Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Pleated A-Line Dress

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

papell-dress-for-workHappy Hump Day! I kind of like that this dress is a hybrid between a drop waist and a fit & flare — it’s more sophisticated than your typical F&F, and yet more flattering than your typical drop waist. And at $110, it’s hard to go wrong. It’s available in sizes 4-12 at Nordstrom. Adrianna Papell Pleated A-Line Dress

This plus-size dress from Adrianna Papell is similar. (Note that this $65 Papell sheath dress is in our Hall of Fame!)

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(L-all)

Comments

  1. Anonymous :

    I always seem to be making silly mistakes like putting the wrong date or wrong numbers. How do you develop attention to detail?

    Sometimes when you look at the computer screen so much, zeros end up looking light eights. It becomes so easy to make mistakes. I work in finance.

    • Anonymous :

      Print sh*t out.

      Go to the drug store and get some $20 1.5 magnification Foster Grant reading glasses. I have 20/20 vision per my eye dr but need these to read, esp at the end of the day / low light / lots of eyestrain.

      And turn your back on your computer to proof things if you can.

      Slow the eff down.

      [not trying to be mean, but you have to prioritize proofing b/c it’s so d*mn boring. And this is my internal self-talk, too.]

    • I try to get enough sleep and take frequent breaks during tasks that require lots of attention to detail. I try to finish tasks early enough that I can review them more than once. If it’s a really important task I might get a coworker to do a comb through too.

    • Yay Kat, finally an A-line dress that will not highlight my tuchus! I am goeing to show the manageing partner and I pray he approve’s b/c I don’t have alot of a-line dresses!

      As for the OP, I second the motion. Alway’s write thing’s down. I learned this while serveing supeenies, where I had to complete the affidavid’s for the court. I then had to get them NOTARIZED. I could NOT notarize my own affidavid’s, so I learned to do it right. You can too. Just FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS! That is also what I told Sheketovits while I still was dateing him. FOOEY! I sure made a mistake with him!

    • Find out if you need reading glasses/computer glasses. If you do the eye strain from not having them will make it easy to miss mistakes and hard to focus on your work as your eyes tire during the day.

    • I’m in Finance too. I build time in to proofread, and force myself to do it. Like every hour, I force myself to take a quick break, then spend 5 min proofing everything I just did. If it’s really important, I’ll ask a coworker to read over it. For numbers, I do a ton of cross-checking. Build formulas into your Excel sheets to make sure columns tie out, use conditional formatting to highlight aberrations. Spell check everything.

      • Finance Here :

        +1 to the last point – I built in lots of checks and cross checks between tabs in the margins of different sheets.

    • Type B lawyer :

      I also struggle with this (lawyer). Print everything out. I almost never read anything complicated on the computer any more (briefs, regulations, statutes, cases). My office looks like a paper warehouse but whatever. When I proof read, I go one line at a time using a blank piece of paper to cover the lines below- that way your eye doesn’t just slide down the page. Touch your pen to each word and leave a mark to make sure you’ve considered word and your brain isn’t just filling in the gaps and fixing errors unconsciously.

      Also turn away from the computer, or go in a separate room. Take breaks.

      • Newbie Associate :

        +1.

      • +2 Also consider reading backward. That is, If the number is 180,000.08, read it right to left. That way your brain can’t go “oh yeah, that’s all there”. Read out loud, also backward if necessary (not that you read “the cat ran” as “nar tac eht” but you read “ran cat the”).

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Checklists are helpful too, particularly if you are continually missing mistakes in similar sections of whatever you are working on.

      • anonshmanon :

        Yes, if you regularly send out announcement email, a checklist can be a useful routine.
        Date correct?
        Location?
        Name and affiliation?
        Attachment attached?
        Email subject line?

        Where I work, this would cut down on emails a lot.

    • I have glasses that I wear only at work. They are bifocals but set for reading the computer and reading papers. Godsend.

    • Less for numbers, more for text: I use checklists (name, title, date, are the units correct, etc.), and try to underline or highlight each fact that has been checked (obviously internally/ for my own use, and remove when I send documents on to the rest of the team). Reading out loud helps, too.

    • See an eye doctor. Also consider changing your fonts or using automated calculations.

    • You probably don’t want to hear this, but to a large extent you can’t develop an attention to detail, at least in regard to financial data like you apparently work with. I have worked in public accounting nearly my whole career (technically still do, though now for myself) and the staff I’ve had that struggle with it always struggle with it. Do definitely follow the suggestions above about making sure it isn’t a different problem related to vision or your computer. Being well rested and not rushing will help as well, but perhaps not as much as finding a job that utilizes your skills as opposed to one that fights against your nature.

    • I’m also in finance. Make a “tech review” spreadsheet. Type all the numbers from your document into a spreadsheet – DONT copy and paste- and make sure they all add up or multiply or average to your conclusion numbers.

      You can also do this by hand on paper. Just writing down the numbers and the dates (or typing them in as above) will reinforce whether they’re right or not. In my experience, writing down the wrong date or number just feels wrong at an instinctive level and that little tug at your gut will help you find the errors.

    • I have a real condition called dyscalculia. It’s basically dyslexia only with numbers. For example, my eyes see a 5 but my brain sees a 9. I can’t recount numbers in sequence, such as a phone number, address, or my ssn. My high school math tutor “diagnosed” it my senior year. I have every symptom, based on some research.

      • I’m pretty certain I have this too – makes me feel a bit crazy at times. So difficult to explain why the numbers 5 and 7 are pretty much the same in my brain…

  2. anonymous :

    How do you decide how much you’re willing to pay for different kinds of clothing items? Do you buy a lot and pay not that much per item? Buy fewer items at a higher price point? Buy solely at discount stores, or online, etc? And how much would you say you’re willing to pay for work dresses, blazers, tops, bottoms (skirts/pants) and shoes? Oh, and what’s your household income to put it into context?

    I’m reconsidering how I do my shopping for work clothes and trying to figure out if I have a system that works for me or if there are better alternatives.

    • I have a max price that I’ll pay for things – £50 for a dress, £60 for shoes, £30 for sweater, £75 for coat.

      I shop sales and have quite a small wardrobe (maybe 20 dresses, 7-8 skirts, 10 sweaters, 10 tops, assorted tshirts, gym clothes, and loungewear). This is made possible by my climate – no need for super warm or super cold clothes, field – academia so business casual, and personal style – I wear patterned dresses with sleeves which makes shopping super easy. I keep track of how often I wear things, both to judge quality and also to make sure I’m rotating through my wardrobe. I tend to shop at the same few stores: GAP, Uniqlo, Seasalt, the occasional Old Navy or Banana Republic.

      • So interesting! I would consider 20 dresses, 8-8 skirts, 10 sweaters, 10 tops to be a fairly large wardrobe. :)

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Maybe it is the slightly more limited options of being plus-sized, but I honestly do not think about it like that. I love a sale as much as the next person, but if I find something I really love that fits well, then I buy it.

      I live in Canada so would easily spend a lot on a warm coat/snow boots that will last multiple winters. And for the right shoes or a purse, well, all bets are off. Like seriously. But I also went out for a burrito salad and came back with an LV Artsy, so I perhaps not the best person to offer budgeting advice.

      • +1. If it fits and looks good, I buy it. That means my work trousers cost more than the rest of my outfit put together (Boden Richmond trousers are the only ones that have ever looked good on my body).

    • Household income is just under $60k
      I try to buy fewer things but for more money. I find things I like that were originally $200 – $500 and stalk them until they go on sale for $100 – $250 and then buy them. If I don’t REALLY like it or it doesn’t fit the need I bought it for, it’s returned. I spend more on high-use items (work shoes, for instance) and far less on anything trendy (nothing more than $30 and probably from Forever21).

    • HHI is about $300K. I don’t have a hard and fast rule about how much I’ll pay per item, but I tend towards $50ish for shells / cotton shirts, $75-125 for silk blouses, $150 for cashmere sweaters, to give an example of range. BUT as a general principle, I don’t even LOOK at full priced merchandise because I know how marked-up it is. I make rare exceptions if something is a total unicorn or is never marked down (e.g., Ferragamo heels). So if I went by original prices, the shells/cotton shirts would be more like $100 each, silk blouses $150-200 each, sweaters $250-300 each.

    • I buy fewer because I don’t want to store the items and also too many choices cause stress. I like the ease of having a uniform.

      I echo jwalk. I will stalk items because I do like the pricier things. I’ll spend more money on warm winter coats and boots that I expect to last years.

      HH ~ $60K.

    • I rarely buy clothing items that are over $100, but I will spend around that much for shoes that fit well and are comfortable. I’m petite so I’ll pay more for pants that fit well. I realized I have couple of pairs from NYDJ that are around that price.

      I spend $50-$60 on bras because I consider them an important foundation piece. However, I’ll buy fun underwear and socks at places like Target.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      I am trying to buy few, quality pieces that are classic and will last for years, where I also do not have to worry about sweatshop or child labour.

      I am somewhat limited in that few retailers in this city carry higher end (my office) appropriate clothing. I do buy some things online for outside the country, but it is a pain to return, particularly with duties etc. I would totally be buying the Karen Millen dress featured last week otherwise!

      Also Canadian, and I will spend $400 on good winter boots, and $800-1000 on a great winter parka, $400-500 on a good wool coat. But those last multiple winters and look good all that time.

    • I don’t have a set max for any particular item, but looking back over my last year(ish) of spending, I seem to have maxed myself out at $125 for dresses, $60 for pants, $35 for t-shirt-type tops, and $100 for sweaters; I haven’t bought any new skirts or (non-running) shoes in recent memory. I buy mostly higher-end items (DvF, Madewell, assorted cashmere brands, etc.) on consignment. My solo income is $42k, household is ~$87k.

      My main New Year’s resolution for 2016 was to only buy secondhand clothing (with obvious exemptions for stuff like hosiery and sports bras). I’ve always bought a significant chunk of my clothing from consignment stores or Goodwill, but I wanted to focus on it because of 1) sustainability and 2) my wallet. I’m planning to keep it going for 2017, but may have to cave on a couple of items like a navy pencil skirt and a couple of pairs of work shoes. I can’t seem to find ones that fit and are up to my standards anywhere, and my workhorse black flats are on the brink of death.

      • Closet Redux :

        This is an awesome resolution! Good for you.

        I try to thrift/consign as much as I can for my toddler as she is growing so fast and also wears the $#!+ out of her clothes, so I don’t want to spend a lot of money on cute Baby Boden that she will immediately stain and then only wear for a few months. I find it a lot harder to do for myself, though, as I just can’t find the quality I need and I’m not really a fan of shopping in general, so I don’t really get a thrill from the hunt (more like a headache).

