Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Stripe Dolman Blouse

I normally think of stuff from Express as being very tight — for the woman who really likes body-conscious looks — but this striped dolman blouse looks nice and slouchy and fun. I like the longer sleeves with the cuffs, and the little details like the button at the back. When I took a look at the reviews, it got even more interesting — besides getting very good reviews for being great for the office, the average age of the reviewers seems to be around 45, which is not what I would have expected. This top comes in the pictured red and also a light blue, and sizes are XXS–XL. It’s $49.90. Stripe Dolman Blouse

A couple of plus-size options are from Vince Camuto and Ralph Lauren, both on sale.

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

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


  1. Anonymous :

    I have a few tops from Express that I really like for work. I always feel a little silly or out of place walking in the store, but there really are some things there that work for me – I especially like the portofino shirt and the editor pants.

  2. What would you do if you saw a coworker do something unethical? Nothing illegal. Something along the lines of abusing expense accounts. This person has been here a bit longer than me, but isn’t my manager. We just work in the same department. This person is really well-liked and otherwise seems to be a good employee.

    • Abusing expense accounts like putting drinks on when drinks aren’t allowed? Or like buying a handbag on the corporate account?

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah I think this really matters a lot.

      • Using corporate account for personal items.

        • Anonymous :

          But like an occasional FedEx or car ride or plane tickets? If it’s not a lot of money I wouldn’t say anything

          • Anonymous :

            I am not sure where occasionally buying personal plane tickets with a corporate account is not a big deal.

          • I read it as Anon 8:58 saying “is occasional Fed Ex/car ride (ride service nyc is pretty common) OR plane tickets?” As in a small fedex/car ride not being a big deal but a plane ticket being worth reporting.

          • Haha no that was poorly worded. I meant to say that buying plane tickets is definitely a big deal!

        • So, I had a coworker who 100% accidentally did this for over a year. He caught it himself, and went to the company to explain. He’d done something like once put the wrong credit card on file with his doctors office, and had been charging copays to his corp card for years. Years!

          I mention this only because it’s possible it is accidental and you could call coworker out in the moment- “hey, that’s your corp card!” If somehow you know for other reasons, it could be begnin: are they corporate gifts? Incentives? (I charge $100 amazon gift cards, Starbucks GCs etc on mine all the time for work purposes, but my average coworker may not know I have a business reason).

          If you somehow know it’s blatant and intentional and not possibly for business reasons…you could report it to HR generally- meaning not that *you* are anonymous, but ask HR for guidance. This assumes it’s a Big Deal, not trivial stuff.

        • I mean, that’s fraud. If it were a truly minimal amount I might let it go, but if not I would report it. And remember you might not know the true extent of it – it’s always possible that a lot more is being stolen than you realize. I would tell the coworker’s supervisor the basic facts that you are aware of, and let them take it from there. Early in my career I had something similar happen, where I discovered that a coworker had stolen about $2500 from the company. I saved the evidence and then went to him directly and suggested he should tell our supervisor – at the time I thought it was the nice thing to do and that he would get in less trouble that way. I don’t recommend going that route! In my situation, he totally lost his mind and threatened me. This was a really nice, well liked coworker too. You just never know how someone is going to react to the fear of being reported, so make sure to protect yourself.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, stuff like bending rules on travel expensing to expense a glass of wine are pretty common and not worth reporting. People will think you’re weird if you do report it.

    • Anon for this :

      I’m a VP in Expense Management for multi-billion dollar company. Stealing money is illegal. Don’t kid yourself. Being this up to your Supervisor and let them handle it. Also, if your AP department is any good, they already know about the abuse.

      • +1. Also my company has an ethics hotline and procedures for reporting this sort of abuse.

      • +2 expensing personal items is expense account fraud.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I would just be cautious that there isn’t a justification you don’t know about. For example, my work let me expense an extra long Ipad charger because I needed to use the Ipad in trial for exhibits all day long and the outlet was on the other side of the table such that an extension cord would be overkill but the regular wire would be too long.

          I now use that wire to charge my phone. To the outside eye, I bought myself a new personal phone charger. The real story is, it is for my firm issued ipad when I need to do evidence presentation in a particular court.

    • Be sure its not a company expense. I’ve purchased bottles of wine, decorations, scratch tickets, charger, all for work. If you are positive, I’d mention it to the coworker first to make sure they aren’t accidentally using the wrong card. My corporate and personal card are the same color. I put them in different wallet sections to avoid accidental use. After exhausting both steps, I’d tell your supervisor.

      • It’s not the OP’s job to figure out whether it’s an approved expense or not, and she clearly thinks it’s not.

        She should report it to someone who has the authority to ask the employee “Hey, was that an official expense or not?” A line-level person/colleague should not be sleuthing on their own. Just report it to HR, or a supervisor or hotline (whatever the process is at your company), and let the people who do this for a living sort it out. If the colleague says “Yep, it’s an approved expense and here’s my documentation”, no big deal to anyone. If it’s a mistake, they can say that too, and HR and supervisor will have to decide under employer policy if that’s a serious mistake or not. But again, that’s not the line-level person’s call to make. If it’s not an approved expense and it’s not a mistake, they should not be stealing from their employer, and you don’t want to be party to covering it up. The last thing the OP would want for her own career is for the company to later find out that the observed employee was committing fraud on their account, and that she had reason to know and didn’t report it. Then the company fires two people, not one .

        • Anonymous :

          +1. Just report it and avoid making a judgment when you do. Just state the facts of what you observed and that you recognize you’re not in a position to know whether that’s an issue, so you’re giving them the information to handle it. And then move on.

    • Belle Boyd :

      My co-worker has a company gas card since she’s the one who uses her personal vehicle to run to the bank and the post office for work. The idea of the company gas card is to reimburse her for the gas she uses on her bank/post office runs (which are only about 5 miles a day total, and I’m being generous with that.) She allows her 16 y/o son to put gas in his car on her company card and she also used it to pay for gas on her vacation. I was looking something up on the gas card report when I saw her monthly charges. I drove nearly 1650 miles round trip on vacation and didn’t spend nearly the amount in gas charges that she did in one month driving locally. When I brought this up to my boss (our company controller) I was told to just keep my mouth shut. Great for morale, I tell ya. Oh, and by the way, she also does our AP and AR, too. Tell me that doesn’t have the makings of an auditor’s Disneyland.

    • Dad says you can report it to your Companys Ethical Officer, and take a deduction with the IRS. He also remineded me of the Whistelblower provisions you can use to make a few dollars for turning in the schmoe. I hope you make your place a more ethical place to work, b/c you MUST always Be ethical! YAY!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      Prosecutor here. This is very much illegal. I can think of at least one case that I’ve prosecuted involving similar conduct.

  3. I’m looking to buy some cute tennis shoes that will be used for lots of walking on vacation. I’m liking the Allbirds or these Cole Haans Zerogrands. Can anyone speak to these shoes or have any other recommendations?

    • Anonymous :

      I absolutely LOVE my alllbirds. They are very comfortable for walking, and mine didn’t require any breaking in.

    • Anonymous :

      Also a big fan of Allbirds.

    • The person I bought them for LOVES his Allbirds. Both comfortable and look great. That said, a friend of mine bought a pair of the Cole Haan Oxfords (maybe a little fancier than the ones you linked) for a trip where he needed both walking shoes and a little nicer looking shoes and he wore them for both successfully.

    • I like my Allbirds as well, but my feet and knees ached after the 4-mile mark so I’m bringing something else for vacation. I bought some New Balance sneakers in one of the classic styles and added Smartfeet insoles, so hopefully that will do the trick.

      • Just in case you are secretly me (I commented below about Allbirds needing more arch support and ALSO have a real commitment to New Balance thanks to their good arch support…) here are my favorite insoles that I put in nearly all my shoes; they are really great!

    • I love my Allbirds, but as someone with high arches, I had to swap out the insole for one with better arch support. Now I can wear them walking around all day, no problem. They are very comfy but part of their softness and lightness comes from a lack of support.

    • I just bought the C-H zero grands…. I like them a lot. Very comfortable.

    • The Cole Haans Zerogrands are my commuting shoes (walking, one mile each way). I’ve worn them nearly every day for two years and they’ve held up incredibly well, and they still look great. They’re the lightest shoe I’ve ever had, and I find them crazy comfortable. Sales bring them down to a really reasonable price.

    • Wearing my Cole Haan Zerogrands right now and absolutely love them! Just got a second pair actually. So comfy and light, would definitely recommend.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I have allbirds and a different pair of Zerogrands and I find the ZGs to be more comfortable.

  4. Adult Acne :

    Does anyone use The Ordinary skincare products? I’m currently suffering a pretty bad breakout from using the SK-II Facial Essence (it did make my skin sooo soft though!). Someone recommended the ordinary’s niacinamide and buffet products for adult acne. They are really cheap and have good reviews so I figured I don’t have much to lose. What are some other good products for adult acne? Any advice appreciated!

    • Anonymous :

      I haven’t tried them, but I use Stratia’s niacinamide and like it.

    • Just a possibility – SK- II contains Pitera, which is Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (GFF). It can cause acne in certain folks (like me) though thankfully I found out by using the cheaper Cos-RX Galactomyces essence.
      I’d spot treat with a strong AHA and the CosRX (or any other brand) pimple patches.
      I don’t use Ordinary for adult acne, their products seem mostly targeted at brightening/fading red marks which happen after acne. I’d suggest starting with double cleansing (oil/balm cleanser) plus a low PH facial cleaner to make sure you’re getting ALL your makeup/grime off. Then add an acid/retinoid of your choice (AHA/BHA/Vitamin C) and a serum to address your particular concerns (niacinamide is a good choice) and a moisturizer if you’re dry. Also – sunscreen in the AM of course!

    • Snow Today :

      It is worth trying but I would just contact the company and tell them about your specific skin issues. They have free service whereby they rec their various product and skincare regime. There are a mulititude groups on the book of the FACE that can also give you tips (big time suck btw).

      I pick and choose as I don’t have the time nor dedication to do the whole thing. but I will say that I find their products to be of an excellent quality.

