Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Alexa Pleated Detail Sheath Dress

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

I always enjoy Hobbs London — the brand has a really great aesthetic, and so many of the styles are machine washable. This one is not, alas, but I like the asymmetric banded waist with the pleated detail, the darts, the back vent, and the hidden back zip. I also like the  shade of green. I think for $315 (at Bloomingdale’s), it’s a great option. Note that Bloomingdale’s is currently having a sale in which they’re offering $25 off when you spend $150–$249, $50 off when you spend $250–$399, and so on. However, the dress is almost sold out there; Hobbs still has it in both green and red in UK sizes 6–18. Alexa Pleated Detail Sheath Dress

A few more affordable options are from Nic + Zoe, American Living, Lark & Ro, and in plus sizes, Old Navy.

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Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. Backpacks :

    Need recommendations for a good work travel backpack. Would need to fit my laptop, a few files or binder, and ideally be able to slip over my luggage.

  2. BabyAssociate :

    Great pick!

  3. Minnie Beebe :

    I love this dress SOOO much.

    • Isabela the She Wolf :

      So do I, and I’m not usually a fan of anything that layers fabric over the waist. But I think this is how it’s supposed to look.

    • Shopaholic :

      Ya me too. And I love Hobbs dresses so much! I may need to invest in this one.

    • Me too – wish it were a different color like plum or burgundy but love the shape. Outta my budget tho!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      OMG I love this dress and would kill in this color. I’m glad it’s like waaay out of my budget so I can’t even consider it.

      • FWIW I’m a size 16 and sized up to a 1X in this $45 dress and the effect is kind of similar.


  4. Eyestrain- what if??? :

    Is anyone else afraid of what would happen to their career if their eyesight deteriorated?
    I specifically chose a graphoc design career that puts me at a desk, because in my non-career physical jobs, virtually everyone left because of disability.
    Lately my eyes hurt all the time. I’m pretty sure I just need to adjust my glasses prescription (called yesterday to make the apt) and maybe try the special films they have now for screentime.
    But it got me thinking about how complete sunk my career would be if I had to avoid screens. Both my grandparents struggle with it because they love to read, but neither needed it for work.
    Does anyone else worry about the future like this?

    • I worked, years ago, at a nonprofit serving people who are blind or visually impaired. There have been national studies that showed the general population would rather have AIDS or cancer than lose their eyesight, so your fear is real and shared by others. However, there are extraordinary advances that have been made that allow people who are blind to be part of a mainstream workplace much more easily today than in the past. So from a practical perspective, no, I do not worry about this.

      • Blind Attorney :

        I am a blind attorney and triathlete. I’m registering for my first half ironman today. Nothing is impossible, even with vision loss! Certainly, there is a period of adjustment, but vision loss is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of a productive and fulfilling life.

        • Yay!

          My children attend a school that houses our county’s blind-vision-impaired-low-vision students (who get pulled out for Braille but are otherwise in all classes together). The kids really do everything together, sometimes with modifications and a sighted aide around, but it is very good to see this in action.

          The fears aren’t unfounded. I can’t imagine doing my job with sight constraints (financial printers don’t send out Braille .pdfs), but I have a risk of some significant vision loss by my 60s (and I’m 48). Glad I got a disability policy when I was in my 20s and the family history hadn’t shown up yet.

        • If it’s not too intrusive, can I ask how you read things online (like this blog) and respond? This is something I have always wondered. And what about reading work-related things?

          • Blind Attorney :

            This is a great question, and not too intrusive at all. I use screen-reading software and a Braille display. A Braille display connects to the computer and shows the text output in Braille, kind of like a Braille monitor. The software I use is called Job Access with Speech (JAWS) for Windows. There is free software included with every Apple device called VoiceOver which reads everything aloud to blind users. I use an iPhone which is fully accessible with the VoiceOver software. I can even connect a tiny Braille display to my iPhone via Bluetooth to read in Braille. The only access barriers occur when people post pictures of text which are rendered as images and therefore not readable by such software. I use optical character recognition to scan hard copy documents and can read all text except handwriting. For handwritten materials, I use a sighted reader/visual interpreter service. I took typing classes as a kid and type with a normal QWERTY keyboard. I am happy to answer additional questions.

          • Oh my goodness, this is so amazing! I had no idea. Thank you for sharing :) (Different anonymous)

          • I am also very impressed!

        • Blind Attorney – you are so amazing! Thank you for your detailed explanation. If you don’t mind more questions from other lawyers, what about printed documents – how do you read those? Do you scan them and then use the same software? When you go out and buy lunch, how do you read the menu and how do you know you are getting back the correct change? Do you have assistance getting to and from work?

          • Blind Attorney :

            Keep all the questions coming! :) For printed documents, I either print them and scan using a typical office scanner and convert using Optical Character Recognition Software (a quick process), ask a colleague or assistant to read the material, or use an Optical Character Recognition application on my iPhone to take a picture of the document and read it (also a quick process). Leading applications for this task are KNFB Reader or Seeing AI. I can also use a visual interpreter with the Aira service (www.aira.io). I have a set of glasses with a camera and a separate smart phone. I use the Aira smart phone or glasses to send a video feed to a remote agent/interpreter who can read me the materials I am trying to access. My firm has an agency/confidentiality agreement with this service much like a firm would have with a sign language interpreter, translator, or other agent to protect attorney-client privilege. If I know a given document is highly confidential in nature, I will ask a legal assistant to read it for me. For reading menus at lunch, I typically ask someone I am with to read the menu. I sometimes ask the clerk at the counter or wait staff if it is a sit-down restaurant. I can also use the Aira service I described above to read menus. I will often read the menu online before leaving for lunch. For identifying currency, I use an app on my iPhone called Looktell Money Reader. I travel using a Seeing Eye dog with whom I trained at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ. I sometimes travel with a cane depending on my needs and tasks on a given day. I live in an urban area where I can walk to work, the grocery store, the gym, etc. When I would rather not walk due to inclement weather, I use the city bus system, Uber, and Lyft. For Ironman training, I use swim and running tethers with my guide, and we ride a tandem bike. Again, I am happy to answer other questions.

    • I’m an editor. I think about it all the time. And my company has us on the latest Mac laptop each time another rolls out. Although this should be a good thing, it’s not– they get smaller and smaller. I also think about what this sedentary lifestyle is doing to me. I’m often envious of folks who get to walk around during their jobs and I sometimes wonder how much physically better I’d feel if I were doing something else. But alas what else.

      • I’m another editor who isn’t crazy about the sedentary lifestyle my job entails. Despite how hard I’ve worked at my career, sometimes I think I’d be so much happier working at a nursery, watering and pruning plants all day. Alas, I enjoy my income.

    • Yes, I do. I am a writer and editor and spend a ton of time in front of screens every day. Even when I’m not on a screen, I’m usually reading. I would be utterly scr*wed if my eyes gave out.

    • I have never met or heard of anyone who completely lost their eyesight before age 60, so this isn’t something I worry about. If I had a congenital problem with my eyes and my eyesight had already been rapidly deteriorating I expect I’d worry about it but also have an opportunity to plan for it.

      If your opthamologist advises that your current eyeglass prescription is fine, definitely mention it to your family doctor as well. Other medical conditions can cause blurred vision or eye symptoms.

    • I really wouldn’t worry about screen eye strain making you blind, I think the previous commenters got anchored by the blindness comment into an extreme. I had the same issue and spoke with my ophthalmologist about it. He suggested the following that has virtually gotten rid of my eye straing: Adjusting screen brightness (and corresponding environmental brightness of the room you’re in if possible), using rewetting drops, adjusting my screen colors to more eye friendly variations, resting my eyes periodically (looking far off into the distance every 5 to 10 minutes for about 30 seconds) and limiting screen time outside of work, even phones and TV.

      Everyone’s eyes will age and you will probably need reading glasses one day, but a generation of screen users who can still use a screen, and a new generation of doctors who study and are super knowledgeable about eye strain on screens, I wouldn’t worry.

    • Do you have own-career disability insurance? My spouse was forced to leave his line of work because of a disability (not blindness) and at least the financial issues of this were mitigated by his LT disability policy. You might sleep better.

      • Yes! I am a microsurgeon and there are many things that could make me too disabled to work (visual loss, anything that affects my hand dexterity, neck or back problems…) and I am disability insured to the max. I hope I never have to use it but it definitely helps me sleep better at night. Especially as I’m still paying off med school loans… there aren’t too many jobs out there that I could get that would allow me to pay these loans if I could no longer operate!

    • I worked with a blind actuary a few years ago. The life of an actuary is all screen time, lots and lots of numbers on spreadsheets and in SAS etc, and she kicked ass. I’m not sure what her adaptive device situation was, but she made it work.

    • I think about it constantly. Many software programs act like the ability to zoom in on your work is high-tech magic, yet they have no way to enlarge the bones of the software itself: task bars/menus/panels. What good is being able to blow up an image to pixel-level detail when the tooxbox and palettes are still fiddly and miniscule?

    • I’m also a lawyer with terrible eye site, have worn glasses since I was a child and am probably legally blind in 1 eye at this point, except that I use my other eye to compensate. Degenerative eye disease also runs in my family (although typically doesn’t affect us until much later).
      One real thing you can do now is to be aware of your work environment and set it up to be a more ergonomic work space. I have 2 very large screens and a docking station for my laptop. I work on the road about 25% of the time and also have a second travel screen for that. It’s also really important to take eye breaks. When I ignore this, or don’t use my proper set up… I start having problems. Worth paying for your own set up even if your work place won’t do it for you (although they might!).

    • Anonymous :

      I’m hard-of-hearing and blind as well and work at a software company where I test websites and apps to provide accessibility guidance. I use the same software and hardware blind attorney does. To answer the questions from earlier: when I need to read hard-copy print documents, I have several apps on my iPhone that can convert the print on the page to text; sometimes, I use AIra, a subscription service where I can use an app 24/7 to get live visual assistance.
      When I want to know what’s on a menu, I try to look it up before I go. If someone hasn’t uploaded a PDF where they took a picture of a page, I can read it; if it’s on the website with propper HTML coding, it’s a much better experience. If not, I ask the server or person at the counter to read the categories and go from there. I usually use a credit card or Apple pay, but if I am using cash, I fold it differently, so I know what I am pulling out of my wallet. I ask what they’re giving me when they’re handing it back, like five on the bottom or two ones on the top. I can also check it with a money identifier if I’ve just shoved it all in my purse like I do sometimes when I’m in a hurry.
      I take the bus and transfer to a Lyft to go to work. I do not have assistance to get there, but I gladly carpool and give gas money/buy coffee if a coworker wants to do that.
      To make another disability-related comment, especially with the #whyIdidntreport ETC hashtags, always ask disabled people if they would like assistance and/or how you can help. Never touch, grab, push, ETC. and do not pull on the cane, service dog, or other mobility devices. It’s incredibly uncomfortable and not consentual to touch without permission, but that boundary is broken so many times per day by people who want to help.

  5. Never too many shoes... :

    I got such great travel tips here for Portugal that I am back again…now, Venice!

    Any thoughts on great food or cool hotels would be highly appreciated.

