Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Bell-Sleeve Cardigan

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

I have this jacket in a previous iteration without bell sleeves, and either way it’s a comfortable, affordable, nice lightweight topper for the fall. It’s also a good option for something to keep in the office — it’s not quite a blazer, but you still get a lot of the authority of a blazer. It’s machine washable, too. The new thing this season is that this has bell sleeves, which in the pictures on the site look kind of like you’re going to be auditioning for Shakespeare or something. I’ve seen it in person, however, and it’s not really that bad, so if you like the cardigan otherwise I’d give it a try. It comes in six colors in sizes XS–XXL and is on sale for $39.99, but that’s reduced further to $31.99 right now with the extra 20% off. Alfani Bell-Sleeve Cardigan

Here’s a plus-size option at Last Call.

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  1. Yay! Fruegel Friday’s! I love Fruegel Friday’s and this inexpensive cardigan. I will buy it and wear it for a while, then give it to my cleaneing lady b/c she is eyeing some more expensive cardigans that I do NOT want her to take home to her daughter, Luz. I love Luz, but NOT when I see her parading down Lex with my Anne Klein’s! FOOEY!

    I am heading out to LI to visit with mom–Grandma Trudy has moved in for a while, into my room, as she now also has to deal with Bunion’s! I wonder if I will get Bunion’s when I am over 80? DOUBEL FOOEY if I do! Dad is goeing to try and palm me off on his friend’s son, Harry, who runs a deli. I do not even know where that deli is, but am NOT interested in marrying a guy that comes home every night smelling like pickels! TRIPEL FOOEY!

  2. Enough with the ruffles and bell sleeves already!

    • Anonymous :


    • Anonymous :

      I think I’m the only person who’s cheering on the return of bell sleeves… I LOVE bell sleeves, always have. Cold shoulders and ruffles can GTFO already, though.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s an interesting take on a bell sleeve, since it’s not the ruffled shape. And one that’s not likely to get caught in your soup.

      Still probably won’t buy it though…

    • I like the way they look. I dislike the way they annoy the p*ss out of me when I’m trying to actually do anything while wearing them.

    • Shortening regular sleeves is a PITA when you are a petite size, but necessary. Shortening sleeves on bell sleeves = double the cost = hard pass.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I love the ruffles and bell sleeves and I am unashamed.

    • I have some truly fabulous bell sleeves but this is just so bad.

    • I liked bell sleeves or flair sleeves etc in a world where they were an interesting alternative to the norm. Same with some of the cold shoulder and no shoulder styles. But when EVERY item in the store has it, then it just feels too trendy and done.

  3. Agreed! We don’t need 70s flair in our business looks.

    • I don’t know. I’m older than most of you (early 50s) and I kind of like a little flair, ala the Directrice.

      I’ve been wearing business drag since 1988. One does get a little bored with a basic blazer after +/- 30 years.

    • Hmmm…pretty sure bell sleeves were around looooong before the 70s.

  4. Is there some weird photo-shopping going on? The angles/proportions look all wrong here. Lovely color, but GTFO with those sleeves.

  5. Anonymous :

    Talk to me about Vitamin B12 deficiency. After beginning to take supplements, how long does it take to start feeling normal again? Does supplementation help at all with weight loss, or is that a vain hope?

    • I’m not sure vitamins do anything for a real b-12 deficiency. My mom has one and she gets a once a month shot. She said she felt better almost instantly.

      • Interesting–my doctor only recommended supplements. If they don’t improve things I will call her back and ask about the shots. Thanks for this information.

        • Anonymous :

          Supplement brand *really* matters. There’s no control that checks a supplement (or multi-vitamin) actually contains what the label says it does. Some supplement brands have made it a selling point that they are independently tested. So if you got a specific brand recommendation, make sure you are following it.

    • I feel better really fast, maybe 3 days. I was a bad vegan for a while and didn’t take my b12 supplements. I just take the Costco ones (per doctors recommendation) and I’m all better now. It was laziness on my part, I knew it I should and I just didn’t

      • Also re: weight loss I’ve been consistently pretty thin on a plant based diet so I’m not sure whether it’s b12 or diet.

    • Do you have a lab test documented deficiency? Do they know the cause? What are the symptoms being attributed to B12?

      If you have true B12 deficiency, it could take weeks to months to longer to improve based on your symptoms. For example, if you have developed neuropathy or cognitive issues, those will likely take longer to improve. Faster improvement is likely placebo in most cases. Also, you need to know why you are deficient to make sure the supplement you are taking is the most appropriate one (oral high dose vs. sublingual vs. shot).

      • It is a borderline deficiency diagnosed on the basis of a lab test. All I got was a mailed copy of the lab report with a note telling me to take an OTC supplement. The symptoms I reported are fatigue, mild cognitive issues, and weight gain, although the doctor did not say whether any of these are attributable to B12 deficiency. There was no suggestion of investigating the cause. I am not a vegan.

        • ‘I am not a vegan’ because obviously you can’t be associated with those lepers

          • No, because veganism is a common cause of B12 deficiency and does not apply here. Jeez.

        • That’s tricky, as your symptoms are vague and could have nothing to do with B12. But they could…. that’s the thing about B12. It can do a lot of different things if low. So it’s worth a shot.

          What are you taking now (dose) and where did you get it? We generally have good luck with supplements from Costco with regard to quality and price, and often recommended by docs. The sublingual is popular, and very high dose, but more easily absorbed if you are having issues from not absorbing it via the traditional route. But honestly, your doctor should have talked with you to figure out why you are lowish B12. If it is because of your diet/intake, then sure taking a modest dose of a supplement pill should help. But if you aren’t absorbing it properly, then other tests need to be done and a different route might be better for your supplement. And you should be rechecked in the near future to be sure your level is returning to normal.

          When would your next appointment be? I would want to be re-assessed with repeat labs within 3 months. See how your symptoms are and see what your blood level is.

          Weight gain is not typically associated with B12.

          But with fatigue/cognitive issues/weight gain I would want to talk to you about checking your thyroid tests to asking about your sleep patterns to seeing if mood changes/depression/seasonal mood disorder are contributors…. for example.

          And then again, you sound a bit like me….. and I have been attributing it to aging(!) and know I should get a check-up myself. This is a rough combination of symptoms. And they make each other worse, so it is a vicious cycle.

      • It is also important to know that serious symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can develop before any deficiency shows up in a lab test (so unfortunately lab results aren’t conclusive).

    • I have B12 anemia and been supplementing/taking shots for several years now. I feel the shots almost instantly. Vitamin supplements take a couple days to kick in to feel some effect, but generally a few weeks to get up to peak effect. I have had a tiny bit of weight loss from it, nothing significant. But the impact it has had on fatigue, cognitive issues, other things like being cold all the time, has been huge and totally worth it. Second the recommendation to go with a reputable brand (ask your doctor). I have better results with sublingual formulations and methylated formulations.

    • There are two types of vitamin deficiency- you can either have a deficiency because 1) you don’t ingest enough of the vitamin or 2) your body doesn’t absorb it appropriately. So, if your doctor thinks you just aren’t eating enough vitamin B, it would make sense for you to take supplements. If, on the other hand, your stomach can’t absorb it properly, it would make more sense to have injections a la the other commenter’s mother.

