Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

This is the kind of dress that another site or magazine will tell is you is a perfect desk to dinner dress — and it may be that, if you’re the kind of person who wants to wear one dress to the office and then to dinner. I think it’s a really sexy, cute navy dress, and I like the sort of halter neckline, the asymmetrical hemline, and the faux wrap style (which looks a little low in the front — something to be aware of if you’re considering this for work). This is from a new line I’m not familiar with called Cooper St, which looks like it has some fun clothes. The dress is $159 at Nordstrom in sizes 2-12 and is hand wash cold, line dry. Imperial Asymmetrical Dress

Two plus-size options are here (with an even lower neckline than the dress pictured) and here.

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Comments

  1. Wean me from my black accessories :

    Accessories are expensive! And I hate switching purses (but switch shoes daily). It really helps if they are all . . . black.

    I actually have colored shoes in addition to 60% black ones. But for purses . . . I can’t seem to pull the trigger. One reason is that if I have a colored shoe, a matched purse seems to be a bit much and an unmatched non-black purse looks bad in a hot mess sort of way.

    How can I break the cycle?

    Or is it a sign that a colored Jane MZ Wallace purse is on sale (but the black one is not) and I should just buy it?

    • Country Biscuits :

      Get a color that will work with your wardrobe so you don’t have to switch? Burgundy, forest, cobalt, pink/coral, teal – might work?

    • I’m with you – I have a hard time getting away from my default of black accessories. I’ve started carrying a grey purse (baby steps) that’s working for me so far.

    • Anonymous :

      Short of a black tie event, I have never changed a purse because of what I was wearing. Buy a colored purse!

    • Anonymous :

      I bought a bright yellow purse about 10 years ago and am now obsessed. I’ve had to replace it, but have stuck with yellow. I almost never wear yellow and have found that it goes with everything and never looks matchy. I get tons of compliments, especially in the winter when it brightens up drab outfits.

      • Light gray purse in the summer, burgundy purse in the winter. They both match my 75% black wardrobe. I don’t know how people change purses each day; I would absolutely show up to the train without my pass, or forget my wallet or something.

        • I don’t usually match my bag and shoes, but I always want my bag to complement my outfit so change often. I agree it’s a hassle! A purse organizer can be an answer. It’s like an inner purse that you can move from one bag to another with all you stuff in it. It has lots of pockets to keep things neat. BUT. I have found that they can cause wear on the outside of your actual handbag. I tried to figure out how to explain this better but sorry, I can’t seem to do it. Anyway, if you use a purse organizer in the same bag often, be on the lookout for wear on the outside of the handbag. Also, I’ve found that it’s easier to find things in an organizer with a light-colored lining, but that lining tends to get inkstains and to get dingy.

          • I use 2-3 small transparent makeup pouches with a zip closing (cheap Sephora ones). One to carry my makeup, one for keys, one for all cards. And I have a tiny coin purse. When I am changing handbags, I only need to remember to switch all the pouches.

    • notalawyer :

      Maybe think about what you like about black so much and see where it guides you. I don’t think black is universally flattering on everyone but people like it for varying reasons. Do you like contrast (eg. Black and white combos)? Then pick a “pop” of colour like red or cobalt. Do you like dark colours? Consider another darker neutral like oxblood or brown. Or is it that you look terrible in brown? Then you are probably looking for a navy or grey. I’d think about your whole wardrobe before pulling the trigger on a colour you may never wear. Also, not all blacks are equal! For example I find a black suede way more complimentary on me than a shiny patent leather for example.

    • What about a colored purse that has black accents? Also, I use a small pouch/purse insert type thing for all the crap that would normally float around the bottom of my bag (e.g. headphones, hand sanitizer, lipstick, hair ties, pen, etc.). It makes switching bags much less of a hassle.

      • Where did you find the insert? Do you remember the brand?

        I think I need one, but I don’t know what to look for.

  2. Sloan Sabbith :

    Whoops, posted at the very bottom of the morning thread. Wanted to repost because I loved some of the stuff I got at Uniqlo so much I want others to get it. :)

    I went to Uniqlo last Friday and had SUCH great luck.

    Recommendations:
    1. Woman Short Sleeve Bra Dress (the shorter one). I have it in blue and it’s just wonderful- might buy it in black, too. So soft, a really nice fit, the neckline is a bit wider in a way that’s very flattering, and it’s absolutely appropriate for a fancier day at a business casual workplace.
    2. Woman Short Sleeve Bra Dress (Geometric). This one has a tie around the waist and is just a really nice summer dress. I’m 5’3″ and it’s just below my knees- a bit long, but not midi. Really comfortable, very flattering.
    3. Women Jersey Wrap Front Sleeveless Dress. I got this as a gift in black and bought it in grey too, I liked it so much. Super comfortable, another really great summer dress. Can be made work appropriate with a higher cami and flats or brunch appropriate with sandals or heels and a bralette or lower cami. Would also be a great nursing dress, I’m guessing.
    4. Woman’s Dry Stretch Tucked Skirt. I bought it in both colors. The “brown” is more green but it’s a very nice, muted green. It has REAL POCKETS. Plus it’s super comfortable.
    5. Woman’s Dry-Ex Tank Top. I would wear this every day if I could, and I will be honest and say that come winter, it’s almost certainly going below blazers and cardigans. I got it in the berry color (“purple” online) and it’s GREAT. Ridiculously comfortable for barre but also just out and about. I want more!
    6. Didn’t buy it, but their Georgette ruffle-sleeve blouse was so pretty. Seethrough (which is why I didn’t buy it, in part), but super pretty.

    Total fails:
    The tie-front midi skirt. I looked like Jane from Tarzan. It was in khaki, but it would not have looked any better in any other color.
    Their bra-top camis. So, so short. Would have been funny if it wasn’t so, so awful.
    Their bras.
    Their jogger pants….How does one wear jogger pants in public?
    Their ponte pants. Um, they look like fancy sweatpants and I’m not wearing fancy sweatpants out of the house unless they make my legs look great, and these absolutely did not.
    Their legging pants. Throwback to jeggings, nope.

    Any other Uniqlo basics you just keep going back to? I know I’ll buy some of this stuff in new colors as it comes in.

    • Their linen blend shirts and tunics are great. I bought one at the beginning of this season then found one I had bought at the end of last summer and forgotten about- they are both in heavy rotation this hot, humid summer. One has a split neck and 3/4 sleeves with elastic and does not cover the bum, and the other is a true tunic that is pull-over with some buttons and full sleeves, which I roll up.

      Now you’re making me want to order a few more things from them.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I really wish they offered the bra dresses with no bra. I can’t go braless but they look soooo comfy. I had my first UNIQLO experience a few weeks ago and I bought emergency undies, airism camis, graphic t, and some sick sale jogger sweatpants for myself, plus underwear, sweatpants, and a linen s/s/ button up shirt for him. The only thing that sucks is nearly everything is labelled handwash which I didn’t see until after 1st wash so linen shirt and t-shirt were both ruined. Lesson learned (although it will give me pause about buying “washables” from them again.)

      • Anonymous :

        Agreed! The bra tops only seem to work for me in the tank/cami styles, but I like the basic t-shirt dress concept and prints.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Thanks for the heads up! I need some more basics to expand my summer wardrobe.

    • Cookbooks :

      I love their bra dresses! I have two from previous years.

      But that’s good to know about their bras. I’ve been eyeing them because they look comfortable.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        They were too big in the bust for me, but their small was too tight on the band.

        • Their band just got tighter this year. They were bigger last year. So the clasp version used to fit great and is now too tight for me. The no-clasp version used to be loose and now fits great.
          I’m flat chested and these are my unicorn bras though. They give great shape without looking like coconut bras.

    • Moonstone :

      I was just at Uniqlo this morning and got these two basics for work, $20 each.

      Drape V Neck Sleeveless Blouse https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/women-drape-v-neck-sleeveless-blouse-401919.html?dwvar_401919_color=COL07&cgid=women-shirts-and-blouses-design-blouses-drape#start=1&cgid=women-shirts-and-blouses-design-blouses-drape

      And the same thing with a higher neckline: https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/women-drape-sleeveless-blouse-181626.html?dwvar_181626_color=COL01&cgid=women-shirts-and-blouses-design-blouses-drape#start=3&cgid=women-shirts-and-blouses-design-blouses-drape This link shows it styled tucked in but it looks better on me hanging long.

      These are useful to me because they are opaque polyester (can be machine-washed) and the cut is more on-trend than I often buy at age 52. They are both long and waistless, so will look cute with slim pants.

      Usually I leave Uniqlo muttering to myself: “You are NOT Lucy Liu so why do you keep trying to shop here?” but today I walked out pleased.

    • Uniqlo for tall-ish ppl? :

      Has anyone taller tried Uniqlo? I like the look of their clothes but don’t have one around me and would have to order online. Most of the online reviews I’ve seen are from shorter wimen so I’m worried everything would be too short. I’m 5’8″ with a long torso and typically a sz 6 in other brands.

      • numbersmouse :

        Their stuff does run short, but if you’re looking at jeans or legging-pants, those usually have different lengths.

      • I am not much taller than you 5’10 and I normally wear a sz 0 and I find that the joggers tend to be quite noticeably short. The part that would usually hit just above the ankle typically hits my mid calf and looks crazy. However, their “jeans” come quite long and I haven’t had any issues with shirts or dresses looking awkward.

    • Do Uniqlo’s bra tops having any lining? I don’t want to add a size. I just don’t want “headlights” at work.

  3. The pointed toe ones – how pointy are they? Should I order a half size up? My toebox tends to be a little on the wide side. I’m good with almond toes typically.

    • Not going to be super helpful, but I had this exact question…so I just ordered 2 sizes. Hopefully their returns are as good as they claim.

    • Anonymous :

      The point isn’t too dramatic. They follow the line of my foot pretty closely. The material also has some give to it. That said, I’ve read that Rothys are narrow, though I have narrow feet so it’s hard for me to judge. Compared to my other flats, Rothys seem to be a pretty average width at the ball of my foot and narrower than normal at the heel.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d order a half size up. I just got a pair, and they’re pinching in the toe box. Unfortunately, I’m at the top of their size so can’t go up… hoping they stretch!

      • Thank you! My feet recently changed very slightly (thanks, pregnancy and nursing!) so I am still trying to figure out what works for me.

      • I have been posting that I wish they came in S12 on every single one of their FB adds. Maybe one day.

        • Anonymous :

          The struggle is real! I am usually a TYS 11, too. I don’t think my feet are particularly wide (just proportional!).

  4. Helpful discussion this morning so I’m reposting the same question — just in case we have different readers in the afternoon who’d like to contribute.

    Financial planning Friday? Do you all have a “target” number for your 401k that made you feel (will make you feel) like — ok, I’m on the right track? I don’t necessarily mean the long range target of $1 million or $2 million or whatever at retirement. I mean a more “doable” target like — I want to be at 100k or 200k at age 35 or whatever. It’s obviously a set it and forget it kind of thing, but I’m finding that it gets overwhelming to think about it over a 20 or 30 yr span and I find myself more “motivated” by near term goals and feeling on track. Anyone have any near term targets/ages that they’re working towards?

    • Anonymous :

      I’m hoping to hit $500K by 40. Assuming the market holds, I may be able to do it. It is dependent on the market though, as I’m 37 and don’t have enough time to get there just by making the max contribution each year. I’m close though…

    • KateMiddletown :

      You can’t control the market so just max it out every year if you are really committed to growing your assets. Don’t stress about the yearly ups and downs as long as you’re dollar-cost-averaging (Aka contributing every payperiod/quarter/month whatever.)

      • Anonymous :

        Anon at 2:13 here. Yeah, I totally realize that and I’m not really concerned about it and I realize there’s nothing I can do except keep on keeping on. It’s just kind of fun to watch from afar. I also will not be surprised if and when the market tanks again sometime in the next 3 years and I suddenly lose $100K in value.

