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Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

When I got this at a blogger event (in orange), I was really surprised at how it felt like a very sturdy, well-made top. It’s billed as a camisole but it’s got a pretty V-back and a thicker strap in the front to hide your bra, so I would wear this as a going-out top, personally. If you wanted to wear this under a suit, you could; I always like sleeves under suits, but that’s me. This top has come and gone in a bunch of different colors at Nordstrom (with lots of great reviews) and is now available there in blue and black. Over at Topshop there’s a couple more colors in regular, petite, and tall sizes. It’s only $30 at both Topshop and Nordstrom. Topshop Double Strap V-Back Camisole

(L-all)

Comments

  1. “If you wanted to wear this under a suit, you could”

    Oh, honey, no. No you can’t. Not unless you want to look like you woke up, tucked your nightie in your skirt/pants, and headed for the door.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you could so long as you never took off your jacket and were relatively flat chested.

      • Yeah, I’m flat chested, and if I never took my blazer off I could get away with this. I’ve worn tops like this to work under cardigans before.

      • Sure, but you wouldn’t be able to move, ever. I’m small-busted and I can’t even handle these tops. A decent portion of my bra gets exposed during everyday, normal movement. Normal, everyday movement It takes very little movement for a decent portion of my bra to get exposed. Maybe if I were small everywhere and could size down in tops it would work, but no. Never.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          So I have a top similar to this, but not in a shiny fabric. I always wear it under a cardigan or jacket and have a large chest. The key for me is to use tiny safety pins to attach the straps to my bra straps. It is a bit of a hassle, but I like the top enough to do it. Once I do that, it stays in place perfectly throughout the day and I don’t think it looks sloppy at all.

    • Anonymous :

      Also, I can’t really agree that those straps are thick enough to hide bra straps. They’re pretty much the same thickness as my bra straps, and it’s unlikely they’d line up in the exact same spot, so the strap would probably still show.

      And this top is not worth going strapless. It reminds me too much of the shiny camis we all wore to go out in 2004 (and that was when I went to college in a three-years-behind-everything farm state).

      • I just want to take this opportunity to thank you, from the very bottom of my Friday afternoon slacker heart, for reminding me of the 2004 camisoles <3 haha. My favorite was lavender with beige lace at the top. And for some reason, we all wore them with blazers over the top of them.

      • hahaha you’re totally right on the timing — I recently found a few hangers-full of strappy, shiny camis from my college years (2001-2005)! This would have fit right in.

      • hahah I went to a nightclub concert around 2004 and I noticed that every single woman there was wearing a satin camisole, dark wash flared jeans and platform heeled sandals. I felt like I had missed the memo.

    • Anonymous :

      Agreed! It looks like a nightie. Someone could see down the shirt if you bend over, and the straps don’t look thick enough for my bra strap.

  2. Pocket Briefcase? :

    Does anyone have or has anyone used a pocket briefcase? I’m looking for a way to organize my to-do list, receipts, gift cards, etc…

    https://www.amazon.com/Royce-Leather-Deluxe-Jotter-Organizer/dp/B000AYI47W/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1486754134&sr=8-5&keywords=pocket%2Bbriefcase&th=1

    • Pocket Briefcase? :

      Looking for more attractive options….

    • Just a flesh wound :

      I bought the levenger one and found it wasn’t for me. The index cards did not provide enough room for me to do anything meaningful. The calendar index card was always more of a hassle then just checking the date on my phone. Plus, carrying more than one index card – all of which detach and are basically loose – was messy. How about just a cardholder? Or a mini wallet?

      https://www.cuyana.com/leather-cardholder.html#sunshine

      https://www.cuyana.com/mini-zip-around-wallet.html#black

  3. Recently married. The marriage penalty is real. And the AMT is no fun. So much for using our tax refund to pay down student loans and/or save for a down-payment for a home.

    • tax novice :

      Can you explain? Recently married and new grad, and I’m trying to figure out the cost/benefit of filing taxes separately or jointly. We both have law school debt ($200k each), I’m on an income-based repayment plan, and H is on standard repayment plan.

      • I am not a tax expert, but I definitely read about what the impacts were going to be for my husband and me. Based on our incomes, I knew we’d pay more taxes as a married couple than we were when we were single. And I knew we were at risk for paying the AMT because we have a lot of deductions, etc. That doesn’t mean it isn’t annoying. I estimate we paid about 12k more in federal taxes than we would have if we were single.

        I don’t know if there is a more recent version, see below.

        https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/16/upshot/marriage-penalty-couples-income.html?_r=0

        • This was super helpful. I put our relative incomes in, and we’re still in the “tax bonus” area, but just barely.

      • Not the OP :

        So, I’m not the OP, but I’ll give you our rough numbers (married in 2016) –

        Me: Income ~270K, 30K remaining in SL, standard repayment
        Husband: Income ~ 45K, 170K remaining in SL, on IBR

        If we file separately
        – Husband can keep IBR and his taxes will be approx. the same as he paid when single
        – I will owe the IRS approx. 13K

        If we file jointly
        – Our combined taxes will be approximately equal to our previous single-person taxes added together
        – He will lose his IBR, and the delta between his IBR and standard repayment is approx. 18K annually

        So since we have to give a minimum of 13K to someone, we’d rather give 18K to his student loans than 13K to the IRS.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        We chose to file separately because of my IBR loans. We pay more tax, but some of the things that you can’t deduct because of filing separately (or you can but the phase out is lower) would have phased out completely because of my income anyway.

        My IBR payments are doubling based on my own salary from last year. If we file jointly, they would jump all the way to the 10-year repayment maximum (about triple my past year’s payments) and it is beyond what we can afford. So we filed separately.

        Run the taxes both ways though and use the IBR calculator on the Department of Education page and see what makes the most sense for you.

        • Make sure that if you BOTH have student loans, you also both run the IBR/PAYE calculations.

          Since H and I both have significant student loan debt, filing together made sense for us. Without factoring in my income/debt, H would owe way more in taxes AND on his student loan. I owe slightly more in taxes and in my PAYE payment than I would on my own, but the decrease in H’s payments in both respects more than made up the difference.

          H makes about $150K/yr, I make about $70K.

          • Anonymouse :

            Right. Conversely, my husband and I make roughly the same salary (40K). I have 40K in student loans, he has zero. We have to pay about $1200 in federal and state taxes this year by filing separately, but that’s still $1500 less than I would pay if I were on standard repayment rather than IBR.

          • Yup. The total debt load and total income make a huge difference.

            I wish there were better calculators online for this to make it easier to figure out.

        • Sydney Brostow — not meaning that you should run both. Referring to the commenter whose H also has hefty loans. The fact that we both owed changed our situation significantly.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Yup, that is the difference with us. I have significant loans at higher interest rates and my husband owes less than $20k at under 2% so he is just paying off on a standard repayment schedule.

          • Yup. If I were in your shoes I’m sure the numbers would work out for us filing separately. I don’t mind taxes at all, but do wish the system was easier to navigate.

        • I just sent in my yearly income update for IBR, and for the first time, they made me report my husband’s income. We’ve always filed our taxes separately, solely because it kept my IBR payment a little lower. But apparently that loophole closed. Have you not run into this yet? I was so upset, I called the servicer, and they confirmed that you can no longer report only your own income, even if fling separately.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            That happened to me last year. They made my husband submit his tax info too but didn’t factor it into my payments.

            If they base my payments on our joint income I am totally scr*wed. I haven’t sent my recertification in yet.

            Do you know if your new payments are based on joint income?

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Before IBR became a thing, married filing separate was a very limited tax classification. It was for people that didn’t know where their spouse was or who didn’t want to sign a spouse’s return because it contained a fraud. It wasn’t available just because you wanted to file that way.

          • tax novice :

            Thanks for the advice to run the IBR and taxes both ways and calculate the deltas.

            Also, I thought that filing separately meant that my IBR payments would depend only on my income. I’d also be hit hard by higher payments . . .

            As a side note, is there reason to worry that PSLF will disappear?

          • I don’t think that’s accurate. I just renewed mine in November and because we filed taxes separately last year, his income wasn’t counted toward calculating my payment. He still had to sign it and also report his income, however. But nothing has changed with IBR at this time.

    • It totally sucks. We had to adjust our withholdings this year to take out extra money (on top of having 0 allowances) from each paycheck.

      It’s hard to complain when the problem is making a decent amount of money, but the tax bill still hurts!

      • Seriously on the withholding! I am totally happy to pay my taxes but really wish they would make this much less arcane. Last year we had no mortgage, 0 allowances…$8K in extra taxes come April. This year we have a giant mortgage, still 0 allowances…$2K so far in extra taxes ugh. I know I can withhold extra every month, but it’s not exactly easy to calculate and I would really prefer not to either under-withhold or just loan money to the IRS for no reason.

        • Tax Rant (OP) :

          Yeah, the arcane-ness is really the main part of my rant. Sure, I’ll pay taxes, but why is the system so complicated and unpredictable?

          • +1. I’m not upset about the amount I owe. I’m upset that it’s always a dang surprise. I’m doing mine this weekend and I dread it.

          • Tax Rant (OP) :

            I also wish there was some good way to know if you are going to pay “regular” tax or the AMT. The difference in what deductions you can take really impact how much tax we pay.

          • We haven’t been in AMT territory, but our tax situation is pretty simple and we’re always better off with the standard deduction. We’re pretty robustly using our tax-advantaged retirement savings options, which may be our saving grace.

            We, like you, it sounds like, are in that upper middle class “we could pay a ton in taxes if we don’t figure things out correctly, and also don’t get a ton of deduction options” boat. We owed less when I was a sole practitioner, even though my income was roughly the same, because we were able to deduct a lot of my spending.

            In short: Yes. I agree. This stuff is way confusing.

          • It’s so terrible because Republicans refuse to adopt many very straightforward measures that would make it less painful, because they want people to hate paying taxes. Wish I were kidding. I’ve filed taxes in places where they just send you the paperwork to sign…it takes 5% of the effort.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Oh my goodness yes! After last year when I owed state taxes and saw that I’d have to pay a penalty if I underwithheld again (without having any thought that I wasn’t withholding enough to begin with) I looked at the chart and had to make a best guess on what my income would be so I could determine how much extra to withhold. I make a large percentage of my income in overtime. For 2016 my gross income was nearly double my base salary because of overtime. So I was staring at the chart trying to guess what my income might be.

          Luckily I guessed pretty well. I’m getting a bit of a refund from the state and I’m keeping my withholding the same for this year.

      • This. I received my largest bonus ever for my performance in 2016, which I was super excited about, and then DH and I calculated our taxes and my entire after-tax bonus payment is going to pay our 2016 tax bill (even after we’re already at 0 withholding). I almost cried. We’re both high earners who are hit with both the AMT and the marriage penalty, and we don’t yet own a home or qualify for any other deductions. I would so much rather pay more in taxes because I make too much than be in the reverse situation, but I can’t pretend that handing over my entire bonus check to the IRS doesn’t sting a lot.

        • Think about how much money you are making. Just… think about it….

          You are in the 1%.

          Stop complaining.

          I can’t believe you cried over this…..

          THINK about how lucky you are!!!!!

          Healthy. Married. Employed in good jobs. Making a ton of money. Largest bonus ever.

          THINK

      • After what happened to me last year, I would much rather OWE the IRS come tax time than have the IRS owe me:

        I have a $300K mortgage and and lots of deductions and credits (home office for independent consulting, part-time teaching gig, etc.), so I was expecting a nice $4k federal refund. HOWEVER, when I submitted my tax return spring of 2016, it was REJECTED because someone else already filed my tax return (!!) Yep, I was a victim of tax return fraud. Turns out, my company’s HR system was hacked, and the W2s used to file fraudulent tax returns – which apparently is easier (and more profitable) than robbing a bank:

        http://www.cnbc.com/2015/02/11/tax-refund-fraud-to-hit-21-billion-and-theres-little-the-irs-can-do.html

        It took months to sort out the mess, and I didn’t get my refund until October. The IRS was kind enough to pay me the interest on the late refund, but STILL. It’s nice to have the tax refund, sure – but that was your money in the first place!

