Workwear Hall of Fame: Pleat-Neck V-Neck Top

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

 Anne Klein Pleat-Neck V-Neck TopAnne Klein has had this top in white and black for a while now (white is marked down to $29 today!) — it’s one of those great basics for layering under suits because it’s got a little bit of pleating at the neckline but is otherwise a simple, basic sleeveless top. The leopard print is fun, particularly coming on the heels of our discussion about your work outfit challenges — a number of people said they never know what to wear with red, and as Selina Meyer showed us, red and leopard look great together. If you’re not really an animal print person, this is very easy to tone down with a buttoned or belted cardigan on top, so only a bit of the leopard print peeks out (or, if you can get the Vs just right, you could also wear it with a V-neck sweater). The tops are $30-$40 at Nordstrom, Amazon (tons of colors and prints as low as $9!), Rue La La, and more. Anne Klein Pleat-Neck V-Neck Top

This top reminds me a bit of this affordable, popular knot-front top that comes in regular, petite, and plus sizes.

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

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


Love this classic pleated V-neck jersey top -- it's perfect for layering under cardigans and blazers for work -- and the affordable price tag doesn't hurt, either.


  1. decorating question :

    TL; DR: is there some kind of modern equivalent to vertical blinds or window covering ideas for sliders you use regularly (goal = let light in sometimes, people can get in/out easily)? And/or what are the least hideous vertical blinds you’ve seen?

    I have a wall of a relatively narrow room that has a set of sliders and a tall window (about 60×20) next to it. They are all framed together—meaning, the trim that goes around the sliders and the window is shared [and the space between the two is a non-trim piece of wood) vs two separately trimmed pieces. Why, I have no idea.
    I want some kind of privacy across the sliders and window, as the inside of the room is visible from the street at night when the lights are on. When we moved in, there was a circa 1988 set of vertical blinds across the whole thing.
    I think the long term answer is to take out the existing window and put in something that matches the slider, retrim everything and put in some kind of curtain a la this (not this style at all—just how the doors look)|bing|004%20-%20home%20furn%20leisure|vertical%20blinds_73660510026&kwid=bingproductads-adid^78134076146505-device^c-plaid^4581733673126015-sku^[email protected]^PLA
    In the short term…any thoughts on how to replace the hideous vertical blinds? Do I just replace with a “modern” set of vertical blinds across the whole thing? Curtains similar sheerness to the link above, but mounted outside the trim like a window? (I can’t do an interior mount given the current setup because the window is in the way- hard to describe this silly setup)—if so any suggested brands or colors? It’s a family room with brown furniture so brown is out.
    Another solution that won’t require monkeying with the exterior of the house would be to get rid of the weird middle piece and frame the two separately, then treat the window like the other windows in the room (curtains) and the door differently….but not sure on how to make that look right either.

    • I have a regular curtain mounted on the wall above my slider (just like my windows). Works for me!

      • Because it’s a slider + weird side window it becomes a giant wall of curtain if closed. And to tie them background for the daytime it looks…strange…because there isn’t really a center point between the two slider doors and one skinny side window.

    • Also, if you were to go the French Door route, there are some that come with built-in blinds.

      • Former Retail :

        I am in a similar situation and am considering the doors with built-in blinds. Do we think blinds are passe, or will be soon? We’d be stuck with them for a long time.

      • It’s an option I’ve looked at for that exact reason- but then what about this weird side window. I guess I could have it re trimmed after installing French doors?

        What’s stopping me is we’re in New England and the sliders go to a deck that gets a lot of snow. Opening a slider into that is easier than a French door. Unless they opened in and that’s weird.

    • You can get a curtain called a slider panel. Country Curtains was a good source for me for that. They are now going out of business, so everything is marked down but final sale.

      • This is probably the way to do it. I have honeycomb blinds over my sliding glass doors, with a motorized lift, which look great and are easy to pull up or pull down for light/privacy. But they were expensive and I had trouble getting the motor to work properly (it had to be replaced by the manufacturer several times).

    • JuniorMinion :

      I have slider panels – they look pretty nice and are super functional. I have blackout ones in my bedroom and slightly transparent ones that let in light in my kitchen. I got them through the same folks at Costco who did my plantation shutters (I think they were sourcing through Graber)

      • Any links to ones that look good? I’ve only seen ones that look as bad or worse than vertical blinds (which honestly I don’t like much anyway.)

    • The Frenchie Is My Favorite Kid :

      I had a similar set up and I hung curtain panels on both sides of the window and on both sides of the slider at the same height on a single long rod.

      The curtain panels between the window and slider hide the weird wall space.

      For privacy, you have two options – you can either do a double rod with sheers behind or you can outside mount shades.

      This style is popular in Asia and also available at higher end custom curtain places in the States. They are not motorized, which is good

  2. Wearing red with leopard print does not strike me as much of a work look. Or a 2017 look.

    • I think red with leopard is a little much, but my wardrobe is more subdued than most. I would, however, totally rock this top with a white blazer!

    • Agree. I actually dislike this orangey leopard. I love white leopard looks though.

    • Yea, this would not really fly in my office at all. Maybe subtle leopard accessories (like the thin leopard print belt with a red dress), but a full on leopard shirt would look really out of place in my office. Perhaps region matters– I’m in DC and I don’t see much animal print in general except on accessories. Is is more common in NY?

    • (OP here – I think the top is great for work, if styled correctly. I only object to the suggestion in the text that it would be great with a red suit for work).

    • Never too many shoes... :

      A red dress with leopard heels for work? Sure.

      That top and a red suit…maybe not so much.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I like Reply All’s suggestion of combining leopard and white. Leopard top, white blazer/suit, red earrings or shoes would look really chic. I bet it would look nice with navy, too.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Ooh, I like that! I’m not really a leopard person myself (more of snakeskin) but I think leopard and white would be very sleek looking.

    • Red with a leopard accessory? Sure. Red with a whole leopard top? No thanks.

    • lawsuited :

      Red with leopard strikes me as a particularly Coyote Ugly combination.

  3. I wanted to post a quick follow-up from the summer when I said that I had identified a lack of hobbies as a problem contributing to my general malaise and that I was excited to get started again with a hobby I had long neglected (it sounded like something similar happened to many of you as well). I’ve been at it for about two months now (rock climbing if anyone is interested) and things are going GREAT; I’m getting out of the house three days a week for something that is just for me, I’m visibly stronger, I’m climbing higher grades than I even thought I was capable of, and I feel like I’m reminding myself that I can do more than crash on the couch after work and that I can set goals and achieve them. If anyone else is teetering on the edge of malaise and new hobby, GO FOR IT because it is making exactly that difference I was hoping for.

    • This is great news!!

      I am going climbing with my bf for the first time today and am excited (he has been doing it since HS).

      • Good luck!! You will have a blast.

        Torin, any website recommendations for training and gear tips? Even though I’m getting stronger, I have a ways to go!

        • Cruxcrush dot com is no longer being regularly updated but still has a lot of great posts in their archives. I think I read probably all of their hangboarding articles (before breaking down and buying the Anderson brothers book everyone swears by), and a lot of their gear reviews. I bought a DMM Vixen harness when my old one was wearing out based on their reviews and it is the best. freaking. harness. ever. So comfortable! So many gear loops! So light! I also found a lot of their posts about working on your head game very helpful for working through my fear of falling above my gear.

          Some friends have also recommended trainingbeta dot com, but I am not personally as familiar with it.

        • Check out Rock and Ice’s website, they have some really good articles. Outside Online has some good stuff too.

        • Anonymous :

          WeighMyRack is a climbing gear website, and they also do some interesting gear/what’s new/how it’s made reporting.

    • Awesome! Climbing is my favorite thing to do. I love it so so many. Let’s not talk about how much money I’ve spent on gear since I got into it. (Unless you want to talk about gear. Cause I can totally nerd out about sport climbing gear.)

    • Are you climbing at a gym, or outdoors?

    • Thanks Torin!! Saguaro, I am climbing mostly indoors for now but have done a bit of bouldering outside and would like to do some sport climbs outside sometime soon. The last time I climbed outside was a trad route with a guide several years ago and I didn’t lead, so I need to work back up to it.