      I have a little adult acne and oily tzone my faves are:
      the red peel – sorry cant remember the name
      niacinamide +zinc
      natural moisturing factors
      vitamin c cream
      glycolic toner

      I didn’t like buffet and found that it make me break out. this specific one gets love/hate reviews so you may have to try it out and return it if it doesn’t work for you.

      The website is great for ordering as is Victoria Health (depending on where you are situated)

    • I havent tried them but a friend of mine who has been dealing with hormonal acne for the past couple years tried their niacinamide +zine and their lactic acid for the past two weeks and her breakouts have mellowed out. I think its worth a try but definitely make sure to follow their instructions on when to use each item/how often.

    • I love The Ordinary. Currently using their glycolic acid toner, vitamin C suspension, and marula oil.

      Chemical exfoliants like acids will help with acne.

    • I use niacinamide zinc and lactic acid 10 (this is amazing). The azelaic acid is good but I use prescription finacea now instead. I’ve tried the arbutin and vitamin c and they made me break out a little. It’s pretty cheap to try a few different things, just make sure you do a test patch and try one thing at a time. My am routine is: cerave foaming wash, aczone, niacinamide and dear klairs bb cream. Pm is: plexion wash, finacea, lactic acid and cerave pm moisturizer. I also use cosrx patches on any bumps. This routine has been a life changer for my hormonal acne.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I currently use TO’s hyaluronic acid and alezaic acid–I like them and I’m probably going to add the niacinimide zinc next. People on r/skincareaddiction have warned me that a fair number of people have a bad reaction to it, though, so it’s especially important to do a patch test.

    • KateMiddletown :

      My only caution re: The Ordinary is their CEO is a little cuckoo. He essentially took over the company’s social media and PR, and he’s recently gone off the deep end. Check out their instagram.

      • Anonymous :

        I always have to LOL at people who think a CEO being a “a little cuckoo” is a reason not to buy products that work. Most CEOs of companies that sell me stuff aren’t people I’d want to hang out with. Not sure why The Ordinary’s CEO having a meltdown on Instagram should mean people needing skincare products shouldn’t buy from The Ordinary? Do you always make sure the CEOs of any company you buy from aren’t “a little cuckoo” or do you just apply that rule to skincare companies? Or just The Ordinary? Genuinely curious.

  5. I got my haircut yesterday and am having complex feelings about it. In general, stylist did what I asked for (to not remove much length and add shape to my hair that was a pixie grow out) and the style looks decent down. But I don’t ever wear it down and it’s so layered that a ponytail looks ridiculous and buns won’t even work. My hair is shoulder length.

    Other people with layers- help! Is this common? Any ideas for how to get my hair back with all these short pieces?

    • Could you put it half up/half down? I once had a haircut that was “angled” to frame my face and the pieces closest to my face were too short to put in a ponytail. I used bobby pins to pull those strands almost all the way back to where a ponytail would have started.

      I sympathize with you though. I had another haircut where there was such a big difference in the layers that some hair barely made it into the ponytail and other hair had 8-10 inches in the ponytail. It looked silly but I’m sure I was the only one who actually noticed.

    • Anonymous :

      I hear you. Pixie here, and have been at many intermediate lengths.

      Do you have any cute/interesting bobby pins or barettes? Sometimes one or two in a strategic location, more for visual interest than function can make you feel better. Or they can help you experiment on a new way to put your hair up/back at this length. Once I even went back to my hairdresser and asked him to help me figure out how to do it (which took 5 minutes and he didn’t charge me for).

      Also, sometimes a curling iron can sometimes change things up.

    • It will grow back. And the growout time will be much faster than growing out a pixie so in a couple months you should be in better shape.

    • Would a butterfly clip work? You can try and get most of it up in a messy updo, or do half-up and half-down.

    • I've regretted getting bangs :

      Headbands! Think classic – thin, black or tortoise shell, etc. I’ve also done “halo” braids with the front of my hair and pulled the rest of it back.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Go on pinterest! I got my haircut today, and even the 3″ she chopped makes it completely new. Part of the fun of having a new haircut is playing around with new styles.

  6. I just signed up for weight watchers to get back on track (the last several busy years in big law has not been good for my waistline!). Any advice on how to make the most of the program? Based on my first few days of tracking meals, it seems that eating out is the most difficult, since it’s hard to account for what restaurants are putting into each dish.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Eating out is challenging, no doubt. Many chain restaurants are in the tracker. If you’re not at a chain, you can still ballpark it using something similar that is listed in the tracker. Salads are probably easiest to track because you can get a decent sense of the individual components – ask for dressing on the side of course. If you want to piecemeal the total points together, you can do that and then add three or four extra as a cushion. You can ask that your vegetable or meat be cooked without oil; most places will do that.

    • Anonymous :

      I find a few things help. Breakfast is usually zero points for me- eggs and veggies or yogurt and fruit. When eating out I try and focus on making the best possible choices- I get salads, chicken, or fish, and try and leave most carbs or cheese on the plate. I usually add 4 pts for cooking oil to any restaurant meal. I find if I do that, even if I’m not tracking perfectly I still lose weight. And I try and minimize eating out. If it’s not a work or social thing then there’s no reason to do it for me.

      I kinda hate the new program but I’m working it and it’s working.

    • Don’t beat yourself up when you go over. I was having a crappy day yesterday and had a small bag of Lay’s potato chips (not baked – 8 pts) and a bag of M&Ms (11 pts). I wanted them and I enjoyed them. Imagine my surprise to find a loss on the scale this morning when I had been stuck for several days at the same weight.

      The best thing to order at restaurants is often grilled fish and a salad or plain veggies. Most offer it, though they’re admittedly not as fun as other offerings ;)

      Remember overall that program works if you work it. You just have to track everything – yep, even those M&Ms.

    • Also, keep in mind that the zero point but calorie dense/high protein foods (like chicken breasts, lots of legumes) are not really your friend. The thought is to encourage healthy eating habits but a lot of people have stalled on weight loss eating too many of these. The recommendation is to go to fruit and veggies first when it comes to maintaining your points for the day and to eat eggs, chicken, fish, and legumes sparingly (as in 2 to 3 servings per day), otherwise you may actually gain weight (happened to me and several other members, check the connect).

      • This is 100% not what WW says and a way to dramatically under eat.

        • I’m trying to imagine how much chicken breast and vegetables you’d have to eat to be responsible for weight gain, especially if you’re getting physical activity…

          • This. You have to be eating a crazy amount of salmon or skinless chicken to gain weight.

            One of the core principles of WW is to eat sensibly. Eat appropriate meals and snacks. Don’t purposely gorge yourself on foods just because they are zero points.

          • If you have spent years eating way out of proportion and someone tells you you can now eat limitless amounts of protein, you will eat as much as you can stand so you are never hungry. Don’t assume to know how people respond to the new program without understanding the struggles of the overeater or trying the program itself. If the user knew how to eat “sensibly” they would not be overweight. What good is WW if I’m paying for a program that won’t guide in how to eat sensibly with respect to portions? The old program did this well, the freestyle does not.

          • They literally provide thousands of suggested meal ideas and receipes to help people understand what a sensible meal is.

            Someone will always have a problem. Someone on the old system complained that bananas were zero points. Like of course you’ll have an issue if you eat 80 bananas a day and say it’s zero points but there is a certain aspect of common sense involved.

          • “If the user knew how to eat ‘sensibly’ they would not be overweight.”

            I understand that everyone who is overweight at some point consumed more calories than they burned, but sometimes they were eating normally while their metabolism fell out from underneath them. Other times, high insulin levels prevented them from getting energy from their food, so it was either eat a little more or not have enough energy to do anything. Very common medical conditions produce these situations, as well as very commonly prescribed medications. Sure, it could always have been prevented by eating less, but sometimes that would require disordered eating as well as not being able to function.

            I agree that freestyle isn’t going to help someone who just eats too much, but there are so many people who need to lose weight who have always eaten normally.

        • If you were on WW, like I am, and have 1) experienced this for yourself, and 2) read hundreds of user comments on this issue you’d understand how wrong your statement is. So many WW users have issues with portion control, so if you allow someone to eat 1000 calories in one setting and don’t count any of it the weight simply won’t come off.

          Historical users even commented how on old systems, which most agree were more successful as far as weight loss, started counting zero point foods after a certain amount of servings. By sparingly, obviously don’t only eat fruit and veggies. But if you’ve used all your daily points for bad for you items and decide to balance that by eating dinners of three chicken breasts and garbanzo beans, that simply won’t work – At the end of the day calories in v. calories out will win.

          As my Grandma’s doctor always said “even elephants are vegetarian”. The amount of what you eat matters.

          • Anonymous :

            They have literally thousands of meal ideas and receipes provided. These give people examples of what a sensible meal is. You have to eat a lot of chicken to eat 1000 calories in one sitting.

            If someone has food addiction level issues, then WW may not be the right program for them. A doctor managed program would be more appropriate. WW is not AA for food addicts.

    • I am really liking the Freestyle program. It’s working awesome for me – basically helping me make wiser choices in the moment. I already eat and enjoy a lot of zero point foods, and the program has been a great push to say, Hey, let’s make chicken breasts tonight instead of pasta. That sort of thing.

      For restaurants, I try to look up a comparable dish, then always select the option with the highest points (knowing that restaurants throw in extra oil, etc). And I try not to worry much about it.

      I’ve been doing it for a few weeks and I have more days without blue dots than with, but I’m still feeling good that I’m making healthier choices in general and becoming more mindful of my eating.

      I am not losing a huge amount (hoping for 15 pounds) so I’m okay with losing slowly and making changes that work for me. Also, it’s corny, but I find browsing the Connect thing on my phone really inspiring. People are so positive and I like reading it.

      • +1 to this. I really like it too. In my mind, the 0 points foods are “safe” and if I’m hungry, it’s nice to know that I can eat a piece of chicken instead of just having to eat celery. I have tried (with no success) to use My Fitness Pal before and having to put in every bite of lettuce was too much for me, so I’d stop tracking entirely.

        While both programs have some of the same elements, having the 0 points foods and the philosophy behind the freestyle program just works better for my mentality.

