Wednesday’s Workwear Report: The Fey Top

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

We’re picturing this MM.LaFleur top in French blue, but it also comes in boysenberry. I think it just looks like a gorgeous, basic wear-to-work (and out) kind of piece — it’s actually the sleeved version of an older style, the Blixen Top. It has a bunch of flattering tucks and folds, and it pairs with some of MM.LaFleur’s skirts, if you like the dress look. Customers have mentioned that it’s bust-friendly and maternity-friendly, and you should also note that it’s hand washable (and you can iron it on low) but labeled “dry clean preferred.” The top comes in sizes XS-XL for $145. The Fey Top

Here’s a lower-priced option and a plus-size alternative.

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

(L-all)

Comments

  1. anonymous :

    So I love this outfit and would love to wear it all the time. That said, is this something one can reasonably wear to work in a business casual (dressier end) environment? I’m sure it’s a know your office thing, but I have such a hard time figuring that out.

    • I think so. This is the type of top that can be dressed up with a nice pair of slacks or dressed more casually with a pair of jeans.

    • I think so too.

    • I like the top, but did they photoshop out the break between the top and skirt in this photo?? I could not figure out how this was a top (and not a dress) until I went to the MM La Fleur site.

      • Marshmallow :

        I have seen this top and ones like it in the store (though not tried them on) and I think it just does actually look that seamless. The ruching hides the break.

      • I think I’m the photo you’re referencing, they pulled the skirt up? If not, I’m really confused too!

  2. That top looks lovely, but is mostly viscose, not comfortable in a way that I could forget about it and focus on something else.

  3. SwimmerShoulders :

    My M.M.L. input is that their tops are meant for gals with small frames.

    • anonymous :

      Really? I have broad shoulders and haven’t had a problem at all.

    • I’ve had mixed results. I wear a size large, and some of their blouses didn’t leave enough room for “the girls.” Mostly the shell ones. However, the Deneuve top is one of my favs (perhaps the split front allows for more chest and shoulder room), and I just got a pullover knit top with short sleeves I like.

  4. Someone in my business casual law office is selling lulu-roe (spelling?). Now everyone is wearing brightly colored crazy-patterned leggings under babydoll-style dresses. It looks awful and probably costs a fortune. The kids in my sons preschool look more sophisticated. Why?

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      They’re wearing them to work?!?!

      • Fleece slob :

        HAH! Vindication! I’m not the only loony looking person out there.

        p.s. thank you everyone who chimed in with suggestions the other day. I am giving my sad formerly yellow fleece to goodwill and have ordered a potential replacement from athleta. I like the idea of fewer better things, but am not really sure where to start.

        • Anonymous :

          From reading your previous post I’m pretty sure your yellow fleece didn’t look “loony” FYI.

          I’m not in the states but everyone on this board who is always recommends the Nordstrom personal shopping experience. Or you could fall into the Pinterest rabbit hole of capsule wardrobes. I used to live in a small city that had an independently owned women’s clothing store and they were so helpful in building my wardrobe – got to know me and my style and were always helpful with what would look good and what would fit with the rest of my wardrobe. Maybe there’s something similar near you?

          Have fun shopping for your new look!

        • I’m sorry if my post came off like something out of “mean girls.” I’m normally not the fashion police- I just hate the mlm scheme and the faux -creativity and faux-fashion of this. Fashion not your thing? Value comfort over looks? That’s cool-I probably won’t even notice.

          • It’s a pretty toxic MLM. I spoke to several people in my last job as a small business consultant who had lost thousands of dollars. They don’t restrict how many people can sell the clothes, so in some places competition is beyond fierce and people will only buy at steep discounts, which the consultant has to eat because they buy everything up front (at not-that-great of a wholesale price). Also, the whole idea that the “consultant” can’t pick the patterns they purchase wholesale boggles my mind. Some of those patterns are uuuugggllly and won’t sell at any price.

          • I’m anonymous at 9:24 and didn’t find your post snaky. I mean, everybody has to please themselves but the outfit described by the OP would also, for me, be “loony.” I just wouldn’t equate your yellow fleece with it is all!

          • Fleece slob :

            Oh, I wasn’t upset by anything or anyone. I’m just laughing at myself over here. Lularoe does look kind of wacky. My SAHM sister likes it, and I think it’s great for that. Her kid can find her at the playground. I tried on one of her dresses and looked very unfortunate in it.

            FWIW, the friend of mine who is most obsessed with LLR is a lawyer, which I find weird, but clearly we are living in strange times.

        • Anonymous :

          I think this thread jinxed me! My tenured professor colleagues, savvy attractive women, 55+, just stocked up at a campus sale and are indeed plotting how to render them office appropriate. I’m hoping time will work some magic and stop it.

      • KS IT Chick :

        Hospital IT here, and yes, they do. To date, no one has asked me to join in the buying frenzy, probably because of my penchant for dress slacks & structured blazers.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh no. No no no no no. I am all for the idea of body confidence, in terms of wearing eye-catching skin-tight prints, but more for, you know, workout and weekend wear.

      • Yes! Then they post on Facebook about how fantastic they look. Normally I’d think ” eh, not my style..” but the Mlm aspect just kills me. Appropriate or not I just feel like people have been duped.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        How business casual are we talking? Like, do you work at a daycare? Even then….

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Sorry, saw hospital IT: Children’s hospital? Are you supposed to be like, an amusement for the patients while also doing your job?

          • KS IT Chick :

            Nope, a community hospital in a town of 27k people. Officially, the dress code for our department is business casual with no visible ink or open-toed shoes. I regularly see the ink on someone’s feet when she wears sandals. But then, we only recently made pantyhose optional, and a number of people ignored that, too.

    • Oh my.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Has someone in HR not spoken to them? That sounds so not appropriate for work.

    • I work in a very casual workplace, as in jeans, sneakers (and no, not the fashionable ones) and bad sweaters are the norm in the winter. Shorts with flip-flops are the norm in summer. I’ve seen this same phenomenon here, and I just have no words for it. So even in a casual work environment, I give this a giant nope.

    • Ugh. This is starting to happen at my small business casual law office as well. A female attorney in my office has worn it twice this week. I do. not. get. it.

      • It’s an epidemic….

        • big orange drink :

          +1000. It’s everywhere here too. It hasn’t invaded my law firm yet but it is only a matter of time. I’m all about a legging and wear thick ponte ones with tunics to the office on non-client days but…the crazy prints.? Nope, nope, nope.

    • I’m in my Bay Area bubble and had never heard of lularoe. I just went to their website. That sh it is hideous. People wear it to work???

      • OMG, I had heard of this via my mommy listserve, but I just went to the website for the first time too. This literally looks like the grown-up version of what the girls in my kids’ preschool wear to class. What would possess people to think this is acceptable office attire? Thank goodness I’m at a stuffy east coast law firm. I think this epidemic will not breach our walls.

    • lucy stone :

      I wear it to work sometimes (Business casual government) BUT I don’t wear the crazy prints, generally just solids or stripes. I have a bunch of crazy leggings but reserve them for momming on the weekends. Most of my dresses don’t look any different than something I’ll buy at Lands’ End. That said, some of the patterns are sooooo ugly, but to each their own.

  5. I just paid off my loans! Freedom!

  6. Midwestern Constituent :

    It looks like White House tours are back on, starting March 7. I’ve made my request again, so let’s hope I can get tickets. Thanks to all of you for giving me some insight into the situation.

    • Midwestern Constituent :

      Here’s the link about it, in case anyone else is interested.

      https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/14/first-lady-melania-trump-announces-reopening-white-house-visitors-office

  7. Shameless request for shopping help: I’m going with my bf to his older brother’s wedding in April, in Atlanta, hosted at their house. I have 0 idea what to wear, and any links or suggestions would be great. Price range is <200 and I would rather not RTR, but have something I can wear again. I think it might be partially indoor/outdoor as they have a lot of yard.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Colorful short dress, it’ll be warm. Something like this would work (doesn’t have to be long-sleeved): https://www.jcrew.com/p/A9022

    • Depending on how you feel about it, Lily Pulitzer is always a solid choice for a spring wedding in the South with the caveat that you may end up in the same dress as someone else!

      • Anon in NOVA :

        ^ditto this. Go Lily.

        • Team Lily for the win. Will be in the 70s this weekend, esp. on Sunday.

          • big orange drink :

            If you are not a Lily person, check our Trina Turk. Lily is a little too preppy for me, but Trina Turk is bright like Lily but more fancy hippie graphic prints.

    • Anonymous :

      Flowery dress with a sweater shrug/cropped cardigan/wrap if its chilly.

      • +1

        We southerners really overdo the AC. If it’s indoor/outdoor, you’ll want sleeveless for outside or you’ll roast, and a sweater/wrap for inside or you’ll freeze. Something cocktail length and colorful/floral will do the trick.

    • What about something like this
      http://m.saksoff5th.com/pd.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302023681&productCode=0400093754052&R=628707878656&P_name=Cynthia+Rowley&N=302023681+4294964796&bmUID=lF0hEvZ

    • Senior Attorney :

      And remember not to wear spikey heels if there’s a chance you’ll be standing on grass! (Ask me how I know this…)

  8. DC getaway :

    I just can’t take my crazy kids (home sick for the last week, but now recovered) and my tiny apartment anymore. The thought of a three-day weekend at home is putting me over the edge, so I’d like to take advantage of the fact that they’re pretty good travelers. Any ideas on where to go for a last-minute getaway with two toddlers that’s within a 5 or 6 hour drive from DC? Warm is preferred.

    • You would drive for 5-6 hours….. twice…. in 3 days…. with a 5 and 6 year old…. rather than stay in your apartment?

      Honey, I think you should spend the weekend looking for a new home and MOVE.

      • Oh my gosh, I totally get this! Sometimes a change of scenery is what you need when the walls start closing in on you and the same old toys don’t interest them. Also…ipads for the car ride. You go, DC Getaway! Have fun and re-claim your sanity!

        • +1. I am a not so SAH kinda parent. My kids go nuts indoors, and after a long week of being home, I would do the same. If there is availability, I would look at places with indoor water parks — Massanutten or Great Wolf Lodge? They have all kinds of activities to get you out and about, tired and then home for sleep. Even staying at a Hershey hotel will give you an indoor water park, which is easy and fun with my 2 and 4 year olds.

          • Massanutten, Hershey, or Colonial Williamsburg/Yorktown/Jamestown would be my recs. VA is supposed to be 60-70 with sun this weekend.

    • VA wine country and a babysitter.

    • Anon in NOVA :

      Outer Banks? Virginia Beach? Ocean City? None are likely to be too warm, but you never know.
      Philadelphia? I did a day trip there once to expedite my passport when my son was 3 and we had a great day!

    • DC getaway :

      Thanks for these ideas! I’ll start checking them out now. Indoor waterparks are a good idea that hadn’t occurred to me. Normally the small apartment works fine, but after all the extra time at home, a change of scenery will be a welcome reset. Thanks again.

    • My parents took me to Hershey, PA when I was 5-ish, and I still remember the wonder of all that chocolate. We just did the free clamshell ride and big chocolate store, not the amusement park. And we stopped at some park and saw lots (hundreds? or my 5-year-old imagination?) of geese on a lake. Seriously, go somewhere. It’s the small things when they’re little.

    • We stayed at a hotel with a great small waterpark in Lancaster, PA. It was the Double Tree Resort and it had a zero entry pool and a toddler slide. There are lots of horse and buggy / farm options to visit nearby and an awesome train museum. It’s a fantastic toddler destination.

    • Hershey, PA; Lancaster, PA (you could stay in Lancaster and visit Hershey or vice versa – they’re about 30 minutes apart). Baltimore for the aquarium; Philly – Please Touch, Franklin Institute, and Camden Aquarium.

      • My mom was one of those people who insisted on making every moment of every vacation “educational”. Super restful. Anyway, the best out of any of the hundreds (?) of museums I went to in my entire childhood was the Franklin Institute. I loved that place.

