Suit of the Week: Antonio Melani

For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

This light blue suit from Antonio Melani is lovely. I like the melange fabric that looks like it’s sort of stretchy — the suit looks comfortable but it’s got some structure. I also really like the collarless blazer style and the fitted look. It comes in sizes 0-14 at Dillard’s. The jacket (Antonio Melani Felicity Stretch Melange Jacket) is $199, and the skirt (Antonio Melani Denzel Stretch Melange Pencil Skirt) is $99.

Here’s a plus-size option.



  1. Anonymous :

    Do you think nude-for-you flats look bad with jeans? Like you are barefoot … or hovering footless?

    • Anonymous :

      I think nude-for-you flats just generally look dated. They tend to show a lot of wear and tear, too.

      • Anonymous :

        Interesting … what are more current types/colors?

        • Anonymous :

          Is this for casual wear? Ballet flats are just not really on-trend right now. As far as on-trend flats, the pointy-toed kind with laces that you wrap around your ankles are in, but I am personally not crazy about those. Mules are also having a moment, but again, not crazy about them. For truly casual wear, I think non-athletic sneakers look much more on-trend (like vans or adidas gazelles) and are much better for your feet anyway. For the office, I think a kitten heel or wedge is better than a flat, but if you’re going with flats, opt for a pointy toe rather than round.

        • Grey. Blue. Black. Tan. Green. Brown. Navy. Also – buckles, designs, stitching, patterns, suede, and/or some sort of structure take flats from schlubby to put-together.

          • I’ve been looking and so much of what I have found has tiny bows (nope), are d’orsay style (no can do), have some sort of uglifying detail, or are suede. DSW isn’t carrying most of the styles of the Steve Madden patent flats I buy every year (except for a d’orsay style that makes my wide feet look like Miss Piggy’s feet busting out of her shoes). Zappos selection is meh. Nordstrom is expensive and meh. Where can I find candy colored or jewel toned plain flats, pointed or almond toe, not suede, and not $100 right now?

            Looking for something I can wear to work with black pants, and/or one throw on with a cute pair of shorts on the weekend.

      • Anonymous :

        Agree that they are dated. When I see them now I assume the person couldn’t find/didn’t own another pair that worked with their outfit. They sort of read like black pumps …. unremarkable and everyone has a pair for when a more interesting shoe can’t be found.

      • Agreed. I prefer cognac, gray, black, or patterned – JCrew has a cute pair of “Audrey” style right now that are snakeskin.

        • The Audrey are literally the most uncomfortable flats I’ve ever owned, and I don’t have wide feet whatsoever. My feet, oddly enough, do not end in a very short, perfect point. And they are the right size–any bigger and they’d be too big.

          I have them in leopard and they are dead cute but so fricking uncomfortable I almost never wear them.

      • Anonymous :

        I love these! You can pry them out of my cold, dead hands :-)

    • I would veer towards more of a light brown than a real nude. maybe in a trendy style like with an ankle strap or lace ups.

    • I hadn’t thought about this, but I realize now that the weather’s warmed up, I haven’t been wearing my nude-for-me heels anymore and I’ve been wearing more of a caramel color. It feels more current than my old nude ones.

      I still wear nude-for-me to commute in – because they are already beat up and why not – but I’ll probably replace them with something in a caramel color and less of a true nude.

      For casual wear, I’ve abandoned flats altogether and have been wearing these for warm weather:

      I don’t find black flats – so long as they’re structured and have a bit of a heel – to be dated like the nudes are.

    • Anonymous :

      I think nude-for-you in a shade you’ve searched for so that it exactly matches your skin tone is a dated look. Even a tan that is a little darker or lighter than your skin tone is more current.

      • TooMuchTanner? :

        I think “nude” is fine if it otherwise goes with your outfit. Mine is sort of tan, and if I’m wearing a tan or camel shell or sweater it looks intentional. I’ve been wearing blush — not my color match — as an accent color.

    • Anonymama :

      The whole point of nude-for-you shoes is to elongate the leg, so wearing them with any pants is pointless and yes looks weirdly barefoot.

  2. I hate nude flats. So yes, I hate them with jeans.

  3. Anonymous :

    Any Lightroom gurus here? I’m having a problem and can’t find anything on Google. I’m trying to use the adjustment brush to edit just part of my photo. It draws in red as normal to show me what part of the photo I’m editing, I make my edits but then when I click “done” the area that was painted by the adjustment brush looks like I painted on it with a black paint brush – and the black streak remains when I export the photo from Lightroom. I’ve never had this problem before so I think I just hit some setting I shouldn’t have but I can’t for the life of me figure out what is wrong.

    • Anonymous :

      This is driving me crazy on your behalf! I only have Photoshop at work, but can play around with Lightroom when I get home. Did you change the brush function? I know in Photoshop there are several “functions” or modes you can change the brushes to…

    • Maybe you accidentally had the exposure turned all the way down for the brush or some other thing like that?

  4. I need some good, polished looking flats (or very low heel) shoes for everyday work. I’m ok spending up to $200 for something killer (way more comfortable closer to $100-$150, though). I can’t justify more than that because I find flats just wear out so quickly.

    I wear black round-toe flats a lot with my sheath dress and sometimes matching/sometimes not suit jacket. I just don’t think that I’m polished enough with the same round-toe flats every day. I have a wide foot. Suggestions for reliable, comfortable brands??

    • Clarks has a lot of flat and low heel options that I find to be comfortable for my wide toes. They aren’t the most fashionable but they aren’t the worst either.

      • Thanks for the recommendation. I should mention that fashionable is important in my case :)

      • I agree! I have two pairs of the alitay flats that I wear constantly. you just have to filter out the frump. I’ve also had luck with Me Too flats and Anne Klein (I have some ghillie lace ones, but those are probably too casual for the office).

    • JuniorMinion :

      I feel like I say this all the time but I have wide feet and difficulty finding comfortable shoes and have gotten some great options at Payless – they also carry wide sizes in a bunch of options. I really like the below:

      • JuniorMinion :

        Also just to add I am normally a 7 or 7.5 wide shoe with slight bunions and the dexflex comfort line often fits me in a regular width

      • I thought of the ‘rettes when I heard that Payless filed for bankruptcy recently. Those beloved comfortable heels! Grab ’em while you can!

        • JuniorMinion :

          I legitimately don’t know what I will do if Payless no longer functions. I will have to go to work barefoot.

    • I think if you wear a very round toed style they are going to look casual no matter what. You want either a pointed toe or a classic elongated round toe like a Ferragamo Vara.

      I don’t wear a wide width so I’m not sure I can give you a specific recommendation but check out AGL at Nordstrom. I think full price they are over your price point but most of my friends who wear them have found them on sale.

      • Ferragamo Vara is exactly what I want, but I want enough of them that I can rotate daily and not wear them out in a few weeks time…. but a girl can dream. So what’s the next best option?

        I like the idea Kate Spade’s Emma Bow Flats, for example, but I need more than just one option. Being ‘stylish’ is important to me. This wide foot won’t trade comfort/width for style!

        • OP you are going to hate me, but if what you really want are the Vara, you should get the Vara. You’re going to end up spending more than that on multiple pairs of shoes you don’t really like and you may end up buying the Vara anyway. They’re great shoes and come in multiple widths. They won’t wear out quickly but when the soles wear you can have them replaced.

          I’d say a Treat Yo Self trip to the Ferragamo store is in order!