      • First step leading …. next step multi-pitch in my favorite place, Potrero!

        Sorry, I just get excited about women getting into climbing …

  4. I’m starting to feel old and bored with my life. I’m in my late 20s, married, no kids. I’ve made a new effort to get back into some of my hobbies (many of which are a little thrill-seeking….) but I’m wondering if anyone else has felt this way, what you did about it, or just general advice.

    • Whenever I feel like this I make a long list of stuff I want to try and just start working through the items. Will I get them all done? Probably not, but it will be fun to try. I don’t do them all on my own, sometimes I rope in a girlfriend(s) or DH.

      Current ‘before 40’ bucket list is:
      – run a marathon
      – climb Manchu Piccu
      – learn to cook Indian food
      – move from beginner to advanced in my third language
      – row in my hometown summer regatta
      – take an adult beginner ballet class
      – take a pottery class (have never tried)
      – learn to curl (the sport)
      – learn how to use hot rollers
      – restart swimming lessons (I love the water but I’m the worst at swimming)

      • Hot rollers are so easy! Check that one off this weekend. Haha.

        • Any instructional videos to recommend? I’m literally more confident in my ability to run a marathon and I rarely run more than 5km.

          • Delta Dawn :

            I don’t know of any good videos, but I could hot roll my hair in my sleep– here is my approach:

            1) Start with completely dry, brushed hair. It does not have to be freshly washed; sometimes second day hair holds better.

            2) Think of your head in three sections– middle and two sides. You will do a row of rollers straight down the middle of your head (my middle row is usually 5 rollers), then you will do two or three rollers on each side. (Number of rollers depends how much hair you have– just adjust as you go.)

            3) Take your pointer fingers, point them straight up, and place them at the ends of your eyebrows. Right where you feel the indent of your eye. This does not have to be exact. Now move them straight up to your hair. This is the width of your middle row.

            4) Leave your hands right where they are, but trade your pointer fingers for your thumbs. Use your thumbs to create the section of hair for the first roller. This is not an exact science– you do not want too much hair on the roller, because it will not all get hot and therefore will not hold the curl. For thick hair, you probably don’t want to include more than two inches back. I think mine is usually about an inch and a half sized section.

            5) Now hold that segment you have sectioned off in your left hand. Hold this hair straight up/out from your head. Take your right hand and brush that section once or twice to get rid of any tangles.

            6) THIS STEP IS THE SECRET: Put down the brush with your right hand, and use your right hand to spray a “dry” hairspray to spray along this section. Just a light, one second spray. This gives the hair something to grip, helps it hold the curl, and keeps it from being slippery/greasy when you take it down. It’s especially important if your hair is freshly washed. I use Salon Grafix for this. Any aerosol spray should do (I find pump hairsprays too wet for this).

            7) Take the first roller in your right hand. You are still holding your section of hair up/out with your left hand. Put one end of the roller in your right hand and place it under the end of the hair that you are about to roll. Use your left hand to hold the roller in place as you gather the hair around the roller with your right hand. Imagine that you are trying to put toilet paper back on a roll after your toddler has spun it all off (anyone? just me?)– that’s what you’re trying to do with your hair.

            8) Now use both hands to roll the roller back towards your scalp. Important: Each roller should be rolling away from your face. Think of toilet paper again– you know how some people hang it with the tail “out” and some people hang it with the tail “in” against the wall. You want your hair to be on the “out” for each roller. Imagine the wall is behind you and you want the toilet paper hair hanging towards the front of you. (Sorry for all the TP analogies.)

            9) I use roller pins, but clips might be easier as a beginner. At this point, clip the roller– there is no science to this. Just make it feel as secure to your scalp as possible. It should not hurt, but be firm. Be aware that clips can leave weird dents in the hair– it doesn’t matter on most of the rollers but does matter on the very first one since that hair is front and center. For pins, you want the round part of the pin facing the back, and the open part of the pin facing the front. Get behind the roller and hold the pin at a 45 degree angle. Touch the ends of it to your scalp, and then scoop downward to pin the roller in place, at which point the pin will align with your scalp. The open part of it will be at the front of the roller when you are done. Really, try clips first if you can. Pins can be hard to learn.

            10) Repeat this in sections going down your middle row. Remember not too much hair on each roller, keep the sections the same width, and most people will end up with four or five. Six or even seven if your hair is really long and the rollers are small.

            11) Now you have a section remaining on each side of your head. You can probably use two or three rollers on each side. The front rollers are most important. On the left side, take a section just like you did in your middle front. Roll it away from your face, just like the middle front. Then you can do whatever hair remains behind it, just like you did the middle sections.

            12) Repeat on the right side. Whichever side you part your hair on may have less hair; you don’t have to have the same number of rollers on each side.

            13) You are finished! Let the rollers set until they cool. Usually this is when I do my makeup and get dressed, then take the rollers out. Do not unroll them the way you rolled them up–
            take them out vertically. In other words, you rolled them with the roller horizontal. When you take them out, take one end of the roller and draw it out vertically, towards the ground.
            This will maintain more of the curl.

            Optional: do another spray of dry hairspray on each section as you take it out. Depending what look you are going for, you can do some light brushing to bring the curls together, but you don’t want to thoroughly brush your hair and lose much of the curl. I use a spornette bristle brush for this.

            You can do this! Have fun!

          • Awesome that you took time to explain all that. Thank you!

          • Check out emilynoel83 on youtube. Go through her archives – I think she has one. (And she has the sweetest personality. And because she used to be a tv news anchor, her videos are always professional.)

          • Delta Dawn, you have me excited to try hot rollers! Thanks for the tutorial!

        • Hot Rollers :

          January and Delta Dawn – Can you recommend a set of hot rollers? I’ve been thinking of trying them but have no idea which ones to buy. TIA!

      • I just bought an Indian Instant Pot cookbook on Amazon for $1.99 (and, you know, an Instant Pot) and I’m super excited. Hopefully it will work out well for me…

    • This is adult life, I’m afraid! In for the long haul, fewer short term goals/achievements like college/grad school etc.

      Hobbies are good (see poster above).

      Sometimes volunteering and getting perspective on what is truly important in life can help, or seeing what an impact you can have on important issues that you value.

      You may also ask yourself if you are a little ?depressed?

      Honestly, you are so fortunate. How I wish my life was more “boring”. Instead it is full of family illness/psychiatric problems/job instability and financial struggling. Sometimes stability is good. Accepting that is a sign of maturity.

    • I’d see the post above from Hobbies – she sounds like getting back into a hobby has helped her a lot.

    • Isn’t this why people have kids? (Only kind of joking.)

      • I’ve always been kind of on the fence about kids, but feeling this way is something that makes me way not interested. Maybe it would be different if I had all the maternal feels, but…… I just don’t.

        • Yeah, I feel what you describe so much more since having a kid. And now I have another coming and it just feels hopeless (I know it isn’t). Before kids, I would plan a trip, go see a show, start a hobby… now everything is so much harder and so many things feel like they are more trouble than they are worth.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      In January my friends and I emailed around list of 2017 goals. They ranged from lighthearted (“try chrome nails!”) to sort of serious (“get back into dating”). They weren’t “resolutions” because idk that isn’t quite the right word for them — they were just “things I want to do this year.” They also included particular hangouts with one another (we don’t all live close). A few times since then we’ve emailed each other to check in, or check things off the list, and it’s a nice reminder that we aren’t just treading water — we’re doing cool stuff! So, I guess like 10:16’s bucket list idea, but annually?

      • I do this. Instead of resolutions, I make goals for the year. For example, some of my goals for 2017 were “go on at least 17 first dates” (unless I start a relationship), read 26 books, open an investment account, try pilates, etc. It helps give me things to focus on and sets a dedicated time at the start of the year to think about what I want to do over the year

    • I experience this sometimes, which is natural, I think. I usually try to look at what my daily life/weekends have looked like over the past few months, and figure out what I would do differently if I could go back in time. Then I start doing those things.

      In the spring, I was feeling this way and I realized I hadn’t seen my close friends (many of whom don’t live in my city) in months. So over the summer, I made plans to see someone every weekend I wasn’t working.

