Suit of the Week: Banana Republic

For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

Banana Republic has a lot of fun suits right now, but some of them are starting to cross the line into Opposuits territory. (Go ahead and click — you won’t be sorry.) This gray windowpane is a nice change from a regular gray suit, but it still looks professional. The jacket is $198 and the cropped pants are $110; also check out the matching skirtsecond pair of pants, shift dress, sleeveless top, and cami. Right now with promo code BRSPECIAL, you can get 35% off your purchase.

Here are a couple of individual windowpane pieces in plus sizes: ankle pants and an A-line skirt.

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!

Comments

  1. MS Project :

    Hey MS Project gurus! Any recommendations for resources to gain proficiency in the program? Videos, books, tutorials, websites, emailed tip of the day, etc…? I know the basics, but I want to learn all the tricks.

    • Every time this gets asked about Excel or Project or Powerpoint, the answer is always just to start using it and you’ll learn all the tricks.

      But that’s not exactly true – what you need is to find an example of the work you want to do that already exists. So if you want to learn Gantt charts, then look through the folders in your company network drive that you have access to, and find the most complex one you can. Then try to recreate it, from scratch, all by yourself. If you get stuck, then reach out to the file owner and ask how they did that piece of it. (It may not have been them, so you might talk to 2-3 people, or you might end up having to Google it.) Once you feel good that you could make that one, then go find another one, and recreate that one too. On and on, until you feel confident that you could create your own. Then, try to create your own. Make a “parallel” one to your already existing department file, and try to keep it up to date. See if yours is as effective as that one. And again, on and on, until you feel comfortable volunteering to build the next one for real. Or until you feel you could propose an alternative to your boss. Or whatever standard you’ll have for feeling like you’re proficient.

    • Pointellism :

      As someone who has been a certified Office specialist and taught and used the products for years, definitely seek out a class with an instructor. Find a training center like New Horizons or similar. Project is by far the least-intuitive program Microsoft produced, and to really use it functionally, or to even know which bits are relevant to your work and which aren’t (and how to edit a file without tangling all the timelines), a level 1 class will be very helpful.

    • I learned the most about various programs when I sat down and worked next to a guru. My husband is an Excel guru and would just snort watching me limp through spreadsheets, then he gave me a tutorial.

      My former coworker scoffed at my powerpoints and so I got her to sit and help me for an hour. She sent me a bunch of shortcut files, gave me a handful of tips and tricks and soon I was on my way!

  2. What are you currently dreading?
    What are you currently looking forward to?

    • Anonymous :

      Performance reviews in Sept…I’m doing good work but I always feel like I’m going to be fired. Plus one of my superiors doesn’t like me (like, as a person, she really seems to genuinely dislike me) which doesn’t help my anxiety about being fired.

      Looking forward to finding a new job hopefully soon, ha.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Fun questions!

      Dreading getting the paperwork together and making the calls to finally combine my various insurance policies with my husband’s. Why oh why is it so hard?? (And yes I know he needs to participate and I can tell you on good authority that he is dreading it, too!)

      Looking forward to Labor Day wine tasting/bike riding weekend in the California Central Coast, and our first wedding anniversary the weekend after that.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Dreading: I am moving. I really like London and am not quite ready to move from it yet. I really hate the process of moving. I hate transitions. Once I am settled in it will all be fine but I have just a month plus of upheaval in front of me. GRUMPF

      Looking forward to: Exploring New York! Starting my Internship! Living in a city with a real fall and winter!

    • Dreading a trial that is coming up with a difficult client

      Looking forward to camping this weekend in the mountains by a lake.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m both dreading and looking forward to resigning from my job tomorrow.
      I started at the company seven years ago. The job was outside my area of expertise and I only took it under pressure from my (now ex) husband. I intended to stay a year, life happened, and I never left. Although I hated my day-to-day tasks, I met a lot of wonderful and supportive people, including the boss I’m speaking with tomorrow, who gave me great opportunities and lots of flexibility as a working (and now single) mom. I’m dreading the conversation, even though I’m sure they will understand why I’m leaving.
      I’m looking forward with all my heart to moving on to a new job in my old field – the one I’ve been trying to get back to for the past seven years. Financially, it’s a step back, which is part of the reason it took me so long to make the change. Emotionally, it’s a fresh start and the opportunity to feel like “me” again.

      • Anonymous :

        I think that being able to leave a job on your own terms is a very, very powerful thing. So I am saying “Congratulations!” first, followed by “Good Luck!”

      • This is what I have been talkeing about. We as women are forced to do thing’s by men that we do NOT want to do, all in the name of LOVE. While I am as much for love as the next girl, I REFUSE to allow myself to be subjugated by men (whether or not we are haveing s-x with them), in to doeing things that are NOT natural for us. We must ONLEY do what comes naturally to us; not somethings that MEN find that we SHOULD be doeing. FOOEY!

        I also do NOT beleive that money should play ANY role in takeing a job you do NOT feel right about. Personaly, I worked in a dump for literaly NO money, then moved to a job where I learned to love it, and make decent money! YAY!!!! Myrna makes decent money too, but she is NOT in love with the investement bank she works for — she agrees that the men are just out for having her have s-x with them and that is NOT what she want’s. She is an athelete and get’s enough excercise without any additional huffeing and puffeing from these schlubs at her bank. TRIPEL FOOEY!

    • Baconpancakes :

      The necessary DMV trip coming up to apply for a new state license. Today’s 6-8/9/10pm meeting, no idea how long that will run. Buying fall pants that aren’t the size I would like to be buying yet.