    • We were just there 3 weeks ago and had so much fun. Corte di Gabriela was an absolutely wonderful small boutique hotel – warm, pretty, luxurious (and they make their own doughnuts).

      Our favorite activity in Venice was a rowing lesson with rowvenice.org (a woman-run nonprofit dedicated to preserving the art of Venetian rowing – we did the Cichetto Row, which was super fun). I also got a kick out of the Libreria Acqua Alta bookstore. Favorite bar (discovered completely accidentally, near the hotel) was Enoteca al Volto – they had the best seafood cichetti!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      My favorite part of Venice was getting lost in the alleys – we found several great lunch meals that way. I wish I could give you specifics! I hope you enjoy the same wandering discoveries!

      We stayed at Ca’ Arco Antico (San Polo 1451, looks like it might have a new name) and enjoyed it – this was three years ago. Very small bnb with excellent service. Seriously, they bent over backward for us and stored luggage for us for several days (long story). Do not try to find it in the dark on day one though!

  6. Has anyone been following Capitol Hill Style lately? She went to law school and passed the bar but hasn’t seemed to have had a permanent job since then. It’s been quite a while. She put up a post, which she may have later taken down, that talked about her financial difficulties. I feel bad for her but am surprised she hasn’t found a job yet. Wouldn’t any legal job be a positive step by now? I don’t know, she may have given up on the law altogether. She interviewed for some political roles with Republican legislators, but I guess some of them ended up retiring so the positions didn’t come through, or something along those lines. I’ve enjoyed her blog and want to see her do well but things seem to be at a stand still. Just wondering what people think who’ve been through law school and all that entails.

    • Anonymous :

      At this point, the ship has sailed on a legal job for her. It’s difficult to impossible to get a job practicing law if you didn’t land one straight out of law school.

      • Uhh, with all due respect, this is simply wrong. It may be difficult to impossible to land a job in a giant law firm–but there are lots of entry level legal positions that she can still get. Now will she humble herself to that level to land a job? Who knows–that may well be where the impossibility lies.

        • Agree w/ you anon @ 11:02am. I am 8 yrs out. If you didn’t get a big law job, it’s definitely tough going at first for most… but within the first few years, pretty much everyone I know ended up with some kind of law/law adjacent career. 8 years out, everyone I know has reached some level of of success and the career paths have been really surprising to watch! It’s hard to see the forest through the trees when you first graduate… but there’s such a big world out there.
          Some law jobs will likely rule out other jobs because law is traditional and snobby- if you are in big law, or want to be, taking a contract job can be a killer of that path… but there are so many other paths, and people have to be able to afford to live… and I speak from personal experience. I did contract work and now am a lawyer at a large company :)

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah I feel bad for her she seems a bit lost.

    • This isnt GOMI :

      Well, I’ll respond but not to the premise. Let’s not speculate on her life, career, etc., when we know so little. I recognize that she’s a public figure and puts herself out there, but let’s not do that here. The legal market in the small city where she lives is, most likely, not particularly hot (not a lot of job creation, movement, etc.), and she’s alluded to that. Let’s take her at her word.

      • I get where you’re coming from, but who are you to dictate the type of conversation that happens here?

    • I saw that post before it disappeared. I think she made two poor decisions — going into debt at a low-ranked law school, then deciding she was too stressed to take the bar in July (thereby getting her totally off-cycle for hiring purposes).

      In the same post, she said she was down to her last $1000 in emergency savings, but she’s kept up her blog pretending (I hope she’s pretending anyway) that she’s buying a ton of new things for fall. Odd bird.

      • I think you are confusing saying “I like this option for XYZ type of workwear” with “I own XYZ item.”

        I went to law school with tons of people who felt like they needed to do it to get a credential, b/c they had plateaued in their current job, etc. Unlike them, she seems to have a really valuable side gig and some non-work factors at play.

        I really love her blog and am rooting for her. She is the only fashion blogger who seems to get what workwear really entails.

        • Eh, I was paying attention to how she phrased things over the last month or two because of that post, and am sure she outright said she’d bought a bunch of items. Maybe she realized that was disingenuous and now consistently just recommends items. I also like her outfit picks (unlike many full time bloggers, she seems to actually keep up with current workwear!) but find her tone is often holier-than-thou so I’m unusually picky about her actions vs. her words.

    • Equestrian Attorney :

      I used to follow but have found her pretty uninspired lately. I also have trouble getting past the fact she worked as a lobbyist for the NRA, even if it was just a job.
      From the perspective of someone who went to law school, I’m not sure why she didn’t get a legal job, any job, after passing the bar. I know lots of people who branched out after law school and a few who took a few months to secure any kind of position, but it’s going to be really hard for her to get a job in her field at this point. I have no idea what she is hoping to achieve, but I used to read the blog as an eager law student and am really confused by her trajectory now and don’t find the blog aspirational at all.

      • +1 This s!te and hers were my go-to for years, but especially since the redesign, which coincidentally or not, seemed to correspond with law school, I stopped visiting and unfollowed her on social media.

    • Anonymous :

      Could you share the link?

    • I know that she went to a lower tiered school and I don’t know how particularly well she did there. She kept talking about hating law school so I imagine not that great.

      With that said, she has great taste in fashion and I always think her picks are generally spot on. I hope she lands on her feet soon.

    • Just run your own race.

      • This, really. +100

      • This. If you like the content of her blog, read it. Otherwise, don’t. No need to delve into a discussion of the author’s career or personal life.

        • That’s kind of the point of having a blog, though?

          You don’t need to participate in these conversations if you don’t want to.

    • It seems as though she has stayed in the Pacific northwest at least in part to remain with her boyfriend. In past posts, she discussed the difficulty of deciding whether to relocate back to D.C., another large city, or remain where she is. I am sure the legal market where she is located holds many fewer opportunities than D.C.

    • Not an attorney, but I’ve followed her since the fall of 2009 when I was a DC intern. I appreciate her honesty, approach and perspective. I’ll root for her success in whatever path she decides to follow.

      • Sick of it :

        I haven’t followed her blog for that long, but I am shocked at how many people here seem to lack basic empathy. Honestly, I see this lack of empathy a lot in high-achieving, type-A people (ahem, half of the people I went to law school with) who have never meaningfully failed at anything in life. There’s this harsh, “you made your own bed, lie in it” attitude among people in my social circle — that I see reflected here — that saddens me so much. These same individuals profess empathy for the poor, for people facing discrimination, and for people with disabilities — and yet fail, time and time again, to show basic empathy towards people more similarly situated to themselves.

        I’m sick of it. So you know what? I don’t care if Belle “made poor decisions.” I don’t care that she worked for the NRA. (Which, to be clear, I loathe). I don’t care that she appears to continue to buy clothes for her blog (which I’m not even sure is true!). I have empathy towards her just because she is a person who is struggling. That’s it! If your empathy is contingent, that’s not empathy. That’s called justice. And there’s nothing wrong with having a sense of justice, but don’t call it empathy because it ain’t.

    • A few thoughts:

      Law schools are generally just terrible at helping students who don’t land a job immediately after graduation. It’s shameful, actually.

      The advice I give is to get a job – even if it’s temping – work as hard as possible, and do other stuff on the side. Whether it’s writing legislation or volunteering legal services, you need to build skills and a network.

      Not my life, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to make big life decisions for boyfriends. At least when you’re married (or about to be), your troubles are, by definition, the family’s troubles. I moved a long way, away from home and my big city, for my fiance. There’s a reason I didn’t do it until long after we got engaged, and I waited for a job that I like in a good company with upward mobility.

      This isn’t about cows and milk, or nonsense about all women wanting to be married; it’s just that there’s nothing feminist about making your career 100% your problem and 0% his problem.

      • Eh, husbands can bail almost as easily as boyfriends. You have some legal protections being married, but no one would choose to hang her life on that. Making a big life sacrifice for *anyone* is a risk, even your children. Enter into it thoughtfully.

    • I know nothing about her, but I will say that it’s not necessarily true that any legal job is better than no job. I graduated from a good school in a bad time, and I wouldn’t recommend that someone take a job at a firm with a poor reputation, or doing terrible work, just so that you’re “employed” in the profession. For someone who has been out of the game so long, she’s probably better off just finding a job she likes that’s JD preferred than skimming the bottom of the barrel of actual “legal” jobs. For example, I’d much rather be in an interesting, challenging, engaging policy oriented position than say, doing doc review as a contract atty or working for a small personal injury plaintiff firm….

      • Point taken but I found plaintiffs side personal injury to be incredibly challenging as a young lawyer.

        • There are definitely good plaintiff PI firms with interesting work (especially products liability or complex med mal), but there are a lot of bad ones. I think what’s disappointing about the whole thing is that lots of firms will look down on that sort of work…. so unless you can convince the corporate law firm you’re interviewing at that they shouldn’t, it could do more harm than good. I’m not saying that’s the right attitude, but that’s what I observed in a wretched economy.

          • I think that’s a fair point, but lots of us have great careers, make good money, etc, without the big firms. I know lots of personal injury attorneys who make money, practice ethically, and help people. There are worse ways to make a living.

    • It didn’t seem like she went to law school because she wanted to be a lawyer but rather to advance her career in politics/lobbying. I think she’s a bit stymied by the fact that she doesn’t want to go back to dc and the shifting political scene for anti-trump republicans. I wish her well. But as to the greater law school question:I think it’s always a bit risky to go to law school if you *dont* want to be a lawyer.

      • This. I went to law school and have never practiced and don’t intend to. My love has always been policy and that’s what I’m doing now in D.C. When I read that she had made the decision to go to law school to advance her Hill career, I practically hollered through the computer monitor that that wasn’t the right path. People don’t get ahead in this town by having a degree. It might get your foot in the door, but if you’re already in, then you move up by gaining more experience, not more diplomas. My law degree is pretty superfluous for my lobbying work, though nice to have.

        I really do wish her well. (Though I concur with another poster that I stopped reading around the time of the redesign – it just didn’t resonate with me.) There are options for her at the state and local level, though I’m sure she’s explored those already.

        Re: the NRA. I think it was a really different organization even just 2 years ago. I have NRA members in my family and they’re very normal people, establishment Republicans. The organization has been co-opted by Trumpers in the past couple years. I’m not sure what years she lobbied for them, but not so long ago, it was a more mainstream organization.

        • “Re: the NRA. I think it was a really different organization even just 2 years ago. I have NRA members in my family and they’re very normal people, establishment Republicans. The organization has been co-opted by Trumpers in the past couple years. I’m not sure what years she lobbied for them, but not so long ago, it was a more mainstream organization.”

          Yeah, no this isn’t true at all. They may not have been taken over by Nazis until a few years ago, but they always lobbied against ANY gun regulations, including common sense gun regulations that are supported by 80%+ of Americans, including many gun owners, such as expanded background checks. There are plenty of reasonable, moderate gun owners and some of these people may be in the NRA and think it’s more aligned with their own views. But the NRA’s central mission was always to be an extremely right-wing organization that opposed anything that restricted gun ownership by anyone, even domestic abusers.

          • The NRA hasn’t always lobbied against restrictions. When Black Panthers were walking the streets in California, legally carrying (openly) the NRA worked with then Governor Reagan to pass legislation enacting restrictions.

            They have pretty much always been for the gun rights of people like them.