        • Anonymous :

          Market tanking is real fear for me even though I’ve only been saving for a few years (since I was 20). Growing up in the recession I saw too many people lose way too much. I’m not quite like my grandmother, who was borderline put-cash-in-the-mattress after growing up during the depression but… yikes. Makes me anxious.

          • If they would have stayed invested, they would have made it all back (and then some) within a few years.

          • That’s exactly what my parents did @ Anon 2:46 p.m. and they retired when they had planned to!

          • Anonymous :

            There’s no guarantee of it happening on so short a timespan, and it made a serious difference at the time – it was bad timing, so it changed a lot of plans for people in my life, even if some of it was made back in the end. That’s just my personal experience.

            Glad to hear it didn’t disrupt anything for your parents, CountC.

        • KateMiddletown :

          Yep! Over time, money grows, just don’t take it out at the bottom.

    • Nope — maxed out my retirement contributions at the IRS limit and it’s in a target retirement date fund. Set & forget. For my kids’ college funds, however, I follow them closely with a target & monitor what I put in to try to reach a set amount.

    • I get that these posts are useful and I can skip over them if I don’t like them but can I just say: I am so tired of hearing about how people will save five gazillion dollars before they turn 35 or whatever. Bah, humbug.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

        It’s helpful to remind myself that a lot of readers of this s!te live in a Biglaw bubble where they bring home bonuses equal to my yearly salary. Most of North America (and the world) does not live like this.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Word. Even as someone with an objectively good job and high salary, these posts (when I don’t skip ’em), make me feel broke as a joke and kind of hopeless.

        • ponte python's flying circus :

          Ditto.

        • Yep. Especially as someone who is single – I feel like my living expenses per capita are higher and I just can’t seem to save enough, even though I am saving a fair bit.

          • Anonymous :

            Agreed. Single people do not have a chance of achieving the numbers that these two income families talk about regularly.

          • Anonymous :

            I think the key is to be DINK for a long time before kids (if any). As soon as I was double income, we went into a higher tax bracket and then had a baby, so it was a net financial negative (if we were unmarried but merged finances, that would have been better).

            If we could all split our housing cost, that would really help. But even if I hadn’t mentally outgrown roommates, many of my friends were coupled up, so I moved into a HCOL area and couldn’t find any roommates who were at my age/stage.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Yup. I thought I was doing good that I’d have a thousand saved by the end of the year. Um.

      • Anonymous :

        Sorry if you feel that way but note that the OP did not put any numbers around her financial situation and was instead asking for a broad range of responses. This isn’t one of those — oh I won’t have $2 million by age 33, what ever will I do – types of posts.

        Frankly I think these kinds of posts are useful — women tend not to have these conversations in real life so it’s good to be able to have them on a website full of women professionals.

        • Wonder Woman :

          I kind of agree, although I don’t know if it needed to be posted twice. Someone asked earlier about what you have learned from coming here and financial planning (both in actual planning and in the logistics_ has been a big one for me. I really enjoy reading about different ideas to everyone’s situations they write. I also enjoy learning about different vehicles and how people’s short-term and long-term goals affect that. This isn’t something I can easily talk about with others, much less women. And I think it’s an important conversation for women especially to have as I see so many friends repeating the habits of their moms, spending their paycheck each month on handbags and not knowing how to pay the ComEd bill- to their detriment when something happens to their husband or they divorce.

      • Preach.

        My 46 year old husband is a counselor/social worker. He just broke the $65,000 mark 3 years ago. 37 year old me worked lowly part-time jobs during the babyhood of each of my girls and didn’t start my first full time job with a 401K until age 30. As a project manager, I’ll hit $42,000 this year.

        Obviously, we don’t have $100,000 saved in our 401Ks. But we also:

        – live in a $120,000 home that will be paid off in 10 years
        – decided this house will be our “Forever House” instead of our “Starter House”
        – only buy used cars we can pay off in 3 years, and then drive them into the ground
        – are incredibly grateful that we don’t have credit card debt or live paycheck to paycheck, like our coworkers and neighbors

        Our goal isn’t to retire as millionaires. Our goal is to be able to maintain our paid off house, pay for food and utilities, and have enough left over that we can visit our grandkids…buy presents…enjoy a simple life…and pay for the nursing home, if God forbid we need it.

        • Now that I think about it…

          We’re the couple in UP. And that’s okay. We’d love to travel, and maybe we will–but if we end up puttering around our home together until the end, we’ll have had a good life (and family) together.

          • AnonyMouse :

            I love this and think this is a really useful way to frame the discussion as what are my goals in retirement and will the choices I make now support those goals. Also lovely to see your priorities – and the UP reference. Not a bad couple to aspire to. :)

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I swear I’m not PMSing and this just made me tear up a bit.

      • Agreed!!

      • Not biglaw :

        I like when posters include percentages–both because it makes it easier to compare apples to apples and it makes those of us not working in big law less depressed. :) I read somewhere that a good goal was to save a year’s salary worth for retirement by 30. My goal now is 3x my salary by 45. I would love to be able to max out my 403(b) but it just isn’t realistic and I’m not a frivolous spender. I think the money a person needs is highly dependent on lifestyle and habits. The thought of living on (the future equivalent of) $50K/yr. in retirement is going to sound desperate to some and very comfortable to others.

    • My vague personal goal was always $100k by 30, which always seemed sort of impossible. However, this thread inspired me to go check my various retirement accounts, and I just realized I’m at $95k 8 months shy of my 30th birthday, so I should be pretty close to achieving this goal. Woohoo!

      Also, I’m not in Big Law and making $300k every year. I make in the very low six-figures now, but only reached that income level within the last 2 years. I think the key was that thanks to my parents, I started making contributions to an IRA really, really early (like 18 years old). They essentially forced me to put 10% of my babysitting and summer job money in a retirement account while I was in college. I hated it at the time, but it helped me learn good savings habits. I made peanuts in a HCOL ($40k) for my first few years out of school, but I still contributed a measly amount to my 401k (like $50-$100 per month). I gradually upped it as I slowly made more money, and now I save about 15% of each paycheck (employer match included).

      FWIW, I graduated undergrad without student loans, thanks to an academic scholarship and help from my parents for living expenses. I know student loans would have made this level of savings a lot harder.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I don’t think my 401k will ever be on track with traditional metrics, even though I max it out every year. But I have other savings besides what is in retirement accounts, so I am not sure where the money is matters that much anyways.

    • notalawyer :

      Money: I’d like to get my backyard redone professionally, with a back deck and mudroom for my dogs and children’s mess.

      Time + money: I wish we could go to a warm place every year but my husband’s schedule doesn’t allow and he hates warm weather and beaches anyway. I’d go by myself but I think I’d go stir crazy. I wish we had more options for long weekend getaways where we live.

      I also went to a spa last month for the first time in my 36 year life and it was awesome! But totally felt self indulgent and guilty about it.

  5. What’s something you have always wanted to do in life but aren’t doing because you can’t afford it?

    What’s something that you have always wanted to do in life but aren’t doing because of lack of time?

    • Anony Mouse :

      No Money: do a total remodeling/upgrade of my kitchen and bathroom.
      No Time: write a novel.
      No Money and No Time: travel to Australia.

      • Anonymous :

        Sadly, I made the “no money/lots of free time” switch to “money/no free time” and it seems to be permanent. So I never ever travelled except to places I could drive to (cheap gas) if I had a couch to sleep on once I got there; those are some of the best trips of my life and I will never regret living with joy very low on the hog.

        I just renewed my passport praying that I get to use it before it expires.

        No time:
        Writing for leisure
        Spend time with my friends
        Spend meaningful already-unwound time with spouse and children
        Spend time with parents and relatives who aren’t local (this is 95% of them)
        Spend time volunteering with worthwhile community endeavors that are very hands-on (middle school math tutoring, playing music at the hospice)

    • No Money: To buy ridiculously expensive but amazing art pieces.

      No Time: To take a year to cook amazing food out of all the cookbooks on my shelves that I haven’t used enough. I picture this being in like a rural cabin but I realize that acquiring the ingredients would be tough.

    • Swiss Miss :

      No Time: Learn to paint with oils or acrylics. Learn to write a novel and then write said novel.

      No Money: Take a year sabbatical to visit/live in some far flung places.

    • Anonymous :

      No money: basically, everything. I want to travel, I want to move, I want a better life.

      • Anonymous :

        me too! No money: buy a better home, take a vacation, dress better, buy a new car. the list could go on and on. I have time for lots of things, but time frequently isn’t enough. You still need money to do many things.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      No Money: more tattoos, high end travel, get back into playing the harp (that is, buy a damn harp)

      No Time: travel everywhere on the cheap!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      My no money and no time are the same: own a horse. I hope to remedy this one day once my student loans are finally paid back, assuming I can figure out a way to not have as much work travel so I can ride more than once a week.

    • Anonymous :

      No money (or at least, no money that I can responsibly spend in this way): Luxury travel, especially Antarctica, a posh safari in Africa, a luxury small ship cruise and an overwater bungalow in the Maldives.
      No time: can’t really think of anything. I work 9-5 and don’t have kids so I have time to pursue most things I’m interested in and can afford.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I saw an ad on FB for those Maldives resorts and thought they were just so pretty. My second thought, unfortunately, was SHARKS.

        • Anonymous :

          But sharks are awesome! ;) In all seriousness, those bungalow lagoons are only home to reef tip sharks, which are usually no more than a few feet long and totally harmless. Great whites and tiger sharks are the ones you have to worry about, and they can be found much closer home (in California and Hawaii, respectively).

    • No(t enough) money: horse show regularly instead of once a year, continue to add slowly to my very small fine jewelry collection,

      No(t enough) time: learn how to paint, grow a full garden (also lacking space), actually use the small first-timer’s letterpress kit I got for my birthday two months ago

    • no time: Hike the Appalachian trail. It’s been my treasured goal for 20 years now, but first there was university, then grad school, then earning a living/establishing my career, now kids who I can’t just up and abandon for 5 months… every year I feel my dream slipping a little farther away.

      • Don’t give up! I see through-hikers who seem to be of retirement age (really of all ages). Not saying it will take you that long, but don’t give up the dream!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        My dad (who is in terrible shape, so…) waited until my brother and I were both out of the house and went on a cross-country road trip on his own. My mom LOVED being home alone for two months (that is not sarcasm), and my dad had the time of his life. It’s possible!

      • Anon for this. :

        A law school classmate took a work sabbatical and hiked it with his wife and kids. They home schooled on the trail for the year.

    • Can’t afford: to retire early

      No time for: saving more for retirement because I have no time and need to throw money at things.

      It’s a catch-22

    • More time: cook all these recipes I want to try but don’t have the time or energy to do so after work

      More money: buy more jewelry and fine art

      • More money: invest in real estate
        More time: cook a delicious gourmet meal every night, go to the gym more. Basically I just need about two more hours in every day.

    • Sailing lessons. Lack the time and money.

  6. Sloan Sabbith :

    Also, last day of the Lo and Sons summer start sale!

    • Anonymous :

      Do they have sales often? I love the Pearl but would prefer to wait a few months if another sale will roll around

      • Anon in NYC :

        generally around holiday weekends, I’d say.

      • My Pearl only lasted me a year and then broke. I’m considering buying another, but my nice leather bags usually last longer than that. Anyone else have experiences with the Pearl over the long run?

        • Anonanonanon :

          I don’t have an experience with the pearl, but when I had an issue with a bag from there I emailed them and they sent me a new one no questions asked

        • ALX emily :

          I’ve had mine for 3+ years of near-daily use and no issues. I’m not super hard on it but not gentle either – it has survived plenty of planes, being stuffed full, sweated/rained on, etc.