        • As a non-parent, I’ve never understood why parents don’t buy all of their kids’ clothing secondhand! They grow so danged fast and are so freaking messy.

          As I’ve gotten older, my thrift:schmancy consignment ratio has definitely shifted heavily towards the consignment end of things. I just no longer have the time or energy to dig through the racks at Goodwill. If there are any nice consignment stores in your area, it’s a good way to cut out some of the headache–items will be pre-screened for quality and trendiness, and while you’ll obviously pay more, it cuts down on a lot of the headaches. For example, my go-to stores list the brands they’ll accept on their websites, so you’re not going to find random junk from Walmart. Annnd that’s my PSA for your local consignment store :)

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Honestly, for me, I have found that sales at the Gap Outlet are just as cheap as some second hand items. Also, once you are past the baby stage, toddlers/preschoolers are so hard on clothes that there are not many things to find in pristine condition.

          • Because buying secondhand for kids can be time sink and a pain in the butt. Sale prices at run-of-the-mill kids’ clothing stores are the same price as the used stuff at the consignment stores in my area AND I can do it online during my lunch break!

            This isn’t coming from a clothes-snob place — I’m all about hand-me-downs, but the hassle of kid consignment is just not worth it for me.

          • Closet Redux :

            Totally hear you on being able to find new (especially outlet) items at the same price as consignment. For me so much of the draw is sustainability. I like that these things aren’t going straight to the landfill, I like that our consignment shop is owned by a local mom, and I like that part of my purchase price is going back into the pocket of another family. Shop your conscience and all that.

    • I have different amounts in my head that I am willing to pay for different levels of quality. As a general approach, I like having a small closet of nice things that I wear all the time (my whole closet is basically a capsule wardrobe), so the first hurdle before I’ll buy something is that it has to fit me perfectly, fit the color scheme of my existing clothing, and be something I’ll wear frequently. In terms of what I’ll pay for particular items, I’m willing to spend up to $300 for a very high quality work dress. On the other hand, I love ponte dresses but I won’t spend more than $130 or so and it has to be thick ponte that lays well (e.g., Classiques Entier). I tend to buy suits at Nordstrom Rack (Theory or Boss), so I am not paying full price. My jeans are in the $200 range, and I only have 3 pairs. And I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $75 for a top (or $120 for a sweater).

      My shoe approach is similar — I tend to prefer buying nicer shoes and then taking good care of them. My winter shoe rotation: 1 pair of chelsea boots (Ink), 1 pair knee high flat suede boots (Donald Pliner), 1 pair heeled boots (Loeffler Randall), 2 pairs pumps (Stuart Weitzman, AGL), 1 pair vans-style slip-ons, and 1 pair gym shoes. It just occurred to me that all of my shoes are black… The boots all cost $225-350, the pumps cost $100-300 , the vans cost $60, and the gym shoes cost $125. I will sometimes buy shoes on sale but have gotten to the point where I am okay spending full price since I wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes in the first place if I didn’t love the fit and expect them to last several seasons.

      In terms of where I shop, I do occasional in-person shopping at consignment stores and Nordstrom Rack. Most of my shopping is online though. I order a lot from Nordstrom, some from sites like Off Fifth, and then I’ll try newer brands like MMLaFleur, AllBirds, M. Gemi, etc.

      Household income is $360k.

    • I’ve been thinking a lot about this the past year or so — when I first started working in an office full time 6ish years ago, I went a little nuts and bought a lot of things I thought were cute without paying due attention to quality or how well they fit or whether or not they were on sale. Then I’d spend 15 minutes standing in front of my closet trying to decide what to wear and not really liking anything I owned. So I’d go shopping to buy more stuff.

      Recently, I’ve purged my closet of things I don’t like, scaled back on my wardrobe size, and made a few shopping rules for myself: 1) if it doesn’t fit well and isn’t easily tailored (e.g. pant length), don’t buy it, no matter how much you love the color/cut/whatever 2) nothing full price 3) try to make sure the piece will work with multiple other pieces in my wardrobe (so a top that will match several skirts or vice versa) 4) nothing that _must_ be dry cleaned.

      For me, these rules work better than having a budget for a particular item. I’ve spent significantly less on clothes in the past year under these rules that I did in previous years. Under this system I rarely spend more than $100 on a single item, though I’ve spent more than that on things like coats and boots.

      My income is ~100k.

      • +1 Loving how something fits and makes you feel is so important. I hate the “I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear” feeling.

    • I don’t have a hard limit for clothing but ask myself if I truly love the piece. When I get something new, I hang it up In my closet quickly. If I don’t feel the urge to wear it within a week or so, it gets returned.

    • Personally, I tend to focus most on cost per wear, so if it is something that I will wear frequently and will last several seasons, like a really nice jacket then I’ll spend substantially more. If its a super trendy item that I only expect to wear occasionally or to go out of style after a season or two, I usually would only spend like H&M or Old Navy money, if that makes sense.

      Otherwise, I am sadly motivated by sales but I think that’s because I was raised by a mother who, when complimented on an item, always responded “Thanks, it was on 50% off!” [I still do that today unless I’m telling them that my dress has pockets.]

    • My HHI is around $300k. I have a few philosophies on clothes:
      1. Know your closet- I know all my clothes by heart and identify “gaps” where I might need things
      2. Shop continuously – with #1 in mind, I am always browsing to find new items that fit into my wardrobe. This helps avoid the last minute “oh my gosh I NEED a tan blazer” shopping trip where I inevitably spend more than I want for something I don’t love
      3. Only buy things you love – I wear clothes I love that I bought full price far more than clothes I bought on sale
      4. Don’t be afraid to shop consignment – I look online as well as in local stores.
      5. Get rid of things when the time is right – if you stop wearing something because you don’t like it or it doesn’t fit, just get rid of it.

      Then circle back to #1 and repeat. I spend more money than a lot of people (100-150 for a blouse, 150-250 for a sweater, 200-300 for pants and 200-500 for dresses) but I buy classic and keep them.

      I also have a minimal amount of jewelry, shoes and purses compared to most women. I only buy pieces that go with my whole wardrobe. I have perhaps 10 pairs of shoes (5-6 work and 4-5 casual) and 2-3 purses at any given time. For jewelry, I wear my engagement/wedding ring and diamond studs every day.

    • My single hh income is 60k. I think I have ‘mental barriers’ at $50 and $100, based on how often I plan to wear the item. I very rarely go over $100/item, with exceptions for winter boots, coats, lbds, and suits. I own about 6 dresses, 4 complete suits, 20 seasonless blouses, 5 summer only blouses, 10 sweaters, and 8 pairs of pants. Maybe 20 pairs of shoes.

  3. Cross-posting on the moms s1te, but how does one handle pumping when making the DC to NY Amtrak trip? It will take me about an hour to get to Union Station and another 30 min or so to get to the meeting venue once in NY so waiting to get to my destination isn’t really a great option…but the idea of pumping in my seat makes me uncomfortable, too. Do people do that? Is there a place to pump in either Union or Penn Station that isn’t disgusting?

    • Anonymous :

      That is not ‘disgusting’. There are other things that are worth the word ‘disgusting’.

      • I think the “disgusting” reference is more about the cleanliness of Union or Penn Station, not the act of pumping.

        My guess is that Union Station is better than Penn (by a lot). Any chance you could get a first class upgrade/pay for a first class ticket? The lounge there in Union Station isn’t bad.

      • Calm down. Maybe reread before assuming that the poster was saying something offensive.

      • Anonymous :

        I interpreted disgusting to be referring to the cleanliness of Union Station/Penn Station. I would also be grossed out by the physical surroundings if I had to pump in either location.
        OP, if I were you I would look into other nearby locations that might have pumping-friendly options (i.e. Is there a hotel or department store nearby that might have more comfortable public restrooms that you can use).

      • Yes, I’m referring to the disgustingness of Penn Station and (to a much lesser extent) Union Station (which is generally pretty nice, but I wonder about pumping spaces).

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Errr. I think she meant the stations. Not the actual at of pumping.

      I once had to do a medical treatment that I also didn’t want to do in front of people and the train actually had a nursing mother’s area. Maybe worth calling Amtrak and asking?

    • Anonymous :

      I’d bring a nursing cover (I had a h**ter hider) as a last resort. Once my plans didn’t go as planned and I was grateful for just a few inches of privacy.

    • Anonymous :

      DC Urban Moms from 2010 via Google tells me this:

      “I would try Macy’s and see if they have a family bathroom. The Buy, Buy Baby on 25th and 7th has a nursing room – supposedly. But I haven’t been there, so I would check re: set up and cleanliness. If anyone goes to NY and tries either of these, could you please post here?”

      And so much sympathy for you that this is even an issue. How can train stations not have nursing/baby care rooms? I travel mostly by air in Canada/Europe and I’ve pumped in lots of airports – never would have occurred to me that a train station wouldn’t have an area for nursing/pumping. Hopefully if you all get a Clinton presidency, these spaces can be mandatory like bathrooms.

    • Anonymous :

      I think there is an Acela club at the stations. If you ask nicely and explain, I bet you can get in for free.

    • Thanks, all — good suggestions. I hadn’t even thought to check out Macys or Buy Buy Baby (though more of a hike than an in-station option). I’ll also call Amtrak. Not sure why I didn’t think of that before. And yes, pumping/nursing areas should be mandated by law the way that handicapped bathrooms are.

      • Anonymous :

        Even though that person recommended a family bathroom -I’ve often used change rooms in stores as well. Seems less gross and staff are usually fine with it. Need a battery pump for that though.

        • The Macy’s public bathroom near me has a separate sitting room that mother’s use for pumping. When you walk in the bathroom the sitting room is to the left and you keep going straight for the stalls and sinks. When people talk about using a bathroom in a store, they may be talking about this area that is technically in the bathroom but away from the stalls.

          • Is this at Herald Sq or a different city? Thanks!

          • Sorry Batgirl – I’m talking New England. I just meant that when someone suggests a dept store bathroom they might not mean bathroom in the traditional sense.

        • I am 99% certain the Herald Sq. Macy’s women’s room has a lounge area and a bathroom area. You can exit Penn Station on the 7th Avenue side at 32nd Street and walk to Macy’s which is located at 7th and 34th.

          Haven’t been to the buy buy baby on 7th (south of Penn)in some time, but the nursing rooms in other locations are generally okay.

      • Anonymous :

        If anyone wants to email Amtrak to complain that they don’t have nursing/pumping rooms, the contact info is here: https://www.amtrak.com/contact-us

        Or tweet at them.