          • Anonymous :


            NRA has been cray cray for a long time. Were they ever not crazy?

    • I saw somewhere (instagram, maybe) that she is moving in a few weeks. So maybe she did get a job.

    • I don’t know anything about this person. Where did she go to law school? Some have decent alumni support in their regions despite having a low-rank nationally.

  7. Anonymous :

    As the mother of a young teen girl, I found this article presenting a teen perspective on the Kavanaugh allegations interesting:


    • My 17 year old son is in high school and he knows way better. I made sure to raise him to be respectful of women and consent. The high school excuse is pathetic.

      • Yes, that is pretty much what the teens in the article say. They also point out that the high school excuse also dismisses the experience of teen victims of assault.

      • I don’t question your parenting, but I am guessing that many parents believe they have taught their sons better. I’m guessing parents of those who find themselves in the midst of sexual assault allegations are shocked that their sons may have done such things.

        • Actually, I think the parents of sons who have done such things are the ones saying that “boys will be boys” and we shouldn’t let one silly moment ruin a man’s whole life, etc etc etc.

          • Actually, I bet the parents of high schoolers who end up doing this fall all across this spectrum. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum: peer pressure is tremendous and our kids are being raised in an intensely sexualized media culture, just for starters. Hopefully we can reverse this the more we talk about it, the more we teach our kids about respect and consent, and the more we can demonstrate to them the very real consequences of things that happened way before there were cell phones to document every moment.

        • IDK — at some point, your bad decisions are your bad decisions (like I swear I have told my children to chew with their mouths closed, I chew with my mouth closed, etc.).

          I can think of a locally-prominent family in my big SEUS city. One brother is a local celebrity. The other is on trial for [email protected] [Or look at John Wilkes Booth and his brother Edwin.]

          I think that there are also two main types of parents: one who always says “not my kid” and one who would lets kids feel the consequences of their actions.

          • This. (I’m the first response above.) I’ve done what I believe is good job hammering this message home to my son. If he still chooses to act in a way that he has been taught is wrong, I will not be the mom that worries about some girl ruining his future with an accusation because *he* chose to ruin his own future (and the victim’s) with actions that I have taught him are wrong. I can be lenient with true mistakes, but when others are harmed because of my child’s actions, I have no right to make excuses for my child.

    • teens see through all the lies. It’s really refreshing to see them showing commonsense perspective and respect for women.

      That being said, I have been concerned with the trend from both the left and the right that encourages girls to put themselves last, to make sure everyone else feels respected at all times, and to never cause offense. I want to make sure that my future daughter knows that she has an absolute right to say no to anyone at any time, that she has to trust her own instincts even when popular narratives tell her not to, and that she has value to society no matter what. I have seen some encouraging signs that teen girls today understand these messages better than we all did when I was a teen, but at the same time, there is a lot of concerning research about how the self-esteem and confidence of teenage girls plummets after puberty. There is so much more work to be done and terrible messages to battle from both sides of the political spectrum.

      • It’s interesting to read how single-gender all-male schools have been trash-talked in all of this (while the conventional wisdom given to me is that single-gender, especially in STEM, is really beneficial for girls).

        FWIW, I am from NJ and grew up there in the 1980s. Co-ed bad public schools. If you think that the RHONJ are a force, there were girls in my middle school who would have eaten them for lunch.

        Now I see girls who talk a good game but seem to be so fearful and hesitant at the same age. The thought of sticking up for yourself is so hashtag-worthy but they are visibly uncomfortable. I don’t know why we seem to be regressing. My kids (both girls) are younger, but I have an older stepson and see it in the young women he has grown up with.

        • I would not hesitate to send my daughter to a single-sex school. There is good evidence that they are good for girls and (as far as I know) none to show that they are bad in any way.

          I agree that it seems like girls know the right things to say, and hopefully some of them put their words into action, but a lot more second-guess everything. I taught a class (as a TA) at one of the country’s most prestigious universities last year and was blown away by how the girls could not get out an opinion of any kind without “well, maybe I’m wrong, I’m not sure but maybe, I’m probably getting this wrong, feel free to ignore this….” You are literally sitting in a classroom of the best and brightest, you are among the top students in the country, and you can’t say what you think in a classroom setting specifically designed for discussion? What the heck is going on?

          • I wish they played poker in their spare time or something where there is value in bluffing. I did theater as a kid and even if I’m not feeling it, I can still bring it like I am.

            If I had a $1 for every guy I know who was often wrong, but never in doubt, I’d be rich. I wish a little of that spirit would rub off on the women you worked with.

          • I had a professor in college who did not allow anyone in class to start a statement with “I think” or any other hedging language. It taught me to own my ideas (and anyway, if you’re saying it it’s obvious that it’s what you “think”). I go back and forth between defending so-called “feminine” ways of speaking (e.g. uptalk, vocal fry) as in no way inferior to so-called male ways of speaking and supporting the idea that young women should be taught to be more assertive in their speech patterns. It’s a tough question, but I agree it’s troubling that young women are so hesitant to speak assertively and own their ideas without a ton of hedging language.

        • Really? Kids now seem so obnoxiously confident? Like 6 year olds who will fully participate in an adult conversation while their parents beam with pride at their articulate outgoing child – not caring that you aren’t there to talk to child and don’t need her opinion. Does that confidence disappear sometime between middle school and college? I went to Wharton and 10 years ago I don’t think it was the MO for me or any of our undergrad ladies to say – well I may be wrong. If we were wrong the TA would tell us! And that was a male dominated environment – not terribly so but like 60/40 or 65/35 esp if you were in finance.

          • https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/09/puberty-girls-confidence/563804/

          • I’m the NJ poster above and I think that finance toughens you up. Like the trading floor is in no way intimidating to me but I know so many people who are freaked out by it. And I’m good at math and I know so many women who just get all flustered and are overwhelmed and have no confidence in anything quant-related.

            The women I’m talking about all do thinks like a Kardashian — uptalk at the end of sentences, verbal fry, etc. I just cannot with this — especially when I have a sense their resumes.

            Can you imagine if these women tried their hands at real estate:
            The house is listed at 400K.
            Um, maybe you should offer 400K. Um, ’cause you don’t want to make the seller angry at you. And, um, someone else might put in an offer. OK, so you put in an offer at 390K. And they are countering. Don’t make them upset, just take their counteroffer. Oh, my job is so stressful. And people aren’t affirming of me at all. I don’t like conflict. WAAAH.

            If I see someone interview with me who has worked really hard jobs (waiting tables, cashiers, customer service, etc.), I don’t worry that they can’t take it. If I see a lot of internships, I am genuinely concerned whether people have every encountered conflict and can manage it.

            [I recall during the VMI case there was some discussion that women can’t, as a rule, handle an “adversative” environment. Maybe not every woman can, maybe not most. But we really need to navigate sticking up for ourselves, starting with how we talk to others. Some of us do just fine, but there are women out there who could benefit from some coaching.]

          • NJ poster – I’m the Wharton poster and I think you’re right about finance and quant and also how it turns out for some of these women when it comes to investing, RE. Just yesterday had a conversation with a woman who just won’t dump GEs stock despite screaming sell indicators; we’ve been discussing this for months and it comes down to IDK, I don’t understand (she does), I have to ask my boyfriend. It’s a lack of trust in her own judgment that causes her to rely on her boyfriend and his often false confidence re all things money. Even though it’s HER money.

            Will read that Atlantic article because the little girls I know are super outgoing/confident and their parents encourage it. Something must change between 6 and 16.

          • NJ profs assessment is very real in the workplace too. Just last week I was out all day for a drop and told the (smart, capable) junior – if parynet emails asking any questions about the matter, respond and work with him on what he needs, don’t wait for me because I can’t check email all day. Unsurprisingly he asks substantive questions that she CAN answer — instead on answering she writes up a response for my review when I’m back online! But same partner later needs a binder made and she’s all over that in 5 min. She’s making her mark with an influential partner as the female junior who is good at admin tasks – when reality is she’s good at the substantive work too but has no confidence.

    • So I went to a middle class high school and a small fancy college with lots of folks who went to Bart O’kavanaughs prep school. I saw/experienced things eerily similar to what these women described in college but not high school. I don’t think the high school crowd actually respected women more. The difference was a distinct sense of privilege; rich young men grow up knowing they’ll never face a consequence being getting kicked out of a fancy school and going to another one. Regular guys with working class parents seemed to think a rape allegation could land them in jail.

      • I went to a boarding school that was formerly all-men. I was a day student, so not among the privileged kids who had parents paying 70K/year for high school (never mind the kids who had already been kicked out of a more prestigious school).

        BUT it had an incredible service ethos. Like tons of kids went into the military (so they endure much hardship and are poorly paid compared to me with my desk job who gets to go home to my family every night). Lots of people who are teachers and preachers. I am so proud of these folks.

        My current city’s Country Day School — I don’t care for it. No “to lead is to serve” mentality. It is very much the world is my oyster; those public school kids will clean up after us. My kids are those public school kids.

    • This & reading Patti Reagon’s letter regarding sexual assault was a frustrating and sad reminder to me that even the best, brightest, most intelligent, and privileged women among us aren’t immune from this bullshit.

  8. Charleston at Christmas :

    Thanks to y’all’s advice I have booked a family trip to Charleston, SC over Christmas. Any suggestions for things to do or places to eat, especially for Christmas dinner?

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      What a great place to spend Christmas! We visited for a week in the summer, so a different feel. But here were some of our favorites:
      -if you have a day with beautiful weather, I recommend a visit to James Island County Park. It was huge with tons of activities.
      -we had a great meal at the Glass Onion.
      -Fort Moultrie was more interesting than I expected.
      -good aquarium in downtown

  9. Ladies, my office is freezing! At my prior job, I had a full blanket and space heater to keep me warm. I’ve been told that management at my new place is quite strict re space heaters (and I’m fairly new, so don’t want to cause trouble). My office is also more formal, so no more blanket. Do you have any recs on warm pashminas (or something similar) that fit in with a more formal office setting? I’ve been wrapped in a regular / not very heavy pashmina the last two days, but need more warmth.

    Now that I’m in an office where most people wear suits every day, I’d also appreciate any recs on comfortable attire. When I don’t have meetings, I’d love to wear slightly less formal jackets/ sweaters. I don’t know if they have a name, but I’ve seen jackets in the past that are more of a sweater material, but have more of the formality of a suit jacket (if that makes sense). Does anyone know where I can find these / have any favorites?

    • Heating pad for the win!

    • Anonymous :

      If you can’t have a space heater, can you get a heating pad to put on your chair?

    • Silk long underwear or layers underneath. I love this strategy in winter!

    • Long underwear might help as well. The uniqlo heat tech pieces go well under suits and keep me very warm.

    • Anonymous :

      Make sure you are dressing in layers as well. Camisole and hose or tights under pant suits. Try a cashmere shell under the suit jacket instead of a silk/rayon one. If your desk goes all the way to the floor, consider sheepskin mules to slide your feet into when working for long periods.

    • Try St. John jackets (I buy mine second hand) – they are structured like a blazer but are comfortable and warm.

      MM LaFleur has jardigans (jacket – cardigan). I’m wearing one right now. However, I don’t think they have the formality of a suit jacket.

