Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Two-Button A-Line Blazer

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

armani two-button blazerHappy Monday! Wow: this blazer is amazing. I love the clean, sophisticated lines and the sleekness of it all. When they style a blazer like this with no blouse beneath it, it can be a bit hard to know how to wear it in a way that’s both appropriate for work and doesn’t mar the lines. I’d probably go with either a thin turtleneck (probably in black) — or I’d go with a simple scoopneck tee, probably also in black.  It was more than $3K, but you’re in luck: it’s on sale. With the extra 25% off offered today, it comes down to $1527. Virgin Wool Two-Button A-Line Blazer

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  1. Comfy Pajamas? :

    Recs for super comfy lounge clothes? I am a size 14/16. Will be home for 12 weeks on maternity leave with a toddler and newborn so looking for comfy pajamas or lounge wear I can wear all day. I plan on nursing, but as long as the top is loose I just wear a nursing bra under and pull up the shirt to nurse. Suggestions?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I like the Gillian O’Malley fluid knit pants and tops from Target. Super soft and I wear them all the time when I’m at home.

    • Just a recommendation for the button down kind. You can still find them in a super stretchy, soft fabric but when I was on leave with my 1st, wearing “old fashioned” pajamas was one of the things that made me feel put together during those sleepless nights/days. I’m going to be on ML again soon and plan on upgrading to a new pair or two. I always just wore a nursing bra under and opened a few buttons. Much more comfy that yanking a shirt over my head and especially nice in the winter or if you have company because you’re still mostly covered.

      • What sizing would you recommend – a size up from pre-pregnancy or more?

        • I think it depends on the individual. I found my pre-pregnancy size was fine the first time around because the PJs I got were still a relatively stretchy fabric and these types of PJs aren’t meant to be clingy in the first place, but I think one size up is always a safe bet too. I don’t think you need to go up more than one size unless you have a lot of weight gain/body changes in pregnancy (beyond the usual).

      • I have zero BF experience, but would suggest the Soma Cool Nights pjs, to Aims’ point.

    • I got some Ekouaer brand PJs from Amazon Prime. They’re inexpensive so you won’t mind if they get messy, super comfy, and I assume the buttons make them good for nursing.

    • I love anything made of modal from Gap’s “body” line.

      • This Gap top is my favorite

        9.5 months postpartum/nursing and I still love it

    • Currently on maternity leave and I’m living in target nursing tank tops, the barefoot dreams circle cardigan, and Zella leggings. Bonus that if I decide to run an errand I don’t have to change.

      • I wore some version of this when I was on maternity leave as well. I really liked the nursing tank + open cardigan combination because then my whole mid section was covered when I nursed since I just had to undo the top of the tank. Even when I didn’t have visitors I preferred this because my back would get so cold when I had on a nursing bra + shirt and lifted up my shirt.

      • Yes, exactly what I’m wearing right now, with a sleeping baby in a wrap. :)

    • Keep in mind that your sizing will fluctuate so much early on. I had zero interest in wearing a nursing bra until I had to. I’m a 36G (when not pregnant) and I didn’t want to get nursing bras until things had settled down a bit. I’d consider waiting – I ended up ordering a ton of different sizes from Nordstrom about two weeks before I went back to work, and it worked out really well. I had plenty of comfy pajama pants to wear (love Target for this), and on top I wore nursing tanks and a zip-up hoodie or cardigan. I was surprised that the nursing tanks offered a decent amount of support given how out of control my bosoms were. If I wanted to be extra supported going out, I’d wear my Bravado ones, but most days I was perfectly happy in one of the two styles from Target that I had.

      • And just reread and saw this is your second, so sorry for the extra advice. But definitely Target pajamas!

      • I did stretchy amazon “nursing” bras. Forget the brand but inexpensive and came in a 3 pack and easy to wear to regardless of size fluctuations and so comfy I could sleep in them (and wearing to bed was a must for me because I had so much leakage and needed the pads, which a tank alone didn’t hold in place).

    • I wear the h&m nursing tanks with a top over (and my gap leggings). I’m tiny up top though so don’t need a tremendous amount of support.

    • Costco has incredibly comfortable pajamas and lounging clothes. You can almost always get more sizes online with free shipping. I’m partial to Felina and Carole Hoechman.

      • I just got a Felina “lounge” set from Costco and it is amazing. The Felina leggings are also super soft and comfortable.

    • I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this but LuLaRoe leggings (I know….) in tall/curvy stretched over my bump and were perfect on mat leave.

  2. Do you regret not being a SAHM? :

    If your kids are out of the house now, do you ever regret not being a SAHM when they were younger? I am due to have my second soon and there are times I look at my toddler and wonder where did the time go? I don’t think I’d be a great SAHM – I found maternity leave to be extremely difficult and was ready to return to work. I don’t have any regrets about returning to work, but I wonder if I will once the kids are grown? What have your experiences been? (FYI – I do still plan to return to work, but just curious)

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Not once. Son is 7. I like spending time with him so much more as he gets older.

    • Anonymous :

      I regret not being a SAHM exactly as much as any father I’ve ever met regrets not being a SAHD. Which is to say, it has never occurred to me that I should regret going back to work.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I love you, 9:50 am Anonymous.

      • To be fair, my dad tells me he wishes he was home more. That’s not to say he regrets working, but he does very much regret working so hard/long for so much of our childhoods. He said he woke up and we were in high school.

        This came up because my DH and I have made some career choices that allow us to be home more but not rise as quickly at work. Dad was saying “absolutely, this is the right call. Looking back, I’d have moved to a cheaper town or made other financial sacrifices to have been more present.”

    • I don’t have kids, but I regret that my Mom was a SAHM. It’s made our relationship harder – she hasn’t been able to relate to so much of what I’ve been doing since I was a toddler. (Slight, but not much exaggeration) and I didn’t have a role model at home to talk to about navigating a career.

      • Thanks for this perspective! My daughter is 2 so I can’t exactly answer the question but what always occurs to me when this stuff comes up is that if I did stay home and even if I mustered the energy to be that really perfect mother who spends every minute enriching her kids’ development, if my daughter grew up to do the same (i.e., be a SAHM), to be honest, I’d be disappointed. So I don’t feel bad about it. I do wish I could’ve stayed home for a longer maternity leave but I realize I’m in the wrong country for that.

        • Can I admit that this whole line of thinking is what holds me back from the homeschooling movement? I daydream about pulling my kids out of school and going all Tiger Mom, teaching them Latin and crazy subjects that aren’t offered in public school and raising genius girls. I’d LOVE to be that mom and have that much time at home with my girls. (Plus, I’m tired of work and running off to do something completely different–without a boss to report to–sounds AMAZING. So it’s 20% wanting to be with my kids, 80% get me the eff out of here.)

          But what example am I setting? That “good moms” quit work and homeschool their children? That only men get to use their education to go out into the world and make a difference? Then I realized that “Homeschool” is “Homemaker” wrapped up in newer, flashier packaging. It boils down to the same old idea that a mother belongs at home making [email protected] sure her children are growing up correctly.


          • Check out Captain Fantastic for an interesting gender-flipped version of that…

      • Anonshmanon :

        I’m not sure what you mean by that last sentence, but my working mom continues to be an important role model and we discuss career matters from time to time.

      • I also wish my SAHM (an attorney by training) had worked. I spent my whole childhood and young adulthood feeling guilty for ruining her career, contributing to the financial stress on the family, etc.

        (It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I understood that she had actually made a choice to stay home partly because she has an untreated anxiety disorder that made work, with the required management of people, problematic. Of course she still tosses out the periodic “well I didn’t blah blah blah because I was raising children.” And makes ridiculous suggestions about why I didn’t pick a fight about XYZ at work… well, because I need to have a longtime working relationship and can’t burn every bridge the way you did because you outsourced all interpersonal interactions to Dad.)

        • “I need to have a longtime working relationship and can’t burn every bridge the way you did because you outsourced all interpersonal interactions to Dad”.

          Omg this describes my mother perfectly. Thank you for putting this so succinctly. I just had a ‘fight’ with her about something like this. I complained about a white elephant gift exchange – I will never understand why people bring “funny” gifts like dirty gym shoes. Wouldn’t it be more enjoyable if everyone went home with a nice bottle of wine or box of chocolates? Why is it “fun” to take a lovely gift-giving event and turn it into a competition where someone(s) will lose? I know I have to be good natured about it though. My mother, otoh, ranted about how she would refuse to participate or throw the dirty gym shoes away on her way out of the party so everyone would see. Uh yeah you will look petty af and no one will ever talk to you again.

        • Anonymous :

          My mom also did not WOH in part because of under-treated mental illness. Spoiler: being a SAHM with under-treated mental illness is not that awesome either.

          My kids benefit from my working (financially and in other ways) but I had them in my 20s during graduate school and I do not for a second regret the time I was able to spend with them because of the flexibility of my schedule during their early childhoods.

      • This. My sister and I both work and often commiserate about how much my mom doesn’t understand our lives. She was an amazing SAHM (she would have been a Pinterest mom if Pinterest existed in the 80’s), but she frequently makes comparisons to how we parent and how she parented, not so much criticizing what we do, but just not understanding the challenges of getting yourself ready and a kid ready and out the door by a specific time, and managing to get everything done with the commitments of a full-time career.

      • Yes, this has caused some tension in my relationship with my mom, who was college-educated but stayed home. It’s frustrating when she tries to tell me, “there’s more to life than work” which – I get it, of course that’s true – but she’s spent her entire life having other people pay all of her expenses. I can’t imagine being entirely beholden to a spouse to have all of my needs / wants met. So, sure, there’s more to life than work – but how do you think it is that we are able to pay for those “other things??”

      • lawsuited :

        I don’t understand this comment. Why would your SAHM, as a result of not working outside the home, be unable to relate to you during childhood? My mum was a SAHM and has been very supportive during my career. She’s not been able to give me industry-specific career advice, but that’s true of most people in my family and friend network who are not lawyers, as well as some who are lawyers. She’s knows me and my strengths and pitfalls well, she’s empathetic, and she has great people skills so has often given me useful advice re: managing staff and other work relationships, and has startling insight into balancing marriage, motherhood, and keeping the lights on.

        • Obviously, everyone’s experience is different. My mom was a SAHM – as someone else so perfectly put it, a Pinterest Mom before that was a thing. The issue was and continues to be that she could only relate to the “raising kids” part of my life (i.e. activities that I did as a toddler/young child issues) and she just does not at all relate to anything that I have going on now (or from the time when I was interested in getting good grades to go to a good college/choosing a career, etc.). She was from an era where you chose a side – she chose SAHM & never looked outside of that realm. As a result, it is extremely hard to talk to her about any of the myriad of issues that I’ve dealt with, or even more broadly, career strategy or goals, etc. It’s certainly possible for someone to be a SAHM & to do those things if they have a large capacity for empathy. I think a lot of people have trouble with that & especially once your experience is so different, it can be hard to relate no matter how hard you try.

    • Anonymous :

      My kids are 6 and 3. I wish I could work a bit less (4 days a week) but I would be miserable if I stayed home.

      On the kid side, I am SO GLAD my mom worked. She’s retired now and she ‘gets it’. She pitches is so much with my kids and is so supportive by telling me that I’m doing great even when I feel like I’m failing everyone all at once. Other working moms I know whose moms were SAHM don’t have that kind of support.

      • +1 to this. My mom doesn’t necessarily “get it” about my job, especially relative to my husband’s cushier in house/no nights or weekends work job. “you both are lawyers, why are you working so much more?” “well, mom, I work for a hugh jass law firm were if I don’t respond, a client is just going to go elsewhere and then I won’t have a job anymore…”

        I also think that in many ways, she let us get away with too much by being a SAHM. Like, if I forgot my homework? It was just a phone call plus a 10 minute drive away. Point being, there was not as much “figuring it out” for us, which is especially noticeable in my younger brother, who still thinks my parents will save the day for him.

    • I also don’t have kids, but I think my mom regrets having been a SAHM. I think she enjoyed her career, and she found that it wasn’t easy (read: possible) to get back into the workforce in the way that she wanted when I was older. On the flip side, we’re close. But even though I think she entered the workforce with the expectation that she would someday leave to have children, I’ve always had the sense that she regretted being “just” a mom. She’s always told me not to quit working.

    • I have zero regret about working while my kid was little. Day care/preschool was better for her than being home with me would have been. First grade through eighth grade, I wish I could have been at home.

      • +1

        I wanted the flexible schedule when the kids were old enough to want to make plans after school, participate in activities that weren’t working parent friendly, and when they needed homework help. I loved daycare, because then my kids were with other kids with working parents (and those parents are some of our best friends 10+ years later).

    • My daughter is 6 now and the adjustment to elementary school has been really hard. Once I got past the initial “going back to work blues” when she was 3 months old, we were in a great routine through the daycare years. Just about everyone at her daycare had two working parents, so I didn’t feel any guilt or exclusion and the daycare didn’t expect parents to be available during the day, because duh, that’s why our kids are in daycare. But the adjustment to public school has been rough. The majority of her classmates have a stay at home mom or a mom who works significantly less than full time, and teachers seem to really expect that moms have a lot of availability during the school day, which I don’t. I’m lucky in that I have a more flexible job than most and can occasionally sneak out in the middle of the day for a short event, and I’ve used a couple vacation days to be in her classroom or on a field trip, but I still feel really guilty and out of the loop about what’s going on in school because I can’t do PTA meetings or regular volunteering and I’m not part of the (SAH)mom social network.
      I’m not planning to quit my job, but for me this transition has been a lot harder than going back to work and sending my 12-week-old to daycare and is really the first time I’ve found myself questioning my choice to work.