  4. Chores and having a life :

    Do you do chores/errands on the weekends? I’ve been thinking about this lately and the thread this morning made me revisit it again. A weekend feels wasted to me if all I do is chores; it seems like I’m hanging around the house waiting for the work week to start again. Of course you can mix chores with other fun things, like going out to dinner, but in my case, I like to spend the winter weekends skiing, which is an all-day, 12-hour-plus affair when you include all the driving. I have gotten a bit behind on chores with the good snow this winter (haven’t mopped my floors in an embarrassing amount of time) and would like to do better, but I guess I need tips on how to get all of life’s errands and chores done without having to turn down opportunities for big adventures on weekends. Any advice? When do you tackle bigger, more time-intensive chores?

    • 1) Outsource. Help may not be as expensive as you think. My DC housekeeper is $75/wk for my 900 sq ft, 2 bedroom condo.

      2) Evenings. I go to the gym after work, then run errands after that. But yep, that means some nights I’m just walking in the door at 9 pm.

      3) Set aside one weekend every 6 weeks or so for the big pileup of chores.

    • – “Regular” chores like errands — if I know I’ll have a busy weekend, I’ll do one or two errands on the way home from work each day. Extra points for the super-glam Friday night grocery store run, BUT at least you have the store to yourself and you’re prepared for a fun Saturday and Sunday :)

      – Laundry — it obviously helps to have your own W/D, but I’ll start a load of wash while having breakfast, then switch it to the dryer on my way out the door. When I lived in a condo building with a laundry room, I’d pick a random weeknight and do all 3 loads at once.

      – Bathroom cleaning and vacuuming — we tag-team and do this one weekend day immediately before showering.

      – Low-priority chores like dusting and mopping and deep cleaning the kitchen (as opposed to daily tidying routine) — errrr, these fall by the wayside! I have your equivalent in the summer because I’m an hour drive from the beach, so most Saturdays we day-trip. I don’t think I dusted once between June and August. Kind of gross, yes, but… summer doesn’t keep.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      We tend to do chores/errands on weekdays if possible to preserve the weekend. I’d rather work, workout, and do errands and have little downtime during the week in exchange for having bigger chunks of time on the weekends. Some chores are hard to do on weeknights, so we’ll do those on the weekend.

      • Anonymous :

        This is a weird question but what kind of errands do y’all run? I hear people talk about this all the time, and I just don’t ever have that much to do! I grocery shop weekly, of course. I pick up my dry cleaning like once every three months. I have to pick up a present for a kid’s birthday party like less than once a month (more and more people are saying no gifts – thank you Jesus). What else are people doing that takes so much time??

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          I don’t have that many either. Groceries are our biggest one-need to do that once a week. Dry cleaning is about once a month and just can be done on the way home from work. There are less common ones like taking the cars in for service.

        • Chores and having a life :

          It’s always random stuff that doesn’t seem like it should take forever, but it does. Returning an item to the store, taking packages to UPS, picking up cat food – all unsatisfying and annoying. Grocery shopping is the same to me. I try to buy a lot of things to minimize these trips, but it can’t always be done and then I always have a ton of returns. I spend more time on chores and cooking than on errands, though.

          • Anonymous :

            Interesting. I take my returns to work usually and mail them back that way. I try to buy everything I can at the grocery store, including dog food and paper goods, without really checking to see if it’s cheaper. It’s worth it to me to save a trip.

          • If a lot of the time is cooking rather than running around, can you maybe adjust the way that you cook so that it involves less of your time? I heart my instapot so many so many.

    • I like to climb on the weekends when I can, but I’m too cheap to outsource my cleaning. So my rule is I don’t leave town all weekend two weekends in a row if I can avoid it. When I’m in town, cleaning and grocery shopping can be done on Sunday morning, and the rest of the weekend is for fun.

      I’m jealous of your snow access. I would love to be able to snowboard that often!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Yes, but as soon as I have some time to investigate hiring a maid, I’m doing that. Cleaning even my not-very-large apartment seems to take 3 hours, and I’d much rather pay someone to do it.

    • The only regular errand I have is grocery shopping (both grocery store + Costco). I go to the grocery store on Mondays when it opens at 6am. Husband goes to Costco on his own time.

      For the chores, I cook daily and my husband cleans the kitchen daily. We also tidy up every night before bed by picking up clutter and putting things away (15 min max). We each clean a bathroom (30 mins each) at some point during the week. I vacuum with a Roomba weekly and steam mop the floors maybe every 2 weeks? Laundry is done on an as-needed basis by either of us. If we are having company, I dust, otherwise, I don’t.

      We have a small condo though, so that makes it much easier. We avoid doing these things on the weekends as much as possible. I often will take an hour and do my share on Friday nights to get them done with, plus it means our house is usually at its cleanest if we have guests over on Saturdays/Sundays.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Do you have a steam mop that you like? If I was going to add anything to my routine, it would be that. Although ideally I’d get some sort of Roomba type mop.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Whenever these threads come up, I feel like I’m not doing enough or that my apartment is really dirty even though I promise it isn’t!

      I do the dishes and wipe down the kitchen nightly. My husband takes out the trash nightly and takes out the recycling as needed, usually on a weekend day but it is a 5 minute chore. I take care of the litter box nightly. Each of these is a 5-10 minute task.

      We keep the entire apartment tidy throughout the week as we go along. If stuff starts to get left around where it doesn’t belong, it only takes 5-10 minutes to put away and I tend to do that before going to bed if necessary.

      We each do our own laundry. My husband does it whenever he starts to run out of something, so sometimes that is a weeknight but sometimes it is a weekend day. I do my laundry every Sunday morning, but I usually get up early so that is totally done and put away by 9:30 or 10. I don’t have any dry cleaning. He takes his in and picks it up once a week, but it is only a 5 minute walk from our apartment.

      We do basically all our shopping online, including groceries and pet supplies. When I need to return something, I package it back up and set it next to my purse to take with me to work the next morning. I used to drop it at the post office drop box, but the mailroom at my office just includes it in the normal post office/UPS/FedEx routine.

      We wipe down the bathroom as necessary and my husband cleans it more thoroughly about twice a month. Maybe that isn’t enough, but I’ve never been embarrassed to have anyone use our bathroom so I really think it is fine.

      We run the Roomba once a week on Sunday nights when we are home (because it terrifies the cat). We spot mop our kitchen as necessary if something falls on the floor. The Roomba does a great job of picking everything up though so our floors don’t seem dirty either. We both walk around barefoot or in socks in the apartment.

      So I guess altogether we each spend maybe 10-15 minutes per day keeping up with things as we go along, maybe a little longer if I tracked everything but I don’t think of it when I put something away as I walk into another room. Then on the weekends it condenses into about 90ish minutes.

      • Out of curiosity: do you have hardwood/hard surface flooring or carpet?

        I ask because I used to vacuum once a week, too. Then I got rid of my carpet and refinished our original hardwood (the original owners covered tons of it up with carpet. Bless their hearts, I don’t get it). Now I notice all the dust/etc so much more, and consequently run the roomba every day.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Hardwoods throughout the apartment, a small area rug in the living room, and large tiles in the bathroom and kitchen.

          By the end of the week I’m definitely noticing the dust and cat hair, but it isn’t so much that I feel like I need to run it daily. I could probably run it twice a week and be really happy with the results, but I hate freaking out my cat and I’m happy enough with once a week.

          • Makes sense. We also have more cats (3) and a dog, so that may be a large part of my frustration. The cats initially hated the roomba, but now they’re used to it running daily, and mostly just give it the side-eye as it does its thing.

            I should note: I run it upstairs once a week, because we just aren’t upstairs as often as downstairs (nor are the animals). We spend most of our non-sleep time on the first floor.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            We had a bunch of stuff going on and hadn’t run it for the past 2 weekends and the cat forgot her training to get above it. Poor thing kept trying to sneak past it to get into another room then turn around if it started following her. Usually she’ll perch on top of the couch and just be fully aware and tense the entire time it runs.

      • I go late with work stuff during the week, so I look forward to just hanging out in my pajamas on Saturday and Sunday. I do most of the chores then as well. Anybody else an extrovert homebody that needs the weekend to just stay at their house? That helps me to be ready for the next week.

        • Anonymous :

          +1. Just had lunch with a friend and am now back home in my pjs at 4pm. I’m an introvert homebody in need of recharging, though.

    • Ugh, I wish I could do errands after work and no do so much on the weekend. I feel like my weekends are so routine-driven. On Saturdays, I go to the burbs to Target, Trader Joe’s, groceries, and to get gas. I have a tiny grocery store near me so there’s no way to do weekly grocery shopping during the week. I usually clean on Sundays and do some cooking for the week. Right now, I have rehearsals on Sunday nights, so that’s a bit limiting. I have some friends who do just a little cleaning every night so they don’t have to devote a whole day to it (like dusting certain rooms, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom, etc.). Honestly, when I get home at night during the week, I see the balls of cat hair on the hardwood floors but I’m hungry and tired and need to shower. The most I can do during the week is dishes, take out the garbage/recycling, and anything urgent.

    • I basically do not do housework at all. I get my groceries delivered, house cleaned 2x month, floors only cleaned on the other 2 weeks in the month, and I send out my laundry and dry cleaning. I have an errand running service at work that takes care of things like returning packages. I do take out the recycling…that’s my primary household task other than cooking.

      • Jealous! Part of my frustration is that I would be glad to outsource, but a lot of those services aren’t as available where we live as opposed to the closer burbs/city.

        We are re-instating our cleaning service, though. I hate the deep cleaning of bathrooms and mopping (hardwoods).

        • I justify the cleaning in part because it keeps my house in better condition, minimizes wear and tear (especially on floors) and protects my investment.

          • Anonymous :

            No need to justify! If you can afford it and it adds value to your life I’m all for it!

    • Anonymous :

      We have a monthly cleaning person come, and honestly we don’t dust, vacuum, clean the floors, deep clean the kitchen, or clean the bathrooms in between her visits, unless there’s a spill. We cook at home and do dishes on weeknights, and usually eat out or eat leftovers (so, no dishes) on weekends. I do laundry once a week on a week night and husband does the grocery shopping once or twice a week, usually during the work day (he works at home). Usually on the weekends I will run one or two quick errands (e.g., library, dry cleaning, returning something to a store, post office, buying pet food) but it doesn’t take more than an hour and other than that our weekends are entirely chore-free. There are a few exceptions, like our taxes, which usually take me about 4-6 hours to do on a weekend day, but that’s a once/year thing.

    • I have a cleaning lady on Mondays so my house gets pretty ugly by Sunday. Sunday night is what I call “screaming night” where we yell at the kids to put their crap away.

      I have two teenaged kids inolved in sports and my husband is in a band that practices on the weekends so we basically have no time for chores. Laundry somehow gets done over the weekend in fits and starts.

      • Ha. I’m officially renaming Friday “screaming morning” because I have the same routine. Never gets old to the kids, apparently.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          That was Wednesday night at our house from the time I was in preschool until I left for college.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            But MOM, why do I have to clean for the cleaning lady? (We only had a cleaning lady for a short time while my mom recovered from an injury but I very distinctly remember those fights.)

