Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Cashmere Shrug

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

Shrugs are very big right now. I think they’re great to wear with sleeveless dresses in spring and summer, and I’ve been seeing them everywhere. This elbow-sleeved Michael Kors shrug is $695 at Nordstrom in sizes XS-XL. Cashmere Shrug

Psst: if you like shrugs and fun patterns, you must see these UMD X Opening Ceremony shrugs (also, more affordable at $266). This shrug is under $50, has been getting good reviews from the readers, and comes in regular and plus sizes in LOTS of colors.

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  1. Anonymous :

    i very much appreciate this site for the thoughtful discussion, but the fashion has been pretty off lately. This shrug (which is “big” now?), combined with the shoe pick from the weekend open thread, seems to be an indication that whoever is making these choices is pretty far removed from the reality of dressing for work.

    • this is terrible

    • Two Cents :

      Yes, I agree. Shrugs are awful and I feel like we had a thread on here a while ago with 99% of commenters agreeing that they were a terrible fashion choice.

    • Anonymous :

      Shrugs have been suggested here a lot over the years. The fact that they are generally for church or similar, not work doesn’t seem to get through and they continue to be featured. I have worked in four countries and 5 cities from business to casual in the last 15 years and I have never seen a shrug in an office.

      • While I agree that I have never seen a shrug in an office, I would consider the featured item today to be more of a cropped cardigan, which I have seen.

        In addition, while I’m not disagreeing that the clothes haven’t been great lately, I’m not sure that it’s because Kat & Kate don’t dress for work. Have you tried shopping for work clothes lately? Both in stores and online, I’m finding that places I used to shop for workwear are now stocked either with super-casual wear or with weird fashion-y stuff.

        • Disagree.. Content here has been extremely off point and for a long time. I rarely look at the fashion though. I’m here for the conversation, and I expect that is the same for many (a majority?) of us. So long as we keep coming back regardless of the terrible fashion recommendations, what motivation does she have to change?

        • Agreed. I really need a total revamp, having bought almost nothing in the past 5 years due to being in that sort of pre/current/post-pregnancy slump), but every time I look lately, I just get frustrated. If I were looking for a new garden party wardrobe (umm, actual garden parties, not the other kind), there’d be a lot of options, but not so much for work.

          To be fair, though, re: the weekend post – those are usually geared towards non-work clothing, so that doesn’t count. For the shrug – I’ve seen them on, say, young receptionists, but it’s not a look I’d like to emulate as an attorney.

        • I agree that this outfit looks like an Easter brunch/bridal shower outfit and not something to wear to an office. This sweater does look like more of a cropped cardigan, and as someone who is petite and short-waisted, cropped cardigans are a godsend.

          Also co-sign with NYNY- stuff sold ostensibly as workwear lately is atrocious. Covered in ruffles, floral prints, this absurd cold-shoulder plague… ughhg. I recently ordered what looked like it could be a great blouse from AT- dark blue, 3/4 sleeve, appropriately flowey, with tiny floral print. What showed up was a polyester mess where the hems were already fraying. Worse, the sleeves poofed up at the shoulder- intentionally. It looked like a child’s shirt and made me look like a little girl.

        • Anonymous :

          I think the angles on this top make it a shrug or bolero, albeit a long-ish one. A cropped cardigan to me is straight up and down, but just shorter than a normal cardigan.

        • Anon 9:07 :

          I actually don’t have a problem with the picks in general. Not everyone will love everything. I’ve picked up the Eddie Bauer coat she featured and the moisturizer just in the last week or two. It’s the persistence of the recommendation for shrugs/cropped cardigans that is off point for me.

        • Minnie Beebe :

          I agree with this– fashion right now is in a weird place, IMO. I was at a conference last week (for a software company) and according to the FAQ, dress code was business casual. By the last day, I was seeing cold-shoulder tops on many women there. My definition of business casual most certainly does not include these tops (actually, my definition of clothing does not include these tops, but that’s another story.) But they’re sold at LOFT, Nordstrom, everywhere. It’s confusing, I think.

          • Yes, I think the slide towards athleisure has led to “office attire” being sold by retailers becoming ever more casual. Most of my work clothes are about 5 years old now. I will go back to my rocking chair now, but the rest of you, please get off my lawn.

          • I would assume in that case that people don’t care/don’t read the FAQ, not that they thought it was business casual. Especially the last day. If it’s a conference you’re attending for education (instead of trying to make $$$$), you wear whatever you want.

    • Anonymous :

      Agreed. Shrugs for work? No. This outfit is for a bridal shower.

    • Anne Elliott :


      Shrugs are not in. Well, maybe to Kat/Kate.

      This looks frumpy.

      And over priced.

      • Yay! But I kind of like these, Kat and Kate, tho this one is pricey b/c it is pricey Monday’s! They are at Nordstrom, and Rosa bought 3 b/c Ed gave her an open credit card for Nordstrom w/o credit limits! YAY Ed! Rosa does have some restraint, tho, b/c she does NOT want to spend to much money and have nothing left if Ed ever decided to leave her. FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      Ugh yes. No shrugs in the office, ever, and there are a million comments to that effect every time a shrug is featured.

    • I sense that this post stems from the multiple discussions on this site of the MMLafleur jardigan and dupes.

      I have been interested I the jardigan, as my work is biz casual/casual and no one wears suits. While I believe the two versions of the jardigan are longer than the shrug posted here, a few other companies have come out with a ?version. Recently I tried on the Talbots ?version, that was posted about here. I found it very cropped, similar to today’s post, and I didn’t care for the boxy fit.

      Agree with the poster that said today’s post is not what I consider a shrug, which is a much shorter top than this one, in my mind.

      Depending on your body shape, this cut may work well and be normal for you. I am a short waisted pear, that is petite on top. Longer cardigans make me look dowdy and make my huge rear look even bigger. This length ending at my waist is very flattering, as are the 1/2 sleeves.

      • JuniorMinion :

        Yep! I’ve got a couple of these with 3/4 sleeves that work well over dresses. It could also be that I am in the South, but I see cropped sweaters like this (albeit usually with less detailing / longer sleeves) all the time. Especially over dresses if you are curvier a longer sweater can look a bit sloppy.

      • The jardigan is not the same thing as a cropped sweater

      • I am not sure why the Talbots sweater is being recommended as a substitute for the jardigan. The real jardigan is made of a very heavy, substantial knit that hangs like a real blazer. It is nothing like a sweater.

      • The Jardigan is exceptional in its design and quality. Its the only non-blazer topper that I’ve ever felt actually “tones up” my outfit, rather than toning down like cardigans do.

        • Anonymous :

          With regard to all the Jardigan comments, of course it is more substantial etc… But as with many items of clothing, it is out of the budgets of most readers here so others are looking for dupes. None really exists, but the few available with vaguely similar cuts (ex. Talbots, Limited) are being brought up repeatedly…. although they are not dupes…. and perhaps this is the inspiration for today’s post.

          I could see this sweater… in a different outfit… being very work appropriate for my body and my workplace.

    • No, just no. This reminds me of when I was just starting work and I thought fancy church clothes=appropriate office clothes. If you want to wear something over a dress get a fitted cardigan or a blazer. Not a shrug.

    • This is disappointing to me as well. When I was trying to dress for my first job a few years ago, this was really the only site that had a lot of information. It’s sad for those entering the workforce just now that they don’t have solid examples of what’s work appropriate (which I realize varies by office). Kat/Kate, if you could start posting things that are more appropriate for the conservative type jobs that a lot of ladies on here have, I think that would be much appreciated.

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      Right. Here we go with the shrugs again. -_-

      • I’ll concede that my first thought was: ‘Stop trying to make shrugs happen!’

        But in defense of the (not my style) weekend shoes, I think the weekend picks aren’t meant to be for work.

        • PrettyPrimadonna :

          Yes! Yes! They are not going to become an it item, lol. I had to go back and look at the last weekend shoes. Um…. no comment.

    • So here’s a question- Are commenters here really all that interested in clothes and fashion? I get the impression that we’re not all that much, despite that being the intended audience.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I wore this exact outfit to my sixth grade graduation.

    • Marshmallow :

      Same. I am here for the discussion, not for the fashion. This shrug and the weekend shoes are both terrible.

    • “I love the choices here lately.” – My wallet

    • Anonymama :

      Yeah, I know Kat does a lot of internet research, but I think more real-life research (like, going to the business district and observing actual office people) might help give a gauge for what people actually wear in offices, and also what clothing items appear as more stylish or more frumpy in real life. This shrug is fine, as in not inappropriate for an office, but also not exactly aspirational, where anyone would see it and think, “yes, I want to look like that.” And I think there is a balance between whether things are fashionable, practical, and reasonably priced, but this does not seem all that strong in any of those categories.

  2. Philly Bound - help! :

    I have accepted a job in Philadelphia and currently looking at where to live. Complicating the search is that my new job is northeast of downtown around Somerton. I’m single, etc and would rather live in the city than the suburb, but is that feasible with traffic? Any suggestions on neighborhoods? Is the public transportation reliable? Essentially, any advice would be appreciated. I live in Atlanta currently and need to start making plans ASAP.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I have no advice but just wanted to say that I’m jealous!! Philly is an amazing city and you are going to love the culture, food, etc. I definitely agree you should try and live in the city if you can, it’s wonderful and you can walk virtually anywhere in center city (it’s super small and compact).

    • Somerton unfortunately isn’t very accessible via public transit – it’s in the far Northeast, which is basically the suburbs. Driving from center city and the surrounding neighborhoods wouldn’t be that difficult though since you would have a reverse commute. You’ll want to look at neighborhoods near I-95 to make the commute a bit easier. Queen Village and Bella Vista are great – just south of center city, super walkable, lots of restaurants and shops, and close to 95. Old City, Northern Liberties, and Fishtown are other good options.

      Congrats! I hope you love Philly. I’m from there and moved away a year ago, and I miss it so much.

      • +1. I don’t know what your budget is, but I live in Bella Vista, and it’s more afforable than some of the neighborhoods north of Center City, i.e., Northern Liberties and Fishtown, and it’s just as accessible to I-95.

    • Anonymous :

      Welcome! I don’t know Somerton but from looking at a map, it seems like your options would be I-95 (which could be anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on traffic) or the West Trenton line train, which would take about an hour door-to-door. I would try to focus on neighborhoods that are close to I-95 (so, the eastern edge of the city) so you don’t have to drive through the city just to get to the highway. Northern Liberties, Old City, Society Hill, Fishtown, etc.

      • Yes, if you decide that driving would be easier than taking the train, this is perfect advice.

    • Center City resident here!

      – Public transit gets hate here (doesn’t it everywhere?) but Septa really isn’t bad. Depending on where your job is exactly, taking the Regional Rail from Center City looks doable.

      As for neighborhood, it really depends on your style…
      – Rittenhouse is lively with shopping and restaurants and is perennially popular; you’d be a 10-15 minute walk to the train station depending on exact location.
      – If you’re a runner/cyclist, you might prefer Fitler Square / Grad Hospital neighborhood for ease of access to the Schuylkill River trail (not quite as easy to get to the train, though).
      – Northern Liberties/Fishtown are hipster-trendy and would be closer to your job, but it would be faster for you to drive from there as opposed to taking a circuitous public transit route.
      – Similar for the Art Museum/Fairmount area – you’d get more space for your money and it’s a fast growing neighborhood, but public transit is designed to get people to/from Center City vs. across the north side of town.
      – Old City used to be the “hot” nightlife area (when I was in college in the early 00’s) but it’s gotten more “established” so I’m not sure who actually lives there any more!
      – The “Center” of Center City (between Chestnut and JFK, I’m thinking of west of Broad Street) used to be no mans’ land at night because it’s the main skyscraper/office corridor, but more and more apartment buildings are going in. It would be the most convenient with respect to a train commute, but you’re not in a “cute” neighborhood.