          • Nordstrom also has the J Renee ‘cameo’ in multiple sizes, colors and widths. It’s $90. I don’t know if this is a good brand but it’s a Vara knockoff for sure. I like the blue in this style.

        • I just spent some time looking on shop style (women-shoes-pumps, keyword “low”) and I see Sesto Meucci makes a very Vara-looking shoe called the Fadia for $230.

          • Also the Sesto Meucci Haben (but over $300)

          • Aha! Louise et Cie ‘Brianna’ is a Vara look-alike sold at Nordstrom and Nordstrom rack, some colors on sale

      • anon for this :

        At some point this really needs to change. Those sharp pointed toes being so often considered on trend or whatever is simply bad for feet, period.

        • Not if you buy the right size.

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t know – I developed hammertoes through excessive pointy toe shoe wear. I have one pair left because I love it but when they’re done, no more.

        • How are they bad for feet? My pointed toe flats just go out a bit further, they don’t actually squeeze my feet into a point.

          • It depends on your feet. Often if you have wider feet they do squeeze (to get them to not squeeze my toes I’d have to go up 2 sizes, and then they literally fall off). And many people do buy them too small, which is terrible on your feet – I suspect because the point makes feet appear larger.

    • Two Cents :

      I love these. Very simple and sleek, very comfortable.

    • THESE.ARE.AMAZING. I feel like an evangelist for this line.

      (Just realized those don’t come in wide – but these do!

      The Rockport Total Motion line is their collaboration with Adidas. I’ve never worn dress shoes so comfortable in my life.

      I’m a lobbyist, so I spend hours per week on my feet in marble hallways. I have three pairs of Total Motion shoes and I’ve practically abandoned all my other work shoes.

      I made a girlfriend with wide feet try them on and she agreed they’re amazing.

      • Thanks! I’ve never wear a ‘wide’ sized shoe, I should clarify. I just have normal-to-wider feet, as opposed to normal-to-narrow feet.

      • Anonymous :

        Everything Rockport does has been amazing for me. I own probably 8 pairs in different heel heights. As a bonus, Amazon and 6pm put them on super-duper sale periodically and you can get a pair for under $30.

    • Not fancy, but I love Aerosoles for this. I have gotten a solid year and probably 500 miles of walking out of mine, and they’re still comfortable. I currently wear the In Between, but any of their flats with memory foam soles are great. I usually find them on sale $45-60/pair.

    • Anonymous :

      I have these and they fit my wide forefoot, narrow heel very well. I probably tried on 50 other pairs before buying them:

      Rockport also has some good, comfortable options.

    • Anonymous :

      I have these and they fit my wide forefoot, narrow heel very well. I probably tried on about 50 other pairs before buying them:

      Rockport also has some good options.

    • How dressy is your office? I definitely second Clarks for comfort (I have hard to fit feet with tons of ballet damage from my youth and they work great for me in most styles) but would suggest looking at some of the oxfords and similar styles. They have a lot more support than many flats, and last longer IME (and I walk 4 miles a day usually). Plus they have a lot more style than basic flats.

      • Men in suits, with jackets off all day. There are so few women that we really get away with basically anything that’s remotely ‘business’ in style. That said, women at my level (which is a new level for me) are very well put together. The rest of my wardrobe is there, but footwear is not. I wear heels for important meetings/clients, but not all day. I guess I need another all-day shoe that is both stylish and comfortable and not a round-toe flat, and assumed that would be a pointed toe flat. The Franco Sarto wedge has me intrigued.

        • A wedge might be a good option, depending on the rest of your style. I wear the Clarks Hamble Oak oxford all the time with both narrow pants and dresses, but that might not work in your office.

    • Rockport’s Total Motion line! I’m a lobbyist and those shoes are my BFF with all the walking on hard floors I do. They’re made in partnership with Adidas and they’re seriously the most comfortable dress shoes I’ve ever worn. I’ve practically stopped wearing all my other shoes.

      It looks like the entire line doesn’t come in wide, but several options do. Seriously, I can’t say enough things about how awesome they are!

    • LK Bennett. Great and beautifully structured shoes. They are also having a good sale for flats right now

    • I’ve bought several pairs of the Ara Bel style flats. My feet are normally “medium” width and these are a bit loose on me. Although basically round/almond toed, they are dressy enough and I get tons of compliments on them.

  5. Blonde Lawyer :

    This is a great looking suit. I like that the model is actually a bit busty! Easier to picture how the suit will fit on me.

    • Anonymous :

      I was also thinking that it looks flattering for a busty figure.

      • Then I MUST show the manageing partner! I love the POWDER BLUE but have never heard of this designer before. I need to have lighter colors now that it is getting warmer out. Just today, the accountant filed my tax return and I am getting a refund of $212. I hope to get 2 new pair’s of shoe’s with it. Does anyone else spend their tax returns on shoe’s? If so, what do you buy?

        Myrna is comeing over any minute. She is bring over Deli takeout. I had some matzah at Grandma Leyeh’s and I am kind of backed up. FOOEY!

  6. Has anyone bought a house that wasn’t “on the market”. I mentioned to a friend, that I loved her neighbors home. She told the neighbors and the neighbors reached out and said they may be interested in selling. If I decide I am serious about this—how do I move forward? Do I still need a realtor? I assume an appraisal and inspection are needed, right? If everything checks out, do I need a real estate attorney or other professional for the actual sale?

    • Anonymous :

      You probably don’t need a realtor, but you definitely need an inspection and an appraisal. Whether or not you need an attorney depends on the state. In my state, realtors handle everything and attorneys are not involved in regular home purchases. But if neither you nor the sellers have a realtor, I would think it’s more likely you’d need to get an attorney involved.

      • Anonymous :

        Get a Realtor. There are a lot of little things and it’s not worth your piece of mind to have to worry–and if the Realtor makes a mistake–it’s on them–if you make the mistake…bye bye house. A house is likely the single biggest purchase you will make in your lifetime–please do not scrimp and cut corners on it.

        • What do you mean, “it’s on them”? If a realtor screws up, there’s very little recourse that a buyer would have against the realtor — it’s more likely that the deal falls apart!

          IMHO there’s nothing a realtor does that an attorney couldn’t handle very capably.

    • +1 on inspection and appraisal. In my state, the sales contract is usually a somewhat standardized form provided by the state realtors association. An attorney actually performs the closing, but they technically represent the buyer’s lender, not the parties.
      In this case, I think an attorney will need to draw up the sales contract.

    • Speaking from experience, DO NOT get a real estate agent involved without talking to the sellers first. Agents don’t work for free, so who’s going to pay them if you bring an agent in? In most places, the sellers pay for an agent – if you and the sellers are all hoping to do this quickly and with minimal overhead, an agent will add tens of thousands of dollars to the sale price.

      I think hiring a lawyer is the way to go and should be considerably cheaper than an agent.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        +1. The agents job is to find a a buyer and seller. They do a lot of extras for closing but those can be done by an attorney for far cheaper. An agent takes a straight percent of the sale price as commission. The attorney should charge you either hourly or a flat rate. Make sure you get a title search done too. The attorney can help you get that done.

