor of the ACA.

      • PS her mom is a photographer- if you’d be interested in following the cutest instagram of babies/optimism against all odds/great photography, she @theborrowedheart

      • I fully support the ACA but isn’t this hysteria too? I understand that the ACA banned lifetime limits, but even before the ACA there were plenty of plans that didn’t have lifetime limits. I remember being in elementary school (20+ years ago) and my parents telling me “NEVER buy insurance that has a lifetime limit – pay for good insurance, no matter how much the premiums are.” I had my own insurance beginning in 2005, well before the ACA, and I have never had a plan with a lifetime limit. So I think all these “I have cancer/AIDS/a heart defect and without the ACA I’m going to hit my lifetime limit and die or be financially ruined” stories are a bit of an exaggeration, right? If they repeal the ACA, it will just go back to the way it was before the ACA when some plans had lifetime limits but plenty of plans didn’t.

        • If you had a pre-existing condition, those other plans didn’t have to accept you for coverage. That’s how they get away with lower lifetime limits – fewer people who might need them.

          • Right. There are plans that do not have lifetime limits but would require you to go through medical underwriting, at which point, you would be turned down for coverage. As a result, my husband and son would be unable to purchase insurance that did not have a lifetime limit.

          • Sorry – should have been “without lifetime limits”.

          • But if you get on a no-lifetime limits plan from birth, pre-existing conditions won’t be an issue, right? I get that the ACA does a lot of good for poorer people, but I still don’t understand why this presents problems for those who can afford to always have good insurance.

          • You can’t buy on the open market with a pre-existing condition under the old system. So you are locked in to always getting coverage from an employer. And if your medical condition is such that you can’t work, which is painfully common, you go bankrupt or die from substandard care.

          • Not just through your own employer though, right? You can also get plans through your spouse’s or parent’s employer if you have a pre-existing condition.

          • Yes, if one is married or under 26 (which is an ACA accommodation), you could be fortunate enough to have non-underwritten access to healthc insurance that works for you.

            Suffice it to say, this doesn’t work for many, many people (>26, single, part-time, students, the disabled, etc.) and even if it does, it effectively traps them or their spouse with an employer. This was the case for me. I also had to hire very expensive ($70-100,000 per year) caregivers for my disabled spouse so that I could keep working. If I couldn’t afford this, I would have had to leave my job and forgo health insurance myself.

            Thanks, Obama. For real.

          • For our family, it is not currently an issue for my husband or son, as they are both covered by insurance through my employer. But what happens when my son ages out of my plan? Or if his future employer does not offer insurance/is a student/works part-time/owns his own business? This is not a problem relegated to the less wealthy of the country. And even if it were, why would that make this less of an issue??

        • Pre-ACA I was kicked off my parents plan at 18 and was on student insurance when diagnosed with lupus at 21 also before ACA. There was literally no individual policy available for any price with a pre-existing condition like that in any state I have lived in. As a result, I had never been able to consider being an entrepreneur or in private practice no matter my drive to succeed. The economics won’t be there without the ACA. In 2008 I tried to get a plan thru my bar association and the ABA and the insurance reps laughed at me. So I had to stay in graduate school and rack up more debt to try my hand at private practice. I ended up going into government service in order to survive. 10 years later I still have medical debt from those years and I can’t go bankrupt or I’ll lose my job with good Insurance. It Scares me to death that I might find myself living with that exponential fear again. Please understand that it is not a trivial matter and that our fear is real.

          • So sorry that you have struggled with this. Please share your story with your reps. This is such a compelling story as to why ACA is needed and actually spurs small business creation.

          • Lupus patient here and same, tried to get insurance on the open market and they laughed at me. I went abroad for grad school because of the programme and because of the fact that I’d be covered under the universal insurance. Now I’m pregnant and classed as high risk, I’ve had an amazing care without paying anything (beyond of course, taxes) and am so appreciative of the NHS. The meds I’ll be on throughout the whole pregnancy cost 400usd a week when I was uninsured.

        • If you were young and healthy, it wasn’t hard to get insurance. If you had a blemish, you were kind of screwed. I remember as a teen when my uncle (who was in his 30’s, previously young and healthy) who worked in property development was bitten by a deer tick and came down with Lyme disease. My aunt probably spent months on the phone trying to get insurance coverage for him. I think my grandparents ended up helping to pay because they really couldn’t afford what was available, and they were solidly middle class. It really wasn’t affordable.

        • ACA & Pregnancy :

          NO! This is a real issue. If you’ve only been on corporate plans you have no idea the mess that small business and individual plans were. The rules varied at a state level I believe, but in many states lifetime limits, pre-existing conditions exemptions and pregnancy exemptions were all that were offered. And it’s not a matter of price. I made a very healthy six-figure salary. I would have bought it if I could. I couldn’t.
          It will have a disproportionate impact on the poor who can’t pay at all, but this is a real issue for those of us regular readers on this very blog who make good salaries, but work for small firms or are self employed and have a medical condition or want to have a baby. If you ever leave your big firm, this could be you.
          My husband had been working for a big company the past two years but just moved to a smaller firm again and I’m at my very small firm, so I am nervous about the consequences.

        • I had several different employer-sponsored plans pre-ACA and all of them had lifetime limits.

    • I’ve had a very positive experience with the ACA as well. I’m fortunate to be fairly healthy, but I would never go without health insurance out of fear of being in a car crash or being diagnosed with cancer, etc. A little while ago, I had an opportunity to leave mid-law and start a law firm with 3 other women. Because of the ACA, I was able to get health insurance for about 1/4 the cost of the options our benefits broker was offering. It made it a lot easier to take the leap into starting my own firm. Given the shift to the freelance economy and independent contracting, we should be encouraging people to be entrepreneurs and start their own businesses, and the ACA enables people to take those kinds of risks. (And as I type this out, I’m thinking I should send it to my Senator (Elizabeth Warren!) rather than post it here, but there you go.)

      • Send it! The point that ACA enables small business creation is not a common talking point. Literally just copy and paste what you wrote here.

      • Send it! One of my Senators (Tim Kaine, sobs) is collecting ACA stories. I had an ACA plan in grad school and sent it in. I don’t have a super-dramatic story, but an ACA plan was 1/4 the cost of the plan offered through my university.

        • I know plenty of lawyers, some in big firms, who have a spouse working for the fed govt or another job really just for the much-cheaper health insurance. It’s just a thing that people do.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            My now husband and I filed for domestic partnership a few years ago so that I could be on his insurance. I was contracting and the only insurance available to me was far too expensive for me to pay. I had one plan available through my agency but it only covered when I was on a project and would have had to pay for COBRA in between. It was also really expensive in the first place. The only plan available to me on the “open market” was impossibly expensive for me.