        Also, the fact that doing more exercise doesn’t mean that I immediately get more food points is HUGE for me. Because if I get more food points then I’m more tempted to go running as my only form of exercise (which I don’t like and don’t want to do, so I just don’t do it for very long) vs yoga (which I do like and is much better for me because I have lots of back problems, and I need to be doing more of) or Pilates reformer class or lifting weights (which I also like more than running). And, I know that for me personally I’m not going to lose weight only by exercising, I need to focus on what I’m putting into my body first. (I know that eventually fit points can convert into food points, but the fact that it doesn’t happen right away is helpful to me personally)

  7. I’m having some people over for a meet-up. I think about 8-10 people are coming. It’s an afternoon thing and I said I’d provide snacks. Does this menu look okay to folks or should I add something else?

    — Spinach & artichoke dip with tortilla chips
    — Trader Joe’s cheese/filo dough spiral
    — Deviled eggs
    — Ricotta cookies

    I imagine some people will bring dessert items as well.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah looks nice!

    • Anyone have any experience seeing a dietitian? :

      Looks yummy! If it matters (it may very well not; wouldn’t to me), everything has either cheese or egg in it so far. Maybe something like hummus and veggies?

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      It looks yummy! I would add something lighter – like fruit or veggies with dip. (maybe hummus as mentioned above)

  8. What’s the process for raises at your job? I was all but guaranteed a raise at my one year mark but was told yesterday that I’ll have a review st my one year (next week) but won’t get that raise based off of my review until 18 months. I’m currently going way above and beyond my job description and not going to lie it really really stung hearing that even though they see how much I do I am not even eligible for a raise until I’ve been busting my butt for 18 months.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Very similar here (non-profit). Everyone has a review somewhere between May and July. If you’ve worked there before January 1, you are eligible for a raise. So theoretically, someone could start in late December 2017 and not get a raise until July 2019.

    • Hard to say, but in academia, we have our annual reviews on the AAUP schedule (beginning of the calendar year), then contracts are issued in March for the fiscal year, which usually starts in July or August, depending on the school.

    • Annual reviews are done by the end of the calendar year, raises are in April.

      • Oh, and based on when someone starts, it can be 18-20 months before they see a raise. You’re eligible for an annual review and merit raise if you have been working 6 months at review time. So say you start in October 2017, your first review will be in December 2018, and your first raise will be in April 2019.

  9. Clean House :

    Can anyone recommend a good cleaning service in DC? Looking for one that serves DC proper.

  10. Anonymous :

    Does anyone have a nickel allergy?

    Mine just manifested and I can now no longer wear most of my earrings. (Which sucks because I loved my earrings).

    How do you identify earrings that you can wear? There are some that I really like that are 14k hold, but I’ve heard that even these can be problematic.

    • Cornellian :

      I do. I don’t have pierced ears but, honestly, I can’t even buy all types of jeans because of the metal in the button. I think you may be in for a long search, unfortunately.

      • givemyregards :

        I discovered this sensitivity in college when I got a bizarre rash on my hips from the rivets in my jeans. I bought iron on patches, cut them into little circles, and covered the rivets and back of the button, which seemed to work pretty well. Kind of a pain, but I was desperate to preserve my only pair of seven for all mankind a-pockets (it was the early aughts!) that I had saved up for.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I am a little allergic to nickle, but I just paint clear nail polish onto the backs and post of the earrings, and that seems to work for me.

      • There are also plastic sleeves you can buy to cover pierced earring posts. I did this for a while.

        I also just suffer with it. My ears itch and get irritated while I wear the earrings but are fine the next day.

    • Anonymous :

      I just only wear gold

    • Anonymous :

      Yep. Mine is pretty bothersome. I have other skin sensitivities, so painting jewelry with nail polish doesn’t work either. The main thing is you can’t just buy random cute jewelry you see any more; it has to be in its original packaging and labeled “nickel free.” I get most of my earrings from department stores (like Dillards) as they tend to have more nickel-free jewelry. I’ve also had good luck at Stein Mart, if you have one of those. Remember you have to be careful about clasps in addition to being careful about the rest of it – don’t buy necklaces thinking “I’ll just wear it over a shirt” (ask me how I know). Although I have had success buying cute necklaces and then replacing the clasps myself with nickel-free hardware (not all necklaces are easy to do this with, though). Also – you’ll have to watch eyeglasses and sunglasses too. I had to get rid of a pair of glasses a few years ago because it had a metal decoration on the arms that touched my skin, and I broke out in a rash that went down both sides of my face like sideburns. Good times.

      It’s a total pain and the real tragedy for me is that I have all this great vintage jewelry from my mom and grandmother I can’t wear any more. Upside, I have less jewelry of better quality, and if I buy something it’s because I really love it.

      • Cornellian :

        Oh, sunglasses. I think you just explained a rash I got last week. I never thought about them.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Trial and error. I’m not even entirely sure if my allergy is nickel or another metal. Someone on here recommended Rocks Box a month or so ago (it’s like Stitch Fix for jewelry) and I signed up for that. I’m able to wear the jewelry for as long as I want, make sure I’m not allergic, then decide whether to buy it or not. I’m only on month two but I’m liking it so far.

      I’ve also had luck at local trade shows where I can talk to the artist.

      • I signed up for Rocksbox after someone posted here, and I’m also really liking it. I don’t have a nickel allergy but have very sensitive ears.

    • Out of the Box :

      14 K gold, nickel free silver, and platinum all are fine. Some older silver has nickel in it or coating it.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yep. This is what I do.

      • +1. Unfortunately your earrings are going to be expensive from here on out. Exciting tip, though: in Europe, my understanding is that nickel is not allowed in jewelry. I have had some cheapo earrings brought back for me from Europe and none of them irritate me! Next time I go myself (though who knows when that is…) I will probably go on an earring buying spree.

    • I have an allergy to something – I’m not sure it’s nickel – so i pretty much only buy 14k or higher gold earrings now. I have some old favorites that are sterling and even those bothered me last time I wore them

    • Trial and error. It broke my heart when I was 12 and got my ears pierced and then… couldn’t wear any of the cute earrings I’d been buying myself. My parents bought me one pair of silver earrings from Tiffany and one pair of gold from a local shop and those were all I wore throughout my teens because they were the only ones that kept my ears from swelling up and weeping.

      Eventually it grew into being my style (necessity made me learn to love it) and I own only good silver and gold earrings because that’s all I can wear. More than one pair of each now at least.

      My ears are the worst. I can get away with about ten hours of a necklace on my bare skin if I don’t do it two days in a row, and I only ever had to donate one pair of jeans because the button was causing a reaction.

      • Same, I only wear good quality silver and gold but I’ve embraced it and I like that my jewelry is quality and classic.

    • Anonymous :

      OP here.

      Huge thanks to everyone on their suggestions!

      My struggle has been looking into a fairy expensive pair of 14k gold earrings and hesitating, but it sounds like those should be ok.

      I’ll try the nail polish trick on my Paige Novick earrings… which weren’t cheap but still cause problems.

  11. I’m dealing with some personal stresses (problems with my kiddo) that are making it difficult to concentrate at work. I have no mental energy right now. Unfortunately, I don’t see these stressors ending anytime soon. What are your best tips for powering through? I’m using the Pomodoro timer and am trying to keep my daily routine intact; it’s being too emotionally exhausted to think straight that’s really the problem, more than time management.

    • Anonymous :

      Get outside for a brisk walk mid day. Brisk. In the sun. Even if it is just 5 minutes.

      It is the breaks that keep me going. Small things to look forward to.

    • Be vigilant about earlier bedtime for yourself if possible; real (physical) exhaustion can make emotional exhaustion worse. Also, if you don’t have a therapist find one to support you in your role as a parent.

    • I compartmentalize the best I can.

    • Flats Only :

      Also remember that stress can cause depression, which then makes dealing with everything that much harder. If all the sleep/nutrition/yoga self care doesn’t help, get screened for depression and if your doctor suggests medication definitely try it.

    • biglawanon :

      Control what you can – get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise.

    • I’m sorry I have no advice but want to send my good wishes. It’s SO hard to be a parent sometime. Be good to yourself – I think if we knew you IRL we would try to do that for you.

  12. Am I the only one who thinks this blouse looks like a pajama top that an eighty-year-old man would wear? Or maybe Hugh Hef ner’s bathrobe?

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, it is too voluminous for me. I need shape and structure.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      yeah I think it’s the stripes and the shiny material?

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      Absolutely agree. The pajama-inspired look has been a bit of a trend, however ill-advised (especially for the the office).

    • Yes, I very much think it looks like PJs or a senior woman’s caftan.

    • +1 to hef’s bathrobe. I knew it looked familiar, but wasn’t sure how. Now can’t unsee, which is fine, as I am not a huge fan of maroon clothes on me to begin with.

    • biglawanon :

      It would need to be worn tucked in to a very structured, plain bottom.

    • Yeah. I’m not a fan of this particular blouse but Express does have some pretty decent work clothes.

  13. Kat, could we please get the option back to “Collapse/Expand all threaded comments” on mobile?

  14. I’m inviting a couple of my kids’ friends and their parents over for a mid-week dinner. I’ll be solo. Any ideas for an EASY dinner that appeals to grown ups and elementary school kids, that I can get on the table in about 30 minutes? Bonus points if it’s easy to prep the night before. (I thought about a make-ahead lasagna or casserole, but most of those take 60 minutes to bake, and I don’t want to serve dinner at 7pm for the young kids.)

    • Anonymous :

      Can you order in some fancy pizzas (thin crust) and then throw together a salad (prep the night before, dress right before dinner)? You can do a store-bought dessert.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yes. Pizza is a great idea.

        For homemade, you can do meatloaf muffins (find it takes about 25 minutes to cook).

        • Anon in NYC :

          Or – just thought of another one. Homemade chicken noodle soup. You can make it on Sunday and it will be easy to drop in a pot and just warm up.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Do lasagna in individual muffin tins – can still prep night before, will bake faster.

    • Baked tacos. You can brown the beef ahead of time then just fill them up and bake them right before and serve with a variety of toppings.

    • Chili, spaghetti and meatballs, or quesadillas using the oven method that allows you to make a bunch at a time, as described by Annie’s Eats:

    • Anonymous :

      Ziti? You could assemble it ahead of time.

