Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Wool-Blend Tweed Blazer

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

The big boyfriend blazer look is coming to your office, ladies, so be warned! I keep coming back to this one from Topshop Unique because I love the double-layered look of the lapels as well as the concealed button and the almost snowfall vibe to the pattern. It seems conservative but fun at the same time — and it’s $475 at Net-a-Porter in UK sizes 6–14. Wool-Blend Tweed Blazer

Two lower-priced options are here and here, and here’s a plus-size option.

Psst: Just a note that I’m on vacation this week and the beach house has spotty WiFi — so if you get stuck in the moderation queue, please be patient! 

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Comments

  1. Chelsea boots :

    Looking for a recommendation for fairly professional/sleek-looking Chelsea boots in a nice brown leather. I have wide feet and high arches (as well as large calves) and have typically struggled to find comfortable shoes. Any recommendations? Would prefer to spend no more than $120 and ideally less.

    • Anonymous :

      http://m.shop.nordstrom.com/s/sam-edelman-petty-chelsea-boot-women/3212698?origin=category-personalizedsort&fashionwidth=C%2C%20D%2C%20W%2C%20Wide&fashioncolor=WHISKEY

      • Anony Mouse :

        Not the OP, but any suggestions other than the SE Petty? I tried my normal size in M width and they were too narrow, and my normal size in W width AND a half-size up in M width and they were both way too big.

        • Have you tried Franco Sarto? I’m a W, but I can regularly wear their shoes in regular width and I think they had some boots on sale at Nordstrom.

      • FYI, Petty is on sale a 6pm.com for $60. #BuyingbootsinJulyFTW

    • I have a wide foot and wide calves (but not high arches) and Naturalizer is my go to for boots- might be worth checking out!

    • I have a wide foot and found some from Franco Sarto last year that I love. The exact style isn’t around this year, but they usually have a pretty good selection.

  2. WFH preferences when job-searching :

    How can you tell if a company is telecommute/WFH friendly? If you know that they are, but an open position is listed in a specific location, how do you address that in the cover letter? I am going to be applying to jobs in a field where I know that at least two of my companies of interest are WFH-friendly, but I’m not sure when or how to address the fact that I would want a WFH arrangement during the search process.

    • Yay Kat! Pricey Monday! I love Pricey Monday’s and this NET A PORTER Blazer — $475 is not all that pricey, compared to what we’ve seen in the past. I will ASK the manageing partner, tho he is focused now on our big firm party in the Hamton’s and Margie has left most of the work to him b/c of the baby! Now the manageing partner wants me to work the party with Frank! Can you imagine? OMG!

      I spent the weekend with Myrna — we went to the West Side to see my apartement building — it is NOT even built yet, but it is near the water. Myrna is NOT happy I will be moveing; there is NOT an easy way to get from where we live to my new apartement building. I told her to Lyft or Uber over, as will I b/c there are NO cross town buses that make that trip directley. FOOEY! I told her I have to get to work every day from there, and that will NOT be easy either! DOUBEL FOOEY! But the place is going to be alot bigger, 3 BR, 3BATH, 2100 square feet and a wraparound balcony. Dad is going to spend alot of time at the apartement–that kind of throw’s cold water on my s-x life — tho it is NON EXISTENT now anyway, so I supoose no big deal, but Myrna says I realy will NOT be independent with Dad in the Guest Bedroom when he comes in from LI. He also said that he is exploreing taking a part time lecture position at Colombia University Busness School. FOOEY! That is uptown, but he says it is on the west side too. Whatever. I want a guy to MARRY me and take me to Chapaqua or somewhere nearby. Why does Life have to be so complicated for a profesional woman like me who is just trying to find my way in the big city? I feel like Samantha on S=X in the city, onley I have NO guys chaseing me. TRIPEL FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      Depends how important it is. If you want a job, preferably WFH, wait until later in the process. If you will absolutely only consider WFH bring it up sooner.

    • Linda from HR :

      WFH friendly can mean many things. Do they typically let people start out working from home full-time, or do they generally want people in the office full-time first, and then they start to allow working from home as they come to trust people?

      If you’re applying to a local job, you can probably wait until later in the process to suss out whether they really need you in the office or if you can work from home. If you’re applying to a job that you couldn’t possibly commute to every day, you may need to state that you’re hoping to do the job remotely.

    • cat socks :

      Reviews on Glass door might have information about company culture and whether people work from home. Ask a Manager might also have some scripts for how to approach the question.

      • i would caution against glass door. The company I work for has had a terrible problem with it. Bad reviews are being posted by competitors and the parent site does nothing to police them.

    • Are you looking to be fully remote or to have a flexible work arrangement where you regularly work from home a few days per week? If the former, you should ask at the outset if they would consider a remote work arrangement for the right candidate. The latter is probably more likely to go well if you bring it up nearer to the offer stage. Once you are both feeling good about the role, you can mention your reasoning for wanting WFH- along the lines of salary, this is one of those “what would it take to get her?” Type questions.

      If you’re just talking casual flex time (have a plumber coming, need to let him in, can I WFH or do I have to take PTO?) then there may naturally come a time to ask. Probably easy to ask around the office since Jose things tend to be cultural vs manager specific.

  3. Coworker Wedding Gift :

    I’m attending a black tie wedding in August for a coworker in the northeast (NYC/Boston location). DH will be attending with me. What is an appropriate wedding gift?

    Here’s some color about our dynamic: When he got engaged, we were associate (him) & senior associates (me) – I was senior to him, but with the same job function. Shortly thereafter, I was promoted to director. I liken directors to law partners – if I so choose, I could use him on my next deal, though I haven’t used him on a deal yet. Since the promotion I’ve had to distance myself from him socially because of the associate/director dynamic. He invited all associates, and I assumed I wouldn’t get an invite given the promotion. No other directors are invited.

    • Anonymous :

      A gift from the registry in the $250 range.

    • Anonymous :

      Sounds like the issue here is that he thinks of you as a friend and you think of him as a former friend come associate (to be “used” on your next deal). I would just buy him whatever you’d buy a friend for a joyous occasion, and reflect on how you’ve let your work affect your relationships.

      • “Use” on a deal is vernacular in my world when an associate gets assigned to a deal.

        We were never socially tight out of work-specific events – associates tend to rally together/grab the occasional drink as a group and commiserate together, but I stopped doing that with him (and all associates) since the promotion. Every other associate-now-director followed the same course.

        • I can see why you wouldn’t go out with him plus a group of associates – even if they asked – bc clearly people want to go out to commiserate sometimes and they can’t do that as freely with a director there. But given that he’s inviting you and no other directors, he obviously views you as a friend or mentor of some time. Does he talk to you about life/career etc. when other associates aren’t around? By going you are re affirming that you want to be viewed as a friend/mentor by this person. People don’t just randomly invite people to weddings – they want you to be there bc they view themselves as being close/wanting to be close to you. (Sure sometimes people do random invites -but if that was the case this would be a 1000 person wedding with all kinds of random directors besides you invited). So if you’re not interested in being in the friend/mentor space, decline.

    • Cornellian :

      Not sure what the appropriate gift is, but I would probably go on the larger side, given the dynamic. Like maybe the 400 range ish?

      • This.

        $400 check or cash. Warm but not personal card.

        • I just discovered that one of their’registry’ items is a direct donation to a non-profit that is near and dear to them, but also happens to be for me (think: they have a $5,000 goal, which pays for one service animal). Can I do that for the same amount, or should I just stick to cash?

          • Do that! It’s perfect.

          • I think that’s a lovely gift and would go with that. It’s on their registry, so they have made it an acceptable gift. If it were me, and I did this, that’s what I would want over stuff TBH.

          • Cornellian :

            do that.

          • I think this is perfect as well. As someone who would have something similar at my wedding, I would be really touched by those who saw our request and did this.

      • KateMiddletown :

        Wow. I just got married and my work colleagues (small financial services office) stuck within the $75-$150 range.

        • +1! $400 is more than double the amount I’ve ever given, and a lot more than I would give a co-worker.

        • I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks $400 is a bit much for a wedding gift…

        • These are NYC investment bankers. A director giving less than $300-400 would be viewed as cheap. It’s a whole different world financially. His associate friends are easily going to give $200-300.

          • Thanks, Anonymous at 11:00 am. This is why I added the (evidently controversial?) color about my role today versus earlier. I suspected there was some nuance to the fact that I’m in a director-level role and he is not. I have a direct say in his bonus, performance review and tenure at my firm – all topics that I am asked to weigh in on on a monthly basis. The fact I haven’t used him for a deal yet does not alleviate my responsibility to have feedback on his overall performance/perceived “value add to the firm”. My gut suggested the gift should be bigger than a “you’re my work friend, we’re fighting the good fight together!”-gift.

            I’m going to go with a $400 donation to the nonprofit and a sincerely-worded card.

        • +1 million. I normally give $100 (when DH and I both attend the wedding) and gave my best friend, who is like a sister to me, $200 +a smaller sentimental gift. $400 is unfathomable to me, especially for a coworker you’re not close with.

      • $400?! That’s what DH and I spend only on very close family – like our siblings. Even for close friends we do more like $200. Never would I spend more than $150 on a gift for a co-worker, even if I were senior to him.

    • JuniorMinion :

      If this is finance where all the promotions other than A-A and D / MD are relatively automatic I don’t think this is weird at all that he still considers you somewhat of a mentor / friend.

      In the banks I worked for – by the time someone is a sr assoc (which I am assuming he is) their working relationships are pretty well established and they are not really random “staffed” anymore the way beginning associates / analysts are and everyone / everything is pretty collegial.

    • Not the question, but I’d reconsider your approach to work friends. For this second, you are “senior” to him, but careers are long. It’s very short sighted to take the “I’m a partner/director now so I don’t associate with the plebs” approach. You might seriously regret seeing people in categories like that in a few years when their career has outpaced yours and you need a job or a connection.

      • +1

      • I absolutely did not get the impression that this is how OP is approaching her relationship with this co-worker. You guys are jumping all over her for no reason. It is reasonable to moderate your social relationship with people you supervise and have authority over, especially if that’s the general practice in your firm. And yes, “use” is how people describe staffing associates on projects.

      • Agree, because I think if that’s your actual attitude toward him, you shouldn’t be going to the wedding. Simply decline.

        If you do go, you are making clear the friendliness of your relationship and should treat it as such.

      • +1. I’m in law but your situation sounds akin to senior associate/junior partner – where you’re only a few yrs ahead of him. IME there are some genuine friendships in those stages. Sure once you make partner, you aren’t going to go out to drinks if all the associates are going together – bc you realize that they want to vent about work which they can’t do with a partner there. BUT you do hang out with the seniors 1 on 1 that were your friends when you were both associates. You do this bc you don’t just drop friendships just bc one person gets promoted and the other hasn’t (yet or ever). And if that isn’t enough for you – think of it from a networking perspective – he could leave the firm and go to some other bank where you eventually want to be; or he could go client side and he’d be a genuine contact of yours for business development – not just a guy you met at a conference who you’re then chasing for business.

    • My rule of thumb is to gift $100 per head attending, so if my husband and I are attending, something around $200 from the registry.

      I personally like to give china . Most of my friends didn’t receive all of their china and they really did want it.

  4. Graphic design training :

    Does anyone have recommendations for training, preferably online, in the artistic concepts of graphic design? I’m not looking for a software training class; I know how to manipulate things, I just wish I could make them look better. TIA.

  5. Design training :

    Can anyone recommend training, preferably online, in professional artistic design? The kind typically done using Adobe software, which got me stuck in mod when I used the specific name. I’m now how to use software, but I’d like to know more about how to make things look best.

  6. This blazer style …. ugh. I’m an hourglass and anything that isn’t fitted through the waist just makes me look huge. Really not feeling the styles lately (big shapeless sacks, often with ruffles), but I guess it’s good for my wallet.

    Anyway, after hearing them raved about here, I’m finally looking into the Soma embraceable lace hipster. Can anyone speak to how the sizing runs?