  7. First Paycheck :

    You know the scene in Friends when Rachel gets her first paycheck from the coffeehouse and is upset about how small it is? I’m having a moment like that today.
    I know how much I get paid and I know that it isn’t much. I did the math beforehand and I knew how much my paycheck would be and that that technically (frugally, carefully) I can live off of this amount. So tell me why I’ve spent today crunching numbers and freaking out about how I have no money and I’ll never be able to afford anything*?!
    *anything translates to- my own apartment, a car that isn’t 75% broken down, a few under $50 additions to my work wardrobe. You know, luxuries that are apparently totally unreasonable for someone with a full-time job to be able to afford.
    Any tips for making the most of a small paycheck and not freaking out over it would be appreciated :)

    • KateMiddletown :

      Open seperate bank accounts thru Ally or similar for your savings and just put $20/mo in each (or $100 if bigger goals.) DONT TOUCH and just look again in 3 months. You’ll have a few hundo for a car repair if nothing else, and eventually you’ll get a raise and you’ll adjust your savings up and before you know it you’ll have $5000 for a nicer used car.

      • KateMiddletown :

        I say this as someone who spent the first 4 years of my career at nonprofits getting paid <$24K and $33K. It was such a joy to see my savings hit $5K – I probably almost cried.

    • Anonymous :

      Check your withholding? You may have too many exemptions. Or if you are an intern for the summer, you’ll probably be eligible for a big refund come spring b/c they will withhold like you make that all year (and you probably only have income in the summer).

      • First Paycheck :

        I think my witholding is fine. I don’t have any exemptions that I can tell, and all my deductions are super fun stuff like taxes and mandatory retirement.

    • Anonymous :

      Hi, this is my life. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to it. I knew picking this career path that abysmally low pay was part of the deal, and I’m happy with my job, so I watch my friends move to McMansions and travel while I stay home and watch Netflix.

      Who’s Fica and why is he getting all my money??

    • Anonymous :

      I’m a big believer in looking at your big expenses, rather than trying to cut out small indulgences like the occasional latte or new Target sweater. How little money are we talking? and are you in a HCOL area? If you’re making waitress money in a major city, you probably can’t afford to live alone and your finances will be in much better shape if you accept that and get a roommate(s) rather than trying to scrimp and save in other areas.

      • First Paycheck :

        I’m in a HCOL area but managed to swing crazy low rent by virtue of finding a roommate and an amazing landlord. I’d just like to feel like I can plan for a (somewhat distant) future where I don’t have to have a roommate anymore, you know?
        As for how little, we’re talking <$24k.

        • Yea, you’re going to need to find a job that pays more if you plan to stay in a HCOL area and want to be able to do any of the stuff you mentioned. Sorry to say it, but all the budgeting in the world won’t make up for not earning more. I don’t mean this to come off harsh, as I started my career this way as well. I realized my friends who could swing jobs that paid that low were still receiving support from family/ had trust funds. That was not my situation and I just could not afford to stay in that industry/role.

          • First Paycheck :

            I know my current status isn’t sustainable, but it’s a foot in the door kind of position. I should be able to move up or to a different org with higher pay in about 2 years, I just have to make it work to the point that I can survive (and not have panic attacks at my desk) in the meantime.
            But a trust fund sure would be nice :)

          • Anonymous :

            Agreed, particularly on “apartment of my own”. I live in NYC and make $55k and wouldn’t live on my own. To find a studio in my comfortable price range ($1200-1500 inc utilities) I would have to live somewhere that was vastly less convenient than my current location (30min from work, one train line.) Instead, I live with roommates and pay $900 – like most young people on non-consulting/finance salaries.

        • I don’t know if this is a useful suggestion. I live in a MCOL area. The people I know who make under $30K and have low rents and roommates ALSO have a second job or a side hustle or several side hustles. They babysit, play music gigs, sell on Etsy, drive Uber, work retail, teach an exercise class, etc. Maybe they pay their rent and groceries with their full-time job, but they pay for anything “extra” by working outside of that.

          • Lorelai Gilmore :

            When I was in that position, I taught SAT prep classes on the side. I would also suggest babysitting/evening nanny jobs. In my HCOL area, we pay $25/hour for a reliable, steady babysitter who can pick the kids up from school. You might list it as an “evening nanny” or something like that. Check out care.com or the local mom groups to see if you can find something.

        • Get a second job or side hustle. I live in a HCOL area and do freelance work on the side to supplement my income. It’s also a great way to broaden your network and learn new skills. It’s hard but also empowering.

        • I worked 2 jobs through college and until I was around 30. That extra little bit provided the cushion I needed to not freak out about being one ‘oh crap’ away from financial ruin. The hard part is finding a second job that is flexible enough that you’re not running yourself completely ragged. Those have been harder to find in recent years, as employers more frequently want open availability even for part time gigs.

    • Anonymous :

      Are you getting paid on a different schedule now? At my new job we get paid biweekly, and the difference in paychecks totally freaked me out, untill someone reminded me we have two months a year with three paychecks!

      If not that, then I remind myself that little things to make myself feel better (a new lipstick here, a new shirt there) can be trimmed down. I gave myself an actual budget for fun stuff, and then I didn’t feel guilty using it.

      Also, the car – only commiseration to offer there. My consolation is getting it in good enough shape to trade in and get something cheaper and more reliable.

      • First Paycheck :

        Sadly nope, just transitioning from student job to real world job.
        Technically, according to insurance, my car is currently totaled. It just still runs so I decided not to file a claim (long story, suffice to say I hit an inanimate object). Getting it into decent shape would cost waaay too much, so I need to buy another car, but I can’t really even afford a car payment right now.

        • Anonymous :

          I so, so feel your pain – this was my first job as well. I was able to get my car to Carmax and they gave me 2k for it, even with a gigantic oil leak. That was a useful thing I learned – they will take cars in bad shape and sell them at auction instead of at their lot. This got me the down payment for a cheap car there.

        • Sassyfras :

          Is a car a necessity? Since you live in a HCOL area, I’m assuming public transit might be an option?

          • First Paycheck :

            SEUS so it’s the fantastic confluence of HCOL, public transit that doesn’t run where I need it to go, and long commute. Hooray!

        • Anonymous :

          When I was in a similar situation (entry level public defender in an area with no public transportation and a long commute) I bought an old Honda Civic with my tax refund. That car ran well for 8 years before I decided to upgrade (to another used Honda.)

    • Cornellian :

      In my 20K/year phase, I felt much more secure when I had a couple (admittedly tiny) alternative streams of income. I only ended up babysitting a couple days a month, for example, but it was nice knowing a few families who might call me/fellow sitters who might refer me. I only tutored one high school student a week, but I liked having my foot in that door in case I needed to find a few other families.

      It didn’t vastly change my income situation but it made me less panicked about it because I felt like I had the option to ratchet up my income if I needed to.

    • Side hustle. Walk some neighborhood dogs. Pick up a shift or two a week at a local restaurant or retail store. Bike to work and get fit that way instead of paying for a gym membership or spending your money/sanity on the bus.

      Especially early on in my not-very-well-paying career, in HCOL cities, the side hustle was absolutely crucial.

      • Clementine :

        Yeah, your problem isn’t that you’re ‘bad with money’, it’s that you could use a little extra money.

        I live in the Northeast, but I pay $10-$15 an hour to a babysitter to basically watch Netflix and make sure my house doesn’t burn down. And it’s totally worth it. When I was in my ‘making $12k a year’ in a MCOL city, I picked up a sweet waitressing gig that I regularly made an extra $200 a week at (Friday night and Saturday night). It was hard on my social life, but it was the only way I was able to afford to go to friends’ weddings or on anything vacation-like.

        Good ‘side-hustles’ in my mind are really waitressing, bartending, and babysitting. They generally are cool with a schedule that is after work hours and pay much more per hour than retail. The best gig is working banquets/weddings. A friend of mine worked one, maybe two days a week doing this and made great money. Good luck!

        • Clementine :

          Also (because I feel like I came off very smug married there), yeah- it sucks. You’re supposed to be young and free and fabulous and instead you’re drinking $1 wine coolers from the corner bodega.

        • Cornellian :

          dogwalking! I pay mine 15/half hour (of course this is Manhattan).

          I have a friend who is a contractor for wag who likes it. It doesn’t exist everywhere, but it seems like a good way to avoid setting up a whole new business. sort of like uber for dog walks.

      • Yeah, I think this is the key. Between college and law school I worked 9-5 Monday through Friday and then 5:30-midnight 3-4 days a week in another job. I babysat allll the time and always said yes to the night shift and any babysitting gig that came my way, so that I continued to be the first call to pick up shifts. Are there any things like this you could pick up to scuttle away as much cash as you can?

    • Anonanonanon :

      Side hustle. babysit. do whatever you can.
      Also, like someone else suggested, put aside a small amount each paycheck and in a few months you’ll have a few hundred dollars there. a few hundred dollars is a lot on a small income, it’ll make you feel better to know it’s there.
      You should get a nice big tax refund. Buy yourself something (it’s like a diet, you have to cheat sometimes or you’ll binge) but then put the rest away in a separate account and forget it ever existed until your car blows up.
      This is temporary. This obviously can’t be your forever job. Work you BUTT off, have a great attitude, and in a year start looking. Do everything you can to make sure you have an awesome reference from this job so that you can negotiate a great salary at your next one.
      It’ll seem like a long year, but you’ll look back and be so proud of yourself for doing this on your own, I promise!

    • I made 27k in a HCOL right after undergrad. The starting salary for that job is now 31k.

      I put money in retirement (not much, I think $100/mo, max), paid $700/mo on an apartment I shared with 3 other people, paid for my car which I needed for my job, and paid $112.87/mo on my student loans (this wasnover a decade ago and I still remember the amount). I ate, but basically never went out anywhere. I had $50/mo leftover for savings.

      I eventually got a part time job at a clothing store I shopped at so that I could afford new clothes (which I needed, but could not afford, for work- not anywhere fancy, but too fancy for my research assistant budget). I also babysat for $15/hr (the one upside to the HCOL) on nights and many weekend nights.

      I met my husband at this time and he had a decent paying job. He was the only reason I ate at restaurants or drank a beer at a bar.

      Eventually I went to grad school (paid for by my employer, in part), got a better paying job, then another, then another, then 3 promotions and a decade and a bit later I make something like 6-7x that original starting salary.

      Things I didn’t like at the time but am so, so thankful for:
      – saving into my 401k at all costs
      – saving into a Roth IRA
      – conveying an IRA into a Roth when I was paying 12% taxes. Felt awful at the time but my tax rate is much higher now.
      – learned to live cheaply

    • Others may not agree, but I say don’t worry about the long term. When I lived in a HCOL on 22k (a job that ended up setting me up for an awesome career), I saved a little bit each month to afford to be able to put down first and last month’s rent on my next apartment, and was ruthless about no extra expenses. I brought lunch to work everyday, pre-gamed before going out, never bought little things like gum, etc. and asked for clothes as birthday, Christmas presents from my family. It worked, but it was only two years before I switched jobs. Just try to save a tiny bit each month so that you have some breathing room for your next step.

  8. Summer learn :

    I work at a university and I can take courses here for free. This summer I had planned to take an online GIS course because I think I may need it in my work—environment related research. But it’s now been cancelled, which was disappointing. Since I was already registered I could pick something else but not sure what. FWIW I’m at the stage in life where I don’t need another degree, already have a doctorate but thinking of how I can take advantage of this benefit. What other topics would be of use to someone, especially since I hope to one day transition to a maybe a corporate environment?
    Of course I could still find a way to learn GIS on my own, say finding some online tutorials—if anyone in this fields knows any please leave a comment below.

    • Does it have to be work-related? I think I’d take something just for fun.

    • I’d see if I could take a foreign language, either something I’ve always wanted to learn or one I need to brush up on.

    • A public speaking or business writing/communications course may be helpful, regardless of your field. I’d also probably want to brush up on my finance and accounting courses from undergrad, since I think those are good subjects to know and understand.