      Oysters and beer for dinner on Friday! Also pottery class tomorrow! And my dear friend’s Labor Day wedding!

    • Fun!

      Dreading trying to finish reviewing/revising a contract that has been somewhat poorly translated into English from Italian in and which at times makes no sense and contains lots of references to Italian law which I am attempting to research where I don’t want to strike the whole clause.

      Looking forward to going to a neighbor’s house tomorrow to meet another neighbor who I have seen around, think is cute, but made no moves to meet because I was in a relationship and Sunday’s bike ride/lunch date with a guy other friends set me up with when they found out I was single again. Also looking forward to replacing the wax ring on my master bath toilet and patching the drywall on the ceiling in the bathroom below it this weekend because HEAR ME ROAR single-woman homeowner!!

      • LondonLeisureYear :

        I love that you aren’t dreading the home repair stuff! I once had to patch/re drywall a section of our bathroom and it was super frustrating doing it (to get it nice and smooth) but seriously one of the most rewarding tasks I have done in my life. Like that wall is beautiful due to me!

        • Thanks! I really like doing my own fixes in my house (although I don’t mess with electrical) even though it can be frustrating in the moment (especially because I don’t always like to follow instructions). The pipe following my garbage disposal was clogged about a year ago and you better believe I got under the sink, took everything apart, and cleaned that baby out! It was gross and I should have paid more attention to how to do it before I actually went and did it, but I felt kinda bad ass once it was done!

          The one thing that is bugging me that I am avoiding is putting two bifold doors back up. I think my contractor shorted me a part and now that they are off, I can’t get them back on. The last time I bought a new set of wheels for the top, they weren’t the right size. GRRR!

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            Turn them into French doors: http://decorbytheseashore.com/how-to-turn-a-bi-fold-door-into-french-doors/

          • You’re my favorite person today! Thank you.

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            I had to do this when landlord changed the flooring and the new flooring messed with the height of the closet so the doors could no longer slide but would work as normal doors. I don’t remember what tutorial I used on line – but there are a bunch and it worked out really nicely.

    • I’ve been living apart from my husband for nearly six months, I am dreading him coming home bc we have marital problems that we need to address.

      I finally got around to scheduling a “me” day on Friday – haircut, facial, massage and pedicure. Cannot wait!

    • Anony Mouse :

      Looking forward to: Interview in 2 hours for a position in a niche field that’s similar to my last job, which I loved. Don’t currently work in that area and have been in a toxic work environment for the last year.
      Dreading: The disappointment I’ll feel if I don’t get the job. I know I need to detach, but it’s hard. Opportunities in this small field come up maybe once a year in my state.

    • Dreading: Working out, GRE studying, finishing reports for work, packing for travel

      Looking forward to: Working out, GRE studying, finishing reports for work, packing for travel

      I have been lacking motivation lately and fallen behind in almost every area of my life. The past week I’ve spent my lunch reading r/getmotivated and trying “Non Zeros Days,” and I feel my motivation coming back.

      • I am also studying for the GRE! Best of luck with your revisions, I know the sense of dread very well. Given how expensive it is to register for the test and acquire the study material I hope we both ace it the first time!!

    • Diana Barry :

      Dreading all the stuff that I have to do before I go on vacation in 10 days, and packing all my stuff and all my DH’s stuff and all the kids’ stuff for vacation.

      Looking forward to vacation in 10 days!

      • Why isn’t DH packing for himself? And at least half of the kids’ stuff? That would cut your dread in half.

        • Diana Barry :

          No, it would make it worse since every time he packs he forgets something essential (socks! underwear!) so it is less stressful to me to make a list and check it twice.

    • Anonymous :

      Dreading: Not sure that there is anything I am really dreading. But I am not super excited to keep putting one foot in front of the other and working this job until I retire. The 0ne-hour+ commute each way. Having to assemble myself into a reasonably professional looking person every day. Not having a few extra moments to bury my face in the tops of my children’s heads and cuddle a minute more.

      Looking forward to: Oddly enough, picking my pants up from the tailor. I will go from 1 pair of wearable work pants to 3, which I hope will make mornings easier. And eating a delicious lunch.

    • Dreading: Organizing my desk.

      Looking forward to: Taking our 2-year-old to visit some extended family in Nashville and viewing the eclipse later this month.

    • Dreading…nothing? Things are going pretty smoothly right now. Oh, except dreading the next credit card bill for some car issues that we had to take care of recently.

      Looking forward to the state fair tomorrow! Everything will be deep-fried.

    • Dreading: flying solo with my 13 month old and 4 year old for 5 hours
      Looking forward to: seeing my sister (not the visit above–she’s coming to me) who will be visiting me and the family for a week!

    • I am both looking forward to and dreading becoming an empty nester. Moving our only son to college next weekend!

    • Anonymous :

      Looking forward to: start of school.
      Dreading: start of school.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Dreading: Having my 15 month old’s first flight on our family trip in a few weeks. Going with SO, so not a solo flight, but still dreading all the logistics and his reaction to flying. This is a test run to see whether we’ll do a cross-country trip with him over the holidays.

      Looking forward to: Visiting friends and seeing their new baby on this family trip, and also being away from the routine for a bit.

      • The more times you travel the easier it is. Its never easy the first time. But do it over and over again and it gets easier. So please don’t not travel if this first time sucks. Traveling is a skill and you become good at it the more times you do it, just like everything in life.