    • +1 I have a straight, non-stick figure (5’8, 135 lbs.) and I feel the same way.

      • I think only a 5’13” person like CJ Cregg could pull off these big shapeless sack styles. I am 5’6″ with a straight figure and this blazer would make me look like a little kid playing dress-up with her father’s old suit. If this is the direction in which fashion is headed, I will be saving lots of money on clothes over the next few years because I won’t be able to find anything that looks good on me.

    • Even my boyfriend (largish man, looks as if sporting a second trimester baby bump) couldn’t pull this off.

    • I’m 5’9″ with broad shoulders and straight body, I’m loving how the boyfriend blazers are coming back in style because they are the only ones that fit me! Most of the ones I wear are from when the trend last surfaced around 2-5 years ago, so it would be nice to pick up some that are more current.

    • I love how the skirt has a top-of-thigh slit. Like: y’all, don’t forget I’m a girl!

    • We were out at dinner and my husband asked why the woman at the table next to us was wearing a brightly colored sack. I had to explain to him it was the current trend, but only really worked on coat-hanger-bodies.

      • That’s exactly how I would describe my body: a coat hanger. I only recently discovered that pin tucks and ruffles will never fool anyone into thinking I have womanly curves.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have been backing away from my previous lifelong commitment to wearing a blazer every single day. And not a moment too soon because these oversized blazers are a disaster on short busty me!

      • Are you replacing them with anything? I’ve tried cardigans but they always make me feel like I’m going to church or a wedding instead of work.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I am trying to get away from the idea that I have to wear a jacket or jacket equivalent. Somebody posted on here a while back about making sure the pieces you wear are really great on their own and that has really helped. Also I have been using scarves and jewelry as my “third piece.” Today I have a matching knit top and skirt with a really fun scarf I got at MOMA last week when I was in NYC. And I am getting into dresses. Another great gem of wisdom I picked up here recently was something like “women don’t have to dress like men to be appropriately dressed for business. Women wear dresses and that is fine for the office.”

    • I like boyfriend styles with slim pants but this jacket is way too big on the model. IMO, a boyfriend jacket should still be fitted in the shoulders.

    • euroflection :

      I personally love the Vanishing Edge Cotton/Modal with Lace Bikini and reviewers seem to be backing me up on it (https://www.soma.com/store/product/vanishing-edge-cotton-fmodal-with-lace-bikini/570033961). Not a lot of color variation, but it works for me for under work clothes. Sizing seems to be running regular. I’m always a large in panties and I’m a large in these. Hope this helps!

  7. What workouts would you add in to a routine that consists of relatively intense cardio 3-4 times to tighten up/trim inches in a few weeks?

    • Anonymous :

      How many week is “a few”?

    • JuniorMinion :

      Honestly if you are looking to lose inches that is going to be mostly diet. I recommend tracking what you eat on myfitnesspal or some other platform and putting yourself in a 10-20% deficit.

      From a workout perspective add in some sort of resistance training – either bodyweight circuits or strength training with weights. I personally am a fitnessblender disciple (on youtube) but there are a lot of sources.

    • cat socks :

      When you say “intense cardio”, HIIT workouts come to mind. Fitness Blender (YouTube channel) has a lot of HIIT workouts. They also have workout plans on their website.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I would change up the cardio to include intervals and add resistance training – weights, bands, bodyweight, etc. If a few weeks is three weeks, the results won’t be dramatic; if it’s six I bet you’d notice some changes.

    • I’m going on vacation in three weeks but with my family, so I’m not that worried about that but I am going on another weekend trip with friends at the end of September and I’d like to be in better shape by then. I’m working on the diet part but I always seem to get terribly off track during the weekends…

      I’ll try some resistance training! Would you recommend things like that over barre?

      • JuniorMinion :

        Depends on where you are in your fitness / food journey. If you are relatively close to your goal size / shape / fat % / fitness level your workout will probably need to be more intense on average than barre. If your goal is to get lean / muscular your best bet is a combination of weights / bands etc and HIIT cardio.

      • I like BodyPump better than barre. It is a strength training class with barbells and plates set to music. It’s actually a lot of fun and more intense than barre.

        • KateMiddletown :

          I’m obsessed with BP. We just moved and I haven’t found a good instructor/gym for it yet, but it was seriously the best. 2-3x/week for a few weeks and I looked and felt way more toned.

      • If getting off track on the weekend is an issue: How much do you drink on weekends?

        Summer is challenging for me weight-maintenance-wise because Houston is so. freaking. hot. even at 6 AM that it’s hard for me to run the miles I do the rest of the year. The struggle is real with trying to enjoy my weekend down time with friends and also not balloon up 2 sizes. For me the best way to try to prevent that is to watch how much I drink. Stick with one drink per outing, maybe two if you must, and I promise you won’t have less fun, but you will be consuming fewer useless calories.

      • Ballet Beautiful is incredibly effective for me.

    • I find that core strength training (planks; variations on push-ups; variations on sit-ups; plus for me ballet, but real ballet, not barre) works fairly quickly to develop my built-in corset and makes me look and feel much slimmer around the waist/abdomen.

    • Orangetheory.

    • .. in addition to Fitness Blender for workouts, I’m liking Bodyfit by Amy and Jessica Smith TV workouts – all on youtube for free ….

  8. Effing Mondays. I am sad about something that happened over the weekend and am having a hard time keeping my ish together at my desk. Of course, I have a cube and not an office, so I can’t shut my door and the cube walls are low enough that people can see my face when I am sitting down. My bff is at her husband’s family’s lake house and can’t text regularly to talk, and she is the only one that knows what is going on, which is why I am venting/complaining/whining/seeking commiseration here. UGH. Thank goodness I am leaving early this afternoon to take the dog to the vet (he’s fine, thank goodness).

    These are the days where I wish smoking wasn’t so bad for you and didn’t smell so terrible because I could sure use a cigarette right now!

    Hope the rest of the ‘r e t t e s are having a better Monday!

    • Sorry it was a rough weekend. :( Hope things are looking up soon!

    • Senior Attorney :

      So sorry about your troubles!

      And I am right there with you on Team I Wish Smoking Were Good For You And Made You Smell Good!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Hugs. Carrie Underwood’s “Smoke Break” comes to mind, if you want to wallow in country music that captures the feeling?

      Can you give yourself a little something to look forward to? Afternoon coffee break? Stopping at Sally Beauty on the way home to treat yourself to nail polish?

      • I do enjoy some getting revenge, female artist country music. Good call! I will blast that in the car when I leave work. Miranda Lambert is helpful for this purpose as well :)

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Ah, women singing about revenge/general lawlessness is one of my top categories of country music! If you want to cry in your car while being angry, I can heartily recommend Kesha’s new song Praying for that.

    • Thanks everyone!

      I will probably go for a bike ride + hard run/steps workout tonight. Hopefully, that will help clear my head! Or at least make me feel like less of a slug LOL

  9. Pet Insurance :

    I am looking for how people handle pet expenses, specifically pet insurance vs. having a separate budget line/savings account for pet expenses. We have two, very large dogs (meaning vet bills can be $$$$), one older (likely not insurable) and one young, healthy dog. We have been paying expenses as they come up, and we have the ability to pay a several thousand dollar vet bill, but I’d like to get a better plan in place. If you keep a separate savings account, how much do you put in it and do you cap it at a set amount?

    • KateMiddletown :

      Following. I have a 12 year old golden doodle who hasn’t had any major medical issues (yet) but my employer offers pet insurance and I have no clue if this is worthwhile.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I live near an excellent Banfield. They are a chain vet inside PetSmart locations. Not all are created equal but some are great. They have a monthly plan that is not insurance but essentially pre-pays for a bunch of services at a cheaper rate. I think I pay $25/month for my cat and $35/month for my dog. All of my office visits are free. They get blood work and urinalysis and other routine tests twice/year. They also get a dental once/year. Dental includes anesthesia. If something else comes up that requires blood work or anesthesia, they try to time it with the routine ones so that I save money. I also get 20% off of all other services I need above and beyond the plan. We have been very happy with it.

      • This. Find a Banfield you’re happy with and do their “insurance” plan. Like you, I think about it as just pre-paying for services and getting a small discount on anything not pre-paid. It helps smooth out the costs over the year. We usually plan for a year’s worth of payments plus 25% in our budget (we don’t really have a separate savings account) and then whatever we don’t spend, we dump in our near-term savings account so it’s there if we spend more than that the following year.

      • +1 We love our Banfield & ours keeps store hours so if something happens on the weekend or that’s the only time we can get to take our toy poodles, it works out great.

    • I have a co-worker who’s had a couple of bigger dogs and she looked at pet insurance and felt it wasn’t worth it for what they covered to the monthly cost of the insurance. She started sticking that monthly cost into a separate account as her own “insurance” and by the time her dogs got older and started to use it, she had saved a few thousand in there to cover costs.

    • It’s a line item in our monthly budget – an average based on prior years’ spending, evenly divided across the year. I have multiple things like this where the money I have budgeted for it goes into a big emergency savings slush fund, and then comes out of that account when large expenses crop up.

    • I’ve given some thought to this and for me I decided that pet insurance wasn’t going to make sense. Most big medical expenses for dogs start to happen in their senior years (but of course a younger dog can have a freak injury or an illness), so my thinking with my next dog is that I’ll start automatically moving $50 per month (about the same amount as the insurance premium I was quoted) into a separate savings account from the start, and hopefully that account will be funded to cover vet costs. (I know that one surgery can wipe out that account – I would be able to pay for vet care in excess of it, but it would be nice to have a dedicated account for vet savings $)

    • I looked into it a little when I adopted my two kittens. But since they had pre-existing conditions that were likely to be the cause of any long-term issues, it wasn’t worth it.

      For standard yearly exams and other expected costs, it comes out of my monthly budget in the relevant month. For large unexpected expenses, I consider that a proper use of my emergency fund. I live in a HCOL city, so would have much more than enough to cover any expenses.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t put a mental cap on what I will pay in vet bills. It depends on multiple factors: the pet’s age, is the cost for treatment or to determine the problem, will the treatment fix the problem or just extend life with the illness, will the pet be in pain or enjoy normal life, etc. But I also realize that I’m incredible lucky, because I make a high salary and can afford pretty much any treatment by cutting back in other areas (by, for example, postponing a vacation or cutting out restaurant meals and shopping for a few months).

    • we have it, and it has already paid for itself for the next 3-4 years. after you meet a deductible (about $400 for us), it covers 90%. our dog has gone to the hospital 3 times (one time resulting in surgery) after eating a toy or piece of tin foil. now we don’t hesitate to take her in if we’re worried, because we know it’s covered.

      • My brother’s cat has also had to have a few procedures as a result of eating various things she definitely should not eat (blankets, toys, who knows what all). Some dogs and cats just _do_ this kind of thing, and holy cow is it expensive to have the items removed without insurance.

        For me personally, I my dog and cat don’t do that and I don’t find the cost of insurance worthwhile. It’s more than my average vet bills for checkups for the year, which I have budgeted out. Anything in excess of standard vet bills I consider a proper use of my emergency fund.

    • Recently went through this analysis and opted for pet insurance. We opted for the plan that also includes coverage for all the preventative care. The premium is about $80 a month (extra large breed that is currently a puppy). I ran the calculations and even if we were to put that amount of money into a dedicated savings account each month, the likelihood is low that there would be enough in there when something happens. We are in a position financially where we could cover unexpected vet bills now (in fact we had to do so last year when our previous dog got sick and passed away). But it’s nice taking away the financial pressures that come along with what can be an otherwise stressful and emotional time.