    • I haven’t pumped on a train before, but I have pumped on a plane, in my seat (with a woman right next to me). It wasn’t ideal, but it was fine. I went to the bathroom, changed into my pumping bra, put on the “cones” and the nursing cover on top, and when I got to my seat I plugged it all in and went to town. I suspect the train will have enough background noise that the whirring sound of the pump won’t be that noticeable. And maybe you’ll get lucky and your train won’t be that full, in which case you may have no one next to you (it’s open seating, right? if the train isn’t crowded, just put your bag next to you so that no one sits down next to you). Good luck.

      • OMG. That is beyond disgusting to be stuck next to a woman on a plane or train who is pumping right there. I frankly don’t care if/how/when your kid eats and I’m positive most others don’t either — so find someplace else to take care of business or not – just don’t do it in front of me.

        • Seriously? No. NOT beyond disgusting. If someone pooped their pants next to you on the train, vomited on you, sure. Gross.

          Pumping clean breast milk discreetly into bags or bottles totally different.

        • Boring day today?

        • I think you need therapy.

        • anon in SV :

          It’s no more “disgusting” than nursing a baby in public i.e. it is not disgusting at all.

        • “Find someplace else to take care of business.”

          On a crowded plane, where else do you suggest I do “my business”? I can assure you that other travelers would be a LOT more annoyed if I hogged a bathroom for 20 minutes. Not to mention the hygeine issue of the bathroom.

          • I’m someone who needs urgent bathroom access, thanks for not taking up the bathroom that whole time! I firmly believe it is within your right to do so. Your biological need to pump is just as important as my need to go to the bathroom. But, since you are able to do it from your seat, I really appreciate that you do!

        • Anonymous :

          Troll – and not even a good one. Come on, like make an effort.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Is no one else bothered by “I frankly don’t care if/how/when your kid eats,” too? You must be a terrible human.

    • The bathrooms in Penn Station are legitimately disgusting. Another idea is to look for an upscale hotel nearby. Usually you can get in to the lobby area if you aren’t a guest and find a nicer bathroom there – this was my changing clothes for job interviews in Midtown MO. The New Yorker Wyndham seems like a good candidate.

    • There are outlets in the bathrooms on the Amtrak. I just brought lots of sanitizing wipes and wiped down everything before I started. It stunk :(

      • Anonymous :

        OP, bring some of your baby’s worn clothes, so that if you’re in a situation that is smelly, you can bury your nose/mouth in your baby’s smell. It’ll make pumping easier too.

    • Seventh Sister :

      I pumped in my seat on Amtrak – it was pretty private with a cover and there was an electrical outlet right under the window on the window seat (it was an empty-ish train car). Might have terrified the ticket taker, but didn’t really care, he was a really young guy and seemed a little sheepish.

  4. I made it to the final round of a job interview (non-law) and I have been told this interview will be a one hour exercise with a cross functional team (current employees) where we respond to a hypothetical situation that would have implications for my functional area.
    I assume they are interested in assessing both teamwork and functional knowledge. Anyone have any experience with this type of interview scenario? Advice for how to prepare?

    • anonshmanon :

      Not what you want to hear, but I guess the point of the exercise is that you can’t prepare. They want to see whether you can think on your feet. The best advice for calming my nerves in a similar situation was: it is OK to not know a couple of things. That is the whole point. They want to know where your strengths lie AND your limits.

    • Practice eye contact and remembering names. 75% of this type of thing is whether they like you and think they could work with you.

    • If possible, the best thing you can do in this scenario is to ask smart questions. We did an exercise similar to this at a previous job, and the guy who wound up getting the job was the one who took the approach of saying, “Here’s what I believe I’d need to know / understand in order to make this decision; let’s discuss those things and see if we can agree on a solution.” It was impressive because it allowed him to highlight what he did know as well as his awareness of his knowledge gaps, and also he came across as leading / guiding the discussion without dominating it.

    • Anonymous :

      We do this kind of interview.

      Agree that the point is that you can’t prepare. I also agree that you should talk about your thought process. The purpose isn’t necessarily to see that you get everything correct, but to see how you worked through it. And, generally, just seem like a person who is normal and nice to work with.

      Also, we put in things that we absolutely do not expect the person to get correct or solve because we want to see what they do in that situation. Saying things like “I’ve never seen this before, so I don’t know for sure. In real life, I’d do X (ie, talk with someone with experience), but for this exercise I’m thinking that because I’ve seen A, this may be B.”

  5. Car Rental :

    I don’t rent cars often, so I’m looking for some tips. I’m flying into Newark this weekend. The last two times I rented a car (Philly and Orlando) I waited in an hour+ long line for my car. Is this a thing? Should I just assume the rental car line is going to be crazy long? I don’t have priority-level loyalty to any rental car companies, so no short cuts that I can identify. Trying to make it to a bridal shower, and didn’t take into account the hour of wait time that I’ve experienced in the past. I won’t be renting the cheapest car available in hopes that paying slightly more might mean fewer people rent from that company. Any insider tips?

    • Joining the AVIS loyalty program is free and it lets you go directly to your rental car in most locations without having to wait in line. I’ve used it for years.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

        • Unfortunately, they’re telling me the first time I use the program I still need to go to the counter. Bummer. Great to know for future use, though.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            Try National Emerald Club. I don’t think you have to go to the counter the first time. It’s truly awesome.

          • Second National Emerald Club. Straight to the car, even the first time.

      • This is true of many of the loyalty programs for rental cars. I know I didn’t have to go to the counter for the first time I used the Hertz loyalty program and just went right outside. However, I also haven’t ever had to wait an hour for the rental car– that’s nuts!

    • TorontoNewbie :

      Are you a Costco member? in Canada at least it’s a good discount, you can cancel until the very last minute without a penalty, and you get a free additional driver. You rent them through the regular companies (avis, etc). I don’t know if it gets you through a line faster, but at least all the paperwork is done.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Check and see if any of your credit cards qualify you for status. I think there are some airline/car rental status agreements as well that you can get status at the car rental place if you have some level of status with the airlines. I hardly ever rent cars, so I haven’t paid particular attention to that but I’m sure that I’ve read that it exists.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh, one more idea, but probably more expensive. Silvercar rents only Audis, but they will meet you individually at the airport in the car you will be driving. I’m not sure if it works out faster, but many travel bl0ggers have written about their experience so you might see what they say.

    • Are you going to be going very far from the airport and/or doing a lot of travel during your trip? If not, I’d suggest just using uber or zipcar, there are lots of uber drivers in most parts of Jersey and loads of zipcars in some areas as well.

      • Anon in NYC :

        This is a great suggestion. There are a few zipcars at EWR. OP, you should check to see if they’re available!

    • Pretty sure Budget’s Fastbreak program is free to join and good on the first rental.

    • This is unfortunately part of life for car rentals. I was in LAX renting a car in the summer and it too almost 1.5 hours. people were livid and complaining, but the staff seemed to act like this was normal and routine.

      I had no idea the loyalty clubs allow you to jump the line. Thank you hive!

    • anon a mouse :

      Having just waited 45 minutes for a car at Newark on a random Thursday, you have my sympathies. I would call the ones recommended here and confirm that you can skip the line before you show up.

    • Anonymous :

      I believe that at Newark there are multiple car rental counters located in the same space. (Someone else should confirm!) Since you don’t pay for a car until you actually pick it up and there is usually no penalty for cancelling, you could try making 3-4 different reservations and then going to the shortest line once you arrive. YMMV. I’ve definitely done a version of this where, upon arriving and finding my preferred rental agency with a 10+ person line, made a reservation at a neighboring no-line agency on the spot.

    • The Enterprise counter at Newark has two self service kiosks in addition to the traditional counter. The last time I was there, I was able to do everything there on my own in a matter of minutes.

  6. comforter recs? down vs. alternative ?

    • BabyAssociate :

      I’ve never even considered a non-down comforter. I have a spring/fall comforter and a winter comforter, both from IKEA of all places.

      • Do you like the winter IKEA one? I might pick that up just because IKEA is known to responsibly source their down, but if I go to IKEA I’ll walk out with 20 more things I didn’t plan to buy

        • BabyAssociate :

          Yeah! I actually just put my winter one on last night. It’s so toasty. My winter one is a 5 (the heaviest) and the spring/fall is a 2 I think.

          I have zero advice on how to successfully go to IKEA and not end up buying a billion things. It takes a stronger person than I am to master that skill.

          • We finally discovered that you can skip the maze-like sales-floor area and take a shortcut right to the warehouse part (where you have to pick up your items before checkout). Their website lists the aisle/bin of the items, so you can go straight there and find the one thing you need. I do it because the IKEA by us is a madhouse and makes me claustrophobic, but might help reduce spontaneous purchases.

      • I also have the same combination of comforters from ikea and I love them! My winter one is about 7 years old and has held up really well.

    • Anonymous :

      Down alternative all the way, the kind with the little fluffies that mimic down. After we got rid of our down comforter, the dust level in our bedroom decreased dramatically. I now refuse to buy any product with real down in it.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 Machine washable down alternative. I love the idea of down but not the inability to toss it in the washer and dryer (though with 3 small kids), I probably have to do that more often than most.

        • Down Washer :

          Interesting. I have a couple of 15-year old down comforters from the Company Store that I wash and put in my dryer with some tennis balls. Nothing bad has happened.

          It never would have occurred to me to do otherwise. Ducks go in the water; why not down feathers?

          Am I missing something? The care labels have long since faded.

          • You are not missing a thing. This is how I wash our crazy expensive down sleeping bags and our down comforter. I’ve been doing it this way for years and they are all as good as new.

          • How often can you do this though? I thought the issue was if the down didn’t dry thoroughly in the dryer, you could get mold – though I guess that could be an issue with down alternative as well – I just presumed the alternative dry better/faster.

          • +1

            Love my down comforter that I’ve been using for 25 years. Clean it / dry it as per instructions and it is fine. Tennis balls in dryer.

          • Anonymous :

            Do you wash on cold? Interested to try this.

    • I know people love down but I find it weird that you can’t properly wash your bedding if you spill something. I’m like a little old lady with my patchwork quilts though.

      • I wash my down comforter (and pillows) about every 6 months even though it’s always in a comforter cover.

        You can wash them in a normal machine (I’ve done both front loaders and top loaders). Check google but I think I usually do a cold water delicate cycle. When you dry the comforter, put 2-3 lacrosse balls in the dryer with the comforter. They lacrosse balls make a racket but the down items come out fluffy and full of loft.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        You can absolutely wash down. Geese don’t melt in the rain :-)

    • Anonymous :

      I replaced my down comforter with a down alternative about a year ago and would never go back to down. It’s so much easier to wash a down alternative comforter, and it is more comfortable for me (always cold) and my husband (always hot).