      • ACA & Pregnancy :

        Yes, send it. But also call, as that is supposed to be most effective. One of the senate offices I spoke to said the senator was really interested in hearing stories and took down a few notes. I am in a solidly blue state so my message was one of thanks and a request to keep fighting, but I would beg those of you with republican lawmakers to especially make the calls.
        And to the points above, Republicans are supposed to be the advocates of small business but this is such an impediment to starting or working for a small firm. Specifically, I am all in favor of decoupling health insurance from employment because it makes no sense. But that’s likely a long term goal

      • This is not quite on point, but we have children and at some point had the daycare vs nanny decision to make. We went with daycare for many reasons, but we realized that we would not be able to pay the nanny a decent-enough wage (we thought) on the books and also offer health care (vs daycare workers who get health care). Our center closed and we would have loved to have hired one of the teachers ourselves but decided to follow the teacher to a new center and then pay for occasional babysitting.

        Being a good boss is hard.

    • I occasionally read this blog about reproductive health issues written by an OB/GYN and she posted about how she picks her employers based off insurance. It made me really sad to realize even providers can be stressed about their own/their own families’ care.
      Link to come in next post


  17. Eager Beaver :

    I’m going to Paris in March!! My partner and I have been talking about this for years, and finally bit the bullet and bought a pair of cheap tickets. I’m in higher ed admin, so we’re going over spring break. No real point to this, but I’m just so excited.

  18. Paging LondonLeisureYear! :

    If you’re still willing to send out your London recommendations by email, I would love them! belisaid at h o t m a i l Thanks!

  19. Williams syndrome diagnosis :

    Recognizing that this is a self-centered post given its circumstances, but am reaching out to this anonymous community as it’s a question that seems inappropriate to ask anyone else…

    I posted here a while ago about my then-pregnant future SIL, who strongly dislikes me and has made it clear to myself and fiancé. She and her brother are extremely close, and we live a few blocks away. We have dinner with them weekly, regularly babysit their 3-year-old. My fiancé had a pretty intense confrontation with her before the holidays about her aggressive, cold behavior and things have since been more or less cordial. I hope my relationship with her will improve — there’s no specific issue, I think she is just possessive of her brother — I have done my best to be kind, patient, and polite. She has been pregnant or had a newborn for a lot of recent times, and I try to understand that. I do not mirror her drama or aggression.

    Her newborn has had significant health issues since birth, and yesterday they just received the life-changing news that he has Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder bringing a host of developmental and intellectual delays. She sent the news to her brother via email and asked him not to contact her until she indicates she’s ready – an understandable but unusual response as my fiancé is, other than her spouse, her primary support network. Of course there are a lot of positive perspectives and roads toward acceptance, but the family’s initial reaction is devastation, especially considering the difficult road of medical problems for this sweet baby.

    Just looking for any general advice here on what to do / how to react. My role at the moment, as I see it, is to support my SO – he is handling the news poorly, but talking about it and opening up to me, which I see as a positive sign (he often can become emotionally shut down). How can I support him? When we see his sister next – likely in a week or so – what should I say/do and not say/do?

    Our relationship has been so hard to navigate with her aggressive behavior toward me, this whole situation is just very confusing and I want to be as compassionate as I can. So many people are inadvertent jerks when it comes to medical news, tragedies, etc – and this relationship is already muddled as it is. My current plan is to keep my distance, babysit the 3-year-old as often as I can, cook them/bring meals (something I currently do on occasion), and continue to keep my focus on supporting her brother. There is a long road ahead.

    • Babysit the 3 year old as often and cook/bring meals will be a huge help. It’s also a great support to the three year old who must be struggling with adapting to a new sibling taking up a lot of his parents attention.

      I think ‘Welcome to Holland’ by Emily Perl Kingsley really applies here. It may provide some context for what your SIL is dealing with right now.

      “I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

      When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

      After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

      “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

      The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

      It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

      But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

      And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.”

      • That made me tear up. How beautiful.

        • she corresponds by hand :

          Yes. This is an amazing book and helps parents and families. Support your spouse and share the research news as you find it, together. Continue on with supporting the family as you have in the past and your spouse could certainly ask his sister if there is anything specific she’d appreciate HIM doing.

          You are right; it’s a long road. A good geneticist and developmental pediatrician alongside a solid Ph.D. level child psychologist will be good guides for the family as time goes on, as well as right now when they are faced with much information. I’m one of those guides. It is manageable, but it is Holland. 24/7.

      • This story has gotten me through some very difficult times with my spouse’s degenerative disease. Thanks for posting it here for a new person to review.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        As the parent of a child with autism, I both love and loathe that piece of writing. Because some days Holland *sucks* and I wish I had never heard of it. Which is what I am sure your sister-in-law will feel some days as well. I honestly think that supporting your fiancée and just offering help if and when they will take it, especially taking their other young child off their hands will be a huge help. It will also be wonderful for your niece/nephew who is old enough to be aware that the new baby came and everything is different now. The fact that you want to be there for them is wonderful, truly. It can be a very lonely time.

        • I don’t think that Kingsley’s piece is about denying the deep and searing pain that can come with being in Holland on those days when it really really sucks, it’s more about trying to not let those days become all consuming because this is your life and you don’t want to miss the tulips – even if you are seeing them with tear stained eyes.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I know. Therapy has really helped with that. Sometimes that piece just feels too optimistic, although those days are pretty few.

      • Anon in NYC :

        This is beautiful. Your SIL and her family is understandably devastated right now, and I imagine that there will be lingering sadness for a really long time (perhaps forever).

        Given the tense relationship, it’s a little hard to know what your SIL would want and I would definitely take cues from your fiance. If I were in her shoes, I think what I would want at first is an acknowledgment of some kind about how much the situation sucks, and then for you to continue to be your really kind, empathetic self (because you do sound really awesome in the face of her hostility towards you).

        Also, make as much of a fuss over the newborn as you would a perfectly healthy baby. As a parent, I think that would make me feel better – knowing that people would love him just as much as a healthy baby.

    • I think your plan is a good one. Stay positive and don’t offer advice/opinions to SIL unless asked.

      How unfortunate that for whatever reason she holds a grudge against you. You have been awfully generous with babysitting and weekly dinners. Maybe her attitude towards you will change now. She’ll need all the help she can get.

    • A friend of mine has recently had a baby with health issues, which also affect the physical and mental development of her child. From our conversation, what she appreciates and actually makes her life easier are: be there for her & support her, help with taking care of the cooking [I have little time to do that by myself, but I gave her a gift card to a food-delivery service she likes and can use herself when she is pressed for time or just does not feel like cooking], babysitting or co-babysitting with her, going out for dinner to distract her for a while.
      In your situation, I would say that babysitting the 3-year old will already be a great help for both parents.

    • Unfortunately, I have experience with a similar situation. As you are going in with an already strained relationship, I advise you to tread so carefully with how you proceed. Supporting your SO is your role, lending a helping hand with the 3 year old is your role. Be okay with the fact that you will not be your SIL’s primary support system, or listening ear. Some of her fear/frustration/anger may be (unfairly) directed at you — from the outside, she may perceive your life as easy. Grieve the diagnosis in your own way, but be very careful of how you communicate your grief to her. Read up on the “circles of grief” – that is, push your grieving out to the circle beyond you – not back towards the family, and be extremely wary of inadvertently becoming what is known as a “grief vulture.” I’m afraid to link, but there are a lot of posts out there.