        • Anonymous :

          Agree. My family would do x2 a yr. cross country flights to visit family every year. By the time my brother and I were ~5 we were completely unfazed by flying and would pack books, snacks, etc. for ourselves to keep us occupied.

          Once it becomes routine (flying every year for the Holidays or summer vacation) and certain “airport habits” (such as stopping by an airport bookstore and picking out a book, going to the bathroom before the flight, having something to eat,etc.) are set, it becomes a lot easier over time.

      • Anonymous :

        Lots of snacks and an ipad loaded with shows/movies.

        • +1 and make one of those snacks a secret large package of M&Ms to be whipped out in moments of desperation. This works especially well if you rarely/never give candy.

      • anon a mouse :

        Recently did this. The magic ratio for us was one new toy/book/distraction for every 10 minutes of travel. Pack extra, in case you are stuck on the plane for an extra 30 minutes for maintenance issues like we were.

      • Anonymous :

        Bring an extra change of clothes for both the kid and yourself! Spills happen.

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          Not only spills but barfing! Haha so many friends with kids have had their kids barf on them or have blow outs and needed extra clothes.

          Hey its a good tip for anyone bring extra clothes, kids or not. My sister had someone pour an entire beer into her lap hour 2 of a 9 hour plane ride and had no clothes to change into.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          My water bottle exploded on hour two of a five hour flight. I looked like I peed my pants. For the rest of the flight.

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        Thanks for the tips everyone! And good point on repeating travel to make it easier eventually. I’ll have to remind myself of that if we end up doing our six hour flight later this year!

    • Foolish Fox :

      Looking forward to starting 3L year of law school.
      Dreading job hunting.

    • Looking forward to: giving birth in a few weeks and meeting my second little boy!
      Dreading: giving birth in a few weeks and dealing with the newborn phase all over again!

      • Dreading doing the last experiments before writing up my dissertation. I get so anxious about doing them without messing up.

        Looking forward to being finished with experiments and to continuing writing up. I love finding new, relevant information and the acts of writing and editing.

  3. Just found out “Long Time No See” is a racist phrase. GAH how long have I been saying that and not realizing it! I then saw these lists: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/06/9-words-with-offensive-origins/ and http://metro.co.uk/2016/06/22/these-everyday-sayings-have-horribly-racist-beginnings-5959727/

    And realized I use:
    Peanut Gallery
    No Can Do
    Uppity
    A Spade a Spade

    I feel so embarrassed! Why has no one called me out on this before!?! I just had no idea!

    • Anonymous :

      I would bet most people do not know most of this. I certainly have never been called out on any of them either. They are really ingrained in people’s vocabulary, so I wouldn’t beat yourself up all that much.

      • Anonymous :

        ETA: I think most people have a general idea that words used as insults don’t come from a place of love, but that’s not enough for people to stop using them. Plus, so many of those have been softened over time because of usage by the general public to mean terms that have nothing to do with the original insult. What am I supposed to say other than grandfathered in if that’s what I am trying to say and everyone understands what I am saying? I certainly am not going to tell a partner that he shouldn’t say grandfathered in because of it’s origin. No way.

    • Anonymous :

      And kaffir lime.

      • Anonymous :

        And when you ask the average person for a makrut lime, they have no idea what you are talking about. At least IME.

      • I had to google that. That’s fascinating and awful. Wow.

      • Anonymous :

        I did not know that, wow.

      • I have always wondered if there’s an actual connection, but my family is South African and I cannot use this name. Every time people say it in front of me I have a visceral reaction.

        • Wow! I did not know know that word had such bad association in South Africa. I am from India and there are lot of Arab words that have found its way into daily vocabulary in various Indian languages, and in all parts of India. This word is sometimes used by Muslims to refer to non-muslims in a casual way, just to indicate that they are non-believers in Islam. I have not heard any one take umbrage to that. But then we do not call this particular fruit kaffir lime, it is just ‘lime’ to us, since that is the most common lime in India.

    • Picnic doesn’t have lovely roots, either. Interesting etymology.

      • And by “not lovely roots” and “interesting,” I mean terrifying, racist, violent. Sugar coating it doesn’t help; I apologize.

      • in mod with caveat

      • Anonattorney :

        I don’t think that’s right. It comes from the French word pique-nique, which was a word long before the alleged racist etymology that is referenced. Perhaps it was used in a racist way at certain times, but that is based on usage, not its roots.

      • Praise be, Snopes has ruled this false.

    • Oh my, the origin of basket case is upsetting.

      You know though on most of these I think ignorance is a defense, at least for prior use.

    • Not sure if they ‘Peanut Gallery’ history is true though. I’ve heard it was the cheap seats where everyone ate peanuts and threw shells (this was before popcorn took off), not the area into which non-white Americans were segregated. I read this in the book “Three Squares” by Abigail Carroll.

    • Anonymous :

      I think this is a s pam t r o l l comment. That article is really poorly written, like most clickbait.

    • Nothing wrong with Long Time No See :

      Did not click on those click bait links. But NPR has an article on how the phrase become accepted in American speech. http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/03/09/288300303/who-first-said-long-time-no-see-and-in-which-language

      “Long time, no see has gone from pidgin English to entrenched, American English slang in little over a century.”

  4. Please Don't Run Red Lights :

    Repeat post in hopes of greater viewers/comments.

    It’s been nearly two weeks since I was almost t-boned by a driver running a red light while I was using a protected left turn…

    Insurance has deemed her totally at fault and is paying for my March, 2016 vehicle to be repaired.