      Last year, I was feeling that way, and realized I felt like I all I did with my downtime was watch tv and surf the internet. I wanted to feel more productive, so I re-dedicated my “surfing the internet time” to taking a gym class 3x a week.

      • What I struggle with is a typical day for me is work 9:15-6:30, work out 6:30-7:30, get home around 8:15, have dinner, do another hour and a half of work, and watch tv for half an hour before bed around 11:30. I don’t even really like tv/internet but don’t know what else to do at 10:30pm… it’s really hard to take in life-enriching things late at night or at 20 minute breaks throughout the workday

    • I felt like this when I was 26 – I was in a very similar position as you; good job, establishing career going well, married, no kids (or interest in having kids). I actually felt it most acutely when I’d be small talking with clients and I felt like I had no interesting hobbies to talk about. So 27 became my year of yes. I said yes and opened myself up. I feel like a “year of yes” is becoming cliche, but it really works and was a game changer. When I started saying yes to more things, I began to feel empowered and started reaching for what I really wanted in my life. Yes, I want to be on the local government board. Yes, I want to have amazing friendships. Yes, I want to be a part of that community group. Yes, I want to be healthy and strong with an awesome yoga practice. Just saying yes to things I was curious about really invigorated my life.

      Also, this is when I realized that I didn’t want to have kids. I felt like I saw some people in my life having kids because they were vaguely bored with their lives, or because it was the “next thing” to do and I didn’t think it was fair to have a kid just because I wanted something interesting in my life. It’s my job to make myself happy and interested in life, not my theoretical child’s.

      • That does sound familiar! It hit me also when making small talk with clients and I realized how many things I “used to” do. Yeah, I’m super busy, but I definitely let some personal enjoyment things slip that I didn’t have to.

    • aaannnoonnnn :

      Yep, I’ve been there, several times. Like several others have mentioned, I set goals in my hobbies and my career. I do musicals, so goals include getting better parts/a solo, not being so dang scared of dance auditions (dance is not my strongest skill!), learning how to use a new tool while helping with set-building (I got to use an air-powered staple gun this year, that was cool!).

      I’m also pretty into fitness, though that takes a backseat when I’m doing lots of shows. Those goals are usually around strength… I’ve been chasing a 1-plate bench press FOREVER, so that is a never-ending quest with varying degrees of intensity.

      I also try to pick things to do with DH. For a while, we were both really committed to our strength goals, so going to the gym, cooking healthy food together, researching programs, etc. generated activities to fill the time and topics to fill conversation.

      Sometimes we do our own “book club”, which basically means we pick a meaty book and read it at the same time, and then discuss it. Yes, we are nerds :)

      Also, look for free things to do in your city, and invite friends/partner to do those! There’s tons of little art festivals/live music/farmer’s market near us, so when we’re not doing our other hobbies, we’ll ride bikes to [event]. Again, it’s nice to have a little exercise, it takes a little longer to bike than drive, and we get to see awesome local talents.

  5. I am so frustrated with my compensation at my job. Someone is getting hired at a level below mine and their starting salary is almost as much as mine is after 2 years. I keep getting vague promises and runaround whenever I bring the issue up with my manager (to be fair, the organization has a very tight budget). I know they’re really happy with me and my work and I assume they want to keep me around, but right now I feel like what’s the point in doing my best if they don’t care enough to compensate me fairly.

    I know the obvious answer is a new job and I’m working on that, but in the meantime I feel like sitting at my desk and doing Buzzfeed quizzes all day because I’m so mad and frustrated.

    How do you cope with going to work every day if you don’t want to be there?

    • Black Swan :

      I…. do a lot of Buzzfeed quizzes :)
      Honestly though, what helps me is to focus on the skills at work that will help me get a better job. This may seem weird, but I end up doing a kind of inner monologue, where I turn whatever I’m working on into a resume line or answer to an interview question.
      “Yes, I’m quite familiar with (program I’m currently using). At my previous position, I was relied upon to use its analytics feature to produce reports and collaborate with other departments on areas of improvement (process I’m working on right now).”

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Once I had some beers with my boss and told him it was ridiculous that [basically a temp who ran errands for us] made twice what I made hourly. He immediately straightened it up [though he remained a scumbag in all other ways, and I left a year or so later]. So maybe try that?

  6. Noisy Neighbor :

    Weird question, but I can’t think of anywhere else to ask.

    I play a brass instrument, but I can’t find a good location to practice. I live in an apartment, so I can’t really play there. I work at a university, but practice rooms are only available for students (which I totally get!). I don’t play with a group or anything, but it’s really therapeutic for me to be able to play for fun. Before I moved here, I lived in a house and enjoyed playing in the evenings after work. I’ve considered joining a community orchestra, but I don’t want to commit when I don’t have a place to practice. Short of paying for a room in my apartment to be professionally soundproofed, does anyone have an idea?

    • I would start calling the local music stores/centers to see if there are practice rooms you can rent. I know that instructors can rent them for their lessons, so I don’t see why you couldn’t!

    • What times of day would you want to practice, ideally?

      Can you use a practice mute and still practice at home, early, some evenings?

      In my city, our public library has practice rooms available for free.

      Sometimes a local community church is happy to have you come play there, off hours. It can be a lovely experience to practice in these places!

      And I would consider joining a community group and practicing by arriving early to rehearsal, staying a few minutes after. It’s not great but…. it’s a community orchestra!

      • As an apartment dweller, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for not practicing in your apartment, even in the early evenings.

        • If you can’t handle your neighbors living their lives at home in a respectful way, you can’t handle living in an apartment.

          • If I can hear, smell, or feel what you are doing in your apartment from mine, you’re not living in your apartment in a respectful way!

            (If you work weird hours and will be the only one home at, say, 2pm that’s a different story)

          • Anonymous :

            If you want to live in an unusually loud manner, don’t live in an apartment.

        • Noisy Neighbor :

          I do know that some people play brass instruments in apartments, but I’m pretty picky about noise, so I don’t want to be a hypocritical neighbor!

          • I totally get this and you are a very considerate person, but your neighbors might actually not mind. How many walls/floors/ceilings do you share? Is it feasible to ask them if it’s OK if you practice between certain hours? They might genuinely not mind. I wouldn’t.

          • Agreed about just asking you neighbors about certain hours (early evening). For me, just having certainty of the noise and when it will be/won’t be would go a long way to curbing any annoyance.

        • Co-sign! Thank you for being so considerate of your neighbors!

        • At my old apartment building, someone practiced trumpet on the roof. Only in the early evenings, and he was good so it was actually quite nice!

    • Contact your local churches. They often have arrangements to let organists or pianists practice for a modest fee. I bet they’d happily do the same for you (assuming you’re going to use the space in off-hours).

      • (If you’re overwhelmed with where to start in terms of churches, I’d suggest going in this order, just based on personal experience: Episcopal –> Lutheran –> Methodist –> Catholic)

        • Noisy Neighbor :

          Where does Baptist fall on this list? There are 3 within 2 miles of my apartment!

          • Go ahead and contact them. The poster above probably didn’t mention them because the episcopal–catholic spectrum are more likely to own organs and grand pianos, and to have more of a “classical music” culture. But the baptist church will have unused rooms during the week. (Look for one that doesn’t have a daycare or a school). You might not be able to get evening practice time, just because of the logistics of needing someone present to open up the buildings and lock up after you. My church, which wouldn’t figure on the list above, has had people come in to practice on our pianos over a lunch hour, or has had kids come in after school to practice drums. (I’m sure the parents and neighbors were very grateful for that last one.)

        • (anon who posted at 10:25) Yes I didn’t mean to exclude Baptist! Anonymouse at 10:57 had it exactly right. The Episcopal, etc. denominations came to mind first, but really any church is probably worth trying if it’s convenient (and synagogues too! maybe mosques? I have no experience there).

    • Do you get home early in the evenings? What if you just practiced in your apartment then? I have a neighbor who plays guitar and listens to some pretty loud music, but I feel like as long as it’s fairly early that’s just part of apartment living. Of course if your neighbors complain or your building has some sort of rule against it, that would be a different story.

      I grew up living in apartments when I was a young child and definitely practiced my instruments there!