      • I’m also one of those parents who finds 6 year olds WAY more fun and interesting than babies, which I’m sure has something to do with it. Of course I loved my daughter profoundly from birth, but the older she gets the more I like hanging out with her, which I think is part of why sending her off to daycare as an infant was an easier transition.

        • +1 – I do think Daycare was easier on working parents overall. There are SO many school holidays/special events/drop in days/class trips/etc. etc. etc. that seemed to be set up and staffed by 90% of the moms, and our class is about 75% made up of families with 1 stay at home parent. It is REALLY hard and guilt inducing.

      • We’re still in the daycare phase, but I’m thoroughly puzzled as to how so many public school kids have SAHMs when the majority of mothers in the US (with kids under 18) work, and why the entire kid-related world seems to be geared towards SAHMs!

        To the original question, I would’ve made an appalling SAHM in the early days, but am finding life with kid to be increasingly enjoyable, if not exactly easy, as he gets older.

        • Anonymous at 10:15 :

          In my case, I don’t think the majority of mothers in my area (red state, pretty low cost of living) work. The sample size at daycare was very skewed, because only families where all parents work utilize daycare. But I think the public schools are pretty representative of the percentage of kids in our area with a stay at home mom.

        • I wonder if it’s just a math issue – the majority of moms overall work, but maybe the non-working moms have a majority of the kids? I mean, I’m working on my second (and last) but my three SAHM sisters-in-law have 16 kids between them.

        • I used to wonder where all the SAHMs came from, but then I got to know more of them and realized they aren’t SAHMs at all. They are teachers. Nurses. Part-time or reduced schedule office staff. High enough (and worked long enough) that they can create their own hours at pretty cool jobs.

          Very few of the women that I would snort at turned out to actually be SAHMs, which really blew my mind. They just had better jobs / better work schedules / better bosses than me.

          • This is a great point. My kid has three friends whose moms were always at school. I asked him one day of all three moms stayed home and he looked at me like I had two heads. Turns out, one mom is a nurse and works one of those schedules where she’s on for three 12-hour shifts Thurs-Sat and then she’s off the rest of the week. One works from home for some big company overseas, so she’s off work by 2 pm every day. And the third runs her own consulting business and sets her own hours. So they’re all working, they’re just not working a 9-5 like I am.

          • Yup. I’m in this position (work 20 hours a week as a senior director at a [not that exciting] tech company). I stepped into this role from a VP role and negotiated the heck out of it.

            My peer parents-that-participate-in-school-things are a combo of “lifer” SAHMs (~20%), families where both parents have flexible working arrangements so *a* parent is available either before/after school (40%– we see LOTS of dads in my town– guys that are in high travel sales or ocnsulting roles but home on Mondays and Fridays, guys that work 7-3 technical jobs, guys that own their own business [architects, dentists] and make their own hours), part time/flex moms and dads (30%) and non-parent family (grands, etcs- 10%).

            We’re in the greater Boston area and in a wealthy suburb. A family has to be making well over $250, and likely more like $350k to be living in one of the $1.5M houses that are all over my town. That’s a tall order for most single earners, but can be done with two highly educated people in flexible roles.

        • I’m in a HCOL area. There were a fair number of SAHMs at my kids’ public school. I guess if you’re wealthy enough for a HCOL Area you’re more likely to be wealthy enough to live on one income.

          A good percentage of these families had inherited money, so it wasn’t just the dad was raking in the bucks at his job.

          Now that my kids are older most of these moms do some sort of work but it is mostly freelancing or part time. One of them works part-time retail at a local jewelry shop but I think she does it for the discount (to be honest that is my dream job!)

      • I agree with this 100%.

        Daycare was easy and it normalized being a working mom. Elementary school, not so much. And it made work more stressful — snow days, after care, school break care, summer vacation; I feel like I am playing schedule roulette.

      • I agree that elementary school has been way harder than expected. Even in 2017, school isn’t set up well for families who have two full-time working parents. I feel a lot of guilt that I’m completely out of the loop with other parents, although one of my SAHM friends tells me that may not be a bad thing. (It can get competitive and petty among the SAHMs in the neighborhood, I’m told.) Sure, I suppose I could join the PTO, but I’d rather be with my kids in the evenings that going to another meeting about stuff I’m not going to have time to execute.

        I thank my lucky stars that DS’s after-school program is right at school, but I feel really guilty sometimes that he isn’t at home, riding his bike around the neighborhood.

        • That is what I hate about having to have a set schedule — if you meet a new friend, you need a grownup to plan a place/time to get together. Or if you feel bad, you can’t just read in bed after school or if it’s pretty, you can’t be out on a bike or on skates.

          When I travel, I wouldn’t like 100% of my time being pre-planned out. I feel bad that my kids don’t get a lot of choices that I got to make (play today? ride bike? play with neighbor A? play with neighbor B?). My mom taught school, so I was free-range in the afternoons and all summer.

      • I am afraid I have to agree here. The older kiddo gets the harder it is. I don’t want to stay home but the system of school and activities seems to be built on the assumption that someone is.

        • My oldest just started kindergarten and the last six months have been the hardest yet in terms of balancing work and family and getting everything done. And by everything, I mean the bare basics to keep our household running. I have no desire to stay home but I definitely wish I had a different work situation. I don’t know what exactly that would be because I am in a reasonably flexible small law firm where I can come and go as I please. But I daydream about being a full-time work at home mom in some kind of alternative legal career.

          My mother was a full-time working mom and I don’t ever remember wishes she was a SAHM as I was growing up. I owe much of my career success to being raised by two full time working parents.

    • I am not a mom at alll but I think that with all major life decisions, there’s the potential to wonder “what if?” How much you engage in that line of thinking is function of your personality and life experiences. I would wager that for every one out there regretting working outside the home Theres a SAHM wishing she hadn’t stayed home. And then there are a whole bunch of ppl who just arent the wondering/regretful type.

    • I do regret running around like a crazed lunatic a lot — my job is just too much. As much as I try to beat it back so that I can be present in my children’s lives, it is nuts. I wish I was more zen. I wish I didn’t feel like I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. I wish they could be on their bikes after school sometimes instead of having mandatory activities b/c I need someone to be watching them while I work.

      I don’t regret working. I regret working like this. I regret that the path I am on (that I have remained at b/c I can’t figure out what’s next) doesn’t let me scale back. I would gladly take a 50% pay cut for a hard stop at the end of the day.


        I heart this so freaking much. Can we use this as a slogan for maternity leave reform? Universal health care? More part-time gigs that offer benefits?

    • I did both (SAHM for several years and back at work for 10+ years) and while I don’t regret staying home, I didn’t love every single minute of it and I know I would be farther ahead in my career if I hadn’t.

      • Ditto, although I worked part-time (very part-time when he was really little, and ramped up as he got closer to school age). I went back full-time in the middle of his first-grade year. I am glad I had that time with him, but I also know it cost my career and our family, in more ways than one.

        I used to envy SAHMs until I met a few in their 50s who had been left by their husbands and had nothing as a result. Getting a job as a 50-year-old woman with no work experience is a near impossibility, and in some cases the divorce happened after the husband had bankrupted the family or done an excellent job of hiding assets. Whenever I hear about younger women quitting work to stay home, I think to myself, I really hope your marriage works out. Because if it doesn’t, you’re sunk.

        • Yup. And it’s not just divorce – health emergency, accident, disability, addiction, job loss – all of those things F with the single-earner model. (I mean, they disrupt the 2-working parent model too, but it’s a bigger deal when all of the income is coming form one place.) It’s a huge risk to build a life around one single person being healthy and lucky enough to work full time as long as the family needs them to.

        • Anonymous :

          Yup. I saw it happen to too many of my mothers friends. Alimony is great until he loses his job/stops working and the money isn’t there.

    • Eager Beaver :

      Whenever I’m thinking about stuff like this, I re-read this Dear Sugar column: http://therumpus.net/2011/04/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-71-the-ghost-ship-that-didnt-carry-us/.

      “I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”

      • Never too many shoes... :

        This column is gold on every level and applies in so many situations. I heard about it on this board and I am so glad for it.

    • I have one about to leave for college and one with a couple more years of HS. I do not regret not being a SAHM. My husband was a SAHD for a couple of years when they were really little but other than that we’ve had the usual daycare/preschool/after school dance and it’s worked out well for us.

      My daughter in particular sees her mom going to work and kicking a55 and has told me so many times that she is proud of me and proud to talk about me to her friends.

      My kids also know that I’m the primary breadwinner and i think it’s good that they’ve seen that it’s not always the man who does that – I think this was a particularly important lesson for my son.

      One of the best lessons we’ve been able to teach them is that they don’t have servants. I still do most of the cooking because that’s my thing, but they can cook for themselves and do their own laundry and they clean their own rooms and the bathroom they share. They both have responsibilities around the house that they know they have to do or else it doesn’t get done.

      My first husband was raised by a SAHM who waited on her sons (but not her daughter) hand and foot and my experience with him made me vow never to raise an entitled jerk of a son like that.

      • Anon for this one :

        This is really important. My only son is in college now, and my husband was the primary caregiver (he had the faculty schedule, I didn’t). I don’t regret working at all, and your point about being a role model for boys is really on point. I’ve seen it in the way my son talks about girls and women, and in the kind of girlfriend he has chosen. He finds it unexceptional (meaning expected or normal) for women to have jobs that are important to them, to make more than the man in the household, and to rise to positions of power and influence. He knows that men and women are expected to contribute to the running of the household — I don’t do the cooking, my husband does, so he learned to cook from his dad, but (in theory) learned to clean from me. A lot of his friends have SAHMs and he is a lot more independent at his age than they are, precisely because of the inevitable daily support that kicks in to get homework done, tasks accomplished, etc. if there is someone whose job it is to run the domestic apparatus.

        I do agree that elementary school is really hard on working parents. The timing and “volunteer” activities are not designed for working people of any gender.

      • My MIL has been a doctor with my FIL shouldering childcare and making dinner at times, which is highly unusual in their Asian country. As a result my DH is so well adjusted and expects to take on an equal share of childcare or housework (though he’d rather throw money at the housework; different problem). I’ve always felt supported and even encouraged in my work decisions and I mentally attribute all of this to my MIL and the normality of having a working mom.

    • I want to add to the people saying that having a SAHM has made it harder to have a close relationship with their mom now. I don’t have kids and probably won’t. I have a pretty distant relationship with my mom because she just can’t relate to career stresses and is constantly telling me to work less and take time off, which just isn’t an appropriate option right now and it’s gotten to the point that talking to her is unbearable, so I don’t. I suspect we would have a much closer relationship as adults if she had worked.

      • If my mother tells me one more time how miserable my life seems (and my sister’s), I may scream. This is code for I’m not getting enough attention but it’s truly annoying. FWIW, I have a full-time job at a state university with excellent benefits and take graduate courses at night. My sister is a nursing professor who gets every summer off. We both basically have dream schedules for working parents.

    • No regrets. My daughter is in her 20s and in medical school. She often comments that my working made her more independent and self-reliant. In college her roommate called her SAHM at the drop of a hat, for every little thing that went wrong. My daughter knew she couldn’t do that. Like others on this thread, I regret that my own mother was a SAHM because she never could understand why I wanted a demanding job and it affected our relationship.

      • I wish my mom HAD been a SAHM. I was an only child and was one of the very few kids in my class with a single working mom. The other kids had their moms come in and read to them, help out at class parties, and chaperone field trips. I always felt kind of left out when I was as the only kid whose mom wasn’t on the classroom volunteer calendar. The moms were also friends with each other, and their daughters became friends through them. My mom was left out of their lunch dates and fitness classes. To this day, those moms and their now-adult daughters are still all best friends. My mom and I always felt like we didn’t quite belong in our HCOL small town.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      My son is 6 . I have not once considered staying at home. I am not cut out for it, at all. Three months of bedrest and five months of maternity leave just reinforced what I already knew.

      My mother worked full-time my whole life and I loved watching her get dressed up, have financial freedom and be successful (she was an assistant in BigLaw and retired as assistant to the managing partner so she was pretty kick ass). She loves that I am a lawyer and understands the pressure and the hours so we have no friction at all.

      I am a firm believer that the way the world changes for women is by changing the way we raise men – so I want my son and his peers to see me kicking a$s and taking names in a field that is still primarily male, especially at the most senior levels.

    • My sample size of two maternity leaves tells me I am NOT cut out to be a SAHM. However, I so very much miss the slow mornings. Waking up naturally, playing in jammies, and the weekly roadtrip to visit my parents (self-employed and can generally plan their work to be around the house if the grandkids are coming to visit.)

      Dream schedule would be to go in around 10:30 and work until 7:30 or so with plenty of flexibility for full days off whenever I damn well please.

      • Two Cents :

        Lol, your first line is so on point. I loved my longer maternity leaves (6 months each) but was so ready to go back, dress up, and have adult conversations!