      And heating pads may be a good bridge.

    • Legally Brunette :

      For a less format jacket, check out the jardigan sold by MM La Fleur.

      One thing that helps me stay warm is wearing Spanx under dresses and skirts. Makes a huge difference for me and I always buy one size up so it’s not too constricting.

    • I use a cashmere wrap for this. My favourites were purchased from Talbots a few years ago, but I can’t say whether or not the quality has changed.

    • I got a heated foot mat at my former workplace and it worked wonders. Completely silent and discreet. I have Reynaud’s so my feet are (were) always cold!

    • I use a big scarf I picked up from Asos a few years back. It’s one of those giant soft square blanket scarves, so I can fold it into more layers if I need more warmth, or drape it if I just need a little extra coverage. when I’m not using it, it hangs from the back of my chair and adds some color to my drab office.

    • Heated footrest.

      For wraps, Talbots usually does a couple large merino ruanas each year that look more like shawls than blankets (shaped necks, contrast trim or piping, sometimes even pockets). I have a few of them (yay Red Hanger Sale) and change them up often so it looks like they are fashion choices and not blankets. If you are feeling spendy, Burberry almost always has beautiful large wool/cashmere blend shawls.

    • I have the angelou shawl from MM La Fleur, it’s great. I also am sneaky about my space heater use. I hide it in a drawer when I leave my office.

    • I would look for words like ruana, serape/serapi, and poncho when you’re searching. These tend to be made of warmer stuff than just pashminas. Ruanas are cut and sewn to stay on your shoulders, so easier to move around and not have them falling off all the time.

      Cuyana has a really pretty one made of baby alpaca.

    • here’s a merino wool sweater jacket from Talbot’s. I don’t have this year’s model but a prior year’s, and it is warm and certainly professional enough for most days in the office..


      If you search the term sweater jacket at Talbot’s site, there are lots of options.

    • Last weekend costco had a wearable blanket… not like a slanket… more like it looked like a kind of chic poncho/sweater/cape. I’m not sure it would work in ALL work environments… but it would be ok in mine. Maybe worth looking into? It was made by emanuael geraldo & was called a reversible belted wrap.

  10. How do you respond when someone tries to network and grab coffee with you on a job positing you think they’re not a good fit for? I know this person, and he is generally nice but somewhat flighty and irresponsible. If I were the hiring manager I don’t think I’d even interview him, but that is also not a conversation I want to have especially on the off chance he does actually get the job.

    • You’re busy.

    • Been there :

      I’ve tried to be honest and not specific aspects of skill set that might be tough. In one instance where I know the individual wanted to put in less than 9 to 5 and the group was hard core, I was just upfront on the work hours and culture. In this instance, I might play up how little tolerance there is flightiness or what have you. If they get the job, you were helpful in warning them. If the employer asks, I’d be honest on my concerns. I don’t know if this is harsh, but it seems like it would be the most honest and ethical way to be to both the individual and the company.

      • I’m not OP but in my experience, people who are flighty don’t think they’re flighty.

        Ah to have the confidence of a mediocre man!

    • I would use the meeting as an opportunity to brainstorm other options and to suggest some possibilities that might be a better fit for this person and their skills. If they are looking for a job, they are at a crossroads and open to new possibilities (or any possibilities other than their current situation). Being a sounding board is helping them and you say you are fond of this person. True story – a partner of mine had an associate who was ill-suited for legal work – the associate was not detail-oriented and didn’t enjoy reviewing/drafting docs. The partner basically encouraged the associate to focus on what the associate might find more engaging (not an easy conversation) and now that former lawyer is the owner of one the most successful beer brands in our region (and is a client of the partner als0).

    • OMG just say no.

      You don’t have an obligation to entertain every single request you get. Stand up for your time.

    • How about a white lie telling him the job is earmarked for an internal candidate?

  11. Anonymous :

    Apparently it’s not enought to excel as a student at Yale, you also have to look like model too if you want a Kavanaugh clerkship, which was known as a feeder for Kennedy clerkships. Sigh. Did any C0rp0rette Yale grads hear this about Chua?

    Also can’t believe this story isn’t getting more coverage in the US media – I only heard about it from the Guardian.


    • It’s been all over the US media. Slate, NBC, CNN, Fox, Wall Street Journal.

      I can absolutely believe it. And it’s not just him.

    • What do you think of Chad’s rebuttal?

    • Totally buy it. Once you tap into the clerkship network this information is pretty widely acknowledged. Didn’t go to Yale. but went to another T-14 and I was warned about the risk of getting put in a “difficult position.” Both Kavanaugh and Kozinski were referenced as examples. FWIW, this advice came from a recent male alum that was clerking.

  12. How do you get back on track with your SO after a fight… when you know that you two still have things to talk about? I need a break for a couple of days. I’m too frustrated to have another talk and I think he is too. I just want to have fun, remind ourselves why we’re in this thing, and come back to our conversation refreshed and ready to be constructive.

    I’m just starting to get serious with a guy who has some major communication difficulties (likely related to his Asperger’s). At times, he completely bulldozes me in conversation. He interrupts; depending on the topic it can be mildly annoying (like, I wanted to tell you about Awesome Thing that happened today but you derailed my story before I got there) to downright hurtful (like, I’m telling you about that time my ex nearly killed me and instead you talk about how a girl slapped you once). If something is on his mind, he will obsess about it and all conversations circle back to whatever he’s worried about – and then he rants endlessly, sometimes even very late at night or in the middle of the night (he’ll wake up and just start ranting out of nowhere). When I ask him to stop, he totally ignores me; I have to walk away (sometimes he follows me) or basically yell at him to get him to stop. Then he feels very hurt that I was mean to him. We need to have a big talk about the communication issues to see if we can work through it. But we’ve had some fights lately and I’m just not ready to gear up for that right now. I really need to have some lighthearted fun with him. Any advice?

    • You need to break up. I can’t fathom how you don’t see that.

    • He sounds awful and you should dump him.

    • I dunno, I can appreciate needing a few hours to cool off after a big fight and then coming back to it with a fresh approach but I don’t think I could have a fight, put it aside and have fun, and revisit the issue later. I’d be stewing or worried that I wouldn’t want to rock the boat by bringing it up.

      Also, gently (and coming from someone who is married to someone with Aspergers), this relationship sounds like an awful lot of work in the early stages.

      • Yeah he’s not not communicating well he’s being mean. No.

      • Yes. You need to assume that this is how the relationship will always be, especially where something like Asperger’s may be contributing.

        Is this what you want?

    • I am not usually a fan of the “dump him” advice, but I really don’t see how else you could get through this. I wouldn’t want to spend 10 minutes with your boyfriend much less date him long-term.

    • If you think his communication problems are related to a medical condition, then you probably need to understand that medical condition and the strategies for managing it (for both your SO and you) to figure out what the price of admission is here and what, if anything, can be improved. You will probably get better advice from sites about Asperger’s than you will on a site about professional women’s clothing.

    • I say this gently, but WHY are you in this thing? I realize he has a disability, but this sounds like an awful way to live and not very fixable without professional help/intervention.

      • I agree professional help is needed here. He was diagnosed as a child but his parents never pursued professional help for him. I also think some of the behaviors aren’t just Asperger’s related, like the late night anxiety spikes, but I’m not in a position to diagnose that and I’m certainly not in a position to help treat it. I think he’d see a lot of improvements in a lot of areas of his life (with me, too, but it’s not just about me) if he saw a professional. He has to be willing to do it, though, which is part of what I want to talk to him about. I just… need a break first.

        • Then take one. People are not projects to fix. Take a long far away break. Tell him “you don’t listen to me and you’re mean, so I don’t want to date you anymore” and then don’t date him anymore.

          • Senior Attorney :

            People are not improvement projects. There is no such thing as relationship sweat equity.

            Why oh why would you volunteer for this?

        • OP, take care of yourself. Boyfriends are not projects.

        • Also, be aware that controlling access to things like sleep can be a red flag for abusive behaviors.

          I am very lucky to have dated a bunch of d*ckheads, as I mentioned in a post yesterday, but I only had one brush with a situation that I think could have turned seriously abusive. The first red flag was that he would wake me up at 3am to monologue at me about his problems, and refuse to let me go back to sleep until I had adequately soothed him. Red flags continued from there: his opinion was the only opinion that mattered, nothing I had to say was as important as what he had to say, nothing I had to do in my life (grad school, internship with a high probability of leading to a full-time offer if I did well, seeing other friends) was as important as being available for his needs 24/7.

          I am still SO grateful that I ran into this guy at 26, instead of 17 or 19 or 21. Because my litany of d*ckheads was, well, a litany of d*ckheads, but none of them ever thought they had the right to control me or keep me dancing attendance on their every whim or spike of anxiety. I knew it was wrong. Something tells me, OP, that you know this is wrong, too.

          So please take care of yourself. Your needs are as valid as his are. I’m sure untreated mental illness had something to do with it for my ex, like it is for your SO, but you can’t fix that for him. Asperger’s (or any mental illness) is not an excuse for a pattern of treating you like you matter less than he does. Please take the break that you know you need, so that you can evaluate the right path for you going forward.

        • DTMFA. Seriously.

    • This seems more like a personality conflict than a communication issue. He likes to talk too much and overtalk you. And he’s mean to you, which I usually find goes to the core of a person’s personality and how much respect they have for you.

      Also, the nighttime ranting and obsessions seem disordered, has he seen a psychiatrist? He might need to be on some sort of medicine. I’m not pointing to the Asperger’s on that one (especially not with what I’m reading between the lines is an armchair diagnosis), Asperger’s affects your ability to interpret social cues, it doesn’t make you mean or go into obsessive rants like a person in a manic episode.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      He sounds like someone I dated several years ago. This isn’t a communication issue. This IS how he communicates. Asperger’s or not, if you set a boundary and he crosses it, he showing you he doesn’t respect you. The only way through this is to leave. I’m truly sorry.

    • I’m going to join the dump him chorus. My rule is relationships aren’t charity cases. I spent too many years with someone clinically depressed who wouldn’t take responsibility for it and was mean. I excused the conduct based on his disability. Then one day I realized I didn’t have to do that, I got out and got happy.

      • +1 People aren’t projects. You take them as they are or not at all.

        • Anonymous :

          Agreed. My charity case point is slightly different though – I think there’s a tendency to feel like we have to be super accommodating of people we are in relationships with & to stay if there’s a “good reason” for poor behavior. I won’t stay in a relationship because I feel for the person – that’s different from wanting to improve them (although I totally agree with that too).

    • You may find this helpful.


    • My brother was not diagnosed as an Aspie (his words!) until his 30s. Successful intervention for that particular disorder depends heavily on catching it in childhood, and I am highly skeptical of the way the term has been since folded back into the spectrum.

      Frankly, my brother is not capable of the empathy, communication, or emotional stability required of a romantic relationship. He is prone to fits of rage (beats the dashboard and steering wheel like a maniac when he is cut off), cannot understand figurative language and refuses to acknowledge its existence (will always answer “What’s up?” with “The ceiling, of course” despite being coached on what the proper style of response is), and can only interact with the world around him in shades of black and white.