    • We don’t have a separate fund for pet care. We keep a ~$25k emergency fund that we use for unexpected bills, including unexpected medical bills for pets and humans. A few years ago our dog got hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) and we had to pay about $10k total for numerous emergency vet visits, x-rays and ultrasounds and two separate overnight hospitalizations. We took that out of our emergency fund and then gradually rebuilt our fund until it was back to the normal balance. We pay the routine expenses (~2 annual vet visits, one for a check-up and one for a minor health issue, flea, tick and heartworm meds and dog food) as they come without dipping into our e-fund.
      I’ve done my research on pet insurance and convinced myself it’s a rip-off because they don’t cover pre-existing conditions (No Obamacare for dogs!) and they will basically argue any health issue is triggered by a pre-existing condition. Our vet was very clear to me that insurance companies would not have covered our dog’s HGE because there is a genetic component to it. She told me it’s really only good for things like your dog getting hit by a car or eating a pound of chocolate and having to have its stomach pumped. Our dog doesn’t really eat things she’s not supposed to and is scared of cars, so the math doesn’t make sense for us.

      • Pet insurance :

        There are some companies that do cover pre-existing conditions. It’s really tough to stack up the various pet insurance companies to do an apples-to-apples comparison due to huge variations in coverage – pre-ex/no pre-ex, “hereditary” conditions, reimbursement based upon a usual & customary rate versus actual charge, etc.

        We do have insurance through VPI but I’d probably pick a different company in the future, due to the pre-ex limitations. VPI has paid out quickly and without argument on all of our claims but I’d like to have hereditary conditions covered.

        • Yes, when I looked at this, with a lab I felt that the “hereditary” conditions was such a broad category that VPI didn’t make sense for me.

    • We have pet insurance through Healthy Paws and it definitely has been worth it for us. Our 3 year old pup is very energetic and has already had 4 surgeries including 2 ACL tears. Putting aside the $30/month would not have even come close to covering 1 surgery. That being said, if your dog is more chill or you have an older dog, pet insurance may not work for you. We did a lot of research into pet insurance and Healthy Paws IMO was the best option because it pretty much covers 80% of all problems (even hereditary ones) after a yearly $500 deductible.

    • IP Associate :

      As the owner of a 13 year old dog, we started putting away a hundred dollars or so each month into a separate pet care savings account years back when our dog was around 7 or 8 when she started having a few health issues. It’s since proven helpful with her 6 month senior exams, daily medications and other random stuff that pops up with maintaining an older dog (e.g., she had to have a few dead teeth extracted last year which $$$). We never had doggie insurance as we did the research on a number of companies at the time and didn’t find it worth it, but our proactive savings has been really helpful and now we just budget for the pet expenses accordingly each month.

  10. anon for this :

    TW for domestic violence…

    My husband’s best friend is someone I consider a genuinely great person. He officiated our wedding, is so empathetic and kind. He is also a wonderful father to his two young daughters. They are the pride of his life. He brings them with him whenever he can, talks about them constantly and is who I consider to be the best father I know.

    This friend is going through an incredibly nasty divorce. I’ve never been close at all to his wife, as things have been unhappy between them for several years, and while I don’t really know the details, from how he describes her actions of late she sounds crazy.

    Long story short, the wife has accused our friend of hitting their 6 year old. His side is very innocent – basically a freak accident involving no violence on his part. But he spent a night in jail and now has a restraining order, and cannot see his kids. It’s been an ongoing court battle for a few weeks, hopefully to be resolved this week.

    We’ve been really supportive of our friend through this – gave him some money, let him stay at our house. We do believe him and can’t imagine him ever doing this, but it’s also a really hard and horrible thing. A few times I’ve tried to talk to my husband about it, the likelihood etc, but he is understandably emotional about the whole thing. Also, I was in an abusive relationship so this definitely hits me in a different way.

    It’s my understanding that this kind of thing DOES happen – during nasty divorces and custody battles, false accusations are made. Yet I do have this little voice saying “what if it’s real.” I don’t think the voice has anything at all to do with our friend himself, whom I do trust and think the world of. But it’s my instinct to believe the woman in these situations and take her side. Guess I’m just curious about your thoughts here and if any of you have been in a situation like this. It’s really weighing on me and there’s not really anyone I can talk to about it.

    • In my experience, you don’t wind up in jail for a night for some sort of accident involving physical contact with your own child. Since you’re legally allowed to Spain your kids. Personally I’d stay out of believing or not believing, but I doubt he’s as lily white as you believe. You can still be a friend without certainty on this.

    • This is rough.

      I guess we never know what happens behind closed doors, do we? I do know when I see crazy peeking out from behind it though.

      Often, there are two crazy people (or: grownups not acting as such). So if you see one crazy person, I tend to believe the noncrazy person more. But maybe it’s not about who you believe (like even people who actually hit their children in anger may still love them and are struggling to get healthy and make amends and make the relationship right). Things can just be really complex.

      I’d say, help support the friend in his good choices and be watchful for the bad. And if the wife is crazy, watch your back, too. Sometimes all sorts of innocent bystanders get sucked in.

      A six year old is unfortunately stuck in the middle and no doubt she will be interviewed and this is likely putting her where she will hate being. Stuff sorts itself out. An ex who throws someone in jail b/c she’s just angry is a very dangerous person to be anywhere in your world.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m a criminal defense lawyer. In my state if you are charged with a domestic violence crime, you are automatically held in jail without bail until the next scheduled first appearance hearing, where conditions of release can be set by a judge. This is statutory and lockup is mandatory regardless of the merits of the accusation. Probable cause to charge someone with a crime requires very little evidence, and yes sometimes people do lie about such things to obtain an advantage in their domestic case.

    • My two cents-
      As a teacher- who has made many many many CPS calls over the years. It takes A LOT to be put into jail for a night. I have seen kids with multiple hand print bruises on their body that say that a parent did it and CPS shrugs and can’t do anything about it because there was no witnesses. So the fact he was thrown in jail over this and the mother was also able to get a restraining order? This is more than a one time, freak accident thing.

      • +1

        • + another one.

          Were charges filed?

          I work in DV. The “crazy” one is often telling the truth. DV is about power & control. So it isn’t really surprising, if you understand DV, that the abuser seems calm, rational, etc. Frankly the glowing, too-good-to-be-true way you describe him makes me more suspicious than anything.

          • Dissent. My husband’s ex is out of her mind and has accused him of unthinkable things in the past, that I know for a fact didn’t happen because I was there. Now that the child has gotten older, the accusations have decreased but this is still something that worries me a lot.

            Obviously these situations are super complicated and I understand wanting to err on the side of caution when there’s risk of a kid being hurt. And I’m not trying to say what my experience has been is at all what is going on in the situation OP described, but at least in my case, the “crazy” one is actually just crazy.

          • Did your husband ever go to jail though? This isn’t just the ex making accusations. There was an independent determination by the police that the guy should be arrested.

    • My two cents-

      I think this type of thing varies from place to place. Where I practice law it is easy to get someone arrested on domestic violence charges and obtain an initial restraining order. Law enforcement would rather initially charge someone (and be wrong) then not charge someone and have the situation spiral out of control. I can’t say I blame them for that.

      Having said that I agree with Anonymous at 10:23 am – we never know what happens behind closed doors, so support your friend in his good choices and be watchful for the bad.

      • Anon Family Atty :

        I agree with this. That said, even if the worst did happen, you are still indirectly supporting mom by helping dad. That might sound crazy at first but the number one issue in divorces is lack of sufficient familial resources. If they don’t have the funds for two people to live separately, dad might fight getting kicked out of the house and drag it out. Mom might end up in a shelter with the kids. If dad has a place to go, mom and kids get to stay in the house without a fight.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yep. In my jurisdiction the attitude of most police and bench officers is “better safe than sorry, issue the restraining order/lock the guy up now and sort it out later.”

        I have definitely seen false claims of domestic violence by people who are trying to gain an advantage in custody litigation. On the other hand, it is also absolutely true that you never know what goes on behind closed doors and many times the one who seems to have it all together is the controlling abuser.

      • +10000 I understand that folks are often speaking from their personal experience, but I find comments that insist that there must be more to the story if he spent the night in jail are problematic. This is absolutely not universal. It’s not at all true in my jurisdiction. Signed, family law attorney.

    • Didn’t read, but want to say thanks for the trigger warning- at least one person really appreciates it:)

      • Not sure if you’ll see this, but thanks for taking the time to post this – it’s often easy to feel like TWs are pointless, because it’s hard to know if it helped anyone.

    • Maybe read up on abusers and see if there are any other warning signs you could pick up? I know it’s a tough situation with him being a friend and all but that is often how abusers keep on abusing: by tricking everyone else into thinking they are nice guys.

  11. KateMiddletown :

    I’m thinking of getting a paper planner to get my goals/schedule organized. I use GoogleCal for my home/family appointments, but I think I need something to integrate weekly goals, to do lists, and home planning (including dinners). Any favorites for this? I like the Day Designer but $60 seems steep.

    • I was a devoted paper calendar person for years, and usually looked for something along the lines of week at a glance. I still love paper, but my current favorite is the bullet journal concept (although I do not have the decorative skills many do on the internet rabbit hole for these). I’d check it out and see if any of it works for you. I love seeing my month in a list form (like the agenda view on google) – helps me visualize when I’m going to be overly stressed better.

      • You’re right — Day Designers aren’t cheap, but man oh man do I love mine! I’m in my second year of using one. What sold it for me was the ability to plot out each day in detail (vs. a weekly overview). I also considered the Simplified Planner this year but was too chicken to stray from my beloved DD. I believe Target carries a version of the Day Designer if you want to try it out for less.

    • Liquid Crystal :

      I just ordered a Gallery Leather ” family planner” for 2017/2018. I like the ” family planner” model because it has hourly time slots with enough space at the bottom of each day to do a bride bullet journal type to do list. It runs a little over $20, and you can now get them on Amazon Prime.

      This is my third year using this for its functionality and simple good looks, after many years of cutesy but less functional ones.

    • I’m obsessed with the Action Day series. They have space for scheduling as well as a lot of additional space for notes both in the back and around the week’s calendar. (They also have kind of a hokey productivity message, but it doesn’t bug me.)

    • I really like the “Volt” planner from Ink&Volt (I got it when it was still the “Spark” planner, which I think is the same as the new ones, just a different name…)

      • Yes! I bought that after someone on here recommended it, and I like it a lot. I got the undated one.

    • For what it’s worth, I really like the Day Designer. I’m not crazy about the cost, either, but it keeps me on track. The mini version is slightly less expensive than the full size.

    • I have a passion planner and it has spaces for all of those things.

    • Stormtrooper :

      Wildkitten recommended ShePlans months ago, and I love their planners. Great ‘to do’ list functions combined with a planner.

    • I’m obsessed with my NeuYear planners. Small independent company, high quality product, and the format works for me really well.

    • I used to be a Day Designer devotee, but its so big and bulky. After awhile I got tired of lugging it around – especially on work trips. I switched to the Moleskine Diary and like the fact that it gives you a full page for everyday and there is enough space to write notes and track other information.

    • I use a Day Designer monthly/weekly planner made for Blue Sky at Target. It was like 15 bucks and it’s worth its weight in gold for my use. https://www.bluesky.com/designer-series/day-designer-by-whitney-english.html/

      I work in academia, so the july to june calendar is fine for me. I usually prefer a jan-dec, but this year I tried the july/june and it’s been fine.

      • KateMiddletown :

        This is perfect. Paper quality isn’t the same, but it seems like a good entree into the DD system. I also like her printables so if this works for 6 mos I might go for the real one.

    • I’ve mentioned before that I am team “Make Your Own.” Pick a binder in a design you like (you can get a Blueline Miraclebind and specialized hole punch if you demand spiral binding) and then make your own planner. If you determine you need a new kind of page, it is easy to just tweak and reprint.

    • I have the Leuchtturm with the dot grid – basically the original bullet journal. I like the free form nature of it. Some days I take a lot of notes and need a whole page, or close to it, for just that day. Some weeks can fit on a page. I like the flexibility to do it my way.

      My exact model is the 1917.

      • Same here. Some weeks, I use a lot of structure, some are more free form. I love the numbered pages and table of contents because it makes it easier to find the random pages I create – like various lists, party planning, etc.