    • With kids that age, I’d do a couple daytrips. Being stuck in a hotel room seems even worse to me than being stuck in the house! The Air and Space Annex at Dulles one day, a day trip to Cumberland to ride the Maryland Scenic Railroad another. There are also a few indoor water parks in the area including one in Columbia. Certifikid has some other good ideas.

    • Camelback lodge in PA – same schtick as Great Wolf but newer/cleaner

  9. Husband trouble :

    My husband lost his job this week. He is 46, and this is his fourth job in 10 years. (He worked in a different field for the previous 14 years.) This is the first time he’s actually been terminated; the other three jobs he was given a heads up that he needed to find something else. Every time it boils down to the same thing– he disagrees with a direction or strategy he’s asked to carry out, thinks he knows better, and generally is difficult to work with.

    He wants me to be more supportive, but I am having trouble.

    I am so angry/sad/scared. Angry because this is a demonstrable pattern (he will admit it) and yet he can’t adjust his behavior. Sad for him that he is a smart guy who just can’t let go of destructive behavior (and sad for me and our three children who are about to be in huge austerity mode–we have 6 month emergency fund, and college is mostly funded, but I don’t have a lot of faith that he will be replacing even 50% of his salary anytime soon). And scared because I don’t see his idea of building a consulting practice as a realistic path forward.

    Our marriage is fine, not amazing, but so far, the good has outweighed the bad. Divorce has seriously crossed my mind, but it would devastate our children, I don’t think it would be right to kick him like that, and I definitely don’t want to pay alimony.

    If anyone has thoughts on how I can deal with this, I’d be grateful.

    • Anonymous :

      “I’m not supportive. This is your fault and we both know it. Why do you feel entitled to live like you don’t have responsibilities? Why are you looking for me to support you instead of trying to figure out a way for you to be supportive of our family?”

      Seething silence isn’t better.

      • This is very wise

      • I think expressing your frustration clearly is important, but along the lines of what mascot said I would maybe wait a few days/a week to be quite this blunt to allow myself to process things a bit and get to a place where I can express frustration while remaining calm.

        I also think it sounds like your husband needs a career change. Maybe consulting is the right choice, maybe it isn’t. But it seems clear his current path isn’t working and is putting stress on both of you and has been for some time. Whatever choice he makes, it’s important that he listen to your input and consider his responsibilities as a father when he makes that decision.

    • If your marriage is otherwise solid, I’m not sure why you’re thinking divorce instead of therapy (for him and/or both) and career coaching/counseling for him. Divorce is unlikely to improve your overall financial situation.

    • Anon in NOVA :

      Start putting money in a separate account just in case, though….

      • Anonymous :

        I wouldn’t do this, it’s shady and depending on what state you live in it may not even matter in the event of a divorce. If you want a divorce, get a divorce. Personally, I’d start with counseling since you say the good outweighs the bad. But don’t go behind your spouse’s back and secretly stash money away (I can kind of see doing this if the problem is spouse’s compulsive spending and so by hiding money you are essentially protecting him from himself – but if the only issue is that he regularly loses his job and he’s responsible with the money he has, don’t put money in a secret account).

        • Yeah, if the OP was posting to tell us that she learned her husband had been secretly putting money in an account to be prepared for a divorce, we’d all be livid. That’s not something you did when you’re playing on the same marital team. It’s understandable if your spouse is controlling and likely to cut off your access to funds, but nothing here suggests this.

    • I also favor therapy.

      My father is similar to your husband. It turned out he had mental health/personality issues contributing. It is very, very difficult to change these behaviors on your own.

      Oddly, he did better as a consultant, with shorter term gigs. But it was not his own business, where he needed to cultivate his own clients. He was affiliated with a consulting “company” (just a guy who found the jobs) that placed him in gigs. My Dad always felt he could turn down projects he didn’t like, and everything was shorter term, so personality conflicts were more controlled. It worked. However, my father was pretty brilliant so people put up with him and he was constantly working because his work was good. This may or may not work for your husband’s field.

      Time for a serious talk with your husband, and therapy……

      My parents separated ….

      • Coach Laura :

        Building off anon’s post – some type of consulting might work in tandem with other things. (But reading your comment below – not Writing a book.). Depending on his field and his expertise he may be able to join a loose group of consultants that functions as a way to get business for group members. (CFO Solutions is one.) I think those people work as non-employees on a contract basis.

        He could work as a temporary employee-my industry uses these types of hired guns for 6-12 month stints.

        He could try temporary agencies and work those in between with consulting jobs.

        These options would have the benefit of keeping him from being bored and sabotaging himself.

        But he needs a plan and a realistic idea of what he could make. And if he has a pattern of destructive behavior a therapist maybe be needed but that’s hard to do when broke and needing a job.

        Lastly hang in there.

        Typing on my phone so excuse the hasty post.

    • I have no experience but I can totally understand why this would be so hard. Marriage is a partnership in love and practicalities like providing for a family and it seems like he’s not pulling his weight, and not intending to change anything about that soon. I could see how that would drive a wedge between two people. I’m sure this is one of those things that therapy is indicated for but all I have to offer is hugs.

    • Anonymous :

      There are some people who are really bad at working for others but extremely successful as small business owners. It sounds like your husband might be one of them. If you can afford it, why not let him try building his own consulting practice and see where it goes? Maybe work out some ground rules, like he will give up on the venture in a year if it hasn’t earned X amount of money, or there will only be Y amount of money put into the business until it becomes profitable. I certainly understand your frustration, but I also understand why he’d be frustrated if he wants to start his own business and you’ve prevented him from doing that.
      I agree that whatever you decide with respect to his job you could benefit from therapy.

    • This sounds very challenging. I’m sorry you’re having to go through this.

      My husband (a lawyer) had horrible experiences as an associate because of some of the same traits that you describe. Once he recognized how difficult he is to supervise, he stopped working for other people and started his own practice so he can make his own decisions about ‘strategy’ and ‘direction.’ Everyone is happier.

      If he’s a jerk to you and the kids, I’d say the job losses are only one part of a larger issue. But if his character flaws are really just amplified by the type of work setting he’s been in, maybe this ‘new’ career just isn’t a good fit for him. Can he go back to what he did before? Is there another direction his work life can take?

      If he takes ownership of his participation in his current situation, I’d say this can be salvaged. If not – talk to a family law attorney now, just to get the landscape of what your options are.

      And, hugs.

    • He lost his job this week- so this news is what, 72 hours old at most? You’ve got a 6 month emergency fund. Give yourself some time to process your emotions. You are entitled to feel all of these sad/hurt/scared/angry things (as is he), but realize that this is still really new. Allow yourself a little bit of time and space to grieve here without automatically going to worst case scenario. Counseling would probably help; maybe he needs to reconsider his choice of field (although 4 jobs in 10 years may not be that unusual).

      • PatsyStone :

        +1 I would be SO ANGRY if I got this news this week, and would have panicked and none of it would help. Try to give yourself some time to sit with this. Lots and lots of hugs to you, I honestly feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it. You and your kids will be ok.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Hugs.

      A few additional thoughts. I’ve found it very helpful to use the “Scarlett O’Hara grace period” technique of marriage. (I just made this term up.) When something is happening that makes me really think about divorce, or question whether my husband is really invested in the relationship, but I know it would be unethical/unworkable/not what I really want, I tell myself “I’ll think about that in X period of time.” And then I write it down, and I do. Sometimes hours, sometimes months. Every time I look back and go, oh I just didn’t have the perspective I have now. It gives me peace of mind about the “what if nothing changes/things stay this bad/things get worse?” Because I have a plan, and a grace period.

      • This is a great idea, and while things are good in my marriage now, I will definitely use it in the future!

      • This is great advice. Not everything has an immediately-obvious solution. I am so bad about expecting that, sometimes.

      • Great Idea :

        I’ve saved myself from a lot of stupid decisions by saying to myself “If I still want to do this tomorrow at 12 PM, I give myself permission.” This is usually a late-night idea that would be terrible (for example, texting my abusive ex). Not ONCE has next-day me thought that idea was good the next morning; most of the time I just forget about it.

    • I understand your frustration (really, I do). As the spouse who just came out of unemployment, I can say it really, really helped to have a spouse who let me figure out what would be a good fit. Counseling/career coaching could be part of that, but it just takes time.

      You mentioned you feel bad for yourself and your kids because you’ll be going through a “huge austerity mode.” We also had to do that, although with just one child. I don’t know how old your children are, but please be careful of your attitude and statements about money and about your husband when you’re around them (even if you end up pursuing divorce). I’m not saying “austerity mode” is fun, but your children will ultimately be happy if they are loved and feel secure in their relationships with you and your husband.

    • It’s not inconceivable he could start a consulting practice, but independent practices take time to start generating cash flow. He needs to start right now working his network and setting up meetings, if that’s what he plans to do. I had plenty of clients who made a decent living as independent consultants, but it took them at least a couple of years, generally, to start generating real cash.

      You said he was in a different field years ago where he was more stable. Is it possible this field, or the roles he’s been in, aren’t a good fit for him? Is it worth exploring a change back to the other field, or different types of roles than he’s been getting?

      In any case, I think therapy is a good idea for him and for the two of you as a couple. If he won’t go, go by yourself. I don’t know any long-married person who hasn’t thought seriously about divorce, but if you love him, he’s a good father, and most of the marriage works, it’s worth trying to save it.

      Big hugs. I’m sorry this is happening, but maybe getting fired will be a catalytic event for him, and he can look at what he needs to change about himself to make life work going forward.

    • Everyone, thank you for the kind words. Your kindness really does make me feel much better.

      Without going into excrutiating detail, part of what my husband wants to spend time doing is spec work that won’t necessarily ever be paid (think: writing a book) but he feels will benefit his proposed consulting practice. I have a real problem with that kind of risk.

      I do appreciate the advice to take a little time with this before panicking. I have jumped ahead–already feeling like we are going to have to sell our house (we don’t have a big mortgage AT ALL, but it would be really hard to pay the mortgage on one salary and we have a lot of equity in the house). I know I need to slow down.

      Our children are teenagers. They are not materialistic at all but each of them participates in activities which come with bills; that is where they would feel our cutbacks.

      Thanks again to everyone for your support.

      • Frozen Peach :

        Glad we can help offer some support.

        Just one additional thought. Income is income. If your husband really wants to do spec work, and he can contribute to the mortgage/kid expenses working at Starbucks while he’s doing this unpaid work, then maybe that’s just as valid a choice for him and your family. But he has to be willing to do something for immediate cash to subsidize his free work. Expecting everyone else to take the hit for his bad decisions in the past / insistence on only this one unpaid path forward is not a valid choice.

        • lawsuited :

          +1 During a rough career patch for my husband the deal was that it didn’t matter to me what work he did but he had to bring in some income somehow, whether it be landscaping, working retail or something else. Although I appreciate that if your husband is the primary breadwinner this may not be a good long-term solution for you.

  10. Philadelphia? :

    Thanks everyone for the recs yesterday about where to stay with a toddler in Philly this weekend! We ended up booking the Hotel Palomar and it looks gorgeous from the website. We plan to visit the Please Touch Museum, RiverRink (thanks for the suggestion yesterday!) and Reading Terminal Market (one of our fave places). We have always had really average food in Philly, but I know there must be some good eats. We are huge foodies, but would like to limit this trip to casual places or grab and go places and do a picnic (see: toddler who hates restaurants) – any good food recs?

    • BabyAssociate :

      Piggybacking on this. I’m going to Philadelphia in a few weeks, haven’t been in years and would love any and all restaurant recommendations.

      • BabyAssociate :

        Should have specified, lunch recommendations, I’d like to treat my mom! I really wanted to go to Zahav, alas they do not do lunch. We eat everything, budget is flexible.

        • Maybe Tallulah’s Garden, Amada, or Barbuzzo

          • None of those are really kid friendly, however, not just from atmosphere standpoint but price and level of sophistication of food.