    • Philly too :

      Small World! I am also moving to Philly soon, but the opposite side: Malvern/ Valley Forge. I also was trying to figure out city v. suburb issue and nice neighborhoods to live in.

      • From Center City, if you can’t take the train, that is a ROUGH driving commute – there’s no longer really a “reverse” commute in that direction thanks to the King of Prussia boomtown.

      • What are you looking for in a neighborhood?

    • Two things – you might consider west of the city (Chestnut Hill/Manayunk) – it’s SO pretty and has some of the best aspects of suburb & city.

      Also, the city of Philadelphia has a wage tax, which you pay if you work or live in the city. It’s not terribly high (3%ish) but you may want to factor that into your decision.

    • Oofah. Somerton is tough to get to from anywhere – Street Road is a hot mess. That said, I’d first figure out where the closest SEPTA train station is from your office. If one is close you could feasibly live downtown and take the train to work.

      You could potentially drive to work on Monday, take the train home to downtown, park your car all week near work, then drive home on Fridays. It’s probably pretty unlikely that you’ll have a SEPTA stop in a walkable distance/location from work, but you probably won’t need a car much downtown during the week and driving up 95 from downtown every weekday will drive you insane right quick.

      Not sure what sort of lifestyle you are looking for, but have you considered Bucks County? Def. more suburban, a little older, a little more upwardly mobile, but a few cute downtowns (Yardley, Newtown, New Hope, Lambertville, NJ), very low key but closer to where you will be (plus, some amazing restaurants and fun summer festivals go on there). Not at all the same as downtown but nice, liveable places. Princeton could also be an option. Either way you flip it, getting to Somerton will be a bear.

      Manyunk/Chestnut Hill could be far and require to to navigate a lot of back roads to get to 276 (which is also a nightmare during commuting hours between Norristown and Neshaminy, right where you will be driving).

      Regardless, you will love it there. Good luck!

    • Former Philadelphian :

      I’d check out Fishtown/Kensington/Northern Liberties for a commute to Somerton. Those neighborhoods are all very cool and hip but they are already north of CC on 95 so it will cut off a good ten minutes on your commute each way rather than any other neighborhoods mentioned.

      See the many NY times articles on those neighborhoods to check them out.

  3. Nelly Yuki :

    I have finally figured out that Adrianna Pappell dresses in my size fit me perfectly. I think this means I’m an “X” shape – any other ideas for similar brands?

  4. I lived in Philadelphia for a long time- what a wonderful city! Somerton is ‘far northeast’ on the border of the city and Bucks and Montgomery counties. Driving might be faster from center city, if you find a place with parking. It’s about a 40-60 min drive or train each way from ‘center city’ (philadelphians dont say downtown) but there’s some great neighborhoods you might consider without living in NE Philly – which is mostly families and locals. You’ll find more transplants closer to center city.

    I’d look at Northern Liberties (NoLibs) and Fishtown if you’re up for driving, and maybe Washington Square West if you’d like to take the train.

    If you’re willing to drive a little farther, and depending on your budget, my favorite neighborhoods were Fitler Square (between Rittenhouse park and the river) and the Spring Garden/Art museum neighborhood (between the art museum on the west and 16th-broad street on the east, between Logan square on the south and fairmount to the north).

  5. OMG hate BigLaw :

    Somehow I survived BigLaw with small children. Now that they are in school, they are hating how that don’t actually get vacations when their friends do. And their childcare options we have had so far have not been ideal — I wouldn’t have liked them either — all day in a random school cafeteria with none of their friends (their parents have less unreasonable jobs and they get to take off for spring break / christmas break / etc.) and inside all day if it rains. [I so hate it when my life makes my kids unhappy. I’m sure my unhappiness isn’t helping.]

    I can’t realistically take off all this time. I guess we start to look for better vacation childcare (from the vacation childcare unicorn fairy) or get a PT nanny or something.

    That would be more constructive than just buying powerball tickets and fantasizing about quitting outright (my hometown is a very economically depressed area but the average house price there is <200K).

    I know that PT is technically an option, but two other people in my group already went PT and we haven't replaced their hours gap yet by hiring, so I'm doubly slammed. And I know in-house is technically an option, but doubt I'd get the time off when everyone else would be wanting it as the new person.

    UGH just UGH

    • Anonymous :

      Do you have another parent in the picture? Could you take 2 days, he takes 2 days, and they go to a friend’s one day? Could you both take 2 days off and actually go somewhere for a long weekend vacation? Invite grandparents to visit during breaks?

    • Anonymous :

      Doesn’t fix everything but for school holidays, I recommend half day camps plus a high school student in the afternoon. If there’s something in your area, I highly recommend a half day camp in the morning (our local science centre runs one, there’s an art store that has another, and local dance studio does one as well). Then hire a high school student to watch them in the afternoon. Add a week or two of sleep away camp and you have a great summer.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s unclear whether you’re an associate, counsel or partner, but start by just taking some vacations. I knew plenty of people in Big Law who regularly took off a week at Christmas (many practice groups are dead at this time anyway), a week at spring break and a week over the summer for family vacations. This may not work when you’re a senior associate making the partnership push, but that’s theoretically a pretty temporary time. Even if you can’t get away from work completely, you can at least take your family to a family-friendly resort that has fun kids activities and work remotely from there so your kids are not sitting in a school cafeteria bored. I know Big Law is notoriously tough with work-life balance, but people will only give you as much life as you insist on having. Start by taking one vacation and see what happens.

    • JuniorMinion :

      So I am not in Big Law but I used to be an investment banker and am now on the corporate side. The company I work for (in energy) is hugely work life balance / employee friendly (we work 980 schedules and get some pretty great benefits) and the kind of time off / flexibility needed to take school vacations off would still not be feasible. Can you invest in a PT nanny or perhaps an au pair? Almost all the kids I went to school with growing up were from high powered dual income families (yay being a scholarship kid in private school) and a lot of them either had some sort of nanny / housekeeper hybrid or an au pair into the kids’ high school years.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Biglaw sucks, and I wouldn’t want to do it with kids, so you have my sympathies.

      As for the fact that your kids don’t get to go on a vacation when they have off from school…. well, they need to just suck that up. My parents didn’t take us on vacation for spring break or christmas break. Did I, in the moment, wish that my parents had done so? Sure. But I grew up just fine without those things and am not a serial killer. If they’re old enough, perhaps you can send them to grandparents for a week?

      I’m not sure where you live, but yes, improve your childcare situation! If they’re in school, an au pair might be a good option for handling pickup and after school care, or a PT nanny.

      • +1

        This was my first reaction. I remember feeling blue about that stuff some when I was a kid. But my parents said, “deal with it, both your parents work to provide for you and have careers that are important to them, adults have responsibilities, and what is happening to you is not actually bad.” A nanny that could take them to do fun things would be a nice compromise, or a camp based on some fun activity. Change your career (PT, new job, whatever) because it will improve your work/life balance overall, not just because your kids are jealous that they’re not going on vacation.

        • How old are your kids? When I got to be around 11 or 12 years old or so, I would “make” my own break plans with my friends and then we would then pitch them to our parents. It was usually going over to so and so’s house or finding such and such activity. We were old enough to understand logistics and figure out who’s parent/sibling/etc was available to make it happen.

          One of my Mom’s favorite memories of this was my friend calling her with “Can Walnut go to the pool today? Can you take us?”

          Also, we never took Christmas or Spring break trips. We would only sometimes take vacations in the summer and most of them were much smaller in scope than my friend’s vacations.

      • I think she may mean that the kids are off school “on vacation”, but they still basically have to go to school and sit in a boring cafeteria instead of being able to stay home and play like everyone else. Not that they aren’t taking a vacation trip somewhere.

        • OMG hate BigLaw :

          Yes — this is exactly it.

          • Anon in NYC :

            Oh, well, in that case, I know that a single mom (by choice, so no co-parent) that I work with hires a babysitter specifically for the weeks that the NYC schools are closed. Sometimes she’ll share that sitter with a friend (so it’s like a nanny share). Her son gets to hang out at home, go on fun outings with the sitter, etc. If the rest of your childcare situation is working for you, perhaps that’s a good option. And I’ll echo the other ideas about camps.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes, get a babysitter/nanny so the kids can stay home like their friends are. And sharing is a great idea.

          • fake coffee snob :

            If the kids have friends that are close with the family, could you ask about them spending the week with them? Perhaps you could offer to cover the cost of some fun activities together, or offer to pay the parents whatever you would have paid for daycare anyways.

    • Agreed on the half day camps/college babysitter (try Urban Sitter or your local neighborhood list serve), but in the longer term, start job hunting. life’s too short to hate what you do and IMO, big law is no place to have young children (or children period). I survived with one kid but couldn’t swing Big Law with two. And I’m so so so so much happier now!

      • Yep, as a biglaw associate with little kids, I’m pretty sure the long-term solution is to go in house. Although with very young kids, it’s hard and sleepless, I can imagine the ways in which it’s worse with bigger kids — i.e., that they are more disappointed when you have to break plans or can’t be there for special events. Personally, I like what I do, but I’m looking for options to do similar work in house because I don’t like what it does to my family. The short-term solution is probably to hire a PT nanny or high schooler to watch the kids after school, as others suggest.

    • Are there any relatives you can send your kids to stay with for their vacations? My kids are older now but used to spend a week at Grandma’s (a four hour trip away) every year when they hand a school break and I did not. They kind of complained about it at the time but it’s funny how they talk about those times as some of the best of their childhoods now. Grandma had white bread! And sweet cereal! And Burger King for lunch lots of days!!

      • +1 on Grandma’s house. My kid loves it, but for her the big treat is not white bread but Velveeta in the mac and cheese. And flying as an unaccompanied minor is SO exciting.

    • OMG hate BigLaw :

      Thanks for all of the commiseration.

      A big problem with BigLaw is that I didn’t have kids until I was older, so both sets of grandparents are either old and frail or just very old. The age would be less of an issue if local, but they are also 8-12 hours away. I hate, hate also living so far from family. [It probably also makes is feel harder for me b/c every other female relative I have is a teacher, so they have schedule synchronization and a workplace that is understood as having to accommodate women with kids if they want you to stay and not switch to a second grade at a school w/o a nutty principal. No one else gets the craziness and I wonder if this is worth it sometimes.]

      I am the senior most female attorney here (income partner, so all of the associate drama plus billing) with kids (actually either way, now that I think of it), and that is horrifying. We truly have run off everyone else.

      Spouse’s job is less “flexible” but for some reason only give you 10 days off a year (but they have the concept of sick days, which count for kids too, so there’s that). It’s like he’s a plant manager, so he can’t do that from home whereas I can work all night every night from home and no one thinks that that’s anything but productivity (it is insane).

      I effing hate this crazy train.