    • SAHM vs Working Mom :

      I went back to work full-time when my daughter was in fourth grade. Before that, I kept my foot in the door by working part-time and/or consulting. My daughter is now 15, and her comments and attitude about my career are fascinating because she is actually extremely supportive of it (a marked change from complaining about after school care in the fourth grade). We live in one of those areas where property taxes are high, household income is high, and the public high school appears on “best of” national lists. There area a lot of stay at home parents – mainly mothers. She sees signs of financial stress in some families (mainly first world problem-ish) and has seen people with college degrees unable to find professional jobs after staying out of the work force for years. Most of the time I am able to convince myself that I am a good example of someone who is doing her best to have a career and a family.

    • SupadupaAnon :

      Whenever I am tempted by staying home, I think of my own stay at home who never worked after obtaining an advanced degree. Then, when I was a teenager, my parents split up and my mom was left building a career from scratch, doing menial labor for a while before getting a foothold in the white collar world. Leaving my professional track would leave me and my children so vulnerable in case of divorce, death or disability that it scares me away from the idea of staying at home.

      • My girls are now 14 and 17. I have mostly worked full time since maternity leave. I think it would have been easier if I had reduced my hours when they were really little. But they did not work out for many reasons. I worked hard to become a licensed architect. It is hard to run projects on a reduced schedule. I definitely missed things. The girls noticed. But I still volunteered at their school. I was also a Girl Scout leader for both girls. Now they tell me they were proud that I maintained my career. Both girls have grown up to be mostly wonderful girls. So, I guess it all worked out.

      • So true! My SAHM mother was widowed at 43 with four kids to put through college. She did it. It put the fear of God in me not to ever be out of the workforce, because you never know what life will deal you.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I cannot even imagine what your mother went through to manage that. All the kudos in the world to her – she is a bada$s.

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      My mother stayed home with my sister and me until I was in kindergarten and then she taught school until I was in 4th grade and then stayed home again until I went to college. I’d like to offer the perspective of how awesome it was. She’s such a big supporter of my career (partner in a law firm) and now is a part-time nanny to my kids.
      she always made it very known that she chose to stay home; it’s not for everyone; working is as noble as not working and vice versa; women can be anything they want.

      All of this to say: if you are stay at home by choice, that can still give your kids a wonderful role model to follow. I remember her sitting down with me at 8th grade and giving me all these amazing choices of what I could be when I grew up and how to plot my path through high school to college. I never thought “my mother doesn’t understand because she stays at home.” And now she is always telling me to outsource everything and just have “fun” with my kids. seriously. she’s the best role model and I adore her. I don’t feel more or less empowered because she was a SAHM for all those years.

      • Anonymous :

        Similar story here. I grew up with a SAHM who was a super role model to me and still is to this day. I saw how she contributed to the family in non-financial ways all the time. I do think she would have liked to get back to work at some point, but life (mostly child/parent/spouse illnesses) got in the way. She has been a tremendous support to me in my biglaw career.

        My takeaway from all of this is know yourself – it’s possible to be a great SAHM, a great working mom, or a mix of both. Figure out what works for you and your family and try to ignore the rest.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Yeah, my mother stayed home as long as I can remember and I still consider her a great role model.

      • +1 to this. This was also my experience. I don’t think either choice is the right or wrong one across the board.

      • Thank you for adding this. My mom was not a SAHM and I know that people on this board obviously work, but just as we don’t want SAHMs bashing us, we shouldn’t bash them either. To each their own. What works well for one person, might not work well for another. Some SAHMs might wish they were in the workforce, but it is also hard to know why they left – maybe they were laid off, couldn’t find a job that fit their family’s financial and scheduling needs, maybe their husband’s job moved them to an area where it was hard for them to find work, etc.

      • Same here. Due to social and economic reasons, my mom was a SAHM because “that’s what women do.” From day one my mom always told my sister and I to get an education, get a career and not depend on a man. She felt she didn’t have any other choice and she was determined that her girls would have the choice. I think it’s important, especially now that I’m expecting my first child, to emphasize that there isn’t a right or wrong way, but to be independent from your significant other.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My son is 31 and I do not regret being a working mom for one single minute. When I was in the thick of it I had days when I wanted to chuck it all and stay home, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

      But I totally related to “I don’t regret working, but I regret working like this.” I left my MidLaw partnership for a government job with much more reasonable hours when my son went into high school, and that was a great choice for me. And that job turned into something else that has been largely great, too.

    • OK – to be the voice of dissent. I have one child about to leave for college and I regret not having more time with her when she was a baby. I went back to work full-time when she was four months old and really, really wish I could have stayed home with her longer. To be clear – that definitely would have been for me and not her. She was very well taken care of.

      I also really wish I could have worked fewer hours (I am an attorney) while she was in elementary and middle school. I did take a year “off” (doing part time contract work) while she was in the 7th grade and was really happy to be more present, both physically and emotionally, while she was going through a hard time. I feel like there were things going on in her life that I missed and interventions I could and should have made sooner but my full-time law job, even in a mid-sized regional firm, left me too willing to take her superficial appearance of being fine at face-value. I do think that I would have been a better parent for my child during this time period if I had not been working or been working less (please note that I am NOT implying that this applies to every parent and every child).

      I live in a HCOL area with a LOT of SAHM, although most of them are now working at least part-time as our children have gotten older. Oddly, the problem of getting back into the work force after taking 10 years off does not seem to have been an issue for most of them – although none of them are in law.

    • I think there’s “staying home for a few years” or “scaling back for a few years” and then there is giving up a career to be a SAHM.

      I know many people who took a year or a couple years off (sometimes it was mom for a year/dad for a year) while the kids were very young, but stayed part time or kept their networks intact, and resumed a FT working role once the kids were older preschool. To me, this is not the same as what my mom did, which is stop working at 26 when she was 5 months pregnant and not work again in any capacity until she was 40 (and that was part time).

  3. Sydney Bristow :

    I really like the neck on this. Don’t love the shortened sleeves, but my arms are so short that they’d probably be full length on me.

  4. I’m still totally stumped on work pants + boots for this season. All available pants are ankle pants; all ‘on-trend’ boots are ankle boots, leaving a gap. And I think it makes people look stumpy, too. I know there have been a couple of posts on this already, and yet I’m still baffled! How are y’all solving this conundrum?! Please advise.

    • How tall are you?

      How tall are your ankle boots?

      I am 5′ 7″

      I wear my booties all the time with my ankle pants. I like a higher shaft bootie. I also like booties that run close to my leg.

      Maybe your ankle pants are too short, or your ankle boots are too short?

      I am not a fan of a substantial gap, although many too not seem to mind. I try to have a fluid look from boot to pant and usually match the pant color to the bootie. I always have a sock underneath of a matching color (or the bootie) so that no bare skin shows through.

      Also you can get away with a little bit of space if the bottom of your pant has a touch of a flare, but I still fill the gap with a matching sock. Skinny pants look better when they reach the bootie or even tuck in slightly, in my opinion.

      • I’m 5’6 with very narrow ankles and calves. I think I need to find higher shaft ankle boots, and maybe longer ankle pants. Does it work with flats or only heels?

        • Most of my booties have a chunky heel. Some low. Some higher. But flat booties work too. I think the flat booties work better with a straight or tapered leg pant than a slight flare.

          My skinny work appropriate “ankle” pants are Loft.

      • Thank you for answering the ankle pant, ankle boot, and sock confusion I’ve been having! I knew there was a way to get socks involved.

        (Signed, Californian who has been traveling to the East Coast and in general has no idea how to wear socks)

    • I’m 5’8″ and agree with you. I think this season’s booties make me look extremely stumpy, which is not a problem I typically have. I can’t wear ankle booties with a dress. Booties with ankle pants are simply impractical for me. I’m in Boston, and its cold. There’s no way I’m walking around with exposed skin. I just wear pants from last year, or look for boot cut (I’ve seen a few…would love to see them come back into style).

      • Same height, and ankle pants + booties look super weird on me, like I couldn’t find pants that were long enough. Maybe it’s the fabrication or something. I wear cuffed jeans with booties all the time and that looks fine — I think because they’re tighter and sleeker — but work pants don’t look right at all. Also, I’m in the Midwest and the winter wind is no joke, so I’m also very uninterested in exposed skin.

    • I just wear straight leg pants. I think they look reasonably classic.

    • I’ve posted about this issue before. I just can’t with ankle pants and ankle booties in the winter. I found some higher boots at Nordstrom that I bought during their Black Friday sale (link to follow) that I love. They’re very comfortable, cover my legs (knee high boots are too high and I don’t like the feel of them under pants) and they aren’t slick on the bottom but the shape is formal enough to wear with suits.

  5. Moving Tips :

    We’re moving to a house about 30 minutes away from where we are now. Renovations on the new place just wrapped up so we are planning on moving in next weekend. We will have access to our existing place for atleast a few weeks, maybe even more. I am thinking we move all the essentials first (bed, sofa, clothes, dishes, etc.) and then move the rest of the stuff (stuff in storage, fancy china, etc.) after the holidays (I would do it all in one go, but I am in my third trimester and have a toddler and it seems easier to break it up like this).

    We are trying to minimize the packing/unpacking as much as possible. We’ll take clothes in hangers so we can just hang them up; take everyday dishes in large laundry baskets and unload them straight into the cabinets, etc.

    I want to pack an “immediate needs” box, but not sure what should go in there? So far I thought of: Change of clothes for each of us, toothbrushes/face wash, toilet paper & linens for the bed. I know I am forgetting a lot – what else should go in here?

    • Clementine :

      Shower curtain. Towels. Toiletries. Paper towels. Coffee Maker. Snacks (easy ones for kiddos). Paper plates and cups and silverware. A can opener. One paring knife.

      • And shower curtain hooks! Also – are all of the window treatments in the new place up? So that you can shower/get changed without your new neighbors seeing?

    • Anonymous :

      This makes zero sense to me. Hire movers. Have them come once. Unless your husband/wife/other person is available, pay for the ones who pack for you. Don’t spend the next 6 weeks in limbo.

      • Moving Tips :

        We considered hiring movers but we don’t have a whole bunch of furniture we are taking with us – most of it is leftover from lawschool days (so like a small sofa and two chairs, nightstands but no bed frame, etc.). We need to declutter (there’s a lot to donate or throw away) so it’s easier just to pack while we declutter. Movers will just pack and move everything and then we’ll have to go through it while we are unpacking.

        • You’re in your third trimester. Not hiring movers is insane.

        • There’s a middle ground – get rid of (sell, donate, dump via 1800 junk or whatever) the big things you know you aren’t taking, set up a room that you empty for more junk while you sort /pack, and let movers take all your stuff. Have to agree with everyone that moving in phases is just awful.

        • It doesn’t matter what you’re moving, you need movers.

      • +1. I did a three block move once and tried to do it this way. My parents did the same thing a year later, and it was a huge mistake both times. Pack it, let movers deal with it, unpack it. Do it all in one fell swoop and be done. Dragging it out this way just…drags it out.

        As for the immediate need box, as you go through your morning routine, note all the things you use. That stuff all goes in that box.

        • Senior Attorney :


          It seems like it’s going to be easier but OMG it just drags it out and you end up wanting to shoot yourself.

      • +1

        Totally agree. Your plan sounds awful to me. Unless you were planning to hire movers twice?

        Call up your dearest family/friends if they can help you with last minute packing or childcare. Pack absolutely as much as possible now. The movers in my city supply wardrobe boxes for free for moving all clothes on hangers. If you can afford it, yes pay the movers extra to have them help with last minute packing you haven’t completed.

        It is great to have the extra weeks to move the last few things, clean your old place etc… But I do not recommend stretching out moving piece-meal for weeks, when you have a toddler. Just….ugh.

        • Movers are also expensive (especially the kind that pack stuff for you). It sounds like that’s not OPs primary concern, but the posters being so dismissive (e.g. awful, insane) have to get that they’re describing how a lot of people move due to necessity. Strikes me as a little tone-depth and perhaps like unexamined privilege.

          • Chic – this posted under your comment, but wasn’t directed at you. I know that you caveated your advice with “if you can afford it.”

          • Eye roll. She didn’t say anything about not being able to afford movers.

      • +1 hire movers
        You don’t have to opt for the level of service where they pack for you. Do the thing where they come one day, put the stuff you point at into the truck, then put it at the new place in the spot where you tell them to put it. Worth every damn penny.

      • Yeah, being in limbo like that just extends the stress of moving. Do it all at once; you won’t regret it. And yes, obviously, hire movers.

    • Baconpancakes :

      So an “unpack first” box is a great idea, and to Clementine’s list I would add cleaning supplies (things are always dirtier than you expect) and curtains if your house has close neighbors and no blinds, but I am 100% behind Anonymous’s professional mover suggestion. There are a lot of times it’s good to DIY. In your 3rd trimester is not the time.

      • Yes, I was going to say laundry supplies because with a toddler and a newborn, you will be doing laundry constantly.

    • Ugh, this is the most painful type of move. We’ve done it a couple of times. Those big tupperware totes with lids are helpful. For clothes, you can remove the filled dresser drawers and transport them that way. Shoes can go into suitcases. I assume you are hiring movers- have them take as much as you can on the truck, even if it’s not properly packed. Things like vaccuums, sport equipment, floor lamps, etc. You will so much happier to have that gone. If you need to, designate one room/garage as temporary dumping space.