    • Coach Laura :

      B12- for a true deficiency, shots work the best but if you can’t talk your doc into that, try sublingual vitamin B. It bypasses the stomach for better absorption. I use Trader Joe’s brand.

      FYI cognitive issues, weight gain and your other symptoms including B11 deficiency are often seen in adults with celiac or gluten intolerance. In addition to checking for thyroid issues, have your doctor check for celiac. B12 isn’t absorbed due to intestinal damage in those who are intolerant to gluten.

  6. I bought the plus sized pick. It’s pretty cute – that perfect sweater jacket I’m always looking for.

  7. Work bag help :

    Lately, I’ve had a lot of shoulder pain from carrying around my work bag. The bag itself is lightweight, but I find myself overloading it with too much stuff. Consistently. I’d like to start carrying a smaller purse, but I’m having a hard time streamlining. When I lay it out, it doesn’t look like too much stuff, but it clearly is. Has anyone managed to downgrade their work bag and carry less on a daily basis?

    Right now, my bag contains:
    – My beloved Hobo wallet, which is admittedly large.
    – ID badge
    – Small pouch with kleenex, eyedrops, lip balm and other stuff
    – A knit hat
    – Phone
    – Small pouch with pens, mints, gum
    – A banana and granola bar

    That doesn’t seem like a crazy amount of stuff? Can the style of bag make a difference? Mine is fairly unstructured, so maybe distributing the weight more evenly would help.

    • I think it’s not just size of bag but weight that matters. I have some gorgeous bags that are heavy even if empty. For work I try to keep it really simple so that throwing my lunch inside doesn’t become uncomfortable.

    • Anonymous :

      See if you can streamline the two small pouches — that’s where the weight is. (I assume your Hobo wallet is not up for discussion.) Try to keep a duplicate set of eyedrops, lip balm, etc. at your desk and in your car so you only need tissues and one pen and gum in your purse.

    • Do you genuinely need your whole wallet every day? For me, ATM card + ID is enough, and I keep those in a pocket on the back of my phone. My insurance card is in my phone electronically, and my car insurance is in my car. The rest is just junk that I occasionally need, and am glad is in one place, but I do not need a whole wallet day-to-day at work.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Yea, streamline the wallet. If you have an android, Google Wallet lets you store all your loyalty cards on your phone so you don’t have to carry all the grocery store and pharmacy, etc cards. I assume iphones have a similar app.

    • If you’re going from home to work, how much of this can you just leave at work? After you figure out that, take the rest of what’s in your purse and ask yourself: do I use this every day? When it comes to the wallet, repeat the process. Take everything out of your wallet and ask yourself, do I use this every day? Maybe you do need a pen everyday, but do you really need more than 1? Do you really need both mints _and_ gum?

      I carry a small wallet, glasses case (which has either sunglasses or regular eyeglasses in it depending on which pair I’m wearing at that moment), keys, lip balm, and phone in my purse always.

    • Anonymous :

      I reverted to a backpack earlier this year and it makes such a difference for my shoulders/elbows (although I do carry a lot more than you do).

      I’m senior enough that the more casual nature of the backpack is not an issue for me… And it’s a TUMI.

  8. Need ideas! :

    I’m looking for suggestions for a family gift in the $100 range. The family are a 30-ish couple with an almost 3 year old. I’d also be happy to do a gift for the couple and a toy for the kid (I’m confident I can do that one!). They live far away, so I’m not sure what sort of “experience” type things I could do (Mobile, AL, in case anyone has suggestions) or what they have already. I’m having trouble thinking of something that would be personal enough to show that I’ve made an effort and care, even though I really don’t see them enough that I feel great about my ability to do that.

    • This might be a little old for a 3 year old, but when I was a kid, my family received a boxed set of wooden classic board games- think chess, checkers, backgammon, parcheesi. It looked nice enough that my parents kept it on or under the coffee table, but also fun for my siblings and I.
      I guess that’s more of a “grow into it” gift for the 3 year old. But kids at that age have SO many toys that the parents might appreciate games that they can enjoy and their kid can learn later!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Do you know if they like or dislike movies? How about an OpenTable gift card and a gift card for a local movie theater? Not super personal, though.

    • I really like to do experience gifts for my brother and his family (including my nephews, ages 4 and 6 mos.), who also live several states away. Popular gifts have included museum memberships, tickets to a minor league baseball game, a gift certificate for a day trip by steam train, and an annual state parks pass. All of those companies/groups have been willing to mail gift certificates for me. I usually just google something like “family-friendly activities in [city]” and get some great ideas.

    • We have given Amazon Echo Dots lately to two families and they were a big hit. The In Laws are getting one for Christmas.

    • A family membership to the zoo.

      • +1 – Zoo or museum family memberships are great gifts for families with young children. They can go for short visits regularly without feeling like they’re wasting the admission fees.

    • The Gulfquest Maritime Museum in Mobile is surprisingly interesting to adults while being kid friendly. Maybe a membership there?

  9. Ex at CLE :

    If a judge you’re clerking for is doing the introduction at a CLE, do you go?
    I’m presenting at said-CLE and I’m a lot worried that my abusive ex (the clerk here) is going to be there. Which will be a very. big. challenge. I was already worried because it’s a bar association event and my name went out to the entire bar association on an email about it. It would be just like him to sign up even though he has no interest in the topic/actively hates the area I practice in just to be able to upset me.
    If he’s there, I know for certain he will do his best to throw me completely if he can because he’s horrible like that. Whether it’s beforehand by just trying to talk with me (which I do not handle well, I have ptsd because of him and panic like crazy), or during the presentation, he’s cruel and he hates me. He once told me I should be ashamed I accepted my JD because it was clear I would be a sh*t*y lawyer.
    He also once came to a presentation I was giving during law school at lunch post-breakup, sat in the front row, and rolled his eyes/sighed every time I said anything and then at the end asked deliberately obtuse questions so I looked stupid and sounded freaked out (which I was because he was using the voice he knew and I knew was the precursor to screaming at me- not that different than his normal voice, so others didn’t notice, but it affected me).
    Please send your thoughts and prayers that he doesn’t show. Because I cannot deal. My safety plan for him does not include having to be a professional presenter in front of him. It actually involves leaving and going the opposite way from my home so he doesn’t know where I live. He’s a scary mother-f.

    To add some details after I posted in the evening a few days ago: too late for a restraining order. The last time he hurt me was 2+ years ago. His abuse was, 98/100, verbal and emotional. It only got physical once, almost twice except I managed to leave (and then broke up with him shortly thereafter).

    I talked about it with my therapist (it’s a few weeks away) and she suggested we talk about it more next week (last night’s session was a bit of a mess of things) and figure out how I can best protect myself emotionally.

    SA, trust me when I say it will be a very. Big. Scene. If he’s kept out by security. He will retaliate and there are a few things I said to make him stop screaming at me that would be fairly good ammo against me-think, agreeing with him that my boss was a horrible person, because it was the fastest way to get him to calm down and stop being aggressively and terrifyingly angry. He’s also very well known in our community because of a particular board he’s on. So it would be a big deal that I don’t think I can handle.