            For take away – If you want the greatest sandwich you will ever have go to Sarcones near the Italian Market and get a chicken cutlet. OMG. Primos (now a chain – there’s on on 12th I think) is also great for hoagies. Wawa too – lots of fresh options and good sandwiches (it’s like a 7-11 but better). Di Bruno brothers also has takeout with a fancy cheese shop with grab and go pastas and sandwiches and stuff.

            For restaurants – Garces Trading (WashSq. West) company is the more casual, less expensive sister to Amada with inventive pizzas and all sorts of delicious tapas and charcutierie/cheese boards. South Philly – Villa Di Roma is old skool Italian, very casual, wine out of a water glass kind of place. Mixto (Gayborhood) use to be very good, haven’t been in a long time – Mediterranean, very noisy. White Dog in University City is one of the city’s original farm to table places. Han Dynasty is a local chain of Chinese Food, very yummy. West Philly and Old City. Anyplace by Stephen Starr is sure to please – Jones (comfort food in a Brady Bunch looking setting in Old City), Parc (French), Dandelion (English Pub), Morimoto (the original – Old City), El Vez (Mexican), Buddakan (Asian).

      • I lived in Philadelphia for a long time and oh my god, the food. I swear it’s better food than DC or Chicago or Boston.

        If you’re with kids, pizzeria vetri might be a good and casual option. If you make it up to fairmount, check out Rybread. Franklin Fountain in old city would be cool with older kids, and if you’re looking to grab and go, DiBruno Brothers near rittenhouse (near the palomar) has good cheeses and picnic foods.

        There are dozens of small BYO restaurants, due to the “antique” state liquor laws. If you go to one of these, you’ll have to purchase wine at a Wine & Spirits store before you go, but it makes eating out really affordable. Porcini is tiny and adorable, La Viola is an old classic, and Audrey Claire is my favorite.

        Other favorite restuarants: Barbuzzo (if you can get a table), the Dandelion for brunch, La Calaca Feliz up by the art museum for amazing tacos and guac ( I swear it’s better than El Vez or Distrito, which are both also great), and Tria, a little wine/beer/snacks spot in Rittenhouse that has $5 specials on Sundays.

        Enjoy! Report back!

        • +1 to Barbuzzo! If you go, get the salted caramel budino – my favorite dessert in Philly (followed close behind by cannoli from Termini’s in Reading Terminal).

          For casual/grab-and-go lunch, Dizengoff is great. Same hummus as Zahav with rotating toppings and fresh-made laffa bread.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I had a terrible experience at the Palomar a few years ago. Shower was freezing cold, room was not properly cleaned, and no improvements made despite repeated requests. Ended up writing a long email afterwards and didn’t even bother to get a token response. It’s in a great location but I was so disappointed.

    • I like Parc for breakfast. It is really nice, but also caters well to toddlers. The croissants are the best in Philly. Right on Rittenhouse.

    • For picnic — stop by DiBruno’s at 18th and Chestnut and grab cheeses, meats, salads, etc. There’s also a cafe upstairs that makes fresh paninis and the like. If you want wine with your picnic, the nicest nearby Wine & Spirits is at 21st and Market (a little out of the way, but much nicer/cleaner than the 17th & JFK location). Beer is more readily available at bodega-type places.

      Fancier options for dinner: If you are willing to eat dinner super early, Vernick is popular and always booked for a reason, but you might be able to grab a table in the 5-5:30 range. On the other end of town, Talula’s Garden is delicious and Bistrot La Mon e t t e is the best French I’ve had outside of Paris. Parc (on Rittenhouse) always does a solid job (though not as good as Bistrot) and is perennially busy.

      More nice-casual options for dinner: Check out the Jose Garces or Stephen Starr options; neither restauranteur ever really disappoints. Garces Trading Company was on my regular rotation for a long time (eventually I ate the entire menu so haven’t been for awhile); El Rey or El Vez both offer yummy Mexican. Also look at options along 13th St. (Barbuzzo is one of them) as it’s an ever growing corridor of great places.

      BYOB’s: As others have mentioned, Philly has a great selection of BYOB restaurants (pick up wine ahead of time at the Wine & Spirits, there’s no corkage fee). Audrey Claire, Porcini, Mercato, Melograno, and Pumpkin are all on our list of “take visitors to” and I also ADORE Monsu in the Italian Market. Dinner for two is usually well south of $100 unless you order the most expensive options, etc.

    • Phew, YMMV, but here are my perennial favorites:

      With kids:
      Honey’s Sit N Eat (soul/comfort food) – they have a location in Graduate Hospital and Northern Liberties
      Pizzeria Stella or Pizzeria Vetri (Vetri has a new location in Rittenhouse that should be close to Palomar)
      Franklin Fountain for ice cream
      Sabrina’s Café in the Italian market for brunch (wait can be incredibly long on the weekends, though – call ahead)
      Dizengoff if you like hummus (limited seating, though)

      Sans Kids:
      Vernick – can’t beat it – best restaurant in the city right now
      Amada – Jose Garces’ best spot IMO – Spanish style tapas
      Laurel – incredibly hard to get a reservation but worth it
      Zahav – a classic
      Vedge – for vegetarian/vegans
      Wm Mulherin’s Sons
      The Good King Tavern – my favorite French bistro

      • BabyAssociate :

        I’m going to need to make a separate trip just for Zahav!

        • It is absolutely worth it. Easily the best meal in Philadelphia, every time we go. Yes, Laurel and Vernick are extraordinary restaurant experiences, but Zahav is just in its own category.

    • We were there in the summer and ate at Pete’s Famous Pizza (walking distance from the Franklin Institute) and it was fantastic. Hole in the wall sort of place (which sounds like what you want), great cheesesteaks and beer. I was so glad that I skipped getting lunch in the museum.

      I’m jealous that you get to go to Reading Terminal. We’ve not been able to make it there (for various reasons) the last several times I’ve been in the area, which is always a disappointment. Have fun!

    • Talula’s Daily (sister cafe to Talula’s Garden, same ownership and literally next door) in Washington Square would be toddler-friendly for breakfast or lunch (grilled cheese!) but still satisfy your foodie instincts.

      Definite yes to Dizengoff if y’all eat hummus. Aim for an early lunch–they sell out regularly.

      Federal Donuts is fun (go for fresh donuts vs. fancy unless you have a major sweet tooth) and the chicken sandwich is tasty.

      Rooster Soup Company is a new place focusing on chicken soup (using the remnants from Federal Donuts above); proceeds support Broad Street Ministry, which does AMAZING work serving Philadelphians who are experiencing homelessness or unstable housing. Same team as Federal Donuts/Dizengoff/Zahav, so although I haven’t tried it myself yet, I’m sure the food is top-notch.

      Res Ipsa just opened by Rittenhouse Square (22nd&Walnut) and has really lovely breakfast and lunch options with housemade breads and beautiful sandwiches. (Dinner is good too but not really toddler-friendly–lots of delicate pastas and fishy things.)

      Plenty (16th and Spruce, and another location in South Philly) would be good for breakfast or lunch. Beautiful sandwiches and salads and nice coffee/tea program.

      V Street (19th north of Rittenhouse Square, little sister to Vedge, focused on global street food) might be toddler-friendly if a) you don’t go during happy hour and b) your kid is okay with spice. Lots of small plates and interesting pairings. Delicious.

      Capogiro (tons of locations around town) is reliably delicious gelato. According to National Geographic it is the best ice cream in the world. (Except it’s gelato.)

      Khmer Kitchen (South Philly, cash-only) for delicious homestyle Cambodian food. Family-run and family-friendly.

      Clarkville (West Philly) has family happy hour every weekday evening. Tasty pizza, salads, and small plates for grown-ups and small ones alike.

      I love eating in Philadelphia. :)

  11. I am so happy – all three of my foster kitties have GOOD applications in, including the bonded pair of bio sibs that I won’t let go unless they go together!

    • Yay! That’s amazing. You must feel so relieved.

      • I do! These are fosters 6, 7, and 8 for me in the last year and a half. I still get updates on most of my former fosters, which I love.

        I also processed a dog application for the dog side of the rescue. She is approved is going to meet one of our pups on Friday, so we are hoping that is a good fit and that adoption goes through as well!

        • That’s great news! My mom also fosters kittens. She is part of a trap, neuter/spay, and release program, but they often catch heavily pregnant mama cats who have their babies. You’re doing important work!

  12. Out of control eater :

    I have gained about 10 pounds in the last 3 months. On my smallish, relatively static pear shaped frame….that is quite a bit….and I don’t like where this is going.

    I know exactly why.

    I am eating junk. Shoving it down. With zero self control.

    I’ve always liked a good potato chip, or chocolate, and never strictly monitored my eating. But now…… But I can’t have anything snacks/sweet in the house or I just eat.it.all. I ate half a box of Girl Scout cookies yesterday, and a ton of potato chips. Now both are gone.

    I have healthy snacks available. Just don’t want them. Chips are so good. It gives me so much pleasure, although I do feel a little disgusting after I eat a lot of junk. So I might skip dinner (!).

    Am I the only one who does this?

    Stress level is same, no other big changes in life. Feel fine.

    I just have to stop buying this junk, even though my family would like them around for (sane) treats/snacking.

    I am 45.

    • anonymous :

      I down copious amounts of water. I keep a 1L bottle with me at all times, and I find that drinking that much makes me really not want to put food in my mouth unless I’m actually hungry. You could try that?

    • Can you keep single serve bags of snacks in the house? It might help with the visual cue of stop eating after a serving. This works for me and savory snacks like chips. Or just keep that sort of food out of the house. I rarely buy sugary cereal because once I open the box, I want to eat it at every meal until it is gone. But if it isn’t at home, I don’t miss it at all.

    • Anon in NOVA :

      I’m the same way and luckily so is my husband, so he understands that we can’t have anything we aren’t willing to eat all of.

      It really is a matter of just not having them around. Frame it financially- snacks are EXPENSIVE when you start to track it. Cutting out chips, (delicious, sugary) cereals, cookies, etc. makes a huge difference in the grocery bill. Can you track how much you’ve been spending on these items and agree as a family to cut out those items and set the money aside for something else?

      • Also track your calories on MyFitnessPal, it helps me reign in my habits and I’m in recovery for BED.

    • Paying attention to replies here as I’m in a similar boat. I eat fairly healthy during the day but binge in the afternoon/evening. Is it that you aren’t eating enough during the day perhaps? (That’s often the case for me.)

    • Commiseration. I can’t have that stuff in the house. I’ve tried portion control – like buying small bags of chips instead of one big one – but I’ll still demolish them.

      I tend to crave junk food less when I’m working out more. Have you tried adding something to your workout routine? Even a 20 minute walk might help some.

      • Ha, yes. 100 calorie packs are still come 8 or 12 to a box. So make that an 800 or 1200 calorie pack.

    • housecounsel :

      Same age, same problem. It’s been a lifelong struggle. I am not certain this is the answer for everyone, but for me, abstinence is easier than moderation. I avoid added sugar entirely. That means plain Greek yogurt with berries instead of anything pre-sweetened. It means Ezekiel bread only. It means I usually have to make my own soup if I want it, and I don’t get to sit down with a box of Honeycomb at night. I still eat when I am hungry, but I don’t even take a bite of anything with added sugar.

      I write this as if it is a lifestyle but please don’t think I am perfect. I have only been off sugar about a month now, this time around. I have avoided it for 6 + months in past attempts, then a few bites of something will send me off the wagon for months. The difference, for me, in being on and off sugar is about ten pounds.

      I tell myself that one cookie or handful of cereal is too much and the entire box won’t be enough.

      • housecounsel :

        P.S. I DO eat sugar-free treats, mostly ordered online from specialty shops. I do seem to be able to stop at a reasonable amount. Sugar is addictive.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m in the same boat – I am back ‘on’ sugar now following a trip to India (OMG, Indian desserts are delicious) but I definitely need to commit to stopping again. It’s just so incredibly hard.