        • Yeah, we’ve been doing this for at least 8 years now and my kids are still in shock on Sunday when they have to pick up their crap. TOTES UNFAIR

    • Not sure what kind of chores are on your list but, here’s my M.O.:
      – Cleaning – outsourced. Every other week. We straighten up and do daily cleaning but leave dusting, bathrooms, vaccuuming, and floors to her. I bought a Bona and might do the floors once in a while on a Sunday night but my floor space is small so it only takes like 15 minutes.
      – Laundry – One load in the a.m. before work, one in the evening after work.
      – Grocery shopping – Saturdays before 8:30 a.m., earlier if possible.
      – Gifts or things I don’t need right away – Amazon
      – Dry cleaning – pick up and delivery is often free. I hang mine on my front door on Monday, and it’s returned on Thursday to my front door, cleaned.
      – Car stuff – husband does that.
      – One offs – after work or at lunch.

    • I do grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry on the weekends. I like to get to the grocery store early, so I can knock grocery shopping, cleaning (1500 sq ft, 3 floor rowhouse), and laundry out, minus a few loads of pet laundry by noon on whatever day works around my fun schedule. I do dishes every night and spot clean thanks to the animals and the fact that I am clumsy and make messes in the kitchen and bathroom counters. I also do loads of pet laundry as needed throughout the week. I bring all of my returns to work with prepaid labels to get shipped out from there. I don’t dry clean but maybe once or twice a year and it only adds an extra three minutes to my commute.

    • My fiancé does the laundry and bins/recycling every Friday, and dishes/wipes down kitchen each night.
      He vacuums and I deep clean the bathroom maybe once a fortnight, typically on a weekend. I organise/tidy about once a fortnight too. I imagine this isn’t very often for some people but there are just the two of us in a small apartment, and I’m only home 2-3 nights a week and don’t plan to spend them cleaning!

    • The only real errands/chores I do regularly are grocery shopping and laundry. I have a housecleaner come every other week to handle general cleaning. I order all non-grocery items on Amazon. I have a Trader Joe’s and a Whole Foods within walking distance, so I just stop in whenever I need groceries. And I throw in a load of laundry whenever I find that I’m running out of clothes (I have a small closet, so this is roughly once a week). I end up picking up whenever things start to feel a little cluttered. It ends up feeling much less constricting than having a strict schedule for getting everything done.

  5. DC Meetings :

    I am going to DC in a few weeks to meet with several legislators and/or their staffers. I will have two days full of meetings, walking a lot, etc. Any advice on what I should wear? I want to look as professional as possible but also be comfortable for two long days.

    Clothes: I may need to just wear a suit and pumps and suffer through it. But I’d love to wear something like a sheath dress with a jardigan. Could I wear, say, an MM Lafleur dress (Lydia, Annie, Sarah), in French blue or maybe black, under a black jardigan? Is that too informal? My group is myself and several men a generation older than I am, who I expect will wear suits.

    Shoes and Bag: I can’t make it through an entire day in pumps, so I would wear flats and change when nearing the next destination– it it ok to bring a large enough structured tote to accommodate the shoes? I hate to schlep a big bag into these meetings but may have to.

    Coat: I think it will be cold. I though I would wear a simple black peacoat. I will then have to accommodate coat AND bag when arriving at meetings. Any tips?

    I am also open to shopping if anyone has some suggestions. Thanks in advance for any help!

    • Hi! I am a lobbyist in DC who spends part of her time planning and executing just what you’ll be doing (in fact, perhaps I’ll see you! :)).

      You’re fine in a sheath dress and jardigan and definitely wear flats. There is tons of walking and the marble floors of Congressional office buildings will kill you. Fine to wear flats the whole time, no need to change into heels if you don’t want to bother.

      A larger tote bag is just fine – every other woman will be carrying one, too.

      If you know your schedule in advance, you may have all day on either the House or Senate side, which means that you won’t have to go outside since you can travel through buildings via their basements. In that case, I usually don’t bring my coat because I hate lugging it around. I might bring a wrap or something to put in my bag just in case, but I hate lugging. But again, most people will have coats and there will be someplace for you to hang it in the office so no worries about that.

      Hope that you have a great time! I’ve been doing this for more than a decade and still get such a charge with my grassroots folks who come to town. It’s just so empowering to see our democracy in action, regardless of what else is happening up there.

    • I don’t understand your coat question? Of course you need a coat in the northeast in late Feb/early March. So what if you have a coat and bag? Everyone will be expecting you to be in a coat – there will be places to hang it up or put it on the back of your chair. Frankly it would be odd to show up without one.

    • Anonymous :

      If it were me, I’d 100% wear a suit. And flats, no heels. That way you’re never underdressed compared to the men, and you can keep pace without killing your feet, and you don’t have to worry about storing your shoes. I wouldn’t overthink the coat thing — people just bring coats and put them on the back of their chairs or in a closet, right?

    • A large tote is totally professional.

      As someone who grew up in Houston and was startled by how long winter lasts in more northerly climes, I sympathize with your struggle to figure out how to juggle a coat and a large bag at a business meeting, but there’s no way around it. You’re going to need the coat too.

      • Anon for Now :

        Re: juggling large bag and coat. Bring a longer, warm but thin jacket (mid-calf in light weight wool) and sling the jacket over the long end of the bag. You can put the whole thing on your shoulder or drape your jacket over your non-dominant arm so that it is free to shake hands. That having been said, the temps in DC have been all over the place. You may not need a jacket if you are used to colder temps (its 25 degrees warmed in DC than it is where I live at the moment).

        • This assumes that someone from a warmer climate has multiple coats/jackets to choose from. We usually don’t. On this site when people start talking about fall vs winter coats and how many they have I always laugh. I have one and only one coat I can wear in a professional setting (Lets not talk about how much activewear I have) and it’s not thin enough to do what you’re describing.

        • + 1. A long coat is much easier to drape over your arm than a pea coat. Also, I personally don’t view a pea coat as professional, but I don’t think it’s totally out of the norm especially if they know you are coming from a warmer climate.

    • Wear wedges or block heels. The sidewalk cracks and metro grates are killer. I think you’d be ok with sheath dresses but with a non-matching blazer. If you have one, long down coats are the norm here and are lighter than wool coats.

      • Late to the party on this, but I agree with sturdier shoes, or at least flats with a thick sole and some arch support. It makes a world of difference by the end of the day, and also provides some peace of mind against stepping on something nasty in the street (a friend stepped on a syringe when she was in NYC a few years ago, wearing thin-soled flats. Talk about panic).

  6. Life Hacks :

    The thread this morning on outsourcing made me think – DH and I are also expecting a baby soon, both work long hours, and are hiring a nanny. Right now, the plan is for me to go into work early and leave early, and get to spend from 5-7:30pm with baby. DH will go in late and come home later, getting to spend from 7:30am-9:30am with baby.

    What tricks do you have for both feeling like you’re in the loop on running the household and on baby’s life? We’ve got dry erase boards and a family calendar in the pantry, but I feel like there’s going to be so much more to manage!

    Are there apps? Group texts with nanny? Google docs? Do you keep a running list in the kitchen for needed groceries or use things like Fresh Direct? Tell me your life hacks and how you juggle!

    • Anonymous :

      Moms site has tons of great info on this stuff. You’ll find way more info over there compared to the number of responses you’ll get here on a weekend. Toggle over and click on “New Working Mom Start Here”

    • Delta Dawn :

      Grocery pickup is big in my household. Our store has an app where you add things to your grocery list, then set a pickup time, pay over the phone, and they load it all into your car. You can add to your list as you think of things, and it eliminates having to find a chunk of time to actually grocery shop. I do it about once every two weeks, and I make sure to put the ingredients for two or three meals on the list each time. That way I know I will have everything to cook at least a few dinners without having to run to the store. I cook a lot more now that I do groceries this way.

      I tried Hello Fresh and found it to be more work than just cooking on my own. There may be other box dinner services where the recipes require less prep. Hello Fresh took at least an hour to prepare. I’ve heard the same about some others, so if you try one, make sure it’s quick preparation– you won’t have an hour to cook dinner.

      Routines and schedules are a great help– example, laundry. I wash my laundry on Monday, DH does his on Tuesday, and we do baby laundry on Wednesday. I know we have enough clothes to get through a week, and I know when the clothes will get washed next, and it eliminates me having to decide when to wash or find time, because I already scheduled it.

    • I really liked the Total Baby app for the first year. You can share it across several people and input things like when the baby ate, slept, etc.

      For groceries, I used to keep a pad of paper in the kitchen for a running grocery list, but I was the only one using it! Now we use Wunderlist for a shared grocery list app. You can make other to-do lists with it too.

      • Delta Dawn :

        Oh, this makes me remember that when Baby Dawn was a newborn, we had a little notebook that stayed near him where we would jot down times of when he ate, how much, when he slept, woke up, etc. An app would be more streamlined like CHJ has suggested. The simple notebook worked great for us. If grandma stopped by and took care of him for a couple of hours, she knew to log things in the notebook, and we could flip back to see trends (has he been eating less lately?), get excited about longer stretches of sleep, and so on.

        • This just cracked me up. I have twins and tried the notebook thing. I think I lasted about 3 hours and gave up.

          • Delta Dawn :

            I can see where this system (or any system really) wouldn’t work with twins. And even with just one baby, many pages were covered in question marks and tears, or “2:00 am – woke up. Ate 5 ounces. Hates sleep. Never sleeping again. AWAKE FOREVER”

    • Cosi app with you, the hubs and the nanny.

      Also, not saying that staggering your schedules is a bad idea but 7:30p to 7:30a sleep might not be in the cards until after the kid is 1… or ever. 5:30 to 5:30 is rather common among babies and pushing their internal clock later doesn’t always work.

  7. In-House in Houston :

    Get a cleaning lady/service to do the big stuff. Then you do the smaller stuff a little at a time every evening and have the weekend to yourself. I did this several years ago and it’s money well spent!!!

  8. A specific chores question – do any of you ladies use Swifter? My sister and mom love it – I don’t care for it – but am thinking of getting one bc my floors could use a wash and I logistically can’t get a mop/bucket. So hate to be so OCD – do you ladies have a separate one for use in the kitchen and bathroom. I live in a 1 bedroom – seems ridiculous to get 2. And yet – seems disgusting that something that goes around my toilet would be on my kitchen floor – even though you change the pad – the top of it, handles etc. will touch bathroom fixtures.

    Am I being a crazy germophobe?

    • Do you mean a Swiffer? How on earth will the top of any mop touch bathroom fixtures?

      Get 2 if you want. The “sticks” are only a few dollars at Target. Though I’m afraid I don’t follow your thought process.

    • Gently? Yes. I was taught to clean top to bottom so you do counters, tub, toilet first and wipe them down with whatever your product is. Then you do floors last. So even if the handle touches the side of the toilet, it’s already clean.

    • I’m not seeing how the mop handle would touch bathroom fixtures either?

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, you are being a germophobe. I have only have one – and I’d probably even use the same pad, doing the kitchen, then the bathroom.

      Do you live alone? Because unless you’ve got a guy that’s potentially missing the toilet, is the floor around the toilet/base of the toilet really that much germier than the rest of the bathroom floor?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      You asked, right? Gently, yes, I think you are being a bit germaphobic. If the mop handle touches the side of your toilet and then brushed against your kitchen wall…well, nothing will happen. Really. Germs are everywhere. You come into contact with all kinds of microscopic grossness every day and I am sure it rarely impacts you. My cleaning lady uses the same mop on my kitchen and bathroom floors, as, I am sure, do most people. Allow yourself not to worry about this. We don’t have a Swiffer though, so I have no idea how good they are.

    • Thanks ladies! This is the reality check I needed. I tend to worry/think about these things too much. And as for the Swiffer touching – I meant that those things are flimsy, I’d lean it up against a bathroom wall, of course it would fall touching the unclean bathroom floor or the side of the toilet or something and then I’d debate whether I could use it in the kitchen.

      • Anonymous :

        You can always wipe the handle down after use if you want with either a disinfectant wipe or a spray and paper towel. It’s a little bit like Monica using a handheld vacuum to vacuum her upright vacuum, but we all have our “things.”