      • WestCoast Lawyer :

        Or you can approach an agent and ask how much they would be willing to reduce their fee. We sold our house off market, but still used our agent (who found our new house, so he also got a commission there) to advise us on what was a good enough offer to be worth forgoing putting it on the market and do all the paperwork. Because he didn’t have to stage or market the house he reduced his commission by 1-1.5% (I can’t remember exactly) and the buyer’s agent also reduced her commission. As someone stated above, this is a huge purchase and a good agent can really help you make sure you don’t overpay and handle all the closing details.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        This. If you don’t have an agent, make sure the seller’s agent isn’t keeping the commission that the agents would typically split. A lawyer can check for that.

    • Anonymous :

      I did this without a realtor but I did use a real estate attorney. We had both an inspection and appraisal. I’m an attorney and I did the purchase contract myself – it was pretty standard/straightforward. Real estate attorney (we each had our own lawyer) did the rest of the legal work so we were covered if there were any issues with unpaid taxes/ clear title etc.

      A couple of ways it differs from a regular purchase:

      1. They are not on the market so it’s more ‘take it or leave it’ in terms of price negotiations. Way less motivated to negotiate on price because they can always list. They flexed a small amount (maybe $2000) after an issue arose in inspection but we ate the cost of a few windows the inspector recommended to replace but the seller insisted were fine.

      2. If they haven’t had a realtor involved to give them a ballpark figure on their house, they will have a very high opinion of how wonderful their house is (yes, seller, I agree that if it was in xyz neighbourhood it would be a million dollar house but we are a half hour away from that neighbourhood).

      3. No buffer. Our seller was a bit cray cray on the price negotiations and a few other things. It got a bit better when the lawyers were involved but his definition of vacant possession was out to lunch. We opt to close and toss the hangers, wall posters, and extra kitchen supplies ourselves (thanks but no thanks on the cheese grater).

      But, one advantage you have is that you sort of know the people because they are your friend’s neighbors so she can let you know how difficult or not difficult they may be to deal with. Our seller was a stranger (we left letters in mailboxes in a neighborhood we loved) so he wasn’t a known quantity until we were in the thick of price negotiations.

    • anon for this :

      Usually easier to have a realtor find a house right before it hits market. In hot areas that’s almost the only way to get good ones.

      • In hot areas, a good seller’s agent will never allow for an off-market transaction. You might see a house first with a good buyer’s broker working their way in the door ahead of others, but rarely does that get you the benefit of being the first and only bid. The auction process/open house/perception of demand results in emotional and high offers. The exception to this rule is if there is an estate-driven reason to sell – an atypically motivated seller. Those are few and far between in hot markets because even a marketed deal can be listed, competed for and under agreement within 48 hours.

        OP, you need an attorney. A good, high volume residential real estate attorney can handle all that you describe, and will be able to refer you to good third party providers (inspection, mortgage broker, and anything else you’d need).

        real estate broker

        • Yep. You need a good real estate lawyer. And you should be familiar with comparable prices and commissions in your area so that you can negotiate a price that fits the circumstances.

          To answer the initial question: one friend got their house without it being on the market. She was looking at listings and noticed a place that was taken off the market without selling two years prior. She wrote to the owner and basically said let me know if you’re interested in selling and they worked it out without any agents.

          I also know someone who put their house on the market only to have their neighbors rush over and say they would love to buy it for their elderly parents. They ended up selling to the neighbors but obviously still had to pay the agent.

        • I disagree. We lived in a hot market. We were approached about selling our home by a stranger. We had been thinking about selling but didn’t have the motivation to do all the pre-selling work (painting, patching, cleaning, storing/staging, showing the house….) yet. They offered us what we would have expected to list the house at, only contingency was inspection.

          We jumped. We watched comps and feel very good that our offer was well within 5% of what we’d have gotten if we listed. And in our area we’d have paid 5% in broker commissions alone– and had to spend at least $5k plus time and energy to get the house market-ready and sold. To be honest, we’d have taken an offer 5% less than they offered.

          We used a closing attorney.

          • That’s a great execution for you, but I’d put you in the ‘atypically motivated seller’ category. I’m not saying they’re not out there, but we track sales very closely. I don’t know the exact percent off the top of my head (bad broker!), but the VAST majority of sales are fully brokered transactions. I’m inner-suburban Boston and selling in the ‘first time home buyer’ price point’ segment of the market (sub $750k, give or take), as a point of reference.

            One more caveat: all rules are off the table when you get into the luxury space, maybe $2mm and up, give or take, but I don’t think we’re talking about that price point.

          • I’m the anon above and too funny- the property we sold was in Newton! And it sold for $800k last year. :-). Enjoy this week’s weather (we moved just slightly west).

          • What are you disagreeing with? Someone said that a good agent will help you find a house before it’s even listed and an agent chimed in to disagree that a good agent in the other side would go for it. And as I understand you, you’re saying that you didn’t use an agent and happily sold without listing?

    • Have both bought and sold houses this way. You don’t need a realtor. Get recommendations for a real estate attorney or settlement agent, both of whom will be familiar with how the process works and can guide you.

    • I’m going to disagree with the don’t get a realtor advice. As a buyer you don’t pay their fees, the seller does, and they are way more familiar with all the required paperwork than a lawyer (I am a lawyer and this is just not a transaction I would use one for). Get a good agent in your market. Quality definitely varies. As for getting a not on the market home, this is common. The usual tactic is writing a letter to the owner if you like a specific house or a more general letter if you like the neighborhood. Try not to sound stalker-ish and explain why you’re drawn to the place. If someone is interested in selling, I would then “agent up” and use both a buyer and seller agent to go through the closing process. They do a lot more than just find places and market them – they’ll arrange inspections and give you insight into the market and negotiating if anything comes up during the closing process. Lawyers just do not have these skills or connections. Find your house, get an agent.

      • In many markets you will go through a lawyer for settlement anyway (and pay them). Those lawyers absolutely know how to handle the transaction, because it’s what they do all day every day. An agent will probably make the inspections part flow more smoothly, but it’s an exorbitant price to pay if that’s all you need.

        • Fair enough if you’re on one of those markets then. I’m not and wouldn’t ever use a lawyer over an agent. Good rule though, know your market.

  7. Nordstrom shopping :

    I need to reboot my work wardrobe — have just started a new job & am living out of suitcases right now. Based on what I have read here, I am thinking I should book some time with a Nordstrom stylist.

    However I want to calibrate my expectations going in…..I have never shopped at Nordstrom (recent transplant to US). My typical work wardrobe consists of clothes from BR, Ann Taylor, LOFT – generally purchased on sale. The new office is business casual (high tech in So Cal) – most people wear jeans.

    I want to get enough pieces to carry me through 8-10 work days without repeating an outfit (repeating pieces ok) Mostly focusing on clothes/accessories. Likely ok for shoes.

    Will this be a $1000 expedition, a $3000 expedition, a $5000 expediton? or something else altogether that I should consider?

    • I would think that could easily be done for $1000. Use your existing wardrobe, add a pair of jeans or two, and new tops/accessories to freshen up what you have. If you want all brand new stuff, I still think it could be done for under $1500 at Nordstrom. 2 pairs of jeans ($200-250?), another pair of pants ($100), a skirt ($75), dress ($150), 8-10 tops ($400-600 with sales). Sometimes I dream of being forced to start a brand new wardrobe from scratch.

    • If you want 8-10 completely separate outfits you’re going to spend a lot. Even if you’re just adding to the pieces you have now I’d say $1000 is on the low side. I’d expect to spend $3000ish and not have eight completely new outfits. Tell the stylist how much you want to spend and what your brand preferences tend to be ($70 jeans, not $300 jeans, for instance) and they will work within your parameters. They may bring you a “splurge” item to try on but don’t feel any pressure to buy it.