    • brokentoe :

      Taco bar…prep hard and soft shells plus beef, chicken, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, etc. the night before, rewarm meats and canned beans just before everyone arrives. Bake a pan of brownies the night before; if you’re feeling fancy, add ice cream and toppings.

    • Gumbo is good and better made ahead.

    • Slow cooker chili – you can prep the night before. Do a raw veggie tray (chop up night before) with a couple dip options (ranch and hummus) and a bread basket with a couple different kinds of rolls/bread to go with the chili.

      Ice cream sundae bar for dessert – two kinds of ice cream + chocolate and caramel syrup + a few kinds of sprinkles. Kids can help themselves. Maybe grab a fruit sorbet for adults if you have a larger group.

    • Potpie. I use this recipe from Dinner, A Love Story (tbh, I cook one big pie not individual pies). Almost every part can be made in advance. I also use mostly frozen vegetables, which really cuts on the prep time. It’s not a culinary innovation, but tasty food that you can get on the table without too much fuss.

    • These are great ideas! Thanks all! Tacos or chili might be the all-purpose pleaser that I didn’t know I was looking for. Thanks!

  15. Just got an ad that hovered over the middle of the screen (like an old skool pop up) that was a quiz about allergy medication, tied to a Mediavine ad in the right column.

    Nope. Stop. Please.

  16. Help for the tax illiterate :

    My husband and I have a HHI around $150k, have a house (with a mortgage), and one kid. We both claim 0 on our W-4s and we still owe $2k on our taxes this year. I updated my W-4 to have extra withheld each month, but are we doing something else wrong here?

    • Yes, if you don’t want to owe at the end of the year and you don’t have other deductions (charity etc) you are forgetting to claim, just have additional $ taken out with each paycheck- you can adjust this on your W4. Are you witholding at “married but withd at higher single rate”? If not, do that.

      My guess is that your incomes are fairly equal (75/75 for example), so each of your employers are taking out takes for someone that makes $75k but there is a marriage penalty.

      • Help for the tax illiterate :

        Yep, this is it exactly. Thank you for the explanation. I wanted to double check we weren’t just royally screwing something up that I was missing.

    • Are you witholding at the higher single rate? We have a similar HHI and no kids and we usually get a refund when we withhold at the single rate and take 0 exemptions.

    • We fixed this by withholding at the single rate. As we have received raises, we put it all towards tax deductible things (401K, HSA, DFSA), and that has helped keep us from owing every year.

    • Same situation. HHI is $160k, we both withhold at single rate.

    • Anonymous :

      The IRS just released a new withholding calculator that tells you exactly how to set up your withholding so you don’t end up owing money at the end of the year. You will need your most recent pay stubs.

      • biglawanon :

        You could also end up owning a penalty if you don’t withhold at least 90% of the total tax you owe at the end of the year. Happened to us years ago even though we were withholding at the higher single rate. This calculator is shockingly accurate.

        • Anonymous :

          The one hole in this calculator that I saw with my situation is with respect to bonuses. They ask you anticipated bonus amount, but don’t estimate the required withholding on that bonus. E.g., if I get a $10k bonus, in my bracket I’d have 28% or $2800 withheld. The calculator did not figure this amount, and only added up my regular paycheck withholding. It then used my total estimated income, including the bonus, to figure my estimated taxes and refund/payment–lo and behold, I was estimated to under-withhold $2800 (give or take a few hundred from where my regular withholding is not perfectly lined up)! I say this just as a caveat to check for anyone else who runs it, before you go opt into higher withholding like the calculator told me to.

    • biglawanon :

      Same situation here, but higher HHI. I withhold an additional 1k from every paycheck, even though both of us are already withheld at the higher single rate.

      And oohh I have been waiting for the new withholding calculator to make sure 1k is still right under the new laws, thanks for whoever posted that.

  17. London again- experiences? :

    Looking for ideas for “experiences” to try to plan into our London trip- things to do, in addition to all the things I want to see! Last year I planned the heck out of a first trip to Paris with DH and I. Paris is so fabulous that just seeing many of the sights and walking through Notre Dame was an experience. But for London I really want to focus on making memorable experiences. Thanks for hotel advice yesterday!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I really enjoyed the tour of Parliament – IIRC, there is a discount with an Oyster card. Buckingham Palace is amazing if it is open for tours when you are there. The gardens in the back are gorgeous. What about afternoon tea somewhere?

    • Most of my experiences revolve around food and smell.
      I really enjoy the Fortnum and Mason afternoon tea. You can get a tea master to come and give a short lecture on teas, you get refills on everything from tea to scones. You have an additional cake buffet included and you get a doggie bag.
      At Floris, you can have a 2-hour appointment to personalize a perfume, it’s about 450 GBP but quite fun.
      At Jo Loves (Jo Malone’s current brand), you can make your own candle with 2 different scents that merge when burnt.

      • I have a longer comment in mod, but I agree with Houda on at least the food part (but I love Jo Malone and I would suggest you buy some samplers to take away). There’s so much good food and so little time (and I am a Londoner). Avoid the Ritz for afternoon tea as it’s overpriced and full of selfie-snapping loud cacklers and the staff were indifferent and jaded the last time I went- I like the Langham Hotel Palm Court or Brown’s hotel. Eat good steak at Goodman’s (just don’t be that American who asks for their meat well-done). Maltby Street is amazing for all kinds of restaurants, I love Som Saa for their Thai food.

      • +1 to Fortnum and Mason. Love their tea and the store is so much fun to walk around.

    • Walk or cycle (on the Santander bikes) the Thames Path – you’ll be blown away by how pretty the oft-underlooked Limehouse neighborhood and Island Gardens are. From there, take the DLR or walk the Greenwich foot tunnel (just 10 minutes walking through a nifty spooky-looking but well-trafficked underriver tunnel) to Greenwich Cutty Sark (an amazing ship that can be explored) and the Greenwich neighbourhood. Check out the Royal Observatory over there and just have an amble through.
      Have a meander through the less well known parks. Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally for short), Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath and so on. Then if time permits, go to Richmond for a much bigger, grander park experience, and Hampton Court Palace.
      If you fancy museums, check out the Imperial War Rooms and smaller museums (too many to choose but you can google and narrow down by interest). Tate Modern (distinct from Tate Britain) is a must.
      In each neighborhood you visit (away from the tourist sights), do see if you can lunch at a nice pub or grab a coffee at a independent place- you’ll get to people watch better that way and often the European/British staff are a lovely lot and may be up for a little chat.
      However, please keep in mind there is a huge surge in moped thefts all over the city whereby two hooded blokes on a moped or bike drive all over pavements/sidewalks and grab phones and loosely anchored bags from people walking on the street minding their business. The Met Police is not equipped to take any reports of this sort of crime seriously so please do be on your guard and don’t take out your mobile at all on the street. Get a burner phone and a London A-Z map book.
      Let me know if you have any questions but have a lovely lovely trip here!

    • I love London! :

      Last time I was in London, we went on an Unseen Tour. The tour guides are homeless or formerly homeless people who keep a portion of the tour cost plus tips. We took the Brick Lane tour, which focused on street art and the general history of the neighborhood. Our tour guide was amazing and we got to know the neighborhood from a local with a very interesting viewpoint. Highly recommended!

    • Linda from HR :

      I went with family last year, and we splurged on a VIP, “skip the line” experience at the London Eye, with champagne! Totally worth it.

      I also loved Westminster Abbey and the War Room museum, but we didn’t budget nearly enough time for either one. In hindsight we didn’t need to see all the things in the Churchill exhibit.

    • I was with my family in London in 2002…. so take this whit the understanding they may not do this anymore, but we went this nighttime experience at the tower of London. it may have been called changing of the guard, or the locking of the tower. Anyway, I loved it as it was this whole nighttime experience where they went through this whole ritual thing of locking up the tower at night. Our travel agent set it up. It was one of those “it costs $0 to go, but you need to get a reservation in advance” experiences, like when you go to certain museums.

    • London again- experiences? :

      Just coming back to thank you all for the wonderful suggestions!

    • Theater is great in London – the West End is similar to Broadway, plus the National Theatre and the Globe. And the Royal Shakespeare is amazing.

    • I really loved the Globe and Westminster Abbey (with headphones for the tour). So much history at both places, it was just really neat. Also, the Tower of London was awesome – again, so much history and such an interesting site; our tour guide was hilarious/super knowledgeable, so that helped. I know all these places are “touristy,” but that’s what you’re there for! I also loved walking around Bond Street. Try to see changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, that was pretty cool (look up the schedule online, and be prepared for huge crowds, though).

  18. DC Salaries :

    What HHI do you think you need to live relatively comfortably in D.C.? By “relatively comfortably,” I mean own a home in a close in suburb (bc D.C. school aren’t great), pay for nannyshare/daycare for a couple of kids, go on one or two domestic vacations a year, save for retirement and college, and not stress about occasionally treating yourself to a fancy coffee somewhere?

    I’m thinking about career paths and the future and it almost seems impossible to have a career on Capitol Hill, at a non-profit, or even in the federal government because of how expensive everything in D.C. is. Am I wrong?

    • Anon Lawyer :

      The two-income federal government families I know in D.C. do just fine.

      • Anon for this :

        The two income fed families I know (so that’s about 250-300K combined) each have 2 kids, do full time daycare for both, and go on plenty of vacations. Once lives a bit far out from DC (50 minute commute), the other family lives in Bethesda (very HCOL area) but bought a fixer upper.

        DC public schools are generally great in the upper NW part of the city. Of course, you’re also dealing with $1M + homes so there’s that.

    • It’s all about trade-offs. How big a home? How close?

      To answer your actual question, my friends that are quite comfortable in DC make >$200k/year combined,m- but this depends so much. I have a friend working in government and his wife is a mid-law att’y. He’s ex military though, which helped financially early on. Other friends had minimal loans, or had family help buying their first home (which appreciates a lot and they sold imwith major equity).

    • Capitol Hill as a staffer? Yes, what you describe is impossible unless your partner is a very high earner. There’s a very real reason why junior staffers go to cocktail receptions for the free food. Even senior Senate committee attorneys only make ~$130k.