      The most important part of this is that he truly believes that there is a “right” and a “wrong” way to be, and he would rather go through the world being difficult and alienating people than make the adjustments that would help him live a better life. It’s possible that your BF is always going to struggle.

    • I cannot understand why’d you’d take on this project . This guy is not going to want to fix anything about himself unless there are consequences, and since all of your questions are about how you can behave differently, not him he’s to getting consequences. Dump his sorry ass and maybe he’ll get the help he needs (or, more likely, consider you an intolerant b1tch and go on to do the same to his next victim)

      • +1

        OP, you are NOT going to get him to change. Only he can do that and it really sounds like he doesn’t want to and probably never will.

    • Anonymous :

      It was somewhat hurtful to read this thread from a perspective on the spectrum. (Believe me, people, it is not always about “wanting to change”.) It was also hurtful to read about some of the fool stuff he’s doing! The anecdote where he told the story about when a girl slapped him in response to your story and didn’t see what was wrong with that is textbook stuff (diagnosticians even talk about it). The sleep disturbance and “waking up ranting” honestly sounds pretty normal to me too (it’s a combination of circadian rhythm abnormalities and an inability to process thoughts without speaking). He sounds like he is unaware how much of this is related to his spectrum disorder and what a big problem it poses for other people. It is really not difficult to make it into your 30s or beyond without figuring some of this stuff out when being socially clueless is part of your disorder, and there is almost no support for high functioning adults on the spectrum. Some speech-language pathologists will address these issues with adults, even if they normally work with children.

  13. Question about the MM La Fleur Antonia Top – I just got the top in the mail and I think I love it. There’s a tiny stitch at the bust where the fabric crosses. Is that like a stitch on a kick pleat that is only for mailing purposes, and I’m supposed to remove? Or is it supposed to hold the blouse together? The stitch is pretty flimsy and it pulls when I move in the shirt, so if it’s intentional then it doesn’t do a very good job. I’m wondering if I should take it to the tailor to have a snap or something put there instead.

    • I’d message or call MM La Fleur customer service, they can answer this for you. I’ve found them to be very helpful in the past.

    • Also have the top. The stitch is there intentionally so that the fabric stays together. I agree that it is flimsy and could maybe have been done better, but I loved the shirt so much that I was willing to overlook that…. I would be afraid of a snap showing too much since the fabric is so delicate.

    • Antonia question :

      Would you describe the fabric of Antonia as rough/scratchy or smooth/silky? It is a beautiful top.

      • Anonymous :

        Silky but substantial. I’m also busty so I was a little worried how it would work on me. But I love it. I just need to figure out this stitch issue.

    • If it’s just a tiny stitch, how about redoing it yourself with a needle and thread?

  14. I’ll have several hours midday on Saturday in Chicago before a wedding. I’ve been a couple times before and have done some of the highlights including the boat tour. Anything else not to miss if I want to get a flavor of the city? For instance, a great walking neighborhood with a hip tasty place for lunch? I’m not a huge shopper or museum person and I don’t mind walking around – will have car access. Staying on Lake Shore Drive.

    • Maybe Logan Square or Wicker Park? Grab lunch/a coffee at Colectivo (there’s also a location in Andersonville and Lincoln Park).

    • Some cute neighborhoods to walk around in:
      – Wicker Park (tons of trendy places to go for lunch, plus the 606/Highline-style path is really nice for a walk, also full of unique stores that are fun to browse even if you would never buy anything. there are also a bunch of cute coffee shops in WP, which will be nice because it’s supposed to be a bit chilly.)
      – Andersonville (less trendy but still very unique and interesting to wander around, and more off the beaten trail than WP or Old Town – recommend Hopleaf for lunch)
      – Depending on how early you want to start, Second City (the famous comedy theater/school) has a 10am Saturday walking tour of the neighborhood. I’ve never done this specific show/tour but everything else I’ve seen at SC has been hilarious. There are plenty of cute shops and restaurants for lunch (Cafe Baba-Reeba does fun brunch tapas for example, but there are lots of options here), and you’re walking distance from North Avenue Beach if you need a break from the city.

  15. Home hair color rec :

    I have dark brown hair that’s beginning to show a few grays. I haven’t really colored my hair since my early twenties, when I favored Manic Panic. I’d like to do something at home to address the grays without fundamentally changing my color. I’m afraid, though, of getting some too-flat, too-dark color that makes me look like Morticia Addams’ trailer park cousin. Does anyone have wise advice?

    • Gemma Teller :

      What if you made the grays blondes?

    • At that stage, I used a semipermanent color a shade or two lighter than my natural color. It essentially turned the grays into highlights without making all of my hair the same color.

      • Anonymous :

        This is what I do, and it has worked well so far.

      • givemyregards :

        I tried to ask a new hairdresser to do this for me at my last cut/color and she basically looked at me like I was crazy. I’m wondering if maybe I just did a terrible job explaining it? I’m thinking of going to a new salon rather than go through it again.

    • I’ve got similar hair and found that henna has worked pretty well for me.

    • For my dark brown hair, I’ve embraced the few grays I’ve had as a way to give me a little gravitas and a normal part of aging. I’m 40, this is expected, it doesn’t bother me right now. Keeping my hair healthy and really shiny seem to make them less noticeable. I get regular trims. I also use the in shower color glazes/gloss from John Frieda and a few others I found at Ulta, plus weekly deep conditioning. I’d suggest trying that routine if you don’t want to deal with the maintenance of coloring your hair.

      • +1. I seem to have new ones cropping up every day, particularly around my face (I’m 36). I’m going with it.

        I also met someone new last week who was fully gray and maybe 40? I admired her for rocking it. Even my 75 year old mother – who probably is fully gray by now – is still a warm chestnut ha.

      • Tell more about color glaze/gloss? Does this change the color of the grays? Or make the brown glossier?

        I’ve got relatively shiny healthy (straight!) dark brown hair. My hair stylist doesn’t think I need to dye it yet, but I’m getting a little self-conscious about my sprinkling of grays. I’m 42, but most of my similar level peers at the office are mid-30’s.

        • It doesn’t really change the color of the grays, at least not for more than a day or so. It does seem to make my hair shinier (sounds similar to yours). My stylist always comments on how shiny/healthy my hair is.

    • Clairol Natural Instincts Semi Permanent. It really does fade out pretty gently I think.

      • +1, just used this last night. I’m 34 and have a few greys. I use it maybe 3 or 4 times a year. It looks natural as it fades.

    • My hair is dark brown/almost black with some gray. I used to get salon color but it always turned out brassy and damaged, no matter how high quality the salon. I’ve been using Revlon Colorsilk for a few years now. It costs less than $5 and my hair looks healthy and natural. Gray coverage doesn’t seem to fade and I color new roots every 4-6 weeks. I’be even using #41, medium brown, but my hair has gotten a little lighter than I prefer this summer. I’ve also used #30, dark brown, but that pulls pretty close to black for me. I’m going to try mixing the two colors next time.

    • Anonymous :

      Different kind of advice but my experience was so shocking (in a good way) that I share when I can. I started getting several noticeable gray hairs in my dark brown hair. I would pluck them when I found them but they kept coming. I’m early 30s. Over a year ago, I started taking collagen supplements in my morning coffee after reading about its effectiveness for skin and hair, and I kid you not – the gray hair turned back brown. At least, I assume that’s what happened, because I have zero gray hairs and haven’t noticed any for awhile now. I do not color my hair.

  16. Anyone have a good recipe for toasted pecans?

    • I like the combination of rosemary, salt, and pepper. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on, add spices, roast at 300. Sometimes I add maple syrup and cayenne pepper too, sometimes not.

    • Stove on medium low to medium high depending on how well you know your stove and cookware. Melt a pat of butter in a skillet. Pecans in skillet. Stir/jiggle around in pan every minute or so until they get nice and aromatic. Once you start smelling them, *PAY ATTENTION*. They can go from perfect to burnt quickly.

      If texture isn’t important (ie, they’re going to be an ingredient in another cooked/baked recipe), you can microwave them and it’s a lot harder to burn them that way.

  17. Free day in Chicago :

    Piggybacking on question above, I will have most of the day on Sunday in Chicago to myself. My flight gets in mid-morning then I’ll need to get to the hotel and drop off my stuff, but otherwise, I have no plans. I’ve only been there once and I don’t know anyone there. I’m thinking about starting at the Art Institute then maybe heading to shopping or whatever later (stores close at 7?). Anything else I should do? Any dinner recommendations for just me? I haven’t had a real day off with nowhere to be in quite a while, so I’m looking forward to it, but am a little anxious about getting around on my own in a mostly unfamiliar city.

    • If the weather is nice, do the boat architecture tour. Really cool way to see the city!
      Otherwise Art Institute followed by dinner (Gino’s East if you want deep dish in that area or Lula’s for something more creative. I also like Intelligentsia for coffee/people watching)

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Don’t worry about navigating the city! (1) you can always Uber but (2) you’ll be fine walking and taking the train. It’s basically a spoke-and-wheel type layout, trains looping around the loop in the middle and then radiating out. The whole Loop (downtown area, probably near your hotel) is like a mile square so you can just walk across it if you’re confused, but then you can hop on a train to get to a fun neighborhood: red line to Andersonville is always my suggestion. You can get off at Berwyn or Bryn Mawr and walk to Clark St. and peek into antique stores, go to the feminist book store, eat ice cream at George’s, drink beer at Hopleaf. Or you could take the blue line to Logan Square, drink beer at Revolution, maybe take yourself for a fancy dinner at Longman and Eagle…

      My basic advice would be to pick a neighborhood, take the train there, and walk around. Chicago is delightfully neighborhoody so once you’re on a main drag, there will be plenty to explore.

      • Free day in Chicago :

        Fun! Thanks! I’m not staying downtown, but will be leaving from downtown on Tuesday. I was thinking I’d either use Uber or walk and train, so that’s good. Last time I was there (for a conference), we were supposed to go on a lake cruise dinner thing, but the weather was terrible and we were all freaked out about being on the lake in that weather, so we bagged it. I’m not sure I want to commit to something like the boat architecture tour, but I’ll look into it. I think it’s supposed to be nice on Sunday and Tuesday when I have time, but rainy on Monday, when I’ll be indoors all day.

  18. I’ll start by saying that this is not a tr0ll/fake post – I’m a regular commenter going anon because this is kind of embarassing.

    I’ve never held a baby before, and I’m going to have to tonight. I’m an only child, and most of my friends growing up were either only children as well, or had older siblings. I’ve never had any family nearby who had babies. I’ve just never really had the opportunity. But now, one of my closest friends just had a baby, and we’re going over to her house tonight to bring them food. I am so nervous – how do I hold the baby? What do I do if something happens? I really don’t want to look like an idiot, but I’m freaking out. My SO, who is coming with me, doesn’t even know that I’ve never held a baby. I realize that this sounds ridiculous as I type, but I really am panicking.

    • You just sit back on the couch, they’ll put the baby in your arms. Just make sure the head is supported by your arm so it doesn’t fall back, babies don’t have strong neck muscles yet. If it gets fussy, mom or dad will probably take it back. Nothing will happen! You’ll do great.

    • This is actually incredibly sweet. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Remember, you really won’t break the baby! Just support the head in the crook of your arm and you’re all good :) My guess is the baby will be lighter than you expect!