      Bring your most basic pieces along with you so you can try on things with items you already have.

      • +1

        I used the Nordstrom personal shopper, and went in with the goal of upgrading my wardrobe. I spent $3000 before tax and got 1 pair of casual shoes, 2 dress shoes, 4 silk blouses, 2 dresses, a leather jacket, and a blazer.

        It was a wonderful experience, and while I do think you can get more stuff than what I got for the same price, I don’t see how you can get enough for 8-10 complete work outfits for much less than that.

        • I used the personal shopper service twice and both times spent more per item than I usually do, and those are still my most loved, valued and frequently worn items. So on a cost per wear basis they’re cheaper. This is a lesson I learn over and over.

          My bill was $2000 the first time, $3000 the second time (two years and a weight gain apart). I’d do it again in a heartbeat. OP I’m kind of envious you get to do this!

    • Anonymous :

      We did this with my husband when he transitioned to a position with a higher dress code. In the end, he spent ~$500-700 on a couple of new pair of slacks, a few shirts, two ties, and new shoes. They discussed what he already had to work with (color, condition, etc) and what his goals for the session were (mix and max ‘capsule’ starter wardrobe). There’s definitely an expectation that you’ll buy in the end, but it didn’t feel pressured. He bought more than he expected at the beginning (shoes and an extra pant), but because he wanted them. So I’d plan on having some flexibility in your budget.

      He hates shopping and had a really positive experience. And what he left with are truly workhorse items, just like he wanted.

    • Anonymous :

      I used a Nordstrom stylist last summer after losing 30 pounds and also needing a complete wardrobe reboot. I would be completely clear about your parameters going into the experience — my stylist heard “new wardrobe” and saw dollar signs, and basically pushed everything from bras/panties (that I did need) to a $900 St. John cardigan (that summarily went back). I can’t even remember all of the items I went home with, but the bill was more than $6500 when I left six hours later. She didn’t look for items that were on sale, and totally pushed full freight designer items on me (Celine wedges, Prada pumps, etc…and while these items were fun to try on without abandon, I have trouble spending $800 on one pair of shoes). Needless to say, when the dust settled, I think I went back and returned 90% of the stuff. I will say, the one item she did put together for me was a new suit, and having it tailored immediately was fabulous (I’m an attorney, and having nice suits is a necessity). As the months passed after my experience, I watched as every single item she pushed on me went on sale, and later bought the items I liked but thought were too expensive once they finally were marked down. I feel like with a day of strategic and careful shopping you can probably accomplish what you want on your own for less money. The experience was fun, though, and you can always return things that don’t work out.

  8. bathing suits :

    I love that Rent the Runway lets users put up pictures of themselves in a dress showing their usual size and which size the dress is. Is there any place that does this for bathing suits? Seeing a model wearing a swimsuit is pretty useless and I’d rather hear from actual people who have road-tested what they are wearing.

    I need to get a new suit or two and hate mail-order roulette.

  9. Cookbooks :

    Ladies, what are you favorite cookbooks with simple and easy recipes? Or, even better, what do you recommend for the truly scared and can’t cook? Like, the dog wouldn’t eat my scrambled eggs. I’ve decided that I can put my free time to some good use and learn some basics.

    For the record, I can bake decently because it’s closer to straight up chemistry (I’m a former scientist)–it doesn’t always look pretty, but always tastes good!

    • Anonymous :

      Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

      • +1
        Also you can’t go wrong with The Joy Of Cooking.

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          Yes this. Also great for learning new techniques, etc.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I’m about where you are (I can make scrambled eggs in multiple different ways, but I think I gave myself e coli earlier this year making chicken, so….) and Joy of Cooking for SURE.

          • Cookbooks :

            I took a food microbiology class back in college. It did nothing to inspire interest in food or cooking. I came away thinking that I should never cook poultry/seafood/meat because I’ll die of Campylobacter or worse.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I definitely had e coli, there was just no way to determine where it was from. Publicly I blame Chipotle. Privately….it might have been me.

          • First of all, I’m so sorry that happened to you

            Second, if it was E. coli it was probably on produce

            Third, I am a home cook who is obsessive about not sickening myself or my family. I’m super super careful around raw meat, particularly chicken. Any raw meat I bring home sits on a plate in my fridge because I have had meat packages leak too many times, and the last thing I want is raw chicken juice dripping into my produce drawer. When I handle raw meat I do not rinse it. It’s not necessary and that’s how you get little droplets of chicken juice flung on your dishes and countertops.

            All raw meat goes on a plastic cutting board which I then both scrub in the sink and throw into the dishwasher. Same with utensils.

            I am very, very aware of my hands having touched raw meat. I wash them before I touch anything that isn’t going to be cooked.

            Say I have a chicken I am going to roast. I get everything ready first – paper towels to dry it, the plastic cutting board, the utensils if any, and a ramekin with the salt and pepper I’m going to use. Am I going to put a lemon in the cavity? Then I have the lemon cut and ready to go. I also have the oven preheating and the cooking vessel ready to go (mine is a 12″ cast iron braiser, which I preheat in the oven.) I have my garbage drawer open and ready. Seriously, I do not want to touch the drawer handle with chicken hands.

            I open the chicken packaging over the drain of the sink to let the liquid run out, and throw away the wrapper. I put chickie on the cutting board, blot it with paper towels and throw those away. I salt it up with the s&p in the ramekin, stick the lemon in, and then wash my hands. I open the oven door with clean hands, pick up the chicken and plop it into the hot pan and close the oven door with my foot/hip. I wash my hands again.

            If I’m not this organized and at some step realize I forgot to open the garbage can or get the salt and pepper together, I wash my hands to do that and then immediately get them dirty again.

            I put all my stuff that touched the chicken into the dishwasher (which I open with clean hands) and then spray down my countertops just in case.

            It’s like being a surgeon and maybe not for everyone, but food safety is super important to me. And roast chicken is delicious.

          • This just looks like a lot of steps because it’s written out. I do pretty much the same thing. It’s just good hygiene and being careful. I dry the chicken with paper towels anyway for crispy skin. No need to rinse. As Jean Georges said to Julia Child, if bacteria survives the hot oven, it deserves to live. Washing a chicken does nothing to improve food safety and makes cross contamination more likely.

            Just be very careful about what raw meat touches, wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, and wash everything that you or the raw meat touched. Other than that, get a meat thermometer and learn how to use it.

          • Jesus. That sounds like a lot of work. Good for you. One of the many reasons I don’t eat meat is for fear of poisoning myself

          • It was a lot of work to write out (on an iPad) but not as much work to do. It’s just a habit once you get used to it, and I wrote all the details to cover all the bases.

          • I follow Anon’s process and it’s not actually as much work as it sounds like. Basically, if I’m cooking with meat, I have everything I need to prep it out and ready. My only exception is that I will occasionally let packaging/paper towels and other items that came in contact with the meat loiter in my sink and dispose of it all at once. That said, my sink is a designated “nothing is clean here” space and gets disinfected every night.

          • Anonymous :

            Late to this discussion, but food safety is a major reason why I got an instant pot.

            Package opens directly over the pot, and then goes into garbage. No raw chicken/pork juices in sink or other prep dishes.

            I season the meat directly in the pot and then the pressure cooking process kills anything else.