    • Anonymous :

      I’m allergic to down, so alternative is the only choice I have but I have this one and it’s great.
      http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/hotel-collection-luxury-down-alternative-comforters-hypoallergenic-polyester-fiberfill-450-thread-count-100-cotton-cover-only-at-macys?ID=1592989

    • My husband and I ended up getting an inexpensive down alternative duvet insert from IKEA. We were planning to get a nicer one and looked at Bed Bath and Beyond, but they were a little too nice (read thick and warm) for our warm weather climate. We’ve had it for probably 3 ish years and it’s held up well.

    • I tried down alternative for all of the reasons mentioned but had to go back to down for its breathability. I was just too hot/sweaty with the alternative.

      • anon a mouse :

        YES. I have a down alternative one from Ikea and every time I use it I wake up covered in sweat.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      We have a wool-filled duvet that is the warmest thing ever (and I used to sleep on a featherbed under a down comforter). It’s weighty in a really comforting way, too. I think I picked it up at Bed, Bath & Beyond several years ago.

      • We also have a wool duvet, midweight but very warm. It is several years old and the filling hasn’t shifted at all, which is a great advantage over down and down-alternatives.

    • Silk! Amazon has some good options. Machine washable, hypoallergenic, doesn’t bunch up like down does, breathable.

    • Except for the very depths of winter, I tend to use layers of blankets and fleece sheets rather than a big thick comforter because I tend to get hot or cold differently though out the night so that I can take off blankets and add on blankets as necessary.

      Recently I’ve found blankets that I really like for good prices at both IKEA and Target (the last two I’ve bought have been Target and I really like them both.) I would just make sure anything you get is machine washable; I find that down comforters don’t wash as well as others, but that’s a personal preference thing I think.

  7. Advice for surviving clique-y crowds :

    I’m a few months into business school and I hate it. I’m finding it more clique-y than anything I’ve ever experienced or imagined. Beyond a close circle of friends, I don’t feel like I fit in (or want to fit in). Everyone says the network is the most important, but honestly I just want to continue to hang out with my existing friends and to build relationships with my undergrad network instead (which may be more valuable). Family, friends, and recruiters all keep asking me how I love b school, and each time I’m faced with the question I’m reminded how much I don’t like it and I want to cry. Did anyone else feel this way about grad school? Any advice for surviving the next two years?

    • Anonymous :

      I felt this way about law school (and I didn’t even have a handful of close law school friends), but I think there’s a little less emphasis on networking with your peers in law school. It’s important, but academics are more important and from what I’ve heard about b-school, it’s the other way around. Are there any clubs that are focused on professional interests or post-MBA careers (e.g. people who want to work in VC)? If so, I’d try joining one or two of those. You may not get lifelong friendships out of it, but having a common professional interest should give you enough in common for some pleasant small talk (plus, it’s good for your resume). What are you close friends doing? Are they miserable too or do they have survival strategies you could adopt?

      • And also it may not be a bad strategy to focus on your undergrad network if you feel like that’s stronger. I feel like my undergrad network has been very helpful as a lawyer and it would probably be even more so for an MBA.

      • I agree with this on both points – I felt the same way about law school, hated being asked how I liked it (because I didn’t), and I have found my undergrad network to be plenty valuable after the fact.

        I didn’t go to business school, so I can’t speak to the networking aspect there, but yeah – joining some sort of club or activity might help.

    • Are the cliques the only reason you don’t like business school or do you not enjoy the coursework either? If it is also the latter, I would think long and hard about whether this is the right direction for life. If it is just the former, I wouldn’t stress too much; it sounds like you have a group of friends to hang out with outside of class. I’d say focus on them and be polite and cordial to your classmates. Focus on your classes. Over time you might develop relationships with the other students, or at least enough of one for business purposes. Take advantage of networking opportunities your program offers. Small talk is an important skill.

    • OH yes…. I felt this way. My professional school felt like high school. Very, very clique-y. Quit a bit of segregation by income/backgrounds. I was quite surprised, as my college experience at an elite University was not like this, but professional school ar at elite University was a shock.

      Agree with the other poster that focusing on academics was key, and realizing there are others that feel like you. Find them. I also made an effort to get involved with groups that matched my social / professional interests, but I never partied with the “pretty people”. I was focused, and worked on my long term professional plan, and did well in school. A reputation is an important, and fragile thing.

    • I felt this way about law school too, especially since I was several years older than most of my classmates and had real-life experience they didn’t have, I was married and had a child while in law school, I commuted in every day from out of town, and I was in a joint degree program and on a totally different career track from my classmates. I never felt like part of an academic community, and I didn’t have a study group. I dealt with it by finding a great internship very early on that led to a permanent job offer and allowed me to work on real, substantive projects while still in school. I also did an independent study that produced actual scholarly work.

      I agree with Anonymous at 9:59 that peer networks are much more important in business school than in law school. If you can find a study group, that would help. I would also try connecting with other students who have professional or non-work interests that align with yours, through student organizations or on-campus recreational activities.

      Prepare and rehearse a brief canned speech for recruiters who ask you how much you love b-school. It doesn’t have to be full of fake enthusiasm about how great your classmates are–find something you genuinely like about b-school and go with that. You will stand out as authentic and unique. I have a prepared speech that I always use in response to the inevitable questions, “Why did you go to law school if you didn’t want to become a lawyer?” and “How did a law school graduate end up in your line of work?” I also have two-line and one-line versions I use when the whole speech isn’t necessary.

    • I hate to say it, but that’s life. In my post b school roles, I’ve had to network with cliquey a-holes (many of which are insufferable windbags) constantly. It’s not pleasant for me at all. I wish I had sucked it up more in b school as practice.

    • Are you at an elite b-school? Do you want to do something like IB, consulting, VC, or PE? Hate to say it but if the answers to both of these questions are yes — this isn’t about your school, it’s about how a lot of people in those industries are. Some may genuinely be nice people but act that way bc they think that’s how you have to act to be successful (and they’re not necessarily wrong) and some really are just arrogant, cliquey etc. You need to find some way to cope and make connections with these people bc you’re going to have to do it in the working world if you go into one of the previously mentioned industries. This is practice plus those worlds are small, so there are huge legs up if you interview for jobs say 5 yrs out of b school and can say — oh yeah Grant was my buddy in b-school and the person can call up Grant and hear that you were pretty cool; that gets you much further than just the degree and resume.

      • It isn’t just those industries…I’min a BD type role in a company and have previously been in M&A (in house). Sometimes it’s just People.

    • Agree that you probably need to just deal with these people, or realize B-school isn’t for you. What about setting small daily goals — e.g., “say hi to two people on the way into class this morning” — and then let yourself off the hook when you’ve accomplished your daily tasks. You don’t need to be BFF with your classmates for them to be useful in your network. You just have to be able to pick up the phone in five years when you need an introduction/inside scoop/referral/etc.

    • I recommend the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain. It does a phenomenal job illuminating/discussing the current power structure in the business world today, and devotes a good chunk to personalities in b school. Really, really interesting read, especially if you tend toward the introverted side of the spectrum.

    • It always takes some time to find your groove in a new situation. I was intimidated by law school at first, but decided to try to actively make friends there. I went one person at a time – chatting with the person next to me in class, repeat. It didn’t happen overnight, but in time I ended up becoming good friends with a lot of people from school and the cliques broke down over time too. 15 years later, I’m really glad I didn’t write off making friends with my law school classmates. The network from there has been incredible and more so as time has gone on. My advice is being new is hard, realize that & don’t stress too much, reach out one person at a time and it will eventually come together.

      • need a name :

        The first 3+ months of school is really tough – and assuming you’re only 2-3 months in, I promise it will get better. Keep an open mind until Christmas break. Once the first semester is over it gets better. People also start being more themselves once they are more comfortable/adjusted, so you will end up meeting more folks you like. The fake getting to know people phase stinks

    • No comparison between b-school and law school folks. Sure a network of law school colleagues is nice, but at the end of the day law school is about grades; law review; graduation honors etc. Doesn’t matter how well connected you are with your peers — a firm or a judge won’t hire you if you don’t meet the right grade cut offs.

  8. I love this dress!

  9. I know people talk about the M&S shirts with the no peep plackets. I wore one yesterday and I’m wearing another one today. They’re a game changer.

    • link please. these sound very intriguing

      • This is the one I wore yesterday: http://www.marksandspencer.com/long-sleeve-star-print-shirt/p/p22487886?image=SD_01_T43_6893B_E4_X_EC_90&color=BLUEMIX&prevPage=srp&pdpredirect

        Most of their cotton “Work Shirt”s have it too. It’s two extra reverse buttons between the buttonholes most likely to gape (above and below the apex of your chest)

        • This is gorgeous and so reasonably priced! I’ve never bought from M&S. It’s good quality? http://www.marksandspencerlondon.com/us/secret-support%E2%84%A2-v-neck-shift-dress/p/P22461588.html?dwvar_P22461588_color=F0

          • It’s generally pretty good quality, maybe half a step down from Boden? (The workwear anyway, some M&S stuff is truly dire and you have to avoid the old age pensioner clothes…)

  10. Eyelashes? :

    Anyone had luck with products to grow eyelashes longer (Latisse, etc.) and/or mascara that works really well for lengthening? I’ve been getting extensions for awhile which has left my eyelashes short and sad! TIA!

    • I would think they’d grow back on their own once you stop using extensions, right?

      Have you tried a lash primer? There are a bunch of types out there. It goes on under your mascara and helps create a fuller, slightly longer look. You might try something like Blinc mascara too. It creates little tubes around your lashes that come off in warm water, so you don’t have to scrub your lashes with makeup remover. Idk if you can use a primer with that kind of mascara.

    • My sister uses Latisse regularly and they are long. They do stop growing when you stop so it’s addictive. However I am not sure this is a good look for business. It just looks juvenile and unprofessional to me. Kinda like decorated nails.

    • Life Happens :

      I used Latisse for about 6 months last year and my lashes got super, super long. It was impressive.

      However, I had other side effects, like my eyes were constantly red and itchy and my eyelid looked dark. Once I started getting overwhelmed by the “are you sick” and “do you have allergies” question, I decided the long lashes weren’t worth the side effects and I let it go.

      I also had extensions that left my actual lashes (pretty long in their own right) a stubby, short mess. That’s why I got the Latisse.