        • housecounsel :

          Different techniques work for different people, but tracking apps and portioning out food/deciding what I am eating in advance makes me crazy and more likely to binge. Avoiding sugar means I can still munch on whatever when I am hungry, as long as it isn’t sugary.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Part of the answer at least is to stop buying these things and not have them in your house. All of my fave fitness resources recommend this and it is something that has worked well for me.

      The other thing that may help is to lay out what you plan to eat / your options for the next day the night before. I work in an office so I just bring all the snacks / lunch / breakfast (yeah I basically leave every morning with half the fridge) I plan to eat for the day with me (other than select items I have in my office) and tell myself I am only eating what I brought.

      Another thing that might help is to try and mentally shift yourself from rewarding yourself with food to rewarding yourself with something else. Maybe it is a walk, or fancy sparkling water, or an episode of your favorite show / podcast but it is important to break the food as reward / pleasure for everything in life and look at food more as fuel. I’ve had good luck with fancy water and taking walks / doing yoga / watching an episode of a favorite show as a “reward” replacement for what used to be going to a brewery / eating chips at the end of a long hard week / etc.

      • Anon in NOVA :

        ^excellent advice. Replace the ritual. I’m a fan of fancy sparkling water in a champagne glass. Lime sparkling water garnished with a strawberry in front of a guilty pleasure tv show feels like a treat.

      • I do essentially this. Bring everything to work with me, including snacks (this week snack is slices off a block of an _excellent_ cheddar whenever I’m snacky) and don’t buy anything else. When I have a craving for something, fancy flavored fizzy water usually shuts that up.

        This is the goal anyway — in reality last week a bunch of saboteurs kept leaving king cake in the break room and I went to town. I felt sick to my stomach afterwards. Yesterday though I walked right past another one and did not eat any and was proud of myself.

      • Anonymous :

        A cup of tea in the evening has been a good replacement for my nightly glasses of wine. I realized I have a hard time drinking just one glass and end up consuming way too many calories that way. If I really want the alcohol to take the edge off of a stressful day I do vodka and sugar-free cranberry juice.

    • My biggest suggestion is not to bring it into your home, at all. Its not really good for anyone to eat (and I say this with an underweight 6 year old who we try and pump full of calories). If it’s not there, it is not an option. The other thing that I have found personally is that healthy habits beget healthy habits. Make fruits and veggies an easy choice. I nuke a bag of steam fresh veggies and keep them in the fridge for snacking. Don’t let yourself get too hungry or the binge of sugar is harder to forgo. I have also found that if you can forgo the sweets and salty snacks for a while, other food begins to taste better. An apple really is sweet if you’re not comparing it to a M&Ms. It is rough. I can say no or have just one, but my husband can’t, so we just don’t bring it into the house.

    • We are the same way– therefore we simply do not have snacks in the house, period. We are allowed to eat fruit if we’re hungry between meals. Sometimes apples and peanut butter. If I’m really hungry and fruit won’t cut it, sometimes I’ll make a small omelette. But that’s it.

      • I like your omelet idea. I tend to negotiate with myself – eat something healthy first then I can have a treat. Sometimes I realize I’m not hungry enough to stomach an apple, I just want chips, which means I’m not really hungry and I shouldn’t eat. The omelet thing follows the same logic – if you’re not hungry enough to endure the hassle of making food then you’re not hungry enough to be eating.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I have come to the realization that with snack food I am an abstainer rather than a moderator.

      I think before you eat any of this junk food, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry. If the answer is yes, eat real food. And find new snack food that is exciting! I love apples, but they’re not going to cut it when I want a potato chip. Something like string cheese hits that salty/fatty snack craving. Trader Joe’s has truffle-salt-covered marcona almonds that are amazing. If you want something sweet, I really like dried apricots.

      If you’re not hungry and just want to snack, force yourself to drink a glass of water first, get up and move around and do something to occupy yourself (go outside, fold laundry, clean the bathroom, whatever).

    • do you listen to podcasts? I love cookie rosenblooms’s ” real women, real weight loss.” Really not for everyone but she basically focuses on not eating when you’re not hungry and taking excellent care of yourself. It really helped me.

    • Is it possible that your stress level isn’t really the same? One of my only/primary anxiety/depression symptoms is eating like this and similar weight gain. I wonder if you’re avoiding something. I think this is really common. Feel free to ignore.

      • +1 to this. Eating is really the canary in the coal mine for my emotional state. When I’m feeling normal, I enjoy food but it’s sort of “nothing special”. When I’m under emotional duress for whatever reason, food becomes just delicious, intensely psychologically comforting, etc.

      • Marshmallow :

        I was also going to ask if there is something new going on in the last few months, since it sounds like this isn’t a lifelong problem. It could be a mental health or stress problem, but could also be related to physical health. Sudden changes in appetite might indicate something deeper is going on. If it really feels like such a dramatic and sudden problem, it might be worth going to your doctor.

    • I’m going through something similar. I finally decided to put myself on a 4 week plan which basically boils down to less sugar and more physical activity/exercise. I’m a week and a half in and I really do feel better. I’d forgotten how good I felt when I don’t eat junk and move more. The key for me was to do something attainable.

    • One more vote for keeping this stuff out of the house. I’m ok at moderation, but abstention works better for me. One, I love sugar/salt/fat and will eat those snacks if they’re around. Two, when I keep eating sugar/salt/fat, my body keeps craving it. Once I stopped eating lots of these things (esp. sugar) my body stopped craving it. (Generally, I mean, let’s be realistic I didn’t stop liking Cheez-its and dove chocolates).

      I shop at whole foods not because I believe the products are superior, or because I can *really* afford it, or because I think I need organic crackers. I shop there because whole foods does not sell Dr. Pepper, Cheez-its, oreos, milanos, triscuits, hormel pepperoni, fritos, ruffles potato chips, lays french onion dip, movie-theater butter popcorn, my favorite salt-laden soups, etc. etc. Despite my best intentions, it’s difficult to resist these snacks when I shop at publix or whatever. But I haven’t found their addictive equals at WF and won’t go out of my way for them. If they’re not in the house, I can’t eat them, and protect myself from the vicious cycle.

    • Anon for this :

      Oh, yes. Me, too. I quit smoking about six months ago and my weight is up about 15 pounds, to the point where my clothes are threatening to not fit any more, and I can’t seem to stop eating!

      Just today I got on the scale and vowed, once again, to track everything on My Fitness Pal and really get serious about the junk and also the alcohol. It’s hard. When you figure it out please let us all know.

    • I had a totally different answer in mind until I saw you are 45.

      Perimenopause, girlfriend. The struggle is real. I am 40 but almost all my close girlfriends are older. One just turned 46 this year and went through a period that sounds exactly like what you describe. She went to her doctor and he put her on a very low-dose progesterone-only BCP. It leveled things out for her, she felt more in control, and she was able to get the weight she’d gained back off fairly quickly. FWIW, she described the hormonal anxiety as being so bad she had days where she wanted to claw her skin off. Not surprising that someone who’s feeling that way would find solace in food or alcohol or whatever.

      So, GO TO THE DOCTOR. Start with your ob/gyn. They are doing different stuff now to help women get through Peri/early menopause without losing their minds. Also think about seeing an acupuncturist or a naturopath. My friend started doing acupuncture along with the BCP and she thought it helped.

      You’re not crazy, you’re not weak-willed. This is a real issue and help is available to feel better. Call someone today, don’t keep suffering.

    • Check any meds you are taking :

      Second the commenter that asked if your stress level is really the same; +1 to the “replace the reward” advice and the “don’t have it in the house” advice.

      But I’d like to thank the commenter a few weeks ago that mentioned that taking antihistamines increases your appetite. I thought my eating pattern (very much like yours — crazy reliance on sugar after dinner) was due to perimenopause/menopause. However, when I stopped taking Zyrtac on a regular basis, my eating patterns reverted to what they’ve been for most of my life. I can eat a salty or sugar snack, but it’s easy to stop; if I have too much on my plate, I’ll stop eating; during the day, if I ask myself “do I want something to eat?” the answer is usually no.

      So it’s worth checking on any meds or supplements you’ve started, even your OTC ones. I dropped 5 lbs effortlessly, and my junk consumption has scaled way back.

    • I’m the same way and just successfully completed Whole30 which changed everything for me. I ate my first cupcake since new years yesterday and it was delicious but I ate it and then I was done. No more cravings. It changed my palette and my view of food. And believe me, I am a straight up junk food junkie – McDonalds once or twice a week, a whole can of pringles at a clip, sugar on my berries were all the norm. Whole 30 was not hard once I was able to plan, and now my cravings and “food without brakes” are under control. I expect to have to go back to whole 30 after a trip, but I feel like it made a huge difference.

    • I’m right there with you. Being sick for weeks and unable to exercise and pity eating have caused me to gain quite a bit of weight recently. The only thing that works to get me back on track is to not have the stuff in the house. Now if I want something salty, I air fry green beans or kale. If I want something sweet, I eat fruit.

      • I’m so glad you posted this, of only to see other people struggling with it. I was in the best shape of my life and two back-to-back cold/flus sidelined me for a full month. My pants don’t fit, I’m not strong anymore and I’m so demoralized.

    • I do the same thing in the afternoon and when I first get home from work. What works for me is to find a substitute I have to eat first (a cup of tea or a piece of fruit) and then I give myself permission to eat candy or chips if I still want them (although I portion it out). A lot of time I think it’s just boredom or instant hunger, so once I’ve had something healthy, I no longer feel like I must have the candy or chips.

    • Get a case or 6 of LaCroix. For reals.
      Drink them instead of eating junk. For like a week.

      It gets easier when you stop doing it even short term.

  13. Anonymous :

    I felt very Corporette-esque while getting dressed this morning. I wore a Christmas present sweater dress with bell sleeves (not crazy wide ones, yet still flaired), and it was sticking to my fleece lined tights, so I added a slip, which I learned about on here. I hadn’t worn a slip since my wedding, and before that, since I was like 8. So far, so good. I’ll let people know if the sleeves get super annoying, although I did have to consciously push them up before washing my hands.

    • It took me long time to figure out that you weren’t wearing a sweating with a picture of a Christmas present on it in February…

    • Same – I’m going to this women in the world event tonight after work so felt like I had to pull it together. I’m wearing a dress I bought that was mentioned here during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, tights, low-heeled booties, and I did my hair last night…. I went in to talk to my boss about something and she told me I looked great! So that was a nice ego boost. It’s been a rough week/month so far so it’s nice to feel like I have SOMETHING together.

  14. Valentine's disappointment :

    My boyfriend (dating 3 months) had to work very late last night and we didn’t get to spend Valentine’s Day together. He anticipated that work might get hectic last night and he planned a lovely dinner this past Saturday and sent me flowers yesterday. But for most of yesterday it seemed like work had died down and he would be able to see me. I got excited of course and then when he ultimately couldn’t make it I was disappointed. I know rationally he didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not his fault. He’s hoping to come over tonight if work slows down. But I’m struggling to rationally regulate my own emotions. I really like him and was really looking forward to celebrating Valentine’s Day together.

    • anonymous :

      Can you set your own date for Valentine’s and plan something special? like maybe this weekend?

    • Anon in NOVA :

      I’m sorry you’re feeling disappointed. I’m not sure how old you are, but unfortunately this is par for the course in adult relationships. Work usually has to come before things like Valentine’s Day. It’s nice that he made arrangements for other special evenings, take heart in that. You don’t need Valentine’s Day to have a special dinner! And you got flowers!
      It sounds like you may be focusing on Valentine’s Day when maybe you have a larger issue with his work/life balance. If his work schedule isn’t working for you and you feel like you’re not getting the interaction you need, that’s something to consider. But I wouldn’t get too worked up over Valentine’s Day.