      • Also, there’s a wide variety of moving services. A full move with packing is the most expensive and definitely the easiest. De-clutter before they pack. On the other end, you can also rent a truck yourselves and then hire a few people to help with loading/unloading.

    • So, my husband and I moved this summer literally 0.4 miles. Like, around the corner and down a few blocks. We had movers move all of the furniture and some boxes of books. But that was it. We moved all of the kitchen stuff, clothes on hangers, and garage stuff ourselves. It took significantly longer than I thought it would to do this. And it was a 5 minute drive, and we don’t have kids.

      I don’t regret it for a minute, because it would have cost movers $75 an hour to pack, and it is just so much waste of bubble wrap and boxes, etc, but it took us a solid 4 days of two cars moving this stuff (and organizing it once it was moved).

      To add to your essentials stuff – I would have several garage bags, a utility knife/scissors/box knife available to open and break down boxes, along with basic tools – screwdriver and hammer available. I would also designate an envelope for receipts for any new stuff that you buy for the house and then it doesn’t end up working for the new space.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I helped my SO move when he bought our house, and he followed the “it’s only .5 miles, why pack” strategy, and it almost ended our relationship. I have moved globally 4 times, across state borders 6 times, and in-town at least 15 times, and that .5 mile move was the most terrible moving experience I have ever had. Except the global moves, I’ve always packed myself, but not having it all packed up in the first place and ready to go was truly miserable.

    • Chargers for any electric devices. A couple extension cords. Also maybe a few lamps? I don’t like overhead lighting personally and in my 1900s house half the rooms don’t have any overhead lights anyway so lamps are a necessity. A couple basic pots/pans utensils for cooking simple stuff; some dish towels, dish soap, and sponges. Also towels for showering!!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Well, I did this. It was not NEARLY as bad as I anticipated.

      Husband said, “I’ll have it all done by [date] and we’ll just get movers to do all the big furniture.” I didn’t believe him so I tracked down movers who would only charge for what they actually moved, and I told them it would definitely be [large furniture pieces] but maybe like a whole house worth of stuff. Husband borrowed my mom’s minivan a few times and made run after run, dropping off things we only sometimes used or wouldn’t really miss for a while (books, bookshelves, seasonal things, rugs, small furniture pieces) and then things we could live without for a week (a lot of the cooking stuff, extra sheets) and then by the last day it was basically just us + beds and bedding + a few outfits. On Moving Day the movers showed up with a giant truck, loaded in the very few things we had left, dropped stuff off and got a hefty tip and were off to the next thing within an hour.

      The house was already largely set up thanks to Husband’s pre-moving work, and we ate In n Out and drank champagne and I was happy I was wrong.

    • I moved 2 miles down the road and did this. A month prior to moving, I listed everything that could possibly sell or give away on Craigslist. After that binge, our “big stuff” consisted of 1 bed & it’s collapsible frame, a tall dresser, 1 sofa, 1 occasion chair, 1 small table, four chairs, 1 area rug, three bar stools and two televisions. We moved all of this in one small trailer and it took us two hours to pack the trailer, move it, and unpack it.

      We had probably 10+ other trips in just vehicles to move the rest of our stuff. It wasn’t efficient, but it did help us to purge a ton of crap and the unpacking process in the new house was pretty easy. We also were still using the shower at our old house daily, because the new house didn’t have sufficient hot water pressure to actually achieve a hot shower.

      If I were to do it again now that I have kids, I would have still packed everything up on my own, but would hire movers by the hour to do the house to house transport.

      • OP here. Yikes, you guys have convinced me we need movers. We will probably still pack ourselves and then have the movers do the transport. And we’ll plan to knock it out all in one weekend. Glad I posted here!

    • Rachelellen :

      Scissors and utility knives for opening the other boxes!

    • Anonymous :

      We tried to do something similar for a 2 block move. (Literally close enough we could carry dining room chairs down the street.) We had no children, an SUV, and a car. We also rented a moving truck and had all of the big pieces donated in the old place and bought new in the old (in our entire living room, we only kept the coffee table, bed was new, dining room table was new, etc.). EVEN WITH all of that, it was a nightmare.

      We kept going back and forth looking for things, and that was with it taking a few minutes to walk back and forth. I can’t imagine doing it with a longer distance, with a kid and another on the way, or doing cold and flu season!

      Whether you have to hire someone or can call in favors to get family and friends to help, please, don’t do this to yourself and your family.

    • Anonymous :

      Last year we moved 2 blocks and found it very easy to move in two steps. We filled a Pod with all of the things we didn’t need daily (including a lot of the bigger pieces like dressers and chairs) and then moved all of the big items and our daily essentials the day of with family trucks. It worked great. The morning before our move, the Pod man picked up our Pod and delivered it to the new house–we unloaded it into the garage and the pod was taken away. The day of our move, we moved the big furniture one by one to the new house with the trucks and loaded everything else into my car.

      • +1 to the Pod. It was really convenient and let us pack up a lot of the stuff that didn’t have to be left in the old house up until move day, and also wasn’t critical to have in the new house in the first few days. We had movers handle all the big items, like furniture. And if you use movers, don’t even worry about unpacking the dresser; ours wrapped it up in plastic wrap and took it in one piece.

  6. security clearances / internet safety :

    Help me, internet friends. Asking for a friend who is new to dating and internet dating after being married for a long time (predating internet dating).

    If you meet a guy online and he says he has some ultra top secret security clearance and travels a lot, does that raise red flags? And then he says “oh, I see on my reports that you have googled me in [your hometown].” So my friend asked me not to google the guy b/c he’d have to explain google searches for him in Town XYZ.

    This sounds crazy to type out (and I have been friends references for background checks, but have never had one myself; I believe that you know 99% about 99% of the population via a mere credit check; absent some scenario like on The Americans).

    I’ve told my friend that either the guy is telling the truth (which is unlikely if he is some DefCon 5 type guy; my cousin who was at the NSA would probably never had said that outright, ever, much less where he had been going recently); he is stretching the truth (maybe he does mail deliveries or cost accounting for some defense / cybersecurity outfit and is embellishing); or he is outright lying b/c while young guys lie about their appearance but older guys are more likely to lie about $/importance.

    FWIW, if your internet dating profile mentions that you are a mom to young kids, I think it more likely that you are meeting creepy predators than you are meeting James Bond.

    • This means he is married. He does not want to be searched because he’s worried she will find pictures of his wife and kids. Avoid.

      • Having re-read – if he’s not married. The other reason he doesn’t want to be searched is that he has child s. abuse convictions – this is particularly likely if she mentions having kids in her profile.

        Never date anyone who tells you not to google them.

        • AMEN!

          Reminds me of the guy from a few weeks ago who wouldn’t tell his girlfriend where he lived or worked.

      • Yup. A guy with this job in reality wouldn’t have even mentioned it yet. He is married. Block and ignore.

    • Someone with a job where he gets reports of who g00gled him and where doesn’t seem like the kind of person who should be on online dating s!tes, so either he is a complete liar or he is an idiot. I seriously doubt an actual person with super top secret clearance would share this information with a woman he met online. Either way, he doesn’t sound like a good choice for a woman with young kids.

    • Ooh that’s creepy AF that he knows who googled him and where. I don’t think I could date someone i couldn’t cyber stalk in privacy.

      • security clearances / internet safety :

        I am actually thinking that it is the sort of thing he could say bluffing and risk being called a liar and seem to be what he is claiming to be.

        I mean, if she hadn’t googled him, maybe one of her friends did.

        Does not compute for me.

        • Yeah, I think it’s probably a guess (because who doesn’t g00gle the people they may date)? I was on a flight once where the flight attendant said they have a light now that shows them that someone had a cell phone on that wasn’t in airplane mode which is a total lie but there’s basically 100% chance that someone did indeed have a phone on not in airplane mode.

      • I seriously doubt that this is true. If for some reason you have that kind of access, there’s no way in h3ll you’re telling strangers about it. This guy is obviously a liar, maybe crazy.

    • I call BS for so many reasons. And even if it is not BS (but it is) you should definitely Google him, but seriously I will Google him for you. You are a good friend and you should trust your instincts.

    • security clearances / internet safety :

      What’s crazy is that she has told me not to try to google him b/c he will have to explain why people are googling him where he works. That sounds crazy to me — I am not sure that the interwebs are truly able to track things like that (much less in real time).

      Also, she has said that he has flown solo on a military flight (as some sort of civilian IT contractor) to go somewhere on a work project. I really do not think that the military works like that, much less civilian IT contractors.

      I think that this sounds very James Bond and fascinating to her. I sounds like a LifeTime movie that ends badly to me.

      • His story doesn’t even have logical consistency. So what if someone googles where he works? He says, he’s dating someone new and they were curious about where he works. End of story.

        I have an M.A. in International Relations. When we had recruitment sessions with governmental security agencies, there was discussion about what we would be able to tell extended family/friends about our lives. He’s more like to be James Bond if he’s blase about the whole thing and says he works in ‘government IT’ but doesn’t make a big deal out of it. Actual secret services people/spies sound dull because that’s what they are trained to do. This guy sounds like he’s trying to sound cool. So he’s flown solo on a military flight? So what? What is that relevant to? Such not a big deal. The fact that he’s trying to make it seem like ‘big important thing’ is the red flag.

        There is zero chance that this guy is telling the truth about anything.

        • 100% agree re: blase.


          former “admin assistant” whose job was to “answer the phone”

    • Yeah, having worked in these types of jobs and online dated, he’s making all that up. Reports like that are not a thing and if you have security clearance, you’re certainly not going to be talking about it on a dating site unless you’re a moron. The other poster is right, he’s a cheater or has a record. The kindest situation I can come up with is that if he’s telling the truth (he’s not), he’s an insecure neckbeard who thinks he needs to say that stuff to be interesting.

    • I actually think the “knowing where people google you” thing is not so out there — I have an academia.edu page and it tells me whenever someone finds it, what search engine and search terms they used, plus where they are located (I think this comes from the IP address). Obviously, you can avoid this by using a private window or ghostery or the like. But, that also doesn’t mean he’s a spy; he might just have google alerts set on himself (and if he were a spy, he probably would be more discreet about it, no?)

      • security clearances / internet safety :

        This is really, really creepy.

        Maybe he’s just a real diva?

      • I don’t think that using a private window or ghostery is going to disguise your IP address from academia.edu (or anywhere else)! If that worked, surely no one would bother with VPNs?

        (But I still think everything this guy said is made-up and he’s just trying to hide something.)

      • A google alert does not mean you are alerted when people google you . . .

    • Top secret security clearances are honestly not that big of deal, and no you don’t get reports about who googled you. I would take it as my friend duty to cyber stalk the s**t out of this guy. Or give us his name and we will do it for you :) most likely married (hopefully not worse)

    • People with super high clearance issues just use aliases. He’s lying.

    • I’d look him up in your state’s criminal database. Many states have offender records online. I also think he’s hiding something. Or, block and ignore.

      • What’s his name? We’ll all google him and he’d have no way to connected all these random IPs! :)

        (kidding… only sort of??)

      • It’s possible that he’s given her a false name, which means his real record might not come up. But I agree that this situation is so shady that you don’t even really need to know what he’s hiding. It’s obviously not anything good.

    • No one gave me those reports when I had a security clearance.

      Before I met my boyfriend, I googled him. He did not google me, but his parents did after we met (mostly curiosity).

      He’s making it up, and I cannot think of a single benign reason for him to do so.

      Tell your friend to stop talking about her kids in her profile. Divorced and doesn’t want more kids is enough info.

    • Let me reframe your question for you: My newly single friend is engaging in risky dating behavior. How do I help her?

      You can ask her questions to get her to think critically about this logic. Like others have said, if it’s super secret then why is he telling random strangers that? If he can’t be googled then why is he on a dating s i t e? And so what if a woman googles him? If his superiors are tracking his online presence that closely then they know he’s on bumble or whatever – he has an easy response right there. Why would it be problematic that random woman he’s interested in looked him up? If he’s embarrassed about that, that’s a him problem not a her problem.

      You can also help her with her dating profile if she’s willing. Hopefully she’s not including pics of her kids or stating their ages. I might get flamed for this but personally I wouldn’t mention kids in a public profile at all; she can tell people when they actually message her.

      At the end of the day, though, there’s only so much you can do. You can’t force her to substitute your judgment for her own. You’re doing your duty as a friend by flagging these issues for her.

      • + 1 million to not mentioning your kids in an online dating profile.

      • Have you guys online dated? Because I would be very skeptical of dating someone who lied about whether or not he had kids or declined to answer the “do you have children?” question in the profile.

        I agree with all the other advice, but I don’t think she’s going to be very successful with the online dating if she isn’t truthful about that.

        • Anonymous :

          Bumble and similar don’t ask about kids.

        • Anonymous :

          I expect to see that someone has kids on a profile. If I find out later, nope.

        • Anonymous :

          I think it’s okay to say you have kids in the profile blurb you write, but don’t put your kids in the pictures. I hate it when every picture of a guy is them and their kids. That just makes me think you are advertising for a mom, not a partner.