            From a surgeon’s perspective– for certain procedures that require breaking the sterile field, you keep one hand as the “dirty” hand and one as the “sterile” so there is no cross-contamination. I handle meat in the kitchen the same way and just wash up really well.

      • Anonymous :


      • +1 for How to Cook Everything.

        I learned from the BH&G Cookbook, but I much prefer the Bittman now. I’m no fan of the Joy of Cooking, but if you need a recipe for cooking whale meat, that’s your cookbook.

        • Cookbooks :

          That’s funny you mention that about Joy of Cooking. I had a friend whose amazing chicken pot pie recipe was from a very old version. When I skimmed through it, I found recipes for things I would never dream of making.

          Thanks! I’ll check out serious eats :o)

    • Google for cooking lessons near you!

      And this isn’t fancy, but for tasty weeknight meals, I love SkinnyTaste. (.com or cookbook:

    • Desperation Dinners is what I started with!

      Also, [email protected] Delicious (blog) does a lot of easy stuff (sheet pan meals, etc).

    • JuniorMinion :

      I like Cook’s Illustrated a lot as it is very descriptive in terms of what you need to do.

      • Ooh, I think Cook’s Illustrated would really appeal to you, OP, based on your science background. I find their research into why some recipes work and others don’t fascinating, but you’d probably really get into it!

        • Cookbooks :

          This definitely sounds up my alley! I like to know what’s happening and knowing why something doesn’t work. Thank you for suggestion!

        • Cook’s Illustrated has an excellent “cooking for 2” cookbook series that uses the same science of cooking approach but adjusts for smaller quantities.

      • I’ll be the voice of dissent. As much as I love Cooks Illustrated and Food Lab, I think their focus on getting the perfect recipe is intimidating for a beginning cook. You absolutely do not have to use a mandoline and use two different oils to have a very good dinner.

        Mark Bittman is much more user friendly. I also like Pam Anderson (especially how to cook without a book) for a home cook. The New York Times Cooking section has great recipes and instruction videos online.

        • Cookbooks :

          This is good to know. I need user friendly as I’m not too familiar with cooking equipment; I wouldn’t even know where to begin with a mandoline. I’ve bookmarked some of the NYT Cooking instruction videos, but have yet to watch. Thank you!

          • Yeah, that’s what I meant in my comment about the Alton brown cookbooks below. Cooks Illustrated is super sciency which I like and appreciate, but they can make you feel like if you don’t have their top rated yet not expensive ____ why are you even cooking? Or like there is One And Only One way to do something.

          • JuniorMinion :

            I’m late but you don’t need a hand mandoline…this can cause fingertips to be included in what you are cooking :) If you have a food processor it should have come with a mandoline attachment which works well for stuff like thinly slicing potatoes / carrots etc.

            Some other non-cookbook helpful resources:

            Youtube: Foodwishes, EverydayFood – these are both channels. Also I have had good luck just looking up “how to [ ]” on youtube. This strategy has worked for me for everything from how to break down a chicken to how to peel a pomelo

            Blogs / Websites: BrownEyedBaker (does food as well), Skinnytaste, Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, Cooking Light (can filter by easier recipes as well) – I have found sometimes blogs have a ton of helpful photos and a “story” about making whatever it was that can help provide context to how whatever you are making should look

            Podcast: The Splendid Table – not really applicable to learning to cook but more learning about ingredients / food / cooking in general – I find it helpful and entertaining

            Key Tools:
            Big Ticket Items:
            Kitchenaid pro mixer ($$$$$$$$ but I will be buried with it so its all good)
            Cuisinart 12 cup food processor
            Set of pots and pans (there are key sizes to have here)- Mine are Circulon anodized aluminum which is my preferred cooking surface. I find stainless to be too heavy and am unwilling to spend tons of money on pots and pans due to the fact that mistakes get made. I also won’t buy anything that can’t go in the diswasher.
            Roasting Pan: Mine is from a thrift store but Calphalon gets good reviews here.

            Other Helpful stuff:
            Cutting board: I have a giant plastic one that I think is Tramontina (restaurant supply brand) but OXO makes a good one for ~$20
            Bench Scraper (Mine is norpro and has a ruler at one end): So you don’t have to attempt to pour your cutting board contents into a pan / attempt to use a knife and slice your finger open – $6
            Wooden spoons: I have a bamboo set I have been using forever – I think you should probably expect to pay ~$4-$5 / spoon
            Large and small whisks: I have silicon coated ones because of the anodized aluminum cookware – I think mine are Farberware and the set was ~$8
            Set of silicon spatulas – OXO tends to do a good job with this stuff as does rubbermaid
            Set of glass pyrex mixing bowls / 9×9 and 9×14 pans
            Cookie sheets (Nordicware)- 2 for $20
            measuring spoons (anything basic – mine are old norpro plastic)
            Measuring cups – wet (1/2/4 cup) – I have an Anchor Hocking set I bought on Amazon for $11 after reading negative reviews of the current Pyrex spout design
            Measuring cups – dry – I have an old nordicware plastic set, but both Norpro / OXO have good sets for <$10

          • Cookbooks :

            JuniorMinion, this is awesome! I think a lot of this stuff is somewhere in the kitchen, or I’ve at least seen it during my adventures in baking. I’m going to save this for future reference, in any case.

            I’ve always wanted to pull a Julia and Julia, not with Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but one of the cookbooks sitting around gathering dust. I haven’t been brave enough. I need to figure out scrambled eggs first.

            Again, this is great and much appreciated! Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      Cooking is also science. For example with eggs, the whites will coagulate at one temp and the yolks set when they reach another. There is a right temperature to cook them at. If you cook them at too high of a temp, the proteins will form too many bonds and your eggs will be rubbery. If you want a more “scientific” approach to cooking, there are a few books do this. I think The Food Lab has a bunch of recipes for basic things, including scrambled eggs. You could also try sous vide cooking for more control.

      • Cookbooks :

        I’ll check out The Food Lab, for sure! I think what’s always frustrated me is that cooking seems very intuitive and that makes intimidating.


      • Anonymous :

        Shirley Corriher is a chemistry phd who wrote a couple cookbooks which detail why certain ingredient proportions make your food come out the way it does. What is the effect of different flour protein content on your bread? Etc. It is a fascinating read (says a science nerd)

        • Cookbooks :

          I looked up her book, and it looks like something that will be very useful to have on hand.

          Thanks so much!

    • The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt.

    • take a knife skills class at your local community center or a sur la table / WS etc. Good knife skills are the foundation of being comfortable with cooking, and if you weren’t raised/taught it can be tough. Other than that I’m a big fan of seriouseats (website), the alton brown cook books, america’s home test kitchen, and ina garten’s recipes.

    • Anonymous :

      America’s Test Kitchen has great books for all kinds of things. Since you mentioned the science thing, check out the Serious Eats cookbook that gets into the chemistry and science behind basic techniques, which you might enjoy.

    • Watching Good Eats on Netflix and an America’s Test Kitchen subscription.

      I learned how to cook watching Alton Brown on Good Eats because he focused on one ingredient at a time and broke down the science of the ingredient and then translated that into cooking methods (e.g., why can you steam fish and it is delicious and if yous team beef it is weird? What does salt really do to food?). America’s Test Kitchen is similar, and their “Cooking School” cook book is great. I will warn you, ATK recipes are not the shortest or easiest recipes, but they are, 99% of the time, the best way to do something. My husband and I cook exclusively from ATK recipes now and 99% of the stuff we make is a hit.