      • housecounsel :

        I understand your disappointment, I really do. But it’s just one day. He sounds like a very thoughtful guy in that he arranged a celebration over the weekend. A keeper, perhaps? Last night, I didn’t see my husband until late because we both worked, then were separately shuttling kids around to practices and appointments. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’ve been coming home to the same house and love and strong base for almost 20 years. There’s nobody else with whom I’d rather lounge on the couch and watch This Is Us on a Tuesday night that happens to be Valentine’s Day.

        • I’m sure this was a very well-intentioned post, but, respectfully, it’s not constructive to compare your state of mind in a 20 year marriage with someone who’s known her guy for half a minute. Advice like this makes single women feel like there must be something wrong with them for not feeling secure with a guy they hardly know.

          • Disagree. Three months is enough time to know whether you really like someone and could see it going somewhere, and that wasn’t the responder’s point anyway.

          • housecounsel :

            Fair enough, anon 10:04. I didn’t mean to make the original poster feel abnormal for feeling insecure. We were both busy associates back in the day and I certainly did feel insecure. I was trying to provide perspective, but I see that it could come off as condescending.

          • OP here. I appreciate both perspectives. It’s helpful to see a model of how to be comfortable, but it’s also helpful to hear that it’s okay if I don’t feel that same level of security just yet. For what it’s worth, I would have been very happy to just see him – watch tv if there was time or literally just fall asleep (we obviously do not live together). My disappointment was simply I couldn’t see him at all. But I realize this is just how it goes sometimes.

          • Anon at 10:17 – I really think it depends on your age and where youre from. In my circle, (DC late 20s) most people are just starting to figure out if theyre in an exclusive relationship at 3 months, let alone know if they are leading towards marriage…It also depends on if you meet in person/organically through mutual friends and online where it can take longer to establish that amount of trust/figuring out where the person is at.

          • anon for this :

            “Disagree. Three months is enough time to know whether you really like someone and could see it going somewhere, and that wasn’t the responder’s point anyway.”

            This is crap. I’m tired of relationship “rules” that state that if x doesn’t happen by y, it’s doomed to failure. People are different. This sort of nonsense just feeds insecurity, and for that reason it’s unhelpful and cruel.

        • Housecounsel, just wondering how you handled feeling insecure when you were both busy associates? That’s really where BF and I are at right now.

          • housecounsel :

            Good question. I remember that time pretty clearly. I had to muster some inner strength and decide I was the one in control. I was coming off a couple of bad relationships in which I allowed myself to be treated poorly. Landing an excellent job, which it sounds like you have done too, gave me a major self-esteem boost (first job out of law school wasn’t so great, second was my dream job) and helped me decide I was going to call some shots. I resolved to give MYSELF, not him, ultimatums. If he didn’t introduce me to his family by X date, I knew he wasn’t serious and I’d be gone. If it wasn’t understood we were spending NYE together and he hadn’t locked in plans by a reasonable time, see ya later. I certainly never told him these deadlines and certainly not about the big ones – the “L” word, engagement, etc. but they helped me relax in my head – I didn’t have to worry about where things were going until that future date. He beat every one of my private deadlines and I had fun telling him about them much, much later.

          • housecounsel :

            Long answer is in moderation – hope it comes out shortly!

          • I’m not anon, but I will share what has helped me when I am feeling insecure. Presuming good intentions has helped IMMENSELY. I also try to step back and look at the situation objectively. In this particular case, that would mean looking at the effort and care he took to set up dinner and flowers for you, knowing that he could get caught up in work. It also means reminding yourself that there are some things out of his control and what matters is how he responds to it. Here, he preemptively took action to plan for a time when he knew he would be available. I also needed to take a hard look at why I was feeling insecure and see if it linked to past experiences. 99% of the time it did. I was pulling insecurity from past experiences and projecting, so I reminded myself by repeating in my head Man X is not Man Y. Adding to that the presuming good intentions “mantra.”

            You are absolutely allowed to be disappointed. Remember, it’s a feeling that you are feeling now. Recognize it, own it, and realize it too shall pass.

            Hope that helps a bit!

          • Thank you, Count C. This is very helpful. I sometimes struggle to accept uncomfortable feelings like disappointment and try to push them out without fully acknowledging. Ultimately though it just makes it worse. I’m still trying to recognize and own these kinds of feelings but it’s so tough for me.

      • anon anon armani :

        This. My dh has been out of town/country for nearly all “events” and “holidays” except Christmas for 25 of our 30+ years of marriage. You just trust. You just know the feelings are there. Loss of sentiment results in terms of “celebrating holidays.”

        That being said, you are young in this relationship. Try to focus upon what is coming up and the efforts he makes … it never has to be on THE day, just love that it happens!

        PS DH has been home for the past 4 years. It’s wonderful. However, we still do not celebrate bc that has become our lifestyle. I hoped it would change, but it hasn’t and that is fine. I am wistful though, with the advertisements, and then I remind myself it is just a day like any other. I don’t need proof I am loved. He shows me that all the time. Even a smile counts!

        • I know I’m late, but wanted to +1 this. We’ve missed every single event and holiday so far except 1 Christmas and a birthday. My gauge, even early on, was whether there was some acknowledgement of the day. A text on the day of, a card or dinner even two weeks later (but spoken concretely on the day), a special delivery. If I wasn’t feeling up to the acknowledgement, or if he didn’t do his own, then it wasn’t a good sign for our relationship.

    • I go through this with new relationships. I’m in biglaw so I’m usually the one canceling and I 100% understand that weekday plans are just tough. But I still feel unreasonably disappointed if HE’S the one to cancel plans. It springs from insecurity. I really like him but it’s super new and I’m not sure whether he feels the same and what if I really fall for him and he just ghosts me and OMG IT’S HAPPENING HE CANCELED PLANS. I’m not sure I have a very good coping strategy; I just don’t let on that I feel that way and I eventually calm tf down around the 6 month mark. Be kind to yourself. Try to focus on other things. Dating just sucks.

      • Thank you this really hits home. We’re both in biglaw type jobs (another industry) so I get it but I also can’t help these feelings.

    • I really dont want to discount your feelings here because they are valid. But I seriously think you need to take a step back and evaluate if there is something else going on that youre worried about. Valentines Day is a BS holiday created by greeting card companies, its not real. And YET he still went all out for you, he sounds very sweet. You can make tonight or whenever you see him next your Valentines Day! Hell, even make it a new tradition or something cute like that.

      Perhaps, like Anon in NOVA says, youre more disappointing about his work schedule being hectic and not this one valentines day thing. If so then talk about it and readjust your expectations or determine if you need someone who is around more of the week.

    • Anonymous :

      You did celebrate it together, though! Why does it matter if it was celebrated on a Saturday vs a Tuesday? Saturday is way better.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I sympathize with both of you in this situation. We celebrated over the weekend, too, but I still wanted to at least see my SO, to feel like I could check off the box for “celebrated Valentine’s Day.” If it helps, buy yourself flowers or chocolate, and enjoy them all by yourself. That makes me feel a little vindicated and satisfied when I want something romantic that doesn’t happen, like I’m thumbing my nose at the person who didn’t get them for me, while not actually being unreasonable towards a person who didn’t actually do anything wrong. In other situations, make sure to plan something special for yourself (maybe with female friends?) so you don’t sit by the phone hoping. This also works for Christmas, New Years, and birthdays.

      • Yes, thank you. I really also just wanted to see him. But these are good suggestions. I am already feeling better and seeing this in perspective. Thank you all!

    • Aww, I’m sorry, that is disappointing. But it is great that he preemptively planned something, even if it didn’t happen on the day.

      To make you feel better, my Valentine’s was pretty rubbish. I’ve been knocked out by hip pain, came home and lay on the couch and moaned. My husband got home to find me throwing up, and the cat, apparently feeling sympathetic, followed suit, throwing up on our bedroom floor.

      • Marshmallow :

        LOL– this is so similar to our our V Day. Husband has had a nagging cold for a couple of weeks, and finally saw the doctor, so he came home with super-strong prescription cough syrup. We watched about an hour of a movie, I made grilled cheese, and he promptly passed out on the couch. With our cat.

    • Valentine’s Day sucks. As far as I can tell just about everyone is disappointed on VD. it’s a made up commercial holiday. If you like your boyfriend don’t hold this against him.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have a lot of empathy for you here, OP.

      When I was in BigLaw, working late didn’t bother me in the abstract (of course), *but* thinking I wouldn’t have to work late, getting my hopes up for a dinner w my BF, *and then* having my plans cancelled… that made me so sad. The transition from the high of hopes/expectations to the low of disappointment, it sucks. Even if you know — and it sounds like you do — that it’s not a huge thing, it still feels sad.

      What helped me was two things: more time with the BF, which helped me feel more solid in my relationship (he’s my husband now!); and getting more advanced in my career (and leaving BigLaw) so that I finally had more control over my schedule.

      Sorry your day was sad! <3

    • lawsuited :

      Your boyfriend of 3 months had the forethought to look ahead in his calendar, anticipate that yesterday was going to be a busy work day, plan a special dinner for last Saturday in lieu of Valentine’s Day, and send you flowers on the day. Far from being at fault, this guy is absolutely hitting it out of the park! Focus on being grateful for the effort he made, and move on to plans for the weekend.

  15. anonymous :

    I’ll be moving to NE DC, and I’m in a job that requires me to be gone 4ish days a week most weeks. I don’t have a parking spot, but I will have abundant street parking in a higher than average crime area. I’m not super concerned about that in general, but I am sort of uneasy being gone for days at a time and leaving my car in the street where I can’t at least check on it to make sure it wasn’t broken in to or something. Am I being paranoid, or does it matter at all that I’ll be leaving it on the street for long stretches of time? At this point, I don’t have prospects for off-street parking. Are there any precautions I should take?

    • Baconpancakes :

      Not actually paranoid. The best strategy is to get to know your neighbors, and leave nothing, absolutely not a single phone charger cord, visible in the car. Even then, your car might get broken into. I don’t actually know anyone who has lived in NE DC who hasn’t gotten their car broken into. Is there any way you could pay for a parking garage in a building nearby? The trouble is, it would probably be cheaper to have your car repaired from the break-in multiple times than it would be to pay for the parking spot, but it might be worth it for peace of mind.

      • +1

        We lived in NE DC for six years and never had a problem. We left nothing visable in the car. We also tried to park on main streets instead of on side roads. One of our neighbors parked around the corner on a side street and he had frequent break ins. He actually took to just leaving his car doors unlocked so that he wouldn’t have to keep replacing his windows.

        In your situation, I think one question to ask is whether it will really matter if your car sits for a few days after a break in. The police are unlikely to do much and if you haven’t left anything in your car, there is no property theft. It’s unlikely that they’ll actually take the car. Usually they just take loose change. If you want a heads up, I’d make friends with your neighbors. They’re the best line of defense.

        • What if it rains after a break-in, though?

          • Eh, then the inside may get a bit damp. Unless it rains a ton, it will likely dry out and be just fine.

          • lost academic :

            Like, what if it rains and your windows are broken in? Then your car gets wet. That’s why when I and others who lived in an area where car break ins were more common, we did that: leave nothing in the car and never lock your doors. If someone’s ready to steal the entire car (another reason not to own an Accord) then a locked door isn’t going to deter them anyway, but then at least they’re not breaking into the car to look for stuff. (My dad also did that with his 60s drop top, he didn’t want anyone cutting into it to get inside since the roof was worth more than anything he’d bother having in the car)

        • Baconpancakes :

          I had one break-in during my time in DC, because I left nothing visible, and tried to park on the main street, but once there was no parking, so I ended up in the side lane, and the window was smashed during a snowstorm.

          A note regarding joyriding – my roommate’s car, a jeep cherokee, was broken into multiple times because it was just so easy to hotwire. The police always found it within a few hours, and after the second time, she got a club and installed an alarm system, but a window was still smashed another time, I guess when the kids hadn’t seen the club yet. There’s a list of most-broken-into cars – make sure your car isn’t on that list and it will honestly help.