      • JuniorMinion :

        Yeah – there are unfortunately a lot of jobs in the US where people don’t get a ton of vacation even if they aren’t being paid $$$$. It sounds like you are pretty frustrated with your current situation. I would argue that oftentimes the grass looks a lot greener….I know teachers in my state are paid ~$50k / year on average. They may have extra time but they’ve made a trade on the income front. I don’t know what kind of vacations you like currently but in most parts of the country that level of income would require some serious budgeting for vacations for multiple people absent a partner with a great income.

        Your kids will be fine – the biggest thing they need is happy, well-adjusted parents and to feel secure in their lives. There are many ways to do this. I grew up with a stay at home mom and I really wish she had worked. It’s no fun to feel like your parents aren’t going to pay bills when you are 12, and it’s also no fun to perpetually take vacations to the same place on a shoestring to save money. Additionally I would add that my mother needed something to make her happy / occupy her mental energy outside of her kids (I know there are women that are super well adjusted at home parents, I don’t think they are the majority) and I often found myself wishing she would be less available and just leave me in aftercare with the other kids.

        • OMG hate BigLaw :

          In the “vacation” department, I just mean being able to sleep in and be at home. Not working (or even working ~3 hours or so over the course of a day would be a trade up). Kids want to be in their PJs and linger over breakfast and maybe rediscover the toys they have at home or maybe play with a friend who they know is free too.

          Vacation =/= going to Gstaad

          Our vacations so far have been to reconnect with family, so nothing really amazing (occasional shared beach rentals) and often sleeping on pull-out couches and being 6th in line for the shower.

          • JuniorMinion :

            Ah ok. I feel like then in that case if you had an au pair or even a babysitter for them that week at home that might alleviate some of the issues there.

            Yeah I didn’t mean going to Gstaad vs. not – its more always having to take the cheap 6 AM flight (which when you live 2 hours from the airport means leaving home at 3 AM) and attempting to make meals in teeny condos to save money etc. At a certain point in my childhood I wanted to be like “how about we just stay home?”

          • Maddie Ross :

            If it’s just the lingering in their PJs, playing with their own toys, etc., can you work from home a couple of days or even a couple of mornings? If they are old enough to want to sleep in, they are old enough to entertain themselves without having to bother you much while you work.

          • fake coffee snob :

            As a high schooler, I definitely did some school break care in similar contexts. By college, I even did some overnight care (the longest was 3 days for a single mom when she traveled for work). It shouldn’t be too complicated to find someone who can provide care that day, and I don’t even think it’d be unreasonably expensive (for an experienced-babysitter student…$15/hour, maybe, depending on your area’s COL?).

        • The kids will be fine but there is nothing worse than school daycare. It is soul crushing. They need a better option until they can stay by themselves. How old are they? Why don’t you have a nanny?

      • We have another working couple friend with kids the same age. Here’s what we do for spring/February breaks:

        Each adult takes a day with the 4 kids. That means each adult just does one day off and then day 5 is a freebie- often it ends up being a holiday off (February) or everybody takes off and does a fun family day. This is also how we approach snow days/random staff development days- we rotate which family has ‘duty’ and then each couple can figure it out.

        This works well for us and the kids get to hang out with their friends. Also, because you’re only in charge for one day, it’s actually fun and not totally exhausting to be ‘cruise director’ for the day.

      • Anonshmanon :

        If your female teacher-relatives have kids, too, maybe you can substitute week at grandmas house with week at auntie’s house?

        • OMG hate BigLaw :

          I have started thinking about that!

          It could be awkward (could I send you Amabella and Amabella 2.0 and $500?). But it could be great!

          The bad thing is that I can’t really reciprocate (except for cousin with older kid going to college, have urged that kid to take advantage of staying in our guest room if he wants to do any interships / summer jobs / etc. and use me as Big City home base for free any time he wants to). Maybe when kids are older they can all do advanced academic type summer camps here or have interships? But I can’t offer much but $ now.

          And they are all at least 5 hours from us minimum (and that is driving-only from my city to remote small towns — not like I could put them on a plane direct to Phoenix or somewhere on a direct plane trip).

          The logistical downsides of leaving a small town . . .

          • I definitely did this growing up. I spent a week at cousins homes and would occasionally go on vacation with close family friends who were childless by choice. We would roadtrip (or meet halfway) on a Saturday to a hand off point and Mom would handle over a pile of cash to cover any expenses that might be incurred.

          • You don’t need to reciprocate the exact same way.

            One summer my cousin stayed with us for 2 months! We loved it!!! And it really wasn’t any more work for my Mom.

            If you sent him with $$ that’s amazing! Maybe it means you are treating the family to friday night pizza and a movie, or tickets to a big amusement park etc… Sponsor an experience they can all share together.

          • Still reading? :

            I completely agree with the daycamp idea. If you can pick them up, spend an hour or rwo with time until Dad gets home, and then work late, that’s perfect. Or hire an afternoon babysitter. But maybe your town doesn’t have day camps during vacation weeks.

            If you send your kids to auntie camp, you don’t have to host someone’s kid to reciprocate. If the college kid is in your town, you could take over care packages and pick up laundry during midterms and finals (have the clothes commercially cleaned) and take them out to dinner once in a while–with friends or as a get-away, their pick. During those trips to relatives, do some big chore with/for them, like spring pruning of your parents’ hedges or set up some kind of long distance connection that lets you help them with computer issues. If you live in big city and they’re all out in the boondocks, maybe a sibling would like to come for a fancy weekend of shopping and theater and whatever else is exciting for them.

            If all else fails, can you let your kids sleep in during break and go to daycare late?

    • Part time nanny for sure. Also you should readjust your attitude about other jobs, if you really do want to leave Big Law. There is a whole world out there of normal jobs where you can take a week off. Yes you would get the time off as in-house just like everyone else. If you’re doubly-slammed, that’s the firm’s problem and not yours– go PT anyway.

    • You have all my sympathy. I am in MediumLaw and The Hubs is in Biglaw and I know that what you have going on is our future as soon as we finish preschool at the end of this summer. IMHO the worst is not the full weeks, but all of the random half days and early dismissals and “sick kid” days that you cannot get any coverage for that eat up time that you otherwise could take for vacation (and adding in the fact that The Hubs and I both litigate makes things more complicated with court and travel does not improve things).

      My best alternative tips are:

      – One week of grandparents in town (usually New Year’s week, which also lets us go out that night)
      – One week at the grandparents (we start this summer and I CANNOT WAIT).
      – Using the “break camp” for the town near my office that lets me drop off early and has swimming and sports (which only works now because it takes all of five minutes for me to run over there and pick up at 3:30 pm and then The Kid sits in my office with the Kindle for 90 minutes or so — and then I work an hour at night).
      – Trading off child care with friends (one weekday equals one weekend evening out, which is great now because having another kid over from 5 to 9 pm keeps my kid occupied all evening).
      – Have a regular stable of sitters that have a relationship with you and that can commit to school days in advance (we even have one in the neighborhood who comes over on snow days and takes The Kid out to play in the snow so that one of us can go to the office and other one can get work done at home).

      That said, my mom did not start to work outside the home until I was in college and my family never went away for any breaks other than a week or so at the family trailer on a lake each summer and there does not appear to be any lasting damage from it (and, pro, staying out of that spring break sun let me put off retinoids until my 40s).

      Good luck!

      • OP — just saw your grandparent sitch, so ignore my comments on that. Keep fighting the good fight!!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Definitely get a better childcare situation, but your kids can deal with not being able to linger in their PJs like their friends do. I was raised by a single mom with a demanding job, and yeah, I was pretty resentful that I still had to get up at 6 AM when school was out, but now I’m a person who tends to get stuff done, which is a great quality to have in life.

      Look into summer camps – that generally fills about a month of summer vacation. And yeah, your kids want to stay home and play with their school friends and lounge by the pool, but after they’re homesick for a couple days, they’ll make lifelong friendships at camp (I did, and I was a super shy introverted kid!), and get to rock climb, ride horses, ramble through the woods, learn to cook over a fire, gain confidence, and get a taste of freedom. I am very pro-camp. And there’s got to be some kind of day camp in your area for the rest of the time – check into girl and boy scouts, religious camps (if you’re religious), or just an after-school place that offers special activities during times off from school.

      I feel you regarding the family part, though. I am reallllllly pushing for my SO’s sister to move back to the area before we all have kids.

    • Get a high school babysitter. S/he is on the same school schedule, and can drive (at least to your place if not ferry your kids around).

      I have a 13 year old coming over tomorrow and Thursday. I’m going to be home but she’s watching my 5 and 1 year olds while I get some work done. There are a ton of 16 y/os in town whose parents aren’t taking them on vacation and babysitting is an awesome option.

    • I am in small law and married to someone with an inflexible schedule and I still have a nanny largely for my sanity. I know a few other families with two working parents who plan to have or had a nanny until their kids can drive. Totally worth it if you can swing it. The nanny is hired knowing that kids are the first priority, but that there will be household responsibilities when the kids aren’t around. If you go this route, when you are not working you will be able to focus on your family and yourself, because the nanny will have done errands, stocked the fridge, cooked, whatever while you were at work and the kids were at school.

    • I feel you. Biglaw senior associate here. My kids are still small (2 & 4), but I just want to be able to do more things with them without always having more billeables to deal with. I am PT, which means I have 3 wks instead of 4 off. When I was a childless full time assoc, I couldn’t even take off all my days. Nor would it have been acceptable to do so. Now I have all my vacation days planned out for the year by Feb. And DH still complains that I don’t take enough days off. I would love to go in house, but I’m in a very niche practice that doesn’t have a lot of openings in commuting distance. SAHM looks greener and greener…

    • Anonymous :

      I have the exact opposite of your problem, since I’m in college, I work with families during school holidays (I also have the same days off school in most cases) to take their kids during the day. They drop the kids off at my house before work and pick them up in the late afternoon. I have my pwn driver’s license and car and kiddie seats and so I usually plan out stuff during the morning, then come home for lunch, then more outings (I prefer the afternoon one to be on foot) to the nearest garden or whatever and then back home by 4, to be in time for the earlier parents. I try to make sure to make them super tired so that the time we spend at my home can be more quiet down time like reading or watching a movie.

      Ideas for you to give, if you decide to hire a person like myself:
      * girls love little spa days and it’s perfect for rain. It’s also easy to trick them into sitting still for an hour for any nail polish to dry (put on a movie).
      * Kids prefer oing physical things like walking, playing in the park, playing ball, etc. Preparing little field trips with their input is easy and fun.
      * Last year we went to check out a rocks and minerals museum, an old timey ice cream shop, and a dinossaur exhibit at another museum. Museums are easy for me because I can set them relatively free and it’s very safe. I ask them questions and make sure we go to something they’ll be interested in.
      * A “proper” PT nanny can be quite expensive. Check out you rneighbourhood and personal network as there may be a highschool senior or a college kid dying to play with your kids for 2$ an hour (I charge 2$ an hour plus expenses, as I have a blast too)
      * Seconding the advice on school camp, I did it as a kid and loved it
      * Also consider a parent pool. If you join enough parents, each person takes care of everybody’s kids for two to three days, and while it won’t cover the whole summer, it can be a big help.