      • Actually, Alton Brown’s cookbooks are really good too. They’re fun to read and much less intimidating than Cooks Illustrated.

      • Cookbooks :

        I had no clue Good Eats was on Netflix! I’ll check out the “Cooking School” cookbook, too. Thanks for these recommendations!

    • Frozen Peach :

      I taught myself to cook with the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I think it’s the best basic one, and I own most of the standbys up above.

      • JuniorMinion :

        Interesting – I don’t have this one! I started out with Julia Childs – luckily in college when I had a lot of time to mess things up. I will add though that I have gotten a lot of good recipes from Cooking Light

      • Me too! Simple instructions, 3 ring binder, and lots of basics with variety. It’s like a Home Ec text book.


      Martha Stewart also has a show/cook called Cooking School that’s good.

      I am a big fan of Mark Bittman but his recipes are very sparse so I am not sure if that’s a good place to start if cooking isn’t your thing. I really like Alice Waters’ Art of Simple Food. Some of her recipes are more involved (Bolognese, ahem) but most are really easy and if you just follow the instructions it all magically comes together. Though a tip: read the whole recipe through twice before you start.

      • Anonymous :

        Interesting to know about the sparse recipes, I’ll keep that in mind. I tend to like the recipes I use when baking to be as chockful of information and notes as possible.

        I always read recipes all the way through a few times. That’s one of the few things I know about cooking.

        Thank you!

        • One more reason that Test Kitchen or Cook’s Illustrated might appeal to you. That’s basically the approach. Also while I agree with the criticism that sometimes the CI recipes are needlessly complicated to be ‘perfect’ they also do a lot of simplified versions and a lot of mastering basics in the magazine. For instance, in this month’s issue, there is a feature on poaching eggs and why all the different techniques work/don’t and another on a quick version of mac and cheese from scratch. A while back they had one on making a perfect omelette. Plus a ton of helpful product reviews. You might enjoy a subscription.

    • I like the America’s Test Kitchen 100 Recipes cookbook. I find that this book has basic recipes (best ways to fry and egg, roast potatoes, etc.) that are easy to produce, and I like the hints of science behind why the food taste so good.

    • Since no one said it above (I don’t think), the cookbook “The Food Lab” by Kenji Lopez-Alt *is* the Serious Eats cookbook. If you want to check out what the style is and try a few recipes before buying the book, just dig around for Kenji’s posts on the Serious Eats blog and the other more science-y/experimental posts, like the best way to cook X.

      The Kitchn (no e) blog is also good for learning the basics (some videos, etc.).

      • I was clicking through The Kitchn, and it’s definitely something I’ll keep bookmarked.


  10. Cast iron question :

    How do you clean a cast iron pan? I just bought one for the first time and DH insists that you only use coarse salt to clean it (not soap). True? How does it get clean?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      No soap. I just rinse with water, wipe out with a rag or paper towel, and add in a bit of olive oil.

    • Once it’s seasoned, you can use dish soap. I only use coarse soap and veg oil if I really get something stuck. For everyday use, Dawn and a soft sponge is fine.


    • Anonymous :

      No soap! I use hot water and salt also to get the food bits off, then dry immediately. Then apply a thin layer of vegetable oil. You can warm it in the oven after that if you want or put it back in the cabinet. The joy of a cast iron pan is the goodness of all the seasoning that develops over time. Using soap or a harsh scrub brush can strip it of all of that.

    • anon for this :

      Never soap. Hot water, scrub brush. Also helps to put about half its volume of water in it, stick it on the stove, bring to a boil for a couple minutes, then scrub away (good mitts on both hands for this!) If you really burned something on and have to scrub the eff out of it, you need to reseason it probably. I avoid soap at all because I usually figure out it needs to be reseasoned by screwing up a meal.

    • Meg March :

      “Never soap” is a leftover from when most soaps contained lye, which can break down the seasoning. Now, your mild detergent is fine, once you have properly seasoned the pan (or if it’s pre-seasoned).

      I clean mine with a sponge and generic dish soap. If there is anything that is really stuck on there, I use a chain-mail square to scrub it hard. After that, I immediately dry it off with a paper towel. I put a dash of canola oil (about the size of a quarter), rub that around with a paper towel and store it on the stove.

    • You can totally use soap and all of those people who say you can’t are just suffering needlessly by clinging to that old wives tale.

  11. Seeking Fun City Destination :

    I have ~$1000 in airfare credit to use in May or early June. I can take a 5, maybe 6-day trip, including travel from SE US. Domestic or international is fine. I’m more interested in a city than a beach/resort, though water would be an excellent bonus. I will most likely be traveling alone. I speak English and some Spanish. When I am alone, I enjoy just wandering around checking out museums, shops, and sites, grabbing food as I go, maybe an organized day trip in there. I have a rather modest budget for accommodations, so basically I am looking for somewhere that is somewhat expensive to get to but where it is not too expensive to stay. Suggestions?

    • Anonymous :

      Barcelona or Lisbon? Probably won’t be under $1000 round trip unless you are close to a major city.

    • Anonymous :

      Vancouver? Buenos Aires? Lisbon?

    • San Francisco?

    • Tinkerbell :

      Definitely Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon. Edinburgh. Istanbul.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Paris might be a good choice, and the weather will be nice then. You can find relatively inexpensive lodging (under $100/night) that will be clean with few frills.

    • Seeking Fun City Destination :

      Thanks! Will look at all of these options. Did not think Paris was a possibility, but will definitely see what I can find as to hotels at your suggestion. Don’t care about frills. Also, keep suggestions coming if we’ve missed one you’d recommend . . .

      • Anonymous :

        I didn’t fly out of my mid-level city because it was cheaper to fly out of Baltimore when I went to Paris, but my city was still under $1000 for the round trip when I purchased in July for an October trip.

  12. * coarse SALT. D’oh!

  13. I’m having some issues not being happy for and even wishing failure on a certain family member of mine. This person has kind of been a crappy person in the past, and the faction of the family that backs him is in part pretty crappy but also just has an entirely different set of values than I do, so I kind of don’t like them. And by different values I mean… we have completely different understandings of how it is reasonable to treat another person.

    Anyway, all this to say that there is some reason for me to feel wronged, but it’s not like this person is a terrible ex who ruined my life or anything. And I am not totally cool with me wishing failure on someone for any real reason, especially since my life is pretty awesome. The person in question has had a significant professional success that’s been bothering me a little. How do I stop being upset at good things that happen to people I don’t like?

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I am sure others may disagree, but perhaps there is nothing wrong with your feelings…

    • I think it’s a-okay. Good things happen to bad people and it’s not fair.

    • Someone recently told me “it’s ok to feel how to you feel, it’s what you do about it that matters”. So let yourself be upset. Then move on. I would probably advise to not go out and sabotage this person, but it is ok to be upset.

      • +1

        Ever since I shifted my mindset to this, I feel much better. I can express my negative feelings once or twice in a journal or to a trusted friend, acknowledge that they exist and that I don’t need to act on them, and then move on with my life. It’s been quite freeing in a way.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I have an ex that treated me like absolute dirt (abuse…) and this is what I do. I don’t actively sabatoge them, but I’m not trying to think about all their good things. I just try not to think about how great it would be if they were hit by a bus TOO often.

      • Yes, exactly this.