          • pugsnbourbon :

            My husband’s old, visibly beaten-up minivan (passed down from his parents) was stolen and eventually recovered, without its back seats, when we lived in DC. We found out minivans are handy for thieves looking to steal bikes, larger electronics, and even motorcycles.

    • Dare I ask why you’re choosing to live in NE DC and/or why you don’t garage the car? Even if it’s cheaper to have the car repaired multiple times – you really aren’t turned off by living in that area and by knowing that a stranger could potentially be in your car?

      • anonymous op :

        I like the area and I’ve lived there before. Plus, I own the property. I just haven’t lived there with my car before. No I’m not turned off by that area, and my only real concern is my car being broken into/stolen. We have 2 cars, an ’01 civic and a ’04 civic, and I’m not sure which one will be with me, although both of them I think are on the list of most broken into cars. I have a couple of options. I could find an off-street parking spot, I could send my car out of state with a close family member (at least 1 of the 2 cars will be doing this, but it’s possible to send both and I don’t absolutely need my car with me, although I’d prefer it), or close family member may be coming to stay with me, in which case it will be used regularly when I’m not there and this won’t be an issue. But I don’t have control over option #3. Selling either car isn’t an option.

        Anyway, I get that the potential family arrangements probably sound kind of weird and that there are things about the above the probably don’t make a ton of sense, but those are my options. If anyone wants to weigh in on what I should do here, I’m all ears.

        • Is your travel going to be by airplane? Would airport parking (maybe at one of the privately owned lots) be cheaper than getting a permanent parking spot?

          • anonymous op :

            Yeah, probably most of the time. I suspect airport parking might be reimbursed as well. That’s a good idea, thanks!

          • … or would the company pay for airport parking? My employer reimburses for airport parking because it’s cheaper than a shuttle or cab.

      • It’s a great neighborhood. Reasonably safe, great commute, lots of fun local businesses and restaurants and more affordable than much of the city. It is a gentrifying area so there tends to be a lot of petty property crime, primarily theft of loose change, amazon packages and occassional vandalism. There are few garages in the area because there are mostly historic rowhomes with more cars than parking spots. Most people park on the street.

    • Anonymous :

      Just take normal precautions – don’t leave stuff out in your car, get a Club if that’s your thing.

      I live in NE DC and travel a ton. My current car sits on the street just fine. Like Baconpancakes’ former roommate, I had a Jeep Cherokee before that was stolen, taken for a joy ride, recovered by the next day. My car now is fine.

      FWIW, at all three of the airports, I’ve found that driving and parking runs roughly the same cost as taxis or Ubers back and forth. So driving to airports and parking might be workable.

    • Metromile :

      This may seem like a somewhat random suggestion but with that kind of job, I’m guessing you don’t drive many miles. I just switched my car insurance to Metromile – you pay a flat fee each month and then 6 cents per mile driven. I usually drive about 30 miles a month, so I’m anticipating saving about $1k a year in premiums. They send you a little device that you plug into your car to track your trips. It has gps so you can track your location, but you can also turn it off. However, if you left it on, you can get reminders about street sweeping, directions to “where did I park my car?” or “Where did those car thieves take my car?!?”

      This is my first month and so far the app and the whole sign up process have been super easy. Their policies used to be underwritten by another insurer but theyre underwriting themselves now. I can’t speak to long term service or claims, but it may be worth checking out. (Also unsure if it’s available in DC).

  16. Another Friend Post :

    One of my best friend is great when it comes to every other aspect in her life but is kind of a dating mess. I’m still single and by no means perfect but I feel like she’s learning absolutely nothing from every dating experience. Over the past 3-4 years she consistently has a new guy shes into, she goes into it acting like she doesn’t really care about him/want anything meaningful, then he all of a sudden becomes some amazing guy she sees multiple times a week, then he ghosts her and/or is revealed to be emotionally unstable.

    At first I thought it was just sh**y luck but now I’m realizing shes probably the problem. This whole cycle happens every 2-3 months and its getting predictable/sad to listen to. I want to be there for her but its hard when in the same breath she goes on and on about how people are age (mid-late 20s) shouldnt be in serious relationships/focus on careers when I sincerely think thats what she wants deep down but is afraid.

    A couple of years ago I recommended therapy and she went and seemed to get a lot out of it then stopped going and claimed they didnt know what they were talking about. I didnt push it because it didnt feel like my place but now I feel like it might be time to talk about it. We’re still relatively young so maybe this is a phase but I feel like it might be time to talk to her about all this but I dont want to come off as judgmental…

    • You sound like a fixer. Someone tells you their problem and you want to help them solve it. That’s a great quality sometimes. This is not one of those times. Stop focusing on how she needs to fix her problems and start focusing on how you can strengthen your friendship by being a good listener.

      • +a million. I see myself in your friend, but I’m a little older, and having had my fill of well-meaning advice from friends at this point, please just listen to her. And if you can’t listen to it anymore because it’s too sad, change the subject or ask what it is that she would like you to say or do. But don’t do anything that could be perceived as telling her what to do. She will perceive it as judgmental (ask me how I know), and you may do more damage to your friendship than you realize.

      • Yeah youre right, I am a fixer so I’ll try to listen. Whats tricky is that shes asking for my input – not just someone to vent to so I find myself wanting to be brutally honest(as she is with me on most things) but dont want to hurt her feelings…

        • If she is asking for your input, I would be honest with her and say something alone the lines of, “I care about you and we have discussed similar situations in the past. I do not think I am the best person to give you guidance on this topic. My suggestion would be to find another therapist to discuss if it’s bothering you.” Or something like that. I still would not get sucked into giving advice, I really don’t think anything good can come of it.

    • I really don’t think you need to talk to her about this. I get that it may be frustrating for you to hear her complaining and to realize what the pattern is, but I can’t see any conversation with a friend going well if I tell her that her mess of a dating life is all her fault. (And yes, I do have friends like that).

      At most, I would ask a couple probing questions while she’s complaining about some guy i.e. “so there were no red flags?” but then drop it quickly. If she wants to fix her dating life, that’s up to her, not you.

      P.S. I realize this could sound a bit harsh and I don’t mean it to. You seem like a good friend, I just don’t think this is the kind of thing anyone could help with.

      • Yeah, as the other commentor figured out, I am a fixer (something I’m working on…) so perhaps more probing questions will be a better approach than some sort of ‘intervention’ approach when shes asking for input and just leave it there for her to figure out in her own time…

        Thanks! =)

  17. Does anyone else’s computer run really, REALLY slow every time you have this site open?

  18. vday girlfriend :

    Part 3. Come into work today totally late because I turned on the wrong alarms. No sign of the flowers, I’m guessing they were either never brought up here or were thrown away by custodians sometime in the night. I’m really annoyed on my boyfriend’s behalf – this is the first time he’s done flowers to the office on Valentine’s and it clearly went horribly.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      :( Sorry, dear. It’s the thought that counts, though. Are they at the security office by any chance?

  19. I need advice on how to manage something in my office: I’m senior counsel in-house at a medium-sized company. I’ve been here for nearly two years. From what I can tell, I’m the most tech-savy person in the legal/compliance department and amongst some of the other departments as well. (We have in-house IT.) As a result, I frequently get tasked with the more nuanced word/pdf/excel challenges such as converting two pdfs into word documents and comparing them. When I try and suggest that an admin take on the role, I am told that it would be too hard for them. Plus, we are understaffed as a legal department. We had a senior paralegal leave last fall and another go part-time. The result of these two factors is that I spend much of my time (two days so far this week) doing either word/pdf work or paralegal work. I’m all for being a team player, but over the last six months, this ratio of 50% of my time doing non-attorney work has been consistent. I’m frustrated and bored. Is this par for the course with an in-house department? Or should I bring this up with my boss (GC)?

    • IME, in-house isn’t consistently substantive legal work.

      That said, it does sound like the changes in your work have to do with staffing changes, and I think it’s appropriate to bring that up with your boss. “Since Senior Paralegal left and Other Paralegal went part time, I have been taking on a lot of their duties and it is interfering with me doing my other work. Are we considering replacing Senior Paralegal?”

      • In-house here, there is a balance and it seems like your team has lost it. I think the main problem is that the paralegals/admin don’t know HOW to do fundamental aspects of their job. They need to be trained; talk to your GC about that, framed in the way Torin suggested. i.e. 95% of the time, I do my own copies (unlike in biglaw) but if I asked our paralegal to copy something for me because I wasn’t able to at the moment, and she said she didn’t know how, that would be a problem. This is a no-brainer, if it is interfering with the time you are able to spend on substantive work, then that is work that needs to be outsourced to outside counsel, which is even more expensive.

    • Purchase the Delta view comparison software ($99 per license I think?) And no one has to convert any document to compare them.

  20. Texas Consulting :

    Need advice on leaning out. I am 20 years out of college and have been in MBB consulting for the past 10 years A day hasn’t gone by that I don’t LOVE my job and my company. I’ve bragged to many people that I would retire here, EVENTUALLY. Our company has gone through major changes over the past few months (all due to recent M&A activity) and I’m just not feeling it anymore. A portion of my group was sold to a competitor, but I wasn’t, for example. I work very hard every day and will continue to do so, but I’d like to explore my options elsewhere before I’m asked to explore my options elsewhere. Can you all provide advice for this type-A personality on how to lean out (and not get fired) while still supporting my team. I care very deeply about the people on my team and don’t want to let them down, but it’s come time for me to prioritize myself. I am not a troll. This is actually my first time asking for advice on this site, despite reading it daily for 5 years. Thank you for keeping your comments professional and providing actionable advice.

    • Sounds like a perfect time for job hunting. No one on your team will blame you.

      I would start with networking/lunch/coffee with old work colleagues who left, and find out what they are doing and how they like it?

    • Do you monitor email on the weekends and in the evenings? If yes, I would stop, barring some kind of specific, real issue that actually needs to be addressed at 8 PM on a Saturday. Use that time to participate in hobbies you enjoy and/or look for other opportunities. You can still be present and do a good job during work hours, but if you’re not as invested in the jobs for various reasons I would not go out of your way to invest your non-work time into it.

    • Sorry to hear that the love affair hasn’t lasted forever — I had a job that I LOVED once but the company went under and I always think about the “good old days.” It’s okay to mourn that and be grateful because a lot of people never have a job they love like that. I think this is a “know yourself” kind of situation — if the way you tackle problems is to analyze and make a plan – do that. Set some mental benchmarks about what exactly leaning out might look like (e.g. moving 1×1’s to every other week instead of every week, giving others a chance to step up to deliver presentations where you might not have before, reviewing a deliverable once instead of 3 xs – I don’t know, whatever works for you). It seems like networking with others (during the day!) might also be a good next step. I really liked the “Designing Your Life” book as well. Good luck!

      • Texas Consulting (OP) :

        Thank you – this is really helpful advice, especially around the 1:1s and presentations. It’s a spectacular opportunity for me to step back and let my team step up (they are simply amazing) and I’m sure they would appreciate the opportunity to shine. Thank you for the thoughtful advice.

    • Agree with the advice about not checking email on evenings or weekends,or at least dialing it way back.

      Another thing I’ve seen people do is get heavily involved in nonprofit work related somehow to your field, and then using that as a reason why you are less invested at work. Maybe there is even a “loaned executive” program your company participates in, where you could go work somewhere else while still being paid by your company.

      I have to ask – are you leaning out because you’re burned out and need regeneration time? Are you leaning out because times aren’t what you want them to be at work, but you have hope they will get better? Or is it legitimately time to start looking for a new job?

      A great book about burnout and rejuvenation is Resonant Leadership, and the companion workbook Becoming a Resonant Leader. I recommend it to a lot of leaders/high performers I know who hit a burnout wall and don’t know what to do next.

  21. Summer Travel Plans :

    I really want to do a pre-grad school vacation but I also want to hold onto my savings as much as I can. Have any of you used to sites like Scott Keyes or The Flight Deal? I’m realizing I might have be more open about vacation locations and center it around the cheap flight because thats usually the most expensive part of the trip…

    • I haven’t used either of those but follow The Points Guy on FB (if you use that site). He’s always posting about how this week, you can fly to Paris for $250, etc etc.