    • Lash extensions trash your eyelashes and they are some of the slowest growing hairs. I would stop the extensions asap. I would also try to quit mascara for a while if you can. If you can’t, use gentle mascara and remove it as gently and slowly as you possibly can so you dont pull out more lashes. I have used neulash and really liked it. I have always had thicker lashes, though, but they made them absurd. My eyes are dark, though, so I wasn’t worried about changing eye color. Check out reviews on the different serums; a lot of people have tested and written about them.

    • My lashes are naturally short and I have had great success with Larissa. It’s pricey but you can extend the bottle by putting the drop into the bottle cap and using a disposable liner brush instead of the cotton swabs that come with it. Once you get the length you want, you can decrease how often you apply to maintain the length. I’ve also used Clinique lash builder for faster results.

    • SF in House :

      When I stopped extensions, I took biotin daily. It helped regrowth.

    • I use Latisse and I love it. I have brown eyes so I don’t worry about the discoloration of the iris. No side effects after over 3 years of use and I have incredibly long, thick lashes! It’s even more noticeable when I wear mascara – if I put on a few coats they look fake so I need a light hand.

  11. Ladies, when did you know it was time to try medication for anxiety? Can I get some anecdata on the med you tried/how long it took to work? Thanks!

    • New Tampanian :

      When I was unable to cope. If it is causing you trouble sleeping, focusing, being “you” then it’s time. I also have mild depression. I take Effexor XR and it works well. Usually takes between 3-6 weeks to really get into your system although experiences vary. If you are talking about crippling situation specific anxiety (think flying) then you may need something more like a Valium which is similar to an emergency inhaler for asthmatics (you take it when you need it and it works pretty immediately). Talk to your doctor. Make sure you have a therapist to work through the underlying issues. Be gentle with yourself.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’m a broken record on this resource, but the Anxiety and Phobias workbook by Dr. Bourne is amazing for navigating medications (you can get an older edition for a few dollars–super cheap and wonderful). He walks through all the different types available and guidelines on when it may be appropriate to use each. There’s also some scenarios he walks through of different situations and what might be appropriate for that person given their symptoms.

    • Nancy Raygun :

      I had been in therapy for a year, had started with a new therapist (after my previous one made fun of my dead cat, that bastard), and I was doing everything I felt I could do to cope. I was trying to exercise more and change my habits and use the anxiety workbook, but I was so frayed and exhausted that I was just running myself ragged doing totally normal things. I started on a low dose of Zoloft, continued with therapy and found it easier to do the things I needed to do to get healthier. It helped me get to a place where I could actually take care of myself. It might be different for you, but if you’re having significant daily trouble feeling like yourself and doing what you need to do, maybe it’s a good time to try meds.

    • For me, it was when I realized that I was damaging my relationships and my ability to perform my work adequately because I was not able to concentrate on the important things. Essentially, my ability to cope with the anxiety and stress was shot.

      Second the recommendation to be gentle with yourself. For me, I kept going on and off medications because “I didn’t like the feeling of needing a pill to be myself.” It took much therapy and a strong support system for me to finally realize that for me, taking a pill everyday is my new normal. And once I was able to accept that, I became a better person. I still struggle sometimes – there are going

      After attempting several different medications to handle my anxiety (and also diagnosed OCD), I finally have settled on Paxil with Xanax as a secondary medication to use on an as-needed basis. For the Paxil, t’s an older medication, and honestly, it’s been a lifechanger for me. I feel like myself again. A word of warning though – this is one of those that if you don’t take it after it’s in your system, you feel like sh*t. I once forgot to bring it with me on a vacation, and I was miserable until my pharmacist was able to fax over my prescription.

      • New Tampanian :

        +1 to all of this.

        Remember that mental health is HEALTH. It’s no different than other health issues you may have in that sometimes you have to take medicine to maintain your good health.

        Effexor XR has same side effect if you forget a dose. You’ll want to get yourself into a good routine of when you take your meds. For me, it’s after I’m out of bed for the day. I go to the kitchen, get a glass of water and take immediately. I’m on BC too so if I’m feeling “off” on any particular day, I can look at my BC pack and see if I took that day’s pill or not. If not, then my “off” feeling is due to not taking my Effexor as I take them simultaneously.

    • It was ruining my relationship with my fiancé at the time (now husband), as in he told me he wasn’t going to continue to put up with my mood swings and emotional outbursts. I was on Lexapro for 9 months. I’ve been off for just under 2 years with no major set backs (although I have been pregnant and nursing for all except 3 of those months).

    • When my mom told me I was extra b#tchy and that maybe a pill would help. And it did. Lexapro for the win.

    • When I had a panic attack at my first job out of college and had to be hospitalized. Xanax and Ativan FTW! Those two are immediate need drugs, so they work within 20 minutes for me. YMMV. I don’t take them very often any more because of therapy + anti-depressants + meditation + yoga, but I still have an Ativan prescription and pop one if I need it (maybe once every 6 months, if that).

      • Anon for this :

        Yeah Ativan works really quick (within 30 min), but I agree it’s only for immediate need. I only took it 2 times, and it made it EXTREMELY hard for me to concentrate… like I couldn’t focus on a sentance long enough to read what it said from beginning to end. But obviously different things work differently for different people so YMMV.

        For me, I started to take anxiety meds when I started having multiple daily full-blown panic attacks. That’s subsided so I stopped taking the meds and the anxiety started to creep back up. I just started again because my anxiety was really making it impossible for me from doing every day things, and I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.

        • Ativan/Xanax are not for regular/routine use. They are strong depressants on the brain and can definitely cause fatigue/concentration issues. But they are supposed to be used for severe, acute situations…. like if you want to prevent a panic attack so you don’t wind up in the ER. Not for an anxious day in the office where you need to be doing hard core work. That’s what long term use of anti-anxiety/anti-depressant/therapy meds are for.

          They have been over-used/inappropriately used by docs (often not psychiatrists…) for decades. But they can be lifesavers for folks with severe anxiety, when used correctly. So it’s good you pointed out the strong side-effects they can have. It is also possible that you simply used too high a dose for you, making your side effects worse.

          • Absolutely works differently for different folks. I was surely abusing it in law school and was be boppin around at full speed on a VERY high dosage every day. I am not saying that was a great idea or recommended, at all, but for me 1 mg barely touches the anxiety on top of my anti-depressant.

    • When I cried over all the little things because I was so overwhelmed by everything. Lexapro has been life-changing for me. I didn’t realize how tight my breathing was until I started. I also have Xanax for the times that the anxiety builds up.

    • When I started feeling like I was having heart palpitations during the day. Like my heart was skipping a beat, maybe 15-50 times per day, which was very distracting and disconcerting. Went to the psychiatrist and started Zoloft, which changed (and I think saved) my life. I had many other symptoms that I didn’t think were related, like insomnia, difficultly concentrating, etc.

  12. all about eevee :

    What time do you go to bed and wake up in the morning? And how do you make yourself get into and out of bed on time? I am moving to a new house and my commute is about to get longer, and I need to get my morning and evening routines under control.

    • The past couple of weeks, I’ve been sleeping til the last possible minute and rushing around. So this is advice I need to implement myself.

      – Do as much as possible the night before. Shower, set out clothes, pack food, make sure your work bags are ready. I live in a house where I keep my car in the garage at night so I will even put stuff in the car the night before. When it’s cold enough, I’ll put food in the car too.

      – Keep track of how much time it actually takes you to do things like showering, makeup ,etc. Then work backword from the time you need to leave to see how early to get up.

      – Do a trial run of your new commute to get an idea of how long it will be. If you’re using public transportation, make note of of schedules, transfers, etc.

      – If you commute by car, your local transportation department may have a website where you can sign up for traffic alerts.

      – Keep stuff like keys, cell phone, work badge, etc in the same place every day.

    • Usually in bed by 9:15 or 9:30 with a book; asleep by 10; wake up at 6:15 or 6:30 (unless I need to run, then more like 5:30); out the door between 7:15 and 7:30; at my desk by 7:45. My biggest morning timesaver is to each breakfast at my desk, instead of at home; I make sure that + lunch is ready to grab the night before, and try to pick an outfit as well.

      Sticking to the bedtime is the most important part for me. It’s not that hard for me to get out of bed in the morning…as long as I go to bed on time. I enjoy reading but only let myself read in bed on weeknights, so that’s an incentive to get my butt in bed on time.

      • My schedule is similar and my advice is similar: forking yourself out of bed at 6 AM isn’t that difficult once you’re used to it … IF you go to bed on time.

        • all about eevee :

          Right! This is my BIGGEST problem. I always plan to go to bed early and event set alarms, but I end up reading for too long or clicking around online for too long, and suddenly it is 1 AM and I have to be up in four hours. Hope me.

          • Make the bedroom a technology-free zone–no messing around with phones, laptops, or tablets. While you’re working on establishing the habit, try rereading an older book or getting something that you aren’t super-interested in, so that you don’t get sucked in.

    • I live 25 miles from work, but the commute is 1.5 hours if I don’t leave the house by 6am. So..

      In bed by 9:30 or 10:00pm, up at 5 am, out the door by 5:55 am. Usually leave the office between 6pm and 7pm and get home by 7:30 pm.

    • Newbie Associate :

      I get up at 4:45 to hit the gym at 5:15 (live close by), come back and get ready super quickly –> head to office. It took some adjusting (though naturally a morning person), but the first thing is going to bed super super early (good sleep hygiene is key!).

      I have lunch packed (meals pre-made on Sunday) the night before, as well as a pre-made breakfast (or options for a quick breakfast).

      I pack my work bag the night before and make sure anything and everything that needs to leave with me is on the counter where my keys are.

      The one I’m horrible at, but saves A TON of time is picking out an outfit the night before. I’ve easily waster 20 minutes getting in and out of clothes that I did not want to wear.

      The weekends are for having fun and relaxing! I love the structure and routine. I think it’s really helped me adjust to biglaw life. :)

      • anon a mouse :

        +1 to picking an outfit the night before. I also take a moment to check my schedule for the next day, and check the weather, and lay out accessories and shoes. It takes me far less time to do it the night before than in a pre-coffee haze the next morning.

    • I go to bed around 10.15 in order to wake up about 6.30-6.40 and hopefully get out of the house before 8 for my half hour walk to work.

    • I get up for work at 6:00. I might let myself snooze for 10 minutes if I was up late the night before, but I usually remind myself how much worse the traffic will be if I leave later than 7:05 or so.

      As for going to bed, I try to wrap up my evening at 10 and get in bed by 11. if I’m just in for the night, but on nights where I go out (dance class, social dancing, date night, etc.) I’m in bed around midnight, sometimes later.