    • Why not call/stop by the university music dept and ask them? You can be clear that you know the space is just for students but is it ever rented out to others or do they have other thoughts on places in town to practice? Ppl teaching in university music departments tend to love their craft – they’ll have the conversation with you, not just shut it down with “sorry that’s the policy, you’re not a student.” They may have ideas.

      • Noisy Neighbor :

        The reason I know they’re only for students is because I asked the music department and that’s the answer they gave. It makes sense because they have limited space and a growing program, but it would be great to be able to practice at lunch on campus!

        • Did you just call and speak with a random secretary? Not the best person to ask…. I would try this route again.

          I would just walk over there with your instrument one day. Ask in person. Smile, be polite. Ask for just a short practice time. Say you will leave immediately if the room is needed. Even ask when the rooms are less busy, and if you could come then?

          Honestly, lunch time is probably when students are NOT practicing. They are eating.

          • I think a “random secretary” is pretty likely to know this. And college students are not exactly known for their normal schedules . . . I don’t think you can say anything definitive about where they’re going to be at lunch time.

          • Well, I was a music major at my University, and worked in the music department office. We had multiple professors, grad students not in the music department, and even one or two adults from the community who played in a music group on campus who used our practice rooms. And our policy was only students in the department could use the rooms!

            The office front is not usually the most understanding, and just follow what they’ve been told.

            I’d even email one of the music professors who teaches your instrument, and ask? Also ask if they ever have any master classes that you could observe? Shows a higher level of interest, and may open the door further.

        • We have a much bigger school of music and similar restrictions. Some schools don’t allow it.

    • Aren’t there silencers or mufflers or something you can use with brass instruments? Of course, perhaps that takes a lot of the joy out of playing…

      • Noisy Neighbor :

        There are, but good ones are expensive and to my ears, even the good ones sound bad. It is a good idea though!

    • Is there a music/arts school in your city? Those typically always rent out practice rooms even if you’re not their student – brings in extra cash for them.

    • I play trumpet and use a practice mute when I really can’t be loud. DH says he can barely hear it at all in the next room. I try not to use it all the time b/c it creates a lot of back pressure, though. Otherwise I try to time my practicing strategically so as to not disturb people. No one has complained yet, and those who have heard me only have nice things to say.

      • I had a neighbor at one point who played his (very loud) instrument at “strategic” times — not late at night, not even late evenings. I knew that, reasonably, I couldn’t complain. And, reasonably, I knew that putting up with it was the price of apartment living. I even enjoyed the first song or two. But after those first couple of songs, it got very old very quickly, and I turned into one very resentful neighbor who couldn’t even hear her own TV or phone conversation without that MUSIC coming through.

        • +1 – and practicing is going to be a lot of repetition of phrases as you try to get it right. I feel sorry for anyone who has to listen to someone practice (vs. perform) any musical instrument. Which is why my digital piano has headphones…

    • DH is a musician with a home studio, so I’ve learned quite a bit about sound-reducing options. In his studio, we hung sound-absorbing acoustic panels, which dampen the noise quite a bit. He also has a WhisperRoom sound booth in the corner of the room for louder instruments. Even the smallest booth is a $3-5K investment, but if you’re going to play all the time and otherwise need to rent space, it may make financial sense.

      I’ve also known plenty of horn players who go to a park to practice.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Even if you don’t join a community orchestra, what about contacting them and asking about practice spaces? Or contact local music schools and see if you could teach (if sufficiently skilled) or otherwise volunteer to use space?

    • Yamaha Silent Brass is a bit less stifling than a practice mute.

      That said, I’m all about strategically timed unmuted practice.

    • anon-ee-mouse :

      I guess it would depend on how big your apartment building is, but my SO is a professional brass musician and after our last move has been practicing in a weird basement part of the building that doesn’t seem to disturb anyone. Any chance your building has some unused space like that? He doesn’t love the reverb of concrete walls, but says it’s still better than being worried he’s bothering someone.

      • I can’t believe I forgot about this… parking garages! I used to practice there quite a bit as did many other brass-player colleagues. The acoustics are kinda cool and you don’t bother anyone.

    • Basement laundry room? The dryers should be like “white noise” to block some of the sound.

    • I know it is getting colder, but what about at a park? I used to live in a house that was 2 blocks from a very large city park and a couple days a week, I could hear someone playing bagpipes (at reasonable hours). I didn’t think it was annoying at all. It was kind of neat and added to the uniqueness of the neighborhood.

      But contacting churches is a great idea.

    • Would practicing in a public park or the university quad (you would by far probably be the least interesting thing happening on the quad) not an option?

    • Google the Silent Brass system. It’s some gadget that basically functions like a mute. (I’m a wind player but have pro and amateur brassers in my immediate family.)

    • So Mr. anon owns the apartment building we live in and the building next door is pretty much owned by a slumlord. I am annoyed by tenants/neighbors on a daily basis (the weekend-long drinking parties that rain empty cans onto our porch, the piles of junk left in front of the washers in the laundry room, the constantly barking dogs, the middle-of-the-night parking lot screaming matches over who is the “other woma”!). And I’ve got to tell you the weekend afternoon/early evening brass instrument practice doesn’t bother me at all. It’s actually kind of nice. I’d give practice in your apartment at a reasonable time of day a try. It might not bother anyone. If someone complains you can be a good neighbor by apologizing and then finding a new place to practice,

      • Ok, doesn’t bother you. But it sure as heck would bother me (sorry, OP, I’m sure your playing is lovely but practice would definitely bother me).

        • Anonymous :

          +1, and mid-afternoon is prime nap time for kids. I would HATE this, sorry OP.

          • But your use of your apartment doesn’t automatically override OP’s use of her apartment.

    • Noisy Neighbor :

      Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone! I have a lot of different options to explore now :)

  7. Evening Sandals :

    Help! My favorite evening shoes — 3 1/2″ heel, sandals, enough straps to feel secure dancing — are finally wearing out, and I need a replacement. I’m willing to throw any money at this problem (if money is the solution), but comfort (ability to wear all evening at a benefit or wedding without sitting lamely at the table) is non-negotiable, and they need to be at least passably good looking (not too matronly or like I wore my shoes from the office). Any suggestions? Black and/or metallic preferred; will also consider pale versions of ‘nude.’ I’m mid-30s, HCOL city, if it matters.

    I’ve marched through every shoe store I can find and, so far, Jimmy Choo Emily (85 or 100) are the closest I’ve come, but I didn’t love them enough to pull the trigger without seeing if anyone had any better ideas. Any feedback on those?

    Thanks in advance! (And why are good shoes so hard to find?!)

    • I really like my Naturalizers – solid but strappy, come in all metallics and black. Danya, Pressly are some of the names.

    • What about shoes for ballroom or Latin dance? You can get rubber soles put on them, if need be. Lots of straps, comfortable, come in a wide range of colors/ can sometimes be dyed, literally made for dancing!

    • Have you tried looking at ballroom dance shoes?

    • Marshmallow :

      The Aldo “Fiolla” is insanely comfortable and you won’t need to spend anywhere near Jimmy Choo money. I’ve worn them to several weddings with a lot of dancing and never felt the need to change into flip flops.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have the Bandolino Women’s Marlisa Heeled Sandal in a sort of champagne-y gold, and they’re easy to wear and supportive, but still like “yay party!”

    • The Steve Madden Dafnie Dress Sandal are the MOST comfortable heels I’ve ever worn. I wore them for a 10 hour wedding celebration and didn’t feel the need to sit down or take them off. Link to follow for Amazon!

    • I just want to note that I am jealous that you have evening shoes that see enough action to be wearing out! Go you!

    • Stalk Ruelala, I swear I’ve seen the Emily’s there recently and lots of other good evening shoes. If you want to go the Jimmy Choo route, and haven’t bought the brand before, I’d try them on first. I’ve found they tend to be super comfortable but what you think your size is and what size you need aren’t always the same.

    • Evening Sandals - OP :

      Thanks, all! Some great options here to try.

      I wish I could claim an amazingly glam life, but I have just adored and worn this same pair for years (and can no longer find them on e bay) — everyone should find that magic unicorn pair of shoes that you can wear for everything dressy!

  8. Is there a formula for determining whether to apply for a job if you don’t *quite* meet the requirements. In other words, where is the line between “go ahead and apply” and “don’t inundate them with resumes”?