    • I’ve used The Flight Deal and continue to follow them on Twitter. Points Guy is also good. You have to be flexible on dates if you want to take advantage but sometimes things will just line up nicely. I feel like Flight Deal also gives useful advice on the itineraries, including multi-city.

    • Used Scott Keyes to book $500 tickets to Tokyo for cherry blossom season this year (usually $1000 or more). I got it through the free newsletter, but I have friends who have gotten good deals through the premium newsletter as well.

    • LOVE Scott Keyes. I pay for the premium subscription and think it’s well worth it, especially if you’re open to where you go.

    • I believe with the Scott’s one if you don’t save with the premium in the 1st year you have it, he will refund it. Might want to check that but I am pretty sure thats it. The non premium is pretty low stress. Know when you can travel, watch your email for a good deal and pounce!

    • Headed to Australia in June with tickets bought at half price from Scott Keyes – the only problem with his emails is the time I spend daydreaming about using vacation time I don’t have!

  22. Any suggestions for an affordable, Zika-free getaway for a long weekend in August from Chicago? We’re celebrating a milestone anniversary, but between a home remodel and a European vacation over the winter, our cash flow is a little low right now so we’re looking for something that’s not going to cost more than about $1000 for two. If we can’t come up with anything better, we’ll probably just default to a night at a hotel in the city (we live in the burbs) and dinner at a really nice restaurant, but I’m trying to brainstorm other ideas. TTC now, so I might be up to six months pregnant then, or might not be pregnant yet.

    • Mountains! :

      Do you like the mountains? I’m not a huge beach person, so in August, I would either go to Colorado (Snowmass or similar) or maybe Banff- though I’m not as familiar with how expensive Banff is.

      • Definitely love the mountains! Banff is high on our to-visit list but I suspect with international plane tickets it wouldn’t be in the budget (same thing with Montreal, which was another idea I had) and I think ideally we’d like to go there for a real, weeklong vacation not just a weekend. I’ll look more into CO.

        • Mountains! :

          We just moved from Denver and would drive to the mountains any time we had a longer weekend or just wanted to get away. Soooo relaxing. We’ve stayed at Laurelwood Studios, very nice condo accommodations while still affordable. Maybe a 15-20m drive to Aspen and/or great hiking. You could fly into Denver and rent a car– hopefully that wouldn’t push you over budget. Even the drive from Denver to the mountains is relaxation-inducing.

        • The Canadian dollar sucks right now so it actually might be cheaper than you think to go to Banff.

    • Park City, Utah would also be a great option for a mountain escape, if that might be what you’re looking for. Maybe also Asheville, NC.

      • I would only caution that Asheville can be both expensive (but that’s probably relative for someone coming from a HCOL city) and HOT in August. But as someone who already lives in NC, I’d go!

    • Do you like the outdoors? How about Zion National Park? You could fly to Vegas, maybe for cheap, and then drive the rest of the way.

    • What about the great lakes area in Michigan? We went to a wedding in Saugatuck a few years ago, and it was beautiful and peaceful.

      • just laughing because literally all of michigan is the great lakes area.

        but saugatuck is a great suggestion! and a quick drive from Chicago! for a longer drive, you could try Traverse City or Petoskey/Harbor Springs

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          Yes haha laughing at the great lakes area part. The state motto is: If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you!

        • Rainbow Hair :

          We did a lovely romantic road trip around Lake Michigan (starting and ending in Chicago). Lots of good beer, cool little cities, natural beauty.

    • We went up to Quebec City and then onto the Canadian maritime provinces last August. United had excellent flight prices and the exchange rate was favorable.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      If you want to drive:

      Twin Cities for the Minnesota State Fair, Madison, Traverse City, Camp Wandawega, camping in Wisconsin and biking, go to Ann Arbor on the train, Madeline Island, Door County, Baraboo WI has great camping around it/state parks, Milwaukee, etc. I could go on and on – I love the midwest!

  23. Yesterday afternoon, I got a weird Valentine gif via Fb Messenger that was Paula Deen riding on a stick of butter and it said You BUTTER be my Valentine. The kicker – it’s from an older African American gentleman from my church. May I just say WTF???

    • That’s adorable :)

      • Don’t you think it’s weird that an African American man would use a Paula Deen gif as a Valentine? I do!

        • He probably either thought it was funny because it was making fun of Paula Deen (at least in his mind) or he has no idea who Paula Deen is. I guarantee my dad has no idea who Paula Deen is or any of her racial comments.

    • a millenial :

      hahahhaahha that’s amazing. im going to look for that right now to send to my friends

  24. Has anyone ever been to Rwanda? I may have an opportunity to go for work, but I would be essentially solo most of the time (Ruhengeri area) and I would want to make sure I feel comfortable being a woman on her own. My husband would stay behind in OR, which is obviously very far from East Africa in case anything were to happen. Anyone been there/any tips?

    • I have not been to Rwanda but I travelled extensively in the developing world as a young person (early 20s) and never had any issues with being a woman on my own. Granted, I was far more naïve then than I am now, so perhaps there were risks that I was not fully appreciative of. Also, it was in the late 1990s / early 2000s and the world has undergone some changes since then.

      I certainly drew a lot of attention and stares / whispers but I think that was due to the novelty of seeing a white person in areas not accustomed to travelers or tourists. People went out of their way to be helpful and accommodating.

    • Call the American embassy there and speak with someone about it.

  25. after school nanny f/u :

    After reading the comments on this topic I noticed that many people objected to having a nanny for teens. It dawned on me late yesterday that many kids with SAHMs have SAHMs into their teen years and even when they are old enough to drive. I am sure that SAHMs of teens loosely supervise older chidren, but mainly do household tasks and meal prep and then (often) drive their kids around.

    I get that I wasn’t supervised when I was a teen, but I also lived in a very small town where most adults mainly worked 9-5 and I could walk many places. I hadn’t really thought about what a bigger city would be like (or a more rural one with no street lights or sidewalks when it gets dark before 5 in the winter).

    So, I am no longer surprised / borderline outraged that a working parent would want a SAHM-proxy/helper even with older kids. Even if people spend 1-2 hours a day on household tasks / family driving, that’s totally imcompatible with my current BigLaw job (unless it can be done b/w 9-11 at night, but even sometimes that would get pushed). I get it now. I am sorry I was so judgey.

    • I don’t think it’s just a small town vs. city thing though. My cousins who are now 30ish grew up in NYC and were taking the subway home from school alone in high school, I think maybe even in middle school. I think most people today would not allow their kids to do that. Attitudes about how much supervision kids need have just really changed a lot.

      • Um – kids in NYC STILL take the subway to/from school – often starting by 5th grade or so without parents. NYC is a whole different ballgame though. Most of America doesn’t live in a busy big city but in suburbia where you are dependent on cars and there is no public transport – so if you are working and not around to drive your kids, their life experience will be like mine — go to school and come home on the big yellow bus. No sports or lessons or other fun ECs bc you constantly don’t have a ride home and in my case my parents weren’t going to pay someone to drive me around (not sure it would have been so easy to even find that kind of help in suburban south jersey in the early 90s).

        • My parents weren’t around to drive me, but I still did all that stuff in suburbia without parental shuffling – I either took a late bus or walked 3 miles home. It wasn’t ideal, but it was fine. Also, your kid is going to have friends who they can sometimes catch a ride with.

      • I think also, you could just get home at 7 every night (leaving a job at 6, which is early where I work). Your kids could come straight home from school and do homework (or do activities and just wait for you until you can get them if they can’t catch a ride). Maybe they’d even start dinner.

        But adolescence is such a tender time for kids. Each day they have triumphs and heartbreaks and aggravations and worries. I worry now (with small kids) that I need to be more present in their lives and I think that the right household helper could be a good emotional buffer to have for children (not to mention being of actual help to me as a parent).

        I have no doubt that my chidren could figure out a city bus. Figuring out heartaches and what to do with their lives — I think they will need a loving grownup to help (which is what this board is to me). I’d like mine to have a good mom-proxy around the house for when I’m not yet home from work (or they need a ride) and just need to download to someone.

        • And you think a non English speaking nanny or some woman out of community college looking to get a job with her child development degree (let’s be honest here) is going to be a mom proxy and a loving grown up? Sorry – I think you hire the help to take care of the house, meals, driving – and then spend the time tending to their emotional needs when you’re home, rather than tending to day to day home chores.

          • My younger sister is 16 and there is a semi-English speaking housekeeper at home who my sister absolutely loves, mainly just drives my sister to tennis/SAT classes and gives her food sometimes, sister loves to listen to this lady’s advice, she is like an older sister. Not mom, I’m still her sister, but she gets along great and gets a lot of support from the housekeeper.

          • I mean, people who don’t speak English great or who have community college degrees can also be wonderful mothers. No reason they can’t bond with the kids.

        • I think with a newborn, they are needy, but you can have someone tend to their needs and not worry that they are going to go horribly off-track at daycare (like they have the wrong infant friends, they are getting into your liquor cabinet, they are playing with pills, no one is supervising at Susie’s house). Your newborn isn’t going to get pregnant (or catch something that she’s ashamed to tell you about that keeps her from getting pregnant later when she wants t0) or get someone else pregnant.

          The stakes are higher. Also, some teens are very fun (my nephew) and if I were his parent, I’d want to see him when I’m not a frazzled mess and get to know his friends and go to his football games.

          I really want to work PT when I have teen kids. I love babies, but I really adore nice teens.

          • I love what you are saying. I know the importance of early childhood but looking at my friends in college etc how present and involved and compassionate their parents were when they were teenagers, how supportive of their own developing interests, made a difference.

          • Interesting…my parents both worked full-time through my teen years and I didn’t feel like they were any less present as a result. The 3 hours after school that I spent alone/hanging out with friends waiting to get picked up mattered a lot less than what they were like when they were home.

          • housecounsel :

            I work from home now that my kids are teens. I worked more, and out of the house, when they were little. I think there is a huge advantage to teenagers having someone at home when they come home from school, and if I didn’t work at home, I would absolutely hire someone to be here. I agree that the stakes are much higher with teenagers, and it is WAY more fun. I don’t see how my kids would be able to get to their activities (pre license) and I don’t want to be THAT mom who leans on everyone else for rides.

          • My parents usually didn’t get home for an hour or two after I came home from high school (either driving or taking the bus) and that decompressing alone time was really helpful for me. But I get that I was a really boring kid (in the best way) and probably the worst things I did during that time was pirate TV shows and eat junk food.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I left my Medium Sized Law Firm when my son started high school and took a job where I could be home for dinner every night. He still walked home from school and was alone for a couple of hours, but I got to spend the evenings at home and it was totally worth it.

      • I used to ride the subway pretty often between 3pm and 5pm. People definitely let their kids take the subway home from school in middle and high school. There were always tons of unsupervised kids at that time (and they were really annoying, as kids are).

    • i think those are good points. it may also be a question of terminology – my senior colleagues whose kids are in school most of the day typically convert to a non-nanny employee (although sometimes the nanny basically just has a title change.) The other titles I’ve seen are house manager or house keeper, and some switch to an au pair.

      I do think when kids are left home alone has changed a lot, though. I remember babysitting for other kids at age 11 (for non-relatives) and being left alone by my parents after school/in the evening from age 9 or so. Now, I think the minimum age my neighbors in my suburban area would do that would be 12 or so, and likely later.

      • Yup, I’m mid-20s and I was rarely alone in the evenings for more than an hour through most of middle school, and I was carted off to stay with someone else if they would be away overnight up until I was probably 15, except for emergency circumstances. That said, in my cohort of friends at least, very few people had nannies/housekeepers after middle school – if parents’ schedules didn’t allow them to be home, those kids got to be home alone.