    • Do any of the people here going to bed at 10pm work in BigLaw? How does that work? I’m in the office 9am-7pm and need to do 1-2 hours of work after 7pm, sometimes more, because stuff comes up/there are things I didn’t get to in my 10 hour day. My commute each way is 30-45 minutes depending on public transit/if I ride my bike/traffic if I had to drive that day. I’m never in bed before 11:30pm and sometimes it is as late as 1am. I get up anywhere between 6:30am and 7:30pm depending on when I actually went to bed.

      I just feel genuinely clueless. How are people going to bed at 10pm?

      • I do after 7 pm work the next morning (if possible). I get into the office at 7 am though. That gives me 2 hours to get last night’s work done before Partners start showing up at 9.

      • baseballfan :

        Not in BigLaw, but Big 4 accounting. I wake up at 4:30, work out from 5-6, back home to clean up and dress and I’m out the door by 7 and at work by 7:30, so similar commute. I’m in the office 7:30-5:30 or so; during busy season it will be more. I’m home by about 6:30 and I go to bed at 9-9:30. Any later and I can’t function.

        If I was home and done with work by 9ish, no way would I be staying up till midnight.

      • I work in biglaw and I’m often in bed by 10 or 10:30, but I will get up very, very early to finish work if need be – like 3 or 4 AM. I also have a 2-block commute, which helps. I view eliminating my commute as the best thing I have done for my personal and professional life, TBH.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 to eliminating commute as much as possible. I have a 20 minute commute (car or bike depending on weather). I really just do not think I could do longer and stay sane.

          I posted above at 11:03, and no, I don’t work in big law and never have. I worked for a small firm for a few years and now I’m in house. If I did work in big law, I might have a different schedule, I suppose, but likely not. I like getting up early.

        • Anonymous :

          +1

          The quality and speed of my work waking up early in the AM is much better/faster than work done at 9-10pm. Especially after morning coffee.

      • Anon @ 12:07pm

        Unfortunately moving closer isn’t an option, since we own our home and we really even on BigLaw salaries couldn’t afford a home any closer to work (its not huge but not small either — 3 beds , 2.5 baths and about 1800 square feet). Also, when commuting takes closer to 45 minutes its because I bike and that is my exercise as well as my commute time.

        I guess what I don’t get is where people fit in life if they are only home and awake for 2 hours after work? I have a husband, and pets, and I volunteer a few hours a week (1-7 hours depending on the week), and I have 1 hobby (weekly commitment of 3-5 hours that as a bonus physically prevents me from checking email) and it constantly feels like life is bursting at the seams. I suppose I could drop either the volunteering or the hobby but that doesn’t seem like a good idea for my long-term mental sanity.

        Oh well, I guess I’m just in awe of people that go to bed at 10pm.

      • Late but just saw this and I’ve been wondering about this too, to the point I actually kept conscious track of how I was spending my time for a few days this week. My guesses: 1) most people don’t work as much as we do; 2) some people are more efficient, need less sleep, or can actually bill for 4+ hours straight without grabbing lunch or coffee, and 3) there actually just isn’t enough time. My “typical” day, to the extent any day is typical:

        7:30 first alarm goes off
        8 actually get out of bed (yes, I’m working on this)
        8:45 leave for work
        9:15-9:30 arrive at work
        9:30-6:30 work, billing about 7.5 hours due to admin items, lunch, grabbing coffee, etc.
        6:30-7:15 commute
        7:15-8 dinner and change clothes
        8-9:30 commute to and from and take workout class or play rec sport
        9:30-11:30 work, billing 2 more hours
        11:30-12, watch tv and clean house
        12-12:30 get ready for bed and read for a few minutes
        12:30-7:30/8 sleep

  13. Suggestions on phrasing for networking emails? Ive been reaching out to people I dont have a connection with but who have the sort of job Id like in 10 years. Id like to just hear about how they got there and whats important and if they have any tips. And I realize it would be generous to reply. Ive gotten a couple nice replies and set up meetings, but wondering of the best way to do this.

    Also what sorts of questions would you all be asking? TIA!

    • How old/far into the career are we talking? I’d say reaching out to senior/mid level management as an entry level is a different approach than mid level reaching out to c suite.

    • New Tampanian :

      I receive a lot of these given my particular industry and position. Here are some of my tips:

      1) Make sure you don’t have anyone in common who could do an intro email for you. Those are the best. The common connection will send an email introducing you to each other and leaving the rest to y’all. This breaks the ice and alleviates the pressure on you. Definitely double check LinkedIn because you never know the connections.

      2) For those that you definitely have no one in common, keep it pretty short (couple of paragraphs max), do not include a resume, and make sure you reference something specific to the person you are emailing. (Example: I heard your interview with XYZ Podcast and found ____ interesting…. ) This shows that you have done some homework.

      3) Don’t use “pick your brain”. It’s a weird saying and overused. Instead, “I would love to hear more about your experiences as you navigated X.”

      4) Look for anything in their bios, LinkedIn, online articles, Twitter, whatever that may provide a common bond. Alumni bonds are helpful.

      5) Request just 15 min of time. Often they’ll give you more once they start talking. Don’t be afraid of a phone call vs in person meeting. In person meetings limit your scope of who you’ll be able to meet with. Also, they take more time for the other person. (Have to stop what they’re doing, grab keys, go to car, drive to location, meet, leave location, etc.).

      6) DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I cannot stress this enough. You should have the high level story of their career path prior to the call. LinkedIn is key for this. It is not weird to look. Don’t be afraid of popping up on their radar by looking. Also do a general google search and check out articles, twitter, etc. of the person. This way you’ll be able to have a more substantive conversation with the person.

      7) Send a thank you note. Preferably handwritten and sent the same day so it gets to them quickly. This leaves a huge impression and shows that you are grateful for their time.

      8) Maintain the relationship if you feel that you connected. Don’t pester but every once in a while check in with them. If they are featured in an article or awarded something, send a little note congratulating them. Try to develop the relationship. In so many industries, who you know is so very important to getting to that position you want.

      • What type of questions do you like people to ask? How should they start the conversation?

        • New Tampanian :

          Start the conversation by thanking them for their time. Give a very short elevator pitch about why you wanted to speak with them, how you hope the info will help you. Ask open questions. Why did they enter the field? What were their biggest challenges? How did they navigate tricky isuses/paths (specific to their position/field)? What resources they used that they found particularly helpful… What resources do they use now (podcasts, books, industry mags/news, etc.)… What was the most helpful piece of advice they received? Who did they look up to in the field? Do they have any suggestions for other people you should speak with? What overall piece of advice would they give someone? Ask about specific passion projects or things that are relevant and current that they’ve been working on.

          And then smart, substantive follow-ups.

          The main thing is, it shouldn’t be something like “What was your path to this position?” – You know the path, you looked at linkedin.

  14. Sydney Bristow :

    Ugh, my sister has joined a MLM scheme. Best I can tell from her cryptic hashtags, it is for Isagenix, which I think is diet shakes. I think she only got into it a couple of weeks ago. Any advice on talking her out of it?

    • It has never gone well for me when I’ve tried to talk friends out of this sort of thing. They accuse me of being unsupportive or sabatoging their efforts or worse. Ymmv of course, but I would probably just stay as far away from this as possible.

    • Don’t. Just don’t buy anything and don’t speak with her about it.

      • Nancy Raygun :

        The only way I’ve been able to avoid getting ensnared is to completely ignore it and be really firm about not buying stuff. If you feign any interest, you will probably get guilted into buying something.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. I feel like adults shouldn’t even try to talk other adults into or out of anything.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          You guys are right. But she is my baby sister and I don’t want her to be taken advantage of. But like I said, you all are right and I won’t bring it up with her.

    • Talking her out of it will not go well, best you can do is ignore it, and as Nancy Raygun (love that name) suggested, don’t feign interest just to be polite. If she asks you to engage somehow, or wants to “sit down with you” and “chat” about the great products the company offers, say no, and stay firm.

      If she whines about no one buying shakes from her, then you can calmly explain the reality: that it’s a very niche market and most people find these sales programs very annoying.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Ok, thanks all. She hasn’t even mentioned it to me directly. My husband actually asked me what was up with her cryptic facebook posts (I’ve been on a social media break) so I looked it up. I never buy MLM products and will just continue to have that stance and ignore it. Hopefully she won’t approach me about it at all and fingers crossed she realizes it is a bad idea and stops on her own.

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      My little sister got into Rodan & Fields for a while. Lots of pressure to buy. “Don’t you want to support me as an entrepreneur?” “Don’t you want to support me as your sister?” “Don’t you want to support women in business?”

      I told her that buying expensive products I don’t want would be “supporting” her at my direct expense and I wasn’t going to do it. She brought it up a few more times and I would flat out refuse and point out that her turning our relationship into a sales pitch was not healthy or fair. I think MLMs like R&F are a total scam but didn’t get into that aspect with her. She’s a grown-up.

      She quit after several months. Just don’t buy anything and refuse to discuss it (assuming she ever brings it up).

  15. Shoprunner :

    Do they really ship in 2 days?

    I set up a shop runner account with my Amex last night. Made an order from a shop runner affiliated store with my account. Got the free shipping and an order confirmation so I know it worked but I haven’t received a shipping confirmation. Just wondering whether they’ll be here tomorrow.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      In my experience, the shipping really is just 2 days. There is no controlling how long it takes for the order to leave the store’s warehouse.

    • Life Happens :

      I have Shop Runner and I usually get everything within 2 days … maybe 3 at max. I love the free shipping.

      I’m still not sure how I got it because I certainly never paid for it, so I’m thinking it was a perk from a credit card purchase.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I got mine for free for having an American Express card. Actually, they sent me an email last night that allows me to add 4 other people to my account for free. Perhaps a friend or family member did that for you.

      • I signed up for a free trial and then immediately cancelled it ages ago, when it first came out. It never stopped working, though. As long as you create an account with them, I think you get free shipping benefits without having to pay. I don’t think they do the pay to have membership thing anymore.

    • SR doesn’t ship itself. It basically just lets you upgrade your shipping for free, so it depends on how dependable the retailer’s own shipping is.

  16. Favorite work-appropriate, non-button-down white shirt? I’m thinking for under blazers. I find the hunt for this particular item to be REALLY frustrating. Thanks!

    • The Limited Pleated Front Shell in white. Wait for it to go on sale though. http://www.thelimited.com/product/pleated-front-shell/4175760.html?cgid=short-sleeve-tops&prefn1=saleStatus&swatch=n&start=7&prefv1=regular&dwvar_4175760_colorCode=809&ppid=c7

    • Boden Ravello. They now have a v-neck version if you don’t like a crew neck.