      The best thing you can do here is to be a [email protected] aunt to your niece and the baby where appropriate, support your SO, and put on a thick skin with your SIL. You will not be perfect in how you respond to the situation, and she will not be perfect in how she responds to you. Keep up boundaries so she does not mistreat you, but understand this is a long game and give her space.

      • Also, +1 to the comment upthread about still loving on and celebrating the baby. Try to separate the joy of a new child from the devastation of the diagnosis.

        Also, read, read, read blogs written by parents who have received similar diagnoses and are able to provide advice about to respond. Simple things like, “How are you today?” is easier to answer than “How are you?”
        Some seemingly innocuous remarks can be awful. It helps to get into the mind of an anonymous parent who has gone through this. And what is helpful to your SIL today may be different than what is helpful tomorrow.

    • I agree. Support your husband. When she’s ready to talk to you, ask flat out what she needs and do it. If she won’t give you an answer, making meals sounds like it would always help. And you can watch closely to see what they need and just do it, as long as it’s not too intrusive for her (many times “toss in a load of laundry” is suggested. I would haaaaaaate that and be creeped out by the intrusion, but when I visited my parents a few weeks ago, I found myself folding their undies and bath towels. They found it helpful, not intrusive. But Mom still wouldn’t ask me to do it. I waited for her to put things in the washer, then moved them to the dryer, folded, and took them upstairs)

  20. Grand Canyon trip :

    I’ve tried digging past comments since I’m sure this question’s been asked before but anyone have any tips/suggestions for a girl’s trip out to the Grand Canyon/Arizona?

    Flying in from the east coast for 4 days (arrive Thurs night, depart Tuesday AM) — thinking it’d be easier to fly into Phoenix and then stay somewhere like Sedona, don’t know if that would be the best ‘home base’ so to speak? Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon are the big attractions but aside from that, I’d love some ideas from ‘rettes who’ve been/are in that area!

    • I flew into PHX and spent 4 days in Sedona. It was beautiful, the hiking was awesome, and I would return in a heartbeat. While I wanted to make it to the Grand Canyon, it just didn’t happen. I spent my 4 days hiking, relaxing poolside, half day at the hotel spa, and eating. If your biggest draw is the Grand Canyon/Monument valley and you don’t plan on spending much time in the southern part of the state, you could (maybe) just as easily fly into Vegas from a windshield time standpoint. My recollection is there were not many places to stay around the Grand Canyon, but I could be wrong on that. It just depends on what you’d like to do!

    • Anonymous :

      I did Grand Canyon on a trip where we also went to Bryce and Zion. We flew into Vegas and spent one night there, and then rented a little house in UT which was basically central to all three. I really enjoyed getting to go to multiple parks (get the annual pass!) and do different kinds of activities in each one. Just watch your time zones as you drive in and out of NV/UT/AZ (Navajo nation in AZ does not observe DST)

      If you do this or something similar, I also highly recommend Valley of Fire (NV state park).

    • I’ve been to Grand Canyon, Zion, and Sedona and I loved Sedona the most – it’s just a beautiful place and if you go, be sure to take the pink jeep tour. There’s surprisingly little to do in Grand Canyon if you don’t want to hike into the canyon – it’s just such a huge crevice. It was nice to look at but man, the drive over there took forever, there are no good restaurants near there, and the hotels have terrible wifi, but it was on my MIL’s bucket list. There’s a great slow-river rafting trip out of Page, AZ that I would recommend. Zion is really great, although nowhere near Sedona. Zion has everything – hikes, waterfalls and beautiful scenery, but if you are thinking about doing that, it makes more sense to fly into Las Vegas instead.

  21. Donald Trump tweeted about his support of LL Bean yesterday. Guess who won’t be buying LL Bean anymore?

    • Darn, I just bought some Bean Boots. Maybe I will return them under the company’s satisfaction guarantee.

      • Absolutely return them, and tell them why.

      • Unless there’s something actually wrong with the boots, this is super dishonest.

        • The company was dishonest about its values when it sold the product.

          • I disagree. Linda Bean’s values are not necessarily the company’s values. As far as I can tell, LL Bean’s values are treating their workers well and creating jobs within their community. And having great customer service.

          • Anonymous :

            Edited to read:

            I am returning these boots b/c your company did not provide disclosures relating to the activities of a board member. I am happy with your product though and like that you stand behind them 100%.

          • Why in the world should a company “provide disclosures relating to the activities of a board member”? What do you want, a pop-up on the LL Bean page saying “Are you sure you want to buy these boots? Did you know that one of our board members supports Donald Trump?”

            The information about Linda Bean’s contributions was already publicly available. If the political leanings of board members of every company from which you buy something matter that much to you, you should look into it yourself.

          • all about eevee :

            No, actually, these donations were just made publicly available and the amount given was in excess of the legal limit permitted to give to a standard PAC. So no, people couldn’t look into it themselves until very, very recently, as in the last few days.

          • Yes, but it’s not a company’s obligation to disclose its board members’ political contributions (if the company is even aware of them) to customers.

    • I will say this:

      I’m no fan of Trump, or those who voted for him or contributed to his campaign. But I’m MORE inclined to (continue) buying L.L. Bean because it is outrageous for our commander-in-chief to be to be throwing his weight behind (and against, in other instances) private enterprise. F— that.


        Wait why? The head of LL Bean supports Trump to the point where he tweeted in her favor. Why should that lead you to give her more money?

        • Because my support of the company has to do with whether or not I like the products/services they provide, not because of the politics of the individuals at the helm.

          • Because the people at LL Bean make good things and stand behind them.

            I don’t follow what every Nordstrom or Standard Oil or Hilton heir does. I wouldn’t not buy a Birkin b/c a Kardashian has one.

            Boycotts hurt the small guy first (see, e.g., Cuba). I’m not about that.

        • Because, idiot, Linda Bean is not the head of LLBean.

          • AHHHHHHHHHH :

            Jeez thanks? Regardless why would this make you want to buy LL Bean? You’re not saying “I want to buy these boots because they’re good quality” you are saying “because of some political stuff i will buy from there”

          • Brunette Elle Woods :

            Are you calling someone on this blog an idiot? Did we really stoop to that level?

          • A- yes. I called her an idiot because she is dumb. Read things before outrage.

            B- I don’t want to purchase because of his tweets, I want to purchase inspite of them.

        • Just FYI, a lot of people believe that tweet was fake. He was annoyed the company issued a strongly worded denial and so he made a “Bean loves Trump!” to get liberals to boycott them. He’s a pyscopath, but he’s no dummy.

      • Linda Bean, whose family owns the company and who is on the board of directors, is a Trump supporter. She was on FOX news. She has donated money to his campaign. I don’t want my money indirectly going to Trump.

        • She is one of 50 family members who owns the business, and is on the Board. I’m afraid to say that if you won’t shop at places that have Board members or owners that support Trump, there won’t be places to shop at all.