        • Anonymous :

          Reality is that a lot of creepy men prey on single moms, and kids are much more likely to be abused by mom’s boyfriend than by their bio dads.

          You don’t have to lie – just don’t mention it or don’t be specific. If this lady is in her forties, her kids could be grown. No names, no ages, no pictures.

      • +2. I don’t have kids, but on the flip side, I’m surprised/concerned that many men have pictures of their kids/nieces/nephews in their profiles. I think its risky. Your profile says you’re location; with that information in many small towns, a predator could narrow down the school that the children attend. Domestic human/s*x trafficking of children is real. Childhood s*xual abuse is real. Shudder.

        • As a gross overgeneralization, I would worry about bad women being after $ more than being non-monetary predators. We assume that bad men aren’t after $ (or I’d never imply that I had any online) so much as they may be non-monetary predators.

          So guy with kids = good guy; perhaps boring and stable. Maybe you wrongly let down your guard?

          Woman with kids = when I go to sleep, these are unguarded and just down the hall from you.

          I used to work with CPS and can’t unsee things like this.

        • This. I used to work in child protection. Most of the s*x abuse cases related to a non-biological father figure with access to the children at night or unsupervised during the day – typically someone who had met the children when they were aged 4-14 and groomed 1 year+ before the abuse began.

        • Anonymous :

          No. No it is not. The threat of someone seeing a photo with your nephew on Bumble, figuring out where he lives, and stealing him is not real.

          • Anonymous :

            The threat of someone seeing a photo of you with a small child, dating you in order to gain access to the child, and harming the child – that is a very real risk.

            But also – the town I grew up in has 1 elementary school. Each class has under 30 kids. It would not be hard to find a kid you saw on someone’s dating profile.

          • Anonymous :

            I grew up in a town of 8K people with 1 elementary school, 1 middle school, and 1 regional high school, and all surrounding similarly sized towns likewise had 1 school. It seems extremely reasonable for someone to date you to access and hurt a child.

          • Anonymous :

            Just re-read and realized I meant reasonable meaning, plausible. Not reasonable to do!

        • anonymous :

          I don’t understand. There are children everywhere. Why would a predator go after the child portrayed in a man’s online dating profile vs. any other child?

          • Anonymous :

            Men who are interested in s*x abuse children may look for single moms. They start dating the mom/sleeping over as a way to get access to the children. Most abuse of children occurs by someone they know. An uncle, dad’s BFF, Mom’s new boyfriend.

            Don’t lie about having kids when someone messages you or you meet them for a coffee, but don’t put your kids in your profile picture or description either. Be suspicious of someone who only dates single moms especially if their children are all similar – two ex-GFs who have a 6/7 year old girl and you have a 6/7 year old girl? red flag.

    • My college roommate dated a guy like this. He turned out to be a pathological liar – not married, just a boring guy who wanted to seem much more excited than he actually was. It was pretty terrible for her when she realized just how extensive the lies had been.

      • That just reminded me of the This American Life episode that had a similar story. I think the guy in that episode claimed to have a job that required high security clearance. Turns out he didn’t have a job, on top of a million other lies.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        This will majorly out me if anyone here actually knows me (because everyone knows this story) but we had a maladjusted, narcissistic guy in our high school circle who stalked his ex-girlfriend to another city where she was going to university on the pretense that he also was studying there. He got a student apartment and, get this, went to classes. Completed assignments. Nobody knew until a TA came in early one day and wrote on the board “NAME, you are not registered in this class. You are not a student at this University. Please get out and do not come back.” Everybody heard about it, it was epic.

        So, no end of stuff that pathological liars will do to make their lives more interesting.

    • My husband and I both have security clearances, and without outing him, I will say that he works with one of the systems that issues clearances to people. I have never in my life heard of someone with even a top-level clearance (which my husband has, with two different agencies) getting a report on who has searched for you online and from where. If I could get such a report, I would be thrilled!! But no training I’ve ever received about my rights and responsibilities as a clearance holder ever mentioned that such a report was available.

      Please tell your friend to be cautious. Security clearances and what they mean and what they allow people to know and do are widely misunderstood by the public. I have friends who were surprised that I still had to present identification at the airport. “But you have a security clearance!” That doesn’t mean anything. Your friend is being scammed by this guy. She should run far away.

    • Handy online dating tip: if a person has their cell phone number on their Facebook, you can find them there when you search their first name + cell phone. This was how I discovered that the restaurant owner I met on eHarmony who kept having “restaurant emergencies” was actually – hello! – married with kids. First name + cell phone is the most helpful dating tip for single women – not only can you see their pics, but you can also see their last name so that you can fully google them.

      OP, please, please come back and let us know what your friend says!

    • No no no. Just no. So much no. Between DH and me, we’ve worked at 2 of the highest profile agencies on some really sensitive stuff. This is not a thing and this guy sounds creepy AF. You can’t monitor people’s internet usage or search histories.

  7. Hope all NYC ‘rettes are safe after the Port Authority incident!

  8. Stay-cation TV :

    This is my last week in the office for the year!!
    Looking ahead to my coming stay-cation:
    1. What are you streaming? I have cued up Wolf Hall. Others of the same ilk?
    2. Have you seen the show, “First Dates”? The show sets up couples on blind dates, all of which take place in the show’s restaurant. I watched the U.S. version earlier this year, but the U.K. version has had nine seasons. Any ideas on where/how I could legally stream the U.K. version?

    • Stay-cation TV :

      I’ve already checked Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix for “First Dates – UK.”

    • The Crown!

    • The crown!!! And the last season of Curb your Enthusiasm. I’ve watched it and am planning to watch it all again. Easily the best comedy I’ve seen on TV in a decade.

    • The White Queen and The White Princess were both fun to watch if you have Starz.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I am love, love, loving the second season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Even better than the first season, which I loved. Also I was late to it, but Stranger Things is great, too.

    • Anonymous :

      LOVING The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime (currently 6 episodes in).

  9. Fed lead time :

    I just saw a posting for a federal agency trial position in my hometown (not Justice, and not in DC), where my husband and I have been talking about moving back to. Anyone have any idea how long of a time this would take, if successful? When could I expect an interview, an offer, and a start date? I feel like friends who have moved to DOJ have had several months between an accepted offer and a start date, but I don’t know if that’s a general federal government thing or not.

  10. In the kitchen :

    Anyone feeling creative in the kitchen today? I have two different food-related questions:
    1. What’s your favorite easy dinner idea that uses cooked chicken strips? I have a bunch of the refrigerated ones you can buy pre-cooked from the store and I’m in a bit of a rut in how to use them (in pasta, with cauliflower rice, etc.). Other ideas? They’re not breaded – just plain.
    2. What’s your favorite recipe that uses zucchini/eggplant – but doesn’t use ricotta cheese (like lasagnas with veggie noodles often do)? I’m trying to find a healthy or somewhat healthy holiday recipe to feed a group of four. I know the ingredients above may seem random, but the request is based on pretty divergent tastes within the group. It can be a main or a side dish; if it’s a side, I’ll probably pair it with a simple grilled fish of some sort.

    • 1. Chicken tacos

    • MidwestLady :

      my favourite way to make eggplant is nasu dengaku (google for a recipe). great with rice and chicken.

    • I did eggplant parmesan slilders once that were pretty good. You slice the eggplant into rounds, bread it, and top it on a bun with mozzerella cheese and sauce and then on a bun. I was even able to make the eggplant ahead of time and then froze them. Worked well as the main dish, but if you did miniatures, could also work well as a side?

    • 1. Quesadillas; tacos; fried rice.
      2. a) Polenta with Eggplant – you make a big pot of polenta; cube and cook the eggplant with a can of diced tomatos and garlic or your favorite tomato sauce and then put the whole thing in the oven (eggplant layered on top of polenta) with some shredded fontina (or similar) cheese on top. You can make the eggplant ahead of time and then put it all together. It’s delicious.
      b) Ratatouille, if you want to be even healthier (no cheese at all). Makes a great main (can be served over quinoa or cous cous, or with a side of good, crusty bread and a green salad) or a side. Also easy to make ahead, it only gets better if you let it sit a day.

    • I make a pasta e fagioli soup with zucchini that is delicious – you can throw zuccs into any veggie soup. Zucchini sauteed in olive oil and sprinkled with locatelli pecorino romano is amazing. Julienned zucchini, lightly sauteed and sprinkled with sesame oil and soy is also yummy. Chocolate zucchini cake.

    • Can’t help with 1, but this recipe from Smitten Kitchen is my go-to for 2: https://smittenkitchen.com/2012/09/baked-orzo-with-eggplant-and-mozzarella/

    • anon a mouse :

      BBQ Chicken pizza: Grab a pre-made pizza dough, top with barbecue sauce, diced chicken and cheddar cheese. Red onions if you like them.

    • Anon in NYC :

      2. Zucchini or eggplant rollatini, for a main dish. You don’t have to bread the zucchini or eggplant (but do have to cook it to make it more pliable). I just saw a recipe where the eggplant was stuffed with risotto (which sounded amazing). Time intensive, but feels fancy-ish for a holiday.

      As a side dish, I like roasting or grilling zucchini (roasting because I don’t have a grill) — just make sure that you salt it well.

    • For 2, here’s a Greek-style stew that’s similar to ratatouille but more substantial: http://www.mediterrasian.com/delicious_recipes_greek_stew.htm. Feta (or parmesean) is optional.

    • Hasselback zucchini is great and easy – make a bunch of slits in the zucchini, drizzle with olive oil, and slip paper thin slices of garlic in the slits. Bake and top with some parm.

    • I’d make a middle eastern plate with the chicken strips. Put a mix of paprika and cumin on the strips as you warm them. Serve with Store bought hummus and make a white sauce of plain Greek yogurt with some mayo mixed in. You can make yellow rice if you have time (just google rice for shawarma, but basically it’s rice cooked with some turmeric and a few cardamom pods). I’d serve with a regular green bagged salad and a vinaigrette with a little extra dried oregano mixed in.

    • CherryScary :

      1. Search Tex Mex Chicken Taco soup, from Food Network. Shred and use for the chicken (I’ve also done this with rotisserie chickens as well)

    • I like to bread and fry the eggplant and then top with marinara sauce and cheese (so kind of like eggplant parm), I like to do zucchini either as diced up and sautéed with onion and garlic, or shredded and mixed with a little flour and an egg or two, then fry up like fritters.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      For #2, ratatouille – I am a fan of the recipe/description/instructions on The Billfold from 2012.

    • Another smitten kitchen rec for the eggplant


  11. Smoking tenant :

    We rent out the bottom of our house to a tenant. She’s fantastic, has lived w us for several years, and we’re very friendly with her. Several times in the past few weeks, we’ve smelled cigarette smoke coming from her apartment. It seems to coincide with a new male friend that has been visiting. Smoking’s against the lease and it’s gross because we smell it in our apartment. We smelled it again yesterday, a few minutes after the friend arrived.

    I’m sending her an email, but do you have any suggestions for politic language? I’m about 80% sure it’s coming from her apartment, but of course it could have another origin. I don’t want to harm our relationship with her.

    I plan to say something like, “it’s entirely possible the smoke is coming from a neighbor or construction worker, but we wanted to remind you it’s against the lease.”

    I remember once a landlord wrongly accused me of smashing beer bottles all over their yard, and I was pretty offended.

    • Maybe I’m way too nice, but if you have an otherwise great relationship with her, it might be worth saying, “We’ve smelled cigar3tt3 smoke from the direction of your apartment a number of times over the last XX weeks. Have you noticed it too? Any idea where it’s coming from? It’s entirely possible the smoke is coming from a neighbor or outdoors, but we wanted to remind you it’s against the lease.”

      FWIW, if your lease doesn’t specifically cover electronic smoking devices, you might be out of luck on this one.

    • I think your planned language sounds good, but stating your observations and simply asking what she knows/if she’s experienced it too, may be smart, too. “Just the facts” approach won’t (hopefully) be read as an accusation, but if she is the source, then she knows what’s up, and you’ve reminded her adequately. If it’s not them, it gives her an opportunity to say so.

      “Hey, we’ve noticed a strong cigare t t e smoke smell coming into our apartment a few times (x, y and z), and we were wondering if you’ve also noticed it. While it’s entirely possible the smoke is coming from a neighbor or construction worker, it felt like a good reminder that smoking on the property is against the lease. Thanks! LL”

    • I wouldn’t give her this out. You are basically handing her an excuse. Maybe she is a great person who will stop anyways, but why give her an excuse to keep smoking.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Even if her friend isn’t smoking inside, you may be smelling smoke from him hanging around the entrance and smoking. The smell is pretty pervasive.

    • OMG just be direct with her. “Hey, we’ve been smelling smoke when your friend is over. Just a reminder that smoking is against the lease. Please have him smoke elsewhere.” Do not make this into a big deal because it is definitely not one.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. Don’t give her an opportunity to blame somebody else.

      • Yes, this.

        Don’t give her someone to blame and I would also say that smoking is prohibited both by her and her guests.

    • I’d just go with the first half of what others have suggested.

      “We’ve smelled cigar3tt3 smoke from the direction of your apartment a number of times over the last XX weeks. Have you noticed it too? Any idea where it’s coming from?”

      And then I would knock on her door the next time I smelled it.