      However, if I really had this option, I would probably take something more for fun, like an art history or literature course to stimulate my brain outside of work in a different way.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in a similar boat (I have to pay tuition but it’s super cheap) and I’m taking computer programming this fall. I don’t ever plan to become a developer but think it’s a life skill everyone should know, especially people in my generation (30ish) and younger.

      • I would recommend a journalism course. Learn how to get your idea across to different audiences including those who aren’t in the field. This is important for pretty much every field.

    • Maybe something that could put you into a senior management role later on in your career? Leadership, administration, management, MBA-type courses…

    • SFAttorney :

      You can take a free GIS course from Esri and get a trial account for 60 days. https://www.esri.com/training/

    • Coach Laura :

      Classes toward a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation?

    • notalawyer :

      I was/am with this field and would say that absolutely GIS opens doors even if you just have a cursory knowledge on how to use it. Who did you look into courses with? Was it with ESRI? Sign up for email updates because they offer courses all the time. Do you own the software licence? It can be pretty pricey of you are trying to get it outside an educational institution.

    • Would highly recommend some type of data analysis or programming course if you don’t have this skill set. If you are expecting to use GIS in the future, it is really beneficial to know how to use the data that you will be linking to your shape files! Some ideas for data/programming languages that would be good matches are SAS, R, Python, or Oracle

  9. Migraines :

    Following up on some recent posts about migraines, what do you do to treat and prevent migraines? Any books or journals that helped you identify triggers?

    I’ve had migraines as long as I can remember and after years of otc painkillers, started seeing a neurologist who prescribed triptans. This has been effective for a few years, but last month I had a migraine that was on and off for 30 days (active migraine about 66-75% of the time) and led me to miss quite a bit of work. My new neurologist (sadly my original doctor moved) wasn’t too interested in my migraines and just said he’d prescribe preventative medication if I wanted to try it. I’d rather try lifestyle changes first.

    • – always wear sunglasses outside (bright lights are a big trigger for me)
      – one small cup coffee per day max, no other caffeine
      – another major trigger for me is tension, so no gum, no ponytails, and I got a night guard to deal with my TMJ
      – anytime I’m going to wear a sports bra or something that pushes on my trapezius muscle, I take an advil ahead of time.
      – I wear a very supportive bra that does most of the work with the band, not the straps. When I’m really tense, I wear a strapless bra.
      – try not to ever get super hungry or dehydrated
      – switched birth control
      – got a heating pad for my shoulders and an ice pack for my jaw for times when I’m grinding my teeth harder than usual

      I should give up wine, but I haven’t yet.

      • bluefield :

        I used the ring birth control (do they still make that?) and it gave me weekly migraines. I switched to pills and they went down to once every few months.

        Triggers for me are the weather – a low pressure, cloudy, humid day will make me more migraine-prone.

        I smoke pot for relief. I understand that this may not be everyone’s ideal solution, but it works wonders for me.

    • Magnesium and humidifier.
      There are some studies showing that those who have migraines with aura can greatly reduce the frequency of migraines by taking magnesium. Slashed mine by at least 90%.
      I also figured out that dry air is a big trigger for me and religiously using a humidifier at home and at the office whenever the heat is on was life-changing.

    • 1-2-3 Heal Your Headache was recommended by my doctor and I felt like I just learned a lot in general through it.

      My biggest are:

      -always wear sunglasses outside just like anon above (I have regular glasses so I always carry prescription sunglasses)
      -put lamp in office so I have half the flourescents on plus a regular lamp (flourescents are not great for me)
      -drink lots of water
      -physical massage on neck/eyebrows/temples when I can
      -don’t drink wine or at all if I can sense I’m close to the threshold
      -take imitrex when I think I might need it instead of trying to tough it out; take with caffeine
      -try to get sleep when I can
      -went to copper IUD, hormonal BC is not good for me (even Mirena)
      -don’t get too hungry; carry travel packs of Kirkland trail mix and/or Lara bars

      Do you think you’re getting rebounds from the triptans? It took a few months for me to stabilize with my use of triptans. Taking more than 8-9 a month resulted in major rebound headaches for me. I was also getting crazy rebounds from taking so much ibuprofen. I guess taking 4-6 ibuprofen at a time almost every day is…not great.

      As a side note, I think I mention this every time the conversation turns to migraines, but Sumavel Dosepro (injectable sumtriptan) has changed my life. I still mostly use imitrex (pills) but when I need the shots, there is nothing like it.

    • I take the following supplements preventively – they are known to decrease migraines:

      Magnesium (you can keep increasing your dose until you get diarrhea, then decrease it to just below that level. I take 1200 mg per day)
      Riboflavin (I take 800 mg per day)
      CoQ10 (at least 400 mg per day, takes a while to kick in)
      Omega-3 supplements (I take 4000 mg of fish oil per day)

      The low-tyramine diet helped me, and going gluten-free helped me. Evidently for a lot of people with some type of gluten sensitivity it manifests as migraines. Thyroid problems can also cause migraines, so you may want to consider being screened for hypothyroidism or subclinical hypothyroidism.

      I don’t have any caffeine, and I restrict my use of NSAIDs and triptans to avoid rebound headaches.

      I exercise every day – at least 30 minutes of cardio. And I try to drink 100 ounces of water per day.

      I haven’t done botox or a nerve block but considered them.

      All of these were recommended by my migraine specialist at a nationally recognized migraine clinic; I was sent there by my regular, in-town neurologist. Highly regarded national clinics include one at Johns Hopkins, one at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the Diamond clinic in Chicago. There are probably more, but those are the ones I looked at.

      If you are having a migraine that lasts longer than 72 hours it might qualify as a Status Migrainous, which sometimes requires different treatment in order to “break” the migraine.

      If your neurologist is not willing to work with you, try to find another. You shouldn’t have to live with a constant migraine.

    • A friend who gets terrible migraines has started a ketogenic diet, which she says helps enormously.

    • New Tampanian :

      Thanks for posting this. It’s good knowledge for me. I think stress, lack of sleep, and hormones triggered mine. I took a break from my birth control (not having sex with anyone, wanted to reset because I take them 3 months at a time) and the day after I went to the hospital I got my period. ugh.

    • You had a month long migraine. Do you love pain or something? Take the preventative meds your doctor wants to prescribe!!

    • Why wouldn’t you try the preventative? I’ve been suffering migraines for about 25 years, since a young child. I now take a mix if propranolol and Tristan to control my migraines, and it works. I now have a referral for Botox which will hopefully reduce or obviate my need for both.

      • Clearly it should be Triptan… autocorrect

      • I second this. If you have been suffering for a long time, this is a must, and I expect once you see a neuro she will prescribe one. FWIW, I take a few anti-seizure medicines, which are highly effective at preventing my migraines (have been getting them for about 30 years). I have a few different abortive medicines I can take if I have a breakthrough migraine (triptans, muscle relaxers, and if it lasts more than 3 days, steroids to avoid an ER trip).

    • Sunshine20806 :

      I second the mouth guard. I used to get 10+ migraines per month and would sometimes wake up with them. I had my dentist make me a mouthguard which cut my migraines down to 1-3 per month. Mine seem to be related to stress and hormones because I get them the same week as my period. I have started to take OTC meds as soon as I feel one coming on and can stave the off about 2/3 of the time if I catch them before they are over the threshold.

  10. Swiss Miss :

    I’ve been there.

    This is more of an anxiety-stopping by response than a suggested-action-response, but when I’m anxious about money, it helps me to remember what makes me feel the happiest/at peace– sitting on a sunny park bench looking at the sky, having a conversation with an old friend, playing with my niece, hiking, listening to music that makes me nostalgic… nothing that requires money.

    Keep at it one day at a time. You’ll get through this phase.

  11. Exercise Induced Asthma? :

    Does anyone here have exercised induced asthma? Did an inhaler help you? I was recently diagnosed with such. I was previously a runner but over the past several years my endurance decreased dramatically and I would beat myself up over “falling out of shape” but it looks like the asthma played a large role. Recent runs have been very discouraging but I pick up my new albuterol inhaler today and want to get back into running. I was instructed to use it 15 minutes before exercise.

    • Yes! Inhaler made a huge difference for me.

    • Yes, take as directed 15-20 min before exercise. Game changer!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      No experience, but in case it wasn’t mentioned, albuterol can make your heart beat like crazy. It’s not at all fun, but you’re ok.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        And cause massive shakiness.

      • Funny (in retrospect) story– In high school, I went to the doctor with shortness of breath issues. I was having panic attacks that caused shortness of breath, but he assumed I had mild asthma and gave me an albuterol inhalor. OH MY GOD. I thought my heart was going to explode. I used my inhaler a grand total of once.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I did in high school. The inhaler really helped but the medicine drove up my already too high heart rate so I got a bit of a weird jittery anxious feeling from it. Like if you had too much caffeine. Not an issue while actually running but it made it take longer to return to my resting heart rate after stopping. YMMV.

    • Asthma novel below–skip if not interested.

      Yes, I have had moderate to severe allergy and exercise induced asthma since birth. I played a DI sport in college. I have seen about a million allergists and pulmonologists over the years, and consider myself pretty darn knowledgeable when it comes to asthma. If you are not seeing an asthma specialist, you should…always. It’s shocking to me how little GPs know about asthma. Really–take the time to seek out a specialist. Even if you think your asthma is mild, it’s good to understand how to handle it in case it is not mild, especially because it’s affecting your workout routine!

      Your doctor really should have you on two meds–a steroid to reduce inflammation as a baseline (and when the inflammation caused by exercise happens) and albuterol pre-exercise/as a rescue inhaler. So you should probably have two inhalers–something like Pulmicort/Symbicort/Advair etc, and your albuterol. There’s a whole AMAZING class of drugs that came to market about 20 years ago called anti-leukotrienes that are game-changers in terms of asthma, especially exercised-induced asthma, the most common of which is Singulair. These work at the molecular level to stop the asthma reaction both before it starts and when your body is having it’s freak-out. I went from taking my albuterol 20-30 times A DAY to only a few times a day when I was in college. They were life changing for me. If the inhaler does not seem to be sufficient to relax the wheezing, tightening in your chest, and light coughing, ask your doctor about anti-leukotrienes.

      As other posters have mentioned, you may not be used to how shaky and lightheaded albuterol makes you feel. It’s also very important that (1) you take your inhaler with you when you run and (2) you use a spacer properly to take your inhaler when you do take it. If your doctor did not instruct you on how to use a spacer or give you one, call your doctor back and ask that a spacer be prescribed. The difference in how much medicine you get is something like 70% more–it’s enormous. You must have a spacer. You must.

      Also note that even if your asthma is exercised-induced, there is a pretty significant hormonal component to asthma–it can be much worse in the days leading up to your period, so you can have an unexpectedly bad reaction to a workout that you do at a different time of month. Most GPs fail to mention this. It’s a big deal if you are an adult woman!

      In addition, cold and dry air can be asthma triggers. This is why many asthmatics are given the advice to try swimming–the damp of the water can be helpful to calm your lungs as you exercise. If running is too hard for you, see if swimming might work as a new form of exercise for you.

      Further, there is both research and my own personal, over the years anecdata has confirmed that some generic albuterol is just not as good as Proventil HFA. So you may want to ask your doctor to check the “DO NOT SUBSTITUTE GENERIC” box on your Rx. After they removed CFCs from albuterol, it’s never been as effective as before.

      Also–please be careful with this next bit of advice, but know that it’s a thing–there is substantial research that suggests that you can “trigger” exercise induced asthma and then after the trigger, your body will release enough endorphins to relax your airways. This is pretty much how I got through HS sports. I would take my inhaler, warm up/exercise to the point that my asthma was triggered, ride out the attack (usually a few minutes of discomfort/take inhaler again) and then I would be fine. This is sort of “advanced” though, and PEOPLE CAN DIE FROM ASTHMA, so I suggest you take it easy and not try this on your first go. But know that it’s a thing, doctor-confirmed. You can also google the “paper-bag method” which a variation on this.

      If you have more questions–page me or post an email and I will reach out to you.