        • OP here – lol – I just thought of the Full House episodes where Danny was Lysolling off his other cleaning products. I’m trying NOT to become that.

      • If you are that worried about it, just wipe down your Swiffer with a Lysol wipe before you use it in the kitchen? I still think that this is over the top germaphobe worrying, but that’s me.

    • marketingchic :

      FWIW, I like a steam mop over a swiffer. No chemicals, and (I like to think) the steam kills germs. Mine came with two washable fabric pads – after I do bathrooms it goes right into the wash.

      • I’m in the market for one of these — do you like yours? If so, what brand?

        • I have a Shark steam mop and love it for tile and vinyl plank flooring but haven’t used it on hardwood. It does a great job after vacuuming, and the fabric pads just get tossed in the washer on allergen setting.

          Since getting the steam mop, the Swiffer my husband brought to the marriage (and the fragrance laden disposable wipes) is dead to me.

        • marketingchic :

          I do! It’s a Shark – I think it’s the Blast and Scrub Steam Pocket Mop (from what I can tell on the Walmart site.)

      • I have a Shark steam mop too that I love. I use it on tile and linoleum. I don’t trust it for hardwood.

    • How are you possibly going to touch the handle of a Swiffer to your toilet? Yes, you’re being a germaphobe.

    • Purchase bathroom swiffer and a regular swiffer, or spray the unit with anti bacterial spray like lysol disinfectant, and switch the pads between rooms?

  9. I manage my own investments and pick my own stocks and such. While I have appreciated the post-election rally, I’m concerned about the political risk that Trump and the surrounding events creates. I’m thinking of selling a bit, but I’m not sure if I’m just worried or if this is a good choice. And if I should, then are there certain sectors I should trim over others? Any thoughts?

    And before someone jumps all over me, I would have traded the rally for a not crazy and terrible president in a heartbeat. I’m not happy about him winning because it improved my financial situation, but the fact is I still have money to manage.

    • I’ve been thinking the same. This rally is great but is starting to feel like a bubble. I’m not buying (except retirement which is auto-set to buy every 2 weeks) right now. I did sell off a bit – and for me that was mostly healthcare (instability due to Obamacare) and real estate (just not a great performer for me – maybe I bought at the wrong time; now with at least 2 rate hikes coming and a market that I think is a bit frothy – I wanted out). Tech isn’t doing great but I’m holding on to it as I view that as a long term hold. The rest I put in S&P funds – which I’m holding on to. I feel like the only “secure” place in the equity market is S&P funds – bc it’s too easy for Donald to tweet about a company and make that co. and the entire sector go down; yet that company would just be 1 of 500 in the S&P so it doesn’t have the same kind of effect as say holding a biotech fund and having him rail about drug prices and the entire sector pulls back for weeks.

      • I don’t know, at the end of the day I was really happy about the cheeto tweeting about Nordstrom. It went up 4.5% in a day.

        I’m sticking with most of my long term holds (amazon, apple, berkshire-b, etc) and my low fee index fund, but I’m hedging a little with a gold index too. (IAU)

    • TupeloHoney :

      My parents sold all of their stock before the election because they were concerned about market reaction to a Trump presidency (and then voted for Trump, try rationalizing that). And they’re convinced the market is due for a “correction” (because Fox told them that for 8 years during the Obama presidency). All that is to say there’s just no way to time the market. Unless you’re in the business of short-term trading, the market performs well over any given 10 year period and you’re better off letting it ride.

  10. I got Botox for the first time yesterday. I posted here asking for tips– thanks to those who responded. I feel really conflicted about the whole experience. I’m early 30s and wanted it to relax some forehead lines and hopefully prevent more, and since it was just yesterday I don’t know if it will do that or not. But I felt really anxious during the process.

    It didn’t hurt, though the needle pricking was uncomfortable. But I found myself questioning why I would do such a thing, and why we (women) feel like we have to do such a thing. Why am I sitting in this chair paying someone $450 to shoot toxins into my face? Because we’re not allowed to look old? Who says? And why am I letting that drive me to do this? I may turn out to be really happy with it, and I may even do it again. But man, I did not feel good about it at the time.

    • I was super excited about it the first time I did it and I LOVE my results and it makes me so much happier to see my face without the constant creases in between my eyebrows. I only get results on my forehead due to the bit that creeps up from my elevens. I wouldn’t let him inject anywhere else even when he suggested it because I like my smile creases and my eye creases/wrinkles. I don’t mind getting older – the forehead creases have been there for 15 years.

      For me, it wasn’t about anyone’s perception but my own. I am confident and like how I look regardless of whether I get Botox. However, that little bit of “help” pushes me over the line of being happy with how I look 95% of the time, to being happy with how I look 99.9% of the time. I don’t give a rats a$$ what anyone else thinks of my face. No one has ever commented on my forehead creases and I don’t feel any pressure to do it externally. I do it because I want to for ME, not for anyone else. If I can afford to keep it up, great, but if I can’t, it’s not going to detrimentally affect my daily life because I am so upset with how I look.

      I’m sorry that you didn’t feel good about it while you were sitting there. If you are doing it because you are feeling external pressures, maybe it’s not for you? I hope that you like it, because even if you can afford it, it’s not $10, you know? The good news is, it wears off and you can go back to being the natural you in several months if you want to.

    • Dumb question but how do you know if you need Botox? I am 36 and am noticing some forehead lines – but mostly bc I feel like I have gotten in the habit of furrowing the brow – so that’s when I notice them and then I start to think – these could become permanent. Is this the kind of thing for which you would get it done?

      • You don’t ever need it, but yes, if that is a habit or result you don’t like, Botox would be a reasonable way to correct it. I personally an a huge fan of botox for myself (like the post below, I felt I was regularly conveying emotions I wasn’t feeling), but don’t think it is necessary – women can age as they please, just as men do.

    • I am 41 and just begun to think about botox and fillers, in an abstracted way. A British dermatologist, Samantha Bunting, has a youtube channel, and she says that when asked when do you start to think about Botox, the answer is when your resting face conveys an expression that you’re not feeling. I think that is a good barometer, so I am not going to worry about the two big 11s between my brows until I look angry ALL. THE. TIME. So, for me, I am not going to try to keep looking youthful, but I will try to keep from looking pissed off. That’s when I’ll go under a needle.

      Although in today’s political climate, I really am angry all the time…

      • Same. My mom looks constantly irritable because she has such a deep angry furrow between her eyebrows. I am okay with any other wrinkles on my face and I’m not at the moment planning to dye my hair as it goes gray. But I will 100% botox the rage wrinkle. I’m in my early/mid 30s and it’s not time yet. Probably closer to 40, depending on how I age. I’m not an angry person. I don’t want to look that way.

      • By the time your resting face conveys an expression you’re not feeling, the solution is going to be more invasive than if you started treating earlier.

        For me, I noticed in my late 20s that I had three horizontal lines on my forehead. it was especially obvious when I would wear heavier than normal makeup because it would settle in the lines. I started doing tiny tiny amounts of Botox and could get away with doing it every 12-18 months before I left like the lines started coming back. I could still smile, frown, and make normal expressions. I liked the idea of preventing really deep lines from forming rather than waiting to deal with the lines once they were really there

    • I felt the same way until I looked in the mirror after a few weeks and loved the way I looked. I try to give more money to charity to make up for it.

    • Mid 30s – I get botox on my forehead for the crease and my 11s.

      I have abnormally mobile eyebrows so I was really unnerved by not being able to move them as much when I first got it done. I really hated the sensation for the first week or so and was convinced that my eyebrows were somehow lower?

      Then after about 2 weeks I got used to the sensation of not having as much eyebrow mobility and my forehead creases smoothed out. I really do look so much better with it and just more relaxed. I have way less RBF now I can’t unconsciously furrow my brow.

      I get mine done by a plastic surgeon not a dermatologist and really recommend shopping around to see who is highly recommended in your area.

    • I stopped getting it for a variety of reasons, but I did love some botox in my forehead. I just felt better when I couldn’t frown. it was like that hokey smile therapy. It did make me feel happier. Weird, I know.

    • I hear you.

      While many more young people like yourself are doing Botox, it really does make me sad. Yes, you are falling for the unreasonable ?assumed pressures of society re: women’s appearance/age, and it’s unfortunate. I do feel that women are making progress in society, and yet these are small steps backwards.

      I throw this in as a close second behind women now feeling more pressure to shave off every bit of hair on their body (and how young women just accept this is normal! and looks better!). So now looking pre-pubscent or like a porn star is better. Cleaner. The rationalizations I get from women are entertaining, but being only a few years older than the wave change in how women need to look is really striking. Correlation with the internet/internet poor revolution is clear.

      I’m glad I’m not raising kids in this climate,, when exposure to porn is so young and so easy.

      And it makes me particularly sad that the rest of us typical women who can’t afford (money or time) or disagree with these unreasonable standards now have an even more unrealistic standard to live up to now that Botox injected women are no longer only in the magazines and on TV, but are instead walking on the streets. Competing with us for jobs and dates….

      • TupeloHoney :

        Asking sincerely, do you shave your underarms? Legs? Do you wear makeup? Contacts? Do you blow-dry your hair? Buy nice clothes? I’m sympathetic to the feeling of “when is enough enough?” and feel it often myself, but at the same time, drawing the line in an arbitrary place and suggesting that women on the wrong side of the line are setting all women back… Is that really any better for women as a group?

        • You don’t think injecting a toxin into your face to prevent normal movement of muscles costing $100’s to $1000’s of dollars a year for the rest of your life is comparable to….. shaving your underarms? Blow drying your hair?

          This is medical grade intervention. Not at all the same.

          It’s really crazy…

    • TupeloHoney :

      I got Botox for the first time last year at 30. I have deep set horizontal wrinkles across my forehead that persist even when I’m relaxing my face as much as possible. Like Anon at 2:55 said, my tipping point was when my resting face conveyed an expression that I wasn’t feeling. I don’t need it, by any stretch of the imagination, but I like the results, I’m happy I did it, and I will likely re-do it from time to time going forward. No one else knows or noticed, or at least didn’t say anything about it.

    • I’ve been getting botox since my early 30s – I was told that the sooner you start, you get the benefit of slowing down wrinkles over time and as you get older, it’s harder for the botox to do as much as the wrinkles are already there. I’m sure there’s a lot of the patriarchy playing into my maintenance routine, and I certainly don’t think this is something that any woman should feel any pressure to do, at all – I’m firmly in the “you do you” camp. For me, I care about maintenance and how I look – I color my hair, wear makeup daily, blow out my hair, etc. I find there’s a lot of “bang for the buck” with botox – I look more rested, relaxed, and I never spend any money on fancy creams or anything because botox takes care of 99% of the things that the creams are supposed to do.

    • Mid-fifties here and I’ve never done Botox. I choose to accept my lines as badges of experience.
      Do I live my whole life as a 100% unchanged-from-nature woman? No. I shave my legs, and wear broad-brimmed hats, eyeliner, and lipstick.
      Each of us gets to choose. I’ll do me. You do you. If a particular action bothers you, you don’t have to repeat it.

      • I like your approach.

        I was shocked when a new acquaintance walked up, complimented my lack of crows feet and started telling me about her Botox! I think it sound so like cool technology and maybe I’ll get it some day.

        Never thought I’d say this, but I fully plan to rock my platinum hair that has started taking over my very dark brown hair in my young thirties.

        To each her own!

  11. Anonymous :

    My dog got a hold of a pair of brand new leather block heels that were in the shoebox. She chewed the heel taps off and ripped the covered heel. Could a cobbler salvage them? I’ve only ever had new heel taps put on due to cobblestones. Not sure if the covered heel makes it a no go.

    • Yay Kat, Open Weekend Thread’s! I love OPEN thread’s, tho this cami looks a littel to causal to wear except under a cardigan, as other OP’s have suggested. I would look schlumpey, and moreover, Frank would be pokeing at my boobies with a pencil. FOOEY on Frank!