  12. Anyone want to help with a hard-to-find Christmas gift?
    My sister asked for “mint green or turquoise rounded pump [i think she means almond toe?] pumps. preferably suede but satin would be ok”
    I’ve tried looking in all my usual spots, but these don’t seem to exist. Anyone seen anything like this or want to try hunting? Thanks!

    • This is a really tough request and honestly I would ask her to pick out what she likes and you will either order it for her or reimburse her.

    • shoe shopping on a monday morning :

      This is the type of crazy request my family is always sending my way, so I’m just going to assume you don’t have the “ask her exactly what shoe she saw and is trying to replicate” option. Links to follow.

    • https://www.overstock.com/Clothing-Shoes/Journee-Collection-Womens-Mavis-5-Round-Toe-Patent-Pumps/6622604/product.html

    • https://www.6pm.com/p/nine-west-scheila-dark-turquoise-suede/product/8878055/color/99071

    • Gift card to shoes of prey so she can design it herself? Otherwise I feel like modcloth or anthropologie might have something.

    • Nine West – Kristal on 6pm OR the Scheila
      Charles By Charles David – Lava Pump on DSW
      There are a lot of mint green options on polyvore

    • How high of a heel is she willing to do? What is your budget? Here are the best options I could find…






    • https://www.6pm.com/p/nine-west-kristal-dark-turquoise-suede/product/8605727/color/99071

      The heels are pretty high, but.

    • I had turquoise suede pointed toe pumps in college. They were also d’orsay (however its spelled) and totally fabulous.Wonder what ever happened to them?!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Maybe try Shoes of Prey? You can customize the shoes and I’d bet they have a mint option.

  13. Clementine :

    1. Buffalo chicken salads. Toss chicken with hot sauce (I like Frank’s), add bleu cheese or good bleu cheese dressing and serve over chopped romaine lettuce.

    Alternately, knock off chipotle bowls. Add rice/quinoa, (canned) black beans, veggies, salsa, and go wild with the toppings.

    2. Cut into planks or flat disks. Toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Grill them (ideally outside but a grill pan works) or roast them. Toss a handful of cherry tomatoes on the serving platter at the end if you’re feeling wild.

  14. I hate skirt vents and am looking for a black pencil skirt without one. I’m fine with stretchy and tight since I’ll likely be wearing it with longer sweaters. I’d like it to be made with a thicker material. Does anyone have one that they like? I’ve realized this is impossible to shop for online. TIA!

  15. Fancy in Texas? :

    Has anyone been to a black tie or formal event in Texas that would be fun for my parents (late 60‘s but active)? My Dad is a sweet, but awkward engineer who is obsessed with dressing up, tuxedos, fancy parties, etc.

    My brother and I want to get him and my mom tickets to a gala or the opening night of the symphony or the opera or something, but we‘ve both lived out of state for more than 10 years, so we basically have no idea.

    They‘re in Austin, but willing to drive for the right event, and are open-minded as far as the crowd goes. Thanks!

    • Pen and Pencil :

      Unfortunately, many of the super formal occasions are in the fall/winter and have already happened. I don’t have Austin suggestions but in Houston the Opera Ball is about as fancy as things get and is in the Spring. White tie attire and everyone who is anyone is there for the most part. As an added bonus, the opera, ballet and all of the theatres in Houston flooded during Harvey and lost almost everything, so they would really benefit from the extra funds this year. A lower cost event in town I would recommend is the Glassell School Benefit; it has the added bonus of having a silent art auction during the event.

      If you want to stay in Austin, I would definitely stick with the larger arts organizations. Most non-arts events are less dressy, and even in Houston, I would say more than half of them do not have dancing (which would be good or bad in your case).

    • Flats Only :

      I say this because you don’t mention budget or whether they enjoy travel, but it sounds like he would really enjoy a Cunard cruise. I understand they are slightly less formal than they used to be, but not by much, so he can wear a tux every night if he wants to.

      • Fancy in Texas? :

        I’d never heard of this, but this is how they need to celebrate their next major wedding anniversary!

    • Super late to the party. If they want to go in Houston, here are some of the go to black tie events coming up in the new year: JDRF, Ballet, Cattle Barons Ball, American Heart Association. There are more but those are just the ones that come to mind. Later in the year, Dress for Success always does a unique event in October that features bites from all the lady owned restaurants in Houston. Opening night at the symphony/orchestra/opera isn’t as black tie as it used to be.

      For Austin, check out the Long Center calendar for tickets. Another option is to buy them season tickets to their preferred ballet/symphony/orchestra and make a donation in their name so they get special subscriber benefits.

  16. Anyone else suddenly getting pop up ads at the bottom of the screen? They can be closed but come back as soon as the page is refreshed. It’s distracting and really interferes with reading the comments, especially on a phone (but even on a web browser).

    • Yup. I can’t close them.

    • Anony Mouse :

      Me too.

    • same problem and I don’t like it either

    • YES, and it’s VERY annoying. I think the manageing partner told me that when we SURF the internet on the weekend’s, we do NOT have the same firewall on our browsers as we do when we are at work. So once those pop up ad’s get into our browser, we can NOT get them out unless we CLEAR THE CASH! FOOEY! The teck guy did this last time for me, but then I lost all of my cookies for L&T, Bloomies and Macys! DOUBEL FOOEY b/c I had to reload all of them.

      BTW, Kat, this is a beautiful blazer, but $1500 is alot of money! TRIPEL FOOEY!

    • Same. I have a pop-up ad on the bottom of the screen and SUPER ANNOYING ads on the side that stay in place as I scroll – they flash a lot and drive me absolutely crazy.

      • Same, very annoying. The autoplay ad that was here last week seems to have gone away, though.

        And no, I can’t install ad-blocker (work computer, skeleton crew IT, very particular about what they let us download…stupidly).

    • Yes, but I’m used to the annoyance because the AskAManager site as the same ads.

    • The popups got so bad for me that I switched the mobile browser I use when I come here, to one that has built-in adbl0cking. No more popups since I switched browsers. I was only getting the popups on this s!te so I knew I didn’t have a v!Rus or something.

    • Yes, and it is really annoying because it is way to easy to accidentally click on the ad when you are scrolling or trying to close it. By design…

      And it really slows down my computer. Crazy slow. So some days I stop checking is site.

      Aren’t there enough ads on this site already?

    • Yep, and it’s annoying.

  17. shoe shopping on a monday morning :

    These are 7.5: https://poshmark.com/listing/BCBG-Paris-Teal-Blue-Pumps-Heels-Jaze-Size-75-599f8876723432df7b0157ed?utm_source=gdm&gdm_bottom=false&campaign_id=1013385352&utm_campaign=1013385352&enable_guest_buy_flow=true&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1sLr_aCC2AIVl5d-Ch0LwgdnEAkYHyABEgJwcvD_BwE

    Too pointy? Available in a 9: http://us.asos.com/asos/asos-petal-asymmetric-pointed-high-heels/prd/7205617?affid=14174&channelref=product+search&mk=abc&currencyid=2&ppcadref=753857711%7C38363055566%7Cpla-372785140507&_cclid=v3_7575296a-473c-5ad6-ae6e-a8497423538f&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjMOcv6CC2AIVXbnACh3bwAnVEAQYASABEgL45fD_BwE

    Mary janes? https://www.overstock.com/Clothing-Shoes/Beston-DE39-Womens-Teardrop-Hollow-Out-Mary-Jane-Pumps-One-Size-Small/16419696/product.html?cid=202290&kid=9553000357392&track=pspla&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=22766780-000-026&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjMOcv6CC2AIVXbnACh3bwAnVEAQYAyABEgITgvD_BwE

  18. if you’ve done either (or both!) pros and cons of buying a house that needs about $80k in updates versus building a new house that costs about $150k more? Is it worth the money to not have to deal with hiring separate contractors/designers for the reno? Or worth the reno to buy a house you know won’t have all the “new house” settling side effects?

    • Does the house need $80k in updates to be habitable, or is it just you want to spend $80k upgrading it? If it’s the latter I’d definitely buy the existing house and do the renos. Renos aren’t really that bad (we’ve re-done our kitchen and finished our basement), it represents a significant savings over the new house, and I would like the idea of getting a house that’s been around for a while and whose issues are well known and can be discovered on an inspection.

    • I would also consider landscaping for the home/neighborhood. An older home with mature trees, shrubbery, etc. would definitely be more appealing to me than a new home without them.

    • Anonymous :

      Do you have the cash to do the updates and pay a down payment? You can’t get a mortgage for renovation costs.

      • Anonymous :

        Can’t you? I haven’t looked into this for a while – and I didn’t look into it very significantly even then – but my realtor seemed to think it was possible to include reno costs included in the mortgage, it just required jumping through some extra hoops.

        • Anonymous :

          Not in a traditional mortgage but you can get a home equity line of credit, which is a similar idea of borrowing against the value of the house.

    • I have a house that was habitable immediately but needed about $80K in updates. It’s been a great decision for us. I like spacing out the renovations as we can afford to pay for them in cash while keeping our mortgage lower. We’ve added value, and since some of the renovations were to an apartment we rent out, we’ve increased the rent and will be able to pay ourselves back for what we put into the renovations withing 5 years (just from the increase).

      But one thing that sticks out to me is the comparison to building a brand new house. You’ll get the advantages of choosing the finishes you like, which to me is a huge advantage to renovations. And you’ll delay and maybe even sell before you have to deal with the issues of having an old house. Besides the renovations we’ve done, we’ve dealt with plumbing issues (clay pipes), AC issues, crumbling drywall, and lots of other quirks of an old house. We have to think about how to pay for a new roof in 10 years and new siding in 10-15. Depending on the size of your house and how old and how well-maintained the one needing updates is, the $70K price difference between the new house and the older house may be worth it for maintenance reasons alone.

      • Anonymous :

        On the flip side, I have a couple of friends who built their houses or bought brand new condos that they got to “build” i.e. pick the finishes for. Several of them had a lot of problems with the developer and/or builder. Property is always risky! It’s hard to know whether you’re making the right decision.

  19. Wanted to share two gift ideas I came across doing some online holiday shopping this weekend (may be too late for this year but something to keep in mind for future gift occasions):

    1. the patchwork bear dot com will make a teddy bear for you out of any old fabrics you send in – tshirts, baby blankets, baby hats, etc. It’s not cheap ($120), but there are promo codes for 20% off (OPRAH, which is where I found this) and it seems like a nice way to repurpose those sentimental items we all have but don’t know what to do with. If you’re doing this for someone else, I think it’s not too late to order the kit and then they send in all the stuff; not sure how long it takes to actually get the bear.

    2. this one is too late for xmas delivery but seems neat in general: map kitchen towels with your home address or whatever other coordinates (childhood home?). I am not one of these people, but so many people I know LOVE maps and this would totally make their day (Mr. AIMS, for sure). I can’t remember where I saw it – it was in some catalog that came to my house – but it seems available online here: https://www.signals.com/HU7542.html

  20. DH and i are heading to NYC for a night— our first overnight away from our kids (ever!). We have theater tickets and want to do dinner beforehand. What is the best pre-theater menu in midtown? We’re fairly open on cuisines and happy to spend extra to have a special experience. Boulud South looks great but hoping to find someplace closer to midtown. I don’t want to be rushed enjoying dinner and getting to an 8 pm show.


    • I love Toalache.

    • Grand central oyster bar and take the shuttle to Times Square.

      • Just make sure it is running if you go this route, in light of this morning’s events.

        Depending on where your theater is/if you mind a little bit of a walk, the Modern may be fun.
        I also like Danji when I go see a Broadway show for something different from typical Theater District fare, but it may also be a bit of a walk.
        If you want more traditional, there is always Esca or Joe Allen. The Lamb’s Club is also not bad (though not my cup of tea, style wise).

    • Plumerias :

      I liked quality Italian for this. (Our show was closer to 6th ave). Also great is Marea.

  21. My MIL is retired, in her early 60s and absolutely wants for nothing. She is always the toughest to buy for (and unfortunately, not buying anything for her or making a donation would not fly with her). I’m looking at maybe upgrading her slippers to really nice ones. I originally was looking at UGG slippers online, but when I saw them in person I was surprised that they weren’t very soft. Any recs in the $50 to $75 range?

  22. For those of you with kids in elementary school, how much are you giving your kid’s teachers for the holidays? I’m thinking either 50 or 75 in gift cards for the really awesome teacher and 25 for the so so one. Interested in what others plan to do.

    • That’s so high. Public school? It feels super inappropriate. A card from your child and a $10 gift card.

    • LCOL city in Canada so not sure how relevant to your area. I do $25 for classroom elementary school teacher and $20 for each of three daycare classroom teachers. Others do $50 for classroom teacher. Public school in upper middle class area.

    • I agree that it seems high. $10 is fine, $20 at the most. I also wouldn’t give a “better” gift to the teacher you like more, but that’s just me.

    • Did you check your handbook? Some public schools prohibit the teachers from accepting gifts worth more than $x.

    • $10 or so is the norm in my low cost of living area.

    • My mom’s a teacher and is super uncomfortable with these kinds of gifts. She’d love a card from the student.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      HCOL city in Canada. I do $50 for main class teacher, $25 for each ed assistant. $50 for main daycare teacher and likely $75-$100 for daycare one-on-one (my kid is a handful at times).