    My therapist said that if I can’t get someone to come, I find someone in the audience to focus on and stare at them (preferably above his head or away from him so I don’t have to look over him to see the person) the entire time like they’re the only person I am presenting to, and then get out of there and head towards the office, not my home. He knows where I work (unavoidably) and so that’s safer than heading towards my house, which is the opposite direction. She also suggested that if I can, just ignore his questions- don’t call on him, of course, but do what I can do delay him being able to ask them. My intern would be good at asking questions without being as recognizable as my boss.

    • Anonymous :

      Preplan a question with your intern. If anyone else asks (other than ex), call on them. Then call on intern- When you finish your answer, look at her and say ‘Does that address the issue?’ and She says ‘Yes but what about ‘XYZ prearranged’ follow up?’ Plan a long enough answer that you can fill the question time even if intern is the only question you respond to.

      Arrive immediately before your panel. Go straight to your seat. Leave immediately after your panel. It happens ALL THE TIME that presenters cannot stay around to chat/coffee etc because they have to deal with something that popped up.

      Focus on how amazing you will feel once you get through this.

    • I think you should expect that he will go, and continue working with your therapist on strategies to cope.

    • Triangle Pose :

      I’m sorry you are going through this.

      I’m so confused by your question. You are presenting at this CLE so you have to go? What does this have to with your judge doing the introduction? I think you should proceed assuming your ex will go and know that you will get through it. Work with your therapist on how you to cope.

      • She is presenting. Her ex is a clerk for a judge who is also presenting. She’s wondering if she should assume he will attend because his judge is presenting. I think she should assume he will, plan accordingly and be pleasantly surprised if he doesn’t.

        • Triangle Pose :

          “If a judge you’re clerking for is doing the introduction at a CLE, do you go?” Ohhhhh, so this first question is about the internal thought process of OP’s ex, not OP. That totally threw me and I didn’t get the rest of the question.

          Yes I agree.

          OP – we can’t tell you whether your ex will choose to go or not go. Nothing we can say or ruminate about here on this thread will tell you that. Assume he is going, just accept that you have no control over whether he will attend and do whatever you need to do so you can get through your presentation. Congratulations on presenting! This is a great opportunity to raise your profile. This is about you, not your ex. Work with your therapist, we all support you!

    • Are you me? :

      I have an ex JUST like this, down to telling me that I am going to get disbarred because I am going to be a bad lawyer.

      Do you have a restraining order against him? If so, are there carve-outs in it for work-related thing or not?

      Do you have concerns for your physical safety and/or the safety of others if he were to show?

      • Are you me? :

        Sorry, I see you don’t have an RO. In my state you could still get an RO after 2 years, but I get that could vary by state.

    • Do you have one safe person you can tell about the whole thing? That person can help look out for you at the event and make sure you are never alone with your ex. A body guard of sorts. Since this is a professional event for him too, I think you can rest assured that he won’t physically harm you there or make a giant scene because it will look bad on him too. Instead he is *just* going to mind F you. That is huge in and of itself of course. What better revenge though, than to do your 100% best, shine like the awesome lawyer you are, and head back to work with someone with you protecting you. It certainly isn’t the same as an abusive ex but I had a weird workplace bully fixated on tormenting me at my first firm. He ended up in court the same day as me years later and made a bunch of odd comments and sat right up front watching my hearing and trying to intimidate me. Truth is stranger than fiction at times.

    • Anonymous :

      I have an ex like that.

      My plan would be to speak to his employer about it in very professional and general terms – we dated, he was verbally abusive and I ended it when the abuse became physical; he stalked me afterward; he’s frequently used these types of events to trample on my express wishes that he leave me alone. I’m not going to ask that you tell your clerk to leave the event in which you are giving the introductions, but would you be able to speak with him and ask that he keep his distance?

    • Anonymous :

      Do you have a friend who could attend and run interference for you? It sounds like you need someone there who you know will have your back and can deal with anything that might come up so that you can focus on presenting. It doesn’t really matter whether they’re a lawyer or would normally attend this type of CLE.

      I wouldn’t want to rely on an intern for this (and I’m not sure how fair it is to put an intern in that position anyway.) A close friend who you know you can trust would be better. Sorry you’re dealing with this.

    • This sounds really difficult. One practical suggestion – assume he will ask a question and don’t try to answer him. Write out a scripted answer like “Hmm, that’s an interesting point, I will have to think about that. Any other questions or reactions?” That is a totally acceptable answer, takes the pressure off trying to answer, and keeps the direct exchange very short.

  10. S in Chicago :

    Any recommendation for favorite dip(s)? I’m totally stumped on what to make for our office lunch party.

    • Buffalo chicken dip if you have access to reheat it, or a slowcooker. Canned or rotisserie chicken shredded, jar of frank’s buffalo, cream cheese, shredded cheddar.

    • franks buffalo chicken dip. above all.

    • Frito pie

      • Ok, a real answer: I am obsessed with these homemade loaded hummus recipes, make sure you follow her recommendation to pop the chickpeas out of their skins – put on a podcast or something because it take a few minutes but is so so worth the effort. I’ve brought this to potluck/book club before, I bring all the components ready to go in separate containers and then it takes 2 minutes to throw it all together on a platter before setting it out.

    • Anony Mouse :

      If you are okay with garlic, Isa Chandra’s Vegan Green Goddess dressing is fantastic with crudites and pita chips.

    • Fresh guacamole always gets gobbled up at any party I go to.

    • Pinch of Yum just posted a new spinach queso recipe that looks amazing.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Man Dip (so named by a friend’s mother because “men love it.”). It’s a block of cream cheese, a can of Rotel (though any diced tomato/chile pepper combo would work), and one pound of sausage. Chop, combine, heat until everything melts together. Maybe it’s two blocks of cream cheese. Make it with one, if it doesn’t look like enough, add another.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        oh, and drain the rotel first.

        • Clementine :

          my friend calls this ‘ugly dip’ and it’s disgustingly delicious. She serves it with Frito scoops.

      • I’ve made this, but the explanation was that it’s “Man dip” because the friend I got the recipe from said her kids would always say “Man, this is good!” when they ate it. I do one block of cream cheese and one package of velveeta with the rotel and sausage and it’s AMAZING. So bad, but so good!

      • What kind of sausage?

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          I think the recipe I originally got said use Jimmy Dean, but I just buy anything. I’d go with a sweeter rather than spicier variety, but that’s personal preference.

    • Something you buy from the grocery store. Seriously why are office potlucks a thing? They’re a minefield of gendered expectations. The men get their wives to make something. The female staff make things specifically to please their male bosses. The female attorneys stay up all night to finish their work AND make something that is homemade so (1) the staff don’t make rude remarks about how she’s too full of herself to cook and (2) the men don’t act flabbergasted by the notion that you don’t have time to cook because clearly it’s so easy and the real reason you didn’t bring something is because you’re not a team player; but (3) not so complicated that the men (and women) make snide comments about how she has too much time on her hands, maybe she should focus on billables.

      Buy something and let the staff side eye you. If the men say something snarky, give them snark right back – “Bob, what did YOU PERSONALLY make for the office party? And no you don’t get to take credit for a woman’s work.” Down with the patriarchy.