    When I collect the repaired car at the dealer’s collision center, what do I ask, what do I need to look for? Other than it runs and looks non-crunched into smithereens from the right front headlight to the right second door …

    Is it typical for the new car extended warrant to still be in force? Do I have time to actually drive the car around for a day or so and put it through maneuvers to be sure everything is functional?

    I know I”ll have to disclose this whenever I eventually sell the car. We tend to keep cars 15+ years. I have <6k miles on her.

    I'm so grateful I was not hurt. I'm equally sad that the car may well "never be the same."

    TIA.

    • Anonymous :

      When I got rear-ended (on the interstate) last winter, the place I went had a warranty that went along with their repairs – so you could ask what their policy is on guaranteeing repairs. If there were issues you noticed in the week after you picked it up, i would definitely go back (regardless of warranty). They may not fix it, or they might.

    • I was rearended in Tahoe a while ago, and it took out the whole back of my car. One thing I would look out for is whether they replaced your parts with “somewhat suitable” or “aftermarket” parts or with genuine “[insert make]” parts. When I first when to pick up my car, it looked funny. Turns out they had found “a” bumper, but it was not the correct rear bumper. I refused to take possession, drove two freeway exits down to my dealer to look at current versions of my car (this was pre-smartphones), became utterly convinced my car looked silly because of the bumper, and went back and talked to them about it. They had not gotten the right part.

      Also, especially because you were T-boned, check that all of your doors on that side and electrical are working-windows, locks, seat adjustment, taillights, etc. Just because the car looks OK doesn’t mean everything is working. And know that once you sign on the dotted line, sure, you have a warranty, but they might not be able to fix things right away. So don’t be rushed–check EVERYTHING. And if you have pix of your model year or your actual vehicle, check to make sure everything looks right, and ask if they used genuine dealer parts.

      Good luck! I know driving after an accident like that can be really scary, so also good luck with being brave again. It’s hard.

    • Anonattorney :

      Is there going to be any criminal charges against her? Like for a DUI or criminal negligence? I successfully brought a restitution claim in the criminal case against the drunk driver who hit my parked car. We argued for the loss in resale value because the car now has an accident history. I got $3000. If there is no criminal case, you should look into how you demand that same amount from the driver’s insurance company.

      • Anonattorney :

        *Are there going to be any criminal charges . . . . Ugh.

      • Anonymous :

        I can only speak to my state (Maryland), but where I practice (I’m in criminal practice), unless a driver is driving impaired by drugs/alcohol, they really can’t be charged criminally. Really bad driving isn’t a crime.

        • Pennsylvania prosecutor here, same

        • Anonattorney :

          Yeah, the guy who hit us got slammed because he was charged with fleeing the scene of the crime: He was drunk, hit our car, and then LEFT his totaled vehicle where it was stuck against my neighbor’s tree, and tried to just walk away. This was a 2:00 am. Fortunately, I was up feeding my 2 month old baby at the time and heard and saw everything happen. By the time the cops came he was easily found a block from our house.

    • At least in my state, you can also make a claim for “diminished value” because as you say, the resale would be significantly lower. Even if you plan to keep the car this is a fair thing to ask your/her insurer to pay. Also as above, take care, it’s hard to get back on the road after something like this!

      • PI attorney here. In my state, you can also make a DV claim. You basically go to the insurance company for the at-fault person and claim your car is worth less on re-sale because of the collision. They will usually offer some amount for DV. On a 2016 vehicle, DV is likely going to be substantial. If you don’t like the offer, it is sometimes worth finding an independent appraiser who can, for a fee, produce a report saying how much the value is diminished by. The dealership that sold you the car might also be willing to put in writing the amount of diminished value (the amount they think they could get for the car if sold post-accident). That has the magical effect of (usually) getting a decent DV offer out of the insurance company.

        When you collect the car, you can ask for a copy of the repair estimate (showing what the insurance company thought should be fixed), and the final bill (showing what the shop actually did). That will help later if you are, say, driving it around for a week and something else goes out. If the shop that did the repair was chosen by the insurance company, the shop will typically also need to handle any subsequent issues that pop up from not-great repair work.

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t you know the terms of your warranty? Or have access to look that up?

  5. Dreading: All the phone calls I have to make. In particular, calls to check references on potential new tenants. Shouldn’t be so hard, but I HATE making phone calls and put them off forever.

    Looking forward: To finishing up renovations on the next two apartments. i am so over spending the nights and weekends painting and cleaning and carrying heavy stuff.

  6. Anonymous :

    Anyone have insight as to whether any of the corn zipper or corn strippers actually work? I plan on canning and freezing a large quantity and am wondering if anyone has experience with these. We’ve always done it the good old fashioned way, but if there’s a way to expedite the process, I’m all for it.

    • Anonymous :

      They are ok. The one on Amazon with the highest reviews seemed, upon closer review, to have many fabricated reviews falsely increasing the rating. I ended up with Oxo corn stripper and find that it is very fast and mostly accurate. It alternately leaves a bit or corn behind or cuts a bit of the husk in with the corn but I haven’t found the tax of husk to be noticeable when eating the corn.

      There is a bit of a learning curve for how hard to press to get the right balance between leaving corn and peeling husk but it’s sooo fast and easy that I don’t mind a slightly imperfect result.

    • cat socks :

      I tried some device a few years ago – might have been a stripper – but it didn’t work well for me. I use a serrated knife.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 The relatives I know who canned corn used an electric (serrated) knife to take the kernels off of the cob. But this was back before there were lots of fancy kitchen gadgets.