      • Anonymous :

        I was told in therapy that feelings are never “wrong.” They may not be justified; they may not be charitable; but they are not wrong. You feel how you feel. It’s coming from somewhere, so if you feel unsure or bad about your feelings, do the emotional work on yourself and figure out where these feelings are originating. Then you can do the work to change those feelings, if you choose. Thoughts and actions are different things, thank goodness, and as long as you aren’t going to act on your feelings in a way that negatively impacts yourself or someone else, just feel the feeling and then find a way to move forward. Denying or subjugating feelings is what leads people to drink, drug, and engage in all kinds of other self-destructive behavior. Since I started following this advice, I’ve felt a lot better about myself and others around me. YMMV. Byron Katie, who not all people like, and I understand that, writes a lot about this. “Don’t believe everything that you think.”

    • Tiffany Trump, is that you?

    • I think what helps is your wish will have no impact on him what so ever. The only person who is being impacted is you. So, do yourself a favor and stop torturing yourself.

    • I am in this situation with a frenemy (sweet as pie to my face, ruthlessly trashes me behind my back) and I just remind myself that there’s enough success to go around. It doesn’t take anything from me if she succeeds. I can also succeed on my own.

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong feeling that way. Most people take pleasure in the failures of people they don’t like, and pleasure in the success of those they do. Both of you sound like very normal people. Just aim to be better yourself.

      How do you feel better about it yourself? Well, all I can say is that I think it depends on the situation and how crappy it is. When I feel vindictive like that, I try to remember that my impressions of most people are almost always wrong because they are so incomplete, and so I try to reassess why I feel the way I do and what I might be missing about that person. Of course, YMMV, as I obviously wouldn’t give the office creep that benefit of the doubt.

  14. I need mop recommendations. We have a linoleum kitchen floor. I used something from Rubbermaid for a while–one that you could fill with soapy water or vinegar and squirt while mopping–but it was cheaply made and broke.
    Is there an easy way to mop the floor? Do I really need to get a bucket and wring-mop?

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe a Shark? Or does that get too hot for lino?

    • Just get an old school sponge mop with a thing on the mop handle to squeeze it out, and a bucket of sudsy water. You can replace the mop heads cheaply as the sponge wears down. You don’t have to do the full rag mop.

    • PatsyStone :

      I have a “spin and go pro,” and it’s the best I’ve used. Also look up “slop mop” for easy technique.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I love the wet pads for the Swiffer Sweeper. Not the Wet Jet mop, just the regular Swiffer with premoistened pads. Boom!

    • Anonymous :

      I like the Libbman wonder mop, because the head is washable, it wrings out well, and gets in tighter spots than a sponge mop. It’s easier to clean than a traditional string mop.

  15. Street harassment :

    I was too late for the earlier thread but wanted to follow up on the discussion on sexual harassment on the street. I used to get this all the time when I was late teen and 20s, only because I lived in urban areas or on a huge college campus and walked everywhere. I’m now late middle-aged and also don’t walk that much in cities, so I’m mostly removed from this (although even now I’ll get the occasional catcall from a passing car). But I am so discouraged to hear that this is still such a problem. Or maybe it’s getting worse in the Trump era?

    In a self-defense class in college I learned both to call out the person for the harassing conduct – which empowers the woman and also can make it less likely she will be a target for actual violence, since attackers look for easy prey who are less likely to fight – and to name the behavior and put it in context. (Instead of just saying eff off or something.) The formulation I usually used was “Leave me alone and stop harassing women.”

    Obviously you have to consider the entire context and make sure you are otherwise safe (and it’s not really applicable to the random mentally ill homeless person who is ranting and not catcalling). You should also expect face-saving behavior from a harasser if he’s around other yahoos – you’ll be called a b*tch, a lezz, whatever – but he probably will also think twice next time. And you will feel so much better for having stood up and said something.


    • I also posted too late so will repost here, and add that I DO think it’s worse in the Trump era, in the same way a lot of people now think it’s ok to air their racism out publicly instead of keeping it inside. I don’t think males who catcall are doing it with the motive of picking anyone up–I think they are extremely insecure in their masculinity and are seeking to assert a sort of dominance and feel empowered when they elicit a “gasp!”-type reaction, in the same manner that a flasher would. I also think most of these guys have a substantial hatred of women.

      BTW, thank you for the tip about naming the behavior–I really like that and will use it.

      • (Same anon here–I feel compelled to add that racism isn’t ok on the inside either! I feel better now.)

    • I missed the earlier thread too but just went back and read it. I had to move out of Washington Heights in 2008 after a year there (and leave my huge cheap apt) because I couldn’t go on one run without street harassment. I’m sure the whiter neighborhood I moved to had it’s fair share of a-holes who were abusers in their own way, but there is a cultural component to street harassment that we don’t like to talk about.

      • I can’t say that I agree, and I’m not trying to be PC. I’ve been harassed by men of every race and social class.

        • I think most women have, but it does seem to be more pervasive in some cultures more than others. As for social class, my experience has been that the harassment is more insidious and less blatant, but obviously driven by the same motive to dehumanize women.

        • Yup, I agree.

      • It seems to vary radically by country too–I went to India with my husband (he is Indian and I am white)–and the catcalling/eve-teasing was bad. There are so many beautiful things to experience in India, but experiencing how women are treated there ruined it for me. I was in North India-I’ve heard that in the southern parts it is not as bad.

      • I’m brown and wear hijab. I have not been catcalled ever in the 8 years I was in Harlem. Nor was I ever catcalled in Newark during the 6 years I spent there. Random people would greet me and say hello or salam.

        • I hope that you are not being treated badly (by any gender) in this administration’s America. My husband’s family is Muslim and we are afraid to have them visit right now.

    • This is awful to admit, but I live in the nicest neighborhood in my city so I can live in peace. The worst that ever happens is weird flirting at whole foods or teenagers telling me I’m ‘hot’ when I jog through the park. Whereas in a less nice neighborhood I was routinely shouted at and even followed home

      • This is my point – saying it’s “awful to admit” makes it less likely anyone will talk about it. I’m mixed race. I was harassed so badly in Wash Heights (always Latino or African American men) that I cried after runs sometimes. I moved to the UWS. I was able to get through runs fine. I’m sure that the white men had thoughts and used their power in other ways to keep women down, but for me, getting through my favorite activity without constant harassment made my life much better.

        I am a public defender and have many minority clients. They harass me also, and when that happens, I’m the one with the power. But I still notice it as a cultural and pervasive issue.

        • I’m a white, degree holding, PYT. I don’t talk the harassment and subsequent move in real life because it could be misinterpreted as racism. I swear the superintendent of my old apartment building saved my life more than once before by going after these men who followed me home.

    • Men STILL Suck :

      It happened again! I look like an elf today (unintentionally) and I’m in a freaking down jacket! Wtf?! LEAVE ME ALONE.

    • This is where intersectionality fails (it doesn’t always, but it does here). Women are always told that someone else’s oppression matters more, whether it be racial, SES-based, religion-based, etc., but then that makes it impossible to have real conversations about cultural components to harassment and violence against women. One well-known example is the New Year’s attacks in Cologne that were perpetuated by refugee men; some women reported later that they did not feel like they could go to the police and report what happened because they didn’t want to be perceived as racist. That is absolutely NOT OKAY in my book. Feminism is about ending male oppression and violence and we cannot do that if we cannot name the problems.

      • This. Exactly this.