          • Exactly. And LLBean is a good company. They treat their workers well. They support their local economy. As for profit corporations go, they’re really above average.

          • Not just above average. They’re probably in the 99th percentile for large corporations in terms of 1) how they treat their employees, 2) what they do with their profits and 3) their customer service. They’re an outstanding company in so many ways.

          • Linda Bean is not the only one who supported Trump – MULTIPLE family members made donations. And the company’s response was basically a verbal shrug.

          • Do you have a legit source (i.e., not Trump) for the fact that others donated? I haven’t seen anything that mentions anyone except Linda.

          • CBC reported that FEC filings indicate that Diana Bean (Linda’s sister) also donated. (

          • Do the other 49 people count for nothing?!?

          • Do you mean the other 49 people who have not spoken out against her or Trump at all?

          • + 1.

          • Anonymous :

            Many of the other family members, including the chairman, have given money to Obama and hosted fundraisers for Obama. I’m not sure what you mean by “spoken out.” Companies don’t normally endorse candidates and LL Bean has never endorsed a candidate or party as far as I know. They are open about the fact that they have family members (who are shareholders and/or boardmembers) on both sides of the aisle. The Democratic family members have never been shy about their beliefs.

    • I love LL Bean but I can’t stomach supporting active Trump supporters – apparently multiple Bean family members made donations. REI/Patagonia will be getting my $$ now.

    • I will be! I’m not going to boycott a company that doesn’t actually support Trump because one of its board members personally does, and if every now and again Trump forgets to be terrible and likes a company that treats its workers well I’m certainly not going to punish them for it.

      Stsly? With all the terrible in the world we are wasting time on LLBean?

    • I totally respect your choice, but note that it’s… complicated.

    • I’ve never purchased LL Bean so I’m not throwing my weight one way or another, but I did find it interesting that the company issued a statement saying that the company itself stays out of politics, but obviously can’t control what one family member/one board member does with their private finances.

    • Folks–LL Bean has over 50 shareholders. It’s a family run company and it does a lot of good for the Maine economy. Just because ONE family member is a Trump supporter, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. We all have a crazy Aunt or two.

      The key thing is that _the company itself_ has disavowed her support of Trump, and it does not get involved in politics. The support of Trump didn’t come from the Company!

      Before you get upset, do your homework!

      • +1. Do you all do research on every board member of every company you buy from?

        • No. But once you are made aware by the news media that board members of a company support Trump. It’s pretty easy to decide I don’t want to send my dollars to people who actively support misogyny and racism.

          • What do you think a member of the board actually does for a company?

          • What about the rest of the board? Or the workers? Or the people of Maine?

            Collectively, the whole has to account for something, no?

          • What Anonymous at 12:17 said. In the grand scheme of things, the amount of money that Linda Bean is donating to Donald Trump is pretty tiny. The amount of good that LL Bean does for Maine and the people of Maine is substantial. I think that boycotting LL Bean is not a rational thing to do.

          • all about eevee :

            $60,000 is “pretty tiny” now? Cool.

          • Eevee,

            I love you, but when you have 1.6 BILLION in revenues, $60,000 is small.

          • Anonyfrustration :

            Also, she didn’t donate $60k, that number is incorrect, she donated $30k, and IT IS HER OWN MONEY. A company does not have an obligation to disclose what it’s board members do WITH THEIR OWN MONEY. This is craziness.

            LL Bean is a good company. LL Bean board members also donated to Obama in the past. AGHHHHH.

      • But read the company’s Facebook post! The whole tone is awful. I was wavering but the tone of that post and the indigent comments towards GrabYourWallet is what pushed me over the line to REI/Patagonia.

        • anon a mouse :

          And if you’re being consistent, you’re not using Facebook at all since Peter Thiel is on their board? Or Paypal?

          • +1

          • Anonymous :


          • all about eevee :

            A lot of people don’t use Facebook or Paypal because of Thiel. Why is this comment being viewed as some sort of “gotcha”? OF COURSE people are boycotting Facebook and Paypal too.

          • Anonymous :

            Because *she* said in her comment “read the company’s Facebook post!” Indicating that perhaps her research is incomplete…

      • +1 million on the Crazy Aunt

        It’s like how 100% of the people my husband has unfriended/unfollowed on FB are people he’s kin to.

        Y’all: we can’t pick our families.

    • I’m a Mainer, so I have a big bias towards LL Bean, but…after it came out that Linda Bean (one of 50+ Bean family members) personally supported Trump, the company issued a pretty strong statement saying the company takes no political position but can’t control what all 50 family members do with their personal money. They all but called Linda Bean the crazy drunk aunt at Thanksgiving dinner. Here in Maine, it’s widely believed that Trump’s “Buy LL Bean” tweet was actually because he was p!ssed at the company’s statement and wants liberals to boycott them…classic Trump revenge.

      Also worth noting that LL Bean does far, far more for causes that are aligned with the progressive agenda than most companies. They are famous for their great labor practices and they give a lot of money to the environment. They funded Acadia National Park shuttles that run on clean energy and have greatly reduced traffic and pollution in the park.

      I am very liberal, was an enthusiastic HRC supporter and I will not be boycotting them.

      • +1

      • I’m actually going to see my friend who works for LLBean this weekend and I plan to ask her how it’s been this past week. I’ve known her and her family for years. Her family is Republican, but crossed the aisle for this election. I think she, personally, is liberal. I’m guessing it’s been a tough week. Most of the employees are liberal and lean outdoorsy and granola, as well. LLBean has such a great reputation with lifetime guarantees and returns…

      • +2. LLBean the company has done everything in its power to denounce the actions of Linda Bean. They’re really doing everything possible to distance themselves from her personal actions. Frankly I wasn’t a customer of theirs in the first place, but the corporate entity is handling this as well as it possibly could.

        • ? Did you read their statement on Facebook? They have done literally zero things to ‘denounce’ Linda Bean. They said they are politically neutral and that as a company they do not officially support Trump, they don’t even mention Linda Bean by name. And, they wrote the statement such that it implies she is one of 50 family members who benefit from the company, when she is actually one of 10 board members.

          • Um, do you understand the difference between Board and stockholders? A company can have 50 stockholders and 10 Board members. In this case, Linda is both a Board member and a stockholder. There was no bait and switch there–just facts.

            Board members don’t “benefit from” the company other than the comp they receive as Board members, if any. Stockholders are the beneficiaries of companies. Board members run companies.

          • She doesn’t get anywhere near 1/10 of the profits. She shares in the profits with 50 other family members (and maybe other stockholders) so 50 is the relevant number. She is one of 10 people who is overseeing the company at a high level, but she’s not getting a share of the profits for that role.

          • @ MJ – I”m aware of that. Not clear on how anything in your comment supports Emmer’s claim that LLBean “has done everything in its power to denounce the actions of Linda Bean”

      • Thank you!!!

    • The Trump supporter is one of about 50 people on the board. If you boycott companies because someone on the board is a Trump supporter you will be boycotting literally all companies above a certain size.

      • They are one of ten people on the board. And I’m totally fine with boycott any and all companies with board member who actively support Trump.