        FYI 1917 is part of the brand name, not the model number.

    • I like the Arc system from Staples.

    • Day Designer did a line for Target, so they’re in the $20-$30 range :)

  12. Style question.
    MBB consulting, been always staffed on corporate projects or with PE funds (in Europe)
    I am about to do my first pro-bono case with a prestigious foundation, my firm works with them every year.

    I understand these non-profits are flooded with funds (part of what the firm is to help with) and are not as frugal as I’m used to from my grassroots college days social work.
    But I was wondering, what do professional firms employees (lawyers, consultants, auditors) wear to such “clients”.
    I don’t want to look ostentatious but I also recognize that over the years, my wardrobe is leaner and higher quality than when I strated in teh workforce 8 years ago.

    Tell me it’s fine to go work with my non-logoed work pieces and low heel pumps.
    For perspective the partner on the case is dressed in Hermes head to toe but they are used to his eccentricity.
    Or am I over analysing this?

    • Just wear your normal clothes.

    • No. “Non-badged” is a fine dress code.

      I do want to see the partner though — he sounds like quite the peac*ck.

      • That’s a relief, I have a streamlined capsule wardrobe so it is a bit disheartening to have to buy clothes for a 6-week project.
        The partner is actually quite “flamboyant” to say the least… I do find him entertaining to watch from afar

  13. Has anyone used the hormone patch or the implant (Nexplanon) for BC? Looking to move from the Mirena but unsure of what to try next. Thanks!

    • If you want to stick with a hormonal method, I’d definitely opt for the implant over the patch. LARC methods are amazing and there’s nothing you need to remember to do every month.

      • I concur with Anon at 10:28. These days, I’d go with an implant. I used the patch back in the day and found that it collected fuzz from clothing towards the end of a week, the way that an old bandaid would. It wasn’t attractive. Furthermore, I developed an allergy to the adhesive on the patch – be aware that this can trigger a reaction.

      • Anony Mouse :

        If you’re considering an implant and have any issues with depression/mental health, be sure to mention it to your doctor.

        • Why specifically for IUDs? I’m 4 years into my first one, and it’s been a tumultuous four years for many outside reasons, and I don’t know what my baseline would have been without it, but your comment makes me curious about what kind of mental state I’ll be in when I have mine removed at the end of this year.

          • Anony Mouse :

            It’s important to consider mental health issues when looking at any kind of birth control, but it’s especially important with IUDs because it’s more complicated to switch/stop using IUDs than with other methods. Also, it can make a difference whether the IUD is copper or hormonal.
            Here’s a good article NPR ran last year on birth control and depression: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/09/497087838/does-some-birth-control-raise-depression-risk-thats-complicated

    • I’ve done the patch. It’s fine but you get a giant patch mark on your skin. You move it around and you can see where the old patch was for about a week after you take it off. I have never heard of anyone liking Depo, but if you want another option that doesn’t require daily pills, don’t forget about the ring.

    • I have the implant and love it. I don’t know why more women don’t get them. (And no, you can’t see it in my arm, if that’s of concern to you–had a friend ask that once.)

      • Do you have a constant period? I’m guessing not, since you love it, but that’s my fear of the implant (my doc said she’s had patients get a nonstop period and patients whose periods disappear, so both ends of the spectrum, I guess).

        • I liked the implant so much I got it three times. The first two times were fantastic. I had virtually no period the entire time. I took the second one out a bit early to TTC and got pregnant right away. Then I got the third one after I had my daughter. Unfortunately, my body chemistry changed after being pregnant and I had a constant period. It was the worst and I kept it in for way too long because I was convinced that it would get better at some point because I loved it so much for so many years. So it’s definitely dependent on your own body chemistry, like any BC.

      • Also curious about your cycle. I used the ring before and I loved that my period was predictable and even skip-able if necessary. The IUD’s constant spotting and totally random cycle are two of the major reasons for me swapping.

        • Mirena for 4 years and I haven’t had a period for the last two. First 6 months SUCKED and I spotted for the next two (but also dabbled in spironolactone for acne for a while so woof), but I’ve been pretty happy with not having a period at all. I did the thong pantyliners on the regular for a while, which seemed a good solution. I do get a little bit of spotting every now and again (especially during stressful periods or when my teen stepdaughters are with us for an extended period of time) but haven’t ruined a pair of underwear for two+ yrs.

      • I have the implant and will continue to use it, even if I don’t love it. My cycle is very erratic – I wouldn’t say I have a non stop period, but I never quite know when it’s going to happen. Panty liners are my best friend. I am lucky enough to have an SO that is in no way concerned about that, and I could not care less, but if that’s an issue for you, be aware. But I love the convenience of it. I love that I have to take no steps to make sure things are on track. As someone struggling with OCD, having peace of mind is important. An erratic period is a small price to pay to not constantly be thinking “am I sure I’m storing my pill in the right temp? I forgot a day, OMG I’M GOING TO GET PREGNANT.” I would recommend it.

    • The patch is almost not prescribed anymore because Nuvaring has supplanted it. I am surprised your doctor even offered it as an option. The patch had a very elevated risk of stroke, and it is almost never used nowadays because you get the same “set it and forget it” flexibility with Nuvaring without the highly elevated stroke risk.

      I was on the patch for years. It was fine and easy, but it was annoying toward the end of the month because the sides of it would get “linty” from being in contact with your clothes. It was awkward during bathing suit season–the places it stays best (lower back, mid-abdomen) were not necessarily covered by swimsuits.

      No comment on Mirena.

    • I was debating patch vs ring. Went with the ring. Been on 3 weeks and so far I’m happy. Ultimately agree with other commenters that the ring is the same idea (don’t have to think about it as often) but more effective in terms of placement

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I used Implanon in my arm and had no period, which was nice.

    • The patch can come off with vigorous, sweaty s3x (if you do this multiple times per week). Just a word of warning, I had to switch to another method after like 3 patches fell off in the span of a few months.
      (Not why I’m pregnant; this was years ago).

      I also used the ring twice for a few months, a few years apart, which for some reason made me incredibly depressed both times. Other than my personal reaction, I found it was more convenient than the patch.

      My friend just got her implant out and it hurt – a lot! She’s got some pretty major bruising 2 weeks later. She really liked it other than that.

  14. Grilled cheese :

    What are your favorite recipes for grown-up grilled cheese sandwiches? I’m going to be working from home a few days a week this year and I know that comfort food classics will hit the spot during the winter, but I’d like some ideas to mix up the usual boring grilled cheeses I ate as a kid.

    • Have you looked at the blog grilled cheese social? Tons of inspiration.

    • Linda from HR :

      I was inspired by a tartine I had in Paris, it’s like an open faced sandwich. Take slices of French loaf, cook them in butter until toasty on one side, flip them over, and lay on a slice of ham on each one and sprinkle grated gruyere or emmentalier cheese. I’d broil it if my oven had that setting.

      Also, quesadillas are awesome.

      Or, a simpler way to mix it up is just to use different kinds of cheese, and add stuff like bacon, grilled chicken (or really any leftover meat) and/or sauteed mushrooms.

    • A no-brainer you’ve probably already thought of, but starting with amazing bread and high-quality cheese is going to blow your mind. We have a local store with a ridiculous cheese counter, and I just go there and ask for recommendations for a cheese to fit any situation. Do you have something similar? Then get local, fresh baked bread. Don’t skimp on the butter.

      Other ways I like to jazz it up – avocado inside, tomato inside, fresh herbs inside, bacon inside, fry some slice ham quickly in the pan then include it

      • Grilled cheese :

        We actually do have a great cheese shop nearby. Any favorites to recommend to go with avocado or bacon?

        • I like something with a little more bite to go with avocado and a little more mild to go with bacon. I recently made grilled cheese with a local romano and it basically blew my mind! I would have never thought to put romano on a grilled cheese but I was starving and it was the only cheese I had.

        • My local cheese shop offers samples of everything they sell. Ask them for their reccs and sample away!

    • Anony Mouse :

      Not for the faint of heart: Habanero Jack cheese on 40-clove garlic bread (similar to this recipe: https://www.macheesmo.com/roasted-garlic-bread/) with butternut squash soup.

    • Spinach artichoke grilled cheese helps you get veggies too. Budget Bytes has a good recipe but I’d use a clove or two of garlic in place of garlic powder. Flavor payoff is better!

    • Challah (egg bread)!! The best.

    • This may out me–for a few years my BIL had a grilled cheese party for his birthday celebration, so we got really into amped-up grilled cheese. Some of our concoctions will be less useful for a weekday lunch (fried chicken and cornmeal waffles grilled cheese!), but these are the combos I recall that would be easy when working from home:

      +crusty bread, mild cheddar, blue cheese, bacon, fig jam
      +sourdough, cheddar, caramelized red onions, good mayo
      +crusty bread, braised greens, jamon serrano, ricotta
      +sourdough, jarlsberg, sliced green apple, grainy mustard

      Also, not quite the same, but as it’s tomato season, we’ve been obsessively making fancy BLTs with roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, aoli, and avocado in addition to the traditional B and L.

      • Oh, and since I see no one else has mentioned this: if you are making your grilled cheese in a pan on the stove, use mayo on your bread, not butter. It’ll brown better!

      • Grilled cheese :

        Those all sound amazing! I don’t like mayo, but your post is making me reconsider…

        • You won’t really taste it–it’s just for the sake of the nice crispy golden-brown on your bread. (The Maillard reaction, if you want to be fancy.) Mayo has a higher smoking point than butter, so your bread will brown more consistently without getting burned.

          We also made nachos grilled cheese and French onion soup grilled cheese. It was a heady time. :)

    • I like mustard and sun-dried tomatoes on mine.

    • Pear and gruyere!

    • My favorite is fontina, trader joe’s fig jam, arugula, onion, and maybe some tomato and mustard.

    • Roast a poblano pepper. Cut it up, put half or so of it inside.

      +1 to recommendations about good bread and cheese. I typically use 2 or 3 kind of cheese, and use either thin slices or grate it (depending on how much work I feel like doing).

    • Haven’t tried it yet but this one looks amazing

      http://pinchofyum.com/caprese-grilled-cheese

    • Are my jeans too tight? :

      A version of a Cubano

      Slice of cheddar (usually)
      Freshly cooked bacon + turkey bacon (or ham if you have it… I rarely do)
      pickle (sandwhich slices are so convenient!)
      dijon mustard

    • Senior Attorney :

      Also, sprinkle some grated Parmesan on the outside of the sandwich before grilling. Yum!

    • Leicester cheese is perfect for adult grilled cheese. Tasty and it melts really well. I started using it after reading that some famous British chef recommended (can’t remember which one, Gordon Ramsey maybe?).

    • For Thanksgiving leftovers, we always make grilled cheese out of the leftover dinner bread (usually italian or sourdough), leftover cheese tray (usually a combo of brie, sharp white cheddar and sometimes blue cheese), carmelized onions, and leftover bits of roasted turkey. I imagine you could also pair with roast chicken from one of the grocery stores.

      Also – grilled cheese + tomato soup = my childhood (use of cheese singles wrapped in plastic on wonderbread recommended).

    • I love a caprese grilled cheese with pesto, fresh mozzarella and sliced tomato.

    • Extra sourdough bread, cheddar cheese, grilled till crispy then dipped in creamy tomato soup. Hard to beat.

    • the america’s test kitchen recipe where you essentially make a cheese spread that has sherry and shallots and a mixture of cheeses. I add hot peppers to mine (because any excuse to make something spicy) and it’s incredible.

  15. Can someone please recommend a Canadian online store that sells a good walking sandal? Don’t care if it’s pretty, just need something I can chase my kid around in while wearing another kid. Bonus points for free shipping.

    • SoftMoc, Walking on a Cloud.

    • The Bay has good online selection and good quality – if you wait for a sale prices will be OK. Walmart also has good online shopping options. Otherwise Amazon :)

    • The Shoe Company / Town Shoes. I just picked up a pair of Keens on sale for $99, with free shipping to Alberta!

