Gift Idea: Air Pods

If you have a friend or family member who’s an audiophile or has a lot of work-related phone calls (either on business travel or while working from home), I highly recommend these Apple Air Pods. While they’re pricey at $159, the clarity is kind of amazing. My brother has some, and once he got them I noticed a huge difference in being able to hear him during his calls. They have tons of great reviews, too. They’re available at Target and Walmart online, and you can pick them up as well. Note that Target is offering free shipping through December 23. Apple Air Pods

And, BOO, they’re sold out: here’s a USA Today story on alternative wireless headphones.

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  1. Not air pods, but for other last minute gifts, LL Bean has a cashmere hoodie as its daily markdown today. This is the sort of thing that I would love for someone to gift me for lounging around. Random sizes/colors available but still a few options.

  2. Anonymous :

    Am I the only person who hates having things in my ears? I have always hated headphones of any sort pressing on my ears and stuff in them feels even weirder.

    • I find Apple’s earbuds to be supremely uncomfortable and vastly prefer the style that has the little rubber covering, but it sounds like you have more sensitive ears than I do!

      • White elephant :

        I think it vastly depends on the shape of your ears. Apple’s earbuds are the first headphones of any style or price range that I can comfortably wear for any length of time. Everything else I have ever tried would give me headaches or ear pain after a few minutes. The shape of their buds is apparently a perfect fit for my ear and I can wear them for hours without discomfort.

    • Me too.

    • Agreed. I like the “clip” style headphones a lot but they can be hard to find. I order them off Amazon because it’s pretty hit-or-miss finding them in stores. And usually they’re cheap/not great quality but I’d rather that than trying to jam a stupid earbud into my ear.

    • I find earbuds actually painful, and I rely on loose fitted on-ear headphones like it’s the 90s. But I think I’m the only person I personally know who has this problem, and I trust that Apple’s earbuds are very comfortable for most people!

    • I’m with you. Earbuds either hurt like crazy or fall out, and over the ear models press on my glasses and make me crabby.

      I recently got some Aftershokz headphones that rest right in front of my ears. They work via bone conduction of the vibrations. They are the only headphones I have been able to wear for any length of time. Give them a try maybe? I really like them.

  3. Anonymous :

    After making fun of my husband for getting this, I actually used his once for doing yard work (mulching and mowing the grass) and realized they really do stay in your ear very well. I was hooked…and now have my own pair! Highly recommend! (Also, it’s great for discreetly listening to music at work…just pop one pod in and my hair covers it. I’m allowed to listen to music, but I like that it doesn’t have a long wire that tells everyone what I’m doing.)

    • Linda from HR :

      That’s actually good to know, one of my issues with earbuds is that keep slipping out of my ears. Especially when I’m not able to pop them back in so easily!

  4. Sloan Sabbith :

    @ Reading Challenge, just commented on your morning post.

  5. anonymous :

    Is this just normal or should I look elsewhere?

    I am an in-house lawyer (5 years practicing) in a tiny department with all men. Since I started two years ago, it was discussed that we would probably want to add another lawyer to the team after me. The company keeps growing and expanding but the department has been the same size (3 or 4 attorneys) for the last… 5/6? years. Effectively, it is more like 3 attorneys as our general counsel does more big picture/c-suite stuff. The problem is the volume.

    I generally like my job because I really like the people I work with and have autonomy, but the problem is that I am the only one who does my job and same goes for the other attorneys. This means that if one of us left for another company (or I went on maternity leave or someone got sick), we’d be in big trouble because nobody’s work overlaps. I am the newest, so the others ‘know how’ to do what I do, but we are all overworked so nobody can pick up anybody else’s work. This also means that when I took 2 days off last week, the world fell apart because everybody else is too busy to take on my workload and the 20,000 business people that reach out to me (I review contracts, handle lawsuits, and do the rest that doesn’t fall within the other guys’ purview) can be impatient. It is starting to feel a little bit like when I was in biglaw except that I am paid way less than I used to be in biglaw. I honestly don’t know what will happen if/when I take maternity leave as we hope to start trying next year. I am the *first* woman in the department, so we haven’t dealt with it before. Honeymoons were also not a big deal because we weren’t as big – we just keep getting bigger but our department isn’t and is handling more volume. Is this just normal? We don’t have great benefits (no paid maternity leave for one, which a bunch of other women and I have been advocating) but I do work directly for the GC at a fortune 500 company, know all the C-suite people personally and as I said, like the people I work with. I also wonder if I stick around if that could give me power to either continue to be promoted through the ranks, if I could have the power to advocate for better benefits, or even head up my own department like HR or Compliance. (This has been my hope all this time but lately the volume is just too much.) The benefits are ok, the pay is slightly below expected, and this volume issue is only getting worse. In the two years I have been here, the volume has increased noticeably for all of us but our GC is a bit oblivious. I think he has the philosophy that he is always on-call, but (1) he doesn’t deal with the day-to-day stuff like we do so his being on-call is less demanding and (2) he makes about 20x as much as I do. Should I just start looking elsewhere or face that this is the norm? Another consideration is that while I want to make more money for my own sake, salary isn’t the main motivator as my husband makes enough for us both. But we are so tired from work and really want to take a vacation and I just don’t see how it will work for me. This is a short-term issue, of course, with the longer-term concerns of daycare pickup, flexible arrangements, etc. that I just don’t see how will work in my current setup.