        • I’d really like to know what companies you’re not boycotting and how you can be sure 100% of their board members didn’t give money to pro-Trump PACs. Because it’s basically impossible to determine.

          • *eyeroll* yes, i’m personally determining and investigating which companies are Trump supporters. It’s not like I can just avoid companies based on an easy to follow hashtag #grabyourwallet

          • REI/Patagonia are easy alternatives for outdoor gear which is mostly what I bought at LL Bean. I’ll boycott others if/when I hear that their board members donated to Trump. Not hard.

          • What about publicly traded / held companies who have a board member doing something you don’t like?

            This is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

            I refuse to let my Duck Boots become political. I will wear them while shopping at Whole Foods and going to Starbucks. Aint no one, not even The Donald, going to come b/w me and LLBean.

          • Maybe people will start boycotting Russia with how much DJT seems to like it/Putin.

          • You know there are actual sanctions already in place against Russia? Because they are so awful. In retaliation, they’ve banned a number of western critics including Canada’s now Foreign Affairs Minister.

          • It’s so weird to me that Americans can visit Russia purely for tourism but can’t visit Cuba without a special reason. The govt of Russia seems so much worse.

          • In my very friend-of-Hillary county, Trump won the primary. I’m not sure if he won overall. I’m sure that many Trump supporters are closeted and would never publicly admit it. What do I do with them — find out where they work and boycott? Boycott their neighborhood? Boycott their school or church? Or what car they drive (do we like Ford/Carrier now or feel bad they were bullied? B/C that’s what this is — bullying and baiting. Tomorrow it may be you or your law firm or your employer or your alma mater or anything you hold dear).

            I refuse to let a bully manipulate me and resent that one tweet can cause such disruption. Let me be the first to report that I am getting off of FB for good and just watching the Weather Channel for the next 4-8 years (or forever).

        • So, you’re going to delete your Facebook and never use PayPal again? Peter Thiel is on the board of both.

          • Anonymous :

            +1 million. Talk about supporting Trump – Thiel donated waaaay more than Linda Bean (he gave more than a million, I believe) and actively campaigned for Trump. He did far more to get Trump elected than anyone in the LLBean family.

          • Anonymous :

            I actually don’t use Paypal and I’ve written Facebook numerous times to complain about Thiel but I continue to use it because it is a great venue to spread awareness about anti-trump activism. LLBean doesn’t have that benefit.

    • Baconpancakes :

      As Slate wrote (and I agree, love me some rugged plaid-wearing men):

      “Plus, are liberals really going to cede the L.L. Bean aesthetic to conservatives? As it stands, flannel and chunky boots are one of the few style choices that unite Americans from both sides of the aisle. The widespread popularity of New England casualwear has made it difficult to tell the difference between a Brooklyn sophisticate and an actual lumberjack. It would be a grave error to allow conservatives to turn plaids and duck boots into symbols of fascism—what would we non-fascists wear on days when we want to feel both cozy and rugged then?”

    • I wish LL Bean (as the rare company Trump has praised) would lead the charge with the support of other large companies to stop this economic manipulation by Trump. It’s so scary to me that with one tweet, Trump can tank a company’s stock or boost its sales.

      I thought Republicans believed in free market economics – corporate bullying over Twitter is not supportive of a free market. I wonder what kind of effect this could have on corporate donations in the midterms and 2020 elections. Will companies be so beaten down by then that they won’t support anything other than Trump for fear of retribution? Is standing up to him violating their duties to their shareholders? The whole thing is concerning.

      • I agree, it’s terrifying how much affect his tweets have on the individuals and businesses he tweets about.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        YES. This is the part that concerns me – I get that Linda is the crazy aunt and L.L.Bean does plenty of good for the environment/takes care of its workers. But this shows companies that a well-timed donation can get you millions in free advertising.

        • I really doubt they are benefiting from the tweet. The vast majority of their customers are liberal, both because they sell outdoorsy stuff that appeals to people who care about the environment and because their merchandise is high quality and locally made and thus pretty expensive. To be frank, the average Trump voter can’t afford L.L.Bean. I’m not saying Trump’s tweet is going to destroy the company (I sure hope not!!) but I think the company very much wishes he hadn’t tweeted.

          • Ugh, nothing gets my blood boiling more than Trump, but. . . the average Trump voter can’t afford L.L. Bean? Are you kidding? What kind of poverty do you think 49% of the population lives in?

          • Agree with NC. LLBean is not ‘expensive’. They have sales all the time and you can buy a kid’s winter hat for under $15.

          • Anonymous :

            The signature products like the Bean boots are $120. That’s expensive, when there are alternatives at places like Target for $30. I think it’s easy for well-off people on the coasts who buy Burberry trench coats to forget this, but in huge swathes of the Midwest and South, Target is relatively high-end. I grew up in Trump country, and although my parents were very comfortable and we were not in anything resembling poverty, L.L.Bean was a splurge for us and my mom always talked about how expensive it was but how it was worth it because the stuff lasted longer. And our neighbors side-eyed us for shopping at L.L.Bean because they got their winter gear at JC Penney and K-Mart for a fraction of the cost and wanted to know why we thought we were too good for that. I don’t believe the average Trump voter is regularly dropping $120 on winter boots or $250 for a winter coat. Obviously there are some who do, but I don’t think most do. I know nobody in my hometown does, even though they’re not living in poverty.

          • +1 to Anonymous at 1:10. I great up in a rural Ohio county, and this is my experience.

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t think LL Bean is overpriced, because their prices are reasonable given the quality and flexible return policies. But I do think most Americans consider their clothing fairly expensive, and certainly most Americans living in red states (with generally lower incomes and lower cost of living) do. Keep in mind, that in most parts of most red states, you can do ok – including owning a modest single family home – on a $30k salary. But LL Bean prices look pretty different to someone making $30,000 a year than they do to the average reader of this s*te.

          • Anonymous :

            They may be expensive, but they are quality. I will grab their things first when I go to thrift stores. I know their coats actually keep you warm and that they will last, esp. for kids.

    • Me

    • Just a thought – boycotting a business affects a lot of people. If there are layoffs because of this, it will not just affect the members of the board. Real people’s lives could be affected. It is not always easy to get another good job and odds are that upper management will not just absorb the loss. These things get passed down. Is it worth it to jeopardize workers because you don’t agree with one of the board member’s politics? Could this shortsightedness be one of the reasons we are in this mess in the first place?

  22. PSA: If you were a fan of the podcast Keepin it 1600, they have started out on their own from The Ringer and have a new pod called Pod Save America.

    Didn’t realize it myself, so wanted to share.

  23. Patty Mayonnaise :

    Anyone have experience with acupuncture during pregnancy? I’m 32 weeks and baby is transverse (and has been for a few weeks now). I’ve been seeing a chiropractor regularly, but my doula has suggested potentially adding acupuncture. I just want to feel like I’ve done everything I can to get this baby into the right position, so I’d appreciate any thought/advice! (cross-posted on moms site too) Thanks, ladies!