  16. How do you get past fear – the type of fear that hinders you from even considering a change? Long story but been in a job for 2 yrs that I really can’t stand. But was laid off from a previous much better much for challenging role, unemployed for over a year and this is the only offer I got. So in my mind at times it’s – the job search was awful 2 yrs ago and you’re lucky to even have this job with six figures and a lot more stability; plus getting back to the riskier field I was in would involve moving back to NYC – where I’d absolutely need to make money since the cost and the risks are higher. And then my mind keeps coming back to – you can’t take a risk bc you’re 37 and single, you don’t have a husband to fall back on like everyone else. I hate that I think that way – after all these ivy degrees and 8 yrs in a challenging job and 12 yrs of providing for myself since graduation – as if a husband is all that matters. Not seeking therapy – just thoughts on how do I get past the fear and even prep myself to look? I don’t have anyone to really talk to about this. My 1-2 friends listen and sympathize but can’t advise really. My parents/sister – immigrants to whom a 150k+ job with gov’t like stability is an absolute dream so they expect me to “get over it.” Thoughts?

    • Anony Mouse :

      Have you tried repeating a few affirmations to yourself throughout the day? I know it’s corny, but affirmations really helped me to make progress on how I viewed myself at a particularly low point in my life.

      • Such as?

        • Anony Mouse :

          Write out a list of positive, factual statements about yourself, preferably ones related to your current anxieties. The book I read (can’t remember which one) suggested that statements liked to concrete facts were more effective than generalized ones (e.g. “I am good,” I am smart,” I am pretty.”)

          Here are a few of mine, which I used when I was a broken-hearted, broken-spirited PhD student about to leave school without a Plan B:
          –“I have beautiful hair.” (For most of my life, I hated my hair, which is naturally curly.)
          –“I pay my bills on time.”
          –“I enjoy cooking delicious and healthy meals for myself.”
          –“I choose to take care of myself because I am worthy of being cared for.”
          –“I allow myself to experience negative emotions, and then I let them pass.”
          –“I am capable of overcoming obstacles in my path.”

          • I always thought affirmations were kind of hokey, but I recently went through a difficult patch and decided to try and found them actually kind of helpful. I read “New Thoughts for Actors” by Jack Plotnick. I am not an actor, but the stuff on affirmations resonated with me. Link to follow.

          • http://www.jackplotnick.com/media/newthoughts.pdf

        • Oh man, I’m allll about the overcoming fear right now!

          +1 to affirmations. Feels ridiculous to start but have been very effective for me. My morning mantra is “Today I am happier, healthier, wealthier and more beautiful today that I was yesterday.” (Adapted slightly from Lori Harder/her podcasts, if anyone is familiar – she uses stronger as her last adjective but I feel like that’s covered for me in healthier + I have self-esteem issues with my skin so beautiful is more helpful for me.)

          Suggestions for risk affirmations: “I take big risks and reap big rewards.” “I choose to show up in my life and honor the opportunities I have been given.” “The more accepting I am to change, the easier it feels.” “Change is a sign of life, and I choose to live.” “I allow the positive things to unfold.” “I am deserving.”

          Or something like that. Find a couple that click with you and just focus on those.

          Also, put in your headphones at work and play this youtube video in the background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za5nVIJKLRs

          I was looking for a different positive affirmation meditation that I like and found that one – I like it better.

    • I’m sorry to say this, but your parents/sister are not your friends here. They are not the ones who have to go to the job every day.

      As far as getting past the fear and motivating yourself to look, I know you said no therapy, but I think you might find it helpful. A career coach could also be a good resource if you’re in a position to use one. Otherwise, I think you’ll have to just start looking for a job, motivated or not. You can resign yourself to the situation you’re in, but I don’t think you can force yourself to be happy in it.

    • MollySolverson :

      Only you can decide what life you want and only you can make it happen. And from an outside perspective, it sounds to me like this is a perfect time to look! First, you have a job – it always seems easier to find a job when employed. Second, your job is stable, so you can be less concerned about getting fired if you lean out a tiny bit to start looking.

      In times like this, I ask myself, “what is the worst and best thing that could happen?” You’re just considering whether to look at this point. What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t find a job that strikes your fancy? Well, the best thing that could happen is that you find a cool job! Even if you don’t get the first job you apply for, I find that opening myself up to new possibilities helps when I’m feeling stuck. Sounds cheesy, but it works.

      No advice here on the 30s and single issue – that describes me too. But I do want to gently push back a bit here. Maybe you would feel more financially secure with a partner, but maybe not, depending on your partner’s salary and job security. And there are trade-offs; right now, the only person whose schedule, location preferences, etc. you need to take into account is you.

    • I feel very similar. My last job was great in a lot of ways, but the field was risky and I was laid off. I am currently in a more stable role, but with a lot more negatives. I hate job searching, interviewing and being perceived as a job hopper (right or wrong) so I feel stuck here. I also have similar lack of understanding from my immigrant family. I would encourage you to go to therapy – it doesn’t have to “fix” anything but it will give you a chance to air out your feelings to someone on your side because the feelings are not going to go away. You can also discuss the family dynamic there.

    • I don’t have any helpful suggestions, but I did want to say that you are are not alone. I am close to 40 and in a similar position. I feel under-employed and under-valued but I absolutely will not leave my very stable job, because i have no safety net of husband to help in the event that something were to go wrong with any potential new venture. It just is the way it is. People who are married have that advantage of having a partner and I don’t. I have strong savings for my income level and live very frugally, but it still doesn’t matter. I have come to accept that some doors are closed to me.

      • I find this sad. I agree it is harder not having someone to fall back on — BUT to work 20 more yrs just for stability?? I’m not saving I’d give up stability for some crazy business venture that makes no sense — bc again no fall back — but wouldn’t you consider it for another potentially better job in the same industry?

      • I don’t get your line of thinking here. I do, to an extent, but I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. “because i have no safety net of husband to help in the event that something were to go wrong with any potential new venture. It just is the way it is. People who are married have that advantage of having a partner and I don’t.” In my view, you can take MORE risks because you don’t have to worry about a second person who is relying on your income.

        And I don’t get this intense fear of change. You’re talking about just applying for a new job. What is that catastrophic event that would cause you to become destitute without a partner to support you? I get that you probably don’t have the funds to become an entrepreneur (most people don’t) but just taking a new job and getting a paycheck from a different bank doesn’t mean anything catastrophic. If you hate it there, then you are miserable until you find something else. Etc. Yes, you could lose your job, but technically that can happen at any time for any reason. Staying where you are does not take that risk to zero.

        • I’m not the person who posted this but I’m 50 and changed jobs after 20 years last year. The safety net concept is real.

          I had built up unlimited sick time, I had good LTD insurance through my employer (which my new employer doesn’t have and thanks to a cancer scare I can’t buy privately), and I would have been entitled to a year of severance pay had I been laid off. I also had long term incentive pay I lost when leaving.

          I was able to negotiate some of the LTI into a signing bonus with my new company but the rest of the benefits I left behind. And then the cancer scare happened three months into my new job and I was like, what have I done? I had no safety net.

          I was very lucky and it turned out not to be cancer but it is an autoimmune disease (they think) and I still regret that I don’t have all of the great benefits I had before.

    • Coach Laura :

      I’ll echo the post that no one’s job is safe all the time so looking/moving is not any more or less risky.

      What you should do is plan. Max out your emergency savings fund. Perhaps decrease contributions to your 401k past the employer-march level if applicable then put money in a Roth IRA which would allow distributions in emergency rithout penalty. Take out a HELoC. Position yourself to survive a job loss or illness for 6-9 months regardless.

      Then make a 5- and 10-year plan for your career. What are the intermediate steps you need to take in your career to get you there? Then start networking and talking to people about your career. Work on it slowly to build your confidence.

      A job may organically arise out of networking or you may be able to lessen your fear as you build your support system.

      Don’t let fear overwhelm you. Plan and take steps that will help you get there.

      • Coach Laura :

        Meant to say work on your plan while building emergency fund. You can do both at once.

      • Oh good god smug marrieds denying that two incomes is a meaningful safety net. Spare me.

        OP, yes it is riskier to move to something different without a second income, but on the other hand, you’ve got freedom to do anything or go anywhere. I’ve been in a position where I knew that my employment situation was extremely tenuous and knowing there was no back up was scary- even with 6 months of savings. (That’s what I want, to decimate my savings while job searching! fun!). On the other hand, it allowed me to consider jobs in other states which gave me a large amount of flexibility.

    • Being single doesn’t tie you down, quite the opposite. There are so many places I could go in my career if I weren’t married with kids.

  17. Any lawyers in Big 4 firms care to hum a few bars on work life balance, and specifically how day-to-day hours, weekend work and vacation time compares to biglaw? I’m particularly interested in anecdata from anyone with experience at Big 4 in a non-tax specialty (e.g., tech trans, privacy). Thanks!

    • I am none of those things but am now sitting at my desk humming the standard twelve-bar blues, so thanks for your eye-catching phrasing.

    • I’ve never been in biglaw because it’s not my scene, but the Big 4 varies dramatically by group. I’m a tax lawyer, so YMMV.

      I was with KPMG and we had something like 4 weeks of vacation a year, and corporate policy was that it expired quarterly (I think?), so everyone took a week off every quarter (or the equivalent number of long weekends). Our group allowed one day of WFH per week, you choose your day. We only worked weekends when we had deals (I sometimes had M&A work, which of course is Hair On Fire, but my regular work was not). I basically worked 40 hours per week. (My tax field was not subject to busy season.) Meanwhile, another tax lawyer friend of mine is still there and works 60 hours per week (but somehow loves it). A friend of mine in the consulting practice basically loafs around and BSes all day and gets paid to do it.

      I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Big 4 have very different personalities. I’ve never met anyone from Deloitte who wasn’t desperate to escape and find a new job. EY gets a big meh from all my friends. KPMG is definitely the lifestyle firm – you get to leave at 3 on Fridays in the summer, lots of vacation hours, friendly people, frequent raffles and giveaways, and there’s always free food in the office. But I’ll also caveat this by saying that while the people I worked with were very kind, they weren’t always the sharpest. Even sometimes, unfortunately, at the highest levels…which makes it easy to look like a superstar with minimal effort on your part. If you’re looking for a breather for a couple years while you have little kids, I wholeheartedly recommend KPMG if you get a good vibe from the local office you interview with. Just go in knowing things move at a slower pace – if you try to operate at your usual level, you’ll be frustrated with your coworkers.

      • Thanks so much, this is super helpful! I actually don’t know much about the Big 4 (currently in biglaw), so it’s especially useful to hear about the different personalities across firms. Any thoughts re PWC as compared to the others?

        • I’m sorry, I don’t. I don’t have any friends anywhere who’ve been with PWC. That’s really strange now that I think about it…

    • I have a friend who is in tech trans/licensing at Deloitte in SF. We worked together previously at a newly-public company. She has never worked in biglaw, and, at times, at that company, didn’t understand why she had to work more than 9-5:30pm (because it was month-end and it was a sales-driven tech company!?!) Anyway, I regularly reach out to her because my friends who are GCs at hot tech companies want licensing attorneys. She is super-duper not looking to move from Deloitte. Which I think means that it’s a pretty cush job, good salary and good hours, because those were her previous criteria. All that is to say, she’s darn happy. Even when I send her super-hot unicorn pre-IPO jobs–not interested.

      I have other friends from law school who work in tax law at Big 4, work a lot, have to bill their time (blech!), but have a clear path to progression. Apparently the big cheese on the tax side is getting into some tax policy group that’s cush AF in Washington DC and just being a subject matter expert, but that doesn’t come for a decade or so. They do talk about how much attrition there is (by design–it’s a pyramid) and how that’s hard in a client service business. I don’t think that’s too different from working in biglaw in that respect–the team’s always changing. Hope all this helps.