    • Mrs. Jones :

      $25 gift card for each teacher and assistant.

    • If you really want to do a more expensive gift for a teacher, pool together with other classroom parents. We were able to buy things that we knew the teacher would like (think hobby or classroom decoration theme) by doing a multi-family gift.

    • biglawanon :

      I didn’t know people gave monetary gifts to teachers? My kids just give their teacher a card, so I hope they don’t think we’re jerks. Public school, no teaching assistants.

      • High cost city, just outside Toronto, my kids are just out of high school but $20 max

        I have several close teacher friends and they tell me anything more looks likeA you are trying to curry favourites

  23. Another shameless holiday party post: any ideas for my fiance’s holiday party that will be at a local bar/restaurant that has a dance floor and is a going out spot on the weekends. I’m stumped, because they’ve been much fancier in the past and this one his work friends are wearing “jeans and a button down.”

    • Jeans and a cute blouse.

    • Jeans feels too casual to me. I’d probably do booties and a dark colored swing dress so you won’t be overdressed if everyone is wearing jeans or underdressed if people dress like they have in the past.

    • I still a dress can be an appropriate pairing with jeans and a button-down for men (it’s not your fault they’re under-dressing). I would wear a knee-length, festive, but not too fancy, dress.

    • Clothes Donations :

      I’d probably do black skinnies, a heeled bootie, and a sparkly top.

  24. Anyone have a suggestion for a nice wine shop in the Shaker Heights, OH area? I would like to get someone a gift certificate. TIA!

  25. For the “I’m good looking and I’ve ever been harassed” crowd – from the wapo

    “We have to stop seeing s3xual harassment and s3xual assault as some sort of flattery of women gone awry. In truth, s3xual assault has nothing to do with s3x, or s3xuality, or flirting, or courtship, or love. Rather, s3xual assault is a kind of hate. The men who gratify themselves by abusing women aren’t getting off on those women, but on power. These men don’t s3xually assault women because they like women but because they despise them as subordinate creatures. We should call it misogynistic harassment and misogynistic assault, not s3xual assault.”

    • Yup. Exactly this!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yes yes yes.

    • Yes! A friend was being groped, routinely, by someone in her social group (the spouse of a now former good friend) and when she asked another woman in the group if she’d experience something similar from this guy her response was, “no, but I’m not his type.” As if being someone’s “type” was the motivating factor.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes and no.

        I dated someone who was/is abusive and controlling, but he has a very specific type: women exactly my height and with my hair colour, and slim. If you don’t fit that type, he won’t hit on you or harass you, but is brutal to women who do.

        That doesn’t mean it is all about sexual attraction; it just means that abusers have very weird reasons for picking their targets, and some of those reasons are physical.

    • Yes. That is a great analysis.

    • This isn’t entirely true. A UN multi-country study asked rapists why they raped women and found that most said it was because they wanted to have sex. Misogyny is absolute part and parcel of that, but sexual desire is not irrelevant.

    • Earlier comment on this got lost, but yes to all of this.

      A friend had been getting “accidentally” groped, regularly, by someone in her social group (the husband of a now-former close friend). She asked another woman in the group if she’d had any similar experience with this guy and the response she got was, “no, but I’m not his type.” It took my friend a while to figure out why this comment upset her so much – it was the suggestion that this kind of harassment/assault was about “types” and attraction rather than abuse.

  26. What are the best merino wool ankle socks? I’m looking for the kind that come up just to the ankle, not low-cut/ped-like socks. Thanks!

  27. Clothes Donations :

    If you donate your gently used clothes, where do you take them? I’m doing a major closet clean out and looking to donate things that are still wearable but don’t work for me anymore. In the past I’ve taken bags to the Goodwill down the street, but I was wondering if you ladies had any other suggestions?
    I don’t have anything fancy/expensive enough to have a lot of resale value based on the label, but there are a lot of clothes in pretty good condition that I just don’t or can’t wear anymore.

  28. Warm and cozy :

    I have started buying myself Xmas presents every year. I am the main gift buyer in my family anyway, and it keeps me from being disappointed? Works well!

    This year I’d love some really warm Pj’s and a wonderful robe. Mabe fleece pj’s? Prefer pull overs and sweats style bottoms with elastic at the ankle so they don’t slip up under the covers. And does anyone have a favorite robe?


    • I saw a nice sherpa robe at Anthropologie over the weekend. Link to follow.

    • I love the shangri-la robe from Natori. It may not be what you’re looking for because it’s lightweight. But it’s made out of the softest jersey and is the perfect thing to wear after my shower when I’m getting ready in the morning. Very ladylike and elegant. I don’t like poly robes because they stick to me and fleecy robes are too warm when I’m still hot from the shower. I buy a new shangri-la every year or two, and keep an older one in my suitcase.

  29. Sharing some unicorn booties I purchased from Amazon on Cyber Monday. Cougar Connect. I’d never heard of the brand, but I’ve been wearing the black nonstop and may purchase another color. Waterproof, suede, comfy, and they come up high enough to avoid the dreaded exposed ankle skin gap. They also come in wide. Highly recommend for anyone searching!


    • Never too many shoes... :

      Maybe a Canadian thing but Cougar is a well know brand for sturdy boots. Those look cute and great considering the price!

      • Yep, standard winter boot growing up in southern Ontario when we really had snow

        They are much more stylish now

  30. Any suggestions for killing time at work? This month is suuuper slow and I have nothing to do for about 38 hours per week. Headphones are highly irregular in our friendly workplace, so no netflix. I constantly read the news (so depressing) and check here, but I need something to really get sucked into that can pass the time.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      When I have downtime I scheme and I draw. Scheming topics currently include upcoming girls trips (pinterest boards), the dollhouse I’m making my kid for Xmas (pinterst boards and fake architecture drawings), and things to cook and bake (more pinterest and other online research). Usually I have some costume scheming going on, for which I draw and research and sometimes pinterest. Man it sounds like I use that website a lot, but it doesn’t feel like I do.

      Drawing is largely doodley, like right now I’m working on drawing mandala type things rather than just snowflakes. Sometimes I bring my bullet journal and plan things out in there, or decorate.

    • StumbleUpon could be fun. You choose your interests and then stumble through the internet.

    • Is there an online course (professional or personal) that you are interested in taking? There are a lot of free ones. Or maybe learn to code or build websites or something similar.


    • wildkitten :

      I read kindle books on my computer if nobody is looking at my screen.

    • Anonymous :

      Ask A Manager and Reddit.

  31. Feeling Pretty? :

    I’m in my late 20s, but feel like lately I’ve “lost my looks” and don’t feel pretty any more. I know that looks aren’t everything and other stuff is more important blah blah…but I also want to feel pretty.

    What are your tips and tricks to make yourself feel pretty when you’re not really feeling it?

    • Rose water spray for my face. It feels cool and refreshing and I can’t really quantify it, but it makes me feel better somehow.

      Keeping nails and eyebrows done also helps me feel a little better when I feel puffy and blah.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Is there something in particular you are not feeling confident about? I feel like I suggest this all the time, but seeing other women who share traits with me (or who just don’t conform to the mainstream beauty norms) and who are beautiful really helps. It also just helps to remind myself of how many different ways there are to be beautiful. Like, follow models on instagram who are fat/short haired/of your ethnic background/your age or older/modest/queer/mothers/punkAF/weirdos/etc. — anything that isn’t the super mainstream norm? Follow makeup artists who transform their faces in amazing ways, especially ways you’d never choose to duplicate? Follow Fourth Trimester Body Project? It’s surprisingly helpful to create me to create my own stream of media messages that’s more positive than the one that’s out there if I don’t curate.

      That and get yourself a [email protected] leather jacket.

    • A haircut and getting my nails done are easy fixes. Better skincare is helpful, as budget allows. I love Lancome Genefique and it does amazing things to my skin and always makes me look glowy, but it’s not always in the budget.

    • Anonymous :

      Three things:
      1) Highlights and lowlights. Try the Hair Color Mix book for some ideas of better DIY techniques.
      2) Nails!
      3) Clean out your lingerie drawer and go find new.

    • I’m a little confused by this. Did something happen recently that drastically changed your appearance? I feel like people don’t lose their looks overnight and late twenties is still young.

      But yeah, maybe a new haircut/color or maybe you need a wardrobe revamp if your clothes are ill fitting and/or not quite in style anymore.

      • Feeling Pretty? :

        Nothing happened, I just don’t feel as pretty as I used to or that I am perceived as pretty, like I was in the past. Idk. Getting older is hard…

    • Haircut +highlights works wonders for me. I started getting highlights (balayage) in my late 20’s when I was feeling sort of “blah.” I also like to switch something up with my makeup, like trying a new lip color or something.

      Also, I feel better about myself when I exercise regularly (which I don’t do enough).

  32. A riff on this weekend’s kind of nasty thread about photo holiday cards

    I received five in the mail this morning. None of them were signed or had a personal note and I LOVE THEM! I didn’t know my friend’s daughter graduated this year, I got to see the baby of a former work friend looking all chubby in a santa suit (melt!) and one of the cards includes a pic of my favorite doggy.

    Please don’t stop sending cards if you enjoy doing it. Don’t let those bitter grumps steal your joy. I love receiving them. They’ll be on my entryway ledge for a month and I will smile every time I walk by.

    (and now to get my kids to hold still for a pic for my own card, which will hopefully go out by New Years)

    • Linda from HR :

      I haven’t sent any of my own cards yet, because every Christmas I’ve been living either with my parents or with roommates, and doing Christmas cards with roomies isn’t really a “thing” as far as I can tell. That said, my boyfriend and I have been talking about getting a place and starting a life together, which means next Christmas we may be sending out our own Christmas cards! It would be so special to send out a picture of us in front of our first Christmas tree. But between my garbage handwriting and general lack of free time, I’ll sign them by hand but I definitely won’t be handwriting a personalized note on every single one!

      I get that people feel special when thought and effort go into things directed at them, and slighted when things seem done the easy way, but I’m all about efficiency, and giving people a break! This is a busy, stressful time of year for a lot of people.

      • I so agree. Cut your loved ones some slack. Some years, I have the time and energy to hand-write a note on my photo cards. Other years, I really don’t. I have to force myself to stop being a perfectionist about a dang Christmas card and just mail them anyway. It doesn’t mean I care less about you during those years! It means that the holidays are busy and hectic, but I still want to connect with you anyway.

        Personally, I love love love displaying holiday cards in our entryway, no matter whether they’re signed, or not.

        To the Grinch-y posters from the weekend, I want to tell you what I sometimes have to tell my kids: JUST BE GRATEFUL, OK?

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I got tired of signing for myself and my husband and now writing my kid’s name so this year people got personalized notes, like “Aunt Phyllis, Merry Christmas! We miss you!” but I just couldn’t bring myself to do the signatures. The front is printed with, “Love RainbowHair, RainbowHusband, and RainbowKiddo” so people ought to be able to figure that out.

        • Linda from HR :

          Oh yeah, you shouldn’t have to sign the cards on behalf of others. I could see getting everyone to the table and doing the signatures assembly-line style, but even that can be tough, especially if there’s a lot of cards!

        • Baconpancakes :

          Yeah this is our first year doing cards together and I’m just handing my SO the stack of finished cards to sign, and in the case of his family, to address.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I just want to thank all the warm-hearted people for making me actually look at my views on this and actually change them! I admit, I have tended to be of the “hrumph… what’s the point if it’s addressed by computer and not signed by hand!” school of thought. But you all have shown me the light — it’s a heroic effort just to get them sent out and I salute anybody who has done that!! So thanks, and keep it up!!

    • Very true. I LOVE them of all breeds, no matter what they say or what pictures are on them. I’m just touched that someone thought to include me in holiday greetings.

      The only cards I sigh *a little( at are the ones from a newlywed couple with a typed in blanket statement”thank you for your generous gift” where they combine a holiday card with a generic thank you note for their wedding. I just got married and think if someone spent money for a gift or to spent time to come to our wedding, the very least I can do is write a couple of sentences in thanks and appreciation and these couples should be able to do the same. *BUT even still* a card is better than nothing.

  33. Any ideas for something special I can do for my daughter as she’s beginning to hear whether she is accepted to colleges? So far she has heard from one and it was good news, but kind of took me by surprise, with the notice just randomly showing up in her email inbox over the weekend. There are more to come, undoubtedly more good news and also some disappointments. Maybe a little gift? Plan a trip to do something special? I don’t even remember what my parents & I did; it was so long ago and not such a big deal back then.

    • Anonymous :

      I think the best thing you can do is nothing.

      • +1. Make it low key. My mom is normally awesome in every way but she would actually open my acceptance and rejection letters for law school and then call me to tell me what it said if I wasn’t home first to intercept. Esp. for the bad news, you need time to process that on your own. I really got furious at her for that, so I think not doing that, not hovering over her shoulder as she opens the mail, not asking “have you heard from… ” are all good things! Take your cues from her.

      • Anonymous :

        Yup. My blood pressure still goes up when I remember my father handing me the thin envelope (yes, I’m so old that these things came in the mail and you knew thin envelope = rejection) from the school I wanted to attend as I was doing my homework. I was devastated and tried to be blase: tossed it over my shoulder, then returned to my calculus. No, he said, this was just as much about him as about me and I had to open it in front of him and confirm the rejection.