    • Not a mom, but I have a friend who is an Eastern medicine practitioner, and she was able to turn her sister’s breach baby. Ask around for recommendations from people you trust, and as long as what’s being done can’t hurt you or the baby, you might as well try.

    • My mom’s acupuncturist turned my brother, who was breech. Second the suggestion to ask friends for a trusted acupuncturist.

  24. How do I tell my fiancé that the reason I have next to no interest in LGPs with him is because he stopped putting in any effort? I really tried to carry our gardening times for a while, I figured maybe he was just stressed or something, and I didn’t want to make him feel ashamed of finishing so quickly. I kept acting enthusiastic in the hopes that he eventually would too.

    But it’s been months and I’m just sort of over it. I get absolutely nothing out of LGPs with him so I’d rather take care of myself. Now he’s being passive aggressive toward me because I’ve stopped initiating and I generally turn him down when he tries to (fwiw his attempt to initiate is poking me with it like, here this needs your attention take care of it would you – just no). I don’t appreciate him basically accusing me of messing up our gardening life while he does nothing to improve it. I’m tired of being the one to fix everything. I want to communicate to him that he needs to put in some effort if he wants things to improve but I need a constructive way to say that. Something that’s not “maybe if you act like you care at all that I enjoy this then I will be more interested in doing this with you.”

    • With words like “lately I feel like our sex life is a bit routine. Honestly I feel like our foreplay is lacking, and like we aren’t at all focused on making sure I orgasm too. That’s what I need to get excited about this again.”

      Or, have sex and when he finishes in five minutes say “okay my turn” and tell him what you want.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I vote the second part. I think getting past the expectation that PIV is the main event would be a huge boon to humankind.

        • +1

          Also OP you can take care of yourself during too. There’s no rule that says you can’t give yourself the attention you need to get there during a LGP with a partner.

          • I wholehearted agree that’s a fine option if she’s interested, but he should also act at though he cares about her pleasure and participate in providing it.

          • Er, I definitely didn’t suggest he shouldn’t?

    • Is this bedroom-only or other issues? Even if bedroom-only, might be time for a little couples therapy.

      • I’m feeling generally like I’m carrying a lot of the burden in the relationship but he at least seems to acknowledge that he needs to improve in other areas. I’m pretty upset and frustrated by the almost-gas lighting nature of his response to the LGP issue.

        • The borderline gas-lighting is what would really concern me.

          The LGPs are not the issue. His poor ability to deal with it is cause for concern. Are you doing any pre-martial counselling sessions? Maybe you could bring it up there in terms of how to deal when an issue arises that is difficult to communicate about.

    • Omg, I totally hear you on the poking-you-with-it thing. I absolutely snapped at my husband for doing that in lieu of any actual romantic effort or foreplay (we were able to work it out in the end – I basically told him never do that to me again and fortunately, he was able to take it). I encourage you to talk to your husband now before it escalates. Say specifically that you don’t like just being poked as a matter of routine (god that sentence sounds awful) and say that you want to spice up the romance. Doing it with intention is SO much better than doing it as a matter of routine, but if all your partner does is lie there, it feels like routine. Try to identify what specifically will help you feel better and then communicate it to him. Good luck!

    • This is a big deal. It worries me that you call him your fiance. You do not want to get married if this is still an issue.

      Next time he pokes, you could tell him to do x first and see how he responds.

  25. frustrated :

    Question for the lawyers and I guess bankers:

    How do you find out how much money someone has? Someone owes us money and I suspect/worry he could be hiding it in different assets. I have heard about a citation or something to determine assets, but that comes after judgment. In the meantime, how do I know he isn’t buying time just to move money around? Is the only way to hire an investigator? We are already in arbitration if that helps. At this point, I just want our attorney’s fees paid.

    • Marshmallow :

      This is probably an overly simplistic answer, but if you have attorney’s fees to pay, you have a lawyer, right? This is definitely a question for your own attorney because the ability to issue discovery subpoenas, etc., can vary widely depending on where you’re mediating. If you were in court, your lawyer could handle this with discovery requests. But bottom line, ask your lawyer.

  26. Has anyone seen ads everywhere for the ‘Fascia Blaster’? On one hand, I know it’s not some miracle device the cures cellulite and I find their advertising methods reprehensible for preying on hope with totally unverified pseudo-scientific claims. On the other hand, it does look like it could help with my tight back and hamstrings in a way that foam rollers and other tools just don’t because they don’t penetrate enough. Any experience or opinions one way or another?

    • It kind of looks like “the stick.” I use that for my calves and I like it. It can get deeper than my foam roller.

    • It’s complete nonsense. Stretch. Use a foam roller. Do not randomly assault your body with plastic crap from Internet lady du jour. do not let yourself be the type of person who buys a fascia blaster. Get a tennis ball and PT.

    • Coach Laura :

      Instead of fascia blaster I have recommended The Miracle Ball set from amazon here before. Absolutely gets underneath shoulder blades – that’s my fav use for it. Comes w two balls and instructions for $12 last time I looked.

  27. I was looking at Nordstrom after following the link to the Madewell skirt, and couldn’t help but note this lovely sleeved Ellen Tracy sheath number is down to $64 with lots of colors and sizes left.

  28. I just found out that my insurance company denied the approval request for the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid surgery I was hoping to have this year. I am super disappointed and frustrated, especially since they approved it last year and I waited. I am going to appeal it and use our health advocate program and my doctor’s office is going to work on it as well, but I was really excited about it. This is a great example of why I try to never get my hopes up about anything!

    • I’m so sorry :-( I hope that it gets worked out on appeal! Do something nice for yourself tonight.

      • Thanks. As of 2015, the BAHA is the only FDA approved rehabilitation for the type of hearing loss that I have. I am checking to see if that is still true today. The insurance company said that both the provider and I can file an appeal and I plan to do that once I receive my denial letter.

        I was set to grade quizzes after work and then meet some friends out for a drink later. My instinct is to hermit when I am upset, so we will see!

    • Anonymous :

      Frustrating. I hear you.

      Something like this…. definitely appeal. It is pretty standard to reject this flat out, especially if there are not published recs to the contrary.

      Who did the initial request for the device? Was a letter written, or just a pre-determination request? Will the audiologist be willing to assist with writing a letter now?

      I recommend YOU be in charge of the appeal, gathering a letter from the doctor (he may have to send directly) and writing a letter yourself. Also, contact the manufacturer of the device. They often have recommendations of arguments/evidence that assist in winning appeals. Finally, always end your letters with a statement as to why this device will not only improve your quality of life (because they don’t care about that…. honestly…. you save money for them if you die!)…. that it will save them money. Factor in the costs of purchasing ?hearing aids/doctor visits/alternative treatments long term, and ask the doctor/internet for any/all complications that could be a result of not having them and how that might be worse for the insurance company long term.

      And even if they reject the appeal, you go on to the next step. Write the same letter, with an additional bit of information as to how this device is becoming the standard of care, as that level of re-appeal will go to a more specialized, and thoughtful reviewing doctor.