    I always keep in mind what someone said here: “Have the confidence of the mediocre white man.” But what if I bombard them, and then a really appropriate job comes along,

    • Applying for a job isn’t bombarding them or inundating them…that’s a weird way to view it. They are soliciting applications, that’s the whole point of a job posting. You have every right to apply even if you don’t fit every single requirement.

      • Yeah, OP, be a little more confident in how awesome you are! They literally WANT people to apply. That’s why there’s a posting.

    • Always apply.

    • I would apply unless it’s a fed government job and you don’t meet the required education level or years of experience. I’ve worked in fed government and, at least where I worked, we didn’t even see the resumes of the people who didn’t meet those requirements. Private companies are a totally different situation.

    • Apply. You’re not bombarding them, you’re responding to their invitation to apply. And so what if you’ve submitted a resume to a so-so fit and a posting for a great fit comes along? Then you just apply to that one, too!

    • Highly unlikely that if they don’t choose your resume for this job that they will remember you unfavorably for “bombarding them” when a better fit opens up later. Not much to lose, I say.

    • Are you talking about applying for multiple jobs at the same company? I think that’s a little different. I don’t think you need to meet them exactly, but if you’re really hoping to get in at a particular company, I think you need to be a little closer than you would for a one-off job somewhere else. If I was in HR and received applications for 8 jobs from one person who didn’t meet the requirements for any, I’d probably be a little put off.

  9. Can we avoid the sleeveless tops (also dresses) so much? They are actually terrible with suits, as you then get sweat or deodorant on your suit jacket. I would love to see more blouses (and dresses) with sleeves (short, 3/4, and long). Those also have the benefit that you don’t necessarily need to cover them up with a sweater or jacket when your office is cold.

    • +1 – especially short-sleeve tops you can wear under suit jackets without stinking them up!

    • ++++1

      I have been scrambling this week to find a fun, interesting top for tomorrow night. I’m going to a friend’s housewarming party and wanted to wear something with a little pizzazz, but everything is sleeveless or cold shoulder.

    • Maddie Ross :

      This is funny, because I love sleeveless. (Hate cold shoulder though – like super hate.) I have decent arms and I think suit jackets fit so funny over so many sleeves. To each their own.

      • Me too! If I wear anything with sleeves under my blazers and suit jackets, I always end up feeling like the stay puft marshmallow man all day.

      • Agree. The sleeves always bunch up weirdly.

      • Agreed re sleeveless and the fit being funny over the arms of a jacket/cardigan. Don’t agree on cold shoulder :), but I would never wear cold shoulder to work.

      • me too. Things will often fit me great if they are sleeveless, but add sleeves and the shoulders are never broad enough or the arms are too small. It is so much harder to find things that fit with sleeves, and I’m going to wear something over it anyways

      • Same. OP it’s pretty easy to avoid sleeveless . . . don’t buy them!

    • Shopaholic :

      I actually prefer sleeveless tops under suits/blazers because then the sleeves don’t bunch up and you have a clean line.

      Although maybe I’m not the best person to speak to this because I’m currently sitting in my office in a sleeveless blouse and jeans (it is abnormally warm in the office this week).

    • I never wear sleeved tops or dresses. Everyone’s taste is different.

    • Yeah, I would love to know how others avoid getting deodorant and/or sweat on their blazers! This is exactly why I also will not wear sleeveless dresses or tops to work.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I am not a very sweaty person at all. If there is deodorant on the inside lining of my blazer, I guess I do not care very much…I have literally never thought about it.

        • Maddie Ross :

          +1. If I sweat I in a blazer, it’s either bc I am legitimately hot or because I am super stressed/nervous, in which case I will totally pit out both the shirt I am wearing and the blazer. And I have never given a second though to deodorant on the inside of my blazer. Like I’m sure it’s there now that you say it, but whatevs. It doesn’t show. And if it ever did, I should think the person that noticed would be glad I wear it.

      • Probably just launder more often. Some people also may not sweat as much and/or apply antiperspirant the night before rather than in the morning.

      • Do you use invisible deodorant? I guess it might still get on the jacket, but not as noticeably. I feel like I absorb mine.

        I guess I just don’t have this problem. (Have lots of others!) Not super sweaty. And maybe jackets don’t sit tightly under my armpits?

    • I can’t wear anything short sleeved, so sleeveless is a must!

      I apply antiperspirant in the evening, so I don’t have issues with it rubbing off on clothes. Supposedly this also gives it more time to absorb and actually work better at controlling sweat as well.

  10. I have a phone interview today and while I usually rock in-person interviews, I’m actually really nervous! Positive thoughts this way, please!

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Phone interviews are awesome, because you can have notes in front of you!

      Otherwise, treat it just like an in person interview. Dress nicely, sit up straight, smile, don’t interrupt.

    • New Tampanian :

      If you can look in a mirror and basically speak to yourself to remember to smile, do that. It’s a trick a lot of solo podcasters use.

    • Standing will help you have more energy in your voice and kind of lengthen your diaphragm … or something. It works!

    • +1 to smiling while you talk! I have a lower voice that often sounds bored or monotone on the phone, but smiling while I talk actually makes me sound more excited about whatever I’m saying.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Good luck! You got this!

  11. Found out last night that my wonderful, lovely husband has a huge brain tumor. Please send us all the love and prayers you can spare. I am lost.

  12. NoVa question :

    Question for the DC/NoVa folks:

    I commute by metro into DC. My husband works in Tysons and drives. We currently live in Old Town Alexandria, and while I was super loathe to move out of the district when we first moved in together a couple years ago, he had valid reasons in addition to his commute for wanting to stay in NoVa. Old Town was basically the only area that seemed to meet my metro accessible/walk-ability/personality/abundant yoga studios/non-Clarendon-bro-y requirements for somewhere I’d happily live.

    His commute has been sucking extra hard lately and I’m aware of the imbalance of our commutes. Is there anywhere along the Orange/Silver that would make his drive suck less, but still be a walk-able neighborhood with personality, not bro-y, but also not all PTA moms. (We’re childless by choice.) Somewhere I could comfortably remain car-less. We have a couple friends who just bought out in Mosaic District and I was wondering if the hivemind had any other recommendations for other less commonly thought of areas that might fit that unicorn-description. Thanks!

    • I commuted through Roslyn/Courthouse/Clarendon and found that if you are willing to walk north of Lee Highway, it’s a lot of happy people in their 30s/40s/50s out there. There are some rental houses and duplexes, largely by word of mouth. Not a whole lot of kids until you get to around Glebe and west.

      • former arlingtoner :

        Hello! I used to live on North Adams St (north of Lee Highway) and it was lovely! If I move back to the area, I’d go for Courthouse, for sure. The ‘dudes in brown flip flops’ are all moving to Ballston- you might have better luck now between Courthouse and Clarendon.

        We also have friends who’ve moved towards Mosaic and towards Reston, but those would have been too far from DC for me.

      • Ballston has also grown a lot and there are a ton of cute homes near the trail. I also like downtown Falls Church.

    • No advice, but hello from a neighbor in Del Ray!

    • Flats Only :

      The Mosaic District feels plastic to me. I suggest Falls Church. It has a little downtown, the State Theater, many restaurants and small stores. Quite walkable. Aim to be by the East Falls Church metro station. It’s a quick trip into Tysons, and you can use the Orange line to get to work.

    • anon a mouse :

      There’s not going to be anything that compares to Old Town for your requirements, really. That said, some areas you could consider are Reston (worsens your commute but greatly improves his), or Crystal City/the area around Pentagon City. He could hop on 66 or the GWP reverse-commuting to get to Tysons. Mosaic feels really sterile to me.

      Falls Church City also might work for both of you.

      • Thanks for all the suggestions. Crystal City/Pentagon just feels like a never ending chain restaurant. Balston is just so bland. Most of what I’ve seen of Fairfax feels so… sad and suburban-y, definitely not somewhere you can grocery shop/live without a car. Ugh, sounds like there’s no good solution.

    • Little Red :

      I think Falls Church City might be a good option for you. Unlike the Fairfax County portion of Falls Church, Falls Church City has been going full-bore on mixed-used, walkable development.