    What kills me, too, is that the company stands to reap a windfall on this tax plan and none of us will see any of it! Bah-humbug.

    • Anonymous :

      Take a vacation. Put an out of office up. Force the issue.

      • anonymous OP :

        I did this last week – my boss ended up calling me because one of the impatient folks reached out to him. It wasn’t an emergency, it was just that the email came in the 90 minutes I didn’t check email.

        • But that’s the problem… what would happen if you took a day or two off and didn’t check email or answer work calls? Other than taking a random vacation in the heart of something crucial, a worker should be able to take a break, take a breather, have emergency surgery, get tangled up with a partner, spend a day at the movies, or go somewhere without cell signal or internet access. What would happen if you did that (or if anyone did)?

        • Anonymous :

          And did you respond “I’m on vacation, this isn’t an emergency.”?!?!

    • I don’t see this is as maternity-leave-maybe-in-the-future issue so much as a right now staffing issue. If you can’t take two days off without things going to sh*t, your department needs to grow. Have you talked to your boss about this? Is he aware that you’re so maxed out that it sounds like you can’t even take a sick day? If he’s focused on other things, he might need this specifically brought to his attention.

      I am also in-house at a small department where most of us don’t overlap that much on work, but when one of us goes on vacation or is sick there’s enough slack in the system that the others can handle it. That’s how it should be at a functional organization.

      • anonymous OP :

        Well yes and no. I think we all fear he may veer into looking at it as billable hours – i.e. if we aren’t staying up past 10 is it really that bad? The problem is that even if I go home with nothing pending, there are still 20,000 people who can email me with ’emergencies’ and we are too short-staffed to deal with that if I am not here. When I am here, it is really just me addressing the squeaky wheels.

        • I’m not in house, but my husband and some of my closest friends are and this issue is often discussed. Here’s the dream/ideal response that you give the business people, “a failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

          I recognize that you may not be in a position to say this to someone right now, but if they’re coming to you with something that needs to be done now because they delayed and waited, then you need to teach them that such actions are not acceptable. It takes time, but you need to be able to take a day off without everything going to sh*t.

        • Anonymous :

          If they aren’t emergencies don’t answer.

    • Hair Donation :

      This is normal for a smaller company. I’ve been in-house at large (legal teams of 100-600 attorneys) and small (legal teams of 3-4 attorneys) companies, and one of the downsides of the smaller company is that there’s just less coverage for your work. There are a lot of upsides (many of which you identified above – autonomy, access to c-suite, getting to “own” your work, etc.), of course. As far as maternity leave, they will probably have to secund someone in to cover your workload while you’re out – and that’s okay. Just give them enough notice and you should be fine. Note that there are many downsides to being at a huge company – I will never ever talk to the CEO, I have to go through a million layers of approval to get anything done, and I work in a silo. It’s all about figuring out what makes you happy, what fits with your personality, and what works in that period of your life.

  6. Has anyone done a bathroom remodel recently and can comment on which brands to go with/not go with? My contractor has recommended Kohler, which seems like a solid option, but there are so many choices and I have no idea how to start thinking about it. Thanks!

    • We got medicine cabinets from Kohler and are very happy with them. I think for the faucets and shower we did Moen and also very happy. All these brands have different price points so I think you just have to do some research. FWIW, this is the shower head we went with and it is amazing. Love the detachable spray option.

    • Anonymous :

      We have used Kohler, Moen, and Delta and have been happy with them. We have always gone with a mid-range price point, rather than the cheapest one.