      • Wow, thank you for all of the information! I do wish my doctor had been a bit more thorough on explaining some things – I didn’t know there could be a second medication and I definitely plan on looking into it. She acted like there should be no reason for me to come back as “the inhaler should help you,” but I want to see a specialist. I’ll need a referral though.

        I even get winded in the morning going into work as I have to park my car at the bottom of a hill, walk up a large flight of stairs, climb the rest of the hill, and then walk up more stairs inside. It’s a lot but it’s embarrassing to feel short of breath and tight chested after. I do know that my inhaler has a spacer. I’m concerned about this fast heartbeat/shaky feeling that people are describing – I don’t drink caffeine at all and when I did, I got shaky after just one cup of coffee. I plan on trying it this weekend before a run, here goes nothing! Thanks again for everyone’s advice and especially this novel which I have saved for future reference!

    • anon4this :

      You’ve gotten some great advice here, so I won’t say much but I will say – bring your inhaler with you when you run! My doc recommended using 10-15 minutes before exercise and then as needed, so at first I didn’t bring it with me, but you really don’t want to be stuck four miles from home and wishing you had it. My asthma is mild, so not as dangerous as it would be for other people, but I bring it with me on all my 3+ mile runs just in case.

  12. Shopping fails –
    I’d heard great things about Grana here, so I bought online a couple of Chinese silk items:
    – Contrast Shell top
    – Silk half-sleeved shirt in coral

    The contrast shell top is incredibly short. It is a very cropped top with midriff showing, barely (sort of) bust covering. Fit is ok otherwise so it’s not small all over, just the length.
    The silk shell is oddly shaped. It is longer on the sides than the front, and also short – just barely reaching the waistband of a high-waisted pencil skirt so I couldnt tuck in. And if I wear it with jeans it will be midriff baring.

    Both items are going back, so disappointed and now looking to buy a couple of $30-$40 mulberry silk tops from amazon instead.

    • In other news, the Boden Elsa Ottoman Dress is my holy grail. I want it but can’t bring myself to spend $140 on one dress.
      Can anyone suggest a cheaper substitute (short sleeves, waist seam, thickish fabric cotton blend, lining, waist darts), ask me to wait for a sale, or talk me into buying it?

      • You should be able to find a 20% off coupon through their mail catalog or searching “Boden coupon code.”

      • You can defintely get them for $40 if you go to the Boden Sample Sales. Google or call them and ask when they will next have one. They tend to have them in the NE corridor–Boston to Philly, a few times a year.

        Check their clearance section too–the items in Sale are different from Clearance.

      • If you are in PA or near Boston sign up for Boden’s email/mailing list – they have sample sales every October and June. Dresses are $40. Also, there is an outlet in Pittston, PA (outside of Scranton) – same deal.

      • I have it in black and it’s totally worth it. I’ve worn it about once a week for two years now and it still looks great.

        Definitely sign up for the emails. They send you coupons regularly. Prices also fluctuate regularly.

        Also, I do the trick where I will put something in my cart at boden and leave it there for a few days. They usually will send you a code for 15% off.

        I think boden is usually high quality. Much more so than j crew, etc.

      • In-House in Houston :

        Have you checked eBay? I’ve purchased many Boden items on eBay. You can schedule an alert so any time a new Boden item is listed, you’ll get an email. You’d be surprised what’s available on eBay.

    • Do you like the Mulberry Silk tops? I’ve been searching for some, but I’ve avoided Grana due to the bad fit reviews I’ve read elsewhere.

  13. Is there such a thing as a very lightweight breathable jacket with a UPF rating? I’m looking for something to wear in the summer on my walking commute for sun protection so I don’t have to lather up with sunscreen on my way out of the office. Everything I have found with long sleeves is way too hot for commuting in hot temps.

    • cat socks :

      The blogger at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe did a post about her skin cancer update and recommended some UPF clothing items.

      https://www.melskitchencafe.com/skin-cancer-suncare-update/

    • Check out Coolibar or UV Skinz

    • Diana Barry :

      I would wear a LS UPF top from Athleta and then bring your work top in your bag to put on at work.

  14. Bald lawyer :

    Reposting here as the weekend thread went up while I was writing my original comment and I suspect no one will see it now otherwise…

    I’ve just learned I need some minor surgery on my head, which will necessitate shaving a fairly large patch of my hair, in a position that can’t really be concealed (right on top of my crown). I have no idea what to do about my hair at work,and in general.

    I have rocked the Sinead O’Connor look previously so the option of shaving my head entirely is not as horrifying as it would be for most women,but I’m now a fairly junior lawyer in a large commercial firm. I’m confident the partners I work for (particularly the head of department, who is my main source of work) would be relaxed about whatever I did – shave, wigs, wear a bandana (I was considering the retro “land girl” type look as this would cover the surgery area but show off my hair at the front still). However, some of my clients are quite conservative and may not be so comfortable with an unusual hairstyle, even if it’s a consequence of a medical issue.

    What should I do? I’m erring towards shaving my head and buying a wig for client meetings (it’s high summer here, windy, and truth be told I’m rather intrigued by the prospect of having super short hair again so I don’t wish to wear one 24/7). I feel like bandanas/hats etc would look too casual and unprofessional, and attract more questions than a buzz cut would, and I don’t want to wear something that makes people think I’m a chemo patient and deal with the awkward conversations that would cause.

    Is there some magical solution I’m missing? What would Corporette do?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Wide headband at the front of your hair, maybe?

      OH! Would clip in bangs solve it?

      • Bald lawyer :

        Sorry, I think I may have mis-described what’s happening…head anatomy isn’t my strong point! It’s on the very top of my head towards the back (right before the curve down at the back) that’s going to be shaved. So too far back for a hairband I suspect :(. I am wondering about extensions but I think I’d need a bit of growth first and I’m worried about the upkeep/expense :(.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          OH! Or maybe my head-geography is all off.

          If you want some perspective on extensions/fake hair: I wear fake hair like once a week to work, when I just can’t be assed to get my rainbow hair in a bun that doesn’t show the rainbow – a clip on bun type thing or floofy ponytail. No one notices. I think especially with clients who won’t know the backstory, no one will give it much thought at all.

          • Anonymous :

            Your hair sounds cool :).

            I wonder if a combination of moving my parting and adding some extensions to thicken the hair enough to hide the bald spot would work.

    • Anonymous :

      Could you switch your part and add clip-in extensions? Or wear a permanent top-knot until it’s long enough to cut into a longer pixie?

      • Bald lawyer :

        Switching the parting is a good shout actually, it may work depending on how badly they butcher my hair in the end. Thanks.

        Sadly it’s too short for a top knot. One of the reasons I’m so frustrated is I’ve literally just spent a year painfully growing out a pixie cut (did the worst of the mullet-y bit while hidden away on secondment to a client in the middle of nowhere haha) and now it’s finally through the tricky stage…I’m probably going to have to cut it again!

        • Anonymous :

          Ooh, that is rough! If you go with trying to change the part you can try root touch up powder too on any sections peaking through! I know some people use that for thinning sections of their hair

    • Maybe a group of clip-in extensions nearby and you could arrange them to cover the spot? (Pull that bit of hair back in a barr3tte, maybe?)

      • Bald lawyer :

        Everyone is suggesting extensions, so I shall bite the bullet and ask my hairdresser about them :).

    • You need what used to be called a wiglet or a “fall”. It’s a section of hair you clip or hook onto your hair with a barrette or a comb. It was used to give women volume at the crown when that was en vogue. You should be able to get one matched to your hair at an old school wig shop. You’ll have to throw some money at it to get one that doesn’t look like something died on your head POTUS-style, but there are really good quality wiglets out there.

  15. Restroom breaks :

    My new office has only one restroom on each floor (stalls), and I have to walk through the office past the front desk greeters, exit my department, and go into the main lobby.

    It’s a hassle and kind of embarrassing. I’m trying to drink more water lately, and I’m a big coffee drinker, so I am a frequent restroom visitor. I don’t want people to think I’m shirking work or taking too many breaks (not a senior employee), because frankly it’s a huge hassle and I’d rather not have to spend an extra 5 minutes every break just traveling to the restroom.

    • bluefield :

      FWIW, I used to have the office right next to the bathroom at my old job. I sat there for 5 years and I honestly couldn’t tell you who used the bathroom when, how often, or how long they were in there, and it was a small office so I knew who everyone was. I can almost guarantee that no one is noticing.

    • First off, no need to be embarrassed. Everyone uses the bathroom.

      I used to work in an office with a similar setup where I had to walk a full city block to get to the bathroom. The distance was fine, but my colleagues would stop me to talk as I walked by their offices/cubes. Sometimes I had to say, “I’ll catch you on the way back.”

    • Yay! Open Thread’s! I love open threads and can add value for the OP!

      I agree there is NOT any need to be embarassed about haveing to go to the toilet. We all do, and even famous people use the restrooms, so say to yourself, as my Grandma Leyeh told me:

      “Even the Queen of Sheba had to go make poopie, and it surely did NOT smell like Channel #5!”

      With her wisdom, I learned NOT to be afraid to go to the toilet, even when Frank would literaly run into the toilet immediately after I came out. I swear he did that b/c he wanted to see what I did, or at least sniff! FOOEY! He is very wierd that way. His wife I think puts up with it b/c he has a big paycheck, but really?

      So do not be defensive for haveing to do what we all do. The other OPs are right– they are NOT really looking at you, and if they are, they should not be, as they too are goeing to the toilet. So drink all the water you want, and be glad you are getting more steps in each day goeing to the toilet! YAY!!!!!

  16. Anonymous :

    Friends of ours just received a pretty devastating diagnosis for their child. I want to do *something,* but I feel like a food delivery is weird? Any suggestions? They are in DC, are serious about food/wine, but eat a very health diet. Was thinking having Dean and Deluca deliver something for them, but can’t decide if it’s appropriate in the circumstances. Thoughts?

    • Anonanonanon :

      Are they going to be at a hospital a lot, or is it past that? Gift cards to fast food places near the hospital (or grocery stores near the hospital), money for the hospital parking garage, offers to babysit if they have another kid they’ll need help with… jeez I don’t know. This is so, so tough. I’m so sorry for them :(

      • Anonymous :

        Probably not a ton of hospital time quite yet — they still need some time to figure out their options :( These are wonderful, thoughtful ideas. I also should add it’s the owner of my company, who is also a social friend, but is also extremely well-off and technically my boss. My husband thinks we should hold off until they know more (also not public knowledge yet), but I don’t know – I want to do something for them. Just can’t figure out if sending fancy mixed nuts is tone deaf in the moment or a sign that, hey we’re here for you.

        • Since it’s your boss, I’d hold off on any kind of gift, but I think a card or note would be appropriate.

      • Could you find out whether there’s a Starbucks or other coffee shop in or near wherever the child is likely to get treated? I’ve done that for parents before, and it went over well. I felt like, if I were the parents, it’d be nice to be able to get myself a latte (or tea or whatever) while in the waiting room or on the way home, but I probably wouldn’t want to spend the money on myself.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      If they’re going to be spending time in the hospital, h*ll yeah it’s appropriate. Hospital food sucks. A hospital gift basket can also be nice- a warm blanket, socks/slippers for the kiddo, food, gift card to a coffee shop if they have one in the hospital, puzzle books and pencils/pens, a nice notebook/pen, eye mask, chocolate, their favorite snacks, tiny bottles of wine (and possibly a “waterbottle” that’s not see-through), etc. This can even be nice if they just need a pick me up and will be spending a lot of time at the hospital for appointments, even if they’re not going to be admitted.

    • Zingerman’s does amazing gift baskets. If you call them they can customize one for about any occasion.

    • Anonymous :

      Sorry but fancy mixed nuts sound tone deaf to me. They are probably shocked right now and running around for doctors appointments and the like. The last thing they need is to come home to a FedEx slip that says we couldn’t drop off a package bc you weren’t home — so now pls visit our depot 30 miles away.