    • This will only get you a little closer to Tyson’s, but we love Fairlington. Not on the metro but has a nice little restaurant “downtown” and buses to get you to the pentagon and into dc.

  13. I have a friend/colleague at my second job who is leaving for a new position. He has had been there forever (we have been there 5+ years together) and had a major impact on my development at said side job.

    I’d like to get him a going-away gift (not a culture or a relationship where this is inappropriate) that would be useful for his new high-travel job. He’s overall fairly minimalistic, doesn’t have a lot of things — prefers to hold on to one higher-quality item for example. Any ideas? Cash or a gift card seems impersonal. He won’t be changing his wardrobe for his new job. I am thinking maybe noise-cancelling headphones? Budget about $100, but open to going over for the right thing (possibility it will be a group gift also so increased budget.)

    • Small, high-quality, easily portable bluetooth speaker is also a nice thing to have while travelling.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Perhaps a portable charger for his devices (unless he already has one). It’s so handy to be on the road and be able to charge your phone when you don’t have access to a wall charger.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I adore my Bose noise canceling headphones. They’re way over your budget (I think I paid $250 or so at Costco) but they are game-changers if he’s going to be flying. If you can get people to chip in, I’d go for that.

      • OP for this :

        Yeah, I have a pair of QC25’s and I seriously did not realize how life-changing they would be, but a little above what I want to spend.

  14. Boston Employment Law :

    Just a quick thanks to the ladies who responded to my question about employment law!

  15. Baconpancakes :

    How is it only 11am here? This Friday is so long.

    What’s everyone’s weekend plans? My SO is out of town for a week and I’m uncharacteristically really sad about it, so I’m having friends over to make a sukkah, volunteering with the Girl Scouts, scheduling 6 hours in the pottery studio, and reading a stack of novels (analog!) from the library.

    • This week has been so long I don’t even remember what last weekend looked like.

      So tonight I’m doing nothing except watching Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Maybe a bath.

      Tomorrow I’m doing two hot yoga classes – 75 min vinyasa flow followed by 75 min yin/meditation. All my friends who I invited can’t go, which I’m actually kind of glad about. I’m looking forward to just really disconnecting and hanging out by myself.

      On Sunday I’m sort of hoping it rains so I can spend the whole day in bed reading my stack of analog (LOL) novels. I just started the Magic of Thinking Big and it’s already amazing. If it doesn’t rain, I’ll go hiking with DH (our normal Sunday morning ritual).

    • First postpartum yoga class tomorrow followed by brunch tomorrow and then lunch and adventure playground with my husband’s cousins kids on Sunday! Baby doesn’t take a bottle so I’m a bit nervous about yoga but I’m going to feed him before going in and he can go for a walk with Dad for an hour,

    • Persephone :

      I committed to going to a nightclub with friends on Saturday. I’m not a nightclub person, but want to give this a shot. Tips for what to wear and how to get through it?

      • Black jeans and a sleeveless, strappy, or lower cut top. Or sparkly! Add a pleather jacket on top if it’s chilly.

      • Shoes you can stand in for a long time.

      • things you can wash. get through it by drinking … and also remembering you’re never going to see these people (other than your friends) again, so dance dance dance

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Hi, I see you, fellow weekend lover! I should look up when sukkot is … oh ha JK already started. #worstjew …but still, tricking out the gazebo into a sukkah could be a fun weekend activity with the Kiddo!

    • I am very excited about the weekend. My goal is to stay out of the office. I am not home free though, since I have a day-long meeting for church on Saturday and then church itself on Sunday. The lad will be away with Scouts tonight so I will get some time alone with the hubs. I plan to kick it off with a pumpkin beer tasting at the cool adult beverages shop.

      Saturday night is also free but I suspect I’ll be too worn out from the day-long meeting to be any fun. I might still see if a pal wants to go to the movies. I’ll either do a long run or boxing class before heading to the meeting at the (Episcopal) cathedral on Saturday.

    • This week has been so, so long and I wish I had lovely, restorative weekend plans…but instead I’m renting a truck; loading up busted appliance into the back of the truck; dropping the appliance at the city dump; driving 1.5 hours to my late grandmother’s house; loading furniture; driving 45 minutes in the opposite direction to drop off stuff at my mom’s that won’t fit in her Civic; driving 1.5 hours back home to deposit the remainder of the furniture at my own house; returning the truck; and then faceplanting into Netflix and a bottle of wine.

      Sunday I have to run 13 miles, go to Costco, and batch cook.

      And avoid completely losing my sh*t at my boyfriend, who has been doing intensive man-crafting for the last month that has completely taken over our shared living space. There is no end in sight.

      • Are you training for the marathon?!? I am thinking of doing the 8K. Very slowly.

        • Just the half. My coworker did the 8k last year and graduated to the half this year :) It’s a great race!

      • That does sound intense! Can you get a great book on cd to make the hours driving fly by? You are probably an expert in that already given your long runs. Good luck with all of this.

        • Thanks! Good idea on the audiobook…might be time for me to cash in that free intro offer Audible has floating around. We listed to Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance on our last road trip, which was great.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Saturday Lovely Husband is going on a bike ride with the lads, so I’m getting my hair done and having lunch with a friend, which I am looking forward to. Other than that, we just got back from a two-week vacation on Wednesday, so the weekend will be getting our act together: Unpacking, laundry, getting the house in order, getting the finances in order, catching up on the mail, and so on. Oh, and I am getting the battery in my iPhone replaced because it won’t hold a charge for love or money!

      • Baconpancakes :

        Wait you can do that? My battery is super sad but I thought I had to get a new phone! I’d much prefer to just replace the battery!

        • Coach Laura :

          Baconpancakes- yes my husband replaced his iPhone battery. Battery kit and installation instructions via amazon. They provide tools -just need good lighting and magnifying glass.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes! I thought I’d have to take it to the Apple Store but then I googled around a little and it turns out that once you’re out of warranty you can just take it to your local repair folks. So I googled around a little more and found a place here in town with good reviews so I am super psyched to get it done! I may even go crazy and have the cracked screen replaced…

          • fake coffee snob :

            I know this is coming late, but last I checked (for a cracked screen) the apple store can still be cheaper than a third party place. Plus they warranty the new part for a year or so (I’ve had luck with them backing up parts they put in much longer than that, too, on my macbook). Nothing wrong with 3rd party but I definitely recommend checking both out if you can.

      • I missed hearing from you Senior Attorney!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Aw, thanks! I was reading while I was gone but it’s too hard to post on the aforementioned battery-impaired phone!

    • lawsuited :

      I will be eating turkey and pumpkin pie because it’s THANKSGIVING!!!

    • Calibrachoa :

      I have to clean the bathroom and do laundry, but beyond that i just want to play with my new kindle fire and read some books. I am on a super frugal plan for the next few weeks so I am skipping out on a party.

  16. Any gulf coasters evacuating?

    • In NOLA and I’m not. Just stocked up on water, tuna, bread, junk food and wine. Have a couple books, a flashlight and a portable battery pack. I think we’ll be fine if we just hunker down and stay put.

  17. The white on this looks terrible – the photo shows how sheer the fabric is. I hate when white shirts show the under layers. It makes it so obvious that if they would just double the fabric, the shirt would actually be opaque.

  18. Stupid interview question: I just had an interview for an internal position in another department. I’ve never interviewed internally before, would my thank note be different as an internal candidate?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I think commenters on this s1te go back and forth on whether post-interview thank-you notes help or hurt. But if it’s a convention in your workplace, I’d send an email saying thanks and reference something specific you spoke about/learned about the job.

  19. Any tricks for getting rid of the metallic smells that metals give off after a while that actually work? I just pulled out a vest and the zippers smell. Additionally I have some non-gold “costume” jewelry that I never wear because it gives off that smell.

  20. Rainbow Hair :


    I thought this week would never end. It was one of those “damn it’s been a long week” on Tuesday morning weeks. But here it is! Friday!!!

    Do you have fun plans? Tonight I am seeing an out of town friend and hopefully we are getting cheap margaritas! Tomorrow I am going to a big ladies beer meetup thing and I am going to slay in the costume contest.