      Good luck. And go get that drink with friends. THAT is the right way to recover from this setback, and get ready for the next stage of your fight.

      You can do it!

      • Thank you so much!! This is very helpful. I was thinking about asking the doctor to write a letter and definitely will be now.

        The initial request was made by the provider – the otolaryngologist’s office. I have had the CT scan and was cleared by the doctor as an excellent candidate. The insurance approval was the last step prior to scheduling surgery. I’m not 100%, but I think it was just a pre-determination request vs. a letter. Based on my interactions with the doctor, I would be surprised if he and/or the audiologist wouldn’t be willing to write a letter in support. I am very pleased with the practice. I also had a lymph node biopsy done there, although by a different doctor.

        Thank you again for the suggestions and encouragement!

      • UGH, my long response is stuck in moderation for some reason.

        The summary of my long response: THANK YOU! I have saved your post so that I can reference it when I am preparing my appeal.

    • Are you a lawyer? Just asking b/c you might want to join the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association.
      I don’t know anything about BAHA (I have a cochlear implant) but here is an account of how many appeals it took for this guy to get insurance reimbursement for a cochlear implant replacement:

  29. Anyone tried these shoes? I am curious, because they meet my very specific requirements for shoes (non-leather, totally flat, business casual) but would love to hear a review from someone who’s actually worn them and isn’t getting paid to blog about them.

    Feel free to leave a referral link if you have one, if I do decide to purchase I’d be happy to go through it.

    • I ordered a pair, and unfortunately they didn’t fit my slightly wide feet. :( Their website advises you to order a half size up if you feet are wide, so I ordered both my usual size and a half size up. My usual size was too narrow, and the half size up flopped off the backs of my heels. For reference, when I buy leather shoes that are slightly narrow in exactly the same way, I keep them because I know they’ll stretch. Rothy’s says their shoes won’t stretch over time though, so I returned them.

      I was really disappointed because they were _super_ comfortable and I think they have a very versatile look. If they start making them in wide sizes, I intend to try again.

      • Thanks, that’s helpful. I think I will give them a try, although I have a slightly wide toebox so it may not work. Worth a shot, though.

  30. Looking for some shopping assistance from the hive. We’ve has an unseasonably warm winter where I am, so I’ve found myself looking for clothes that don’t look super summery, but aren’t especially warm. My go to has become short sleeve dresses with leggings and booties – super comfortable, but put together and appropriate for most things in my life (no work dress code to worry about). I’m posting a link to my unicorn dress below (fit and flare, perfect length, machine wash). If it came in 10 colors I’d just buy all of them, but it only comes in one, and I’m wearing it as I type this. Thanks!


      • Nordstrom’s search tools are great–you can specify size, length, and profile of dresses.




  31. Away carry-on :

    Has anybody purchased an Away carry-on? I am in the market for a new carryon suitcase and considering it…

    • I was wondering about this too! It looks like the new Tumi, what with the lifetime guarantee and all. I really want one.

    • Yes — I have one. The smallest rollaboard suitcase. I am not used to hardshell or spinners (had a $100 costco suitcase that was well worth the $ and lasted 15 years before it), but it is very, very lightweight and I’ve dragged it around NYC/subways quite easily in a suit and dress shoes for a week.

      It was that or some really kid-friendly looking stuff from amazon and I felt that these looked very good for work travel. I didn’t get black — too easy to mix up when you have to gate check all of a sudden.

      Also, it worked perfectly with a very overstuffed OG bag riding on top of it.

      I will confess that I fell in love with the hand-painted monograms you can get. It’s like having a Goyard-ish item (with a ton of $ left over).

    • I have the bigger rollaboard one and I love it. I travel 5 days per week, every week, usually on bigger planes but sometimes on a smaller CRJ, and usually uber or public transit to a hotel. It’s lightweight, easy to pack/close, and I love the dark green color. I had an old nylon tumi that bit the dust, and chose to replace it with the hardsided- a decision I dont regret in the least.

      I wish the handle was a little more substantial- it’s pretty lightweight plastic, and so it has some give to it, especially when fully open. The wheels are similarly lightweight- great in airports with hard flooring (DTW, DCA, LAX) but it’s more difficult to roll on carpet (PDX).

      I also like the handles and how they mostly lay flat to the bag- although this means that when handing your bag to an uber driver, you almost always touch fingers. Keep in mind that the clamshell design means you have to splay it wide open in hotel rooms- it’s not great at sitting on a luggage stand.

      Overall, it’s a great option and at about $200, I wont feel awful if I need to replace it in a few years. I used a 20% referral link from a blogger. (Hitha, IIRC)

      One more note: I can be found rolling my away bag around with a very overstuffed OG on top, frequently wearing a MM LaFleur Etsuko dress- I always feel like the combination of these three items makes me easily identifiable to other members of this very specific niche of women shoppers. If you see me rollin’, say hi!

  32. Tips for solo international travel? I’ve traveled internationally, but always with a friend or partner. Now I’m single and want to spend some travel time alone. However, I’m concerned about safety as a young-ish woman. I’m think of Europe, perhaps Spain, Italy, or Portugal. I speak fluent Spanish.

    • Over the years, I’ve done Hungary (spas in Budapest = amazing), Poland, Slovakia, Russia, italy, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Greece, London, Spain, Portugal and a few others alone (mostly because I meet friends in certain places and then tack on a trip elsewhere). I actually love travelling alone–I get to do what I want when I want to do it–no fighting over itineraries, etc.

      I would make very sure to have an Amex, because their travel assistance offices are amazing. Have multiple ways of accessing money (ask me about the time a Russian ATM ate my ATM card!) and know your PINs. Do not carry all ways of accessing money with you at once, in case you are mugged.

      This may affect your fun a bit, but I was always very careful about not going out late at night (dinner, drinks, fine…clubbing alone, not so much). I also preferred to get a personal room at a hostel rather than a room at a hotel, so that people could keep tabs on me.

      Make sure you send your itinerary to folks and check in with regular frequency.

      Get a burner phone so you can text and keep in touch easily with others (back home or where you are).

      Don’t bring valuables. Do bring a tablet or smartphone that you can access the internet with. Always be aware of your surroundings and how to get back to your home base.

      There’s a Thorn Tree forum on this on Lonely Planet. I’d check there too.

      • I don’t recommend Amex. I travel frequently to Europe (I have family there). Last time I was there, a friend was with me, and she got an Amex specifically for the trip. Every single time that she tried to use it, they told her that they don’t take American Express. I have Visa and have never had a problem, especially now that I have a chip.

        • In contrast, I travel in Europe very regularly and have only had my Amex turned down once. I get turned down far more often in the US.

    • YMMV, but I find that adding a few days onto a business trip or going somewhere to visit a friend and then traveling around locally for a few days by myself (e.g. you visit a friend in London and take the train to Paris for a long weekend) is a lot more fun and less lonely than just setting out completely by myself for a new destination. I’ve explored solo all over the US, plus Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki and Santiago, Chile – I felt safe in pretty much all those destinations. My creepiest experience was in Paris, but it was just a sleazy guy and I never feared for my physical safety. Speaking the language certainly helps with travel in general so a Spanish or English speaking country might be a good place to start. There are tons of travel bl0gs and Instagrams focusing on solo female travelers.