  6. is this 36? :

    I need recommendations for brightening/concealing the under-eye area. I’m 36 and I’ve noticed lately that I look rough/tired in the eyes. I usually think I look okay in person, but photos taken in natural light don’t lie! I like my skincare routine and my overall complexion looks pretty good, but I can’t get over how TIRED I look. (Probably because I am — two young kids, plus working full-time will do that.) I use an eye cream to take care of the fine lines but it’s not doing anything for the dark circles. I’m lax with concealer because if it’s not perfectly applied, it makes everything look worse. I wear a neutral eyeshadow most days. Should I use something with more color? Use eyeliner more consistently? My blue eyes used to be my best feature and now they’re just … there. They need some definition.

    • Girl what? There is a product custom designed for this. It is called concealer. It is what you need to use. It’s the only option for dark circles. Try Nars creamy concealer.

      • is this 36? :

        Well, that was unnecessarily snarky. Did you miss the part where I said that I sometimes use concealer but haven’t been thrilled with the results?

        • No that’s what I was responding to. Concealer is clearly the answer here and you’re writing it off. Also my comment was only mildly snarky.

          • Concealer is actually not the answer for everyone. Sorry. You’re wrong. Loss of volume that come with being tired/post-pregnancy/mid-thirties leaves hollows under the eyes that read as dark circles but can’t just be concealed away. I hope you aren’t a makeup artist.

        • That comment is barely going to move the needle on snark meters. Calm down.

    • touche eclat!

      • Marshmallow :

        I love touche eclat for highlighting but it doesn’t have much pigment. Try UD Naked concealer for actual coverage.

        • fake coffee snob :

          Maybelline “dream lumi” is a touche eclat imitator with more pigment that works amazing on my (admittedly younger) undereyes (and it’s so cheap!).

    • Also 36, 3 kids, not enough sleep and the same issue with dark undereye circles. So many concealers that are effective are also drying on that area. Interested in brightening eye cream and great concealer recommendations.

      • Same age, swear by Maybelline Age Rewind. I swear, it knocks off five years. It doesn’t dry out, stays put, and reflects light beautifully. I also love this eye balm I buy at Whole Foods, Evan Healy Wild Carrots Eye Balm. It really helps and feels so nice.

    • Go to a makeup counter and have them match a concealer for you.

    • Just tried for the first time at 34. Had a small amount put in by a very experienced doctor-loved it.

      Sorry if it’s not the answer you were looking for but I struggled with the fancy concealers and creams forever (tried the NARS one to no avail) and I’m kicking myself for not doing this a year ago.

    • Yeah you need concealer. I really like the urban decay 24/7 concealer chubby pencil thingy. Stays on well, blends nicely. If your concealer looks weird, then have someone color match you and show you how to put it on.

      • is this 36? :

        I’m using the UD regular concealer. The color is a good match, but it looks so flat, for lack of a better way of putting it. I wonder if the pencil would be easier to apply.

        • fake coffee snob :

          Different concealers have different finishes. I mentioned dream lumi above, but I also like glossier stretch concealer (although it can settle in fine lines a little) and there are of course hundreds of others out there. Finding a perfect shade match + perfect finish match + perfect formula is…not easy, I know, but higher-end stores or blogs or youtube (depending on your preference) are a good place to start.

    • Bare Minerals :

      Try Bare Minerals Stroke of Light. I like it because it brightens but doesn’t make my “fine lines” noticeable the way other concealers sometimes do. Also, take a nap! (said with humor and love)

    • I personally hate creamy liquid concealers. Maybe I haven’t figured out how to properly apply them, but they always look cakey on me. I do like the Benefit industrial strength (whatever that means) concealer. I put it on before my powder. I like that I can use it for my darker under eye area and for other blemishes on my face without using multiple products. But yes, I would definitely recommend getting help from a professional (from somewhere like Sephora where there are several different brands, rather than just one counter at a department store) to get a good match for your skin.

    • Maybelline Age Rewind. Maybelline Age Rewind. Maybelline Age Rewind.

      It’s the greatest concealer ever. I’m of Mediterranean descent and was born with dark undereye pigment. I swipe that stuff on every morning. It’s my desert island product.

      • Ditto, and I am a fair-skinned woman of German heritage.

        If they ever stop making this, I’m going to cry.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Bobbi Brown creamy concealer and/or corrector. They have a ton of great colors. Their formula is thick enough that you should match your skintone exactly – don’t listen to anyone who tells you to get a lighter color than your skin actually is. I use the concealer everywhere on my face, and tap it lightly to blend it. It melts in and looks flawless. Then I finish with Bare Minerals Mineral Veil.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I’ve had dark circles since puberty. I’ve tried so many concealers I can’t count them. Most of them just disappear into the black holes that are my undereye skin. Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit is the best one I’ve found.

    • Shopaholic :

      So this may seem like overkill, but I have 3 steps for my undereye concealer. First I use a color corrector (it’s a peachy pink on me, which is a few shades lighter than my skin), then concealer and then more of a highlighter pen. It works perfectly to actually cover my dark circles.

    • You need to use concealer – definitely under your eyes and possibly on your lids if you have blue/purple tones showing through. I recommend Too Faced Born This Way concealer or MUFE Ultra HD concealer which both have a thin hydrating formula so look natural. Apply with a damp beauty blender for a very natural finish.

      Also, if you want to bring more focus and definition to your eyes and are not already shaping/filling in your brows, that might be something to try. There are a ton of brow products out there now, but Benefit would be a good place to start.

      • Canadian_MBA :

        Completely agree with the concealer for lids comment – I use MAC paints/peintures in the Bare Canvas shade and it knocks a few years off. Takes away the dark shadows from my semi-deep set eyes. I can wear it alone or apply my usual eyeshadow and/or pencil on top. As someone with super oily skin, this product lets me wear eyeshadow without crazy creases forming in my lids by midday.

        • lawsuited :

          +1 to MAC paint pots for concealing lids – they stay put like no other on my oily lids.

    • I personally loathe concealer and foundation. I’m more of the “distraction” makeup camp. Eyeliner, eyebrows, lipstick. Maybe not appropriate for your office but I like to highlight my upper cheekbone as a way to distract from undereye darkness – a subtle sheen reflects light. Not instagram levels of highlight but Touche Eclat should work well.

    • I have light blue eyes and darkish circles, and in addition to concealer, I reccomend a light golden eyeliner, or a rose gold, coppery shade. This looks better than neutrals, and really draws out the blue. There are different levels of shine/ sparkle on these shades, but lightening the eyelid works well— remember to build colour, and blend well to make it look seamless. I have had compliments on lancome and loreal golden / copper tones( it takes people a while of scrutinizing me to realize it is actually the shadow that highlights my eyes)…and trust me, this is on of the few times I ever have compliments on how rested I look!

      • is this 36? :

        Hmm, I like your idea of using eyeshadow to lighten the whole area. Obviously I need concealer, but it’s not brightening me up the way I’d like.

    • Fillers Needed for Real Fix - Sorry :

      These responses (particularly the snarky one about concealer usage) deal with DISCOLORATION/the bluish tinge you get under your eyes. BUT. You may also be dealing with a loss of volume, which is what happened to me and and happens to many of us as we age. You cannot conceal away a loss of volume and certain lighting will cast shadows or otherwise effectively highlight that loss of volume, which is why you see it so much in photos.

      You can layer yellow-tinted concealer, then brightening/pink tinted concealer, then a highlight then a touch of bronzer to prevent that white out look when the flash reflects off the concealer but there is nothing makeup can do about the shadowing caused by loss of volume.

      I had filled injected a few years ago. It left bruises for nearly a week (so long recovery time) and puffed up when I (rarely) cried. It gradually faded over the course of 6-9 months. It was expensive and painful. So I didn’t do it again. BUT this is the ONLY thing that made a difference with my under eye problems (I am you – fair, blue eyes, now 39 then 36, post-child, etc)

      • I’m very fair, 37 and used to always look tired and drawn. I tried every concealer in the book, with multiple professionals at Sephora, Ulta and a professional independent makeup artist all expertly applying it, and it didn’t do the job. Only filler did.

        However, I actually had a great experience with it (no bruising, minimal swelling) and I did Voluma, which lasts two years. I’m actually going in tomorrow for a touch up and don’t expect any downtime.

      • is this 36? :

        I’d never thought about volume, but I think that’s exactly what’s going on. I’ve always had under-eye circles, thanks to genetics. This is more of a sunken-in/lack of definition issue. I don’t think injections are right for me, so this might be something I have to learn to live with, or find better makeup tricks.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I’m embarrassed by it, because they are on HSN, but I swear by the It Cosmetics “Bye Bye Undereye” in light, which is a shade lighter than my other makeup. Pat on with your ring finger and allow it to sit for a second and “bake” in before blending. Dust with setting powder after. A little highlighter in your inner eye (in the hollow between the corner of your eye and your nose) helps too with distraction.

    • I use the BECCA undereye corrector, then Cover FX/MAC on top – covers even the worst of my dark circles.

    • REvlon age rewind concealer is great and super easy to apply it barely needs blending and I can wear it without foundation, I blend using the Urban decay perfecting blur brush or my fingers, then sometime I use the NYX banana powder-benefit used to make one, and sephora makes a yellow loose powder called “brightening powder” but I prefer the nyx.

      I also use the Mario Badescu eyecream, or the Aveeno Ageless one.

      On no makeup days I use the garnier skin renew eye roller, which is slightly tinted so if you have a darker skin tone it might not work. I also like the first aid beauty triple duty cream.

  7. Spring wardrobe refresh :

    What pieces are you all buying this spring to keep your wardrobes current? I am very anti-cold shoulder top. And anti-ruffle.

    • I’m adding more tops with floral prints. Dots were everywhere last year but this summer seems to be about florals.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Perforated peep toe booties. Gawd, 2015 me swore peep toe booties were idiotic, but I love them now. Hoping the ones I just ordered are the right size. Ruffles aren’t terrible but I’m just not a ruffle person. Pretty much everything else trendy right now still looks mind-boggling terrible. Slip dresses? Cold shoulder? Granny floral prints? I even saw somewhere that fuzzy mules were in. Seriously?

      • Spring wardrobe refresh :

        Yes!! I think I hate everything right now.

      • JuniorMinion :

        I love peep toe booties – however this is largely a function of the fact that I live in a part of the South that rarely gets cold enough for boots so its a way to play with the bootie trend when its 70 degrees + by February.

      • Marshmallow :

        I’m cracking up over here. I’m down with floral, ruffles, cold shoulder, even a little midriff for a night out. But I can’t with the peep toe booties. Apparently I’m cool with all the horrors of Spring 2017 but I draw the line at peep toe booties.

      • Oh no. Peep toe booties look like hermit crabs coming out of their shells.

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      White jeans, floral tops with, everything with ruffles, block-heeled sandals.

    • Tinkerbell :

      Pink clothing! Blush, salmon, and coral. And rose gold and/or holo shoes. Maybe both.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I actually bought the bright pink jacket and pants that were featured here a while back and am wearing the whole kit and caboodle as a suit today. Big fun! Also got a pair of wide cropped jeans, rose gold sandals, block-heel pumps, and the fabulous slip-on Keds that somebody recommended on here a few days ago, which I bought in cognac and white and which I want to wear all the time because they are so comfy!!

        • There was a photopage this month in People Style Watch about pink pantsuits and, of course, all the fab young celebrities wearing them. Made me want to get one, but the last one I tried on made me look like a big wad of chewed Bazooka bubblegum. I’m still on the hunt, though.

    • I just ordered white shorts! I can’t wait for them to come in and I hope they fit.