    • It really has been a long week. It’s a long weekend for me! I have Columbus Day (or Indigenous People’s Day, as my town calls it), off. One of the positives of state government. So a college friend is coming to visit, and I’ll finally have a friend who loves my college football team as much I do to watch the game with tomorrow!

      • Senior Attorney :

        I have Monday off, too! Turns out I was an inadvertent super genius because I got back from vacation Wednesday afternoon so I had a two-day work week followed by a three-day weekend!

      • Are you in Berkeley? That’s my town too. Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

    • Baconpancakes :


    • I am so grateful that it’s Friday. And it’s almost noon on Friday.

      I’m traveling to visit a friend out of town, and we’re meeting up with some other friends. I’m very excited for a girls weekend and decompressing.

    • It’s Thanksgiving weekend up here in the north. Super pumped for a long weekend.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s Friday! I get to spend unhurried awake time with my 2.5yo! (Not ironic. I actually do enjoy his company…when I’m not trying to rush him out the door to daycare, or to scooter home faster instead of stopping for rocks and leaves so that I can make dinner. Also, I vastly prefer the company of a 2.5yo to the company of an infant – I am not a tiny-baby person, they’re all work and occasional gurgles.)

      However, I am also training for a marathon and midway through a monthlong stint of solo parenting so I am very, very tired. Naps are on the agenda. Many naps. And post-kid-bedtime book and tea. Maybe some friends or neighbors will take pity on me and book some playdates, but I can’t count on it.

  21. Any ideas for an alternative way to use a room meant for a dining room? We moved into a new house a while ago, and the room meant for our dining room is still sitting empty. We never used our dining room in our old place, and we cannot really get motivated to look for new furniture, which I think is because we know it will just sit and collect dust. So, I’m thinking, maybe we could use the room in a more productive way? Or, maybe there is some fun, modern way to make it a dining room? I am really not very good at this kind of stuff and am all ears! The room is open to the kitchen and also has double doors that open to the backyard, if that makes a difference.

    • Id love having a dining space that opened to the outdoors but maybe the formal set up is throwing you off. I’d look at photos of Scandinavia cafes and flats for ideas of a bit more casual space.

    • Put in a couple bookshelves and a few comfortable chairs and make it a library? I like having a view outside when I read.

      • +1

        This is what I did.

        I live alone in a 1 bedroom apartment. What do I need a big empty dining room for? I eat standing up in my kitchen or curled up on my couch most of the time. So I turned the dining room into my office/library. All of the walls are lined with bookselves, desk looking out the window. Cushy chair with end table for reading. Love it.

    • My go-to for a dining room sized space is 1 – pool table / game room space, 2- home office, or 3 – perfect playroom for the kids (if you’re not worried about them running to the front door and opening it).

    • I would use it as a living space. Couches, a tv, maybe a side table for setting up food. I like the idea of having parties where guests could sit inside or move outside.

    • Could you do more of a bistro/ cafe type setup? Couches or comfy chairs clustered around smaller tables or coffee tables. A rack of board games on the side. Kind of make it your inside patio, if that makes sense, a little hang-out-and-eat-appetizers type of space.

    • Baconpancakes :

      So jealous of your dining room. Trade for my eat-in kitchen (which is great but only fits 6 max)?

      Other ideas: morning room – small dining table (4 chairs max) on one side, and a seating area of comfortable chairs or a loveseat on the other side. Library – line the room with Billy bookcases, throw down a luxurious rug, put two armchairs next to the double doors to catch the light, and (if you have kids or adults who’d be into it) scatter a few oversized floor pillows.

      But I’d do a dining room myself. If you want a fresh but relaxed dining room, I’d go with light walls (I’d do white, but I’m boring), a sturdy, kind of plain table, and mismatched dark wood chairs, throwing pillows and sheepskin throws on them for winter. A sculptural paper chandelier, two if you can fit them in (looks more exciting), and avoid a regular china cabinet. If you have an empty wall and need a place to store stuff, go with an airy, nontraditional cabinet. And a single, oversized picture you love on each wall. Links to follow.

      But if you like a different style than that, I have lots of dining room dreams in other styles I can share!

      • Baconpancakes :

        Inspiration photo:

        Amish farmhouse table:

        Herman Miller pendant lamp:

        Rattan storage cabinet (can be doubled to create a credenza):

        • I love all of this! You have such a great eye for design. Please come help me finish my whole house!

      • Baconpancakes, if I ever need design advice, I’m paging you.

    • Pen and Pencil :

      Depending on how the space is located/size you could use it as a library/office, a billiards (or air hockey) room, a crafting area, an area for your animals, an expanded pantry area, a playroom (play rooms off the kitchen are great for looking after little ones while getting things done), or a piano/music room.

      • bluestocking :

        Music room! Yes! When my uncle turned 50, he bought a baby grand piano and set that up in his dining room.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      A big reclaimed wood table and comfortable chairs might make it a more inviting space for eating, sitting, playing cards or games…or just chilling with your peeps drinking wine or big mugs of coffee. Think more like a cottage/chalet and less like a formal space.

      Maybe it is just me, but I love sitting around a table with people I care about – far more than a couch.

    • Ha! Our “dining” room currently has a feeding station for our cats, a big litterbox, and several scratching posts. We had the same problem you do, not wanting to spend money on furniture we didn’t need and would probably never use (the dining area next to the kitchen already seats 6-8). We’ve thought about trying to turn it into an exercise space, but it seems a little weird to have that right next to our living room in a space any guest would walk past (we don’t have many). I guess the cat bathroom is even weirder than exercise space, though! I’d be happy to hear suggestions for this space too, since right now it’s kind of a waste (though we have enough space it doesn’t matter that much).

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Do you have kids? Because that screams “kids fun room” to me — it doesn’t have to be loud/messy, but it’s close to everyone without being underfoot…

      Otherwise I would make it more of a hangout area. Where the non-cooking person can sit and chat with the cooking person, or where guests can have some beers before dinner…?

    • For that space size 1 – pool table or other gaming table room, 2 – home office (add curtains or French doors), 3 – play room if you have kids (or dog)

    • I have a dining room with a dining table that is rarely used for eating. But it is a great place to work on 1000+ piece puzzles. Bonus is that the doors to the dining room close so that my cats can’t steal the puzzle pieces.

    • Cat Lady In Training :

      We did a library/dining combo thing. Lots of book shelves, and then a round table with comfy chairs for reading/eating/playing board games.

    • music room
      yoga/meditation/chill space
      tv room
      pool table/ping pong table room

      so many fun possibilities!

    • Totally great space for a home office/library kind of thing. Put a long table against one wall to use as a gift wrapping / crafting space.

    • bluestocking :

      Library, with books shelves all around and a comfy reading couch or pair of chairs. This is essentially what I do with my dining room.

      Yoga room! I have some friends who use their dining room as a yoga room, with their mats permanently rolled out and some plants, incense, lamps and a Buddha statue.

      Pool table! My brother did this for a while. Nice pool table underneath, a ping pong table with net that they can set on top. When they actually want to serve dinner to people, they put the flat ping pong table on top, remove the net, and cover with a table cloth. He was in his 20s and lived with a guy friend.

  22. So I’ve been TTC for about 6 months and am starting to get to the point where I’m feel jealous of friends who are pregnant and having babies. I know it hasn’t actually been that long and since I’m early 30’s I should wait 1 year before seeing a fertility doc. I know I need to work on patience and not comparing myself to others. It’s just hard when everyone around is all babies and bellies. Ok… just needed to vent.

    • Don’t wait for a year – at least get some basic testing out of the way, which your regular obgyn should be able to do. I started the process after 6 months of trying when I was 29, and ended up needing IVF. I am so glad I didn’t wait longer. Can’t hurt to rule things out, or find out if there are any issues that are identifiable through easy blood work or samples!

    • Not sure if you’re tracking ovulation. I couldn’t stand the stress of doing that every month and DTD at the ‘right’ time so I switched to the every other day method mentioned in What to Expect When You’re Expecting and got pregnant the next month. You just DTD every other day (but not more often) throughout your cycle.