      • Is the white actually opaque? I have it in Raven which I love as a dark grey that goes with everything.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          It’s close, but not quite totally opaque–depends on how the close you’re wearing is to your skin tone. I usually wear one of the uniqlo airism t-shirts under it.

      • Thanks for recommending this. Will check it out.

        But I must say, the print options for this blouse are just… so ugly. Why, just…..why?

      • Legally Brunette :

        I have two Ravellos but find the fit to be boxy, unfortunately. I wish they were more tailored. I wear them under suits primarily, but I would wear them more if the fit were better.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I love this one from Kohls: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-2572359/petite-dana-buchman-knotted-v-neck-top.jsp?color=New White

      The white has an extra layer of lining in the front, so it is not opaque (although the back is not double-lined, so I guess it could be a little opaque in the back, but I only wear it under blazers, so I haven’t really bothered to check).

    • LBH shirts are a double layer in front. I have 5. Pricey, often sold in tennis shops. Their website is a little annoying but their shirts (scoop and v-neck) are the best.

  17. I need a new coat for cold weather. I’m in the Northeast and it is already getting frigid! I have a peacoat that I absolutely love, but it’s about 10 years old and I’ve worn it to death. My mom pointed out that the sleeve are fraying. Any suggestions on a good brand that will last and cost under 200? Ideally closer to 100 or 150. Also, where to buy? Nordstrom, Macy’s? I hate shopping!

    • I’d look at Lands End or LL Bean if you’re looking for something really really warm. If you already have a parka and are just looking for a nicer winter coat, I’d do lord and taylor, or bloomingdales in December. They tend to have great coat sales right after thanksgiving. Kenneth Cole has always been a good bet for me, but the buttons usually need to be tightened by a dry cleaner.

      • +1
        I have an LL Bean wool coat that I love. I got it 3 years ago and it’s still in excellent shape.

  18. Pet peeve rant: when someone says they “are OCD”. It find it very, very hard as someone who struggles with this to not angrily reply “OCD is something you HAVE, not something you ARE.” Also, when people think you don’t have “real” OCD because your compulsions don’t manifest in the stereotypical ways. Ugh.

    • Nancy Raygun :

      Interesting aside: the kind of perfectionistic, sanctimonious behavior people are usually describing actually does have a name when it’s extreme: obsessive compulsive personality disorder. Which is still way more than just “I really have to go to bed at the same time everyday” or “I like for things to be in neat stacks”. As someone with OCPD, I also want to yell at those people. OCD is no joke.

    • I just generally find people that flippantly refer to their personality flaws / mistakes as a condition (that they don’t have). Eg a coworker that’s pacing around or tapping a pencil saying “I’m so ADD right now”. Seriously?! Or someone wiping up the tables muffin crumbs commenting “I’m so OCD”. Vs “sorry, this is bothering me.”

    • Agree! Also, people who say that X gives them anxiety. No, anxiety is a condition, you may be anxious but you do not have anxiety disorder.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        I apologize if I misunderstood your post, but anyone can have anxiety; that’s the noun form of the word. Anxiety disorder is a diagnosis (well, a group of them), but anxiety is a feeling anyone can experience.

        • Anonymous :

          +1

        • +1 – anxiety is a feeling anyone can (and do) have. It is really normal to feel anxious or have anxiety about something.

          Feeling so anxious that interferes with your daily life is when it moves into disordered territory.

    • also annoyed :

      This irks me as well. I used to have a secretary (who was actually terrible at her job and neither organized or detail oriented, despite her impression of herself) who would stand at my desk and straighten papers and pencils so everything was parallel/perpendicular and say “oh I’m sorry honey I am just so OCD.” Please.

      Another side note: I read an interesting article on Washington Post recently about how Halloween attractions commonly mock/stigmatize mental illness and why this should cease immediately. I’m glad it’s being talked about. I spent time in a psychiatric hospital 15 years ago. Outside of my immediate family, only three people know. It feels like a deep dark secret that I can never tell anyone, which we all know shouldn’t be the case.

    • Anonymous :

      Seconding your rant. Ocd almost broke my family. It is an extricating disease- not the urge to straighten something out.

  19. Shopaholic :

    My ex and I broke up 7 or 8 months ago. I was really broken up for a few weeks and then seemed to bounced back. I was actively not looking for a relationship so I had a few flings, had some casual s3x and just generally was having fun without thinking too much about everything. Recently, all that has slowed down and I just feel kinda sad and lonely. I think my ex has found a new girlfriend (which is good for him, I don’t want him back) but I thought I was more over the breakup than it seems I am. I’ve been trying to online date a bunch lately, looking for guys who may be more serious and I’m just not having any luck. I want to meet people in person but it seems like that rarely happens anymore.

    I just feel so disillusioned and crappy now – I guess I’m not really looking for advice. Even though logically I know this isn’t true, I’m 29 and I feel like I’m running out of time… I just want to meet a great guy and I want things to work and I feel like all I have is a trail of failed relationships.

    Anyways… thanks ladies for reading my vent. I do feel a bit better just getting it off my chest. I don’t want to admit to friends in real life that I feel this way.

    • I think everyone feels that way at some point. It sucks.

    • “I feel like all I have is a trail of failed relationships.”

      Don’t think of it this way! Just because the relationship didn’t end up being for your entire life doesn’t mean it was a failure. You’re a different person at 29 than you are at 19 and will be different still at 39 and it’s not a “failure” if it doesn’t make sense to be with the same guy at all three of those ages. There’s something positive you can get out of every relationship: good memories, or a good learning experience.

      I do get the feeling lonely part though — and have definitely felt the same way at various single periods. Look into picking up a new hobby. That’s the best way I know to address this feeling.

      • Exactly! I always try to reframe the mentality that a relationship that didn’t lead to marriage is a “waste of time.” I’ve learned something from every ex of mine. Sometimes it was positive, and sometimes negative, but that helped me navigate my next relationship in a more productive way.

        • I try to adopt this mindset, too.

          And OP – I’m right there with you, so you’re not alone (and I don’t know if your friends are mostly coupled or not, but I really do think the loneliness is worse if they are).

      • Failed relationships = adventures. How boring would it be to only date one person and then marry them?

    • No advice just commiseration and sympathy. I can relate to the feeling of having a trail of failed relationships. Anyone have any advice on that and how to get through it?

    • I agree that probably everyone feels that way at some point. I would also point out that I think you miss having a boyfriend more than having him be that boyfriend. After all, you broke up for a reason, right?

      This is anecdata, but I, along with other friends, found serious guys in the winter. I know you hear people say that people want to be single in the summer, but flipped around I think it starts to get cold and people spend time with close friends and family at the holidays or meet their friends’ SOs and start to think they might be ready for that. I am engaged to a guy I met online because both of us signed up because it was 90 days free after the New Year. We were each other’s first date, on January 6.

    • Internet hugs!

      The first time you see your ex date someone new after a breakup can hurt like hell. Even if it’s been a while, it can still be a shock to the system. You will get used to it though. Either they’ll date long term and you’ll adjust to seeing them together, or they’ll break up and he’ll date someone new, and it’ll hurt less the second time around. And the third, and fourth, until you honest to grog don’t care anymore.

      Also, feeling lonely can certainly dig up old wounds, because once you’re down you’re vulnerable to all sorts of bad thoughts.

      Not that you should give up on men, but maybe make finding a guy less of a priority and focus on your friendships, your career, your home, maybe even pick up a new hobby, so your life feels full and you feel awesome. When that happens, you might meet a great guy as a result, or you’ll be able to approach the dating world with a new sense of confidence.

    • To paraphrase a quote: “All relationships fail, until one doesn’t.” Most people with advanced degrees don’t get married before 30 (so don’t compare yourself to that HS friend in LCOL area who’s constantly posting baby pics, if that’s your thing).

      I know it’s tired advice, but focus on self-development and you’ll come-off as a more attractive potential partner. Now is the time to take up that hobby you always wanted to try/take that class/start home-brewing/whatever.

      • “Most people with advanced degrees don’t get married before 30”? I don’t actually think this is true at all. Almost all my friends have advanced degrees and most married between the ages of 26 and 30 and had first babies between 29 and 33. And no, we don’t live in the Midwest or the South or some other area where people stereotypically marry/reproduce young. Of course life does not end at 30 and plenty of people meet their soulmates in their 30s, 40s or beyond but I don’t think acting like it’s unusual for a woman with an advanced degree to marry before 30 is accurate or does anyone any favors.

        • I don’t think this is a helpful response. I could argue as another data point that most of my friends who graduated from law school who are now married got married around 30-31, but I think the point of CX’s post was to reassure the OP that she’s in good company. (And again, not saying that you and your friends are bad company, just that having an advanced degree can be a reason for later marriage/childbearing).

        • Anonymous :

          Are you that insecure about it? I guess you can’t win, no matter when (or if) you marry – early, at the median age of 28.4 if you have a college degree according to the census bureau, later, or never. Plenty of opportunities for unhappiness and judgement.

      • This +1

    • 34 here. I feel the same way about the trail of failed relationships sometimes. But then I look at those guys and I wouldn’t be happily married to any of them now. Then I thought about whether it’s my fault because I date the wrong guys for too long. So I made a chart and couldn’t find any patterns really. Each relationship made me wiser for the next.

      I feel like the 29 year old anxiety about running out of time goes away once you hit your 30s.

      Sign up for classes and go to things that are outside your comfort zone and neighborhood. I find it’s especially hard once it gets darker earlier about the loneliness. But I bought a record player and I turn on the lights and cook dinners for the week and listen to music and light candles. I try to stay busy. I got a dog so we will go out for a walk. I have a list of projects I need to finish in dry erase on my mirror so I cannot look at it and be sad (just hide from it in laziness haha). I visit family and friends a lot and set up happy hours.

      You can mix it up. Do a little online dating and if you meet people back off of the online thing for awhile.

      You’ll be fine. Sorry you feel this way now but you’ll appreciate your guy when you find him.

    • Wildkitten :

      I’ve been working with a therapist and reading a lot of books and thinking about what I want and don’t want in a life partner. Each relationship I have going forward I will be learning and evaluating and working on my list (and myself). So, each person I date but don’t marry will be working on learning who I want to marry and how I want to be married. Of course I’d rather just have this adventure be over already, but it might be another helpful way to look at it. I’m 30 and just ended a 5 year relationship this summer.

  20. Morning Sickness :

    I’m supposed to go on a mini-vacation with my husband today to the mountains, and I’m six weeks pregnant with fatigue and morning sickness. Canceling the trip is not an option in my mind, but I feel like crap. Any tips for surviving- and enjoying – the trip (especially the flight) despite how I feel?