    • Why would you have been “outraged” that someone else wants a nanny for their teen kids? What about this is your business enough for you to feel rage?

      Some people get very attached to their nannies. My friend has grown kids and her former nanny still works for her a couple of days a week doing housework and errands. My children’s babysitter from their baby years still works 6 hours a week for us in the mornings helping my teens get to school (it’s not walking distance and my travel schedule means I can’t always take them.)

      Anyway, none of your business. Find more important things to worry about. Preferably not about how other people live their lives.

    • Yeah, I only have kids in preschool now, but I’ve always assumed I’ll need a helper of some sort when they are older. Ideally, it’s grandma, but if not, it’s someone who is around for a few hours between end of school and dinner time to help drive and generally take care of stuff around the house that I can’t handle because I’m at work. Maybe this ends when they are 16 or so. Basically, what ace said.

  26. flaky, wrinkles, acne :

    I’ve just been diagnosed with eczema on my face and am feeling a bit overwhelmed (no acne meds? no wrinkle creams? no peels?). Has this happened to anyone? In addition to using the prescription drugs, how did you change your makeup/skincare routine?

    • Not an eczema sufferer, but…

      To battle acne and dryness, you could try a low PH cleanser as an easy first step. I use COSRX Low PH Good Morning Cleanser ($10 on Amazon) and can recommend it as a product that smells good and doesn’t give me that dry, squeaky clean feel! I copied a bit from the blogger Snow White and the Asian Pear (my new favorite rabbit hole!) for you:

      – Your skin’s natural pH is between 4.2 and 5.6, so it’s acidic

      – Sebum is acidic, and is meant to keep your skin within the abovementioned range

      – Acne and bacteria don’t thrive in an acidic environment

      – 99% of foaming cleansers I have found are hella alkaline (8-10 range), hiking your skin into the acne-friendly pH zone

      – If you hike the pH of your skin, it can take up to 24 hours to return to normal

      – A skin with a high pH will suffer from dryness, acne, sensitivity, and age more quickly

    • Marshmallow :

      Hi! I’m pretty late but I have this exact issue so thought I’d chime in in case you are still checking. I have had eczema my whole life, and in college I had a nasty rash on my face for MONTHS. My school health center called it eczema and gave me cortisone. It’s back, and my new derm said it’s actually psoriasis. “Oh, so I don’t have eczema after all?” “No, you have both on different areas.” -_- Awesome. Combine that with the fact that since I got an IUD I’ve been getting minor hormonal breakouts on my chin, and I’m having a fantastic time with my skin lately.

      What works for me:
      — I cleanse with Avene Dermo Cleansing Milk. It never irritates my skin and feels lovely.
      — Lots of moisture. It doesn’t seem to make me break out any more or less, but it helps with the redness and flaking (lovely). I always use a moisturizing serum and sometimes a little rose hip oil under my normal moisturizer.
      — I still use retinol at night, just not on any areas I am currently having a rash attack. It helps with fine lines and breakouts.
      — Gentle acid exfoliation, something like Pixi Glow Tonic, a few times a week. Do not go crazy with physical exfoliation when you have flakes! Moisturize instead.
      — Masks and other extras: Very gentle clay mask for breakouts (I like the Caudalie “detox” and Glossier “greens” ones), sheet masks and other hydrating stuff on a regular basis. I like Laneige sheet masks from Target and the Glossier “moon mask” for extra hydration and calming.
      — Makeup: I used to try putting foundation on when I was flaky, but I just can’t make it work. I think most people notice less about your skin than you do, you know? Try not to worry about it and put on a nice lipstick or eye makeup to draw the attention elsewhere. For days when I’m not flaky, just red, I really like Dr. Jart Tiger Grass Color Correcting Cream. It’s light green and really calms redness without that full foundation look. Cushion compacts or tinted moisturizers also do the trick.

      • I’m so relieved you can still use a retinol. What moisturizer do you use morning/night? Thank you so much for the product-specific info here.

        Do you ever get facials or microdermabrasions (spelling)?

        • Marshmallow :

          Morning: sometimes Avene, sometimes Glossier Priming Moisturizer (I like both the regular and “rich” versions, but the rich is definitely more moisturizing and smells better). I use a Biore sunscreen, I forget exactly what it’s called but it is Japanese and has “water” or “aqua” in the name. It’s like $8 on Amazon but shipping takes forever.

          Evening: The Ordinaries advanced retinoid 2%, Shiseido Benefiance retinol eye cream (both of these go only on non-rashy areas), and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate everywhere. The midnight recovery is an oil and I find I generally don’t need another moisturizer, but if I want another layer, I use CeraVe cream.

          I’ve had basic facials at Massage Envy and have found that my skin tolerates them well if I’m not having a flare-up. I’ve never had microdermabrasion, sorry.

          Good luck! I felt so hopeless during college and it was kind of an existential crisis to suddenly be mildly disfigured. My boss took me aside because my rash was a dark red/purple and he thought I might be experiencing domestic abuse. I figured out that mold was a trigger and finally found a mix of rx/OTC products that worked for me. It gets better!

    • Ooo, me too :

      I had to give up on foundation and anything near my lips, so if anyone has any suggestions for a replacement, you would make me very happy. I cleanse and moisturize with Cetaphil and rarely have outbreaks, so long as nothing goes near my lips. I refer to my moisturizing regime as proactive and aggressive.

  27. Lash Boost? :

    Anyone have experience, personal or vicarious with R+F Lash Boost? I have an extreme dislike of MLM schemes, but can’t deny that the before and after pictures look enticing. Also, I am breastfeeding and wondering if I should probably wait due to concern about ingredients and hair loss issues… thoughts? thanks, hive!

    • I would just get Latisse. It’s a prescription but you can get it online. I like R+F products (the soothe line is great for my sensitive skin) but I wouldn’t buy an OTC product when it’s really just trying to imitate a widely available prescription product. I use Latisse and love it.

  28. Any blazer recs to wear with skinny jeans in a casual office?

  29. Leanin' some kind of way :

    I am currently in grad school with an eye toward completely changing careers. I do volunteer work associated with my new field. And, I work full time. Right now my full time job is sort of “beneath me” in terms of my overall qualifications and background in my current field. However, said job is low-stress and flexible in ways that help me manage a pretty busy schedule. Am I nuts to plan to stay in this role for the next couple of years? Or should I be pursuing more prestige within my existing organization?

    • If staying in that job allows you to focus on grad school and your volunteering, I would just stay. Especially since you’re planning to do a 180 after you graduate. As long as you’re relatively happy in your role, I don’t think staying will hurt your future in a different industry at all. People will understand that you didn’t want to lean in while in graduate school.

    • If you’re going to change careers and you’re in grad school, I say why rock the boat. Keep doing the volunteering and networking in your new field as well as school. Kick a$$ in school (accelerate if that’s a possibility?) Could you potentially move into a position in your new field before you finish school?

  30. Tips for attending networking events with coworkers? I find I do so much better when I am by myself because it forces me to introduce myself to others immediately. What do you do if you go to an event with two or three others from your firm? Hang with them at the beginning and then split off naturally?

    • Definitely split off. Don’t spend the entire night hanging with your 3 coworkers bc you can talk to each other the other 8-10 hrs/day, 5 days a week you’re together. What I’ve found recently that works – position yourself in some way (even with coworkers) where you’re facing the door/wherever people are entering though some distance away from it. As people enter, look up, smile/make eye contact. People tend to walk over and introduce themselves bc it saves them the awkwardness of walking around alone. So then you’re standing with a coworker but new people keep entering your conversation — leading to a split off.

    • I like to have buddies for the initial foray into the event and then we kind of split off naturally.

    • lawsuited :

      I introduce my colleagues to everyone I know at the networking event, and then let them do the same. It’s actually a great way to expand your network in a very natural-feeling way.

  31. nordstrom price drop alerts :

    Is there a web plug in or app or something that will send me an alert when an item I want from Nordstrom goes on sale? I just got my first trunk from trunk club — did not know they have an all online option for styling – highly recommend — and there were a couple things I decided not to keep but will stalk until they go on sale.

    • I use Shop style and “favorite” the items I’m watching. It’s an app and I get notifications if my favorites go on sale

  32. mirena cramps :

    Did anyone get worse cramps on Mirena, and did they ever get better? I’m into my third month since insertion and while my cramps aren’t bad per se they are significantly worse than they were when I was on Nuvaring or before I went on HBC.

    I’m not really unhappy that I made the switch, just wondering if I should go stock myself up on ibuprofen for the next couple of years. Would prefer having a heavier period over cramps though :(

    • ALX emily :

      I have Skyla, not Mirena, but yes – I had worse cramps than on Nuvaring, but better than when I was a teenager, for about 8 months or so and then they got a lot better. My period also went from a “regular” flow for a couple of days, to organized spotting, to now very mild/random spotting (it’s been 2 years).

      • I had a similar progression with Mirena. 6-8 months felt like long stretch at first, but several years in, I barely remember it. I have occasional cramps/boob tenderness and that is the most noticeable part of my cycle bc the rest is almost a non-event.

    • I had worse cramps and basically permanent spotting until I got it removed :-(

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, but after a few months they should usually get better. I had some weird sharp cramps that felt like my cervix was being stabbed, but they went away.

    • Yes. IUDs are notorious for that particular side effect (along with heavier periods with the non-hormonal ones). Mine were horrible during both IUDs.

      • mirena cramps :

        I knew ongoing cramps were a possibility, but those went away – these are specifically PMS and period-related cramps that were worse than before, which I hadn’t heard of in my research.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Mine are horrible with Paraguard, but my obgyn said Mirena is supposed to be better about the bad cramps. Curious to see if other people have bad cramps with Mirena as I was considering switching.

      (Incidentally, when I took spirnolactone for acne, it made the cramps go away. Don’t ask me how or if there’s any scientific data to back this up, but I swear it did. Didn’t help the acne, but I’m considering asking my derm to try it again just for the cramps.)

      • mirena cramps :

        I wouldn’t say they were bad – just bad for me, because previously I basically never had cramps (both on HBC and off). They are stabby and go away fairly quickly, but are annoying enough to reach for the ibuprofen. I don’t know if I’m just being moved up to normal cramp levels or if it just exacerbates whatever your baseline level is. Sounds like I should give it a few more months.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, so I had it removed after 4 or 5 months. It was terrible. Typically while on BC, I may get mild cramps on the first day of my cycle and no spotting. Nothing that an ibuprofen couldn’t cure. With Mirena, I had terrible cramps for days as well as spotting.

      My OB/GYN was quite rude, saying I should wait longer because “its expensive”. It was actually free (to me), but regardless, I informed her its my body and I wanted removal.

      I then found a new OB/GYN. The reason I tried out Mirena is because my husband is an immigrant from a country where most women have “the copper T”. I may try out Paraguard one day because the no hormone aspect seems appealing, but I am concerned about the pain.

      Curious if anyone has switched from Mirena to Paraguard?

    • Just wanted to throw a different experience into the mix here – I never had any cramping after the day of insertion, and haven’t had a period since getting it inserted. I’ve had mine for 3.5 years now.

    • Anonymous :

      Yep – I had horrible, horrible cramps on insertion, obviously, then come and go cramps for a few months, tapering off until the one year mark. Now, 18 months later, I rarely get any cramps, or a period. 10/10 would do it again.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m on my 4th month of Skyla and the cramps have been significantly worse than I had before IUD (which I thought were bad at the time). At first, it was nearly every day feeling like someone with steel trap hands were squeezing my ovaries trying to get them to burst. I had a prescription for 800mg ibuprofen + famotidine (sp?), for an unrelated sports injury and I ended up taking that almost ’round the clock for the first month. Now 4 months out, they’re not all day every day and mostly just during ovulation and the few days before my period. But when I do get a cramp, it’s still so painful that I’ve fallen out of my chair to the floor a few times. My OB/GYN seemed unconcerned at my 2 month f/u and encouraged me to stick with it, so here’s hoping the frequency keeps decreasing.

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