      And as a company owner, he’s well to do so anything like parking garage fees also seems misplaced.

      I’d wait. You want them to know you’re thinking of them? Send them a text/email (with no expectations of response) saying — I’m thinking of you, let me know if there’s anything you need.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to the tone-deafness

        I got a few gifts like that when I had a miscarriage.

        Since you’re local, gifts of time might be good — if there is a dog to walk or other child to tend to. Also, depending on age, washable markers / paper / stickers / stuff you can keep in a backpack for the sick kid and siblings may help them fill time / do something fun to them. Kindness to the family is always important.

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks. In full disclosure, the news relates to a child that has not yet been born. They will have hard decisions to make. And I think they will seek comfort wherever they can find it, and I also feel compelled to send something because they sent lots of food after my father passed away.

          No other children/pets.

          • For right now, a nice note. Later on, food/meals. I know a couple who went through similar devastating news and subsequent choices and they were touched by people who sent food.

          • Anon in NYC :

            Agreed. A nice note. Later, once they’ve made their decisions, food.

          • Anonymous :

            I gave birth to a stillborn baby not long ago. Cards meant a lot. I received more flowers than I knew what to do with – the two bouquets I received before/during my delivery were the ones I appreciated the most. The others I also appreciated, particularly for the thought, but there were too many at once. We received a couple of meals, at a time when we weren’t going to feed ourselves well otherwise, and those were greatly appreciated.

            However you reach out to them, they’ll feel and appreciate your support.

        • Anonymous :

          I think you are both right, and we aren’t going to send at this time. Thanks for the input, and I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Oh this is so hard. A group of friends recently put together a gift set for mom/dad/baby in a similar (though less awful) situation. Something age appropriate for baby (though in certain circumstances you might not want a gift… god), and then comfort/healthy snacks for the parents + something like a seamless gift card. Not so much because they couldn’t get those things for themselves, but because we wanted them to know we were thinking of them and sending them support.

    • One of my friends from college just had a baby born (inexplicably) without brain function. So it became very clear, very quickly that it was an infant hospice situation. I think what she and her husband needed was space, kindness, and acknowledgment of their loss, akin to how you might treat a close friend who had a miscarriage. You don’t really want to get a “gift” but if there is some kind of remembrance-type thing you could do (if the baby is born, a frame for footprints, or a plaster cast for them or similar, or a frame for the ultrasound, if the baby is not going to be born) or just a really lovely note saying that you know the baby was very loved would be a kind an appropriate thing to do. Also, after the initial outpouring of support, my friend felt very alone, so it would be kind if you calendared “reaching out” reminders or send additional cards saying they are in your thoughts, etc.

      • Anonymous :

        I would treat a friend who lost an infant child more like a friend who has lost an older child than like a friend who had a miscarriage. A miscarriage is very sad, but it’s not remotely the same thing as the death of a baby after going through the trauma of labor and delivery.

    • bluefield :

      This might be a little outside of the box, but depending on the kid’s diagnosis there may be organizations that provide support for families going through exactly this. When my cousin’s son got cancer, there was a group that basically swooped in and delivered a bunch of hospital necessities (blankets, pillows, toys) and hooked them up with other families. Could you do some legwork and find a group like that, and pass the info along?

  17. Has anyone used Home Polish or a similar service? I have a couple of large blank walls that are staring at me and I can’t figure out what to put on them. I don’t love gallery walls or clutter and was hoping a service could help with a design for those walls and make my place feel a little more put together. I am hesitant, though, to drop a few hundred dollars if I can just figure that out on my own my looking through pinterest/houzz.

  18. Anonymous :

    Just saw this, and I think it looks pretty amazing. Thought I would share. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsk. The illustrations look amazing and I support the idea behind this book.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/huc/view.html?ie=UTF8&newItems=C3LKQHU1HEI4OL%2C1

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      She has a set of corresponding postcards, 100 postcards with a set of 2 for each woman. They are fantastic. I send them to my nieces and godson and friends’ kids, adding little facts I find on Wikipedia about each woman.

  19. This might be a strange question. For those of you who shower at night, do you apply deodorant at night and reapply in the morning? Or just in the morning? Showering at night seems like a good way to get ready faster in the morning. I currently shower twice and I need to cut up time spent getting ready.

    • Actually antiperspirant (vs deo) is better applied at night only, as it works better after a thorough absolution.

    • Yep.

    • Anonymous :

      Just in the morning. I don’t sweat much at night though.

    • Anonymous :

      Just in the morning. I go to bed after I shower so I don’t see why I would need to put deodorant on then.

    • I apply antiperspirant at night and don’t reapply in the morning (although if it has been a sweaty night I’ll freshen up with a washcloth and might reapply).

    • Anonymous :

      I apply a stronger antiperspirant (right now Secret Clinical) and apply normal deodorant (right now Degree) in the morning.

    • I apply deoderant/antiperspirant after the shower and when I wake up. I’ve always showered at night, I’m not putting myself through that hassle in the morning!

    • Cookbooks :

      In the morning.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      It may sound weird, I don’t use deodorant anymore. I don’t seem to generate body odor even if a sweat a lot (i.e., exercise), and I think I was just using it because I thought I was supposed to. My husband doesn’t use it either.

      • My husband’s best friend doesn’t either. I think he doesn’t know how he smells to others. I’m sure he is used to his “aura.”

    • notalawyer :

      Interesting question. When I was home with my kids weaned myself off antiperspirant and now make my own deodorant with baking soda, coconut oil, and essential oils. Now I am going back to work I am paranoid it might not be enough? I am probably more afraid of pit staining my good clothes than smelling bad though.

  20. anonymous :

    I could use some wise words about a family problem.

    My brother is gay. He has been out to my parents for 15 years. He’s now 30. My mother is very Catholic, and has never been able to accept that my brother can be gay and also lead a good / fulfilling life. I support my brother 100%, and I’ve had many, many talks about this with my mother over the years. I used to be hopeful that she would eventually come around, but this possibility seems increasingly remote. I think she is truly concerned for his well being, but in a way that is harmful to him, and that I can’t accept.

    At this point, their “disagreement” colors almost every interaction I have with my family. My brother has gone through some long periods of not talking to my mother because of this. My father “doesn’t want to take sides,” which is also problematic. I’m torn between trying to be an advocate for my brother and emotionally distancing myself from the situation because it’s very sad.

    Has anyone else been here? Did anyone have a good outcome? I’m feeling hopeless.

    • Anonymous :

      Srsly, what does she think of priests who are gay (but celibate, obvs)? Is it the orientation that is the problem? Or more than that?

      • Anonymous :

        I would assume, based on people I know in the same boat, that she loves him “despite” the orientation or maybe even accepts the orientation but disapproves of any actions he takes in that direction. Some religious people believe there’s nothing wrong with having those feelings, but acting on them is wrong. But obviously if the brother wants to have a normal life and date, eventually marry, etc., his mother’s views present a big roadblock to them having a relationship.

    • I’m sorry– that is so, so hard. My sister is in this situation and luckily our parents are the only members of the family who are more or less ok with it, so it’s not an issue there. As for the rest of our family who is very religious and conservative, we basically just try not to talk about it, but my sister is definitely more distant from the family than she would have been/would like to be if they would accept her.

      Honestly, I wonder if your mother would be open to counseling so that she can work through this/ learn to accept that there is nothing she can do to change the fact that her son is gay, as painful as that might be for her. Maybe if she accepts that she can’t change him she will find a way to stop dwelling on it? Obviously I don’t think your mother has a valid reason to be worried about your brother, but I doubt you will really be able to change her mind if you haven’t already. Maybe taking the smaller step and helping her realize that all her worrying and talking about it won’t change him would be helpful progress?

      With my family, we’ve been able to basically get them to compartmentalize their belief that being gay is wrong and keep that separate from their equally strong love for my sister.

      This was quite rambley and probably not very helpful, but I feel for you!

    • Anononope :

      I think your mom is so profoundly in the wrong here that it’s hard for me to hope for “a good outcome” other than her getting her sh*t together. As you sort of acknowledge, it’s not a “disagreement” when Brother says, “I am this” and Mom says, “Then you can’t possibly be good.” It’s… well, it’s something worse than a disagreement.

      What does your brother do? If he’s done with her, I’d probably be done with her too. If he’s maintaining something superficial, I’d follow his cues.

      • My brother hasn’t talked to her for a year now. My mom very much wants to re-establish a relationship with him, but would also react very badly to hearing about who he’s dating / any of the queer aspects of his life.

        I talk with my parents on the phone (we live in different states) but it is hard to be close to them.

        • Anononope :

          …sigh… It’s so sad that she wants to re-establish a relationship with him, but isn’t willing to *accept who he is* to do it.

        • Anonymous :

          Let your brother live his life. It’s not healthy to have toxic family members in your life (I know from experience).

          Your mom has the problem. If she won’t wake up and realize she’s a bigot, then she can’t have a relationship with him.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Long shot perhaps, but what about going with her to a PFLAG meeting so she can hear some positive outcome stories?

      Or maybe watching some It Gets Better videos of adults with fulfilling and good lives – there was one I remember (it reminds me of some friends of mine) where they were kind of 40ish guys, married, kids, one a doctor or lawyer and they were saying how their lives are really middle class ordinary and kind of dull…maybe it would make her think that his entire life won’t be some outre, campy, glory hole orgy (if that is what is worrying her).

      • Never too many shoes... :

        In case it was not implicit in my comment, there is nothing wrong at all with the above choices, more that perhaps your mother would feel better hearing about some real life gay people with “normal” looking lives.

        • Anonymous :

          This.

          If she doesn’t really feel comfortable with the gay-ness, it is probably b/c she is assuming the worst. I’ve always lived in what we jokingly call a gayborhood and my neighbors are the most wonderful, yet completely boring, people.

          My straight lifestyle might give the Duggars pause, but b/c my orientation is vanilla, my parents never had the vapors. IDK if could gently suggest that a single-30-year old guy is not (you hope) sitting home and watching TV on weekend nights, regardless of orientation. And if he were straight, it might not be so lovely except that the gender of the partner(s) is different.

    • Fr James Martin, SJ is a Jesuit priest who has a new book called Building a Bridge- it’s about embracing LGBT people in the Church. This might be a trusted voice for her to learn to treat your brother with more compassion and understanding

    • Anonynous :

      This might be not what you were expecting to hear, but have you thought of seeing a counselor for yourself? Seeing someone has really helped me talk through things and frustrations without it being a family member.

      Also, a counselor could help you set some boundaries and expectations. Coming from a family with some pretty severe problems, I easily felt responsible and that I was the only one that could help fix things.

      A counselor could also give some insight on how to approach the situation and your mother.

    • Why do you discuss this with her?

      “Mom if you’re gonna be hateful I’m hanging up. Mmmkay bye.”

    • Anon for this :

      If socializing or seeing your mother hurts you, make the effort to explain that to her and suggest therapy for her and/or for the two of you together. If she refuses, you don’t have to keep going with her. Just because you’re related doesn’t mean she gets to poison your world with her presence. Whether this is deserved or not is your call, it’s your world and your choice who gets to be in it. If someone is harmful to your mental/emotional health and is unwilling to do the work to find a solution, you get to distance or remove yourself. That’s not being a bad child or bad person, that’s you having boundaries and not letting someone else’s choices bring negativity into your life. You deserve happiness and you get to control who is in your world! <3

    • notalawyer :

      Does she have grandkids? She probably just wants grand babies and once she has them might relax and chill.

  21. mother help :

    I’m borderline estranged from my 60-year-old mom. She is divorced and relatively isolated with few friends. She means well but is an unpleasant frustrating person (an opinion shared by all my friends who have met her). I’m sorry to sound cold, but I don’t love or like her so I keep my distance as much as I can, even though this makes her very sad. Basically I do the minimum in terms of Mother’s Day/birthday greetings and infrequent short visits. She’d like a lot more but it is unpleasant for me to talk to her so I think it’s an okay compromise.