    • Just laugh it off. Fellow only child here who was previously in the same boat. Just go with, “Oh my gosh, s/he’s beautiful! Here, let me sit down. Can you show me how you want him/her held? You know I’ve never really been around babies.” Stay seated on a couch or soft chair.

    • Don’t worry! My husband was in the same boat you are a couple of years ago. Now that he is a dad, he’s a pro.

      If you can, see if your friend will hand the baby to you while you are sitting down. Then, just make sure the baby’s head and neck are supported at all times and airway is not obstructed.

    • Cradle baby in the crook of your elbow, support the head. If you’re not comfortable, don’t offer to hold it. I’m sure your friend will help you too. Don’t panic!

    • BeenThatGuy :

      You should tell your friend that you’ve never held a baby. She will set you up, probably on the couch with a Boppy, and place the baby in your arms. Newborns don’t move much so all you will have to do is sit still. The second you feel uncomfortable, speak up. The mom will come get the baby.

    • Awww, you’ll be fine!

      Hold the baby while you’re sitting on a couch or somewhere soft, to minimize your fear. Babies are tiny, you won’t drop him/her. The head should be generally up. As for anything else that could “happen,” like spitting up, it’s not a big deal! Worst case, you put your shirt in the laundry at the end of the night. The baby’s parents will be nearby to give further instructions.

      Also, if you truly don’t want to, it’s ok to decline.

    • It’s normal to feel nervous – everyone does the first time! Remind yourself that babies are way tougher than you think, even if they look so fragile. The best thing to do is ask your friend for help! Ask her to show you the best way to hold the baby. Way easier to do sitting down – just kind of make a cradle of your arms and let her plop the baby into them. Keep its neck supported with your hand or arm. And as soon as it starts to cry, say “Oh, he/she wants Mom!” and hand it back.

    • Support the head! Baby’s head will be very wobbly, you won’t forget. Mom may not want you to also. Crook of arm OK or just offer your shoulder and let her put baby’s head against your shoulder.

    • Honestly, I was a childless only child for a long time and I always just declined to hold the baby. I’d just say something like “I don’t have any experience holding babies so I’d rather admire his/her cuteness while he’s in your arms.” No one ever seemed offended. It’s weird if you don’t even want to see/coo over the baby, but I don’t think it’s weird to say you don’t want to hold him/her.
      The first baby I ever held was my own! And it was fine, you figure things out quickly.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m excited for you! It’s gonna be great!

      Sitting down in a good way to start, and supporting baby’s head… it’s OK to have never done it before! <3

    • Marshmallow :

      Your friend may not even offer for you to hold the baby. If she does, say you’ve never done it before and can she please show you how? She’ll be happy to and glad you didn’t just pretend to know what you’re doing.

      I also had a good-natured giggle thinking of the How I Met Your Mother episode where Robin avoids holding Lily’s baby for weeks because she doesn’t know how! I don’t think this is uncommon.

    • Oh my goodness! Don’t panic. First of all, you don’t have to hold the baby if you don’t want to. But if you do, let your friend know that you’re nervous about it and ask for some guidance! Chances are (very high) that she would love to tell you exactly how to hold the baby. Also, I have had a baby of my own, and held many of my friends’ babies, and it still makes me nervous and feels incredibly awkward at first. I’d recommend sitting down and having her pass the baby to you, and helping you get arranged. Enjoy!

    • Nudibranch :

      If you’re right-handed, baby’s head rests in your right hand against your shoulder. Baby’s rear is cradled in your right elbow. Baby’s body supported by your right arm against your torso. Left hand supports right elbow if necessary. Sitting down, baby is essentially draped against your chest.

      If s/he cries, give back to parents. If sleeping, enjoy. :-)

      Photos will probably illustrate this better than I can.

    • You already got great advice, but wanted to chime in that you are not alone! I had never changed a diaper until sometime last year, when I started babysitting more for my cousin.

    • Thank you all so much for the advice! I feel a little less stupid and much more prepared :)

    • Be careful when holding a baby! After a few minutes you will want one of your own!!

      At least that’s how it works for me.

      Have fun. I’m envious of anyone who gets to hold a newborn.

    • All good advice! Want to add… when you walk in, say “we are going to go wash our hands” and go and do that…. germs were my biggest concern as a new mom. My husband & I both have siblings and both of us felt like newbs when we first held our daughter… but we were pros by the end of the first 24 hrs.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m not experienced with babies at all, but perhaps that’s a helpful perspective. These probably don’t apply to newborns though?

      If you happen to be well endowed up front, it’s a convenient shelf for them to flop on. But they might root around.

      Don’t wear jewelry, and if you have glasses be ready to avoid grabbing.

    • As a recent new mom, offer to go wash your hands before you hold the baby. “Would you like to hold her?” “Sure, let me go wash my hands first. I’ve never held a baby before so let me sit down and you can tell me what to do!” Not necessary, but definitely appreciated!

    • And this sounds kind of funny, but if you have ever held a kitten or puppy, you are gentle enough to hold a baby

      Hand under baby bum, neck in crook of your elbow (opposite arm) and they somehow snuggle in your chest, face up lol

      Sounds weird but it just flows, sitting down to start is much easier than standing

  19. SF Bay Area Help :

    I’m relocating to the SF Bay Area for work and need some help narrowing down where to live. My new job will be in Concord, CA, so I’m thinking Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill areas. I’m single and in my mid-30s, so I’d like to be somewhere where there’s a bit of a social life or at least easily accessible to one without too terrible of a commute to the office. Thoughts?

    • I just moved to Walnut Creek and have been pleased with it. The rent is less than in the Berkeley/Oakland side of the East Bay (where I moved from), it feels a lot safer, and there are good outdoor recreation opportunities. I have also found a couple of good restaurants I like, but I’m not a highly social person so I can’t speak to whether those would be enough for you.

      South Concord is generally quite a bit nicer than North Concord (and more convenient to BART). I recommend living close to BART if you think you’ll want to go into SF a lot.

    • AnonTechie :

      +1 for Walnut Creek. There to Concord is also “against traffic” so you’ll have a speedy drive.
      Additional advice: Look for a place with aircon. The area gets HOTTTTTTTT T in summer

    • Aww, my old stomping grounds. I have a lot of college friends living in Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill now and they really seem to like it. I always find Concord a bit of a snooze – if finance permitted it, I’d live in downtown Walnut Creek so I could walk to cafes and shops. I wouldn’t go further out than that (Dublin, Lafayette) as traffic is so atrocious.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s not really the Bay Area. It’s pretty far out there. Good news is that your rent will probably be affordable. Of those places, Walnut Creek has an outdoor mall that draws people & is on BART so you can get into SF more easily. Just be warned that you’re not in the heart of things – this can be positive or negative depending on what you’re looking for.

      • I live in Berkeley so I’m equally capable of being a snob about what is or is not the bay area, but Walnut creek certainly is in the bay area. It’s when you get out to Antioch/Livermore/Vallejo/Morgan Hill that you start questioning whether it’s the bay area. Look at any map and it will identify WC as part of the bay area.

        • Anonymous :

          Sorry, I wasn’t trying to be a snob about it, it probably came out wrong. Walnut Creek is as close to the Bay Area as you get out of those three places & going back and forth from WC to Concord/Pleasant Hill is going to be a very different experience from living in/around SF and the surrounding cities more commonly considered the Bay Area. As a single person, I would pick WC as I think it’s a little bit younger of a vibe. Once you get out there too, the “Bay Area” starts getting more red/purple state & again, that’s a different not necessarily bad experience depending on your POV. I commented mostly to make the OP aware of what she’s getting into – if you read about the vibrancy of tech & the booming Bay Area, that’s not exactly where she’s moving. She’s close, but not really there & that may or may not factor into her decisionmaking.

      • Living in SF & commuting to Concord would be my idea of hell (although I have plenty of friends that do)…. WC lets you commute to the city and to work… and it’s perfectly lovely. I lived in the bay for 5 yrs and still work there (in many cities!) and the commute gets worse and worse daily (and for a bit did the peninsula to Concord, oh lord!), so do not discount living as close to work as you feel comfortable.

      • Ummm if it’s serviced by BART, how is it NOT the Bay Area?

  20. If you left biglaw — how long were you there and what was your net worth when you left if you kept track? Lots of talk in my 2nd year class lately about life after biglaw. A few people are affirmatively wanting to leave ASAP because of the hours. Others including me are fine but are realizing that our firm starts pushing people out aggressively by year 4 and by year 8, 1-2 people are left out of a 50 person starting class.

    Someone made a comment this morning re – this is the most money we’ll ever make. Unthinkingly I said “making the nest egg when young.” Immediately 2-3 people jumped all over that saying – yeah it doesn’t work like that; it’s NYC; it’s so hard to save here it not like our Dallas associates etc. I felt bad as it was an offhanded comment and just dropped it with – I guess you’re right.

    Got me thinking. Is it impossible to leave with sizeable (few hundred thousand) in NW if you’re around 4-6 years? I know some people have huge 300k debt so I get why that’s hard/impossible. But 2 of the 3 being vocal about this have said they have no debt or under 25k in debt. (I didn’t ask they volunteered it. I’m somewhere in the middle at 100k). How did it work out for you?

    • You have to prioritize savings and not get caught up in lifestyle creep. And then put those savings to work. I think there is a tendency to want to “reward” yourself because you work hard and make good money. And that’s fine, but define and limit your rewards. Do you really need the nicest of everything and to eat out every meal?

    • Yes. Possible. Live like a student still (roommates are #1, cheap eats #2; don’t rent a 2-BR if you are single and live by yourself if you want to save up; no car unless you need it; walk or take transit; take cabs only when you can expense them). I’ve had bottle service exactly 1 time and found it to be painful to watch people throwing away $ like that.

    • It really depends. Biglaw isn’t a monolith. If you’re making $100k+ bonuses and getting huge salary bumps every year then yeah of course you can save up a lot. Especially if you have a spouse/SO paying all your bills. But a lot of firms aren’t like that and a lot of people have to pay their own way.

    • Yes, it’s possible. Don’t fall into the trap of “I’m working so hard I outsource everything else” like cleaning, meal service/takeout, expensive clothing treats, expensive rent/mortgage. I killed my almost $200k in debt in my 4th year and then didn’t allow myself to increase my spending – just stashed away all the used-to-be-loan-payment cash.

    • left at 5 years :

      I did it. It helped substantially that I did not have significant student loan debt and that I’m not in NYC. I did not particularly have to live like a student, but then again, I don’t think my lifestyle rose to unreasonable standards while I was in biglaw, either.

      (I do kind of hate that my salary might have maxed out for my lifetime when I was 33, though).

    • I think it depends on where you plan to land. If I were going to government, I’d want my loans either fully paid off or significantly paid down so that they were manageable on a big pay cut. If I were going into a large in-house department, the pay is only slightly lower so less concern.

      When I left at year 5, I’d paid off my loans (which were lower than most, around $70K plus interest) and maxed my 401(k) each year of practice. Beyond that I had an emergency fund of around 6 months expenses.

    • I left after 4 years with a 250k net worth. But I had minimal debt ($25k) thanks to a scholarship.