      • I love solo travel as well, especially where there is a friend who goes about their day. ON your safety point, I felt safe, but oddly find the men in London super forward–I’ve had men follow me in London twice!

        I also want to recommend Japan/Croatia/Scotland/Mexico City.

    • Anonymous :

      Safety wise, as a young woman in Western Europe you will be as safe, if not safer, than in Boston, NYC, or LA. Don’t get lost and blackout drunk, and if Lonely Planet says a neighborhood has safety issues skip it.

    • Anonymous :

      I went solo to Nicaragua with almost no plans other than my first night booked at a hotel, roamed the country for 2.5 weeks using public transportation and sometimes didn’t know where I was staying until I arrived in a city/town. I’m a woman in my 20s who speaks no spanish and I met plenty of other solo travelers of different ages, genders and nationalities. It was awesome and I had no problems except the one time I stupidly couldn’t find the place I was staying (where I had already dropped all my luggage and passport!) because it was night and there are no street addresses (directions are like, “turn left two lights after the dusky house”); I also broke my phone mid-trip so that was a bit of a handicap. I am wide-eyed, directionally-challenged, not an experienced traveler, and super obviously a gringa, and I was 100% fine. People like to be really alarmist about young women traveling alone but I don’t think it’s that much more dangerous than being a young woman at home… take reasonable precautions, but don’t be nervous or limit yourself! Oh, one thing, I did stay sober and alert the whole time, and I’m from a big city so I have some street smarts.

    • Oneika the traveler has a couple posts about that on her blog

  33. First Passport :

    I’m (almost) 36, single and just got my first passport! Where should I go first? (nowhere too pricey)

    • What do you like to do? Any destination that has always intrigued you or that you’ve seen photos of that you think are beautiful?

    • What’s your comfort level?

      The touristy areas of Mexico and the Caribbean are cheap and easy to navigate but you will still be in a developing country where English isn’t the first language once you are outside of the tourist zone.

      Ireland and England are English-speaking and European. Price-y. But there is history, art, and culture if that’s what floats your boat.

      Australia and New Zealand are also English-speaking and tons of fun.

      Do you have any friends abroad that you want to visit? Anything you’ve always wanted to see or do?

    • What are your interests? Will you go with a friend? Western Europe is often easier than elsewhere in the world because of the cultural similarities. Can def be pricey though. You could look at cheap flights via kayak dot com / explore and pick a destination that way.

    • Canada! Nearby, safe, and relatively inexpensive. Try Montreal for a European feel, Ottawa for the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and Banff/Jasper for stunning natural beauty.

      See NY Times 52 places to visit in 2017 for more inspiration.

    • It depends on where you live and how much you want to spend on plane tickets, but I’ve done a ton of solo international travel. The places I’ve gone that I think of as good “starter” trips:

      -Scotland. I did a trip to Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and Inverness, but there are a million places you could go, it’s safe and beautiful, and everyone speaks English. Travel infrastructure is good and easy to navigate.

      -Portugal. I visited Lisbon (with a day trip to Sintra) and Porto. It’s a very manageable sort of country – not too big and not too busy – and I found people extremely friendly. Solo female travelers were less common than in Scotland, but no one was *too* terribly surprised that I was on my own. The food is amazing, the cities are beautiful, and it’s very affordable. English is widely spoken (NB: I found that people really preferred speaking to me in English to speaking to me in Spanish, in which I’m fluent, although Spanish is widely spoken there as well).

      -Chile would also be a slightly more adventurous option. English is less widely spoken outside of major cities, but travel infrastructure is good and the country is safe (subject to standard concerns in big urban centers). You need a pretty solid amount of time to spend in Chile, though, because its stringbean geography means travel times between destinations are long.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I just got back from London and while it is not cheap, the exchange rate is extremely favorable right now and it was just amazing.

  34. Signs you are a Canadian lawyer – you set up a meeting to discuss next steps in the polar bear case. No cases involving beavers though.

  35. Sloan Sabbith :

    I had a dog parka from LLBean sent to my parents’ dog about a month ago. It didn’t fit. They don’t have it in stock and sent a check….to my parents’ dog. I had the coat sent to “Puppy Sabbith” at my parents’ address.

    How in god’s name does my dad get that check cashed? It’s only for $30, but I’d kind of like the money back. Obviously I didn’t foresee this particular issue.

    • LL Bean has good customer service. I am sure if you or your dad call and explain the situation, they’ll cut another check.

    • 1) Have puppy sabbith and your dad both endorse the back of the check and deposit as normal? Kidding…
      2) Chat/call a customer service representative and tell them what’s going on. They can figure something out.

    • Baconpancakes :

      LOL. I know this is probably actually annoying for you, but I appreciate the hilarity of the check being written out to Puppy Sabbith.

      • The pharmacy that compounds my dog’s medicationa addresses the packages using my dog’s name, which means I can’t have it held at the UPS customer center using my own MyChoice account nor can I show a government form of identification that matches the package LOL The conversations with the customer service reps when I call are always amusing. CountCDog is my dog not a human resident. No, he doesn’t have his own MyChoice account nor does he have his on ID.

        Luckily (and embarrassingly), the folks at the UPS customer center know me because I can’t have packages left at my house in the city and am there somewhat often.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Oh, I find it absolutely hilarious. I’ll have my dad call customer service. Not even annoying, just hilarious. I do want the $30, but the amusement factor is worth it for the time being.

        CountC, laughing out loud.

  36. Anonymous :

    My SO and I plan to get married, but in a few years (we’re 26). I needed insurance, and luckily his company offers domestic partnership benefits. Now that I’m insured through his company, we realized his company is paying over $300 per paycheck for my benefits, and this is attributable as taxable income to him. Also, my premiums are higher due to being a DP and not a spouse.

    Would any of you just go ahead and get married to save a few grand? We are seriously considering it.

    • Presumably, there is a reason you’re waiting to get married — I think that reason is probably worth a few grand.

      • Anonymous :

        Good point. I think our main reason for waiting is just external pressure from society/family/peers. A shotgun wedding would be looked down upon from our perspective.

    • What are the other tax implications? If you both work, the tax implications will vary significantly depending on both of your incomes. You might actually already be saving money by not getting married.

      You can check the tax tables to figure it out:

    • anonymous :

      Get married if you’re ready to, don’t if you’re not. If this is only a matter of timing, then yeah I’d go ahead and get married. If it’s other things, I’d wait. So basically, my answer depends on why you want to wait for a few years to get married.

    • Anonymous :

      No help – and I’m thinking this might be you – but there’s an AAM thread about what sounds like a similar situation that might have advice/more commiseration for you.

    • YMMV and of course you are not me, but I got married for similar reasons. The marriage fell apart in less than two years, mostly because my husband got terribly depressed. I still wonder if we would have worked out if he’d had time to adjust to the changes in his life slowly, and work through them before signing that document.

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