  18. Who gets the check? :

    At my new job, my department occasionally goes out to lunch together to celebrate birthdays, a new employee, or a significant work accomplishment (e.g., when we got our new software up and running). When the lunch is in honor of someone, like a birthday or new hire, those people don’t pay but someone else quietly picks up their check. There’s no real system in place for this, it just gets worked out at the table in a subtle but slightly awkward way.
    The last lunch we did like this was for me as a new hire and our boss for being established as our interim department head, so I didn’t pay. Am I now obligated to pick up someone’s check for the monthly birthday lunch this week since someone paid for my meal last time? If it matters, I’m the lowest (and least paid) person on the totem pole here, but I want to make sure I’m doing my fair share!

    • The company I work for has a policy that whoever is the most senior at the table pays for things that can legitimately be expensed back to the company.

      This also plays out in the more casual birthday lunch situation. I have never been at one of these lunches where the most senior person at the table hasn’t picked up the check, including at happy hours (although often counsel does that). I’ve been out with my boss, counsel, directors, senior managers, etc., and I have never paid nor does it appear I have been expected to.

      All of that said, this is very much a know your office thing – I would ask someone you are friendly with who is at the same level you are what the general “policy” is for these things.

    • I am a little confused: how do you know what the birthday lunch traditions are if you are a new hire and the last lunch you attended was in your honor?

      It seems like your office has established norms around who pays and when; perhaps you are new enough that you just haven’t been clued in to all of them. If you want to be part of this lunch outing, I wouldn’t assume that you are obliged to pay for someone this time, but I also would come prepared to abide by the group norms.

      • I’ve been here for a couple of months, and my “new hire” lunch wasn’t until halfway through my second month due to some logistical things. During the first month and a half there were more lunch events than usual (according to coworkers) due to increased staff turnover, so I got an idea of what was going on. It seems like it’s a vague system of whoever is closest to the honoree or speaks up first pays for their meal, but that’s often a difficult thing to judge.

        • I would ask someone around your level who has been there longer. I would follow the lead of more senior people next time if you’re not able to get guidance beforehand.
          In my experience: for informal lunches with others at the same level, we usually make clear whether it’s expensed (in which case one person pays and then submits the receipt) or split (usually everyone buys their own, or everyone buys their own plus “honoree’s” meal divided among the rest).
          If a more senior person is included – at a law firm, a partner – usually that person picks up the check (and I assume expenses it later, or chooses not to expense). Since your boss was there, my assumption would be that he or a peer of his would pick up the check, and they’d let you know if you are responsible for contributing.

    • In my org, new hire lunches are picked up by the most senior person at the table and expensed. Birthday lunches are generally picked up by the immediate supervisor and not expensed.

    • Are my jeans too tight? :

      I’d ask someone else you work with, what the routine is.

      • ^ this. Don’t do what I did and assume that we all take turns picking up someone’s lunch and not expensing it (small dept). Come to find out, when I finally paid for someone’s bday lunch and everyone came to pay me their portion, one person pays and everyone else pays that person back. I was mortified. There had been about 6 birthday lunches and I hadn’t paid my “part” in any of them.

  19. Friendship/lateness question – Last night, my husband and I were supposed to meet up with another couple at a lake for a picnic, swimming, etc. at 6 p.m. A few minutes before 6, we were already at the lake and we got a text saying that they were on their way home from something else and would text us when they left for the lake (about 30 minutes from their house). Then another 30 minutes went by without hearing from them, so I texted them and cancelled. And now they are mad at us for cancelling and I feel bad, but I also don’t feel bad because they were going to be at least an hour, probably 90 minutes, late and I didn’t want to spend the whole evening waiting for them. WWYD? How do you handle friends and lateness?

    • I mean…if you were already at the lake and planned to spend the evening there regardless, I don’t see why your friends couldn’t have shown up eventually and joined you? It’s like you were telling them they weren’t allowed to come, which is weird.

      I am an extremely punctual person, to me being “on time” is being 10 minutes early, but I accept that most people aren’t like that.

    • People who are late are being rude, but in your case, I might just go ahead and swim and have fun without them.

    • Is this a trend with them? Timeliness is more important to some people than others. I have friends that I know will be always an hour late, and some that I know will always be on time. With those that are late – I tend to pick activities that I would already be doing and invite them to join me, so if they don’t show up on time – its no big sweat on my part.

      Personally, I would have texted them again at the 30 minute mark and ask them what their time frame was before canceling. I also wondering how canceling really benefited you. You were already at the lake. You could have spent the evening swimming/eating a picnic with your husband and enjoyed that time until they showed up.

    • Liquid Crystal :

      I used to put up with that and adjust my schedule around others’. No more.

      I would have stayed at the lake as long as I felt like, and I would have left when I felt like without giving them any explanation. If they got there and I was still there, great, I would have been glad to see them for a half hour or however long I ended up wanting to stay. If they were not there by the time I had enjoyed my fill of the lake, I would have left.

      I would probably give them one more chance, but if they are this egregiously late a second time, I would not make further plans with them.

    • I think I would have sent them a text saying something like “DH and I weren’t planning on staying out here later than 8:30 (or whatever time- I go to bed early!), so if you need to cancel, we can reschedule!” Something like that to let them know that you understand stuff comes up sometimes, but that you don’t want to hang around waiting on them forever.

      • anon a mouse :

        This is exactly what I would do. Communicate what you can (or can’t) do, and they can adjust accordingly.

        We recently had a play date scheduled where friends were an hour late (nap ran long, traffic was bad, etc). I had said at the beginning that our kid can’t really do more than 90 minutes at that play site without a break, so when they showed up, the kids had 30 minutes together and then we were done. It was better than nothing.

    • I don’t know that I would’ve cancelled on them unless you had plans to meet there and then travel on to a second location. If you were at the designated area, I would have just started on whatever plans you had (swimming, eating, whatever) and let them join at whatever point they finally arrived. But I also agree that people with Anon at 10:58am that late people are being rude.

    • You are fine. That was incredibly rude on their part.

    • In this situation I would have just enjoyed the time at the lake. But in general it is insane they are mad at you and I just wouldn’t be friends with them.

    • For a public space like that where there’s no reservation and you all are not then getting in a car and driving to another place, I’d just have said — we’re planning to be here until 9 pm so if you all get here before then, we’re in the back left of the park; otherwise, catch you next time.

      It’s a lake – obv they were going to arrive before dark. If you were wanting to leave before that, you could’ve just told them — hey planning to leave at x.

    • I wouldn’t have cancelled in a “Don’t bother coming” way, but I would have enjoyed the evening–and my dinner–without waiting for them, and I would have left when I was otherwise planning to or ready to leave. If I was ready to leave before they arrived, I’d probably make of an excuse (bug bites, heat, noisy teenagers) and invite the friends to my place or a local bar for a drink.

      Being late is rude. We have friends who used to show up an hour or two late, and we hung out with them less and only invited them to things where our plans were very flexible.

    • In your any of your texts did you indicate you were already there? I agree they are the rude ones here, but I don’t know if they got the full story or not.

    • I’m in your position all the time, made worse by the fact that I have a toddler, as do many of our friends (so it’s super annoying to have picked the perfect time based on nap/bedtime schedules, only to have everything thrown off). While I agree that your friends were absolutely the rudest ones in this scenario, I personally would never just cancel like that. I’d check in and try to make the decision more collaboratively. Given this is how I’d approach things, if I were ever the one running late and my friends didn’t cut me slack, I’d probably bristle (to myself/husband).

    • We have a kid and most of our friends do not so they don’t really understand how big a deal it is when they change plans on us. A huge amount of work goes into every plan with my child and last minute changes and delays can make whatever it is impossible or very risky. For example, we had someone show up an hour late to brunch at a restaurant – we were done eating and ready to leave when they turned up. Someone this weekend changed bowling on us by moving it an hour up, my kid has a nap at that time.

      People without kids struggle to understand that we know our kids and what they are capable of and often last minute changes are impossible or risk child tantruming and upsetting an entire restaurant or whatever.

      • Or heaven forbid you have to get a babysitter. I don’t hang out with my flaky friends since I had a kid. Not because I don’t want to see them– I would love to. But because it’s a gigantic pain in the ass to schedule a baby sitter and then have them flake or cancel at the last minute.

        • Lol that wouldn’t be the worst, I mean I can’t cancel on a babysitter (they would never come again) but I’d go see a movie.

          It’s when I get to a place and someone is like, can we postpone for an hour when I am like… how do you want me to tell my kid and this restaurant that we aren’t eating for an hour?

          • I think that could actually work out well. Get yourself a drink, maybe an app, and order kid’s dinner. Feed kid while waiting for friend. When friend arrives you two get to eat and the kid is already fed and happy. Kid gets to occupy himself with dessert.

          • HAHAHA on keeping a kid entertained in a restaurant for two hours. Please.

          • Anon at 1:04 again – to be clear, I’d be super annoyed. I was just thinking this could be a good future strategy for meeting up w/ a friend for dinner w/ a kid. Feeding the kid while feeding oneself can be challenging.

          • I can make it exactly 50 minutes at a restaurant with my kid and no iPad. If I bring the iPad I need to be at a restaurant where that’s acceptable and no one is close enough to be bothered by it. I really try not to bring the iPad. It’s for extreme desperation.

            Haven’t ordered desert in ages lol my kid won’t eat it.

            Normally we order kid food or a snack as soon as we arrive and feed him a snack that we bring or have him draw until it shows up. We order promptly, try and clean up any mess and leave. He and I often split food because yeah, sometimes I don’t or can’t eat.

            There is no way I would ever plan on spending two hours at a restaurant. None.

    • Linda from HR :

      Did the texts seem at all apologetic? Did she give a reason? I can sometimes give someone a pass on lateness if there was a legit reason out of their control, but when someone is just casually running over an hour late and doesn’t see anything wrong with that, I’m annoyed.

      Now, was canceling rude? What was your reason? Just not wanting to wait 90 mins, or feeling as though there wouldn’t be enough time to spend with them when they arrived? I could see wanting to leave before it got cold and buggy, or just not wanting to be out super late, especially if you have a long car ride home. I may have canceled too, but I probably would have given a reason, like “it’s going to be dark soon and we don’t want to stay past X:00, so why don’t we reschedule for another weekend?”

      • Liquid Crystal :

        As to the OP “cancelling”, I don’t see why the reason matters. I think it is semantics saying the OP cancelled. When the friends hadn’t shown up by an hour after the agreed-upon meeting time, the friends cancelled, even if they didn’t use that word.

        I think “just not wanting to wait 90 minutes” is enough reason to get on with your day! I mean, think about it: how many hours of leisure time do you get per weekend? For sake of argument, you get 2 16-hour days of waking weekend time. Chores and errands and some basic rest probably take up about half of that. I know, there are sweeping generalizations here. So then you have about 16 hours left. 90 minutes late is, in rounded numbers, about 10% of your actual free time. So if you had scheduled 2-3 hours to hang with your friends at the park, they have already burned half of that by being late, before they even show up. I mean, I get that life happens, but I wouldn’t want to be making it a habit to hang out with people who waste my time.

  20. Have you ever deleted LinkedIn contacts and is there any downside to doing so? Lately I have realized that LinkedIn has become more like other social media than it was when it first started — i.e. a lot of people have contacts that they hardly know at all. I reached out to 2 people recently who were fellow associates at my last firm (I knew them personally but not super close) and said – hey I see you know X at Y firm, I wanted to see if you’d be able to put me in touch with them as I’m generally interested in learning more about Y. (Said a bit better than that but clarified that I wouldn’t be begging their contact for a job). In both cases the response has been – oh I would be I don’t actually know her, I met her at a conference 7 yrs ago and I doubt she’d even respond to my email. So I’m realizing there are some people who are huge “networkers” — in that they collect contacts — but not actually networked in a way that can ever help. Any harm in deleting people like this? I mean if they can never be genuinely helpful, why bother ever reaching out to them again?