      • I’m glad my office potlucks are generally less fraught with controversy than this! Our request is that everyone contribute, whether that means picking up something at the store or making something homemade or anything in between. If you buy a box of cookies, they’ll be eaten and appreciated. If you asked your wife or husband to make cookies, they’ll still be eaten and appreciated. If you ask your husband/wife to make cookies and they don’t want to, or you take credit for their work, that’s a personal problem, not really an office problem. Since we’re all pretty low-key about the food, people don’t have a lot of incentive to lie about whether or not they personally placed the food in the oven.

        • Oh no they don’t lie. They legit think that their wife doing something is the same thing as them doing it. Because obviously wife = chattel and so anything she makes belongs to her owner/husband.

      • +1 to buying something from the grocery store. I’ve been known to say, “what are Bob, Kevin and Josh doing?” (Bob, Kevin and Josh being my fellow managers) The answer is usually chipping in for pizza. Then I just say I will do the same.

        The people who don’t like it and expect me to cook something are not Bob, Kevin and Josh. They are the female support staff. They can judge me all day long.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I struggle with this – the men in my office don’t cook, the women do, but I specifically got called out by my female boss for bringing chips and dip because I’m widely known as a foodie, and I bring homemade leftovers for lunches. I honestly just don’t want to take on the burden of cooking for my coworkers, but it’s clear my boss thinks I’m being mean-spirited by not cooking for others when I cook for myself. Not sure how to respond to this kind of criticism.

        • Call out the misogyny for what it is. “Would you say that to a man?” or “I’ll consider cooking if the men do too; a gendered division of labor isn’t cool though.” or even, “Isn’t this supposed to be for fun? Maybe next year I’ll have more time but I didn’t this year so I did what I could.”

        • Anonymous :

          “I was particularly busy this time, but am always happy to give recipes to anyone who wants to learn how to cook.”

    • I make this carrot dip quite often and people love it. If you omit the yogurt, it’s vegan.

    • If you can find a packet of green onion dip mix (in the chip aisle – different from toasted/brown onion Knorr soup mix stuff) mix it into a tub of sour cream and call it a day. It’s delicious and is the flavor sour cream and onion chips are trying to replicate, but not as successfully as the real thing. It will be gobbled down immediately.

  11. This is a really personal post so I hope I’m super anonymous.

    My two nieces were touched inappropriately by a family member by marriage when they were 4 to 7 years old. They didn’t tell anyone until they were teens. By this point the marriage that had brought the perpetrator into our family had broken up. The mother of my nieces went to the police but they really discouraged her from pursuing it. They said that the system would be very hard on her teen daughters, that it was their word against his, that they hadn’t been raped (there wasn’t penetration, but ongoing touching of their genitals inside their underwear), and that it could be interpreted as a false accusation related to the bitter divorce.

    I believe my nieces.

    This man was also accused of the same behavior by his daughter from his first marriage many years earlier and everyone just wrote it off as her being crazy or coached by her mother, related to the divorce.

    My nieces still suffer from this. Things like nightmares, self-blame, feelings of worthlessness. They’ve had some therapy but not enough to really help.

    As their protective Aunt, I want justice done on their behalf. I was recently in my hometown and I saw this man out and about and I cannot believe he is not behind bars. I can’t believe he’s potentially doing this to other victims.

    My question after all that is – what do you think about my nieces re-approaching the police or DA’s office? Do you think the current awareness might change things for them? Even in deeply red areas?

    • I used to work in child protection. The judicial system can be really hard on child victims. It may be worth approaching the D.A.’s office as given the prior victim, there is a pattern of behavior that is clear. Also report to the child protection authorities if they have not already been notified. Even without a criminal conviction, they can influence or seek legal actions in relation to his access to other minor children (e.g. preventing him from accessing minor children he is related to or requiring supervised access). This isn’t a criminal conviction for what he did but it may give them some solace that he can’t do it to other kids in his family.

      Are your nieces seeing a therapist who specializes in child s. abuse? If not, that would be a first step.

      • Prosecutor :

        I’m a prosecutor. I’d add that if you want to pursue the issue, don’t contact the prosecutor’s office directly — contact police and push them to pursue the issue. You’ll get much better traction that way. Unfortunately, calling the prosecutor’s office directly can exacerbate the impression that the complaint is unfounded or related to custody issues.

        And understand that a criminal case is going to be a long, stressful, terrible road. It may very well be worth it, but just be aware that a successful prosecution for this type of case will involve at least a year of litigation, constant allegations that the girls made up the accusation or were coerced by their mother into making them, and an aura of doubt/suspicion around the kids throughout the trial process.

        After working in my field for years, if I was assaulted, I’m honestly not sure I’d report it.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I think it may be better to focus on how to get them some long term, quality therapy and then re-assess. It’s going to be he11 for them to have to discuss this, so make sure they are on board and emotionally taken care of before you do anything.

    • I live in a deeply red state and we really, truly, are 100% not OK with what happened to your nieces and their half-sister. We elect our DAs and they’d all love to run on “we lock up child molesters” because they actually do that.

      Are your nieces actually asking for this intervention? What do *they* want?

      And, yes, your ex-family member will likely get a public defender who will drag up all of this — the delay, the bitter divorce, the lack of proof — b/c that is her job. Your sister and your nieces will all go through this. It will be awful, but it is a *legal* system and not a *justice* system.

      In a small-enough town, everyone knows exactly who your ex-family member is and what he does. Just like Hollywood, everyone whispers.

      • The red state defenders of Roy Moore don’t give me any hope in this regard.

        • Anonymous :

          FWIW, I bet even those people shut up when the victims are children of 4 and 7.

          • Anonymous :

            Rarely. They just blame it on the crazy wife and a bitter divorce and she forced the kids to lying etc etc.

        • Anonymous :

          Oh give it up already. Hollywood is as blue as it gets and it’s been running a [email protected] ring for decades.

          Red staters have no tolerance for this. They tend to, in fact, turn the other way if someone shoots the SOB between the eyes.

      • +1 on the “deeply red” comment. Red states are not playgrounds for this kind of crime.

    • It WOULD definitely be hard on them to go forward, and everything the police said is true, or could be true. You should be prepared for that. Almost all child sexual abuse cases are like this – child’s word against adult’s word, with minimal other evidence, disclosures years after the fact. And these cases ARE hard to prove. But on the other hand, it could also end up being the best thing for them in the long term to stand up for themselves. A lot of things are hard but necessary. Contact the DA’s Office directly since they sadly had a bad experience with the police.

      Make sure they are getting therapy. This kind of thing can have an awful effect on children, especially when they get to the age when they are naturally exploring their s3xuality but its screwed up due to these experiences.

    • This is their choice not yours.

      • I should make it clear that they have spoken to me about it and are really upset that nothing happened to this creep. They are upset that the police said there is nothing to be done

        • That was me, OP

          I should add that their mother feels guilty for leaving them with this man all the time (free babysitting) so I think that is part of the reason she never pushed back on the police

        • It is possible that “nothing to be done” may also encompass statute of limitation running out, which is frequently a problem.

          Also, “nothing to be done” is also short for a defense attorney will shred you in court and he will not be convicted and all of this hurt will be for nothing, which we’ve seen so much that we don’t wish the process on anyone.