      • +1. When we built our house 6 years ago, we used Kohler throughout. They’ve been great — no issues whatsoever. We chose mid-level options for all our faucets. I would encourage you to go to an actually lighting/bath showroom-type place rather than Menards, Lowe’s or Home Depot. Often, the stuff in the mass market stores has cheaper *inside* components even if it looks like the same model on the outside (and even has the same name). For example, the innards will be plastic instead of metal. That’s what we were told, anyway.

    • Anonymous :

      We used a mix of brands, all fine, but my tip is to check Amazon Warehouse deals – they have a lot of faucets and things

    • White elephant :

      Moen has amazing customer service and lifetime warranties on their faucets. They have now replaced two entire faucets (~10 years old, purchased by previous homeowner, no paperwork on record) for us due to normal aging. No hassles. I’m a fan.

  7. my comment :

    Please free me! I need the wise advice of the ladies here!

  8. Anonymous :

    I bought Bose noise canceling earbuds a few years back and love them. I wear them quite a bit at work to tune out hallway chatter, and also on planes to tone down the loud engine noise.

    Now, I have the iPhone X need to either switch to Air Pods or get the adapter that allows me to plug my headphones into the X charger port.

    Has anyone gone through this? Are the AirPods really worth it to go cord-free? Would I be giving up a lot in terms of noise reduction?

    • Don’t all the new iPhones ship with that adapter? I think you would absolutely give up noise reduction if you switched to the Air Pods. There might be other, better noise cancelling blue tooth headphones out there.

      • Anonymous :

        That’s what my coworker said too re: the iPhone shipping with the adapter, but I didn’t see it in the box–it was just the phone, regular old earbuds, and the charger. I guess I need to double check now and ask for it if it was just missing!

        Looks like that reduces the question to whether I should use the adapter or go for wireless if being cord-free offers significant advantages over having my noise canceling. I’d get the wireless for a Christmas present if that’s what I wanted, just not sure I want to ask for that.

      • KateMiddletown :

        My 8+ shipped with the adapter, but I’d be lying if I said i knew where it was.

    • The adapter is $10 – grab one of those until you are ready to spring for the Bose Bluetooth headphones *shich are AMAZING – the AirPods will be a downgrade for you.

  9. Rainbow Hair :

    Today a woman at work was like, “are you ready for Christmas?” and I said “HECK YEAH!” because I’m totally looking forward to it and how is it only Tuesday?! And she started in on, “wow, you are? I still have so much to do!” and I realized I had completely misunderstood “ready” — she meant “have you completed preparations” while I was answering “are you pumped?”

    Though TBH the only remaining thing I have to do to get ~ready~ is figure out food: cookies for santa that kiddo and I can bake together, what if anything I’m contributing to family feasts, etc.

    • For cookies with my kid (toddler), I bought a roll of sugar cookie dough, some white icing, and some red and green sugar. I figure for him, the decorating will be more fun.

      I bought all the ingredients for those peppermint mocha cookies recommended here, but I’ll make those by myself after Kiddo is in bed one night.

    • I’m ready for it to be _over_. My family is filled with drama llamas this time of year. Come January 2 they will all suddenly start acting normal again and that. cannot. happen. fast. enough.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Buy everyone a copy of Llama Llama Holiday Drama?

        …taking my suggestions back to the moms’ board where they belong.

  10. Rant:
    Said “Have a nice day, ladies” to two strangers when I was leaving the locker room and one said “Uh thanks” (in a what-a-weirdo-tone). I had just kicked a difficult, long run in the behind and was pumped to start on a productive work day and that totally soured my mood.
    Be kinder to strangers wishing you well please

    • Gently, hop over it. Not everyone needs to live up to whatever standard you’ve decided for them; especially strangers.

    • I would’ve found this odd too, if I had even realized you were talking to me, which, I’ll be honest, I probably would not have. I wouldn’t interpret them as unfriendly or unkind, just focused on what they’re doing and surprised that you spoke to them at all.

    • Sorry this happened. But. Please, please, please do not talk to me in the gym. Unless I know you, and then let’s keep it brief. The gym is just not a place that I want to interact with people. I’m in my own mental zone in the gym and it’s hard for me to snap out of it to make pleasantries with strangers.

    • It’s a regional thing. If I say hi while hiking in the Bay Area, I’ll get silence or a sneer 90% of the time. Any other state (or region in CA) that I’ve hiked in, I either get said hi to first or I get a “hey, how’s it going, great day today” in response. Try to brush it off because it’s not personal, but I totally get the frustration.

      • Baconpancakes :

        That’s bizarre! I thought saying hi to fellow hikers as you passed them was universal!