      As As for the OP, This is a question best asked of your cobbler. Rosa’s dog chewed up her handbag, so she just said here, chew away. No one wanted a bag with bite marks on it. If you have your cleaneing lady take your shoes to the cobbler, he will tell you wtheter it is worth fixeing. Block heels can be painted over if need be, Dad says, tho he is NOT a cobbler. If you paid less then $75, I would NOT even try, b/c the cobbler must make a living.

      This weekend, Myrna and I are goeing up to Mount Snow for skiing. There are alot of cute guys up there and even tho I am NOT a skiier, I can meet the guys at the lodge. Hopefully I will find a guy to MARRY me and take me away from all of these billeables. FOOEY on Billeables! Have a great weekend to all HIVE members! YAY!!!

    • Replacing the taps – yes. The heel – it depends on the tear, but they may be able to help. Is all the material still there (so that it could be glued back down) or is any missing?

    • I’ve had a cobbler recover a heel that I damaged…looks as good as new!

    • They’ll probably be able to help, depending on the damage. Swing by and ask. I’ve had them work some wonders over the years.

    • If your local repair place can’t do the repair, and these are shoes you really want to salvage, Rago Brothers in New Jersey does magical work. You can mail stuff to them; they’ll call you with a quote (not cheap), and get the work done quickly. They’ve repaired dog-chewed shoes, purse and leather jacket for me.

  12. Anonymous :

    I have a multi-day event in Florida in early March and need help with clothes. It’s an event for our donors and will be at a high end golf resort. I will be speaking during one of the sessions and otherwise will be expected to mix with the donors, attend dinners each night (3 nights) and generally show my bone fides as an expert in my field while also being something of a host (I’m not an organizer — our conference and development staff will be handling all of the logistics etc., but I will be an ambassador of our organization). The dress code is casual for daytime but the gentlemen are advised to bring a jacket for dinners and it is suggested the ladies might want to dress up a bit as well. I think I have a sense of daytime wear: chinos with a button front shirt and a cardigan with sandals seems probably about right. Right? Does that seem right even for when I’m presenting? (Given my field, I would typically wear my best suit — navy skirt suit with white or blue button front shirt, heels, etc.) What about dinner? Sheath dress and blazer? Or is that too daytime/businessy? What’s the ladies’ equivalent of a sportscoat for dinner wear?

    • I’m having a hard time visualizing how your daytime outfit isn’t frumpy. How about sheath dress and heels for your presentation, then add a blazer for dinner?

      • Anonymous :

        Well, uh, that’s pretty much my weekend wear in spring/summer so I guess I just am frumpy?

        • Anonymous :

          It depends on how you wear it, but I agree it seems a little too casual unless your “button-down” is really a blouse with nice material and your khakis are dressy khakis (not chino/twill). If not, I would think about skirts and tops instead, sandals are fine. For dinner, I would think a dress with a blazer, but not a sheath dress.

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t understand what you mean by “blouse with nice material.” Do you mean silk? They’re cotton dress shirts and are what I wear with my most formal suits. Like this: https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/suiting/suitingshirts/thomas-mason-for-jcrew-stretch-shirt-in-stripe/E1769

            I don’t own any dressier tops, but I consider a dress shirt to be pretty formal.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I would consider this a blouse:

            https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/shirtsandtops/topsblouses/silk-top-in-polka-dot/F9349

        • lawsuited :

          Even if the golf resort environment is casual, you probably want to be a bit more polished during your work event than you would be on the weekend. I think a shell, dressy chinos and sandals/flats is fine for during the day, and a sheath or wrap dress for evenings would be good. For your presentation, I’d add a blazer.

    • S in Chicago :

      Since you’re part of the activity (speaking), I’d try to look a little less casual. I work with associations and have been to events where members are c-suite executives as well as where members are from manufacturing sectors (probably jeans wearers in daily life) and even “casual” has usually trended to business casual. If I know folks won’t be in suits, I usually wear a a sheath and cardi or simple (often ponte) dress in a solid color. Both instances you can add some sparkly jewelry and/or sandals for the evening events and do well.

      • Anonymous :

        Ugh, I was afraid of this. I don’t own any in between clothes. I own suits and suit separates — wool sheath dresses, pencil skirts, and blazers in neutral colors plus cotton dress shirts in white and blue — and then I own weekend stuff — jeans, chinos, cardigans, and less-dressy button front shirts (like in plaid or gingham). Is there any way to mix and match what I have without having to buy an entire wardrobe just for these four days? I don’t own any ponte or cotton dresses or skirts (and wouldn’t really have occasion to wear them). I dress in formal business wear M-F and then have weekend clothes.

        • Floridian :

          Since you are presenting and otherwise trying to make a good impression on the attendees, I would wear a sheath dress with a cardigan or pencil skirts with a blouse and cardigan. In the evening, I would wear a sheath dress with some fancier jewelry/shoes and possibly a cardigan.

        • Anonymous :

          Maybe it’s time to invest in some in-between clothes? I just bought the “summer knit dress” at LL Bean in navy with polka dots. It’s really cute, and long enough to look professional. (I think, but I’m not an expert)

    • Ditch the chinos for a skirt in a casual material (not too short and I wouldn’t do denim) and your daytime outfit will work. You can also flip it and wear a dress and sandals with a denim jacket (it doesn’t have to be blue) or moto-style jacket on top. I have a fantastic moto-style jacket in black and white houndstooth that’s my go-to these days.

      When men wear business jackets to dinner, generally you can wear any little black dress you like that is not too glitzy/glammy. Ditto any dark color. I just wouldn’t wear satin and sequins, unless you feel like that will be a thing with the other women (sometimes it is).

      Just make sure you understand what “casual” means for this event. Technically, “business casual” means “not a suit, but still fessed up” although that’s not how most people interpret it. In my area, “business casual” usually looks like “I just walked off the golf course after playing 18 holes.” Ask someone who was at the event last year how staff members and attendees were dressed; that should give you more of an idea.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      I would err on the side of dressed up if you are the host and presenting. Can you wear a dress and cardigans? The A/C will likely be blasting so you should plan for that too. I don’t think your outfit screams “expert” and would never wear khakis to a conference. Women have a lot more flexibility for business casual so I would pick a dress. Check out Lands End.

  13. Beach near Orlando? :

    What would be a good beach spot within a 2-hour drive from Orlando? I’ve been looking into New Smyrna Beach, Cocoa Beach, and Vero Beach areas. Travelers are late 20s/early 30s. Looking for a fairly relaxed beach with good dining options and cute shops- not too quiet of a location but also not looking to relive our college Spring Break days. Thanks!

    • Have you considered the other coast, like St. Pete Beach or Clearwater? Much nicer beaches as long as you aren’t hoping to surf. St. Pete is becoming a bit of a foodie and craft beer destination and the downtown is really booming.

    • Should have also noted that New Smyrna Beach is a great option. If you stay near Flagler Ave there are many great restaurants, bars and shops to walk to in their downtown area. Be aware that cars are permitted to drive on the beach there- some people don’t like that, I personally think it is a great convenience for a family who is hauling a lot of stuff to the beach.

      • +1 to New Smyrna Beach! Beautiful beach plus cute local shops and restaurants. East coast beaches are great because you can watch the sun rise over the ocean, and the sun set over the nearby inlet/river (head to Outriggers at sunset -vibe is very chill w best location). Great dining at SoNapa or Spanish River Griile. Have fun!

  14. I’m starting a new job at a healthcare consulting on Monday! Problem is, it’s in Boston and we’re covered in snow. Anyone have any tips on how to walk to work in a snowstorm in heels? And make a good first impression?

    • Anonymous :

      Walk in snowboots and change into heels when you get there.

    • JuniorMinion :

      walk in your boots and change into your heels in the lobby :) this is what I did all the time working in NYC and is pretty standard in my experience anywhere where people commute by walking. Everyone I worked with in NYC had commuter shoes and then dress shoes in their bag / office.

    • congrats! Been there and all I can say is fleece lined tights and warm snow boots! Take heels in your bag to change into once you get to work.

      Also, make sure you have a plastic/tote bag big enough for your snow boots so that you can carry the bag and not have to carry the shoes themselves if that makes sense. You’ll be shaking a lot of hands your first week and you don’t want to gross anyone out.

    • I live in Boston, and the sidewalks are mostly cleared. We’ll get some over the weekend and another good dumping on Monday, but sidewalks still get taken care of quickly. If it was me, I’d wear a wool dress or pencil skirt plus top and blazer, black tights, and black knee high flat La Canadienne boots. Stylish and warm and I won’t fall on my *ss.

  15. Paging FP :

    I just saw your question about Cuba on the previous thread. I went to Havana for 3 days, but it was with a group tour (so, $$$$) and I wouldn’t really recommend the company I went with. I believe you can go on your own, but you have to design a “people-to-people” educational trip and scrupulously save all your evidence of this because the state dept can “audit” you for up to five years I think. You also probably have to have that stuff all planned in advance, because at the airport in the US you need to show them an itinerary to get a stamp on your boarding pass that you need to get on the plane. Given the lack of internet in Cuba and how cut off locals are from the tourism industry, I imagine it’s really difficult to book “people-to-people” experiences on your own. You definitely can’t (legally) just book a hotel and a flight and then stroll around the city on your own like you can anywhere else.

    • Ah – thank you! I am seeing many conflicting reports on what constitutes a people to people experience. Seems some travelers have zero problem designing their own program and others are hassled upon entry to the US. Gah. Will have to look into this more!

      • TupeloHoney :

        Anec-data: a friend and his family traveled to Cuba last year, designed their own program, and took lots and lots of notes, pictures, etc. No one asked for anything at Customs. They were actually a little disappointed! So it seems like YMMV, but given the current international travel environment, I’d probably err on the side of overly cautious.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      What’s the penalty if you are audited and the state dept doesn’t agree it was a qualified trip?

    • Can the people be bartenders? I love talking to bartenders in different cities when I travel. I could come up with an itinerary of bars and restaurants I planned to visit.

  16. Hes Just Not Into You? :

    After a relatively amicable break up with someone who wasnt on the same page as me in terms of commitment, I’ve been thinking about the concept of hes just not that into etc. Since my friends and I have started dating we usually agonize over every little detail as to if they like us, how to vocalize we want to be taken out on a proper date/more commitment (outside of exclusively sleeping together) and then they ultimately end. As opposed to coupled/married friends who seem relatively happy never really had that period openly at least. And I mean beyond the first few dates where everyone is a little nervous.

    While I know this isn’t some groundbreaking concept Im just starting to feel that if someone really likes you/wants to commit ,they will put in the time, take you out etc and there wont be so much wondering and agonizing with friends….What do you guys think?

    • Anonymous :

      Eh, I think it depends what you mean by “take you out.” My husband was super into me from the get-go but he wasn’t asking me on formal dates to a restaurant and he certainly wasn’t paying. We met through friends and so our relationship began with hanging out at each other’s houses (including LGPs) and we didn’t really start going out to dinner together until I said “hey let’s go out to dinner” and then we split the bill – but when I suggested it, there wasn’t any resistance from him, and I never felt like he was trying to hide me or keep me secret. More like he was just lazy and didn’t to put any effort into planning a date. We were 24 when we met though and if I were to date again now that I’m in my mid-30s I think I would like a little more effort from a guy. But still not sure lack of effort indicates “he’s just not that into you.”
      I definitely agree with the general concept that it should be easy and you shouldn’t feel like you’re having to twist his arm, though.