    • I am into the dark back ground florals on blouses and dresses, I bought one cold shoulder tee in a pretty color to wear with jeans/shorts on the weekend. I also just bought a pair of sandal/bootie hybrid things to wear with tee shirt dresses and such.

      I also grabbed a pair of the ray ban erika sunglasses, my wayfarers are a bit outdated feeling.

      I like the swing A line style dresses for casual wear. For work I bought a fun pair block heels in a magenta color to liven up some dresses.

      Given my curvy and busty body type some of these trends simply do not work for me which is quite fine.

  8. I’m trying to adopt healther habits in my life. What’s your healthiest habit and what advice would you give about developing it?

    • JuniorMinion :

      I think you have to make gradual changes to stick to something – ie no crazy crash diets. The biggest healthy thing I do is I do not drink alcohol on “school nights” – helps to eliminate calories in my day with no nutritional benefit. To do this, I replaced a glass of wine with fun flavored seltzer water (those slim can la croix are my jam).

      This is something of a domino effect as lack of alcohol at night makes me more likely to get a workout in.

      • Cosign both of these sentiments. Focus on choosing something you think you can stick with and do it one thing at a time. Changing your entire lifestyle takes years.

        Topo Chico is my favorite fancy fizzy water. In addition to cutting way back on drinking, I cut out almost all added sugar. So an orange (or whatever other fruit) for dessert is fine, a cookie is not. There’s still some added sugar in some things that I eat occasionally, but not much.

    • I’m not trying to be snarky, but eating healthier and working out.

      Eating Healthier:
      – smaller portions
      – vegetarian (not for everyone, I know, and I did it mainly for other reasons)
      – eating small meals/snacks more frequently, instead of stuffing my face when I am starving and have no self-control
      – less commercially prepared food
      – less refined white flour

      Working Out:
      – boot camp style classes
      – yoga
      – running

      For me, I just have to force myself to do it all. There is no magic for me.

      • Meg March :

        In terms of forcing myself to do it, I recently signed up for Classpass, and while it’s not perfect, I feel more “forced” to do it because I already paid for my ten classes and if I don’t use them by the end of the month, I feel like I am leaving money on the table. Some people need more external motivation, so it’s about finding what will help you force yourself.

    • One healthy habit that is a perpetual work in progress for me is to take a walk after I get home from the office. I’m a 100% happier person the rest of the evening and sleep so much better when I get even a 15 minute stroll outside.

      • +1 and also drinking lots of water and not sugary beverages like soda.

        • JuniorMinion :

          +2 – to drink more water I keep either glasses of water / water bottles in key locations (my desk at work – my bedroom – by my couch) to inspire me to drink more water.

    • Sleep. I start winding down around 9, lights out by 10/1030 so I can get 7-8 hours a night. Makes a huge difference in my energy level.

    • Eating enough vegetables and fruits — minimum 5 a day, aim for more like 10-12. To do it, you just have to get used to eating the regularly. Eventually you will find it strange when your food options are vegetable-free.

    • Weekly meal planning. I pick all the recipes for the week and get the shopping done all at once. If I already know what I’m making and that I have all the ingredients at home, I am much more likely to cook a healthy dinner rather than getting take out/snacking.

    • Marshmallow :

      Eating a real breakfast. Fruit and yogurt, oatmeal, a Starbucks egg white bite– something with protein and a veggie or fruit. It makes my whole day go better.

    • Start with what’s easiest to give up. For me, I can limit sugar much more easily than savory items. So I gradually reduced sugar in iced tea to the point that I drink it unsweetened now (this is a big thing for a woman raised in the south, y’all). And I limit sweets: a small square of chocolate instead of half a bar, turning down dessert unless it’s something I really want. I don’t drink soda unless I’m craving one, but then I drink it without guilt.

      Keep a balance and you’ll find it’s much easier than simply swearing off something.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Walking more. I got a Fitbit about 2 months ago now and have really, really tried to hit my 10K steps every day, especially for the last month. I’m on a 21 day streak right now. Even though for the most part it’s just walking (a few times a week I’ll alternate lots of walking with a little running on the treadmill), I feel better about myself, stronger, and happier. I average 14K steps per day.

      Also, making water the first and easiest choice. I bought a water bottle I love and keep it filled all day. I drink it when I’m bored, when I’m at stoplights, when I’m on hold, when I’m walking, when I’m waiting for food, when I’m in elevators. My skin is great and I feel better.

      Last, I’m about halfway through Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before and the tendencies and strategies she details are really motivating. It helps me to understand what kind of accountability I need to hit my goals (upholder), but I need something to check off or star or fill in to get and keep a streak going.

    • Constant Reader :

      For me it started with working with a personal trainer 2X a week on mostly strength training. It had a snowball effect, leading to:

      – getting my 10K steps in a day
      – way better eating habits, including consistently eating breakfast and meal planning to get more of a variety of foods, not picking up take-out lunch, skewing towards more vegetables, fish, and fiber in my diet, just in general having a more strategic overall view of my nutrition.

      It was consistently seeing results from the training that gave me the incentive and confidence to “add another” good habit, just like you go up in weights.

    • Anonymous :

      Forgiveness. For yourself. For others.

  9. Do any of you make your own clothes? A little background, I’m small and can afford things like loft, br etc but not well made items so for a Saturdays work I can get myself a $1,000 coat. I had a co-worker squeal when she saw my coat had french seams then there was an awkward lull when I told her I made it (and thus she couldn’t get one too). I think it’s a fun hobby and a good way to be well dressed.

    • I don’t but I totally think of it as a fun hobby. The same way knitting was everywhere a few years ago.

    • I sew bags, costumes, pajamas, and a few special skirts and dresses for my daughter. The pieces I make are usually more expensive to sew than they would be to purchase. I do it for fun and because my kid is hard to fit. I would love to have the skills to sew my own blazers (I can never find the style I want in the stores) and to do my own alterations.

    • RedLeather :

      No, but I’ve really been thinking about getting back into sewing lately after being so disappointed with a lot of the clothing out there. What patterns, etc. do you use or recommend?

      • I usually make my own. It’s something I just happen to have a knack for.

      • I’ve made about 50%-60% of my work clothes. I find it’s cheaper because I have expensive taste (silk fabric, nice finishes, custom tailored). I have been sewing for 3 ish years and I like Sewaholic and Deer&Doe patterns best – those are both “indie” brands. A lot of the indie brands draft to specific body shapes, but quality of drafting varies. If you’re plus size, I hear great things about Cashmerette. Stay far away from Collette patterns and Tilly&TheButtons, those both have notoriously bad drafting.

        The “Big 4” – Butterick, Vogue, McCalls, Simplicity – are easier to access and cheaper, but I think they have a steeper learning curve if you are new. They have more ease so need to be measured carefully and require more techniques to either be known or googled. I subscribed to Burda magazine for the first time this year, haven’t made anything from them yet but it’s on the list.

        Hope that helps! Also if you knit, Ravelry has sewing groups, and there are many blogs as well.

        • Sewaholic has a blog with sew-alongs for its patterns – so you can get help on techniques and such that the pattern instructions just don’t cover.

          For the Big 4 – yes, there is a LOT of sewing knowledge that is assumed in those pattern instructions. Like how and when to finish seams, clipping and notching curves. If you find a pattern you really like, google it to see if anyone has blogged about making it – can give you an idea of if it works out well or not. Consider making a muslin or having a friend/sewer help you fit as you go.

          • Seattle Freeze :

            Look at PatternReview, too – really great place to see reviews of patterns made up in different fabrics and sizes.

    • I’ve wanted to make a coat for myself for a while, but my skill level is more like “simple skirt”

      • Anonshmanon :

        same here, I’ve altered my own pants and so on. I find it really cool to make your own clothes, but at the moment it is not in my time-budget.

    • Ha- my skill is more take two flat sheets and sew it into a duvet cover! One of my goals for when my little monsters are older is to take a basic sewing class.

    • I make most of my own stuff (but I work only part-time now, so I have more time to do so). Haven’t done a coat yet but have done blazers, lots of dresses, many casual clothes, bathing suits, and even academic regalia. I love Jalie patters for casual wear; Vogue and other Big 4 for dress/workwear. There’s a learning curve to sizing across various pattern companies; the Pattern Review site has lots of information to help with that. Some are cheaper to make than buy; some more expensive. I spend a lot less money on clothes than I used to because I’ve gotten more discerning about fit and quality.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      This is my goal for the next 12 months. Specifically pants. My shape makes buying pants horrific. I’m 5’5″ with a 27.5″ inseam. I’m also plus size and very apple shaped.

      I’ve purchased several Craftsy classes and a couple of books specifically about pants. I find I am most effective when I read and learn a ton before I start.

      Long-term, I want to learn to draft my own patterns. It’s been great to find some online classes and books for that too.

    • I agree sewing is a great way to be well dressed, especially if you enjoy making things. I find it relaxing to work with my hands (sketching, colouring, and sewing). I make many of my own clothes, and when coworkers ask me where I bought my skirt/ top/ dress/ I am hesitant to share I made them because I have experienced that awkward pause as well. I think it is a great compliment in a way to be asked where you bought something you made!

      Like many skills, it takes time and lots of trial and error to make wearable clothing. I love making a high quality garment with french seams, pre- shrunk linings, and from beautiful material that is washable. The clothing I make lasts a long time, and makes me much more selective about what I buy. I usually make skirts, and dresses most often, followed by the occasional top. I love watching netflix, or listening to music, and working on a skirt I can wear to work at the same time! When my husband accompanies me shopping he always looks at stuff I like and says ” you totally could make a nicer version of that.” He also has become an expert on quality and finishes and fabric quality….from being around my sewing for soooo long!

    • Anonymous :

      All my pencil skirts are made by me. It’s so simple to draft and sew, and the custom fit is well worth the effort.

      I keep meaning to draft a pant pattern. Just don’t get the time I need! (three small kids means that if I do get sewing time, it’s usually a costume or a nightgown). And I’m always waiting until I loose that darn 20 lbs ;)

  10. Overwhelmed :

    I am overwhelmed. I just finished a huge three-week jury trial and am struggling to catch up on the work that accumulated during trial. I lost my grandmother and am heartbroken… and also trying to console my heartbroken mom as well as clean out her home and belongings. I am being considered for a new role at work, which has been fairly public (everyone at work knows) and is dragging on without a decision. I found out the first week of trial that I am pregnant (this is great news, we were TTC, but it’s just a lot right now) and now have first trimester exhaustion and never know when I’m going to vomit. Due to the trial and my grandmother’s death, I’ve been away from home a lot and can tell my marriage is suffering a little. I feel like everything is happening at once and nothing is under control. I don’t actually know what my question is but would love any advice or good thoughts.

    • My advice is to take some time off. You have the double whammy of first trimester hormones/exhaustion and death of your grandmother. Work today and maybe tomorrow if there is something that absolutely cannot wait until next Monday. Take off W/Th/F. Sleep/rest all day Wednesday. Tackle cleaning out the house on Th/F.

      You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself.

      • Anon in NYC :

        100% agreed. What you described sounds exhausting and mentally and emotionally draining. You need a few days to rest. Hugs. I’m sorry there’s so much going on right now.

    • Can you take off a weekend (or even a night) to do something nice with your husband that might help you decompress and help you two reconnect?I know I feel a lot better when I feel like my marriage is on solid ground.

    • No advice, but sending warm thoughts your way. Actually maybe I do have some advice – acknowledge that this is too much to deal with in a totally calm way, and be kind to yourself when you need to vent/cry/whatever.