        Bonus: Can also be used to cut high density foam

    • I boght the Zyliss brand corn zipper from Ross/TJMaxx years ago to deal with the glut of corn from our CSA that summer. Totally worth it! It feels much safer to use than a knife + bowl.

  7. Abs are made in the kitchen (?) :

    I’m beginning to reconsider this.

    I’m at the same weight I was at this winter (~124 pounds, 5-4, BR size 6 in pants). But I have a pair of BR Ryan fit pants bought whenever they had the pretty Kelly green ones. The seat is just not fitting in a work-appropriate manner (and maybe the fit a month or so ago — have been wearing more dresses now that it’s hot and sticky). They still zipped, but can’t be worn in public now due to probably excess junk in the trunk (and not tummy pulling on them).

    If abs are made in the kitchen, how do I fix the expanding-seat issue? I don’t want to drop weight really, just get back in my clothes.

    • Have you been doing a lot of squats or otherwise gaining muscle in your glutes? Perhaps you put on weight in that area but you haven’t noticed it on the scale because you are losing in other places.

      • Abs are made in the kitchen (?) :

        I don’t think so.

        Lately (past 2-3 months), I haven’t been excercising at all (kids day camp schedule hell, being short-staffed at work). Everything could stand to be firmed up but nothing is beefing up. Trust for all but a earnest attempt to work out a bit in Jan/Feb. Since then: slippage.

    • Anonymous :

      your pants probably shrunk. it happens.

      • Abs are made in the kitchen (?) :

        I don’t think this is true in this instance of non-fitting. B/c the pants are so noticeable, I haven’t worn them all that much and haven’t had them cleaned since the last time I wore them. I am a very reluctant cleaner of things (b/c it is an easy way to ruin something). The nicer the item, the less likely I am to clean it (a but nutty). Being a car commuter has been a blessing in this regard; when I had a mile walk to transit, I was a hot sweaty mess every day.

      • I’ve had cleaners or instances of cleaning that have caused the seams to shrink or recoil a bit. Makes the fit a little NSFW if the shrink is just right…

    • Anonymous :

      I periodically go through “growth” spurts like this. Weight stays the same but body shape changes. It usually happens pretty rapidly, too, or maybe it happens slowly but I don’t notice until I reach a critical mass? Idk. Everything sort of goes out and down. I’m 33, fwiw. Sorry, but I think what you’re describing is just the ageing process.

      • Anonymous :

        It could also just be temporary depending on your cycle/current levels of water retention. I’m a pretty constant weight/circumference, and I gained literally an inch everywhere during my last time of the month, just for a week and then it all mysteriously disappeared again. I wouldn’t give it a second thought until they’ve been fitting tight for a few months.

        • Anonymous :

          I also gain weight/inches during my period. And I definitely have pants I just can’t wear during that week that are fine the rest of the month.

  8. At Home Whitening :

    Any recommendations for whitening my teeth at home (or do I need to pay for this)? My teeth are getting kind of yellow and I’m taking a break from coffee, so it seems like a good time.

    • http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-whitening/article/how-to-make-your-own-teeth-whitening-paste-0315

    • Anonymous :

      FWIW, I paid to have mine done for I believe $500, and what my dentist did was make a custom tray and give me whitening gel to use at home. I then realized the same whitening gel can be purchased from Amazon for cheap (Opulescence is the brand). It whitens really well.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I have had good luck with Crest Whitestrips. Maybe not as intense as you want, but could be a good starting point.

      • Anonymous :

        I think that it’s okay to go slow here – whitening can make your teeth more sensitive, so slow/but steady can head off those issues.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I did slower whitening a couple of times and quit because I never really got results. I went to my dentist for the opalescence trays, and while it did make my teeth sensitive, the whitening was actually visible and totally worth it.

          I’m surprised at the poster above whose dentist charged her $500 – mine was $200. The major cost is for the custom trays.

    • Is teeth whitening rough on your teeth using these various agents? I can’t ever get a straight answer from my dentists over the years. My goal would be just a mild improvement, not glow in the dark TV teeth.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve had great success with just using whitening mouthwash, which I found to be much easier for my sensitive teeth than strips.

    • Anonymous :

      activated charcoal, got some at Marshalls and it’s also on Amazon. Some people swear by it

  9. Down with ruffles :

    I love this pattern. It feels like it has been ages since I’ve wanted to shop. The things that are in style right now are just so not for me. So I was so excited to scoop up this jacket and the matching skirt to have a complete suit, but UGH – the skirt is RUFFLED! I am so sick of ruffles all over everything. Just … ugh.

  10. Awkward gardening question :

    I recently started seeing a guy who is white. I am not. During gardening, he says things that refer to our races. When it first happened, I was surprised but was…distracted and kept going. He is a good gardener. It’s now happened both times we’ve gardened. There’s nothing about him that would otherwise raise red flags. This is my first interracial relationship so this is new territory. I guess what I’m asking anyone with more experience in this area, is this a fetish? and is this an indicator of some deeper issue?

    • Anonymous :

      Huh. Absolutely no experience with this issue, but if it makes you uncomfortable you should definitely ask him to stop and then probably dump him if he doesn’t.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I agree. No experience, but if it makes you uncomfortable, ask him to stop and then DTMFA if he doesn’t.

    • Anonymous :

      No advice but I’m dying imagining what he could be saying.

    • That would be make me uncomfortable. Have you brought it up to him? What’s his dating pattern like?