        But to the OP, yeah, gym culture is generally not a “hi” kind of culture. Especially in a locker room! People feel vulnerable there, and generally don’t want to talk to strangers.

      • Anonymous :

        I find that in general hiking culture is conducive to saying hi, partially because it helps get trail knowledge. I feel like people say hi no matter where I hike, NorCal, SoCal, or other.

        But honestly when I’m in the gym I’m in my own zone. If someone said hi to me I would give some sort of mumbled/dazed ‘thanks’, just like the ladies encountered.

  11. Anonymous :

    How do you respond to questions like “What are your plans for Christmas?”/”Traveling anywhere for Christmas?”/”Ready for Christmas?” when you don’t celebrate the holiday? I feel like saying “I don’t celebrate” is a total conversation killer, but I also feel slightly disingenuous saying something like “Oh we’re just staying home and taking it easy” especially when talking to co-workers or people I know I will see again.
    (This isn’t about comments like “Merry Christmas!” — I have no problem smiling and saying “You too!” to a holiday wish even if it’s not exactly correct, but when someone asks specifically about what I’m doing for the holiday, I sort of feel like I’m lying by omission if I don’t say something about not celebrating.)

    • Puddlejumper :

      haha i jokingly was just commenting to my husband last night how converting to Judaism has made me come across as as curmudgeon this time of year even though thats not my intention at all. I think you can say “We don’t celebrate Christmas but we will be enjoying the days off to hang out with family!” or “No plans for Christmas since we don’t really celebrate- but we are excited to explore the city when its all quiet!” or “We don’t celebrate so no traveling, but we will be enjoying seeing Star Wars at the theater!’ I think as long as you can give them something little to comment on that is positive at the end of your statement it is fine. Like don’t just say “Nope. We don’t celebrate.” That leaves them with an awkward negative to respond to. But say “Actually we don’t celebrate but I am so excited for the snow that we are supposed to get so I can go ice skating!” so then they can be like “wow I haven’t been ice skating in years! That sounds like fun!”

    • Baconpancakes :

      When I’m feeling generous, I say, “Oh, Hannukah is almost over, but it’ll be nice to have a couple of days off.” or “Yes, the traditional Jewish Chinese food and movies Christmas!” That informs them I’m not celebrating while keeping it light. When I’m not feeling generous, I straight up say, “I don’t celebrate Christmas because I’m Jewish,” which usually results in embarrassment on the part of the asker, which I kind of encourage because it seems a little presumptuous to assume another person’s religion, and maybe next time the person will reconsider that assumption. But then I smooth it over by asking, “Are you doing anything for Christmas?” They can then recover and tell me about their traditions.

      It would be harder to answer if you don’t belong to a non-Christian religion, but “Nothing, I don’t celebrate, but I’m looking forward to the time off!” should still work.

    • anonshmanon :

      FWIW, this happened to me recently. I asked the question, and coworker said “we don’t celebrate Christmas”. Then proceeded to tell me about relaxing at home, if you can call wrangling the kids relaxing. The conversation was not killed, it was no big deal.

    • As someone who asks this question all the time, nobody really cares whether you celebrate Christmas as either a religious or secular holiday. Just as I might ask one of our non-USA citizens what they are doing for the 4th of July or (American) Thanksgiving, what I mean is do you have plans for the Christmas work-holiday.

      When I was living in Canada, people used to ask me what I was doing for Thanksgiving/Canada Day all the time. I did not feel the need to get snarky with them about how I was an American and did not celebrate that holiday. I just let them know about whatever fun plans I had (or did not have) in lieu of work.

      • Anonymous :

        Non-USA citizens totally celebrate both 4th of July and Thanksgiving and a bunch of other American holidays.
        Source: I am a former non-USA citizen.

    • Whether or not you celebrate, Chrsitmas is an event. Schools are closed. Businesses are closed. Many people are traveling. Just tell people what you’re doing next week. The question isn’t about what religion you are. It’s small talk about an upcoming schedule disruption. Be upbeat about whatever it is youre doing and you wont sound like a curmudgeon.

    • Anonymous :

      “I don’t celebrate Christmas but I’ll enjoy the day off work! What are your plans?”

      • I will go to the movies with Rosa’s kids in Chapaqua! Rosa has given me FULL charge of the kid’s and I get to drive their SUV to the movies! I am trying to show my family that I will be a good mother and by takeing care of 3 kids for an afternoon, I shoujld prove it to EVERYONE! YAY!!!!!

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