    • I think it’s possible to save aggressively and/or pay down debt aggressively in Big Law, even in NYC. I have several friends who spent 2-3 years in Big Law who worked like crazy and took advantage of any policies that got their firm to pay for meals, Ubers home late at night, travel, etc. They made their hours and then some, got sizeable bonuses, and spent as little as possible. They kept relatively simple apartments, had roommates, and saved money on transportation and gym fees by walking or biking (with a Brompton) in the mornings. Mostly, these friends knew they wanted to move to a smaller city or into a government job pretty quickly. I don’t know the specifics of their net worth at the end, and, as you point out, it would vary by how much debt they started with. I imagine, though, that they were able to save or pay down at least 6 figures in a couple of years. I don’t know about several hundred thousand in 2-3 years though, at least in NYC.

    • Data point: I started with $250k in student loans and am down to ~$50k in debt after less than 3 full years of biglaw. If I didn’t have that debt I’d have been able to save more than $200k in that amount of time. I live in a HCOL city, but live as frugally as I can while still being comfortable/staying sane.

    • I didn’t think it was that hard to save money in NYC biglaw. Sure the fixed costs are high. But otherwise I worked ALL the time so there was like no discretionary spending besides like $10/day on lunch and probably another $20 eating out on the weekends — none of which I considered crazy bc I rarely grocery shopped. Otherwise walked to work and home or car service on the firm at night and most dinners were on the firm. Helps that I don’t drink and never felt like – I’m working so hard, I deserve this $600 purse. From what I could tell those are what my classmates dropped $$$ on.

    • Absolutely possible. DH and I both work in BigLaw in a HCOL east coast city (not NYC), but we each graduated with significant debt. We paid off 400k in student loans in 6 years. We also bought a house and paid for a wedding in that time frame. We weren’t always in Biglaw, between the two of us we clerked for 4 years (so making less money then, but did get the clerkship bonus when we went to firms). We are now 8-9th year associates and our net worth is around $1 million not including any appreciation of our house, which we think based on sales this summer in the neighborhood has appreciated about 250K, but I worry its a bubble hence the not including it. We decided what we would spend money on (vacations) and otherwise limit our outsourcing. Sometimes we outsource more when things are really dire (like consistent 200+ hour months for months on end) but we try and dial it back when that ends. Sometimes it sucks because I do more cleaning than I would like, but the peace of mind is worth it.

    • It did it, but am one of the few I know who did. I was in BigLaw for over 7 years, and had a net worth of just over $500k when I left (not counting any increase in value of my house). I started by focusing on paying off my $200k+ student loans, then saved for and bought a place (which has supposedly increased in value by about $200k since I purchased 4 years ago), and then saved a ton in investment accounts. By the time I left, I was saving over 60% of my monthly income and almost all of my bonuses.

      The trick is to not give in to lifestyle inflation. I didn’t buy $15+ lunches every day (or even 8+ lunches), and fixed dinner at home unless I was meeting friends or working with the firm paying for it. I lived in a small one bedroom in an unhip area until I purchased a place and didn’t spend a ton of money on clothing, food, drinks, or other items. I had friends in BigLaw that would go out every weekend and drop a few hundred on drinks and dinner at a fancy place – I never did that. I almost always took the subway unless my firm was paying. stuff like that.

      Too often, I think people hate the life and spend money to try to make themselves feel better. I avoided that as much as possible, and really only spent extra money on vacations because I love to travel.

    • I did a different route… but can tell you about my husband. He got asked to leave as a 5th year big law associate and we were amazed he lasted that long. We lived frugally and aggressively paid off our debt during those 5 years- we were dinks in a very hcola. The first couple of years my pay check was meager or non-existent but eventually I made 6 figures during this time as well. At the end of it, we had paid off several hundred thousand dollars of college/law school debt and had saved about $110k in cash. This allowed us to pick carefully for his next job, taking off time for our newborn, and put a down payment down on a house.
      His firm had 2 reviews a year where you could be told to leave. We’d save during those 6 months, get a good review, then pay down debt… then start saving again. This always gave us a buffer for unexpected/bad news. All bonuses went to debt payment.
      Have goals going in and make sure you stick to it- my saddest friends are ones who have done big law forever, are miserable, and still have buckets of debt.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m a 7th year in BigLaw. Like you, I had $106K in student loan debt. That was my priority #1. I dumped insane quantities of money every month into my loans for the first few years, until they were paid off. I lived with a roommate until I was a third year and I moved in with a boyfriend. Paid off my loans, then bought a condo in Boston with 25% down. I’m now at 50% equity in my house (not including appreciation), have about $150K in my retirement accounts, and another $350K in investments. During that time, I also paid for a very expensive wedding.

      All of that is to say, it’s possible, but I’ve made most of my net worth gains in the last two years after loans were paid off, condo was purchased, and wedding was paid for. We don’t have kids yet, so I’ve been able to make a super concerted effort to save.

  21. My long-distance best friend just moved into an apartment with her boyfriend. It’s her first place that isn’t her parents house. I want to send her something nice as a housewarming gift, what are your go-tos?

    • My dad gave me a starter tool kit when I moved into my first apartment. It was maybe only $40 but I still use it.

      I also really appreciated the cleaning supplies a friend gave me once for housewarming – some nice microfiber cloths with an assortment of Mrs. Meyers products. They don’t take up much space and she’ll be able to use them. You could easily put together a small assortment and Amazon it to their new place.

    • honestly, I usually do a nice houseplant and a bottle of wine or champagne. if you’re far away, a florist can send a houseplant. It’s nice to have a living piece of greenery to brighten up a room. A peace lily always looks nice and is easy to care for. Make sure you’re sending a single plant and not one of those baskets with multiple plants because those will require re-potting and she may not have the tools, space, or inclination to do so.

    • The best housewarming gift I ever got was a bottle of laundry detergent (I didn’t have any when I moved, so it was very helpful) and a big, huge container of nutella.

    • If she doesn’t kill plants, a very nice plant! You can order one from a florist much as you would flowers. In 1992 my firm gave me a waist high ficus with a braided trunk as a house warmer for my first house purchase. Twenty-six years later that sucker is nine feet tall counting the giant pot it is in, has about a six foot spread on the canopy, and is the spectacular centerpiece of my entry hall. Every now and then I look at it and think fond thoughts of my first firm.

    • a capri blue candle from anthropologie

    • One friend gave us a throw blanket big enough for them people to snuggle under on the couch while watching TV. That was ten years ago and I still think of her every time I use it.

  22. I’m a first year associate in an office with all glass walls. I sit across from two partners offices with large windows immediately in front of me. Because of the way my computer and door are angled, I am always facing into the light and am frequently staring into the sun. If anyone comes by my office and stands in my doorway or sits in my chair, I have to stare into the sun. Because of my office shape, there isn’t an alternative place for people to sit or stand to avoid this. I normally squint and just deal, but my eyes have become increasingly strained and burn/ache daily now. I went to the eye doctor because of the pain and they said that it was likely a result of staring at the light. I stopped wearing contacts because they hurt too much and now wear glasses exclusively and use drops several times a day.

    This is a problem every day, even on cloudy days like today. The partners have shades and one partner always keeps them down which helps a lot, but the other partner doesn’t. When he isn’t in the office we (me and the associate next to me) will put his shade down, but he always puts it up when he comes in. He has his back to the window when he’s at his desk so I’m sure he doesn’t realize the eye issue.

    Can I ask him to put his shade down? Or can I ask to move offices?

    • Veronica Mars :

      Yes, ask about shades. Also ask about UV cling film that can be professionally applied to the windows. It allows for the light to come in, but filters out the UV rays (alternatively, they make tinted versions which filter out more of the light). That way, they get an “open” window, and you get less of a glare. Or see if there are other offices available.

    • Oh my gosh, yes, say something! For something like that, I’d go to our firm receptionist who’s sort of our firm superwoman, and she’d contact building maintenance who’d take care of it in a jiffy and communicate with the partner’s assistant. I’m sure the building and the firm have no idea that you’re losing your vision (!!) over this. Please say something today!

  23. I’ve always made an effort to split our time/energy between my family and my husband’ family evenly because I want to model good behavior for my kids. I want them to see that both sides of a family are important. But my in-laws continually shut us out of fun events. We often find out about family reunions, parties, etc. from pictures on Facebook, but we are not invited – and we are the only ones who are left out. They’re cold to my kids too – spending much more time with my other nieces and nephews and very little with mine. I’ve spent a lot of time doing “all the right things” – attending whatever events we are invited to, sending pictures of the kids, texts, buying thoughtful presents, just generally making an effort. (And yes, my husband should do some of this, but I’ve always liked this stuff.)

    We are not Catholic, and this is a very Catholic family, and this has caused a huge rift, but there’s not much I can do about that one.

    But this last weekend, I saw that all the women in the family were invited to an event and I was the only one not there, and I’m just…done. I’m worried that I’m being a bad role model for my kids, but there’s zero element of warmth, love, support or FUN in these relationships. My husband is supportive if I want to give up (stop making any effort, stay home on holidays), and he will attend things with the kids by himself. He doesn’t want to give up, and I understand that, but he understands why I’m over it because it’s been a decade of this.

    I’m asking for thoughts, advice, good vibes, a knock in the head, whatever. I come from a very close family, and I like having those ties. So this is hard for me.

    • Why in God’s name does your husband permit this behavior from them? You have a marriage problem, not an in-law problem.

      • He has actually had a lot of conversations about how we are excluded, about the (lack of) effort put forth with the kids, etc. I mean at some point, they just…don’t want us around. (The one exception is the holidays, where we are invited.) For him, he’s willing to put up with it himself, but he understands why I’m not.

      • As someone with a difficult family, you can’t control them. The husband isn’t “permitting” this behavior and it’s not his fault. I would agree if he’s forcing his wife to socialize with his family but he’s not.

        • I’m the person who left the original comment and I shouldn’t have used the word “permit” – what I meant is why is the husband still okay with socializing with his family when they have made it clear his wife isn’t welcome? To me, that sends a message that their bad behavior is A-OK. I know it’s not easy or desirable to cut people out of your life, but that’s what the parents are already doing!

          • It’s a huge thing to cut your parents and siblings out of your life. People here often say it very flippantly “oh, just cut them out” but it’s way easier said than done. I support any person that wants to have a relationship with their own nuclear family. My husband’s parents are far worse than OP’s and I would never dream of telling him he can’t have any relationship with his family of origin. Forcing other people (including his wife and children) to socialize with them is not ok, but OP’s husband is an adult and is allowed to make whatever choice about how he himself interacts with his parents and siblings.

          • It’s also a huge thing to ask your spouse to go through what OP and likely you are going through.

          • Anonymous :

            Nope. I care about how my in-laws interact with me and my children, and I don’t want them to come to my house and behave badly. So they don’t. My husband visits them without me and my children, and how they treat him is 100% his business. Telling your spouse to end his relationship with his parents and/or siblings is so controlling. You protect yourself and your children. Your spouse is a grown adult who can make his own decisions.

      • Thank you internet strangers. I love you all (sincerely).

    • The knock on the head is that it sounds like you’re dealing with symptoms and not causes. Cards and photos aren’t fixing it, because there’s something else going on. Has your husband ever talked with his family about this, and if he did, what have they said? What was it about them being Catholic and you two not being Catholic that caused a “huge rift”?