    • Anonymous :

      I’d guess it’s either a fetish or insecurity. Understanding why he’s saying it is just as important as getting him to stop. Talk to him about the why first, it may open up other things you need to talk about.

    • I think certain terminology is used in gardening movies to be descriptive and meant in a positive way when referring to body parts. If you are uncomfortable, ask him to stop. If you don’t know what he means by it, ask. I could see saying something like ‘your big black gardening hose’ (omg) but not something like ‘you dirty black gardening tool’. One feels descriptive, one feels demeaning.

      • Awkward gardening question :

        I guess it would fall under the descriptive category, although I’m not sure. I was trying not to be too specific since people read this blog at work, but because it’s being asked, it was something like “do you like my white gardening hose” (omg, I’m dying typing this out) and a few times he complimented certain of my body parts but inserted my race before it.

        I did ask him about his previous relationship and he said that he’s dated people from various backgrounds and I was the first person he’s dated of my race.

        I’ll talk to him about it and see if I can figure out where this is all coming from.

        • p o r n o culture, I tell ya. That type of language is everywhere in those…films, and I think it’s starting to (has already?) crept into people’s bedrooms.

          Totally weird, sorry it’s happening to you. Gardening should feel good from all aspects, including this.

        • Anonymous :

          Oh boy, that’s creepy and weird as heck. He can appreciate your body without bringing your race into it. Sounds like he has a fetish.

        • so anon for this :

          oh man. that sounds like a fetish to me.

          out of morbid curiosity and maybe too much spare time on my hands, I’ve actually read a decent amount of interracial e r o t i c a (not cause I’m into it, but because I stumble across it while reading stuff I do like. It’s truly amazing what’s out there.) 100% is fetish and p 0 r n language.

          I too was trying to imagine how he could discuss your race without objectifying you and the best I could come up with was some kind comment about your beautiful skin. Not.. sounding like what’s happening here. If you don’t like it, dump him asap.

        • Anonymous :

          And even if you figure out where it’s coming from and it seems totally innocuous – if it still makes you feel weird when you hear it, you can still ask he not say it. AKA, even if he’s saying it for a not-bad reason, doesn’t mean you have to like it. Even if other people he dated were okay with the language, it doesn’t mean you have to be.

          If it turns out it was just startling to hear at first, but you get used to it/like it, that is also OK :) The key is – you have as much right to enjoy the gardening as he doesn’t and that doesn’t include putting up with things that pull you out of the moment.

    • IslandGal :

      I’m in an IR relationship (I’m Black, he’s white) and we both enjoy doing this during gardening. As long as he’s not using derogatory or racist terms or calling you names (ex. Charlotte in SATC when they guy called her names in bed), then I think it’s fine.

      Doesn’t mean its a fetish either. We are visual creatures and talking about what we’re visually experiencing is exciting.

      In my previous same race relationships, I had the same experience. Would it bother you if someone of your race said the same things? Are you uncomy with gardening talk overall? Figure out your boundaries and comfort level for sure and talk to him about it when you’re not gardening.

    • IslandGal :

      My first response is in moderation lol.

      In sum, my boyfriend and I do this. We’re an IR couple. I’ve also done it with previous boyfriends who were the same race as me. As long as its not racist or putting you down, then I think it’s fine. Doesn’t make it a f e t i s h.

      Talk to him and figure out your boundaries. Enjoy the gardening.

      • Anonymous :

        As long as its not racist or putting you down, AND YOU’RE COMFORTABLE WITH IT, then it’s fine. It is perfectly fine for OP to say, no that’s not an okay part of gardening for me.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Bit late to the party but I dated a guy like this once – I don’t think it was a fetish but he liked to describe the differences between us which he found sexy to see, like my very pale hand on his black…hose.

        If you find it off-putting, definitely speak up.

    • Holy hell, these responses are shocking to me. I have slept with more than my fair share of white guys, but as much as I love my big black @$$ or whatever, the first guy to say that me in bed would be physically harmed before being turned out of my house, never to return. And discussion of his big white cOck would get no favors either. The idea is so repulsive, I would never be able to have a conversation with that dude again.

      Clearly, though, some people are OK with it. If you are fine with it and don’t feel like he is fetishizing you, then that is your call to make. If you are comfortable with it in the moment, ok. If it feels weird, though, it may mean that your sensibilities are not a match. Pay attention — I have known more than a few white guys who feel like they are doing you a favor by deigning to spend time with you and trying to use your ethnicity as a badge to make themselves feel more openminded.

      • I think for me this would depend on whether I thought he had some fetish or my race was some kind of issue for him. If I felt really confident that there were no problems in those respects, I wouldn’t really care. DH is white and I am not, and this has come up a few times (albeit in a less p*rny way) and it didn’t bother me because our relationship was already established, I knew what kind of guy he is, etc. If I heard something weird first before we had a good enough rapport for me to be sure, I probably would always have doubts. So I think really all that matters is how you feel about it. If he said it wasn’t a fetish or something, would you believe him? would you be able to feel comfortable in the future?

    • The fact that he just went there, without talking about it first, is more of a red flag than the words themselves. He’s insensitive at best, and enjoys making you uncomfortable at worst.

  11. What is the appropriate way to thank a higher up in my company for gifting me tickets to an event because they can no longer go? The tickets were offered as gifts, which I accepted with no knowledge of the price. Now that I have the tickets in my possession, they show the prices, so while I could afford to reimburse my (more senior) colleague, it would be a stretch. Should I write a thank you note, offer to reimburse but not insist if she says it’s ok, get a small gift, or leave it be? I don’t want go overboard but do want to be genuinely appreciative.