    • What’s the upside to deleting them? I mean maybe you’ll meet them again or they’ll send you an email and realize that you’re no longer connected. It’s unlikely, but I would just leave them on there because it doesn’t seem like its doing any harm.

    • Linda from HR :

      I work in talent acquisition, and in my early days the company that was training me said the bigger my network the better, and I was to accept every request and send out a certain number of requests per day as part of a social media “plan.” I hated it. As a result of that plan, I ended up with a lot of contacts I didn’t need. So now, if something annoying pops up on my LI feed, I might delete the contact if our connection has no chance of being mutually beneficial.

      If the connection is mutually beneficial, or could be in the future, I may just unfollow them. I also don’t have my birthday posted because I hate getting those canned “happy birthday” messages from people I’ve never even met.

    • Why delete them? They responded to you and probably have contacts they do know. I have a large LinkedIn network with a mix of people I vacation with to met at a conference. I’ll help connect people I know with people I’m close to, and the others are useful to see who knows who and to maintain a loose connection. I don’t get the point of culling people, personally. The only reason I’d drop someone is if they turned out to be a total jerk and I didn’t want to be associated with them.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I just deleted someone this morning because I had NO IDEA who they were. I had the same bigger = better training, but now I think if someone seems to be just a serial inviter (i.e, no way they actually know who I am) I don’t accept and have been culling the complete randos. I recently had a call from a client asking for background on someone I was linked to, and I was caught off guard because she was not actually a part of my network, just a linkedin connection. The network now advises that you only link with people you actually know – then your links are much more meaningful and not an early days of Facebook type of thing.

    • blueberries :

      For me, making these kind of introductions isn’t the main point of LinkedIn–it’s the low-effort staying in touch with business contacts. I’d be kind of annoyed if someone, particularly someone I don’t know super well, acted as if the main point of connecting with me was to access my connections. However, I love connecting people when I think they’d both appreciate the connection. This normally comes as a result of in-person/phone chats.

      • Anonymous :

        May not be the point for you but that’s why LinkedIn was created. I don’t need it to stay in touch with my own network bc I’m actually one of those dinosaurs that reaches out to my network via emails and [gasp] even phone calls.

  21. Why is the search function so bad on this website? I want to go back and find the list of books about World War II that was suggested last week in the comments without going through every single post and I searched the following words:
    World War II
    Guernsey
    Book Thief
    Life After Life

    And none of them pulled it up! Its so frustrating because there is so much good info on this website but you can’t access it.

    • You can use Google to search instead.

      • Explain – I did Corporette + the search things and it brought up nothing! Help me out!

      • Yes, search on google with site:corporette.com as part of your key words.

      • So it turns out it was on Friday’s post but explain how to use google? I tried googling search terms + the name of this website and nothing came up!

        • Google site search. Type in website URL + search terms. That limits it to this domain. Typing the name of the website doesn’t limit it to domain, it just adds another search term.

        • You have to search “site:corpor*tt*.com + [search term]”
          Remove asterisks obviously.

    • I was the OP for that post and I couldn’t find it again either! It must not be indexed yet. It’s the morning thread from Friday.

      • BTW- typed up all the titles if you want them:
        A God in Ruins
        Those Who Save Us – Jenna Blum
        The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow
        The Book Thief
        All the Light We Cannot See
        Periodic Table by Primo Levi
        Code Name Verity
        The Alice Network
        Sarah’s Key
        The Chilbury Lady’s Choir
        A Hero of France by Alan Furst
        The Polish Officer by Alan Furst
        Gone to the Soliders by Marge Piercy
        Life After Life By Kate Atkinson
        Coming Home By Rosamunde Pilcher
        The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
        84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
        The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
        The Girl You Left Behind By JoJo Moyes
        Lilac Girls Black Out and All Clear by Connie Willis
        To Say Nothing About the Dog
        Between Shades of Gray
        Salt to the Sea
        The Invisible Bridge
        Wives of War
        Beneath a Scarlet Sky
        In Farleigh Field
        Suit Francaise
        People of the Book
        The Bronze Horseman
        Forever Amber by Katherine Winsor
        Testament of Youth

    • To search the comments you use “site:thisplace.com + search term.

  22. Baconpancakes :

    MM Lafleur Bento Box update:

    -Sant Ambroeus Jardigan in XL – yes, it’s great, we all know this, obviously keeping. Also note: fits my extremely short waist
    – Lydia Dress in Galaxy Blue +1 – fits my hips and nothing else, and it’s even a bit big there. Positively swimming on my waist, too big on the torso.
    – Greenpont Skirt in Russet +1 – Keeping. Great color, great style. Dislike that it’s dry clean only, an inch too long, and will probably have to get the waist taken in if it stretches at all, but I still like it, and am wearing it today.
    – Etsuko Dress in Black +1 – Nope. Huge again. The belt hits me weirdly high, given my short waist. Love the pockets. Wanted this to work so much. I do appreciate it fits my linebacker shoulders.
    – Sadie Top in Black XL – Not something I need right now, but when I replace my current sleeveless black top, I’ll get this. Great armhole coverage, nice fit, fabric is still poly/acetate but is silky and classy-looking.
    – Breeze Scarf in Powder Blue – Scarves are not something I need more of in my life.

    Overall, I think I’m just at an awkward size right now. I’m losing weight but since it’s so unevenly distributed, dresses need to have a lot more tailoring at the waist. The styling is as sleek as it looks online, and the pieces I’m keeping seem really easy to mix and match with what I already own (wearing the skirt with a white v-neck tee and a white waterfall cardigan today), and I’ll probably try more dresses down the line, because they’re just so easy and still polished.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I thikn I’m going to go back to MM LaFleur. I had huge sticker shock last time ($200 for a friggin cardigan?) but I need to upgrade my basics and I’m hoping this works.

  23. Regular poster, anon for this. My in-laws have three large dogs.

    The background: Dogs A and B are rescues, and Dog C was adopted from a family member. Dog A is 8 or 9 years old, has a history of aggression towards people and other dogs and has bitten my FIL in the past. (To be fair to Dog A, she was injured, and FIL ignored lots of warning signs.) She has never been aggressive toward me, my husband, or my (toddler) son. Dog B is aggressive toward other dogs, including Dog A in the past, but not people. Dog C has absolutely no aggressive behavior, but her high energy can rile up the other dogs and generally lends to the feeling of chaos. When in-laws just had Dog A, they did some training with her, but they stopped when they adopted Dogs B and C.

    This weekend, in-laws were out of town, and my husband agreed to walk the dogs. We’ve been doing this as a favor when they go out of town off and on for years. MIL forgot to tell my husband that she no longer walks the dogs in the neighborhood but instead takes them to a nearby private property where there are rarely people. She also discourages other people from approaching if she sees anyone. My husband was walking the dogs in the neighborhood and also had our toddler in the stroller (an arrangement the dogs are used to). He stopped to talk to a neighbor. While they were talking, another neighbor approached, and Dog A lunged and bit the approaching neighbor without warning. She’s never bitten anyone, other than the one time I described above.

    Dog A is now in a 10-day isolation/observation at the vet’s office. MIL thinks that Dog A was trying to protect my son. That may or may not be true, but I’m still worried about Dog A being around my son. She hasn’t been aggressive towards him before, but now I feel like we can’t say, “She would never do that.” Or is a stranger different from a family member? What if he got mixed up in a fight between Dog A and Dog B? What if he accidentally stepped on or fell on Dog A? It’s a big step to refuse to go over to the grandparents’ house, so I don’t want to overreact. On the other hand, it’s my responsibility to make sure my kid is safe. What would you do?

    • A stranger is totally different than a family member. I would supervise your kid closely around the dog and don’t let them play together without you in the room, but I think you’d be overreacting if you refuse to go to your in-laws.

    • At least for the short term, i wouldn’t have toddler around the dogs, and he should let MIL know that he’s decided that he can only walk the dogs when kid is not around. If that means that he can’t actually walk the dogs right now, he should position it as “… I found this highly recommended dog walker who can continue walks X times per day until you return, since I can’t walk them when I’ll have Toddler with me.” As a goodwill gesture, you all could pay for the dog walker?
      For the longer term, I would ask that the dogs be kept in a separate part of the house from kid — either all the time or when they start to get riled up. I think either is a reasonable ask. Again, I think this is a DH-ILs conversation and not one you should be in charge of.

    • I think you can still go to the house, but you can ask that the dogs, Dog A specifically, be put up somewhere while you are there. If that is refused, then I would not go over there with your toddler, but invite the grandparents to come visit at your house.

      I love love love animals, but would not want my child around a dog who has bitten someone. I think that is a reasonable position.

      • Agree with the posters above that this has to be a convo between your husband and his parents.

      • The grandparents have an open invitation to our house on the weekends. But they also have a very large house with a nice backyard and pool, and it’s the gathering place for a large family of 10 adults and 3 samll children (with more cousins on the way). Avoiding their house is a huge line in the sand and will create all kinds of drama. I’ll do it if I feel like we have to, but I was looking for a reality check. I think there may be a way to keep the dogs, especially Dog A, in a separate space, like an upstairs bedroom.

        • Anon at 12:15 :

          Gotcha. I do think that the first proposal of putting Dog A behind closed doors while people are over is a good first ask. I would think they would feel awful if Dog A bit anyone in the family and would want to try to avoid it, no?

    • Well you’re kind of limited in what you can do about the dogs since your in laws seem to have no interest in training them, which is what they need. But overall, yes, strangers are different than family members. My dog will lunge and snap at strangers coming to the house and will lunge at strangers who surprise her (e.g. runner or cyclist coming straight at her or turning the corner in front of her), but is otherwise very friendly and never lunges at people she knows.

      For your toddler, I think it depends on how much you can trust him to stay away from dog A. Adults can learn dog behavior and read signs to avoid problems, but toddlers are a different story. I’d keep the toddler away from the dog until either your child is old enough to stay away from the dog or the dog has been trained and is less reactive.

      • My kid actually doesn’t like the dogs, and we’re trying to teach him how to command the dogs to go away. The dogs don’t listen well though, and even if they follow a command to go lay down, they’re back 30 seconds later. I’m more worried about aggression around his food or toys, although that hasn’t happened.

        I’m also worried because, according to my husband and the neighbor he was talking to, Dog A did not display any warning signs. I think it’s very likely that my husband missed something subtle (hair raised, etc) because he was talking, but Dog A didn’t growl or intentionally warn before lunging and biting. To me, that’s very different than when Dog A was injured and gave plenty of obvious warning signs (to the point where the whole family was saying, “Stop or she’s going to bite you”) before biting my FIL.

        I’ll let my husband handle the conversation. But we’ve been together almost 15 years, and we’ve lived a few minutes away from my in-laws for 8 of them, so they know when something is coming from me.

        • No-warning biting often occurs when a dog has been punished for signaling distress – i.e., if you punish a dog for growling, the dog won’t growl but it’ll still be upset, and then you don’t know it’s coming. This suggests to me that your in-laws really need a trainer or a behavioralist involved; they may be doing things that are making this worse.

    • My dog is not especially good with small kids and though she has never bitten anyone she sometimes growls aggressively when they’re around (which isn’t actually that often). When people with kids come over, I put her outside with a water bowl. If the people want to be outside, reverse it. If people want to be in and out frequently, I put the dog in my bedroom. Seems to me your in laws should be willing to do the same, at least for awhile? But agree with others that your husband should discuss it with them.

      Obviously they know that their dogs have problems if they’ve stopped even walking them on the leash in the neighborhood. I find it strange they would take action to keep the dogs away from people but not to train them.

      • Well, the dogs live in the kitchen, family room, and outside area. We could potentially just keep our son in the front of the house (formal living room and dining room) and avoid the back rooms. On the other hand, the kitchen and living room and outside area are where the family tends to congregate, and the front of the house is full of breakable items that my in-laws refuse to move out of the kids’ reach.