    I just learned from my sister that my mom needs major surgery next month. Sister asks if I’ll fly out and take care of her for a week of recovery. Sister lives locally and can do some care but says she can’t take that much time off work. For what it’s worth, I’m also not close to my sister, who’s a lot like my mother.

    I so don’t want to. I hate illness and being around hospitals, I hate being around my mother, this is the absolute last thing I want. But if I don’t, who will?

    I know it’s late but I would love to hear any advice about how to proceed…

    • Anonymous :

      This probably won’t be a popular opinion, but I am not someone who thinks you have to stand by family no matter what. I wouldn’t do it. Can you throw money at a home nurse? I would offer to do that instead.

    • Anonymous :

      I would go, unless your mom has done something really cruel or unforgivable to you that justifies cutting off contact. If your mom is just garden variety unpleasant, I think it’s sort of your duty to go. It would also be very rude to your sister to not go and leave her with 100% of the burden. I think not liking hospitals or sick people is a pretty terrible excuse. Nobody really likes those things but most people s*ck it up and go when an immediate family member is having surgery.

      • I completely agree. Not being there for your mom during her time of need could be a mistake of a lifetime. We are put on this earth to be compassionate beings, and not give our family the cold shoulder just because we don’t feel like helping. The fact that you do not like hospitals and find your mom frustrating do not seem like a compelling reason to ignore her pain during this time of need. You need to go at least for a short time.

    • Anonymous :

      This is why I laugh when people here act like having two or more children guarantees none of your kids will be left alone to deal with you as you age. My husband is your sister in this situation. It’s awful having a sibling who doesn’t care about him or their parents and won’t lift a finger for anyone. He is so hurt and feels far more alone with respect to elder care than I do as an only child.

      90% of life is showing up. Show up.

      • Anonymous :

        Show up, sure, but I’m with anon at 9:58 that if you can enlist other outside help, do so. That could be a home nurse, or one of those few friends of your mom’s, or really anyone else who has neutral to positive experiences with her. Even if all they do is talk to her and keep her occupied while you do something around the house or run an errand – though I’m sure more help would be appreciated. It sounds like given your current relationship she wouldn’t expect 100% you all the time.

      • I mean, yes, most of life is showing up. But that other 10% is also important, and you are, for a lot of us with difficult families, oversimplifying the matter.

        My mental health is also super important, and my mother is pretty unpleasant and awful (and used to be more so). I get along well with my brother and think the world of him and my SIL, but I refuse to do the heavy lifting with my mother for my own mental health. Period, full stop.

        I’d throw money at this problem and be a sounding board/organizer for my sibling. I would go, but I wouldn’t stay a week. And I don’t think, under the circumstances that it’s unreasonable to feel that way.

        • Sometimes, yes, you need to protect your mental health. But are you just making excuses to make yourself feel better about ignoring her? So far you haven’t given much info to explain why your mother is so awful.

          • Anonymous :

            +1. To be frank, I find most of my relatives, including my parents and siblings, unpleasant and frustrating at times and maybe even a majority of the time. My parents have each other (for now) but they are also very isolated with few friends, thanks in large part (in my opinion anyway) to their self-centeredness and tendency to brag about their wealth. But I would go in a heartbeat if one of them was having major surgery. If your mother has verbally abused you or betrayed you in spectacular fashion, I can understand not going. But the fact that you didn’t mention anything along those lines and that you chose to describe her in pretty generic “annoying relative I’m not close to” terms suggests to me she’s probably not evil or abusive. And in that case, I really, really think you should go.

          • Anonymous :

            The person you’re responding to said below that her mom was abusive. Let’s take her word on that. Abuse fundamentally changes a relationship. You are under no obligation to subject yourself to further emotional harm by providing aid and comfort to your abuser.

          • I’m gonna assume the posters who are asking whether someone is making excuses are not talking to me. Because I assure you, I am not, and if you can’t understand why someone wouldn’t rush to their abisive mother’s side, there’s nothing I can do to make you a more empathetic person.

            Adult children of abuse is parents have, often, complicated relationships with their parents. My brother knows some, but not all, of what my mom did. He may think I don’t carry my weight, but I don’t want to get into my own trauma with him.

            I still see her sometimes, because if I didn’t I would be isolated from my entire family. None of us like her, but she’s my mother and it’s complicated. But the idea that I, or anyone else with a complex and hurtful relationship with their mother is obligated to be a caretaker is hurtful and wrong.

        • Anonymous :

          Based on your comment below, I think your situation is quite different than OP’s. You said your mom was both emotionally and physically abusive. OP said her mom was “unpleasant.” Those are worlds apart.

          • That’s fair. I offered my experience as a counter to the knee-jerk reaction that “OF COURSE you need to go!”

            I don’t tell people IRL that my mom was abusive. It’s none of their business. I often use “unpleasant” and “difficult” as adjectives that will make people understand we’re not close without having to answer a ton of questions.

            But even in my case, I would still go. Just not as a primary caretaker. And certainly not for a week. But I don’t think there’s one right answer.

        • Anonynous :

          I’m with ELS on this.

          I’d show up and stay for a few days (2-3 MAX), hire some in home care for the week, stay at a hotel, drive her to and from the hospital, arrange meals, etc. These are the things I think you could do that don’t require you to get too emotionally involved.

          I know there are lots of opinions on all sides of issues like this. And I know that there can be real and raw hurt.

      • Anonymous :

        Your husband’s other siblings might have very good reasons to limit contact with their mother/parents.

        • Anonymous :

          They don’t, and they don’t claim they do. They always offer a variety of reasons for not helping out when the parents are ill (including that they don’t like hospitals) but the reasons are never compelling. OP’s post sounded almost exactly like something they would say. I would not have responded this way if OP said her mother was abusive or something like that.

          • Another Anon :

            My mom was abusive but the only person who knows it’s my husband. Even my brother doesn’t know she chased me around the house with a knife or hit me. He was the golden boy and grew up abuse free so he gets to take care of her in old age

          • Yes. My brother and I are in our 30s and I finally told him about some of the things my mom did because he now has a baby, and I wanted him to be watchful. I didn’t before, and would say that we “didn’t get along” (which he understood) to beg off family events.

    • Anonymous :

      Hire a nurse to take care of mom during the day so sister doesn’t have to take so much time off work. Hire the nurse for longer than the week sister is asking for – I’m guessing mom’s recovery for major surgery is going to be longer than one or two weeks. Cover the nurse for as much of that time as you’re able. If you can’t afford the nurse then I think you have to suck it up (sorry).

    • Unpopular opinion time.

      My mother is like this, though still married to my long-suffering dad. She was emotionally and occasionally physically abusive when I was a child, and I have a visceral reaction to being around her as a result. She means well, and has mellowed as she has gotten older (she’s about 5 years younger than your mom), but we still do not get along, and I do not initiate contact with her outside of my obligations to do so, or entire immediate family gatherings. My brother has a slightly better relationship with her (she didn’t/doesn’t treat him the same way, she’s just unpleasant and self-absorbed to him), but he also limits contact with her.

      I would not go for a full week, if my mother was having surgery. I may take a long weekend or the equivalent during the week to help my sibling/out of duty, but I would not spend an entire week around my mother. I would be miserable, and would resent her.

      If you beg off, however: please know that your sister will not understand, and saying that you “don’t like illness” is not going to help (none of us do).

      My go-to excuse is that I can’t take a full week off work on short notice when things come up. If I had cash to throw at the problem by hiring an aide or nurse, I would do that in a heartbeat.

    • If you can afford it, I’d do a combination of going for a long weekend and paying for a nurse.

    • Anonymous :

      If the worst happens, will you regret not being there? I’d go and plan to work remotely while she recuperates.

    • Anonymous :

      I hold the opinion that being related to someone does not obligate you to do anything for them. You don’t owe your mom anything. Explain to your sister that you live too far away and it’s not a good time to take off work. Suggest your sister look into a nurse. Sister is the local one, so she can handle it. Remove yourself from the situation so it’s not your problem.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Why hasn’t your mom arranged for needed care in advance of her surgery? Just assuming you would come and do it (and be able to regardless of whether you want to or not) seems foolish.

      That being said, I wouldn’t be inclined to go based on your description. But I like the idea of offering to help pay for a home nurse.

    • Anonymous :

      My mother and I do not get along well. She had cancer recently and needed round the clock care for four months after having a transplant. My siblings and I all took turns staying with her, but it was probably the most difficult thing I have ever done. It also damaged our relationship even more, as I had made lots of progress in the 20 years since I have not lived with her and this experience brought all of that stuff back up and destroyed much of the progress I had made. It has been a few years now, but things are still difficult.

      I agree with the suggestions to pay for a nurse. Otherwise, I would go and help out but do everything possible to also take care of yourself.

    • Perhaps my opinion will be unpopular as well, but I think you suck it up and go. Perhaps you don’t give it an entire week but be there for her for a few days. Maybe in her vulnerable state she will be more receptive to the two of you rebuilding your relationship. Maybe she will be worse. Who knows? But you won’t know unless you go.

      And saying you don’t want to go because you hate illness just sounds ridiculously childish.

    • Anon for this :

      If socializing or seeing your mother hurts you, make the effort to explain that to her and suggest therapy for her and/or for the two of you together. If she refuses, you don’t have to keep going with her. Just because you’re related doesn’t mean she gets to poison your world with her presence. Whether this is deserved or not is your call, it’s your world and your choice who gets to be in it. If someone is harmful to your mental/emotional health and is unwilling to do the work to find a solution, you get to distance or remove yourself. That’s not being a bad child or bad person, that’s you having boundaries and not letting someone else’s choices bring negativity into your life. You deserve happiness and you get to control who is in your world! <3

      If it was me, I'd remind your sister that you're not close with her, that you're happy to send your sister x (money or food delivery or whatever if you are so inclined, not if you aren't) but that you aren't going to be caring for someone who is no longer really in your life anymore. Apologize for the burden that places on her and remind her that she too gets to make the choice. It sounds like you clearly made your peace with not having your mother in your life anymore and her illness shouldn't change this unless it changes how you feel about her.

      • Don’t think of it as doing it for your mother; think of it as doing it for your sister. It is not cool to put the one local sister in a position to jeopardize her job because you don’t hate illness. Who doesn’t?

  22. Sr Associate Partner Drama :

    My partner is accepting a GC role and leaving my firm next week. Shit. Anybody BTDT. Do I try to stay and pick up work / keep clients, or do I start job search stat. I’m a 2-year lateral, so I don’t have the same network I would have at the firm if this were my original firm. Blah. WWYD?

    • Anonymous :

      BTDT. Stay for now. Pick up the work/try to keep servicing the clients. Depending on what kind of firm you’re at though – there is NO way that existing senior or even junior partners are going to let you inherit those books as an associate; they will try to move in to inherit them and the best you can do is work on the same type of work (at least this is how it was in my NYC biglaw firm). But being the senior associate who knows these clients/does this work and always has keeps you relevant in the firm’s eyes. So keep doing that – see how it goes. If it looks like you’re winning over the inheriting partners, your partnership shot could still be on track. If it doesn’t seem like you are (bc they just don’t care or have their favorite seniors already that they’re supporting for partner), then you start a job search — all of this will become apparent in 2-3 months max.

      How close are you to the partner who is leaving? Maybe talk to him about it? The best advice I’ve ever gotten in biglaw is from ppl who were out the door – bc they could be honest/didn’t care enough to lie for the firm’s interests any more. Plus you can make your overtures about how much you enjoy working with him, have an interest in in house etc. – just on the off chance that he gets there, gets hiring authority and realizes he needs/wants to bring someone over (don’t count on this though – most legal budgets in most places are tight enough that this isn’t happening the way it would have 20 yrs ago).