      • The vast majority of those men were not refugees, unless you’re using refugees as another word for brown.

  16. Price of Admission :

    To those of you active in faith communities, do you feel like there is a “price” of admission to take part? By price, I mean either a contribution of money or time. We have been at our church for nearly three years, and, initially, I adored our involvement there. Over the past year plus, however, it feels like we are constantly being asked to do and contribute more. I am now on the governing board of our church, being asked to give legal advice, teaching Sunday School, being asked to donate more and to attend more and more meetings. We are a young family with two, full-time working parents and two little kids. We initially went back to church because I felt like I needed that time, space and source of filling my own cup. Now, it feels like it is a constant drain. Any advice on how to set boundaries in this situation, especially where the ask is coming directly from the priest?

    • Anonymous :

      I would tell the priest exactly that you have said here “We are a young family with two, full-time working parents and two little kids. We initially went back to church because I felt like I needed that time, space and source of filling my own cup. Now, it feels like it is a constant drain.”

      No one is going to say no for you or stop asking unless you tell them do. Figure out what you WANT to do and draw the line there. Ask the priest to not ask you to do more, explain that you will gladly volunteer when it is an option. Note that I am specifically figure out what you ‘want’ to do not staying what you ‘CAN’ do. Do not feel obligated to max yourself out because it is not good for yourself, your family or your church if you burn out.

      I struggle to even get to church regularly with the kids let alone take on this many volunteer roles. Please don’t feel that by saying no you are taking away from your faith community. Serve in the best way for yourself and your family and feel comfortable that you are enough and you are doing enough.

      • Don’t complain to the priest about something that’s not his fault. Just start saying no. How are they supposed to know you’re overburdened if you’re constantly agreeing to things? It’s on you, OP. Stand up for yourself here.

        • Anonymous :

          op said the priest is the one asking. He/she can certainly be told by op that she is maxed out and to please not ask for additional volunteering. Setting respectful boundaries is not ‘complaining’

    • Anonymous :


      You just say no. Like most organizations that rely on volunteers they will push you to do everything. “No I can’t do that.” “No I’m already overbooked.” “No, I’d rather do a good job with what I have.” “No thanks.” “No.”

      I feel there is a “price” of admission only in that as a regular user of the church I should contribute something.

    • Anonymous :

      Most communities are always looking for time, talent or treasure. I’d just start by saying no. Or no thank you. You have a busy life and people will keep asking until you say no. And see what the reaction is. If the reaction is negative, start considering a new (larger?) church.

      Or refer the asker to another person within the community that is looking to get more involved? Maybe you keep getting asked because you are an easy name to think of. Is there anyone else you can throw in their path?

      • Anonymous :

        Gosh, they always need more time, but I’ve never had people personally ask me to do more when I’m already doing a lot. Usually it’s announcements like, we need ushers, we need Sunday school teachers, and then people volunteer. I would be surprised if the priest asked me directly to give more money or whatever.

        • Price of Admission :

          I think this is part of it. I feel like our priest should see how stretched thin we are because he asks and I tell him, “Wow. I am exhausted by all that is going on right now.” He is very sympathetic and then turns around the next day with another request.

          • Senior Attorney :

            No, you need to tell him in so many words: “I’m exhausted and at my limits with church stuff! Please don’t ask me to do anything else for a while!”

          • I know how hard it is to have your priest/pastor ignore your boundaries and keep asking. Hugs. I am sure he just doesn’t understand or is forgetful.

            If it is hard to outright say no – say “I am taking a break for six months to focus on God’s calling on my life as a mother and wife at home.” Or something to that effect. Sometimes backing away slowly and bringing it back to your other biblically centered roles will work better.

            My husband is in full-time ministry and many dudes in ministry just don’t get it

          • Anonymous :

            Ugh that is so gross to me. No. Dude in ministry need to do better. And I don’t only get to not do unpaid labor for the church because I’m busy fully committing myself to doing unpaid labor at home.

            How about “I can’t take on any more work. If you think the Church needs a lawyer I’m happy to ask around for a referral.”

    • Anomnibus :

      No matter how much you give, people will usually try to squeeze just a little more out of you, it’s on you to say when they’ve squeezed too hard. Religion should be open to everyone, regardless of how much money or time they have to contribute outside of services, and a good church leader will understand if you need to take a step back to focus on your own needs and the needs of your family. I know that the church preaches God first, others second, and self last, but you can’t serve anyone with an empty cup! If you say “no” or try to scale back your service to the church and the priest gives you a hard time, it might be time to find a new church.

    • How much of this pressure increased when you went on the board? A lot of non-profits expect combined contributions of time, talent, and/or treasure from their board members and I doubt churches are any different. I’d be very clear when you have reached your limit of what you can contribute.

      • Price of Admission :

        This is part of it, for sure. I am the only attorney on the board, so I am asked to attend meetings/complete tasks for any number of reasons.

        • That doesn’t mean that you have to be the de facto attorney for the church. Boards sometimes confuse that and serious creep happens. If they want you to act as their attorney, they need to be signed up as your clients (whether pro bono or not is your call).

    • Just say no.

    • I think you’ll just have to be direct with him. I’m on the board of a tiny parish that’s actively rebuilding, so there’s a lot to get involved in. Many of the old-timers complain that no one wants to get involved. Thankfully, our new priest has said, “If no one’s stepping forward and it always falls to the same few people, then we as a parish need to examine our commitments. We may be stretched too thin and need to decide what our priorities are right now.” Have that hard talk with the priest. Tell him you can’t take on any more and you’re not just tired, but you’re burned out to the point where it’s affecting other areas of your life.

    • Anonymous :

      This happens in all kinds of communities, and not to sound like a broken record, but the only solution to this is to start saying “no” more. It’s not about a “price of admission” so much as that it is so hard to find smart, talented, motivated people who are willing to put in unpaid labor. The asks will continue until you stop them. There’s no reason to feel guilty; you can do what you can do and can’t do what you can’t do.

  17. Anon Like Crazy :

    Does anyone have the Thinx underwear for urinary incontinence and if so, what do you think? I have that problem and it’s embarrassing at work. I don’t want to wear pads every day. It’s unlikely this is going to go away, according to my doctor, even with Kegels or surgery, because it’s a corollary effect of a disability.

    • I’m very sorry that you’re going through this. Hugs and rawrs.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t use them but I sure would if I needed to. I had incontinence problems for awhile after my son was born and wearing pads totally sucked; I understand why you wouldn’t want to do that.

    • FWIW I use Thinkx for periods and REALLY like them. Just feels like underwear, so maybe worth trying it out for you!

    • anon urologist :

      I havent used them but have patients who love them.

  18. How often do you reach out to your busy friends – the types w executive jobs, young kid, active extended family life? I have such a friend that I love and we see each other maybe 4-6 times a yr now that we’re in the same city – 2-3 of those times will be at industry events while the rest will be drinks/dinner w just us. Just got drinks w her a month ago and already I’m feeling like – wow I miss her. She’s fun to hang with plus I’m going thru a rough patch professionally (very common in our field) so it’s good to be able to chat w someone who gets it. She’s the type who is everyone’s mentor and advisor at work, family, in life – I know she loves that role but I do think there are times it’s too much bc she does complain about junior employees who feel ok complaining to her about everything in life from work to boyfriend issues. So point is – I’m looking to maintain an equal friendship – not a therapist or career counselor relationship. How much is too much in terms of reaching out?

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