        They do know the dogs have problems. There’s also a pattern of rationalizing and circumventing and avoiding issues instead of addressing them directly. (For instance, they don’t make needed repairs on their house or cars until preventable, more expensive damage occurs.) I don’t know if it’s laziness or busy-ness or misplaced frugality or what. But it’s frustrating to watch in general, and right now it’s sad because Dog A might be euthanized because of their failure to train her, and tell my husband about their latest steps to circumvent the dog’s problems.

        • Up until I read this post, I thought you’d be fine just never leaving kids alone in a room or asking ILs to keep the dog in another area.

          But if this is a wider problem of ignoring signs until something major happens, then I think you need to start talking to DH about ceasing visits. You are the only ones who can keep your kids safe, and “waiting until preventable damage occurs” is not a solution here.

          I think that has to be done independently. But once you decide that, I have to wonder what the rest of the large family thinks about this. You mention more babies on the way, they can’t feel good about bringing new babies to a chaotic house with a randomly-aggressive dog. It might be worth being very vocal in your reasoning for ceasing visits, to help give a little more precedent if there are others who are uneasy with this arrangement.

      • Can they put Dog A in a bedroom with a baby gate when you are over with the toddler? Closing a door works too, but kids don’t always remember to not open it. We tend to put our dogs up in our bedroom when we have kids over to keep everyone safe because not all kids are smart about treating the dogs well, gates/doors get left open, and the dogs are all over people. Our dogs are generally good with kids, but it’s not something we are willing to risk. For the first 3 years of our kid’s life, he was not left alone in a room with the dogs unless he was in a crib or otherwise out of reach.

    • I would not let a toddler around a dog that bites anyone. Especially an older dog. My daughter was bitten by a “friendly” dog at age 1 and we are lucky it didn’t leave a scar. One of my best friends had several surgeries as a child to reconstruct her face after her “friendly” family dog bit her. She still has visible scars (similar to Tina Fey).

      This dog has let you know she or he is an unpredictable biter.

      No way no how, not around a toddler.

    • I would only go over to the house if the dogs are outside (as Torin suggested), kennelled, or confined to a separate part of the house with a baby gate. I don’t think it’s worth taking a chance.

    • Dog behaviorists will often do free phone consultations. Google it to find recommendations in your area. I would get in touch with a few and ask their opinion about this situation. If they recommend more intense training, which seems likely, provide the list to your ILs and gently indicate (or have your husband do so) that you won’t feel comfortable with your toddler around the dogs until they have taken some action. That seems more than reasonable to me.

  24. Follow up to the pet expenses thread above – do you get dental cleanings on your cats? The price we were quoted was really high ($800 I think, but can’t recall if that was for 1 or 2 cats) and I asked around and pretty much didn’t find any friends who get regular preventive dental care for their cats. More like occasionally or if some other procedure is happening. The cats do not tolerate attempts at brushing their teeth!

    • Some jerk dentist told my kid sister she would need her cat’s one front tooth removed as well as a fake tooth put in. We took the cat to a second vet and they said there was nothing wrong with the tooth and did a cleaning. A cleaning as often as your vet recommends is a good idea. I think we paid $300.

    • I’m not sure about cats but for dogs they have to be under general anesthesia. I know four separate people who have had young or middle age dogs die during routine teeth cleanings. I guess anesthesia is much riskier for animals than for people? Anyway we haven’t done it because all those horror stories have scared me. Our dogs teeth are pretty gross. We brush them but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

      • Have you tried giving them more bones? Mine have started to demand bones, with the upside being that their teeth are now impressively clean at their annuals, whereas before I was being counseled to have them cleaned and did so for one of them several times, at great expense.

    • We get each of our cats’ teeth cleaned every 1 or 2 years, depending on when they need it. Besides the cleanings, sometimes they need teeth removed, or crown amputations performed. We always do what the vet says (it helps that we have pet insurance!) because I’m worried if we don’t and a tooth gets worse, the cat will be in pain for months without us knowing, since cats are experts in hiding pain. Their teeth are noticeably cleaner afterward; the vet office always gives us photos (and X-rays, too). I think it’s about $400-$500? I’m not totally sure because our cats usually have to have at least one tooth worked on as well — and I’m too lazy to go find the invoices. With cats over a certain age (maybe 8?) our vet recommends a “senior screen” beforehand (blood tests and maybe a urine test — can’t remember) to see if they’re healthy enough for the anesthesia, etc. If a tooth is removed or there’s a crown amputation, for a couple of days afterward your cat will need a strong painkiller like buprenorphine. Our vet requires us to bring the cat back in about a week later to check their teeth/gums and make sure everything’s OK.

    • cat socks :

      We have three cats – approx ages 12, 9 and 5. The vet recommended a cleaning for the oldest one, but she’s got kidney disease and is old so we’re not risking putting her under. She doesn’t have any difficulty eating wet or dry food so no cleanings for her.

      The 9 year old tabby boy has a heart murmur so there’s also a risk of putting him under. He could probably use a cleaning, but he doesn’t have issues eating so we haven’t done anything due to his heart issues.

      The youngest doesn’t have issues with her teeth and I don’t think I will get them cleaned unless she started to have issues with eating or inflamed gums, etc. Right now all of them just have plaque build up.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Ours is part of the plan we are on. The vet decides when the dog/cat starts needing it. We are glad we did because my prior dog had teeth issues and needed a few extractions. One extraction needed to be delayed and she had a painful abscess but didn’t show typical pain symptoms. We would not have caught it otherwise. Teeth health is also important if your cat has other issues like diabetes.

    • No I don’t spend that kind of money on my pets. I grew up on a farm with barn cats. We never brushed their teeth and they did just fine.

    • Anonymous :

      No, but we don’t necessarily even get the younger ones regular check ups.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, get their teeth cleaned! As poster Kate noted cats hide their pain. So, if there is something wrong you won’t know. A regular vet check up once a year will let you know if things are okay or if action is needed. Though a cleaning is recommended once a year I personally won’t do this because the animal does have to be put under which, in my opinion, is a fairly harsh procedure. So I’m more comfortable with every 2-3 years depending on what his dental health looks like. The cost will depend on the vet and your area; they charge what they want. The fee will include: intravenous IV fluid, Anesthesia, Pain Injection, Dental cleaning and Dental Polishing. If there are extractions make sure you get pain killers and antibiotics; somewhat tricky to administer but if you have pills I found the pill pockets work well to administer them. Ask around for vet recommendations and read the reviews. When I was looking for a vet I went and visited the places I had shortlisted based on my network and internet research. OTT perhaps but pet health responsibility is a big deal.

    • Nope. My last cat lived to be almost 20. We had a great vet who was able to get rid of an infected tooth when she was 18 or so without putting her under (tooth was loose and basically just came out); she had some that naturally fell out towards the end, but the one vet who recommended doing dental work was a total fraud – said it would cost $1200 and neglected to mention that at her age (19.5) there is a high likelihood she wouldn’t come out from the anesthesia. Anyway, my personal opinion is that with indoor cats, the less you do the better and good vets who actually know what they’re doing and aren’t just trying to bill you for random services are hard to find.

    • Not regularly, but we get their teeth cleaned when recommended by the vet or if their breath is really bad. Because they have to go under, I don’t like the take the risk if it’s not necessary. We give our cats and dog dental treats to keep their teeth cleaner.

    • My vet cleaned my one cat’s teeth while the cat was under for another procedure. But he hasn’t otherwise recommended preventive cleanings yet (including for my other cat with the same age, genetics, and diet; they are about nine). My impression is that he wants to minimize exposure to anesthesia. I know that when cats get dental problems, the problems can be nightmare-inducingly severe, so I do pay attention to how they are doing and take them in for checkups from time to time (my vet seemed to feel that the annual well-visit when the cats were young and healthy was a waste of everyone’s time, but they are older now).

      Poster with barn cats, please understand that indoor cats are not chowing down on barn mice and barn birds on a regular basis! The problem of cat food that isn’t “a mouse” or “a bird” isn’t entirely solved.

  25. brunette, darn it :

    Ladies, I could use some advice. I can’t stay on top of my white hairs by plucking any more. I think I need to start coloring at home (I can’t afford salon color.) My understanding is that it’s the “permanent” versions of dye that are best for covering grays, and I assume those are the ones for my little white hairs too. Any suggestions?

    • I know too many women who go the full dye route and then walk around with a white skunk line at their part most of the month.

      I’ve decided to ease into my grays with highlights. I get a shade or two lighter than my hair and ask for very fine highlights. This means my hair has more color dimension (not all one shade) and makes the grays that didn’t get caught up in the highlighting blend in more naturally.

      Dyeing your hair a dark shade can be really aging. If you decide to go that route, make sure you reevaluate the color every couple of years. And keep up with your roots!

    • I use semi-permanent color at home to cover grays. It’s easier to use and washes out with time so I don’t have to worry about visible growth lines.

      • brunette, darn it :

        I wonder if there’s a difference between whites and grays. I tried Clairol Natural Instincts and it did nothing (though subsequent internet research suggests it does not work on grays.) Maybe I just needed to leave it in longer.

        • What shade of brown do you have? There are some not so red henna shades you can find in health stores that are really great for this sort of thing – no tell tale grow out period and it actually makes your hair nicer.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I was going to advise this too. I love the way henna works/looks on my brown hair (I’m half irish, with freckles and green eyes, so a reddish tint to my hair makes sense) — it gives the brown hair a slight reddish shine, and makes my greys into red highlights! (Except, of course, now that I’m rainbow it’s all out the door.) But yeah, it also makes my hair look gorgeous. Don’t buy the lush stuff though, it’s a ton of extra work.

          • brunette, darn it :

            Ah, interesting. I’m a medium-dark brown, not sure exactly how to describe. I like “caramel” – neutralish – highlights – for contrast. I wouldn’t want to make the color too cool or too warm-reddish. I’ll consult Makeup Alley and the rest of the internet on henna. Many thanks.

    • Flats Only :

      If you’ve been plucking them it tells me you’ve just got a sprinkling of grey/white hairs. Permanent color will cover these up nicely, and you should be able to find a shade that works well. Or go to a salon. If it’s just a sprinkling, the grow out will not be an obvious white skunk stripe.

  26. Paging Skydiver :

    Trying to get in contact with the Skydiver who posted last Friday offering advice and answers to questions. I’m the first timer scheduled to go this weekend. The weather really does not look promising – 60% chance of rain all weekend and mostly cloudy at best. I’m wondering if you’ve ever jumped in cloudy weather. I was really excited about getting a view of the coastline and I don’t want to jump if the view is obstructed (even if they consider it safe and say we can can go.) Today is the last day I can reschedule without losing my deposit and I’m debating whether to do so or hope the weather changes (I’m on the east coast and it looks like the rain chance and cloudy conditions are coming from Tropical Storm Emily).

    • Anonymous :

      Not the person you’re asking for – but if the view is a big deal and there likely won’t be a view this weekend bc of the chances of a tropical storm, I say postpone it.

    • Your view would not be obstructed by the clouds but I’d still reschedule. Rain can lead to lots of delays and rain drops hurt when you’re hurling through air. Clouds can also delay flights and can be dangerous because you may not see your perfect drop zone. It’s also intimidating to jump when you can’t see through the clouds.

    • I’ve skydived 9 times, and I’d reschedule if I were you. Something you didn’t mention is the wind – if the wind picks up, they won’t let you jump either. When I did my first solo jump it was pretty windy and there was a lot of sitting around and waiting for the wind to die down enough to jump.

      Also, doing it on the coast is amazing and your post makes me want to jump again!

    • Thank you all. I called the facility and they told me if it’s cloudy or windy then they won’t have us jump. Our hotel is non-refundable so looks like we are going regardless – I guess all I can do now is hope for good weather! They assured me I would not be permitted to jump if the view was at all obstructed and told me I wouldn’t lose my deposit if the weather wasn’t cooperating. I feel better.

  27. I love the color!
    -gabby
    www.orcuttfamilydentistry.com

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