      As for housing, if you want a house (and not a townhouse/condo like Fairlington or Parkfairfax), those basically start at $800k in Alexandria. (You can get into Fairlington for $350k; PFX is even less.)

      With the federal gov’t, if you commit to staying for a career, you’ll have an excellent retirement that you wouldn’t necessarily have in the private sector, so that can relieve some of the financial pressure of saving for retirement.

      My partner and I earn a combined $275k and don’t own because we won’t be staying here long-term (love the area, not the COL). We’re comfortable enough for what you describe.

      • Anon for this :

        Can you talk about what you mean when you say excellent retirement? I thought feds didn’t have pensions anymore?

        • They don’t have a straight defined benefit pension anymore, but they have a blended system that’s part pension and part 401(k). For example, a worker who worked for 20 years and had a high-3 salary of $130k would have an annuity (traditional pension) of $28,600 annually. They’ll need to save more than that, obv, and that’s where the gov’t’s 401(k) (called the Thrift Savings Plan) comes in.

        • We don’t, at least not like the old ones. We do get some sort of small pension, but honestly, given recent congressional shenanigans, you’d be foolish not to save just as you would in the private sector.

          • That’s not really true. In addition to the TSP (basically a 401k), federal employees have the FERS. Under the FERS, you get 1.1 percent of your high 3-average salary for each year of service at retirement (assuming you meet the requirements). Since it requires over 20 years of service, that’s at least 22 percent of your salary. That’s over 30k for me.

            Yes, it’s not a full pension where you get your full salary, but that’s not nothing. Between that and SS, you could live a very good retirement even without substantial savings in your TSP (especially if you move out of DC to a LCOL area)

          • Cornellian :

            +1 to Anonymous. You should definitely be saving outside of it, but it’s a different ballgame for folks who only have 401(k) or IRA options for retirement.

        • It varies by agency, too. The Federal Reserve for example does a 7% match to its retirement plan (not TSP) plus a pension (defined benefit plan).

      • Yeah what excellent retirement? that hasn’t been around since the 80s. the tsp is good but it is just a 401k. the pension is 1 percent for every year I think so if you have a 30 year career you will get 30% of your salary (so if you made 100k, you maybe get a 30k pension). It is something but I wouldn’t call it excellent

        • Cornellian :

          Sure, it has definitely changed… but if you wanted to self fund the equivalent of 30K a year after a 30 year career from, say, age 65-90, you’d need to save something on the order of 20K a year depending your risk tolerance, tax situation, etc.

        • Anonymous :

          Lol. Spoken like a true lifer who doesn’t get what the private sector is like. Tell me — are there lots of private sector employers (esp in law) giving you an 8% TSP match like my financial agency does?

    • We are comfortable at my 260 a year salary and my husband staying home. If he had kept working, we would have been somewhere around 300-350 per year HHI and paying about $20K per kid (we only have 1 now) for daycare in our area. If he were still working, and we had 2+ kids, we would shell out the $50K or so a year for a nanny. We own an $800K house pretty far out in the suburbs but a fantastic school district, and I work in the suburbs. The sticker shock on the house took me a while, as the house isn’t any nicer than the house I grew up in (in fact smaller, but slightly more land, 1/2 acre lot instead of 1/3 acre) which my parents bought for 1/4 of the price in 1995 and is now worth about 1/2 of what we paid for ours in a smaller COL area. I think I was making 215 when we bought our house (and we were DINK then).

    • If you want to live in a close-in suburb to DC in a good school district (I’m thinking Bethesda or close in Fairfax County), you’re going to have to seriously consider living in a townhome or condo at a lower income. If you’re comfortable with a longer commute and a still good district your options open up considerably. Those I know who live on a combined income of $200-300K are not living in the city or close-in suburb unless it’s a condo/townhome. And honestly, tons of families with kids live in smaller places in the city and make it work just fine. We rent in DC proper with two kids, send our kids to public school, and live in a condo. Life is great.

    • OUr HHI income is $160k and we live the life you describe, but we’re very frugal. House is just outside the beltway in Montgomery County MD (so no we can’t afford Bethesda, Falls Church, Arlington). We save for retirement & college, plus additional emergency/cash/stock investments. Don’t drive brand new cars (and wouldn’t lease a fancy car). One child planning on two. But neither of us shop for clothes much, I cook 6/7 nights a week, and most of our hobbies involve being outside/hiking/running (free!). If you wanted a little more flexibility than we have I would say $180k-$200k would get you there.

    • It really depends on your priorities and your starting debt. I started in biglaw. Like a lot of my friends from that time, I used that money to pay off my student loans and save for a house. All of us either work for the federal government or a non-profit now, with HHIs of between $200-300k. All of us also own homes in either DC or the close-in suburbs (some of those are townhomes, some stand-alone houses). Granted, most of us bought 2-3 years ago and prices have continued to go up since then.

      I think its a lot harder if you go straight in to government/non-profit, but not impossible if you don’t have substantial debt. The families I know that went that route and now own a home were all good savings. They brought their lunch every day, took the metro (not uber/cabs), didn’t buy new clothing every month, etc. But they still had nice middle-class live styles.

    • Anonymous :

      350k if you want to be in one of the 800k+ homes in Arlington or Bethesda — while still maxing out the 401k, taking vacations etc. Helps if you have some prior savings or make more like 375k bc then you can get one of the newer construction 1m+ homes in those towns.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. We make around $370K, have a single family home in Arlington (bought for about $800K – so not a new build and not without some issues), two kids in daycare ($4500/month!!), and the trappings of an upper middle class family with two working parents – cleaning service twice a month, lawn service, frequent takeout/meal delivery, etc. We spend a lot but we have some leftover for savings as well.

      • Two fed incomes, HHI about 250 now, about bought a $1m+ home in Arlington 5+ years ago. 3 kids. We saved for 10 years to put 20+% down, have no other debt. (No student loans, no car payments, no cc debt.) Waited until kids were old enough for public school, so no daycare costs although aftercare costs and snow days and teacher workdays…sigh. We prioritized 1) emergency fund, 2) retirement, 3) college and are meeting our targets. We can afford a domestic vacation, but it’s more like a couple of days at Hershey Park or visit to the grandparents, not “ski Colorado for a week.” Yes, we can buy a fancy coffee or go to dinner at Le Diplomat (fancy French place for non-DCers), but we don’t buy fancy coffee every day and the nice dinner out is more like once every month of two. We cook on our own 5-6 nights a week mostly from Costco groceries, or order pizza or have burgers. Kids clothes are 98% Target or Old Navy, with outerwear from Lands End. I focus on clothes I need, not ones I want, and buy work clothes in nice fabrics in classic styles that will be wearable for at least a few years. Casual clothes are usually Old Navy (I happen to LOVE their jeans) and Merona/equivalent at Target. I have a house I like that is 15 mins from my downtown job so I can get home to help with homework or take a kid to baseball practice, and in a great school district, but my spend-on-little-luxuries budget is consequently tightly controlled.

        “Not stress” about that fancy coffee means basically we don’t buy it regularly, stick to our budget, and by doing that..don’t have to stress. If you mean “not stress” = can do all of those things listed without a very careful budget and sacrifices somewhere (level of domestic vacation, where you shop, eating out regularly and daily $5 coffee plus $10 lunch at work, etc), then no, I don’t think you can afford that lifestyle on a public sector salary, or even two.

  19. I’m an extreme introvert, but I have very good social/people skills and my job and pretty much all my desired career options from here on out involve a lot of interaction and other people things. I’m happy that I do so well at it, but it is so, so exhausting and all I ever want to do is like hide in the bathroom or never come out of my apartment. I’m only going to have more interaction with people as I get more senior, so how do I find the social energy to continue doing this?

    I do enjoy my job and I’m happy so I don’t think that looking for a different kind of job is the answer. I just need to not be so socially exhausted all the time!

    • I’m the same way – an introvert, but with good social skills. I find that cutting out everything non-essential for my career is essential to my sanity. I don’t go to random happy hours or mixers that aren’t strictly helpful, I eat lunch alone with the door closed if I do have somewhere to go that night, and I put in my headphones to avoid small talk on the subway. Then I reserve my weekends strictly for recovery as needed. It’s rough but it really will pay to keep pushing yourself through these interactions; I wish we could all be hermits forever, but since we can’t, may as well play the game to the extent possible.

      • How do you know when something is helpful or not? I’m pretty new at my current job, so I’ve been defaulting to going to things in order to build a network. They’re very hit or miss in terms of how helpful they’ve been, and I’m not sure how I could have known ahead of time. Is there a way to tell, or will it just become more obvious after I’ve been at this office for a while and know more people?

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          I think it will become more obvious – you’ll learn that if Mike organizes them, then Sarah and Neil usually show up and they’ve been helpful/useful to you. But if Organization Y organizes an event, it’s usually a miss. I am also an introvert, and I try to schedule the socializing when I know I will have energy – a lunch earlier in the week when I’m not worn out, a mid-morning walk and talk on a day with nice weather, etc. Then when I skip out on the HH on Thursday night…well at least I’ve spent time with those people earlier in the week.

      • +1

        I’m really, really picky about how I spend my time after work/on weekends. It means turning down plans occasionally but oh well, it’s worth it for my sanity. I try to have a whole weekend day where I don’t leave the house or do anything.

    • Can you carve out no-talking times? Block off time on your calendar? A very introverted friend of mine in a VERY people-heavy role has most of her people-activities clustered on a few days, has one day where she simply doesn’t speak to anyone, and then has modest amounts of interaction on other days. As you’ll be getting more senior, it may simply be possible to tell your assistant, “I use Fridays to accomplish things, so please don’t schedule any meetings for Fridays.” (I’m in a pretty junior role, but I’ve let my superiors know that Friday is the day I stay locked in my office to produce weekly written reports, and they’ve been good at respecting that.)

      • givemyregards :

        This what I do – I try not to schedule any meetings on Monday (to ease me back into the week) or on Fridays (usually I end up with one or two overflow meetings on Fridays, but it’s still manageable). I know that Tuesdays are pretty much entirely meetings and interacting with people so I just stick my head down and get through it and then come home and watch TV like a zombie.