    • Oh yikes. The only way through first trimester fatigue is to sleep it off, IME. My manager has been among the first people to get the pregnancy announcement (know your office here, of course) and would cut me some slack. I’d leave the office at the earliest feasible time, take a nap, barely eat supper and go straight to bed. It was rough around the house, but DH just sort of had to deal.

    • WOW, girlfriend,that is a lot to deal with!!! Big hugs as you are carrying the emotional load of three people right now.

      First things first. You are pregnant and in the best of times, these first few weeks you feel like you just want to sleep all.the.time. This is evolutionary; your body is telling you not to overtax yourself because you’ll need lots of resources and energy in the months to come. You MUST take care of yourself right now. You are in a lifeboat situation; everything unnecessary needs to go over the side. Hire someone to clean your house and your yard. Get meal delivery or at least grocery delivery. Turn down invitations, opportunities, etc. unless they are really, really necessary. Clear the decks on the weekends so you can rest. Spending all day in bed or on the couch is totally acceptable right now; in the second trimester you will probably have more energy than you know what to do with. I understand if you haven’t told most people you are pregnant, but those in your life who do know need to help you out and give you some space so you can take care of yourself.

      I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother, and I’m sorry your mom is struggling. I can say that my grandma was always very concerned that I was taking care of myself, especially when I was pregnant. Your Grandma was probably not much different than mine. She would want you to take care of yourself.

      I totally agree with taking some time off. If you can take 3 days, it will make a huge difference. These first few weeks of pregnancy are a hormone rollercoaster and it’s worse if you’re going through tough emotional stuff on top of that. Your co-workers and bosses will understand. Priority #1 for the next 8-9 months is your health, not anyone else’s comfort or happiness. You are making a brand-new human being and that takes a lot of resources, physical and emotional.

      I’m so sorry you’re going through a tough time. It will pass. But please, coming from someone who got put on bed rest because I could not stop overdoing it when I was pregnant, prioritize yourself right now. Think about what YOU need and what YOU want, and do what you need to do to be relaxed and happy, as much as possible. It’s so important. Big hugs.

      • One more thing – you can hire estate-sale folks to clean out your grandmother’s place. Going through a departed loved one’s things is both physically and emotionally draining. Being realistic, comparatively little that your grandmother had probably has real sentimental or monetary value. Once you find those things, call an estate sale company to handle the rest. It is so much easier in the long run. After cleaning out for a father-in-law and three grandparents, I’ll be calling an estate sale company from now on. Not least because handling my loved one’s things was emotionally so hard, especially the little day to day things like their cosmetics and their dishes. I’d rather have someone else, with no emotional attachments, come in and handle those things for me.

        • You can totally do this and it can be a great help. People always think sorting through clothes is the easiest place to start, when it’s emotionally one of the harder things to do. If you go this route, don’t skimp on checking references and carefully reading contracts. Some estate people prey on people going through difficult times.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Oof. That’s a lot. You are not weak or weird for feeling overwhelmed. Where your budget allows, delegate and hire someone.

      I second the recommendation to hire an estate sale firm to handle the house. When we lost my grandmother, we set a couple of weekends where family members came and chose things they wanted. When that was done, we hired a firm to come in and deal with the rest. SO much easier than my mom trying to cope with sorting everything and holding multiple garage sales trying to get rid of it all.

      Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

    • +1. Make time for your yourself. 22 weeks + Mom going through treatment for Stage IV ovarian cancer + dad having prostate removed for prostate cancer + BigLaw, so not the same as losing a loved one, but I promise you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Work remotely when and where you can – that way if you need to work you can sit on your own (presumably relatively clean) bathroom floor in easy reach of the toliet/easily take mini naps while your calendar shows you on a conference call for “Project [Baby Code Name]”. If you have the extra money – outsource. We signed up for Peapod, continued our housekeeper and despite my love of spring gardening, forked over the money to our lawn guy to do all the mulching, trimming and other spring clean up. I stopped cooking and started ordering takeout because there was no guarantee what was going to taste good on any given day. Also ask for help. Friends/family are usually willing to help but they just don’t know how. When my grandmother and aunt passed this summer, my mom’s friends helped her go through and box up their things. Find time for naps. I found that I wasn’t sleeping longer, but if I could stagger naps throughout the day I could power through a longer work day. I basically turned into a hermit for a few months – no social visits or after work functions that weren’t absolutely necessary. Also, as I keep telling my MIL, it is perfectly acceptable to be excited about being pregnant and still HATE pregnancy and what it does to your energy, appetite, everything. Once I came to terms with that (and overcoming my own expectations about what it would be like) I reached a better place mentally.

      Finally – be kind to yourself. That is a lot even if your body weren’t being taken over by growing another human. Let standards go if they’re not vitally important to you (e.g., dirty dishes in the sink probably won’t kill anyone, but I still shower every day). And recognize that some things may have to give for a little while, but it’s temporary and you don’t need to be superwoman.

    • Good heavens you have a lot in your plate right now. Hugs from am Internet stranger! I’ve just gone through loss of a parent from end stage dementia, piled up work that could not be put off and which genuinely had to have A level quality, not B or B+, and knee replacement surgery. Whatever people offer to do for you that is feasible for you to allow them to do, let them. Sit down with spouse and point out the obvious and ask for help not resentment. Outsource where possible. Take time for yourself, at work and at home. If work makes that not so feasible, try for at least a half day. At home try to grab even just a long bath, interrupted (spouse takes up the slack on this if necessary), with a cup of hot tea or anadult beverage. And, last but not least, all those people you have accommodated personally and professionally over the years? Tell them it’s their turn now to accommodate you.

  11. Phone Interview Follow Up :

    Do you guys send follow ups after phone interviews? The hiring manager is going to make a decision about who will be brought in for the in person interview in a couple of days and I dont want to seem overly eager but I want to stand out at the same time.

    • Yep. A short email thanking the person for their time, reiterating your interest in the position, and mentioning one thing you talked about (such as “hey, this is the link to that article I mentioned”).

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I generally do a follow up email after phone interviews, particularly if it is with the hiring manager. I also follow the basic script of thank you for the time, highlight something that got my interest, and try to offer one more tidbit. I work hard to keep them very brief though.

    • Anonymous :

      Definitely. Ditto others: brief, thank you for your time, the position sounded perfect, excited to speak with you more. It does not need to be clever, witty, or creative.

    • Thanks guys, Ill go ahead and send her something brief!

  12. Recommendations for a good seafood restaurant in Boston, preferably on the water that won’t totally break the bank?

    • Row 34. Not precisely on the water, but close enough for a stroll immediately before/after dinner.

    • Row 34, Fort Point – reservations can be tough to come by.

      • Less fancy: Legals Harborside. Yes, it’s part of the “we’re not a chain” legal seafoods chain, but it’s a really, really great spot and the food is reliably good enough

    • Even though it’s a chain, Legal Seafood is consistently good and won’t break the bank. They have a couple downtown waterfront choices. Harborside seems a little “fancier” than the one by the aquarium.

    • I would head to Seaport. I think Legals are generally over-rated but Legal Harborside is one of the better ones in that chain. Row 34 is amazing but hard to get a reservation. Barking Crab is a more casual vibe.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Not on the water, but the mere memory of the pan roasted lobster with bourbon at Summer Shack in Back Bay makes me salivate.

    • If you can get in, Neptune Oyster is INCREDIBLE. They take no reservations but you can put your name in and walk around the North End. Best lobster roll of my life, great oyster selection.

  13. Thinking about eyelash extensions for a few beach vacations coming up… am I insane?

    • Not insane. If you care about how you look while in the beach on vacation enough to spend $100 plus touch ups and you have the money, why not? It’s not permanent or harmful so I don’t need you need to fret too much about it. Personally I’d spend the money on a good sun hat instead because skin cancer sucks

    • I’ve never tried them but I’ve heard amazing things about them/have been meaning to try it out! I have a few friends that swear by them and look amazing/you dont really need mascara. You can get anywhere from the full volume super intense ones to the more low key/subtle looks (which most of my friends get).

    • Baconpancakes :

      I was under the impression you have to treat them pretty gently, so it depends on how you beach. If you’re a cute-bikini-book-and-pina-colada kind of beacher, definitely. If you’re a surfing-swimming-jungle-hiking beacher, I’d say try just getting your lashes tinted instead.

    • The only ones worth getting are the Russian Volume kind – super amazing and pretty much lifechanging.

    • A friend of mine had what she called an “eyelash addiction.” Your natural ones get pulled out with the extensions, your natural lashes take a very, very long time to grow back, making you get extensions again to look normal. She was “eyelash bald” because of this vicious cycle. Because of this I and everyone who knows her have sworn off eyelash extensions. As for me, I really enjoy giving my skin a break with just sunscreen on vacations, but to each their own.

      • I think it really depends on the person. I get extensions – no problem, they grow out before they fall off. Eyelashes grow really quickly on most people, like a new set in three weeks. I have the type of hair that can go 6 months wo/a haircut with very few split ends.

        I did have a friend who could not do extensions. I think she would use eyelash bald if she’d thought of the term. But she also have really thin hair, the kind that she needs to buy special ponytail holders for because her hair breaks so easily. When I think of her head hair, it doesn’t surprise me at all that extensions stressed her lashes.

    • Cup of Jo just had them done and did a review. You might find her take helpful.

  14. New Tampanian :

    Legal C Bar – has a rooftop and two types of dining experiences. One is a bit more casual, the other is more fine dining.

  15. Vitamins for vegans! :

    I’ve started to go “vegan-ish”. Vegans: what vitamins do you take? I understand B12 is a necessary supplement. Do you take a multivitamin also? Part time vegan for now since DH is willing to go more plant- based but not fully vegan…

    • I am a strict vegetarian who often cooks vegan at home and eats vegan when restaurants have good options.

      Work with your doctor and perhaps a nutritionist on what you should take and how much. I discovered a B12 deficiency at my last physical (although you have to specify you want this tested as it is not included in the regular work-up). I now take a daily B-complex vitamin and also D based on discussions with my doc. I do not take a multivitamin, not necessary for me (and my own personal opinion is they create expensive pi$$). Separately, I take a hair, skin, and nails vitamin, but that’s purely vanity based!

    • Anonymouse :

      I started going “vegan-ish” about 6 months ago and its been great! I got a blood test done a few months ago and everything came back normal/healthy and my doctor didnt recommend any supplements. However, one thing to watch out for is B12. B12 is the only nutrient that is primarily found in animals/animal products since it is added to animal feed so a lot of vegans/vegetarians I know take a B12 spray or B12 supplement everyday or several times a week.

      Also, I HIGHLY recommend using Chronometer in the beginning to figure out if youre hitting your daily recommended nutrients,vitamins, etc. Yo u put in what you eat for the entire day and it can show you where youre lacking in nutrients, which foods your eating are giving you the knocking out your daily recommended vitamins etc. (i.e. depending on which type of tofu you get you can knock out at least half of your recommend calcium and protein for the day, along with greens like broccoli and spinach) – I recommend this for omnivores as well!

      If youre mindful of having balanced diet of veggies, legumes, fruits, grains etc. you should be able to hit all of what you need each day. Definitely make sure to get blood work done at some point too.