          There is often a victim/witness person in DA’s offices who can assist with counseling and often just having someone hear you can be beneficial even if charges are not pursued.

          Also, if your nieces are still minors and say that they were abused, mandatory reporting laws may trigger an investigation (which can be like letting the genie out of the bottle and have all sorts of unintended consequences that they should prepare themselves for). For example — your sister may be looked at as someone who knew about the abuse and allowed for it to occur, so she may be investigated and the nieces put in foster care. Sometimes these go incredibly sideways.

          • Thanks, nieces are both over 18 years old now. The approach to the police was when they were minors. Reading about all these abusers being exposed now made me wonder whether the police / DA might be less dismissive now.

            I wouldn’t approach police on their behalf. They are technically adults. They asked me for advice when i last saw them and I thought some of you here who have worked in the justice system mint have some insights. Thanks for all the responses so far.

          • I think that the statute of limitations has probably run out by now if they are adults.

            I would pray that this is true almost because it is something other than the police or anyone else declining to move forward. It spares them the legal drama and lets the focus be on therapy and moving forward.

          • Anonymous :

            I was your nieces. I spoke up. I had to repeat my story over and over again in a small town. It was humiliating. And because family was involved, every minor child in my family and their parents had to be spoken to. We wound up moving, for unrelated reasons. I was so relieved.

            I went to law school. I was going to represent victims. I gave up b/c the system is so frustrating. It is not a system that fixes things that are this wrong. I work in finance now and I love it b/c I deal with legal problems with legal answers.

            I pray every day to a God that I believe is a just and all-knowing God. Letting go is the best gift I’ve ever had.

          • I doubt SOL has run. In my state it is something like 40 years for sexual assault. And it doesn’t START running until the victim is an adult.

          • Anonymous :

            SOL in some states for non-rape (so: s*xual offenses of a lesser degree, like a battery) may be as little as 1-3 years with no carve-outs if the victim is a minor. It varies so much by state, but many people will check this first.

          • Anonymous at 1:27 – I’m so very sorry that happened to you.

          • Anonymous :

            This varies so much by state. I think our state did a special one time extension for filing charges against local priests because the SOL had run for so many of the victims. But you had to file within a 3-5 year window, otherwise the SOL was in force again.

    • In conclusion, if you ever wonder why s3xual predators are never brought to justice, read all the responses above.

      They are among us, people.

      • I’m not sure I’m following you.

        We have an adversarial legal system. That requires in a criminal case of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Where ties go to the runner. Where people with no convictions for felonies are unlikely to do time for their first one.

        And that’s for cases that are fresh and with evidence. Add in substantial delay, an acrimonious divorce, and no evidence, and it’s all downside with no likely upside to pursuing cases.

        Think of the Godfather, which didn’t take place in a deep red state. Vito Corleone is asked to do a different sort of justice to perpetrators who were tried and given a suspended sentence. We don’t do that. Whatever justice is, it is hard to get in the legal system.

        • Nothing to do with red states. I think you’re being defensive. I’m pointing out how difficult it is to bring these scum bags to justice.

      • I think that these folks are kindly disposed to furthering your niece’s harm.

        Many awful things are not fixable in the legal system.

        I don’t see any bad guys here.

    • Honestly they were touched 5-10+ yrs ago right? Time to let it go. Get them therapy if they need it to make them realize he was the bad guy, not them, not their fault and then move on and don’t think or talk about it ever again. I honestly don’t get what people are gaining these days by making accusations of things that happened 35 yrs ago. I DO believe the victims 100% but I think it reopens a very hard chapter for the victim AND ultimately they don’t benefit from it bc in most cases, nothing will happen to the guy bc as the cops told you — it’s a he-said-she-said from years ago.

      • Anonymous :

        Offenders very rarely often only once. Someone coming forward after 35 years might not result in a prosecution or criminal conviction but it might be enough evidence for a family court judge to put restrictions on their access to grandchildren etc. It can have a very real and positive impact for a person to come forward even if it happened a long time ago. It can also be validating to connect with the offender’s other victims and help them to realize that they didn’t do anything wrong.

      • Time to let it go is a deeply offensive thing to say about children who were s3xually abused.

        • Anonymous :

          I see it from another side: the legal system is like ripping a scab off over and over again and hoping that this time is different. It doesn’t get different. It doesn’t get better.

          This didn’t happen to you and maybe you can’t see it from my shoes. But trust me — it is rarely a path to healing and often a path that leads only to more pain. Real restorative justice happens elsewhere.

          • Prosecutor :

            I mentioned this above but I think it’s worth noting here, too. I’ve prosecuted hundreds of sxual assault and domestic violence cases. After seeing “how the system works,” if I were the victim of an assault, I really don’t think I’d report it. It’s pathetic but true.

  12. Any knitters or people who crotchet on this forum? I’ve been wanting to get into this as a past-time but not sure which is easier to pick up and keep at for a beginner.i.e. is it easier to knit or to crotchet? I did abit of knitting in elementary school but this was mandatory as part of craft lessons and that was years ago. I’ve been admiring all those chunky knit scarves and cowls on Etsy and would like to be able to make my own. What are some good online resources for beginners?

    • I do both, neither particularly well. I have found it easier to learn side-by-side with someone and would suggest a yarn store or a knitting/crocheting friend. It wasn’t fun until I got the (&@#($*& purl stitch mastered. Now, I can knit rectangles well and make baby blankets for the NICU while watching all sorts of trash on my TIVO and drinking. Sons of Anarchy, I’ve knit to you. Fashion Police, I’ve knit to you, too. The Wire? Perfect for a baby hat (rectangle stitched into a tube and tied off at an end).

    • I do both – my mom taught me to crochet when i was younger, and I taught myself to knit – mostly off of youtube videos.

      I think crochet is probably easier to pick up – you only use one hook, instead of 2 needles. You can miss a stitch, but you can’t drop a stitch. If you mess up, it’s pretty easy to unravel your work with crochet vs unpicking your stitches with knitting. And you can definitely crochet those cozy cowls/scarfs.

      online resources – since i learned to crochet before the internet, I haven’t used any, but I’d suggest just searching for “beginner crochet online” and try a few of them out to see which one clicks the best. You’ll probably start out with out to start (a simple chain), and then how to do some basic stitches (single crochet) and maybe how to read a pattern. It’ll take practice and you’ll definitely mess up the first few times (I always have to restart a pattern 3-4 times before I’m comfortable with it), but luckily it’s easy to undo. :)

      • Both of these seem pretty good at first glance

        The second might overwhelm you with information, if all you want to do is just start :) I’ll echo the poster above, that if you can find someone to show you in person, that might be a good start, and then you can supplement with online videos to help remember how to do some things.

    • I can do both but much prefer knitting. I find knitting more fun because there is more of a flow to it, and I like the look of the finished product much better. You can definitely learn from a book or a web video if you don’t have a friend (or the friendly ladies at a local yarn shop) who can teach you. Start with a simple project in garter stitch (knit every row) with no shaping, like a scarf or a cowl, in a chunky yarn that will be forgiving of uneven tension. Learn how to pick up and repair a dropped stitch using a crochet hook.