    • Following! I’m right there with you. 4 hours in meetings each day. I am so drained, I can barely do my actual work.

  20. Lana Del Raygun :

    As spring approaches I’m realizing I really want sundresses, because I never get to wear skirts at work and I’m usually hot and sweaty at the end of my commute in the summer, so I want something fun and casual to change into when I get home.

    Does anyone have recommendations for casual summer dresses that are
    * 100% cotton or linen,
    * sleeveless or short-sleeved, but can be worn with a regular bra, and
    * at least knee-length?

    Everything seems to be super short or polyester (or both). I think really I want my cotton sundresses from grade school, but in grown-up sizes, and I realize that may not exist. :(

    • Following; would also appreciate recs for a dress hitting all the criteria above, but with a fitted waist rather than a sack shape.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I love, love, love this linen dress. I bought it in Bluish Grey and despite misgivings about sizing, the Large fits me fine (I am normally a 14-16 US size). I do iron it occasionally. Shipping did take a good while.

      • givemyregards :

        That’s so cute! May need one for myself…

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Oh wow, the tops on her shop are really lovely!

      • How wrinkly is it?

        • Baconpancakes :

          It gets pretty wrinkly in the wash, but doesn’t get awful wrinkles from normal wear. If I iron it once (I don’t put it in the dryer so washing makes it pretty wrinkled), it will wrinkle again, (it is linen, after all) but the wrinkles look fine until I wash it again. Much less wrinkly than cheaper linen dresses from J.Crew, for example. It’s definitely made to be worn with the wrinkles and looks good that way.

          I think I just typed “wrinke” more times in this response than I have in my entire life up to this point.

          • Haha. Thanks! I have a high-wrinkle tolerance so sounds like it would be fine for me with a post-dry iron.

      • Anonymous :

        I love this – thanks for posting!

    • givemyregards :

      Hm… I have something like this from Madewell, but it doesn’t look like they stock it any longer – you may want to check back in with them as it gets closer to summer. What’s your budget? I think Eileen Fisher might have some options for you but they’re not particularly “fun” : (not 100% cotton but very close!)

      • givemyregards :

        Same with Elizabeth Suzann, not particularly “fun” but 100% cotton, linen, etc.

    • Garnet Hill is a good source for linen and cotton dresses.

    • You’d be surprised but I often have luck with Old Navy and Gap in the summer for linen dresses.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        +1 Last summer I lived in two midi length sun dresses from Old Navy. They did show my bra straps a little, but conveniently, I don’t care.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          I can live with a little! Mostly these are going to be dresses for lying on the coach and complaining about the heat.

          • I think if you’re going to lie on the couch and complain, it’s not a new dress you need, it’s a new couch. You need a chaise longue – aka a fainting couch. BE the drama!

      • Along those lines, I’ve gotten nice enough summer dresses in cotton from Target and New York and Company.

    • Uniqlo

      • Seconding Uniqlo. I have several gorgeous linen sleeveless, knee-length belted Uniqlo dresses that I can dress up with a blazer for work or down with sandals for casual.

      • +1 I think they have some linen dresses in stock now

    • Go on Etsy and find those vintage cotton sundresses. My daughter is 17 and is obsessed with exactly this. She tried on two for me last night and they were super cute.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      They aren’t 100% cotton (I think they’ve got some rayon in them, but feel like a cotton tshirt basically), but I’ve ended up with about 4 of the Lands End Sleeveless Fit & Flare dresses in various colors for my summer casual wardrobe because they are so comfortable, can be worn with a regular bra, and hit at the knee (I’m 5’6″; they have tall options I think if you’re tall)

  21. DC folks, what do you wear in the hot summer months? I went to 2 conferences, both in July, last summer. I was dying in my regular suiting. I have another conference in June, so I’d like to be better prepared.

    I wore lined sheath dresses with lined long sleeve blazers that I took off to work. I carried a wrap for the AC-ed conference rooms, which was fine. The problem was walking around with the sheath dresses sticking to me.

    • Cotton. Look into cotton suiting (I have khaki and navy) and separates. My summer uniform is most often the J.Crew Factory cotton pencil skirt (have 3 colors) with a cotton t-shirt (I buy new every summer so they look as crisp as possible) and a 3/4 sleeve blazer (AT or Talbots). With heels and a necklace, this looks as professional as possible while staying cool.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I try to wear sleeveless tops and carry a jacket or cardi until I get indoors, and second the vote above for cotton (or linen, although it’s harder to make it look crisp).

    • Nothing with lining, if I can avoid it. Lots of ponte dresses and unlined blazers.

  22. Primary enuresis :

    I have a kid with this (school aged, never dry at night, girl). Diagnosed by doctor and we’ve tried everything, so it looks like we are left with waiting for her to outgrow (family history on husbands side of family that no one talks about). Any advice? She is missing a scout overnight where the kids will be with other kids in a cabin and is sad but we can’t send her (I get that kids have accidents but a kid who has never been dry at night is different). She is a big 7 year old and otherwise “normal”. In a couple years she will be too big for pull-ups and I hope she has outgrown this by then.

    • My kid wore pull ups until he was 12. I agree that if it’s socially awkward for her to do so at camp then she shouldn’t have to go, but if she could use the bathroom at night, put on her pull up, and then go immediately to the bathroom in the morning to dispose of it, she might be able to manage.

      I would not worry. It’s not all that unusual. If you do really want to intervene, waking her in the night to use the bathroom will prevent her from wetting the bed. The downsides are that you have to get up to wake her.

      • Primary Enuresis :

        I tried the waking up at night thing and it took heroic effort on my part and wasn’t sustainable. No thanks. If it had traction I could do but with no endpoint in sight and too much failure laundry I couldn’t and still function.

        • Could you do it (get up at night) while setting an alarm for your child at the same time? So that you are training her to hear the alarm, wake up, and go herself? You are just the initial facilitator.

          • Primary Enuresis :

            Except that for the two month-long times we tried (6 months in between), we never got to where I knew when needed to get up.

            Even if I had gotten up every other hour b/w 11 and 3am, I’d never time it right. She’d be wet at 11. Or at 3. And she has a big bladder that she does not feel when asleep. And makes a lot of urine when asleep (unlike most adults).

            The alarm didn’t help — when she lets go, it’s all out the door and then you have a scared wet kid and a loud alarm, a ton of laundry, and it gets the whole family up and upset.

            I just feel like it’s time to throw in the towel and give nature a chance b/c the only thing that the doctor said that gives me hope is that she will grow out of it on our own and we can honestly do nothing to hurry it (although we can aggravate it by letting her shotgun a can of soda right before bed, which we’d never do, but I would worry about more at sleepovers).

    • Don’t they have pull ups that look like underwear especially for older kids for this season?

      If she outgrows them, you can look at extra small size adult diapers – some brands have ones that are fairly underwear like.

      If you teach her to discretly dispose of the pullup/diaper in the garbage can in the bathroom at the sleepover, it should be something that holds her back.

    • 7 year olds go for overnight scout trips?!

      I guess I am ignorantly showing that I don’t have kids…..

      • KateMiddletown :

        I have an 8y/o and I know there are kids who don’t do sleepovers yet for this and emotional reasons. It might not help your daughter directly, but know that plenty of 7/8 year olds still have hang ups when it comes to sleepovers, and your daughter isn’t alone in excluding herself.

    • Why can’t you send her? There are pull ups that look like undies for exactly this reason.

      • I don’t think that they do and I think that all of the kids know which underwear are real and which are pullups in disguise. It’s treated with such shame and such a teasing target that I wouldn’t wish that on a kid ever. You had bad luck being born this way and it could have happened to anyone.

        • I don’t know – the good nites tru fits look like underwear to me – good nites are the big kid version of pull ups – plus they would be under her pyjamas anyway.

    • Had the same problem with my son. If she is comfortable doing discreet disposal of the Goodnights, that is a short term solution. For my son, what finally worked was an alarm. I could hear it at night and help him wake and get to the bathroom. When he started getting used to it, we went to the buzz only so he had to wake up. Eventually, he was able to handle things on his own. Unfortunately, the alarm isn’t an option on a sleepover.

    • Have you tried a sleep alarm? That’s what it took for my never dry at night son. We were done in a week – not gonna lie, it was a miserable week, but totally worth it.


        • Primary Enuresis :

          We’ve tried and been religious about this several times but it just didn’t seem to help — she empties so fast and it’s nothing but upsetting to her and she doesn’t settle back down easily after it goes off, we strip the bed, change her, etc.

          I think that since a relative didn’t grow out of it until 10-12, we may wait until she’s 8 (and 9 and 10) and retry just having me wake her and see if that doesn’t help. I thinks she needs to be dry-ish (not completely wet) for it to have a chance.

          • Sorry it didn’t work. Just one tip, if you try the bedwetting alarm again at some point. Hook it up to regular panties, but then put the pull up over the panties so that you don’t have to change the sheets in the middle of the night.

          • Former Retail :

            Hi – I’m right there with you (or maybe right behind you.) My son is 6 1/2, and the size of the average 8-year-0ld. He’ll be in scouts next year, with the first “welcome” campout in May.
            I’m about ready to make an appointment with a pedicatric urologist. Or schedule a G.I. x-ray to rule out extreme constipation.

            Ah, parenthood . . . .

    • In House Lobbyist :

      I just started worrying about this same thing this week when I found out my 7 year old is now raising money for Cub Scout camp. He is occasionally dry but we wake him up and he still wears pull ups. He is such a deep sleeper that he will wet himself and never know it until the morning. We don’t have an official condition from a dr but he keeps telling us he will outgrow it. We have had a few friends spend the night with us but I haven’t sent him anywhere other than grandparents to spend the night because of this. I don’t have any advice but just wanted to say I am there with you. My husband and I got in a big fight just this week because he thinks “its time” but has no solution that doesn’t sound like trying to shame him into not wetting the bed. It makes me so sad for him because his little sister never wets the bed.