        I wish he would have given me some space to cope.

    • That seems really weird to me. The acceptance is its own reward. This is a transition to a major new stage in life- you will organically ‘mark’ the occasion in a million ways in the coming year. Like, graduation, shopping for dorm stuff, getting sweatshirts from the school she chooses, going to look at schools…

      • Yeah, I’m not getting why anything needs to be done, other saying Congrats or sympathy if she doesn’t get into a college she really wanted to go to…

    • Of course! I’d get her a ballon bouquet or cookie basket when she gets an acceptance she’s excited about, and take pics she can share on her Instagram or snap account.

      • OMG this is so overkill. It’s a normal part of being a teenager; you don’t need to commemorate every college decision letter.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Say “Congratulations!” and then talk about something else, because seniors are sick to death of talking about college applications.

      • Linda from HR :

        Yeah! Oh man, if you’re getting together with family this Christmas, every. Singe. Person. Will ask her what colleges she got into, where else she’s applied, and where she wants to go. Even if things are looking good, these questions will get super old super fast, so tell people what else she’s up to or what she’s interested in these days (clubs she’s in, movies she’s really into, etc.) and encourage people to ask her about that stuff.

    • Sorry I'm grouchy, but... :

      Did you expect the college to notify you first so you could plan a celebration? Most emails show up “randomly”.
      How about when she gets a promotion later on – her boss should call you first? Geez.

      • wildkitten :

        Many schools tell you the time and date to log in online and find out your acceptance.

      • Embarrassing, but I actually thought it would be a letter in the mailbox . . .

        • DS just graduated four years ago and he got his letters in the mail. Have things changed that fast?

          And we didn’t do anything but commiserate when he was disappointed by his first-choice school and high-five him when he got into all the others.

          • Linda from HR :

            I graduated from high school in 2007, all of our acceptances were online. I can’t remember if we were given an acceptance announcement date or if we just got emails basically saying “hey, acceptances are out, log in to this portal and see if you got in!”

            And then they’d send out official acceptance packages and rejection letters, which you’d get later.

            Hey man, don’t get mad at us because someone else changed the system.

          • I graduated in 2006 and all my decisions were online. It was of the “log into this portal to see if you got in” variety. I applied to grad school in 2010, and those were just emails with the decision

          • Anonymous :

            I graduated high school in 2003 and some acceptances were decisions were available online even then. I think you got a paper envelope (either big or small) in the mail a few days letter, but I definitely first found out by logging onto an online admissions portal.

          • The only one I distinctly remember was the rejection from DS’s early decision school, which broke his heart, and that one definitely came by snail mail in 2013. But maybe everything else was e-mail, I don’t know; they were anticlimactic, really.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Coffee dates to check in with her on how she’s feeling/what she’s thinking?

      • wildkitten :

        Or dinners! I’d do pizza.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Huh, it’s strange to me, the whole “don’t acknowledge it at all” approach that seems the most popular here. I can see how there’d be some risk in making a big deal out of an acceptance, and then having a rejection feel like an even bigger letdown, but if you have a close relationship with your teenage kid, why wouldn’t you engage with them on this part of a big life change?

        • I think there’s a difference between engaging with her and helping her work through this decision/acknowledging her feelings and doing some tangible celebration. Obviously congratulate her and be supportive, but a cookie basket is ridiculous.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m saying not to do anything special, not to not talk about it at all. To me, doing all these special things or trying to surprise them with celebrations or consolation prizes is another form of pressuring your kid. They need some breathing room to decide how they want to handle it. They don’t need a parent to tell them how happy or sad they should feel, which is what is going to happen no matter how good your intentions are.

        • To me engaging is being interested, showing excitement on acceptances and provided sympathy otherwise. A trip or present seems overboard. I don’t recall even getting a congrats from my parents but I also knew I could get into any school I was interested in attending so the actual letters were NBD.

    • Anonymous :

      I really appreciated that my parents didn’t make a big deal Bout it.

    • Baconpancakes :

      My school printed out acceptance notices for each school we were accepted into and taped them to our lockers; my parents didn’t do anything, except schedule trips to the schools to make final decisions. They were excited when I got into my first choice school, but there wasn’t anything to really mark the celebration.

      But this was well before Instagram and Facebook, so who knows what’s normal now!

    • Anonymous :

      It’s still not a big deal? Take her to a nice dinner when she picks a school. Get her something nice but practical when she starts school, like a sturdy backpack or whatever kids are carrying these days.

    • My parents celebrated with/congratulated me at a fancy dinner that was already planned during a vacation. They told the restaurant, which printed my menu with “Congratulations” and maybe brought out a special dessert, like they’d do for a birthday or anniversary. It was nice to have the occasion recognized, but it certainly wasn’t something they had to do. I applied early decision and got in, so the dinner would have been after I was accepted into the school I wanted to go to, not in the middle of the process.

    • Jump up and down with her? Tell her you’re proud of her? Toast at dinner? This doesn’t strike me as a “gift” occasion — as other posters have said, the acceptance is the fun part!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      My family didn’t go out for dinner a ton as a kid so when I got into college (first in my family) we went out to dinner to celebrate.

    • Styling help :

      Maybe plan a special day with her? Get manicures and go over all her choices or set up some tours?

    • I applied to a few schools rolling, but also applied to one ED. When I heard from the ED school my parents arranged for the kid of a friend who was a student there to bring home some swag over winter break for me and the 3 other kids from my grade who were accepted. It was really fun! Other than that, didn’t do anything to celebrate. I did have a high school graduation party later on.

      • Same – I found out I was accepted to my first choice school early decision in mid- December and I got a sweatshirt from there as a Christmas gift. Personally, I was also congratulating myself on not having to do any other applications at all.

    • I think some kind of celebration is in order when she makes a decision where she wants to go, but isn’t necessary for acceptances. Make sure she knows she’s smart and wonderful regardless of where she does or doesn’t get accepted (kids get SO competitive about it!), and then save the special dinner/cake/gift for when she decides where she’s going.

      • I kind of agree. The best gift you can give is your support. Support when she is sad about rejection letters or happy about acceptances. Support when she is deciding. Support when she chooses a school and from there on out. It can be a very high pressure time for kids at school made even worse by a parent at home who is placing their hopes and dreams on where their kids gets in. Granted I went to a private school with a lot of legacy kids, but I think these parents are everywhere and they can really be a buzzkill for a kid. They can make a rejection letter even worse when they feel they are *also* letting down their parents because they wanted junior to go to the same school. Or their excitement feel less exciting because their parents want them to go elsewhere. It all just clouds the kid’s choosing of where she wants to really go and what would be the best fit for her. So let her take the lead and be her #1 fan no matter what.

      • Thanks everyone — I went with a nice note along these lines, and she was thrilled.

        • Plumerias :

          We may have gotten a cake for dessert from the local bakery…but it was my dream school and our high school teachers and my dad (college faculty was part of the same Union) was on strike that month, so it was nice to splurge!

  34. Table Wars :

    One of our legal assistants just chewed me out for using “her” table (a table that’s set up for brief preparation and is outside her office). I was angrily informed that in the future, I am expected to ask permission and that I should apologize this time for using it and taking it away from “her” attorneys. I asked her if her attorneys needed it today and she said “No, but you couldn’t have known that. I’d like an apology.” I said “I’m not apologizing for using a common table for legal work that otherwise wasn’t in use.” Because I know she’s prone to go to HR, I immediately went to our supervisor, who told me no, she does not, in fact, own the table and that I was free to use it for its intended purpose since my legal assistant was using hers for a different attorney’s brief. And that I don’t have to apologize.

    I came back and she POSTED A SIGN WITH “HER NAME’S TABLE: ASK ME BEFORE USE” on it in bold, red, 72 point font. Are you f-ing kidding me? Are. you. f-ing. kidding. me. I am not wasting my time on this s*it.

    • lollllll da FUQ?!??! omg how do these people still hold jobs; it boggles my mind.

    • This is hilarious and exactly the kind of thing I’d get worked up over.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        On her side or mine? Because I am very worked up because it’s a TABLE and she legitimately yelled at me. Raised her voice so loud other attorneys peered out of their offices. My supervisor had this look of “I do not get paid enough to deal with this,” as there was also a very drawn out fight a few months ago between the legal assistant and another attorney that the attorney’s legal assistant posted the attorney’s calendar on the wall outside her cubicle and therefore “commandeered” her workspace. It was the wall outside her cubicle. Outside of it. In the hallway.

        I’m slamming my head against my desk. NOT the table.

    • Anonymous :

      Send a photo to your supervisor.
      It’ll be a good laugh and also it’ll document the ridiculous with a time and date stamp.

      • +1. Get the supervisor to deal with this ish. It will be funny later, but right now it’s making me ragey on your behalf.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh god I thought of an even better thing (that you totally shouldn’t do): ‘HER NAME’S CHAIR: ASK ME BEFORE USE’ ‘HER NAME’S DESK: ASK ME BEFORE USE’ ‘HER NAME’S COFFEE CUP: ASK ME BEFORE USE’, ‘HER NAME’S TRASH CAN: ASK ME BEFORE USE’ – with another sign: ‘Sorry for all the signs, HER NAME has gotten a little territorial recently’.

        I’m enjoying this greatly.
        Thank you thank you thank you for making my morning that much more evil.
        Don’t actually do this.

        • Anonymous :

          LOL! You remind me of the time an assistant in my office put up a sign forbidding attorneys to use her recycling bin (it was near the copy machine) because it was not her job to empty it. The next sign that went up said “whose job is it then?” And I think management stepped in at that point.

          • Anonymous :

            That’s the thing – ‘my way’ would totally escalate this.
            I would also laugh all day about it.

    • biglawanon :

      I cannot imagine an assistant (or anyone) behaving this way at my firm. I think they’d get fired. We have a person who is the supervisor of all the assistants (not a lawyer). In a very professional calm way, I’d probably report to her, as well as the chair of my group and my sub-group (partners).

      If she wants to report you to HR, let her. She is the one who will look ridiculous.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I would seriously take the sign and march into my supervisor’s office with it.

      No way, no how, should crazy assistant lady get to act like this.

      And yelling at a lawyer about using firm/organization property? Fired.

    • Tis the season for craziness. Your story is WAY out there but I sheepishly admit to calling over a manager in Target yesterday to let him know that signs marking the eligible items for the buy three things and get a $10 gift card were misplaced. I was polite but very serious about the matter and left wondering who in the world I have become! In other words, this had everything to do with wrapping up a semester in grad school on top of a full-time job and nothing to do with a $10 Target gift card. Love your story!

  35. Has anyone quit their job or taken an extended period of time off because of family / childcare issues? If so how did you know it was the right decision and was it hard to come back?

    • Anonymous :

      I did. I took what wound up being close to a year off to deal with my child’s autism diagnosis. It was too overwhelming to work while trying to find the right therapies and school. It was absolutely the right decision for me and my family (even though the temporary loss of my working identity was hard as was the blow to our income). I wound up going back to my prior place of employment even though at the time I didn’t know for sure if that was going to happen. If you wind up taking the time off, try to see if you could do it in a way that preserves your options going forward. Good luck to you.

  36. Fishie - Tall Boots Poll Results :

    Friends! I’m sorry I didn’t post results of our very important tall boots discussion on the Weekend Open Thread – time got away from me. Anyhow, here are the results:

    80 people responded

    65% say tall boots are not on trend but not totally out of style
    11.2% say out
    23.8% say in

    80% of respondents say tall boots are fine for the office
    10% say OK when snowing or raining
    3.7% say never
    A smattering had other thoughts – some response akin to “OK with skirts, not pants (jeans or leggings tucked into boots) (3.75%); casual day only (1.2%); and “dressy boots only” (1.2%)

    Most opinions were, unsurprisingly, from cold weather locales. Respondents were from the following areas:
    DC/Virginia (yes, I know not all parts of VA are DC area, but there were a lot of responses so I’m doing the best I can, OK?) – 13
    Midwest (anything not including Chicago or Michigan since they wrote in Chicago or Michigan) – 8
    Michigan – 4
    Boston – 7 (plus one more that just said, “New England”)
    Chicago – 7
    NYC and surrounding – 7
    California (sorry not everyone said northern or southern, so you all get lumped together) – 8
    Canada (same issue as California) – 3
    Philly – 2
    Non-NYC New York – 2
    Dallas – 2
    Atlanta -2
    PNW – 2
    Houston – 2
    Charlotte -1
    Pittsburgh – 1
    Asia – 1

    Of those who said tall boots are “In” (14/80), the vast majority were from Boston/New England (3); Michigan (2), Canada (2); Charlotte, “Midwest” plus Ohio, Indianapolis (1 each); Dallas (1); Maryland (1); Charlotte (1); NYC (1), Bay Area (1).

    Of those who responded that tall boots are “out” (9/80), most were from SF/Bay Area (3) or DC/VA (3). 1 each Houston, Chicago, Atlanta.

    The vast majority of you are also in Law, but that didn’t seem to have an effect on your votes.

    So, we’re sort of back where we were when we started, but it seems that tall boots are mostly OK but not trendy according to the Hive.

    Let me know if you have more questions!

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