      • Anonymouse :

        Holy Moly – second sentence of the second paragraph edits (case of the Mondays): You put in what you eat for the entire day and it can show you where youre lacking in nutrients, which foods youre eating are giving you the nutrients you need in order to knock out your daily recommended vitamins/minerals, etc.

      • Do you think that Chronometer is significantly better than MyFitnessPal or other free apps?

        • Anonymouse :

          I’ve never tried MyFitnessPal actually. I could be wrong, but from my understanding thats more of a calorie counter/weight loss app. The difference with Cronometer (theres actually no ‘H’) is that it gives you a pretty detailed breakdown where youre getting your proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates based on their database of over 50,000 foods. It can be time consuming to put in everything but its super helpful.

          When I changed my diet that was my primary concern and its really helpful for finding out which foods are giving me the most nutrients and new things I should be adding. I haven’t found another app that has a similar breakdown. So yes, in my opinion its significantly better.

    • givemyregards :

      I’m a vegetarian not a vegan, but I take an amino acid supplement. I think most are made from animal products, though, so make sure to check the label if that’s a concern.

    • I’m veganish (vegan except I’ll eat backyard eggs and honey from my cousin’s hobby honey hive). I take vitamin D2, B12, and on days I don’t eat lentils I’ll take an iron too.

      • That is a good mix, and is similar to what I do.

        Except I hold the iron for days I bleed (period).

        It’s generally better to only take iron if your doc has checked your blood iron level/stores, as you can take too much.

    • Vegan diet :

      Vitamins B12 and D and non-fish Omega 3s.

  16. Has anyone tried Viviscal? Does it actually work? I am shedding tons of hair after stopping birth control and I feel hideous. Any other ideas?

    • I use viviscal and also rogaine. I think together they help. I don’t know if one or the other or both do it but I’m not really shedding at all any more and my hair looks thicker.

    • Wardrobe Oxygen just did a really informative post on what she’s tried for her shedding, including Viviscal. Check that out.

  17. I’m really worried about a friend of mine. We met at our last job and became really close. I left our mutual employer because it was the worst job ever, and she left shortly after me. The workplace was so awful we each cried at least once a week.

    She’s been at her new job for 3 weeks and is absolutely freaking out all the time. She’s drafted (but not sent) an email to our former bosses asking them to rehire her. WHY would you go back there?! She says the reason she’s so unhappy is that the new job is expecting too much of her and not providing training. My friend is so smart –
    she has 3 degrees…and while this new job is in her broad field, it’s not in her specific niche, so I can understand some anxiety about wanting to perform well…but I can’t imagine wanting to go back to where she cried every week.

    What would you say to her? I’m just at such a loss! I don’t understand the utter panic, the self-doubt, the flailing. I can’t seem to get through to her to just breathe, hang out for 6 months to a year, learn what you can learn, then move on.

    Oh, FWIW, I’m about a decade older, but she’s in her mid-20s and our mutual employer was her first job out of school and this new job is only her second job.

    • Wildkitten :

      Why don’t you take her out to lunch and listen to what she has to say about her new job?

    • Honestly? I would say: “Chill. Three week isn’t long enough to get trained, much less realize your training isn’t sufficient.” But you telling her to chill may or may not have any effect because it sounds like you’ve already said all that. She sounds high strung. Maybe she should try meditation.

    • Baconpancakes :

      My mother once told me that it takes six months to really, really get to know any job. If your old company had a great training program, it could feel overwhelming to have no direction at this new place, but she should give it at least two to three months before she starts to entertain the idea that she can’t do this job.

      My advice is for her to find someone who is friendly and competent and doesn’t mind asking a million questions. Having someone to confirm when she’s unsure about something will build up confidence.

    • In addition to the thoughts above, I would point out that even if she pursues the rehire plan, she will no doubt likely attempt to leave again, at which point her resume will be a mess. I’ve been there, and I’m REALLY tired of explaining my job hopping. I would stick it out for resume reasons alone.

    • Anon in NYC :

      She just got out of an abusive work environment. It’s really hard for something like that to not warp your self-esteem and your sense of your own skills/value. I would try boosting her up and suggest some therapy.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      She’s just left a toxic work environment. One of the most consistent problems with that is feeling like every small mistake is dire and will tar your career FOREVER.

      Ask a Manager has some great posts about this. For several friends, it has helped just to know that this is a known issue and it isn’t just them.

      Much luck to her and to you!

      • Anonymous :


        She has PTSD. This is common.

        Try to get her to try to learn some basic relaxation techniques for the office (mindfulness/breathing/get out and take a brisk walk/decrease caffeine intake), reassure her it will take 1 year until she feels competent and she will get there.

        And if that doesn’t work…. she may need therapy.

  18. CollegeHair :

    I need hairstyle advice! My hair is currently what I think of as “college girl hair” (long with long layers) and I need to update it to “grown-up hair” but I don’t know where to start. My hair is really thick, has a strong wave, and tends to be frizzy, so I’m terrified of short styles that end up having the triangle-head effect, but I don’t think my hair looks very professional the way it is now. Any tips for just-starting-out professional hair?

    • What’s wrong with long layers?

      If you want to change your hair go for it, but I don’t think any particular style of hair is unprofessional as long as it’s clean and neat.

    • Marshmallow :

      There’s really nothing wrong with long layers. I think overly perfect curls (like the kind you get from rollers) can sometimes read “sorority,” so just go for a looser curl/smooth look and it’s totally professional.

      You shouldn’t feel any pressure to cut your hair short just to be “professional.” If your hair is clean and doesn’t physically interfere with, say, looking at documents, it is professional!

    • I’m your hair twin, and I rock the long layers too. Mine are cut just a couple inches past the shoulder, with the shortest layer about at shoulder length. I’ve played with a lot of cuts over the years, and this one does far and away the best job of keeping my waves from not turning my head into a triangle.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I think long layers is often very professional. I work with multiple women with long layers and I respect their professional style.

      Try poking a bit more at what makes you feel that your current style is too “college girl.” This has been very helpful for me in figuring what is actually bugging me about amorphous style issues. I’ve gotten as formal as actually doing a bit of free-writing, jotting down words I think of about a particular issue. That’s surfaced things I was really having trouble wrapping words around. For me, it was shoes. Part of my anxiety was just that I could not wrap words around what I didn’t like, so that magnified it.

    • I think length can have something to do with it. This is by no means a hard and fast rule, but in thinking about my friends who look young, I think hair longer than your armpits can give a really youthful appearance. Hair maybe 2 inches longer than your collarbone is the longest I can think of on a professional woman in my circle.

      • Anonymous :

        I like this as a length guidepost! Thinking about it, the longest hair on anyone in my professional circle goes to about the top of the bra strap, with most “long” styles a couple inches below the shoulder. I used to have long hair to my mid-back and cut it in a nearly identical shape to a couple inches below my shoulder, and it quickly went from “college girl” to “professional” without doing anything different with the actual layers.

    • Anonymous :

      I would never question someone’s professionalism based on hair style alone, and I doubt most people would. I know of one person in my orbit who gets made fun of because of her very long hair but she is also someone who acts pretty unprofessionally (actually, that’s generous — she’s basically nuts), and I think the hair is just an easy way to make fun of her. So I would say don’t second-guess the hair; just make sure you are presenting yourself as quietly confident, gracious, and knowledgeable in your field (or humble and willing to learn) and you’ll be fine.

    • Anonymous :

      I have the same hair type and long layers is the best style for it. I’ve tried lots of different styles and it looks the neatest. The length helps control the frizz and wave better than any products. The layers prevent the “triangle head.” The only other style that I’ve found that works is a modified long reverse angled bob, where the back is at least shoulder length instead of at the nape of the neck and still has some layers.

  19. Paging Microblading Reader :

    Late to the respond to your post, so thought I would start a new one.

    I just had my eyebrows done in January. I have dark brown hair so went with something slightly lighter so it would not look so harsh. I understand that light eyebrows often go darker.

    So far, three months in, I am very happy. I have already gone for my second follow-up. This is really key so you can figure out if you like the shape, and outline spots that were missed.

    The lines do not some out as sharp as they do in the pictures. The first day they look very dark, sharp but they soften up with time. Three months in, they just look like I have lined them to enhanced colour.

    The process was fairly painless- numbing cream for about 20 minutes then the microblading which is a series of tattoo ink etched into your skin using a fine needle. You can def feel each etch but it isn’t too bad. Recovery is flaking and keeping your tattooed brows dry.

    I have friends whose brows looked great for 1.5 years, mine will most likle last a year. This is really dependent on how well oily your skin is. Oilier skin doesn’t last as long as dry skin. There isn’t any scarring as I have seen it, so if you decide to no natural after you wont see any etched lines etc.

  20. Pen and Pencil :

    This may be a stretch for this board, but does anyone have any recommendations for a hydration pack (camelbak, etc.)? The one I’ve had for at least a decade is starting to bite the dust. Ideally it would be 2-3L and have space to not squish my lunch which my current one does terribly.

    • Wildkitten :

      I love my Nathan hydration vest but it would depend on how big your lunch is.

      • Wildkitten :

        Oh and you might want to go to REI to try some on and see how squish-prone they look.

      • I have put sandwiches in the back of my Nathan VaporAiress and so long as I don’t tightly cinch down the elastic bands that cross over the top, there isn’t much squishing.

    • REI’s flash 18 liter is an awesome backpack. My issue with camelback’s branded backpacks is they’re heavy and take up a huge amount of space. The REI one is super comfortable and highly packable. Does not come with a bladder, but you can buy those separately. My SO has the 22 liter if you’re looking for something a little bigger, but I found the 18 plenty big enough.

    • Look at Osprey packs. Really lightweight and they have women specific fits and adjustable packs.

      • I love my Osprey pack. It is was the only women’s pack I could find that was sufficiently adjustable to fit my long torso.

        • +1 for Osprey.
          I use an 15 year old Women’s specific Camelbak for long runs, but the pocket is so small you have to choose between nutrition or your cell phone.

          The Osprey (Daylite +) is new and I haven’t gotten completely used to it, but it fits well and I can haul a bunch of stuff when I feel like it. Also, it’ll attach to my big Osprey back for more room on overnight trips.

      • givemyregards :

        +1 I have an osprey and I like it better than camelbak

      • Clementine :

        +1 My Osprey daypack is stellar. It also has a really wonderful back vent which really helps keep you cool.

        I use a Camelback bladder in mine (because that’s what I own) but I would go to an EMS/REI type store or order a few off of Amazon to see which one fits your body the best. I own the Talon 22 which is a bigger daypack but easily fits my 3L bladder, lunch, foul weather gear, and mini emergency kit.

      • More love for Osprey daypacks from me.

    • I really like my Deuter gear.

    • Hydration advice. :

      I think the best choice depends on what you want to do with the pack, but the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta and Adventure Vesta come highly recommended, particularly for running, and I’m very pleased with the one I just bought. I spent some time with hydration packs at REI this weekend and found the Ultimate Direction packs to be the lightest and coolest (temperature)-seeming options by a significant margin. Others seemed to have a lot of padding whereas these are largely mesh. Only downside: while they’re designed to hold a hydration bladder, neither comes with one. Instead, they come with two soft bottles that are mounted to the straps. That’s not an issue for me–I think the bottles will be sufficient for my purposes–but I know it might be for others.

  21. The comments on this thread make me laugh, so thank you all for that! While I *do* enjoy a comfortable shrug to cover my fat arms when attending church, a bridal shower or Easter brunch :) … I don’t believe they are professional attire in the least. Nor are cold shoulder tops, unless concealed by a blazer.