    • I had hyperemesis and the only things that helped were:

      – Experimenting with foods and beverages to identify the few things I could consume without throwing up. I had to go vegetarian and cut out all added sugar.
      – Carbonated water with ice. I could not drink still water.
      – Eating small amounts of protein frequently. I carried around cheese sticks and packets of nuts.
      – Alternating Zofran (day) and Phenergan (night).

      On the plane, opening the air vent, slightly reclining your seat, closing your eyes, keeping the light off, and blocking noise with noise-canceling headphones or earplugs may help some. Smelly seatmates may also be more bothersome than usual. A scarf to pull up over your nose or something scented with lemon or peppermint may help in that regard.

      At your destination, take it slow and don’t push yourself. It’s okay to take a leisurely stroll instead of a long hike.

      If your destination involves a spa, don’t splurge on any spa treatments unless you are sure they won’t aggravate your nausea. A pregnancy massage would have made me vomit, and a manicure would have been torture because of the odor.

    • Figure out what helps your morning sickness- for me it was seabands, sour things, fresh air, cold fizzy drinks, small constant snacks. It’s vacation, enjoy some naps. If you stayed home, you probably wouldn’t be feeling any better so at least you can try a change of scenery and salvage some of those moments when you do feel good. I had a similar mountain trip in early pregnancy and while it wasn’t the best trip ever, we did have fun.

    • +1 to figuring out what helps with morning sickness. What made me feel better was fresh air, coca cola classic, and salty foods. Also, staying hydrated is so so important when you are at a higher altitude than your body is used to.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Be very gentle with yourself on the drive. I already have motion sickness issues and they got even worse in early pregnancy. Take breaks as needed. Drive with the windows down or the AC blasting. Lemonade (esp. frozen lemonade), lemon heads and other sour things helped.

    • Anonymous :

      Pick up unisom sleep tabs at a drug store. The sleep tabs are completely safe while pregnant (the others are a different drug). Take one at night, and you’ll genuinely feel better in the morning.

      Seabands, also available at a drug store.

    • Anonymous :

      Might be too late for this, but have you tried preggo pops? They are little candies that help with morning sickness and were a total godsend for me. Don’t eat too many at a time though as they are sour candies and hurt your mouth!

  21. Maid Issue :

    I KNOW this sounds crazy, but I really think my maid is stealing my toiletries (and nothing else). I was hesitant to accuse her, but there have been three times I noticed things disappeared and all were a day or two after she left. My home is very organized, and I just wouldn’t misplace this many things in such a short period of time. In these three incidents, 3 jars of night cream, loose powder, hair spray, styling gel, and two bars of soap have gone missing. All were in zipped cosmetics bags inside a cabinet in my bathrooms.

    I left a message with the agency to call me back, but I don’t know how to present this without sounding like I am complaining about nothing. But it obviously bothers me. And I think the items were worth between 400-500 dollars.

    Anyone experience something similar?

    • $500 of toiletries?! Good grief! I’d honestly just find a new service and explain when you leave that things have gone missing. I highly doubt the agency will do much if you just call to complain.

    • Im the help and the employer :

      It’s these sorts of things and more which bother me about having anyone in my home. Thoughts on how to protect one’s self and possessions in order to make the leap to “hiring help” ???

      • Legally Brunette :

        It can help to hire an individual person (as opposed to an agency). We did the agency route and almost every time a different group of women would show up, so I never felt comfortable leaving the house.

        Now that I have hired an individual, I feel much more confident about my belongings. It helps that she cleans several other homes in the neighborhood, so it wouldn’t be in her best interest to steal (not that I would suspect she would, she’s very honest).

      • Get referrals from people you know and trust. Our cleaning service is a couple my parents have used for over a decade who also clean several of our friend’s houses. They have our garage code and I don’t hesitate to have them in our house while we aren’t there.

      • I’ve had the same woman cleaning for me for 4 years now. Her whole business is based on word-of-mouth referrals… She has a key to my place, she cleans during the day while I’m at work, I never worry about putting away jewelry or computers or anything, and I’ve had zero problems. I absolutely think it makes sense to hire an individual via a personal referral rather than a cleaning service. I would not be comfortable giving keys to a service.

    • I never have strangers alone cleaning my home because of this. They always come on a day I am home. I use that time to pay bills/organize/clean something specific they don’t do.

      Call the agency, report several items missing, and probably cancel this service.

    • all about eevee :

      I would cancel the service and report the items missing. It is so frustrating and violating when someone steals your things!

    • Maid Issue :

      Thanks for the responses and confirming I am not insane for being upset about this. I have been consistently happy with this maid for years (I found her through an agency that a friend referred me to, but I have the same woman come each time). This is a recent problem. I guess I’ll be looking for someone new.

      To make matters worse, I was home while the maid was there but I wasn’t watching her every move. I typically put my wallet and jewelry I care about in my purse and keep that with me while she is there. I would have never thought she would take something as seemingly trivial as face cream and soap.

    • I had something like this happen last year, and has posted about it. I got no satisfaction from the service, so ended up getting a new one. I also no longer give them a key.

    • Maid Issue :

      As an update, the agency is going to compensate me for the full value of the items, based on my description and providing links to the items on retail websites. I am completely shocked!

  22. Ugh, I think I’m coming down with a cold, and I am planning to visit my immuno-compromised mom this weekend. Is there anything I can do to reduce being contagious? I’ll try my best to rest up between now and then, and of course wash hands and sanitize… I’m thinking antibiotics wouldn’t help, but should I try a Minute Clinic anyway?

    • Correct, antibiotics won’t help if you have a cold and taking them unnecessarily is not a good idea. Can you reschedule the visit? Absent that, I’d get a hotel room so you’re not staying in her home and try not to have direct contact with her. Plus, washing hands a lot as you suggested.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

        My Dad’s immunocompromised and no one comes over when they are sick. I would reschedule.

        Other options include not staying at his house, using hand sanitizer like crazy…. Including after every sneeze and every time you blow your nose. No food preparation. Go throu Dad’s house daily with a sterilizing cloth and wipe all door knobs, light switches, phones, remotes. Reinforce tonDad not to touch his eyes or mouth and to sanitize his hands like crazy.

        No, a minute clinic will not help.

    • Anonymous :

      Ditto that you’re correct that antibiotics are not what you need. I also doubt they’d give you antivirals for a cold. I’d skip the minute clinic.

      Face mask and frequent hand washing/sanitizing.

      Treat your symptoms, particularly coughing, running nose, and sneezing during your visit.

      For colds, zinc (Cold-eez, for example) is genuinely helpful at hastening recovery.

    • If you just feel the cold coming on today, wash your nose out with a neti pot tonight and dose your nose with flonase. It works for me to stop the cold developing at all.

  23. Question for those who have bought/sold homes. We have our ceiling on what we want to offer on a home. We feel that this is probably the sellers’ floor, too, which is good. Good because it’s the amount people can agree to but that nobody is 100% happy with, they would want more and we would want to pay less, but feel that this is likely to be our meeting point and is also our ceiling.

    Would you (1) offer that and say this is our final offer and be upfront about it or (2) offer something lower but enough to entice them to negotiate back and meet at that point/tell them our final ceiling eventually? This is a closed listing and we have nothing but time on our hands, so we can wait. We do not need to sell our place to put a down payment (information they do not know). We know the homes they are looking at are a bit of a stretch and they do need to sell this place to buy another and an offer in hand is an offer in hand. We are also the only buyers who have seen the home and, as I said, we have time so if they balk at our offer, we can wait them out… or just find another home. As I type this out, I think the answer is obviously negotiate, not only for our price but also for other things like timeline and exclusions/inclusions, etc.

    And FYI people — tell your agent what (s)he can and cannot tell buyers. Sellers’ agent is a blabbermouth, which is how we know all of this and it certainly gives us some bargaining power.

    • Your agent should be advising you on all this, but yes, absolutely negotiate and make you initial offer significantly lower than the max you’re willing to offer. It sounds like you are not desperate to buy and not particularly wedded to this home, so you really have nothing to lose.

    • all about eevee :

      My partner and I just went through this. We started by offering an amount much lower than our ceiling, and negotiated our way up to something that was agreeable to both the seller and ourselves.

    • Anonymous :

      I sold my house in a hot market with an offer deadline. I had the house appraised and knew it would never appraise for what the top two buyers were offering. Because one had an appraisal contingency and the other did not, I took the one without the contingency.

      The people who “lost” the house were upset that I didn’t give the opportunity for counteroffers or to re-submit. So, in a hot market, my advice is to make your best, cleanest offer. If I had a “closed” sale, I would still solicit offers from multiple parties and, depending on the terms, try to avoid multiple rounds.

      When I bought, the seller “allowed” me to resubmit 3 times. It netted her an additional 1%. Eh. So much drama for so little money.

    • I sold and bought in a hot market. Selling, we had 5 offers in the first 48 hours the house was listed. Our agent told all potential buyers to put forward “best offer”- and we took the best one (about 1% over list). Others were attractive for different reasons- one was lower but all cash, one was very flexible in the move out and would allow us to rent back etc.

      For buying we just submitted best and final. If they didn’t like it there were like 5 other houses we were looking at. They took it (but negotiated out a washer/dryer). We changed the price post inspection only due to issues uncovered. I’m confident other buyers would have had the same requirement.

    • I think starting off low is a good approach unless you are dealing with a very hot market, in which case I agree with Anonymous that you should go in with an aggressive offer if you think you’re likely to be facing competition. Also, before you go in, you should talk with your agent about what *other* things that are unrelated to your offer that you really do (or don’t) want, like a financing contingency, an appraisal contingency, down payment assistance, etc. That way, if for some reason they aren’t willing to move on price, you might be able to negotiate for better terms in return for a higher price (if, for example, they *need* a certain price to sell but if they are willing to take on some risk in return for that amount.)

      But to answer your overall question, I think psychologically its always better to come in low and leave room to negotiate. Even though its usually an absurdly small amount in the grand scale of the transaction, it seems like both sellers and buyers like to feel like they’ve “won” something in the negotiations; so when they come up with a higher offer and then you move up to meet them, they feel like they’ve gotten “more” money out of you (even if the final price is still below the offering price.) I think it also works the same way for buyers, they like to feel like they’re getting a “deal” which is why sellers should come in a bit higher but still underneath their list price (which they probably set above what they really want to make on the transaction so they have some room to negotiate down.)

      Does it all hopefully result in you both ending up on a price that is good for both of you and close enough to what *they* want to make and what *you* are willing to pay and, sure, it would be easier if we could all be totally upfront and just make our best offers right away, but that really doesn’t seem to be how it ever goes.

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