    • Anonattorney :

      It took me over 7 months to get pregnant with both my kids; also early thirties. It was frustrating, but I did some preliminary testing with the second and everything was fine. You can talk to your doc about questionable symptoms (irregular periods, weird cramping, etc) and those may trigger some testing. Otherwise, when you get your period, find ways to reward yourself with things you can’t do when you’re pregnant. Get a big sushi dinner; drink lots of good wine. Remember that it’s actually pretty normal for it to take a while, so try your best not to be stressed! (Even though it’s hard)

    • I had been trying for a few months (using apps and ovulation tests) with no luck, then read Take Charge of Your Fertility and got pregnant the first month. Turns out my cycle ran a bit late and we had stopped gardening by the time I ovulated. Overall, it’s just a great resource for understanding your cycle as well. Also, as others have noted, no need to wait a full year – if you’ve been tracking ovulation and you’re still not getting pregnant, they may be willing to send you to a specialist sooner.

      And I feel you on the feelings as others get pregnant – was especially bad for me when my sister announced she was *accidentally* pregnant with her 4th and we were still trying :(

    • Agree with others! I’m the same age as you and felt the same way. It was so hard. Due to various life circumstances we waited to TTC for about 6 months-a year longer than I would’ve liked and during that time I felt like everyone I know got pregnant. We’ve also been married for longer than most of our friends who were getting pregnant, which also felt unfair to me. Once we finally started TTC and everyone else seemed to get pregnant so easily/be pregnant with their second before I’ve even had my first. I definitely have had moments (and still do), where I feel so behind/left out and it just feels like it happens so easily to everyone else. I tried to start thinking about all the things I could do while not pregnant/not have kids, like drink wine and eat raw fish :-) . Those thoughts especially helped once I miscarried (see below). We’d planned a trip assuming I’d be pregnant, and while I was definitely very very sad not to be, while on the trip I tried to focus on all of the things we were able to do that we would not have been able to do if I was pregnant.

      Are you tracking ovulation using the testing kits. A doc told me to use the one that gives you 2 fertile days instead of four. Once I started using this, we got pregnant the second month after. Granted I had a miscarriage after but I did manage to get pregnant. I’m now pregnant again (literally just found out this week, so hopefully it will stick), using an IUI. I will say I learned from our insurance that they will cover fertility treatments after you’ve been trying for a year, but fertility testing is different from treatment and is covered differently under most insurance. I would recommend looking into your health insurance, but if they won’t cover treatment until a year, see if you can do testing before then so that when that year mark approaches you are ready to go. It is definitely hard when you see all of your friends getting pregnant and it’s taking longer for you.

      • Thank you! Congrats on the news– sending lots of good vibes your way for a healthy pregnancy!

    • I think it’s normal to feel this way. When we were trying with our first, a friend got pregnant accidentally and I almost broke into tears when she told me. And two of my best friends got pregnant on their first month of trying. But 6 months is really not that long (for anecdata we tried for just over a year with my daughter). I agree you can get the basic tests now (although maybe the one for your partner is more of a production than the one for you) and you should certainly try one of those ovulation tests to make sure all is ok. The other advice I’d give is – counterintuitively- have less s*x (every other day is better than every day) and make sure you do it before what you think is your ovulation time vs. trying to timing it to it (sperm live longer up to 72hrs whereas an egg is there fore ~24). Also just try to enjoy this time with your partner. I know it can be hard, but don’t get pregnant before you’re pregnant: there’s no need to give up wine or sushi for half the month, it’s all just going to make it harder. Go out to dinners, have a c*cktail or several, try to just enjoy the process.

    • Thanks all, I really appreciate the kind words and advice. Sushi and wine tonight, it is! :) I have been tracking using an app and just started using ovulation test strips last month. I will see about getting some testing done sooner rather than later– thanks for the boost there! Good luck to anyone else out there in the same place!

    • I could have written this exact post. I’m also early 30s and have been having “well-timed” gardening sessions for 6 months. We actually did get pregnant on try #1 but had an early miscarriage. They say 6 months is within the normal range, but I can’t help but think it is never going to happen for us. I have my annual appointment in November and will bring this up with my midwife.

      It also is difficult since this is the age when all my friends are pregnant too. My BFF is trying for #5 (crazy!!) and my sister just announced #2. I’m happy for them but sad for me. Hugs my internet friend – you’re not alone!

    • Not your exact situation, but I’m single and have just been diagnosed with severe diminished ovarian reserve…like, maybe I’ve got one more year to get pregnant, but that’s it and even that isn’t guaranteed…and I’m not even dating anyone, so it’s not like I can even take advantage of that year to TTC. Obviously this has been a huge shock and it feels like everyone I know is either pregnant or recently gave birth. I’m going to a baby shower next weekend.

      • I’m so sorry! *Hugs* Fertility issues are so hard and feel so unfair. How did you find out you had diminished ovarian reserves?

        • I was having some weird period symptoms and my doc suggested some initial testing…when the results were problematic, they suggested I have additional testing for my own awareness (including antral follicle count). I’m glad I know, I guess? But it feels so awful and so unfair.

  23. Thank you! :

    Just wanted to send a quick thank you for the Marycrafts dresses recommendations. I ordered two and wore them this week and got so many compliments! (Also a big thanks to whoever recommended sizing up … you really need to check the size chart.) I’ve already recommended them to three colleagues. I very rarely post but can’t thank all of you enough for the community here.

  24. Rainbow Hair :

    Here’s a fun question. What is a song that you might not think you want on a party playlist, but after [mumblety] drinks, when it comes on, everyone will get out and dance? I’ll have an opportunity to sneak something onto a playlist for some a-little-too-hip-for-their-own-good folks coming up and I think it would be really fun to put like… you know what I mean? Some really fun pop song they wouldn’t pick for themselves, but once it’s on, everyone will want to dance?

    • Anything by a 90s boy band

    • Anonymous :

      Jungle Love
      BeeGees anything
      It’s Raining Men … or
      Do you get satellite radio? Anything from Studio 54. I can’t get enough of it. 70’s disco gets everyone out there.

    • Little Red Corvette
      Don’t Do Me Like That

    • Anonymous :

      Wow…so many options: Scream and Shout (, feat. Britney); Break Free (Ariana Grande, feat. Zedd), So What (Pink); Glorious (Macklemore); Single Ladies (Beyonce); Tik Tok (Keisha); Get Lucky (Daft Punk); Bang Bang (Many Power Women); My Love (Never gonna get it) (en vogue); Poison (Bell Biv Devoe); Baby One More Time (Britney Spears); Jump Around (House of Pain); Livin La Vida Loca (Ricky Martin)

    • The Thong Song by Sisqo. I guess it depends on the age, but I was at a wedding a few years ago and honestly it was kind of lame, no one dancing, etc. so someone asked the DJ to play the Thong Song and everyone freaked out and it turned the whole environment around. If it matters, I am 29 and that song came out when i was in early middle school, so much younger than 29 might not really “get” it.

    • I have no idea, but I LOVE that you wrote “[mumblety] drinks!” Haha, I got a kick out of that.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yay thank you all so much!

    • Anonymous :

      More of a big group singalong than dancing for these although people definitely start to move
      Journey – Don’t Stop Believing, Bon Jovi- Livin on a Prayer, Lynard Skynard- Sweet Home Alabama, Commodores- Brick House

    • In addition to the above, All Night by Lionel Richie and Jump by the Pointer Sisters usually get people dancing. And the usual wedding favorites usually work too (we are family, disco favorites like shake your booty)

    • That Justin Timberlake song from Trolls. So cheesy. And yet you HAVE to dance to it!

    • Anonymous :

      Shout – Isley brothers
      Sweet Caroline – Diamond
      Ring of Fire – Cash
      Cream – Prince

    • Anonymous :

      500 Miles
      Don’t Stop Believing
      Shut Up and Dance
      Sweet Home Alabama

    • Constant Reader :

      Almost anything from the evolution of dance

    • Spice Girls!

    • Anonymous :

      Chumbawumba – Tubthumping. Meatloaf – Paradise by the Dashboard Lights. Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out of My Head. Every Bananarama hit that comes to mind without you having to look it up.

    • What’s the age group? Backstreet’s Back, OPP (Naughty by Nature) are excellent options

Add a Comment

Thank you for commenting. On the off chance that your comment goes to moderation, note that a moderation message will only appear if you enter an email address. If you have any questions please check out our commenting policy.