      • Coach Laura :

        Many Catholics feel that those who leave their faith are outcasts – I’ve experienced this in my family and have seen it in others. As an outsider, the OP’s husband’s parents may take it out on her as she “took” him away from them and their faith, as that may be what they believe happened. I would suggest to the OP that she ask her husband to push back a bit. She is not the “bad guy” here and he needs to own his departure from the church to make sure that they don’t blame the OP for that. Not all Catholics are like this but it’s not exclusive to Catholics – I’ve seen in in Jewish, Mormon, Baptists and evangelical families also.

      • My sister has gone through this. Married into a very Catholic family and did not convert. BIL wasn’t a practicing Catholic anymore, and his family had never accepted it. Sister because a scapecoat — you know, the harlot Methodist woman who “stole” their baby from the Catholic church. And (gasp!) their kids are not baptized in the church. BIL has absolutely stood up for my sister, but they continue to treat her coldly/passive aggressively. She limits her contact with them, and I don’t blame her a bit.

        In this particular geographic area, leaving the Catholic Church is definitely A Thing that does not go over well with traditionally-minded relatives. It’s about culture as much as religious beliefs, from what I can tell.

    • Wow. I would have given up LONG before this. I understand wanting to set a good role model for the kids with regards to family relationships, but they are being intentionally cruel to you and your family. I’d start being more concerned about your kids internalizing that THEY are somehow bad/not good enough. We have a similar situation (my family heavily favors my brother) and we address it simply by talking about how its sad for THEM that they don’t get to know how awesome we are and spend time with us, and that may make us sad, and that’s ok, but luckily we have lots of good family and friends who are awesome and we love and DO spend time with us.

    • You have permission from this internet stranger to just not give any further f*cks about trying to have good relationships with people who clearly have no interest in forming them with you. I would also recommend unfollowing these folks on social media. Even if you decide that you’re done from here on out, for awhile it will probably hurt to see them hanging out without you and the best solution there is to just not know about it.

    • I wouldn’t make an effort any more, but I also wouldn’t want my kids to go without me. In this scenario, I don’t think I’d 100% trust my husband’s judgment about when being “cold” to my kids crossed the line into hurtful behavior, just because it’s always harder to see that stuff objectively with one’s own family.

      If it’s important to him to keep taking the kids around, I’d work towards a compromise. Maybe you all stay home on big holidays, but go together to less important events? Or he goes to half of the things by himself, and the whole family goes to the rest? Ideally he’d be willing to go without the kids, but if not, I would want to be there to keep an eye on things.

      • Anonymous :

        I would not have him take the kids without you. Not only will you be unavailable to insulate the kids from hurtful behavior, but you’ll also be casting yourself as the outsider and your husband as the insider. It will be very easy for the family to set up an “family v. outsider non-Catholic wife” conflict, which will be even worse than the current “family of origin v. nuclear family” dynamic in which you and your husband are on the same side.

      • Coach Laura :

        I also agree. Don’t have him take the kids without OP/mom. Limit their visits to when the whole family attends.

    • Those awful people can go F&*^ themselves. You do you! You have my permission!!!

    • For reasons I’ve never understood, my dad never came along to my mom’s family. It was fine. You aren’t shutting your kids out from ever seeing your husband’s family, and that’s the important thing.

      I think there’s also importance in showing your children how good relationships function. If you aren’t ever invited to things, that’s not a good relationship. I firmly believe, even with family, a relationship goes both ways and you get from it what you put into it.

    • My family is the one that’s difficult, doing weird stuff all the time (like literally buying thrift store clothes for my kids while buying brand new Apple ipads, Apple watches and over $100 Nike sneakers for my brother’s kids), and visiting my city but spending more time sightseeing than visiting with me or my kids, but I’m of the opinion that you cannot control people – you accept them for who they are – and if they don’t appreciate you or your kids, it’s THEIR LOSS.

      And I try to tell my kids that people are the way they are and you don’t need love/acceptance/gifts from them – you are fortunate to have those things in abundance through circumstances that you can control (i.e., being kind to others, inviting people to your home, etc.) So my point is that if you keep seeing it as you are being hurt/excluded, then your kids will pick-up on that, but if you just teach your kids that everyone is weird, the thrift store clothes is how they show their love, we are happy they are healthy enough to travel (even if we made plans to visit them and told them and they cancelled on us when something better came along with their friends), then I think the kids will grow up to be more resilient people. At least that’s my thinking.

      Also, we create our own family – we spend holidays and go on trips with close friends who basically like the siblings that I never had and we are close to our elderly neighbor and she gives our kids small gifts and is like a grandmother they do not have.

      So, I’m not saying that it’s not hurtful, but I’m suggesting that it may be healthy for you and for you kids to step away from the in-law social media postings and create your own fun get-togethers and lessen the in-laws’ importance to your lives. The kids will be okay and may even be better off for it.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I think it’s far more important to highlight the importance of cultivating relationships with family members who treat you with respect than giving equal time to both sides.

    • Here’s the thing: they treat your kids worse than the way they treat your nieces and nephews. Don’t let your kids grow up thinking that it’s okay for them to be treated worse than other people. However well-intentioned it might be from your perspective, it’s damaging. Take control of the situation and model to your children how you would want them to behave, as adults, around people who treat them badly.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, this. Don’t model being a doormat for your kids!

        • Actually, that’s not what I said. If someone treats *your kids* poorly, then, regardless of how they treat you, it’s your job as a parent to protect them from that. If there is some reason they have to interface with those people, then you tell them every time that they don’t deserve it and you help them cope.

      • Blueberries :

        Yes, this. It would be ideal if your kids had great relationships with both sides, but your in-laws have made the choice that they won’t foster a great relationship with your kids.

        I think your choices here are:
        1) Let your kids be around people who treat their mother and them worse than other people; or
        2) Don’t expose your kids to that.

        You might still be able to see your in-laws and go with #2 if they can behave themselves reliably sometimes.

  24. I think I have some version of stress-induced eczema, where my skin is itchy when I am feeling stressed and tired. I’ve seen multiple doctors and they have done tons of tests and have ruled out any underlying health conditions. Their recommendation is on the level of creams or ointments. Anyone here have some kind of condition that’s tied to stress and did you do anything about it, like change careers or jobs or anything? The source of stress is that I am a law firm partner and also have young kids but this stuff basically happened while I was still an associate and before kids.

    • Marshmallow :

      Hi there, yes, I have chronic eczema that is exacerbated by stress. I do have some underlying allergies, but I’ve also noticed my eczema flares when I’m just having a rough week. I’m a law firm associate and expecting my first so it sounds like I’m you a few years ago.

      There’s no magic bullet– the best things I did were switch to all fragrance-free skincare and household products, and start making sleep a giant priority. I know that’s really hard to do with a big career and kids. I love practicing law so I don’t know that I would have totally switched careers, but when the condition was at its absolute worst, I would have considered leaning out a bit by going to a smaller firm or something. Fortunately it didn’t come to that.

      The creams and ointments really do help though. For most of the eczema on my body, I just needed to moisturize more with regular lotion. And I mean obsessively– once a day wasn’t enough. The worst was on my face, and both Eucrisa and Elidel have been helpful for that (Eucrisa more than Elidel, but Eucrisa stings).

      • Thanks for your comment Marshmallow. Do you keep a tube of moisturizer in your purse and then apply it during the day then? What about stuff that’s oily and is likely to get on your clothes? Are Eucrisa dna Elidel prescription meds? I tried a steroid cream and it worked but my md told me not to do it for longer than 3 weeks.

        I switched to a smaller firm and generally have leaned out a bit, but man, billable hour targets make it impossible to truly relax, and clients don’t care if you are on vacation or out of the office.

        • Marshmallow :

          Yeah, I carry moisturizer around with me all the time and keep a pump bottle of hand cream at my desk. I reapply to my hands after every time I wash and it helps so much. And on good skin days when I’m wearing makeup, I mist my face with Clinique moisture surge face mist. Most of my eczema is concentrated on my hands/face so I don’t have an issue with lotions getting on my clothes when I reapply, but if your eczema is on your body I’d think you could stick to fairly lightweight lotions that won’t grease up your clothes. As long as the ingredients in the product itself aren’t irritating you, even something lightweight reapplied throughout the day should help.

          Eucrisa and Elidel are both prescription and neither of them is a steroid. Eucrisa an ointment and Elidel is a cream. As I mentioned, Eucrisa stings (especially around my eyes) but was very effective. Elidel takes a couple weeks to see results. But I ultimately switched to Elidel because the ointment base of the Eucrisa made my face kind of shiny and was hard to wear makeup over.

          And yeah, the stress is always there. I’ve had eczema since I was a kid and it’s hard to have it be so visible right on my face. But I have learned over time that truly, nobody notices as much as you do and it doesn’t look as bad as you think it does. I once had someone compliment my coral eyeshadow. Nope, not eyeshadow, just my skin, but thanks!

    • I have eczema on my hands that flares up with stress and the only thing that 100% helps me is the perscription steroid ointment. I put it on at night as part of my bedtime routine when the eczema flares up and it clears up in 3-4 days. Once it clears up, I moisturize like crazy (I have lotion everywhere- car, purse, desk… When ever I have a minute O slather on the hand lotion)
      Also wearing gloves when doing the dishes is now a must. (My dematologist also suggested I get a platinum wedding ring, but that wasn’t going to happen)

  25. I love wearing black pants f0r work because I’m a pear shape and they are slimming for me, I like wearing black loafer shoes and black trouser socks, etc. But I’m tired of wearing the same tops. What do you like to wear with your black (or navy) pants for work? I’m in a business casual workplace (law firm) and I run cold, but most sweaters look kind of frumpy or casual on me.

    • J.Jill has some great tops in their Wearever collection – just add a necklace. They have a new one with a pleated bottom that is insanely flattering on this pear.

  26. Any long-distance job searching advice? I am looking to relocate from an East Coast city to a medium-sized Midwest city in late December or January. When should I start actively applying for jobs? I’ve heard that is a terrible time for job hunting, but I can’t leave my current job until mid-December at the earliest and for personal reasons I’d like to move by end January.

    FWIW, I’m late-20s, not a lawyer, my job experience is in political campaigns, fundraising, marketing, and nonprofits. And I have very few contacts in this Midwest city…so I feel like it might take a little while to find a job.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Is the personal reason family or an SO in the city? If so I think you’re better off moving and then job-hunting.

    • Tap your alumni networks. My husband was relocated to a state where I knew no one, and I reached out to my favorite professor, and she happened to know a student from 15 years ago who lived there. That older alum pointed me in the right direction (also politics) and I ended up getting a job within 2 months of really looking. (And 2 months is pretty good IMO as a total stranger in politics in a small city.)

      Reach out to the state and county parties. Do you have ties to your national party? RNC/DNC? Your contact there might know someone from New State.

    • Which city, if you don’t mind saying?

      I did a very similar move. It was a lot easier to get interviews when I had a local address on my resume. I made several pre-move trips to network with alumni groups from my alma maters, attorneys groups, etc.

      If you want, I can create a burner email to talk further.

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