    • Anonymous :

      Talk to her scout leader. If wearing a pull up prevents accidents, then it should not be a big issue to give them to the leaders and they can discreetly hand her one before she goes to bed and help get rid of it in the morning. As a leader I have encountered that a few times and it is no different than handing over medication and remembering food allergies.

  23. My best friend at work is struggling with addiction issues. I know, but nobody else at work does. We are staffed on the same project, and I have gotten into a terrible, horrible habit of covering for him. I know this is wrong, but I truly care about him, and I didn’t want him to ruin his career. But it’s catching up to me because I am taking on an unsustainable amount of work, and I need some advice or guidance on how to stop doing this. I feel like this has snowballed, and now I am aiding his addiction. Please be kind – I know that I made a mistake but I didn’t realize how out of control he was when I started doing this.

    • Have you talked with him about it, and simply said you are crashing and can’t do this anymore? See what he says? Time to just draw the line.

      Or have you tried saying you are worried about him, and asking if he would consider seeing a doctor?

      Hard conversations, but he knows you know. This will not work itself out easily.

    • This is so hard, and you have my sympathy.

      I think you have to find some time to talk to him directly, and say that you can’t cover for him anymore. Don’t make it a conversation about addiction, just that you’ve reached a point where you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. Make it just about the workload and not about giving him feedback or advice on other areas of his life. And you can emphasize that you care about him and you value your friendship. You could even point out that you feel like things are leading towards you being resentful of him, and you really don’t want your relationship to be like that.

      The other thing you could consider, depending on your supervisor, is saying something very vague about workload distribution. Like, “Boss, Shmelvin and I realized that our workloads had gotten sort of unbalanced on Project X. I’ve talked to him about it and he’s going to try to do more to cover his fair share. Just wanted you to know in case you notice I’m taking a step back on a few things.”

    • I’m sorry, that sounds really tough. I don’t have any personal experience with this, but I think you need to stop doing this right now. If it were me, I’d probably have a conversation and basically say what you said here. I care about you, you’re a good friend and I don’t want you to ruin your career. But I cannot do this anymore- I can’t handle this amount of work, and it’s just enabling your addiction. Then just tell him how it’s going to be (in terms of you covering for him) here on out, and offer to help him get help if that’s what he wants. Be firm, and be okay with it if he gets mad.

    • You need to own up and tell your boss. I’m sorry.

    • My husband is an alcoholic, now in recovery. He had a medical crisis at one point that forced some changes, but the addiction crept back in over time. He’s an otherwise reasonable, intelligent and rational person but had a huge blind spot about his own ability to self-regulate in this area, and the way that it impacted the others around him.

      Straight up confrontation with a clear consequence was the only thing that eventually worked. For us, it was: 1 more time and you’re out of the house until you’re 6-months sober. He was super mad at first but it’s the only thing that stuck.

      In your situation, consider something like, “Bob, I’m know you’re going through some stuff but I’m not going to cover for you anymore. If something you’re in charge of doesn’t get done, it’s on you.” And then stick to it. People can survive humiliation and a job loss – but millions don’t survive addiction. You can let him know you’ll do whatever he needs in order to get him the help he needs, but what he’s asking you to do / accepting from you now is putting you both at risk.

      Good luck, this is never easy.

      • Thank you – I have been feeling waves of guilt because I know that helping him with work can very well kill him. I couldn’t really articulate it to myself but you did that very well.

        • Anonymous :

          I’d suggest coming to grips with the fact that nothing you do in this situation is going to feel good. You feel bad and guilty for helping him and you might feel even worse when you stop helping him. And you’ll feel even worse if he loses his job or if he turns on you or tries to guilt you.
          Sometimes knowing not to expect good feelings helps you to do the right thing.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I don’t have any advice, really, besides what’s said above, but I wanted to give you some internet hugs. This sounds so hard.

      • I’m not the OP or any commenter on this thread but I wanted to say that I really appreciate your comments of kindness around here. You commented on/defended me on the affair thread from last Friday and I thought about your words for days after.

    • You know you are enabling his addiction. I know you’re doing it because he’s your friend and you care about him, but if you step back you’ll see that what you’re actually doing is allowing his disease to get worse. You have to give him an ultimatum and stop covering for him, basically cold turkey.

      No one can lie like an addict, so don’t listen to him. You have to go in knowing it is the right thing to do, and stick to your guns. He will probably be angry at you. He may lose his job. This is not your fault. It may be the wake-up call he needs.

      Hugs to you.

    • I’m sorry you’re in this situation. I was raised by an alcoholic so I have sympathy and understand the urge to rescue the addict. I strongly recommend you check out an Al Anon meeting. It’s a 12 step program for friends and family members of addicts. Al Anon totally changed how I related to my alcoholic parent. I didn’t stop loving her, but I learned how to “detach with love” as they say. If you can’t get to a meeting, there are online resources as well.

      Good luck to you and I hope your coworker finds recovery.

    • Mineallmine :

      My heartfelt sympathy to you. I was in a similar situation when I was a student associate covering for an attorney who developed a severe drinking problem after her husband died. Everyone felt bad for her and our boss really wanted to help, but he refused to realize her problem was more than absenteeism and low productivity – she was talking to clients drunk. I was tasked with helping and covering for her, so I kept telling the clients she was slurring because she had a dental appointment, etc., while trying to correct things, but eventually I broke, especially since I’d get chastised for things she’d do behind my back. The stress of my boss expecting me to handle that while refusing to deal with it himself led to the burnout that made me switch jobs. The truth is the firm should’ve sent her to treatment or at least put her on longer leave (she’d been on leave already for about a year), but no one wanted to face a problem she was denying.

  24. Orange blouse recs :

    I am looking for an inexpensive (<$35) orange top appropriate for office wear. Pattern or print is fine but I want it to read as orange and not generic multi-color, preferably pullover and not button-front. I see a lot of coral, blush, pink, and peach at my usual go-to places but not much actual orange. Anyone spotted this mythical creature in the wild lately?

    • I just bought an orange dolman shirt (granted, it is jersey knit) from Thredup. Maybe try there since you can filter by color? If you’re not into secondhand, it’s from Gap so you could look there too.

    • I’ve had good luck with actual orange in this price range at Target. Mossimo makes decent basic tops (sleeveless one out there now), and orange was a color they featured recently.

      • Agreed! I have a Mossimo one of these that I love. Very bold solid orange, and looks more expensive than Target.

    • In mod (…again!) with a Mossimo popover tank at Target.

      • Orange blouse recs :

        Forgot to check there! There is a Zac & Rachel bell sleeve one that looks like just the right color. Here’s hoping the back isn’t too low or wide for work.


  25. I have had an issue with my ankle that I have been in physical therapy for on and off for over a year. The PT and doctor say its just a strength issue, but I do the exercises regularly (2x-3x a week). The pain has gotten to the point that when my small (15 lb) dog jumped on me to snuggle while I was on the couch, I threw up. The doctor’s answer to this was it was all because I am fat (which I am, 250lbs), but this isn’t normal, right? This is the third PT and second Doctor to chalk it up to weight. At what point do I try yet another doctor? I have a family history of weird structural and soft tissue issues, which not a single PT or doctor has been willing to listen to. My primary care doc has been good about giving me a new referral when I ask for one, but I am worried about wanting yet another referral for the same thing.

    • It’s pretty normal that your doctor considers weight to be a factor. Joint issues are common issue when people are overweight/obese. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the issue in your case and with a family history of structural/soft tissue issues, those issues should probably be checked. Have you had x-rays or other diagnostic tests? Can you be referred to a doctor that treated one of your relatives and is familiar with the possible genetic issue?

    • Have you seen an orthopedic surgeon? I don’t think your weight should be causing that level of pain. If your doctor is willing to give you a referral, I would definitely try someone else. Has anyone in your family seen doctor’s for this issue that have been helpful? Any way to see the same doctors? Sorry your’e dealing with this. Good luck.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yeah, I agree. Have you had CT scans or xrays? That level of pain does not sound normal, even if a person is overweight but generally has no other health issues.

        • Thanks everyone for the advice, I just hate that I keep running into medical professionals who just write me off because I’m fat. I 100% agree that being fat plays into this and is making the problem worse than a ‘normal’ sized person, but I hate the fact that no one believes me when I say I was 20 lbs down and 4 months into a 5-6x a week gym routine before the pain became too much to handle on a daily basis. I /want/ to be in the gym but the best I can do on most days is not leave work early and go to bed when I get home.

          I had an MRI and xrays which were clean, but re: family history of soft tissues issues, my mom has extra cartilage floating in all of her joints that doesn’t show up on MRIs but has had it in every joint she has had surgery on (both wrists, both knees, both shoulders) so I am not necessarily sold on everything being structurally ok. Family is all in a different city that wouldn’t be easy to have a doctor in.

    • What kind of doctor are you seeing for it? An orthopedist? And two orthopedists haven’t found the cause?

      Weak ankle isn’t really appropriate as a diagnosis. And I would agree that if you have been doing your exercises and it hasn’t improved I would be pushing for more answers.

      I’m not sure I understand why your dog jumping on you (on your ankle?) caused you to throw up. That clearly doesn’t seem to jive.

      It certainly is true that weight can contribute to early arthritis. Is that what they say you have? Or have you noticed that your ankle pain improves with fluctuations in your weight (my weight fluctuates so much I assume others dose too, so ignore this if irrelevant for you)?

      What sort of “weird structural and soft tissue issues” run in your family? That isn’t really a genetic thing…. Do you mean your family has Marfan’s disease or something?

      I would probably look at the best research hospital in my city, look at the orthopedics department and find their “ankle” guy (people do subspecialize that much!) and get one more opinion. If you haven’t had an MRI yet, it might be time if the new ortho agrees. But even if they find some unusual strain/tear/issue, I might be tempted to avoid surgery (which doesn’t always work) and might try weight loss first to see if that helps. But can’t know until you see the expert.

    • that does not sound normal! you should be able to snuggle with your dog without throwing up from pain! I think you need another doctor. good luck, and gentle hugs!