    • I think it’s mostly right. With my husband, I never really wondered. (I wondered for three days between when we met and when he called and asked for a date. But even then he was just trying not to look as eager as he felt and I never wondered again after that.) With my friends, I feel like it’s been obvious when they’ve started dating the person they’ll marry. There’s just no drama. No agonizing over what things mean, no “he did this thing and so I think he really likes me, but then yesterday he said this other thing and I just don’t know!” None of that. It’s like bam! it all just works. I’m not saying it’s easy. Sometimes it’s harder because you have to actually deal with baggage and work through stuff. But all that’s done internally, with each other. I can’t actually think of one married friend who agonized over whether her now-husband was into her. Plenty who agonized over random dude, but none who agonized over the guy they actually married.

      • TBK is right on here. This is 100% my experience.

        What’s for you will not pass you by.

      • Except that there are also plenty of men who are super consistent, very vocal about interest in both words and actions, and then they, too, disappear. I think this group of men generally tends to be good, nice guys who know what they are “supposed” to do to show interest, but they do this even when they’re actually waffling on real interest. The signals are super confusing out here for those of us still dating into our 30s, so it’s just not this simple.

        • +1

          I have a suspicion “likes you” and “wants to commit” are separate categories that overlap in successful (i.e., lasting, committed) relationships. Like a variation on the taxicab theory. Or, to put it another way, don’t take it too much to heart if someone doesn’t want to commit. It may or may not be personal.

        • Anonymous :

          +2. And to address the other side, there are plenty of guys who end up happily committed who were not 100% sure at first–it’s a good thing that they actually gave it serious thought instead of going through the motions and staying in a relationship because of inertia rather than a conscious decision to be in it.

          So I caution against reading TBK’s response as saying “if you’re in a relationship with someone and you ever whiffed a sign of hesitation, IT’S DOOMED GET OUT NOW.” (I’m being hyperbolic of course and don’t think she actually intended to say that.)

        • +3 I was just talking to a guy who seemed very interested, but we were going at a normal pace (not my usual jump ALL IN ASAP pace). We talked about some serious things, but in a productive and non-scary adult way. He was giving all the right signs and then . . . he disappeared. I haven’t heard from him in over a week and he hasn’t responded to my two very casual hi there type texts or my one “Blink once for alien abduction, twice for nice knowing you” text trying to give him an easy way out. No idea what changed between when we were texting about a mutual friend’s daughter’s party we are invited to and, well, about 8 hours later when it all went radio silence. Been a week and a half and I suspect I won’t talk to him again until I see him at a law school event or something 5 years from now. Sad!

        • I will say that there is this category & it is solidly confusing, and I can’t quite describe how it’s different when it’s the person you marry, but it’s different. It’s not just conversations where you appear to be on the same page, it’s actual confirmation that you are exactly on the same page. I dated plenty of the ghosted after a few weeks/months types, the seemed really into it types so I know what you guys are talking about. In hindsight, once those ended, I was able to see that our conversations weren’t as deep or connected, or that there were signs of incompatibility, but they were those little thought bubbles I pushed away because I was hopeful that relationship would be different. I really wanted it to work and I ignored the little signs that were there. When I met my husband, it was just totally/completely/180 degrees different from those other “wow things seem to be going really well/where’d he go” relationships. It was as TBK says, easy and no drama.

          • This +1000

          • I completely agree that there could be (or will be) a subtle difference, but I’d just like to push back on the notion–which is implicit in your post–that women experiencing this aren’t also looking back and analyzing where things might have been not quite right/mismatched/etc. Most of the time you can see those things, but I don’t want to discount the experiences of very smart, thoughtful women, including myself, who have looked back on certain experiences where there just wasn’t anything like that, and it truly was baffling. People do not always telegraph what they’re actually feeling, especially when they WANT to feel something they aren’t feeling, so sometimes men really do not provide the signals that would otherwise give us pause.

      • Yep, this is spot-on.

      • This was 100% my experience. After always agonizing over guys I was dating (even long-term boyfriends), when I met my fiance, it was the first time it was just easy from the get-go… and ever since! My friends knew it, too, because there was no drama, the only thing I had to report was how much I was gushing about him. The whole “when you know, you know” is a cliche because it is true for many of us. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about myself, what I had to offer, what I was looking for, what were dealbreakers, what was healthy/unhealthy in a relationship from all those duds before, such that when it was easy and right, I knew it right away.

      • Wildkitten :

        I never agonized about the former Mr. Kitten and he still wasn’t the guy for me. So… necessary but not sufficient?

      • +1. This was my experience also, and I have seen it over and over again with my friends.

        The whole concept of “when he’s into you, he makes it clear” is totally spot-on. I don’t mean that you’re going to get a marriage proposal on the third date. But there’s not a lot of waffling, mixed-message situations where you’re sitting around wondering if he’s going to call. Once my husband and I started dating (we were friends first) I never wondered if he was going to call, if I was going to see him that weekend, etc. He is not a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve but he was pretty clear he was into me, and as we kept dating, he made it clear he wanted to be exclusive and lock things down. In thinking about my friends and coworkers, not one married a guy who drove her crazy being wishy-washy. In one case, my coworker met her husband when he was married (but separated) from his wife. She told him “I can’t even consider dating you until you are 100% divorced” and he went the next week and filed divorce papers. They were married 8 months later, been married 20+ years.

        Very honestly, if a guy is driving you crazy with mixed messages, waffling, wishy-washy behavior, “it’s not you, I just don’t know what I want” etc., move on. Or at least date other guys while you continue to date him. That’s a concept I did not consider when I was dating – that you could casually date more than one guy at a time – and I wish I had known about it. It would have saved so much wasted energy if I hadn’t poured my heart and soul into one guy at a time, who always turned out to be not that into me.

    • Veronica Mars :

      With my admittedly small sample size, I’ve never had that problem with guys I’ve dated. I’ve been doing online dating, so that already sets the stage in terms of the fact that yes, we’re dating, and yes, we’re going to do structured fun activities until we get to know each other more. Pretty much at the end of a good first date, I’ll tell them I want to go out with them again, and they’ve confirmed. And then at the end of each date, we talk about what we want to do next time. In practice, it’s less forward than this (by a smidge, I’ll normally say something like, “I had a great time with you, and I’m in town next weekend if you want to meet up again,” or “this was so fun, would you be interested in going to that taco place next week?”), but not by a lot. Obviously I’ve still been dumped and I wouldn’t hold it against them if they texted me later saying they’ve changed their mind, but if I like them enough to do that, it’s always been mutual. But that’s just been my experience.

    • Anonymous :

      If someone really likes you, they’ll be eager to talk/text/spend time with you. If someone didn’t want to go out one week (unless they were traveling or something) or was taking days to return a text, I stopped going out with them. If you’re thinking that someone doesn’t like you that much, you’re probably right.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I actually did wonder whether my now-husband was interested in me romantically. We met online and had 3 dates (out for coffee, out for brunch, out to a movie) and he hadn’t made a physical move. We got along so well in person and continued sending each other quite a few texts/emails (we both hate talking on the phone) that I really started wondering and talking to my friends about whether he just liked my company as a friend.

      …Turned out that he really wanted our first kiss to be special and it was. I’d say that everything else about our relationship was really easy. We openly had the exclusivity talk about a week after that kiss when we started to get more serious. After that kiss, there wasn’t really any hand wringing or concern about where our relationship was going. We talked about it all so easily and were on the same page.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I think this is key. As SA says, “relationships should be easy.” My SO and I fight occasionally (in fact last night I slept in the guest room because I was so angry), but for the most part, things work out relatively easily. I’m never anxious about how much he cares, or whether he wants to leave, because it’s just easy.

    • I agree with what many others have said. I went out on lots of dates with lots of guys with lots of agonizing and then my now-husband came along. No agonizing — he made it very clear he was interested, we both planned dates (I discovered later he is not a planner but he certainly planned lots of dates for the first 6 months or so), and it was just easy. 6 years later it’s still easy…

  17. I hate jammy reds :

    I am looking for a new “weekday” wine for unwinding after work. I usually only go through one bottle per week, having a glass with dinner. I am looking for a bottle that goes for around $10-$15 in California.

    My frustration is that the winemakers seem to have started making their reds too “jammy”–overly sweet and fruit forward. I am an old fart and want a more traditional, balanced red wine that doesn’t feel like I am drinking adult grape juice.

    I have been trying some of the red wines that they have been marketing as a “dark red blend” and they are slightly better but still not enjoyable for me. The Menage a Trois dark red blend seems to be the best of the bunch. The Dark Horse was meh. The Gnarly Head and the Cupcake versions were awful. Apothic Red is well failed to meet expectations.

    Help! I need a decent, cheap red!

    • I really like that Menage a Trois for an everyday wine. I’m not much of a connoisseur, but it tastes pretty darn good to me.

    • Anonymous :

      Why not try a dryer red wine, if you want something that is not so sweet? If you’re not sure what would qualify, the staff at the wine store should be able to help you pick something. You don’t have to stick to mass market brands to get something inexpensive.

    • Are there any wine stores near you that do free tastings? How about Pinot Noir- it’s not nearly as jammy,. For blends, I like Goats do Roam and Chronic Cellars.

    • Have you tried any Bogle reds? They have an essential red blend that was my go-to weeknight wine for quite a while. About $10.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Bogle chardonnay is my go-to white wine. I don’t drink that often so I don’t have any red suggestions, but wanted to second the suggestion for Bogle in general.

    • I’ve had a lot of success with the Kirkland brand wines at Costco (favorite is a Napa Valley Meritage). I think they generally retail around your price point.

    • I don’t have any recs, but could you share the names of some of the jammy ones you didn’t like? Because that sounds like I would really like it :) Thank you!

    • Veronica Mars :

      I like Four Hands “Hot to Trot” Red Blend. It varies anywhere from $8-$12 near me.

      • Fourteen Hands?

        If yes, I am a fan of this vineyard, for sure, but I also don’t really know what the OP means by “jammy”. I don’t have a particularly sophisticated palate I don’t think. I just like wine.

      • I like this one too and the Costco near me sells it for a low price (sorry I can’t remember off the top of my head).

    • I hear you on all of those. Try chianti, cote de rhone, malbec, rioja, tempranillo, garnacha – basically anything from the old world. There is tons of choice $10-15 and I’ve seen all these at grocery stores.

    • Call me crazy, but the boxed Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir is really good. Plus with the box, it keeps better than a bottle, and you can just have a small amount with dinner (or a large amount if you had a bad day).

    • Anonymous4 :

      Did you try the Apothic Dark? I found it more satisfying than the Apothic Red.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Trader joes has some good stuff. On average, I would look for regions in South America / Spain where the growing costs are less or central coast California which is a bit less well known. I’ve got what I like by grape as well below:

      I think someone above suggested Tempranillo / Rioja / Monastrell – I’ve found good versions of these at trader joe’s for not that much money – the Albero brand is very good. I would add to this anything in the GSM family (Grenache / Syrah / Mourvedre) – the VINTJ label at Trader Joe’s has treated me right here, they have an excellent Petit Syrah, and TJ’s sometimes has a sonoma GSM that is good. Beaujolais is also a good one (Burgundy’s cheap date cousin :) – the Jadot isn’t bad and I had a great one whose name escapes me at ~$13. In general these grape families can sometimes be a bit cheaper than the American mainstays I have found.

      On the traditional northern California grapes (Pinot / Cab / Zin) . I have liked la crema for pinot (although maybe closer to $15 – $17 range per bottle), the Monterey blend is a bit drier than their classic and is also cheaper. The underwood pinot in the can is surprisingly good at trader joe’s (although a bit fruit forward) and they also have a good Napa meritage (grand reserve, napa valley – and napa is on the label so at least 75% of the grapes were sourced there). On the cab side, Some of the south african stuff is good but the closest I have found to your price range from California is Justin which is around $20. Maybe after that it would be the beringer knights valley but thats more in the ~$30 range and up sadly.