    • I prefer knitting. Something about the two needles made it easier for me to pick up than crochet, and I’m much faster at it. My favorite thing to make are infinity scarves with a thick yarn- Lion Brand Thick & Quick is great! I just alternate knit/purl to make a long rectangle, then use a tapestry needle to sew the ends together. With 2-3 skeins of yarn I can make a scarf in a couple of hours. They’re thick, soft, and warm, and I like the varieties of colors that are available in that particular yarn.

      • Whoops- forgot tips about beginning! I was taught by a very patient great aunt when I was in college, but I’ve found youtube tutorials useful for learning to cable knit and when I forget how to cast on. If you can find someone to help cast on and get a project started, that’s ideal since IMHO casting on is the hardest part. If not, it’s helpful to have someone else at least stop and start the tutorial video for you at first while your hands are wrapped in yarn :)

    • I do both. I prefer knitting because I prefer the look of the finished fabric but crocheting can be nice for lace making. I also find the hand movement of knitting a little more natural and I don’t have to pay as much attention to it (ie I can watch tv while knitting)

    • Take a look at Ravelry ( a huge site for knitters, crocheters, etc. It’s free and has tips, patterns- millions of resources. I went back to knitting after having not picked up my needles for many years due to kids, job, etc. I find it is really relaxing. Knitting is not what it used to be years ago. The days of granny squares and icky scarves are long gone. Whether you knit or crochet, you will find a lot of others out there who share their joy of this craft. Go for it!

    • I do both, and found knitting more intimidating but easier after the initial getting-started hurdle. In knitting I understand how to fix errors, but with crochet I need to just rip back to the problem (maybe that’s the only way to fix things like a missed increase or decrease in crochet? I honestly have no idea where to start). In terms of what you can make, knitting is better for some things, crochet for others.

      • Yeah – that’s about the only way I’ve found to fix things with crochet – rip it out back to the issue. Which is easy (you just pull on the working end of the yarn), but a pain, since you have to redo all that work.

        If it’s an increase/decrease, you might try making it up down the line to keep the stitch count right and then throw on a border (for blanket) or hide it in a join-up seam.

    • anonknitter :

      I do both as well. I almost always have some project with me. I learned to crochet as a child. I learned to knit last year from a Craftsy class, which was fantastic (no affiliation). I am left-handed, so I did that class, but there are a ton of great beginner classes on there for the right-handed (almost any class that isn’t specifically labeled as left-handed will be a right-handed class). If you are right-handed, definitely see if there is a local yarn shop with classes. If you are left-handed, that can be a little more problematic (there seem to be a lot of instructors out there who can’t/won’t teach left-handed knitting).

      Seconding the recommendation for Ravelry. It is such a great resource.

    • I taught myself about 2 years ago and my recommendation is to start with a bang and try to knit a hat. Will it be good? No, but you’ll learn a lot of different techniques and you’ll feel accomplished when you finish. I have a friend to tried to take up knitting but started by just knitting little squares and… she still can’t knit because that was too boring.

      I love knitting, definitely do it!

    • I crochet. I tried to learn how to knit, but never picked it up. I’m not great at following instructions, so I’d recommend going to a yarn shop where you’ll likely find many people happy to teach you basic stitches. Once you learn the basics, the more complicated stitches are very easy to pick up. Almost any book with patterns also has instructions on stitches.

      Good luck! I find it incredibly soothing and like to crochet afghans in the winter.

    • I am a lefty and a knitter. I use the Continental-style of knitting be cause trying to learn the English style from a righty was just too confusing. I basically taught myself from YouTube videos. I found one video and watched it over and over while trying the stitches myself. Good luck!

    • I never got to grips with knitting really, but I taught myself to crochet using a craft book that had photos. I found that so much easier than videos or a live person. I think it was a good housekeeping book. Was ages ago.

      If you use online resources be aware that different countries can change stitch names. When I got an American pattern it used the same stitch names as my British patterns but it meant different things. (A dc became a tr etc).

    • Crocheting is easier to learn than knitting. It’s fairly easy to learn how to make a stitch in knitting and make something like a scarf where you don’t have to actually follow a pattern. Following a pattern to make a garment is a whole lot harder. That said, I like the look of something knitted a lot better. I can do both, but I knit.

    • I'm Just Me :

      I learned to knit as a child and then put it away for 3 decades. I relearned using a Knitting for Dummies book and a book for kids. I’ve worked with YouTube videos to learn additional techniques and belong to a stitch & b… group.

      If you have a local yarn store (LYS) they may have lessons.

  13. Pen and Pencil :

    Has anyone else had issues getting on Sam Edelman Petty booties? I ordered some from Zappos and spent literally 30 minutes trying to get them on. I managed to get one on, and it fit fine, but something seems really strange about how the shoe is cut to me. I feel extreme dumb even having to ask if this is a me problem or the shoe’s problem.

    • Not at all. Unzipped and slide on. They aren’t the shoes for you.

    • What exactly was giving you trouble? They have a zipper so I’ve never found them difficult to put on.

    • Sounds like you have a high instep meaning the top of your foot is high compared to the last (the foot model they build the boot around). I can’t wear slip on boots for this reason.

      Are you sure they fit fine when they’re on? If you have a high instep they’re probably really pressing on the top of your foot. That can cause numbness and other problems.

      Either way, sounds like they really don’t fit you. I’d return them.

      • +1 – I have a really high arch and can’t wear these styles at all

      • Yes, this. I have a high instep and I have a really hard time finding boots/booties that fit. Even if they feel ok when I first put them on, most are painful if I walk around for more than a few minutes because of the pressure on top of my foot.

      • Pen and Pencil :

        I do have a high instep, but I’ve never had issues like this! Good to know others have had issues with this shoe. So sad because I am dying over the mushroom color =(

      • I have high arches/insteps and duck feet (narrow heel, wide forefoot) and can’t wear any Sam Edelman shoes. They just aren’t designed for my foot shape.

    • I have a high instep and sometimes have to get wide widths so that there’s enough leather / material to fit around the top of my foot even though my foot isn’t actually wide. Often this makes the heel not grip. There is a boot somewhere that will work (I’ve had good luck with Borns and Justins and Sorrels).

      • Thanks for this tip! I have a high instep too and was wondering what I could do to find boots that fit.

      • I just got a pair of Bondos thanks to recommendations here – they have a double zipper (one on each side) which makes getting them on way easier for me & my high arches.

    • These boots don’t work for me at all. Narrow heels, high arches here. I also found them hard as rocks and not remotely comfortable. It kills me, because the styling is perfect but they just don’t feel good.

  14. Employee handbook :

    I was just handed a draft of a new employee handbook (50 pages) this morning asking for my edits. I asked if they were looking for formatting/spelling/grammar edits or my opinions on the policies, and office manager/co-owner is looking for the first. Glad I asked, because I think the whole thing should be chucked in the garbage. We have 9 employees. I’m sure that most of you will disagree with me, but I believe that part of the awesomeness of the small company is flexibility, and this is just an excuse for not managing properly.

    But, not going to be my circus for much longer, so not my monkeys. The thing is a formatting mess, so it will get more than marked up just with that.

    • So you just don’t think there should be policies? Weird.