    • Anonymous :

      Thank you email, after the event, saying how much you enjoyed it. Don’t offer to reimburse — if she wanted her money back she would have sold them.

    • Anonymous :

      I give stuff away periodically and I mean it — it is a gift.

      If you want to charm the person, you could get them a token item from the thing (t-shirt, etc.). Or sometimes if a person insists, I let them buy me something on their next Starbucks run.

      Is it Hamilton tickets? Or something that level of fancy? Otherwise, nothing or token gift seems 100% OK.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d write a thank you email after the event, expressing how much you enjoyed the event.

    • Anonymous :

      Nope, it was a gift. Write a thank you note or email.

    • thank you note :

      This happened to me a few years ago for something I could never have repaid in cash (think: colleague had season tickets with fantastic seats and it was a big game). I hand-wrote a nice thank you note and got a consummable token gift in appreciation. He was very grateful, but in retrospect, I would have done just the thank you note – it felt a little weirdly very-mismatched-transaction-y by giving something back to him. Over time we developed a very close professional relationship, in part I think because of that thank you note – which was very sincere and in which I referenced something that later became common ground.

    • IME a nice thank you note is the most appropriate response. I doubt the higher up has any expectation that you are planning to reimburse or that they expect (or would even want a gift in return).

    • Anonymous :

      If it’s a baseball game, you could get a baseball hat for the higher up. Otherwise, don’t bother. Just a thank-you note is fine.

      • I wouldn’t to be honest… it’s going to be a bit weird to give it to him/her, and if (s)he’s a fan with season tickets (s)he already has all the gear (s)he wants.

    • Say thank you and if it’s appropriate send a picture of you having fun at the event, in a “thanks, we had a blast” way.

    • Anonymous :

      If I were in this senior colleague’s position, I’d feel really weird getting some small token gift in return. Just learn to accept generosity.

    • Yeah, my boss used to toss me tickets to pretty major sporting events (he had season tickets to a number of different sports and typically amazing seats). I usually sent a text from the event with a photo (having an amazing time!! Can’t believe these seat!!) and that was it.

    • Thanks for the input – a genuine thank you it is!

      • This makes me laugh. When I was very young, I worked for a famous and wealthy bachelor with a wide range of girlfriends. He knew I used to buy ticket to one performance in an annual classical music festival. One day he asked if I had any connections to the festival organization – he needed two tickets in a hurry and could not get any. My morale got a ridiculous lift that day that still makes me smile!

  12. Sloan Sabbith :

    What’s your favorite place to make flyers/posters online? 8.5 by 11, for a work event, and my design skills are sketchy at best. Don’t have Publisher on my home computer. Word or Pages is fine, but if there’s somewhere you like online, I’m all ears.

  13. Anonymous :

    I feel like I should know this. What is the best way to clean a varnished desk? My desk and the arms of my office chair have gotten kinda nasty — I think from a combination of sunscreen that I wear every day and just, like, body grease. How do I clean these?

  14. Anonymous :

    Does anyone have a vintage diamond ring? (mine is round 1/5 carats, 4 platinum prongs, with a baguette on either side) – it’s my grandmother’s ring, and for the second time since I have had it (in the past year), the center diamond is loose! I realized it was making a noise earlier today so I inspected it, and it’s definitely loose. the first time this happened, right after I got engaged (no one had worn the ring in years, it’s from the 40s), the jeweler restored the ring and said the prongs had worn out. But why would it be happening again? I take it off to shower and work out, and I don’t sleep with it on. I feel like I’m generally very careful with it, although of course sometimes it does snag on things or I hit my hand or whatever, but I assume that happens to everyone. I’m freaking out that this will keep happening and the next time I will lose the diamond! help?

    • Anonymous :

      that should say 1.5 carats, not that it matters (except that in addition to being a family heirloom, it’s also quite valuable).

    • Anon in NYC :

      So my ring isn’t vintage, but I did have an issue with my center diamond being loose. It turns out that it was a structural problem with my ring and we needed to have it sent back to the manufacturer to fix. I would perhaps find someone who specializes in vintage jewelry.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d take it to another jeweler. I have a vintage engagement and honestly do not take good care of it.
      About every five years, I take to the jeweler from whom I bought it and they clean it and check the setting. It’s never been so loose that I could hear it, although I have the impression that they tweak the prongs every time (and scold me for not taking it off when I should). The jeweler specializes in vintage and heirloom jewelry.

      It could be the prong material. My ring is yellow gold, but the prongs are not. I’m not sure what material they are, but it’s silver-y. I do seem to remember the jeweler mentioning they favor that metal for strength.

      For size/weight reference, my stone is probably a little less than one carat. Round cut in a four prong setting.

      • +1 on the prongs – my jeweler said that you need to set diamonds in platinum because it’s a stickier metal & other materials will shrink/expand weirdly and your stones can get loose. It’s worth spending a little more to get that part of the ring set with that metal.

    • Diana Barry :

      I might take it back to the jeweler and have them fix it again, or to a different jeweler if they didn’t do a good job the first time!

    • Assuming it is a reputable jeweler, I would take it back and have him fix it because that is problematic to be happening in less than a year. If you don’t think he will do a good job, take it to another jeweler to have the prongs fixed.