      • TO Lawyer :

        La crema Pinot noir is one of my favourite bottles. Unfortunately it’s closer to $35-50 a bottle here. I like a lot of Pinot noirs from Sonoma and also love Côte du Rhone. Also maybe try Chilean wines?

    • I get what you don’t like (and I’m right there with you!), but I’m not totally clear on what you do like.

      If you like drier, lighter reds, look for pinot noir, cabernet franc, or gamay. If you’re in CA, you’ll probably get the best prices on west coast American wines, so some good options are Rascal pinot noir (Oregon) or Wyatt Napa Oakville pinot noir. If you can find European wines for a good price, look for the 2015 Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages – it’s amazing, and under $10 at my local wine shop.

      If you prefer something with more weight, but still dry, look for cabernet sauvignon or merlot. Some good producers in your price range are Joel Gott, Josh Cellars, and Hess.

      The supermarket blends you mentioned are often made with an ingredient called mega purple, which gives them all a similar thick, jammy flavor. The best way to avoid that is to find a wine shop with knowledgeable staff who can steer you to something you’ll like at a price you’re comfortable with.

      • For that price range, I’d recommend Spanish wines — Rioja or Ribera del Duero (both the tempranillo grape). Marques de Riscal with the gold netting is very good and under $15 at my local Safeway and Trader Joe’s.

        I love Russian River Valley and other CA Pinot and dislike Oregon b/c its way too tannic for my tastes — but from what you said you might like the Oregons, I think.

        Finally, if and when you get to a point where you might consider bumping up the price range, Clos du Val makes an excellent CA cab for around $25.

    • Not Two Buck Chuck :

      I like Cline reds. Trader Joe’s usually has some. Old Vine Zinfandel is my favorite.

    • I’m wondering about online stores for buying wine? Anybody recommend one?

  18. Higher Ed :

    reposting from the last thread in an attempt to reach more ‘rettes:

    I’ve worked in undergrad admissions for a few years and am starting to feel like I’ve hit the point where I can’t advance unless I move elsewhere. Most people work here for 2-3 years and leave for HR type roles, but I’d rather stay in Higher Ed.

    Would fellow ‘rettes in Higher Ed be willing to share what they do/what their titles are? I will likely end up having to take on financial responsibility for elderly parents in a few years, so salary information would also be really helpful if you’re comfortable sharing. Thanks!

    • Anon for this :

      Hi! I work in law admissions. Have you thought about switching to the grad school side? I think there can be more opportunity for programming and advising if you are on the grad side (as in, work in grad admissions and then also plan programming for the undergrads at your school). Title is Associate Director of Admissions, salary is just under 60k in a MCOL city.

      • Me too! We probably know each other :)

        • Oh, and to answer the question on the table, title is Assistant Dean of Admissions. I also encourage you to think about grad side. The work can be more specialized and the classes much smaller. I feel like admissions can take you a lot of place – moving up in admissions, moving to a different type of undergrad school, considering a grad program. I wouldn’t give up until I was in the leadership role, where you are thinking about data projections and overall enrollment management.

    • Higher Ed Anon :

      Have you considered development/fundraising? It’s still an outward facing role, but has many more layers for being able to move up, and once you get into major gifts it can be on the higher end of salaries.

      I’ve worked in admissions (~$30k, but that was a decade ago), IR (~$50-70k), program management (same), and ad hoc roles in administration, which is where I am now (low six figures). It hasn’t been a straight line but I love love love where I am now.

      Check out the Chronicle of Higher Ed for some good salary comps for various areas. While individual positions or institutions can be outliers, in general you’ll get a good sense of where you might be able to end up.

      • PatsyStone :

        +1 there are a lot of positions in development right now. Especially in law schools. I’m an academic law librarian, I make $68k a year in a somewhat LCOL city in the south. I don’t have a lot of opportunity to move up, byt I’ve realized I am not really interested in management right now, and there’s a good chance the family would have to move if that’s what I really wanted. We are swamped with paying off law school loans (1 more year if public forgiveness still exists), funding my son’s 529, daycare and saving for house. We would not be in a situation to support elderly parents, we’re weighing having a second child largely based on financial concerns. That said, I feel very fortunate to have a job I largely enjoy and the pension and lifetime healthcare I will receive if I stay in state employment. My father is a partner at a large firm and my mom has spent years as an assistant AG for the state. He comments that my mother’s state pension is worth more than his three private retirement investments combined.

        • +1 There are always jobs in development, and your skills are transferrable outside academia if you decide you want to work in another nonprofit field. At nonprofits, development staff are generally paid better, and are the last fired and first hired during layoffs.

    • HigherEdDevelopment :

      I just started in Higher Ed (I’ve been in NPOs in general for a number of years). I am at a small, rural liberal arts school in fundraising/development/advancement. At my level, I have a lot of room for advancement, all the way up to VP if that is how I decide I want to go – or the ability to move to a larger institution as well. Obviously, larger institutions have deeper pockets.

      My title is Grant Writer & Donor Relations Specialist at $50K in a LCOL area, but as the new kid on the block and at the bottom of the ladder I’ve got a lot of room for upward mobility and income growth potential.

    • I’m an assistant director in financial aid and I make $48k in a very rural area in a medium cost of living state. One thing you have to think about if you’re looking to move up in higher ed is how much you care about student interaction. If you’re willing to give it up you have a lot of advancement options, but if you want to be heavily student facing you have to be very strategic to move up without losing that. I’ve seen admissions counselors move up (or sideways and then up) in a lot of directions – advising/deans office, communications, student life offices, etc. I think it’s a starting point that is easily translatable to a lot of other areas within a university.

    • Also in Academia :

      You haven’t said if you have been or want to go to grad school yet. If you do, do it now. Look at master’s and PhD programs. In my experience our field is different than other academic fields, in that most people get a master’s degree, work for a while, and then get a PhD. My degrees are in Student Affairs Administration, though, so a Higher Ed degree might differ. Talk to faculty in the programs closest to you – or if you are up for a big move, then anywhere really. I work in a suburban, southeastern area and make over $100K as an AVP for Student Affairs.

      Don’t be afraid to advocate for your transferable skills. In my experience, Student Affairs can sometimes get stuffy about changing areas within the field – so figure out what skills you have and how to articulate those when you are job-hunting. For example, I supervise 8 areas, none of which I have worked in, and when I interviewed for my job I really had to articulate that my skills were in the administration of departments, rather than in just running Orientation or whatever.

      My experience was that while I was younger, I valued student interaction, and now that I am older, I love the actual administration part far more. I also like going home at 5;30, which is why I left the more student life-y areas for the more service-related areas, so think about that. (Have probably outed myself completely to any colleagues reading. Hi there friends!).

    • Anonymous :

      If you don’t have a masters, I recommend getting one. Also, I second that high student contact usually comes with lower pay. I work on the financial side (director – report to the CFO) at a midwestern community college and I make $96k. I started In admissions and now my only contact with students is when they set their fees.

    • Not sure if this will really be relevant to you, but I’m an IT manager at a large uni and make $115k.

      I’ve worked at smaller schools as well, and overall, it seems like if you want to move up you really need to change roles. I’m in an urban area where there are multiple schools, but mostly people here stay at the same institution and switch departments.

    • Late to this party but HELLO! This was almost exactly my story, a few years ago!

      I worked in two different undergraduate admissions offices- both at private, nationally known universities on the east coast. I knew I wanted to move inside higher ed, but felt trapped by the seemingly small path- I saw women moving to be school counselors and that wasn’t what I saw for myself. I wasn’t necessarily interested in with working with students-but rather interested in operations and efficiency. I moved from ug admissions to working in a client-facing role at a well-known admissions software vendor, and now I am working for SIS vendor. I’m happier than I could have imagined- my role is a great mix of travel, remote work, higher education, technology, conferences, and networking.

      Happy to share more and connect, if needed. Good luck in your search!

    • all about eevee :

      I am the Director of Annual Giving at an elite SLAC. I recommend getting a Masters degree and a PhD if you want to get into higher education on the administrative side. It really matters.

  19. One of the paralegals at my firm keeps saying things like “you’ll be such a great mom”, and “don’t wait too long to have babies”, and today, I noted that I was hungry for lunch and she said “is there something you need to tell us? Are you eating for 2?”

    I’m not pregnant. I’m not even dating anyone. And yes, I’ve put on 20 lbs in the last 6 months, but that’s because I’m depressed.

    Ugh.

    • Anonymous :

      Holy invasive-ness, Batman.

      “Paralegal, stop thinking about the status of my uterus, you are squicking me out. But if you are really interested, I’ve got some detail on my last period I can share.”

    • Ugh indeed. You can’t fix stupid.

    • Ugh! I hate comments like this! Sorry she’s being annoying :(

    • How old is she – is this a 60 yr old or a 22 yr old? Inappropriate either way – but for me, if it’s a youngish person (i.e. it doesn’t feel like I’m telling off my grandma), I would say something. I’m naturally not a talker and kind of sarcastic so I find one comment is all I need to show my displeasure – not a long lecture. So for me I’d say – I don’t need pregnancy commentary from you, thanks. Or “chill with the pregnancy comments – I don’t appreciate them.”

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      That’s so frustrating. I’m sorry. “I’m not pregnant and that’s not going to change any time soon. Please stop.”

    • Be direct and tell her to stop. When things like this happen to me I am always so tempted to say something snarky, like “that’s a really sensitive topic for me…because I don’t want children.” This happened to me recently when an older church-lady (who reports to me) was doing that to me at work and I just said “yeah, it’s really a shame that I don’t have children but even my mother-in-law has stopped asking” and let it sit. She does not get sarcasm at all but that stopped it.

  20. Formal Wedding Attire Help :

    Can someone de-code for me what “Formal Attire” means for a wedding? Does that mean I can’t wear a cocktail length dress? Bonus points if anyone has seen a dress for less about $100 online that would meet this dress code.

    FWIW the wedding is at a ski resort in late February, although I’m hoping that all festivities will remain indoors.

    Second semi-related question: the bride is from Taiwan and I expect a lot of her family will be in attendance. I know in some cultures there are some colors that guests should avoid wearing – does anyone know if that is true for Taiwanese culture?

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, a cocktail dress is fine.

    • Guest at Taiwanese Wedding :

      Definitely avoid red, white, and black. Other dark colors like charcoal grey or navy are also better avoided.

      • 2nd…
        If they will be in traditional clothes, red will be reserved for the wedding party.
        If they will be in western clothes, white will be reserved for the bride.
        Even if men will be in black suits, black and white are traditionally associated with funerals and should not be worn by ladies.
        All other colors are fair game, even dreary ones like navy or gray.

    • Anonymous :

      I can’t help you on colors, but I’d be very surprised if “formal” means gowns at a ski resort. Even in cities, at least in my experience in the NE Corridor, cocktail dresses are fine for black tie.

    • I would think formal means gowns not cocktail dresses.

      I think these days a lot of Taiwanese brides wear white dresses, but historically they would have been red and that’s still considered a bridal color. So avoid both white and red dresses.

    • MargaretO :

      I would use this as a great excuse to wear fur (faux or real) over lots and lots of sequins. Maybe rent something from rent the runway? I also wear over the knee boots out to dive bars on wednesday nights so my judgment is definitely a little on the more is more side but…..I think it would be fabulous!

      https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/christian_siriano/metallic_knit_dress
      https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/nicole_miller/midnight_sequin_stars_gown
      https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/halston_heritage/elvira_gown
      http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/dress-the-population-zoe-sequin-minidress-nordstrom-exclusive/4014522?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=ANTIQUE%20GOLD
      http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/dress-the-population-lola-body-con-dress/4550057?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=NAVY

    • I have seen all kinds of dress codes where they want women to show up in gowns, (black tie would be the clearest indication) and women still show up in knee length dresses. You will be fine and not alone in your attire. I prefer knee length myself.