    • Linda from HR :

      Regardless of the size, some policies are a good idea, if only so the manager has something to back them up when they do try to crack down on bad behavior. And if the company grows, policies are going to be even more important.

      • +1. “Flexibility” can easily turn into a mess of incompetence, especially as the company grows, to say nothing of misconduct issues. I speak from experience. You want to have some things in writing, and even logs showing that everyone saw these guidelines and on what dates.

      • +1 to this

      • If wanting to work at a company with clearly outlined policies is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    • This may save you a lot of work–most insurance carriers have “standard” employee policy manuals which can be modified. I would offer this as a suggestion when you hand in your work product and say, “perhaps we should benchmark against our carrier’s standard [state, county] manual.” These handbooks are usually free, as a courtesy.

    • Employee handbook :

      We already have policies. There’s already a vacation policy, policies on benefits, and all of the employees have contracts that lay out hours, benefits, etc. I just don’t think we need a 50 page policy book that is copied/adapted from a county government that tries to micromanage every little thing. So far I’ve learned that I can’t give references to employees I’ve personally managed (references limited to the company president), that my office/computer has no reasonable expectation of privacy (maybe this is normal), there are a bunch of references to departments/department heads (we have no departments – see company size of 9 people), that I’m now subject to drug testing (was not before). And I’m maybe a third through the thing.

      I’m biased by my experience – I was the third full time employee of this company, and created my job/role/etc. My hackles raise a bit any time new (seemingly unnecessary) bureaucracy is added. I’ll grant you that it’s probably a good thing overall, I just prefer the freewheeling startup culture more. Thus the time to move on.

      Question – when I was given it, I was told that all the current employees were going to be given it and made to sign it. Out of curiosity, what happens if I refuse to sign it? Can I get fired for cause for not signing a new employee handbook/policies?

      • References- totally normal

        Computer- yes Obvi normal

        Yes. You can get fired. You’re an employee at will right? They can fire you. Even if you have a contract they can prob still fire you.

      • This is all normal although you may have room to push back on the drug testing thing – I think there’s been some legal back and forth of when it’s reasonable or not. Check what Ask A Manager has said in the past about this.

        Thinking through these issues ahead of time, and creating company wide policies before something blows up, is definitely a good thing for a growing company.

      • Why would you have any expectation of privacy on a computer you don’t own?

        • OK, I have accepted that this is a necessary and normal thing. However – the references thing is normal? I think that’s ridiculous. Assuming that the handbook is in preparation for growth, why wouldn’t you allow a “department head” to give references for an employee they managed?

          Also, I think there is a difference between reasonable and legal. Just because something is legally correct and enforceable doesn’t mean it’s a good company policy for every company.

          I do own my computer that I use. Yay murky area! :)

          Again, not overly concerned about it since I’m gone soon (they know it too).

          • Yes. It’s typical for a larger company to only give references in the form of dates of employment. There are liability reasons for this (e.g., your company doesn’t want to get sued because it gave a positive reference for an employee who went on to commit a mass shooting at his next employer).

            I suspect your company’s lawyers or your company’s insurance carrier’s lawyers are behind this drive for adoption of an employee handbook. You won’t get anywhere by pushing back.

      • This is also a legal/CYA thing from the employer, potentially. Are you a part owner/equity holder as the third employee? All those things aren’t that abnormal…… I might actually want them so I had some recourse against employees who misbehaved, etc.

        • This touches on my management vs policies question. If employees are at will, why do you need the policies to have recourse? If you sense a problem with an employee you manage, if you’re effectively managing – you address the problem as it relates to their job performance. If they don’t change their behavior, they’re at will – you can let them go. Why do you need an official policy to fall back on?

          • from a 10,000 foot view – because it’s not just as simple as being an employee at will. The employment at will doctrine has certain carve outs – protected classes under Title VII, public policy, implied contract, and implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

            Will all of these apply to your current specific employer at this very moment? No, probably not. It varies by your state and local governments and the specific facts of the situation. But having a (well drafted) handbook setting forth policies protects both employer and employee.

          • To defend against discrimination claims by standardizing how you treat people.

          • There’s a reason companies don’t just fire people even if they’re ‘at will. They create a long paper trail before the termination to protect themselves from suits.

    • Employee handbook :

      Thanks everyone – good reality check! I’ll stop thinking that this is unreasonable. :)

      • blueberries :

        Chiming in late, but I’ve seen a number of cribbed handbooks that had ill-advised to flat out unlawful policies before they went to employment counsel for review. 50 pages sounds like overkill for the typical 9 person company/a good way to blow through a ton in legal fees.

  15. Just a follow up from earlier this week, in case anyone cares – I posted a couple days ago looking for GYN recommendations since I couldn’t find my IUD strings. I ended up going to my current GYN (who does not insert IUDs and therefore could not give me a new one if mine was expelled) since a lot of the recommended Drs don’t take my insurance. Anyway, I went this morning and she doesn’t see the strings either. I now have to go get an ultrasound to see if it is in there with the strings pulled up into the uterus. Oy. I can’t decide if it is better for it still to be in there with no strings hanging out (fun when it is time to remove it) or for me to have to get another one inserted (ouch). Either way, I am about to start lobbying hard for that vasectomy. The good news is I have not had time to have unprotected sex since it was inserted and am sure I am not pregnant.

    • Make DH sit through your doctors appointments/ultrasound with you to deal with this. If he doesn’t want the V then he should see what he’s putting you through by refusing.

      • This is brilliant. When I had my Mirena taken out and my Paraguard put in (holy heck it hurt and was worse than I thought it’d be), I tried to describe it to DH but I don’t think he really grasped it. It would have been nice for him to be there to witness it.

      • anonforthis :

        Isn’t this just emotional manipulation?

        Also, I really don’t want my husband there for lady exams/IUD insertions. I don’t want to be there, it’s uncomfortable, and I want out ASAP. Why would I want him there?

    • Anonymous :

      I had an unexpected pregnancy because an IUD came out during my regular cycle. I terminated. Husband had a v. immediately. I am very glad you did not have this experience.

      Having your spouse fully informed about the psychological and physical realities of your mutual birth control situation is fair, IMO.

      • I’m so sorry you went through that Anon; I was lucky to have noticed right away. I had the ultrasound today. They wouldn’t tell me the results as a matter of policy–have to wait to hear from the doctor–but my sense is they didn’t find the IUD in there. At one point the tech went to get a more senior tech and she was like, “can you hold the probe?” It was transvaginal, so I was lying there holding the probe in my hoo ha for several minutes while she fetched her colleague. And then the colleague came in and introduced herself and asked how I was, and i was like, “oh you know, just holding the probe!” So much indignity.

  16. Hey all – looking for a recommendation here. I’m fairly new to the company, and relatively junior, but jumped into a big project when a coworker was out for medical reasons. Long story short, here we are 9 months later and finally wrapping up the project that went better than anyone ever could have expected (and I made a huge good impression, woo!). We e are having a small get together with our small team to celebrate. I am considering getting a small gift for the members of the team to thank them for a wonderful job and for the guidance and tutelage they provided. Be honest – is this stupid? Overkill? I don’t want to step on toes, but seriously this has been a career changing opportunity for me.