  22. I’m just beginning to plan a week-long summer vacation to Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. I’ve been to 41 states, but never these 3, and I’m so excited to visit them this August. (We’re taking a full week off work, so it’ll be 10 days with travel from DC where we live.)

    Where should we go? What should we see? You ladies always have such great recommendations!

  23. It appears my post got eaten. Sorry if this is a duplicate.

    I’m just beginning to plan a week-long vacation to Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire in August. I’ve been all over the U.S., but never these 3 states, and I’m pretty excited. What should I be sure to see? Thanks!

    • That is a lot of ground to cover. Where are you beginning/ending? What do you like to do? With only one week I would probably focus on New Hampshire and Maine. You could do the White Mountains, Portsmouth NH, Portland Maine and Bar Harbor/Acadia Maine in one week without feeling crazy rushed I think. The drive between Portsmouth-Portland-Bar Harbor is all coastal and very scenic. Vermont is pretty far from Maine and I also think it is not as scenic as NH and Maine, so I would leave VT off the itinerary completely.

    • Don’t miss the Auto Road to the summit of Mount Washington. Drive the Kancamagus if you have time. There are also a ton of options for day hikes in the White Mountains, depending on your skill level. I recommend staying a night in Jackson if your itinerary has anything in the Mount Washington Valley. North Conway is alright, but gets strip mallish/commercial at one end; Jackson is small and quaint. The Christmas Farm Inn has great food and atmosphere. The Shovel Handle Pub and The Wildcat Inn and Tavern also serve a good meal, and usually have live music. And while I can’t recommend it yet because we haven’t been, we’ve been dying to splurge on a stay and a meal at the Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location, which is also well-sited for adventures in the area.

  24. Post Foot Surgery Office Sandals Needed :

    Where in the world can I find stylish, supportive, business casual sandals???

    I had foot surgery so I need support (I can’t wear flat, thin soled sandals). I work in a business casual office that makes a lot of room for fashionable choices (so I can get away with things that are more trendy and less traditional/formal).

    I’ve looked at Vionic, Ecco, Rockport and generally browsed on Amazon but everything looks a bit matronly. I have lots of lovely sandals and pumps that I can’t wear now and I am just lost for footwear options. I wear a lot of business casual summer dresses that look a bit off with flats (not that I’ve had much luck with flats, either).

    • I’m in the same shoes (pun intended) as you only permanently, not because I’m recovering from foot surgery. Sadly the best thing I’ve found is Vionic, which you’ve already tried. My only other suggestion is to make sure you look at all the Vionic options, not just a small selection that some store carries.

      Following for other suggestions.

      • Post Foot Surgery Office Sandals Needed :

        Thanks :) I am looking at a 6 month recovery, at least, before I am back in normal shoes. I am out of the tennis-shoes-only stage but not back in normal footwear.

        • Anonymous :

          I get that there is a wiiiiide range of tastes on here. That said, I wear these in my business trendy/casual work environment and while they’re not as cute as I’d like, I don’t think they’re horrible:




          I’m considering trying these: http://www.vionicshoes.com/women/sandals/sonora-gladiator-sandal.html

          Am I delusional? Maybe don’t answer that because I’m in my 30s and wearing orthopedic shoes so if the answer is yes, I’ve got decades to go before my age catches up with my footwear.

          • I'll bite :

            FWIW, I think you’ve likely picked the cutest Vionics available. From the picture, the espadrille looks like any other espadrille, so no problem there. The sandals are fine too — even if I want to be critical, the only possible matronly feature is the black footbed looks a little prominent and potentially orthotic against some of the colors, but I doubt I’d ever notice it on someone unless asked to look for it. Enjoy your comfy shoes!

          • Anonymous :

            Thanks for making me feel more comfortable in my orthopedic shoes!

    • I bought these Sofft low wedge sandals last summer (in taupe, which I’m not sure if they have this season, but worth checking other sites) and find them really comfortable – a comfort brand but looks cute enough (at least for me). They make similar styles so I’m considering buying one of those in black. http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/sofft-innis-low-wedge-sandal-women/4337638?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=METALLIC%20LEATHER

      • Post Foot Surgery Office Sandals Needed :


      • I’m wearing a similar Sofft style right now (the zip back ones in blue) and I love them. I also own a pair of not-awful Gentle Soles black leather wedges that are super comfortable and looked fine with linen pants, cigarette pants, and other business casualish things for summer.

    • Sandals aren’t really business casual, are they?

      • Meh, I think all bets are off when it comes to recovering from surgery. I had some minor surgery that pretty much prevented me from wearing anything other than flip flops, and nobody batted an eye at my flip flops and suit combos. Same for folks that had to wear sneakers instead of dress shoes for a while after surgery. Obviously it’s nicer to have nicer-looking options, but I think people are pretty forgiving.

        • Post Foot Surgery Office Sandals Needed :

          I agree. I’ve got a 6-month or so recovery period ahead of me, though. And the bandages are off. So I am at the stage where comfortable/quasi-fashionable shoes would be best. Plus I work in LA so it’s hot. Maybe I will find my unicorn sandals – hahaha

          I actually found what seems to be vaguely a knock-off of these (with a lower platform):


          So that’s my strongest contender at this point (the low end version, which I can’t find online – think $50, not $500).

          [We can set aside the debate of whether they are office appropriate because my LA-office has a trendsetter VP and really mostly anything that isn’t too tight or revealing or denim or flip flops goes ;0 ]

      • Yeah, well, in my office they are.

      • Did you read the whole post? The OP literally says “I work in a business casual office that makes a lot of room for fashionable choices (so I can get away with things that are more trendy and less traditional/formal).”

        • Anonymous :

          I was confused at the term “business casual sandal” because I didn’t know if it was a thing or not. I mean maybe they’re cool in her office and that’s great, but are they business casual or not? No need to be rude over it.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Naot! I have a pair of theirs that I like.

    • Try naot sandals, wonders, and cobb hill…- they are really supportive.

    • Don’t know if you’ll see this, but Lifestride (!!!), beloved by grannies everywhere, have some cute sandals that are incredibly supportive and comfortable.

  25. Anyone meet their spouse at age 30+? Single and turning 30 in the next few months and feeling like it’s just never going to happen. Forcing myself to keep dating but there are so, so few people I actually click with.

    • My SIL met her husband when she was 37, and they had their first child last year when she was 41. It can happen!

    • Anonymous :

      I haven’t yet, but my friend group is 90% married and they all met and married their spouses in their 30s. Those of us who are not married are in LTRs with the goal of marriage. You don’t shrivel up and die at 30, I promise!

    • 35 and feel exactly the same. But I settled on relationships that were awful because I clicked with them a little and that was so refreshing at the time. Plus the pressure at 30 is a lot. I used to never date 29 year old guys. I even gave that up and it didn’t work. People tell me it happens all the time (even though I don’t ask).

      But I’ve also had so many people tell me the best time of their lives was their 30s. So just go with the flow on the dating, laugh at first bad dates, and have fun!

      There was advice the other day to take a class or do something different to get out of the same rut. Maybe mixing it up with help. But pressuring yourself and thinking you’ll end up alone is just going to buy you 5 mores years! Good luck.

    • Marshmallow :

      My cousin suffered a horrific broken engagement at 29. She’s 31 now and engaged to a lovely guy. It happens!

    • Anonymous :

      An ex-coworker of mine met her husband at 37, married at 38, had her first baby at 39 and second baby at 41. Her husband was 40 when they met and had been married once before, for like two years, no kids. They met and hit it off, and were like, “let’s do this.” They’re stupid cute together. It absolutely can happen, at literally any moment.

      Also, if this helps, my best friend met her second husband (after many years of being single) when she was 39; they got married six months later and are celebrating their 10-year anniversary in June. And I have a client who met her soon-to-be second husband at age 50 (he’s 48).

    • Yep, I was 40 when I met my husband & got married.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Haha! I met my husbands when I was 25, 38, and 57! Love happens at all ages!!

      And honestly, I totally should have skipped the first two and held out for the third! Being alone is not nearly as awful as being with the wrong person.

    • Anonymous :

      My husband was 35. He thought he’d missed his window, so I know he can relate to the feelings I’m hearing you express. But I know lots and lots of people who met their spouse after 30. Honestly, those marriage are generally much stronger than those of people who married whomever they were dating at the end of college. You have to bolt to have children if you want them, but otherwise I think being fully developed and knowing who you are and what you want are well worth waiting for.

      Life does not end at 30, I assure you. That said, one of my good friends realized in her mid-30’s that she’d been actively dating for 20 years and just really wanted to take a break from it. She “gave herself permission” to take a year off (her initial ‘goal’ for herself – although it’s been a couple of years now) and has been so much happier.

    • Anonymous :

      Neither I nor my mom nor her mom had met our respective spouses at your age.

    • I have three close friends who all met their spouses and then had a kid within the 37-40 age range.

      What area do you live in? Large metropolitan areas tend to have larger over-30 dating pools so if you find that everyone in your geographical area seems to be married with kids at 30, it could be worth thinking about trying a new city.

    • Anonymous :

      I was 33 and my husband was 35 when we met. Married two years later at 35, had kids at 37 and 39. I’m glad I held out for him. He’s the best husband I could ask for and a wonderful dad to our kids. I often think back on the guys I dated before him and feel so thankful I didn’t end up with any of them. Don’t give up hope!

    • Met my husband at 38, married at 41, kiddo at 44.

      In my circles, lots of women got married in their 30s, and had their kids in their late 30s.

      There’s LOTS ahead of you!

    • It happens :

      Met mine at 34. married at 36. first kid at 37. Second on the way at 39.

    • Anonymous :

      I met my sweetiepoo husband when I was 52 and divorced FOUR TIMES. We love to throw parties and we just installed a permanent chocolate fountain in the backyard. So yes, dreams can come true, OP. You just hang on.

  26. I completely understand! I was single for years before finding my current SO at 31. We’ve been together for 7 months now and things are great! I went on Bumble which like all dating apps is hit or miss. You just have to keep at it and try to stay positive. I know from personal experience how difficult it is. However, I know it’s worth it and some friends have met their SO in their late 30’s and early 40’s. Just keep at it!

  27. I’m turning 29 soon. Married, no kids, not planning on having any. Anyone want to give me a list of things I should do before I turn 30? Or maybe in preparation for it?

    • Anonymous :

      Nothing? Life doesn’t end at 30. In fact, my 30s were better than my 20s.

      If you are just marking it as a milestone, contemplate how you’ve changed in the last 5-10 years, and what your (broad) goals are for the next 5-10.

      • Anonymous :

        +1,000,000 I am so happy to not be in my 20s anymore and I am a lot closer to 40 than I am to 30. I don’t get the obsession with turning 30, honestly. I mean I guess I get it for 40? But not 30.

    • Bluebonnet :

      Open and begin funding a retirement account if you haven’t already done it. You’ll be amazed at the power of compounding.

      • Senior Attorney :


      • Anonymous :

        Haha, my first thought was buy life insurance.

        Being an adult is so exciting ;)

        Wear sunscreen.

      • +1.

        My two goals the year I turned 30 were to buy a house and run a half marathon. I did both, with no regrets (well, maybe I regret the half a bit – I injured myself training for it).

    • My husband and I started a list of 101 things in 1001 days sight to mark out entry into our 30s.


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