    • Anonymous :

      Avoid wearing red or white. Even if the bride is going with a white wedding dress, she may change into a red dress for the reception/banquet part (that’s what 2 of my cousins did).

    • Formal guidance :

      You know the people involved, but my experience has been that brides/grooms have recently used “formal” to mean “We’d like you to dress up, please,” that I should wear whatever I’d wear to a nice wedding, and under no circumstances should I wear a gown or should my husband wear a tuxedo. At several of these events, there have been a number of (non-wedding-party) men wearing some variation of outfit that’s less formal than a regular suit, even, and they’ve not looked out of place.

      I know (or think I know; someone please correct me if I’m wrong) that in a technical, Debrett’s sense, formal = black tie, but my sense is that that’s changing and most people will say black tie if that’s what they mean. Like I said, though–you know the couple and you probably have a good sense of whether they’re traditional definition people or “formal just means we’re having a nice party and don’t want you to wear jeans” people.

  21. Anon for this–DH is in the process of interviewing at my company (different dept). I had reached out to someone I know in that dept and he mentioned that he will pass DH’s resume along. Simultaneously, the recruiter reached out to DH and they had a phone interview this week. Recruiter thinks that DH is a strong candidate and will reach out to the hiring manager for round 2. Is it bad etiquette to reach out to my colleague in that group if we don’t hear anything by end of next week? I don’t want to be the annoying coworker/micro-manager wife.

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t do anything else. You’ve done as much as you’d do for someone you’re not married/related to. Your colleague doesn’t sound like they are part of the hiring process, so don’t put them in the middle of it. It’s now on your DH to check in thru the recruiter, so you should be hands off.

      • Thanks for the gut check. The waiting process is always hard and I guess the job hunt stress has rubbed off on me a bit.

  22. Anonymous :

    Do not follow up with your colleague. Very bad idea. I mean this kindly, but “if we don’t hear anything…” jumps out at me in your post. It was completely within bounds to pass on your husband’s resume, but he’s the one who is going to hear from the recruiter. You can’t be part of this process or you will hurt your reputation at the company.

  23. All these wine posts/comments got me thinking… Is being allergic to all wines (not just red) a real thing? I react to both white and red totally differently than I do any other kind of alcohol (immediate headache, crazy flushing, etc.) I’m not really a grape eater, so maybe it’s just a grape allergy?

    I prefer beer anyway but I’d like to have the choice :'(

    • Anonymous4 :

      What I understand is that most wine allergies are reactions to the tannins. Reds are the most known for allergies because they are much higher in tannins than whites. But whites DO have tannins in them, so if you are particularly sensitive you would react to both.

    • I know someone who is allergic to wine, both red and white. She has the same flushing and headache you describe. She generally avoids all alcohol but beer doesn’t give her a reaction.

    • Anonymous :

      You may have a sulfite allergy, which people sometimes call a wine allergy. But you can react from sulfites in other things as well.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I react to wine, beer, and mixed drinks- more than about two ounces. It developed my 2L year of law school (NOT ideal) and now it causes awful congestion almost immediately, lung issues, multiple day malaise and terrible headaches. So I don’t drink. I miss beer.

      • Not Two Buck Chuck :

        My Dad had this, we found some Sulfite free wine for him. You might (carefully) give that a try and see.

        • Anonymous :

          Just as a warning, sulfites occur naturally in wine. Even a “sulfite-free” wine will have sulfites in it, but if you’re not very sensitive that might not make you react as much.

  24. 4th year biglaw associate here, recently had my review. I was told to work on “projecting confidence” and acting like the lawyer that clients will trust and want to call. Any practical ideas for implementing this? I think part of it is speaking up more on calls, adding to strategy discussions where I can, etc. Anything else you all can think of? Thanks!

    • At my old firm, every junior associate was told that at their review, except for the total a-hole. You’re thinking all the right things.

      • Ha – yeah, I imagine a 4th year who truly was “projecting confidence” would probably be viewed as overconfident or coc ky.

        Keep doing what you’re doing. realize clients want a solid recommendation for you that considers business implications (to the extent you know them) — not just a “the law is this” but a”we recommend this course of action because reasons, and here are risks.” agree speaking up on calls as appropriate is also good, and don’t be shy about sharing your ideas.

        • Hmmm, I’ve been told in my reviews that I project confidence (as a positive attribute). Hopefully not one of those people!

          No suggestions for the OP, though. It comes naturally to me, for better or worse. I do think it’s very important and worth investing time with a speaking coach or otherwise

    • By all means work on projecting confidence, since it never hurts and will be helpful no matter what you do in the future. Check out the Confidence Code by Cara Hale Alter for very detailed practical tips and exercises that can help with this. The substance of what you contribute may well be less important to change than the way that you carry yourself.
      But also be aware that “projecting confidence” sometimes turns out to be code for “looking like one of us” aka “being/acting like a man”…and that’s a lot harder to overcome. Also, first impressions can be almost impossible to change, so if you’ve been pegged as someone who lacks that certain “confidence” people are looking for, and find that people still see you that way even after you objectively improve your self-presentation, you may be better off moving to a place that won’t have the same pre-conceived notions about your abilities. Good luck!

      • Anonymous :

        Yep. In my experience “project confidence” is often code for “have a d!ck.” I have plenty of male friends and colleagues who are quiet and even shy – none of them have ever gotten comments like this but all the soft spoken women I know have.

    • Not Two Buck Chuck :

      Can you ask a mentor to translate this for you?

  25. Thanks for all the support, all. I won! And almost vomited. And pronounced my own name wrong multiple times and the judge had to ask me to restate it. And had a slight issue where I almost fell into the podium, which wasn’t my fault but would not have helped with the anxiety. But I won!

    I texted my mentor to tell him (it was my first ever real-lawyer hearing) and he sent me the nicest message back and I may have teared up a bit. He’s the reason I didn’t quit law school 2L year. So I’m very grateful for him and owe him a lot.

    My client is thrilled, I’m coming down off the adrenaline (otherwise known as crashing) and everyone at my office is happy. Good day. :D AND IT IS FRIDAY HALLELUJAH.

  26. anon a mouse :

    Reposting because I posted late on the morning thread:

    Can anyone recommend a good hair mask or deep conditioning treatment? I have long wavy hair and the winter is taking a toll on it. It looks dull and is starting to frizz more, even though I’m using the same products. Suggestions welcome!

    • I’ve tried different masks and conditioners, but what has worked the best for me is straight coconut oil. I work it into my hair at night, put it up and sleep on it (with towels over my pillow). Then I shampoo twice in the morning. I have fine wavy hair and it seems to reset it so that I’m good for several weeks of using regular conditioner. I also like Moroccan oil if I wake up with very dry hair.

      • Yep, straight coco oil. Or, greek yoghurt w/ honey. (bonus: you can eat what you don’t wear)

        I have hair like yours and found the above fixes amazing.

        I put them in my hair and let them soak in for about 30 minutes before showering and washing my hair.

    • KS IT Chick :

      Once a week, usually on Sunday morning, I do a light shampoo, vinegar rinse & light shampoo, followed by a generous helping of Jessicurl deep conditioning treatment that gets rinsed out on Monday morning. I have wavy-to-curly hair that frizzes easily in the winter, and the combination makes the frizzles almost non-existent.

    • Anonymous :

      I like Briogeo’s deep conditioning mask. I use it on Sunday nights, and my hair feels super soft (better moisturized, less frizz) for the next few days.

    • Anonymous :

      Neutrogena Triple Moisture

    • Another +1 for straight coconut oil

      It takes my fine-but-lots-of-it, easily oily hair about 2-3 washes after straight coconut oil to not still be a little weighted down.

      For better rinseability than coconut oil, I like Joico K-pak deep conditioner. I get the generic version from Sally’s.

  27. I’m in my 30’s and noticed some very light dark spots on my face. :( I know I’ve done my time in the sun in my younger days, which I regret. Any face products recommended to keep the spots from getting larger or more noticeable?

  28. I’m looking for sports bra recommendations. My daughter is thin but busty (32DD or 30DDD) and her coach today said she needs to wear a more supportive bra for competition. (By which I think she means less movement.). Right now she’s wearing a Ta Ta Tamer from lulu. What’s more supportive than that? I thought it was kind of top of the line.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      I have not tried that bra but I wear. champion moving comfort. It has a bra like closure and has adjustable straps. It’s about $50 and I buy it on Amazon. I’m about a 36DDD and it’s the best I’ve had.

      • Title 9 sports :

        Try title 9 sports! They have tons of sports bras in bra sizes, and they are rated by activity. I am a 32-34E, and I have had the best luck with theirs for running and horse back riding. Most of these are NOT pretty but are super effective (see: the last resort bra)

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe she’s wearing the wrong size (did she grow or lose body fat from training?) or isn’t adjusting it right, if it’s not doing the trick. There are lots of other options, though. I personally like Chantelle’s underwire sports bra.

    • Anonymous :

      Highly recommend Moving Comfort bras. I’m a similar size and have run in them for years. No bouncing!!

    • I went from a Ta Ta Tamer to a Moving Comfort Juno sports bra and haven’t looked back. 32C for reference, but I like more bra support than I “need” since I do high-impact activities.

    • Another anon :

      I’m 30DD and also recommend moving comfort. I like the Fiona (if I remember correctly) because it has both an adjustable band and adjustable straps. I’ve heard that the newer version has more stretch than the older version though so I don’t know if it is as great as it used to be.

  29. Hi ladies,

    Hope I’m not too late for responses. My husband and I are moving from Canada to Boston and he’s negotiated the option of choosing his own health plan into the contract (which the company will fund). Obviously this means we want the best possible health plan that will minimize any out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays and that doesn’t have any limitations. The whole thing is confusing however- I’ve been reading online and its hard to figure out if we want an HMO, a PPO, which company we want… its all very confusing!

    Does anyone have any advice?

    • I would say to stay far away from the HMO — you’ll need referrals for everything. I’ve had a PPO my whole adult life so far and am very happy with the flexibility it offers. If the company is paying the premium, I’d also look for a high-premium, low-deductible plan.

      I don’t know much about the different types of spending accounts you can elect (like HSAs, etc), though, which may be another thing to consider.

      • We just went from PPO to HMO after having only PPO in my adult life. I have a good primary care, and find that the referral thing has zero impact on my ability to see a specialist. I’m getting the same care as a PPO but it costs list. YMMV, but after being highly skeptical we are extremely happy with the HMO.

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          Same here. We moved our family from my PPO plan to my husband’s HMO plan. The main motivation was that it saved so much in premiums, with the secondary motivation being that our health care costs are generally low. The HMO plan is with Kaiser, and call me insane, but I like it much better. It is much easier to navigate since all of the doctors you see (unless you need a referral to a specialist they don’t have at your local medical center) are at Kaiser.

          I also had zero problem with the referrals. If it was clear what we needed (i.e., I was a derm to look at a mole), I could get most referrals needed by calling our PCP without an appointment.

    • Anonymous :

      If his company will pay the premiums, get a high-premium, no-deductible plan, becuase then you won’t really ever to pay anything out of pocket. I have a High-Deductible Health Plan which I love because the premium is zero and I’m almost never sick – but if I were to have a major illness I would have to pay $5k before the insurance would kick in and cover all my medical expenses that year. For me that makes sense, because the premium for a no-deductible plan even through my employer would cost me $1000/month and it doesn’t make sense to spend $12K a year to eliminate the small chance of having to spend $5k a year. But if his employer will fund the high-premium, no-deductible plan get that.

      I agree PPO is better than HMO. I don’t think co-pays are a big deal, most preventative things are covered under Obamacare and if you have to go to the doctor once/year for strep throat or something, it’s $20, so it’s not really something worth selecting your plan around.

      The single most important thing with health insurance is no lifetime limit. Right now, no plans can have lifetime limits because of Obamacare, but if that is repealed it may be a big issue again…

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