    • I would also push for more details on how it’s weight related … since you’ve heard this from 5 professionals. Could you be missing something there? What exactly are they trying to tell you — it will take longer to heal because of additional pressure on it, the standard exercises aren’t sufficient (or you can’t do them correctly?), a weight loss of X amount will solve the problem, what exactly. How does the treatment differ for someone who’s overweight? Ask them why or if your family history of weird structural and soft tissue issues is insignificant — maybe there are features that make them seem medically out of sync with your experience. Etc. etc. I’d really dig in and find out more about their opinion before dismissing it.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Time for a new doctor. That is NOT normal, and you’re being dismissed because you are fat. Please try a different orthopedic doctor and physical therapist.

    • Anonymous :

      Get a different doctor, a solid diagnosis, and a new physical therapist. I have had several experiences with physical therapists who seemed more interested in getting me/my kid to come to as many appointments as possible than in actually solving the underlying problem.

    • I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. Try asking the doctor “what would you prescribe for someone who isn’t fat?” and see what they say. Put them on the spot and don’t let them get away with lazy diagnoses.

  26. Kitchen Reno/design :

    I want to redo my kitchen. It’s a weird shape- 22×11. With lots of doorways and Windows. I cannot find anything online with those dimensions for inspiration. Are there sites or resources I should be looking out beyond houzz?

    It’s not a galley kitchen, not big enough for an island…right now it’s anlong sea of counters with a round table at the far side. Which may be the layout I’m stuck with w/our moving walls and may not be. I’m not quite ready to work with a designer- I want to do some exploring first.

    • My kitchen has four doors into it (old house) and it is not a large kitchen. Unfortunately this leaves very little wall space for cabinetry. I just took careful measurements and went to Home Depot and one of their designers mocked it up for me in an auto-cad type program that I believe was proprietary to them.

      We were able to make standard sized cabinets work with the space after quite a bit of tweaking. I still don’t have an island, but I was able to reincorporate an antique baking table that was original to the kitchen & had at some point been moved to the pantry.

      I still love my kitchen and I don’t think I would have done any better with an architect. That’s almost the blessing of a small kitchen – you only have a couple of options anyway.

      • Kitchen Reno/design :

        I don’t want an architect- I’m not interested in moving walls. It’s set up now with quite a bit of cabinetry and space, but I’m looking for somewhere that can help me design/visualize modernizing it. Custom cabinets are within the budget if they have to be, but we may not need them. I just want to see inspiring photos, maybe do some mocking up. But since it’s a weird layout I’m having trouble- kitchens with my sq footage all have islands, which I cannot do. Kitchens with my depth are all small/galley style, which I do not have. My kitchen runs along most of the back of the house, so it’s quite a lot of (high traffic) space.

    • I have a weird kitchen. I am good at spacial things and after 9 years have decided that nothing but a match or a tornado would really truly fix it.

    • Pinterest. Also, you should still look at galley kitchens. I actually have one and it was super frustrating to see kitchens with much larger dimensions be listed as galley kitchens, so that may actually workout for you.

    • I drew my kitchen up in Ikea’s design tool and then played around with a lot of layouts using their cabinets. I didn’t end up buying cabinets from them, but the tool was prepopulated with all the standard cabinet sizes.

      For inspiration photos, have you looked at houzz?

  27. Hi! I’ll be in Honolulu this summer for a week. Any recommendations on where to stay/which areas? No kids, just husband and I. We are open to either AirBnB or a hotel. TIA!

  28. Tricks to ID an item of clothing? :

    My bff donated a dress about a year ago and now that she has lost weight, she wishes she had kept it. All she remembers is that she bought it at Macy’s in NYC in summer 2009 and she doesn’t have super great photos of it or remember who made it. Is there some trick to trying to ID such a thing? I’d love to try to find it on poshmark or wherever and surprise her!

    All I know from her: Maxi dress with halter top, light turquoise and green, sort of looked tie dye, sort of looked like mandalas in the design, white or cream background, elasticized for about an inch under the bustline, sold at Macy’s in Summer 09. She thinks she spent about $30 on it. (Not much to go on, I know, this is all she recalls and I am trying to hunt!)

    • I sincerely doubt you’re going to find it without a brand. Items on Poshmark and the like tend not to be that old so if there are still any in circulation they’d be at thrift stores or maaaaybe eBay. But it will be like finding a needle in a haystack

    • AnonAlphabet :

      I think this could be one of those things that is better in our fond memories than in our real, current lives. I’d look for something fabulous in the spirit of that dress rather than the same one …

      I think this one looks sophisticated for a maxi:

    • You could easily find something very similar googling the description. Turquoise tie dye with mandalas is pretty specific.

    • That sounds like maybe INC? It’s a Macy’s brand.

    • Like this?

    • Maybe this one?

      I searched “Macy’s halter maxi dress turquoise” in google images. Change up the search terms (halter maxi dress mandala, etc until you find it)

  29. Does anyone have recommendations for getting rid of blackheads? I know salicylic acid is supposed to do the trick but any specific recommendations would be most helpful. Both my husband and I need it.


    • regular facials with extractions

    • Anon in NYC :

      I can’t afford regular facials, so for me an oil based cleanser really helped. Plus regularly using things like serums and facial oils. It sounds so counterintuitive, and I spent years avoiding putting any sort of oil on my face, but my skin has really improved. I really like Marie Veronique for her cleansers and she has a bunch of serums/facial oils too.

    • Following – Does anyone know if Clarisonic works for this?

      • I found it helpful if not perfect. One tip: the brush on the Clarisonic comes apart to make it easier to use on your nose specifically. I didn’t realize it because I never read instructions, but it makes a difference in results.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          That the Clarisonic brush comes apart was one of the many useful things I learned from commenters here. It’s awesome for getting the side of your nose.

          • Um, yeah. Changed my life just now. Trying this on my Clarisonic.

          • Nooo! I’ve been using it for years, even bought a second one when the first got stolen. Never knew this! I’ll try the smaller brush for the nose tomorrow

    • Biore pore strips.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Mario Badescu Silver Powder followed by Biore strips worked well for me to get rid of blackheads on my nose. You can buy it at Nordstrom.

    • I’ve had good luck recently with The Ordinary’s Azelic Acid and Lactic Acid 5%. My blackheads are much better (almost gone) then when I was using the clarisonic.

  30. paging poster who wanted Azores recs :

    It’s Jo March. I said I would share recs for the Azores and then never did, so here they are are:

    Depending on when you go, it may not be as warm as you’re expecting, so pack accordingly. Especially if you go to Pico and want to hike up Mt. Pico (highly recommend if you’re into hiking!), the ideal time to do it is before sunrise so you can watch the sun come up, but that also means it’s not warm at all!

    Airbnb vs. hotel – we went the airbnb route for a group of 4 and loved it. We rented entire homes (we went to multiple islands, so stayed in one home per island). They were spacious, had full kitchens so that we could make our food for the days we were hiking, and were very affordable given that they were right by the sea.

    Rental car: Definitely needed – especially if you go anywhere outside of the cities (which is where all of the beautiful scenery/hiking/cave tours are). You can pick up the car at the airport on each island, so that’s very easy, but make sure to rent in advance so that you can reserve an automatic transmission if you’re like most Americans and don’t know how to drive manual.

    Food: Unfortunately, no specific suggestions, but make sure you research this part of your trip thoroughly if you’re the slightest bit picky about food. We ran into some trouble finding restaurants last minute and wish we had identified a few options beforehand for every day. The soft cheese with the peppers and bread is amazing! So eat a lot of that. And seafood, there are few very well known restaurants that are famous for seafood paella.

    Other specific suggestions:
    -Hot springs (Furnas) on Sao Miguel – if you plan properly, you can either cook your own meat stew or go to a restaurant that specializes in that. There are also several beautiful waterfalls/hikes on the island, so you can find whatever is best for your fitness level. Just be ready to drive on mountain roads to get there.
    -Seven Cities hiking on Sao Miguel – 2 lakes next to each other that are different colors and beautiful views!
    -Terra Nostra park is beautiful to walk around!
    -The tea plantation is nice if you have time, but I wouldn’t make it a priority (you can purchase the same tea elsewhere).
    -Pico has a wine museum that often has tastings.
    -Pico is known for whale watching. Expensive, but worth every penny.
    -Governor’s mansion on Terceira is nice for some history. They also have bull fights if you go in June. It’s a big part of the culture, albeit one that our group didn’t partake it.
    -Terceira is the island where a lot of young Europeans go to party, if that’s the scene you’re looking for. If not, I would suggest getting an airbnb outside of the city and right on the ocean. There are several “natural swimming areas” and airbnb listings will note if they are nearby.
    -There are multiple caves that offer tours – would highly recommend at least one.

    Sorry for the delay! Had an allergic reaction that really threw off my mojo for a few days. Feel free to follow up with more questions if you have them.

  31. Bath Towels :

    I need new towels to replace the set I had gotten from Macys many years ago. I like high quality towels that are soft and fluffy. Any recommendations, possibly from an upstart company instead of a big department store?

    • Parachute? You can usually find a promo code online.

    • Not following directions, but I held and petted a lot of towels and the ones from Nordstrom are the best. They’ve really kept their fluff and softness the two years we’ve used ours.

  32. Have all you Hamilton obsessed ladies checked out the Weird Al Hamilton Polka released today (February 30)?

  33. Kirah Jones :

    I’m not surpised to see that some of the reviewers of this top are 45 years old. I’ve been shopping at Express since I was 18 years old. Now that I’m 35 years old I buy most of my work clothes from Express. They have a ton of classic pieces that can be worn to the office and happy hour. In addition, they often have great sales and coupons so I never pay full price. My favorites are their Editor pants, their pencil/midi skirts, and their blouses and portifino shirts. Occasionally you can also find a really nice coat at Express too.

  34. Lash lift or perm? :

    There was a great comment thread earlier in the week about lash extensions and serums, but wondering if anyone has experience with a lash lift or perm? My lashes are very straight and curling them doesn’t seem to last. Hoping to combine a serum with a lash lift. Reading online it sounds like the results last a bit longer than extensions, but the process/risks worry me a little bit.. Would love to hear from anyone who has had this service…..

Add a Comment

Thank you for commenting. On the off chance that your comment goes to moderation, note that a moderation message will only appear if you enter an email address. If you have any questions please check out our commenting policy.

work fashion blog press mentions