    If not stupid, as a crafty person, my initial idea was a fun mug with a few sachets of homemade mulling spices with it. If that’s dumb, what’s something that would be appropriate?

    • Things to do as a thank you: Organize a HH or lunch (hopefully company will pay for it) as a thank you- if you were in charge of the project in your co-worker’s absence (but it sounds like you are already having a celebratory lunch). Give glowing reports at review time (if asked, or even an unsolicted note to their manager if that’s a thing in your company). Give a thank you note.

      Do not make homemade gifts to give. Especially as a junior person.

    • No, do not do get them a gift. Send them a nice email thanking them or write them a note doing the same.

    • Cat Lady In Training :

      If you are the junior on the team I would write thank you notes and skip gifts.

    • Prob a know-your-office thing, but this would be a little weird for me, in biglaw. Maybe a nice box of chocolates or some champagne or a bottle of liquor if they drink. I’d probably just buy them a drink.

    • Def know your own office but if it were mine…

      Is this for people on the team that are more junior? If so glowing reviews to their managers (copy them also if sending emails) and drinks if they normally have HH. No gifts unless there’s some cool company swag that you can expense and send along with a thank you note

      If people more senior, don’t give gifts. At best, I would personally let them know that I appreciated their guidance and look forward to working with them again (either verbally or in a thank you note)

    • Ok – thanks for the reality check hive. I tend to get over enthusiastic about things – will write excellent reviews and sincerely thank them.

  17. I’m going out to dinner with my husband after work tonight. I’ll be going home in between, but won’t have a lot of time, so I wore my LBD to work today. I paired it with a pale cardigan, small pendant necklace, black tights, and black Mary-Jane pumps. For dinner, I was just going to take off the cardigan and replace the pendant with a shiny statement necklace. Are the black tights and shoes dressy enough? My only other heels are patent navy or nude for me, and I obviously can’t wear the navy. If I find the time, I could replace the black tights with pantyhose or nude for me fishnets. Thoughts?

    • You’re fine.

    • Dressy enough for what? Dinner with you husband, the restaurant? you’re probably fine – I mean, it’s really up to you. Are you not feeling date-night dressed up if you wear the tights? Is it too cold to go without tights?

      • We’re going to a murder mystery dinner at a local winery. Its also our tenth anniversary. It is too cold to go without tights. I guess the black tights just don’t feel dressy to me, since I wear them to work all the time.

        • Are you a “fun” tights person? I refuse to go barelegged when it’s cold outside, so I get a lot of mileage from colorful or patterned tights for nights out.

        • You’re fine :) Being cold is not conducive to a good date night, so keep the tights. You could consider switching them out for fancy tights (patterned/lacy/etc). or adding a soft pashima/scarf to feel more date and less work.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I like the fishnets or maybe something with a lacy pattern or even seams up the back.

    • No necklace, no tights, nude pumps. A bit more makeup and some texturizing hair spray.

  18. I’d like to start using witch hazel as a toner. I was a little surprised at the types available and the different concentrations of alcohol or other additives (aloe, rose, etc) available. My current –overpriced– dept store toner has alcohol in it, so I’m assuming some alcohol is ok/beneficial. Anyone have any suggestions for a good brand?

    • No – alcohol is drying on the skin and from what I’ve seen is usually recommended to avoid.

    • Alcohol is just easy and cheap vehicle for the other ingredients. It is not considered beneficial.

    • Thayers makes an alcohol free one I like. They sell it at Target.

    • I’m loving Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel!

  19. Cornellian :

    Does anyone have the kavu rope bag (link to follow)? It looks like it would work well for my commute to daycare (baby in a carrier on my chest), because it appears to clip on to your body. I’ve given up caring if my bag looks professional right now.

    I’m curious if you could put 8.5*11 papers in there. I’ve read the dimensions, but it’s an irregular shape, so I can’t tell if a folder would fit in there. I don’t need to carry a laptop, just occasionally some printouts.

  20. Next Friday is my last day at my current job. We’ve been understaffed for a year and the idea of losing me is sending my internal customers into a panic. I really like my internal customers and they are going to be screwed for a while, because I doubt anyone will get hired to replace me any time soon (leaving one person to manage the work of three on a good day, four on a regular day). Orders are going to stop getting booked because of the delays, so I am hoping the “pain” will nudge the hiring approval along. If it doesn’t, my boss will retire a year early because it’s 100% unsustainable. I am guessing, based on past decisions by upper management, that he will in fact end up leaving at the end of the year and there will be zero people in my department.

    Back to the point of my post . . . GTFOH with your last minute request to drop all of my regular work and review a 56 page contract and submit redlines by Tuesday. I am enjoying telling people that, sorry, your work is not going to get done in the ridiculous time frame you have asked me to do it in. Should have gotten it to me BEFORE the submittal deadline. Time for you to explain to the customer why it’s late, not me! I have approximately 15 time sensitive requests for the internal customers that are ACTUALLY my responsibility, not including the ones I am covering today for my boss who is out. #sorrynotsorry!

    FWIW, my boss totally supports me in this. I am not leaving on a bad note, in fact, I have gotten a lot of really nice emails from the people I work with regularly. I will absolutely miss the people – I will not miss the company.

  21. Anonymous :

    I need help dealing with a toxic coworker. I don’t report to him, but he’s “above” me in the org chart. Any time he doesn’t know something or is worried he’s messed up (which is OFTEN. He is under-qualified for the role and doesn’t understand the industry), instead of communicating about it or asking for help, he throws a total fit and tries to throw anyone but himself under the bus. If you try to nicely work things out and come to a collaborative resolution, he still can’t stop himself from yelling and trying to pin the accountability on you, so it’s just a non-starter.

    It’s incredibly disruptive, especially since he’s in operations so he sticks his hands in virtually everything anyone does (while actually doing very little). For some reason he seems immune right now from repercussions and I have no idea why. HR is sympathetic (he actually yelled in the HR person’s face early on) but their hands are tied because, again, incomprehensibly immune.

    How do I handle this?? Everyone hates him except the CEO, because he kisses up and punches down, even though this guy has demonstrably lost the company money. Other than this I like the job for the most part and don’t want to leave.

    • Anonymous :

      That is an eerie description of my old boss, down to the immunity from repercussions and the industry (operations in a life sciences company, but he understands neither operations nor life sciences).

      Document everything, both in emails to him and other people, with exceedingly clear action items, what this dude (let’s call him John) is responsible for, and what is being done. I made the mistake of sending him things “per his request,” not “Per your request, here is the attached; to reiterate, your action items are X, Y, and Z, and we need those done before we can continue.”

      Stop with the collaborative resolutions. “John, you are where you are in the org chart because it’s your job to fix this mess.”

      Document the times he yells and screams at you: that is beyond inappropriate in a professional setting. It’s your job to keep a list of dates, times, and what he said and what tone it was said in. Keep this in your possession (so if you are terminated, because that’s what happens when people rock the boat, it’s in your possession).

      If you cannot get an adequate resolution from HR, escalate (and your company handbook will tell you how to do that).

      As a final piece of advice: google the guy. Extensively. Look at more than the first page of results. (That’s how I found out my former boss used company time for his soft-core p0rn habit.)

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