      Some things to note: if it is valuable, consider having it insured. Yes, bumping it on occasion is normal, but are you clumsier than average? I am and had to be more conscious of not bumping into things. Snagging seems strange to me and makes me wonder if the prongs are too long, in which case if it is a softer metal and delicate prongs, a prong could definitely stretch if it caught on something. I’m unsure if when you say he restored the ring if he replaced the prongs or not, which he should have done if he told you they were worn out. It is possible he simply tightened them or thinned/lengthened them to hold the stone down (cheaper options because what you really need is more metal and that costs money). Another option would be to have it bezel set or add more prongs (not sure how many you have).

    • I wear my grandmother’s ring. I had the prongs redone when I was engaged, 20 years ago, and it has never come loose. I’m rough on it and never take it off, either. It’s 1.2 ct with white gold setting, and it never snags. Sounds like something is off with your setting.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I’d try taking it to someone else. I wear my grandmother’s engagement ring/wedding band. Art deco rings from the 1930s, many separate settings. From my understanding, taking it to a jeweler who specializes in antique/vintage jewelry gives better results. I had to get my rings sized down FIVE sizes, and have had no problems. Been wearing them for many years, no issues.

    • If you end up replacing the prongs, maybe ask if six will work with your overall setting. I favor six prongs on round stones because if a prong catches or breaks I’m not at risk of losing the stone before I realize something is wrong with the ring.

  15. Pen and Pencil :

    I want to get something sentimental for my bff who is getting married to a guy that everyone in our friend group adores. Any idea? I am over the moon happy about her marriage, but a nest thermostat or a set of dishes just seems soo….not right. I am crafty, so I could do something DIY if I found the right idea, but otherwise budget is $200-300. Her parents are paying fully for the wedding, the couple has no debt, and they just bought their first house fwiw.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      I personally go by the gift registry for the wedding. But then to show my love to extra close couples I send them something for their anniversaries. This typically 98% of the time ends up being couples that I have been part of their wedding. I don’t do gifts for birthdays/holidays for friends so this ends up being their gift for the year. Marriage is a lot of work and sometimes I think its nice for others to say go you guys for working on your relationship and being awesome. I do this for four ish couples in my life.

      I use the traditional anniversary themes. So 1st year is paper- for this I have: used etsy to have someone do a water color painting of the brides bouquet, had the person from rifle paper (before they were a big deal) do a custom picture of their family – husband, wife, and pet, gotten them tickets for a theater performance, etc

    • For someone I’m really close to, I tend to take an idea from the registry and upgrade/add to it. For example, I love wine and have turned most of my girlfriends into wine aficionados. So if there are glass wine glasses on the registry, I’ll get my favorite crystal ones, plus a great corkscrew, and some wine they will likely love.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Somebody gave us a cutting board with our names and wedding date and an engraved picture that was meaningful to us. They seem to have a bunch of things like that on etsy.

    • I’ve posted before, but my go-to gift is a wine of month club (if they don’t drink, something similar like cheese of the month – Cowgirl Creamery does a nice one). They get a monthly surprise, a lot of wine shops can customize to your budget and shipping.

  16. These are really good ideas. I am crafty, too, but normally shy away from those gifts because you just don’t know what else she needs in her home and art is very personal. For very close friends, I will get something from the registry and then sometimes do something very personal, but you really have to know how this will be received. Some examples: I sent a friend who lost her father an e-gift card for a locket for his picture to have on her bouquet (from planetjill). Another friend is Spanish and I bought her a traditional bridal fan when I was in Spain. Another one was struggling how to commemorate lost ones on her wedding and I had a handkerchief made with their initials embroidered, which she wrapped around her bouquet. The key to these things is that while personal, they are also small and don’t take up much room.

    As I said, I combine this with a registry gift, but if you aren’t sure, you could get her something to go with the registry item, like a cookbook or your favorite recipe to use with the tool/item, or champagne with some champagne glasses, or fancy syrup to go with the waffle maker. Above all, a sweet note expressing how happy you are (bonus points if this is sent separately from a shower where cards are whisked away and it may be awkward to read a long card) will mean so much.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Wow, those are such beautiful and thoughtful gifts!

    • Senior Attorney :

      And yes, we got several really lovely notes from people expressing their happiness for us, and those meant the most of all!

  17. For one of our anniversaries, I framed a photo I took of the sign at the restaurant where my husband and I had our “magical third date” and gave it to him. For a friend’s wedding, I cross-stitched the flower “logo” she used for their invitations/programs and the date of the wedding and put it in a little hoop for them (they have a very vintage-y sort of house, so it worked, aesthetically). Something along those lines, maybe? There are lots of people on etsy who will paint a version of a photo you send … something sentimental that reminds them of how they met, a part of their life together, etc.

  18. Heeeeeelp! :

    Luggage lock out emergency! I just bought a new suitcase, Olympia brand. It has a combo lock with the zipper handles that click in to a fixed lock. I was running out of the door and snapped the zipper handles into the lock. I hadn’t changed the factory code of 000. I figured they’d pop right out, but they won’t! They’re locked and I have no idea how to open. Any ideas? I’m away on a business trip so I don’t have any handy tools at my disposal. Please help!

    • Anonymous :

      only 3 digits…. max 999 possible combinations. Should be able to just manually start trying all of them…even if you have to try all (which you won’t), you’ll be into it in less than an hour.

    • You can usually listen to hear when the right combo is entered – almost a little clicking noise. Just keep spinning and trying

  19. This is definitely a fun suit! I love Banana Republic’s suiting options because they’re great for mixing and matching. You can wear the pieces together or you can wear them separately with other pieces! Very versatile!

  20. This suit is gorgeous!
    -gabby
    www.orcuttfamilydentistry.com

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