    • I think this really depends on how strong you think Partner’s relationships with the clients are, and your relationships with the clients are. Are you really in the weeds with certain clients such that they like you? Do you think the business is sticky, and you are senior enough to keep some of the clients, or do you think that they’re all going to cut and run and you’ll have no billables? I’ve seen both. Only you can judge where this is at. I would start diversifying your network asap and update your case list/deal sheet and resume and put out soft feelers.

  23. A close male family member, who is married and has two kids, is asking for my advice on a difficult subject. He cheated on his wife and the other woman decided to have a child as a single mom. My relative wants to do the right thing here, but is facing a few obstacles: (1) he is career military and needs to move every few years (usually other countries) so he currently lives quite far away from the baby, (2) he works a lot (his wife is a SAHM) and he is deployed every few years, so he cannot “be there” for the baby all that much, and (3) wife hasn’t quite forgiven him and also, their marriage may not last, they are taking things day by day, and joint custody requires communication but wife refuses to allow any communication with the baby’s mother except through attorneys. Besides paying for child support, what can the relative do to take responsibility and be a parent? His wife will not allow him to go visit the other woman’s city to visit the child. I was thinking that when the child is older and can fly by himself, the child might make visits to my relative, but should that type of arrangement be worked out now? Any other suggestions? FWIW, my relative and the baby’s mother do not have any respective family nearby to provide any support or childcare whatsoever (different continents in fact). Anything I can do to be helpful here?

    • You can listen and stay out of it. This is between him and his wife, and he should be talking to a lawyer, a marriage counselor, and an individual therapist.

      The lawyers will handle it, and his therapist can give him advice. He’s gotten himself into a really terrible situation because of his bad judgment, and there’s no easy answer as to what the “right thing” is here.

      Also: I understand he’s your relative, but it sounds like you think his wife is being unreasonable. I don’t think she is, given the circumstances. If they are trying to work it out, he has severely breached the trust of their marriage, and I can’t imagine why he would expect she would trust him to visit the other woman. I can’t imagine how he would expect her to be OK with the child visiting their home. This is a pretty terrible betrayal, and she’s probably feeling pretty stuck as a SAHM to their mutual kids, without a lot of good options.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to staying out of it. I also agree that from what you’ve said the wife is behaving reasonably under the circumstances. Who on earth would be ok with their husband flying off alone to visit a baby mama and a child fathered out of wedlock?

      • Anonymous :

        Well wife is being unreasonable. Her reaction is certainly understandable. I mean who would want their husband having ongoing contact with his affair partner. But her position is not reasonable. There’s an innocent child in the picture now and the child deserves the support of both parents. If she chooses to stay in the marriage then she chooses to accept the fact that her husband has obligations to this child and will have to communicate with his co-parent to fulfill those obligations.

        I’m not sure it’s OP’s place to say any of this, but I’d push hard against any suggestion from him that he should send a monthly check and maybe a birthday card and that’s all this kid deserves.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I completely agree.

          It sucks for the wife for sure. However, she chose to work through things and stay married, which means that her husband’s child (who is a half-sibling to her children) cannot just be erased from their life. That is completely unfair to that baby and is just selfishness on the wife’s part. You can be mad at your cheating husband (as you should), you can be angry with the woman involved, but that baby didn’t do anything to you.

    • anon for this :

      I agree that you should stay out of it and recommend family counseling, marriage counseling, individual therapy, and lawyering up.

      But I have a relative who went through a similar situation. I think it’s an understandable reaction on the wife’s part to not “let” him see the woman he cheated with, but not a reasonable expectation since there is a child involved. He is 50% responsible for bringing a child into the world, and he needs to step up and be as much of parent as he can be. That means visiting the baby or paying for the mother to bring the baby to him. His marriage is secondary to the fact that he is now a father to a new baby who has done nothing wrong. It’s wrong to choose your wife and 2 children born in more intentional circumstances over a child you’re equally responsible for.

    • Anonymous :

      If he’s moving or deployed so often, he’s realistically not going to be able to be a stable parentlike presence in that child’s life, even if he wanted to. How many international visits is he really going to be able to do per year? To actually parent he’d need to quit his job and move. He’s in a bad situation all around and needs to figure out his priorities. I don’t think he can work out custody agreements now, since he doesn’t know where he will be living year to year.

    • He probably already knows this if he is career military but he absolutely needs to be discussing with his lawyer the very real possibility of being discharged or forced to resign from any type of leadership role for committing adultery under Article 134 of the UCMJ. A baby is a pretty substantial element of proof. Not to mention his wife will walk away with half of his pension if they divorce. *Not* taking sides as this situation is obviously awful all around, just something for him to think about.

      • This was my first thought, too.

        Along with how sad this situation is for the baby and father (not that it wasn’t a scummy thing to do to have an affair. But sadly, not uncommon in high ops tempo military roles.)

    • He sounds like a scumbag who deserves whatever he gets. Stay out of it but rethink your position on this relative.

    • His wife won’t allow him to? Then he needs to get a divorce because parenting the child he decided to father is not optional.

    • notalawyer :

      I’m going to be a jerk and say let the baby grow up without a father. I had a deadbeat dad and that was more damaging I think than not having one. He is never going to be dedicated to this kid even if he does leave his wife. Absolutely they deserve child support but did the mom not know the dad was married when she decided to keep the baby? I also don’t like how he is pulling you into this and dumping his guilt on you.

      • Agreed. This is the crux of my argument above. He was a scumbag. She was a scumbag.

        The kid deserves more than a suppprt check, but this idea that the adulterer is a victim when he betrayed his SAHM wife and other children is tone-deaf and terrible to me.

        The lawyers and counselors that he hires will make suggestions. OP should stay out of it and let him deal with the bed he made.

        And yes — depending on what his position is, he may want to talk to someone who has military justice experience.

      • Anon for this :

        I agree. Does the baby mama even want him involved in her life? Often my family law clients would be a heck of a lot happier if dad went away and just sent a check. It’s just easier for everyone, including the child. Hopefully the mom meets someone knew and baby can grow up with a step dad.

  24. UK Art Consultant? :

    Shot in the dark here. A very dear friend who now lives in Oxford (UK) is getting married this summer. We have shared an appreciation of art since we were children and I would like to find a way to help him buy a piece of art that he and his new spouse will love. I don’t dare buy it for them, given how personal and finicky taste in art can be, but I would like to give them a chunk of money for it and connect them with someone who could help them find something they love. I’ve been able to find art consultants who will help people plan collections that look like they involve a lot more money than what I’m talking about here. Does anyone know how I might find someone to help with a single piece (or a couple small pieces). Is there another term I should be searching for? On the off chance anyone has a recommendation for a particular person who provides this service, that would be awesome. Thanks!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Have you tried contacting a local gallery to see if they could help them find something or know of someone who provides such a service?

    • Anonymous :

      Please excuse me for being dense — there are many things about the art world I do not know. But if he has been an art appreciator since childhood, wouldn’t he be able to buy his own art, without needing someone to help him find a piece he liked?

  25. Belated thank you for all the podcast suggestions yesterday! I’m three episodes into the Babysitters Club Club and it has made my boring Friday night cleaning while the kids are asleep So Much Better.

  26. Midsummer celebrations? :

    Do you celebrate Midsummer in any way or is it not a thing where you live?

    We have bonfires, spending the weekend outside, barbecues and drinking. Anything similar where you are?

    • Amberwitch :

      We celebrate Sct. Hans with bonfires and singalongs and bread baked over the fire on a stick. Some bonfires have witch effigies, as part of the traditions is to send the witches to Brocken (a German mountain).

    • Anonymous :

      Interesting. Would you mind telling us in what region or country you live? In my region (mid-US), this isn’t a thing in any way.

      • Amberwitch :

        I’m in Denmark, but I’ve experienced similar traditions in Sweden and Germany (on Valborgsafton/Walpurgis Night) which – I believe – more or less correspond with Beltaine.

        • Midsummer celebrations? :

          I’ve celebrated st. Hans in Denmark on Fyn! Sat by the bonfire and tried to sing in Danish while a bit drunk. I loved the cozy friendly nostalgic atmosphere!

    • Cookbooks :

      My parent’s neighbors are Norwegian/of Norwegian decent, and for years they used to do a midsummer celebration. They’re in SE Pennsylvania.

  27. Hair Wash Frequency :

    So I know everyone says you’re not supposed to wash your hair every day and I want to try to move to at least every other day schedule. I tried this for about a month a couple years ago and my hair was greasy and gross and I felt disgusting the entire time. Everyone says it takes time for your scalp to adjust but it felt like it was never going to happen so I quit. I want to try again this summer while I have less meetings and my work is on a casual dress policy. Has anyone done this? How long should it take to adjust? Does anyone have any tips, products, or tools they recommend? I have pretty thick, long (bottom of bra strap), slightly wavy (not pretty waves) hair.

    • Was washing every day causing you problems? If not why switch.

    • A month was enough time for me with each drop of a day, so skipping days may just not be for you.

    • I can’t really skip days (medication increases sweat, thyroid issues make the sweat greasy and awful). My hair dresser recommended using a cleansing conditioner to increase the time between actual shampoos. Sometimes I also put regular conditioner on the ends of my hair before shampooing to kind of “protect” the ends from the shampoo that’s only really intended for my scalp? I’m not sure which of these approaches is helping, but I do think my hair looks wavier and less frizzy/dry than it used to.

      A good haircut helped too (to increase volume at the roots).

      I could totally get by with hair powder/dry shampoo, by the way–it looks great. Maybe better than when it’s freshly washed! But I can *feel* that it’s not clean, and that feeling drives me crazy.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      You might try L’Oréal Extraordinary Clay shampoo – designed for dry ends and oily roots. I just bought it, so I don’t have a personal recommendation, but as someone else who cannot skip days for hair washing, I have great hopes.

    • Min Donner :

      I transitioned to every other day a few years ago, and here’s my advice — YMMV. I would recommend waiting til fall or winter when it’s cooler, as my scalp is oilier/sweatier generally when it’s warmer out. Don’t use a moisturizing shampoo. Double-wash (the whole lather, rinse, repeat business) – I find the cleaner my hair is to start, the better. Wash in the mornings (I must sweat at night or something, b/c if I wash my hair at night, it’s fine the next day, but after a 2nd night of sleep the 2nd day is much greasier). Use dry shampoo as needed. I’ve had success using it “preemptively” before I go to bed, with just a little bit to touch up in the morning. Also, if I don’t have any plans on the weekend I try to go an extra day or two without washing and take a break from dry shampoo.

  28. Anonymous :

    The doctor just told me I have Mono, and it will take several weeks to recover. Has anyone had this before? I teach full-time at a nonprofit organization, and we have a week-long 16-hour days conference in Florida in two weeks. The doctor suggested half days until July and try full time after that if I feel well enough. Any tips for getting through Mono, especially since it really hurts to talk and swallow, and I’m exhausted by simple things such as showering or walking two blocks. I’d also like to ask to be excused from the conference because I don’t think my immune system and body can handle it.

    • Swiss Miss :

      Sounds like you should absolutely skip the conference and take what your doctor said to heart. I sympathize– I had mono during college and it was really awful to be so tired/swollen for so long. Even though your doctor recommended half days, I’d try to take some full days off as well. I do remember that napping on the couch and getting some natural light every day helped me feel less sickly than staying in bed all the time. Take care of yourself first!

    • I had a pretty bad case of mono just after graduating high school. I literally do not remember 3 weeks of my life I was so out of it – but apparently this was just because I had a particularly bad and fast acting case. Take care of yourself and make sure that you keep up with calories. I lost an absurd amount of weight in those 3 weeks and have heard from others who have had it that they too lost weight. Your body needs calories to keep your immune system in shape. I also agree that you should skip the conference. When you say you will be working half days, I assume you mean from home? Keep in mind too that mono is really contagious, so no sharing food or drinks. Please do feel better, and on the brightside, you were probably feeling pretty poor before you got the diagnosis, so now at least you know what is wrong. Use this an excuse to take time for yourself!

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