Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Colorblocked Sheath Dress

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

Colorblocked dresses can be hit or miss, but I like the black, white, and checkered pattern here. I’d keep the rest of the outfit simple with black or white, and try to add texture today, possibly adding a ribbed cardigan or velvet blazer. It’s available in plus sizes as well as regular sizes for $129-$139 at Macy’s. Calvin Klein Colorblocked Sheath Dress

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  1. I like this one much better plus it doesn’t have an exposed zipper

  2. Vashta Nerada :

    Does anyone have favorite exercises that help prevent the unfortunately-named “secretary spread”? I can’t do squats because of some knee issues, but I’d like to change up my pilates/elliptical routine since I recently transitioned from a much more active job to an almost 100% sedentary position. Thanks!

    • Would your knee issues prohibit cycling/spinning? Pilates would be my other recommendation but it sounds like you’re already doing that (maybe look into using pilates equipment instead of just the mat?).

    • Anonymous :

      No need to use that horrible term. Just say your tush is fat and saggy. Lose weight. Elliptical backwards.

    • I have never heard this term…are you just worried about your tush? If so, my favorite thing to do is stairs. Either actual stairs or a StairMaster. Easier on your knees than running, but a lot more effective than elliptical.

      • Also, many gyms have a device that is basically the baby of a stairstepper and elliptical that gives you more of an upward step-like swing( versus arcing) motion.

      • Stairs are easier on the knees than running? Maybe it depends what you already have going on with your knees?

        • They are easier on your knees for the same amount of energy expended, so I guess it depends on how you run/do stairs. Basically, it’s easier on your knees for the same amount of calorie burn.

    • Another anonymous judge :

      No advice, but do you know I am 53 have never heard that term before… maybe that’s a tiny good thing?

    • Anonymous :

      You do know sitting doesn’t make your tush big? It’s a combination of diet, age, and genetics. If you’re going to burn fewer calories with the new job, then you’ll have to adjust your calorie intake.

    • Eesh. I think a few of these replies were unnecessarily rude.

      To get a rounder, higher, firmer butt you need to work your glutes. For low impact options there is usually a machine where you stand and push back with your leg (like kicking straight backwards). You can also do the thing where you lie on your back with your knees bent and then extend your legs and push your hips up while keeping your shoulders on the ground. You can either hold it till it burns or add some weight (I rest a big weight on my hips) to make it harder. This would also be a great thing to do a single session with a personal trainer- help me work my butt in a low impact way- and make a list of the exercises she shows you and either add one or two each day to your existing gym routine, or have a dedicated weekly butt day.

      I agree that if its a weight gain issue, diet will make the most impact. But as I get older I find that if I want my butt to stay round and not flat and saggy it needs dedicated weight work!

    • You can’t spot reduce fat. It’s all based on genetics. You can lose weight overall and work on building muscle in certain areas to get to the shape you want.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Barre exercises. Barre often focuses a portion of the class on the rear end, and it probably won’t aggravate your knees (not a big range of movement required). Go to a class or find some videos online.

  3. HI sports bra :

    Recs for crazy supportive high impact sports bras? I used to swear by the Moving Comfort Juno bra (I believe it’s a compression bra) but they changed the design after they were acquired, and it’s not nearly as immobilizing any more. I’m average sized 34C, so hopefully that makes it easier? I need something where I can literally jump up and down and feel no movement.

    • No specific recommendations, but you might want to try out bras made for horseback riding. They’re literally designed to minimize bounce. Dover dot com would be a good first place to look.

      • Dover Saddlery dot com, I mean.

        • Wacoal Sport makes a great underwire one. It runs around $60ish. I, a 38DDD, ran a half marathon in one and had no discomfort (well, not in that area, anyhow!).

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Wow, lightbulb moment. I’ve been riding for years and years and it never occurred to me to look at equestrian suppliers for sports bras, but duh, of course they would have some good options. And probably designed to not show under white tops, too. I know what I’m doing with that Dover giftcard I’ve been hanging on to.


    • I’m similarly sized. You need to get ones that are rated for high impact. I have a nike one and an under armour one that both prevent movement. In my opinion, the under armour one is slightly more comfortable.

      • givemyregards :

        +1 and I guess it depends on your personal shape, but I’m the same size and, for me, mid impact can work if it has the right amount of compression. I went on a crazy search about a year ago (involving trying on and ordering/returning a ridiculous number of options) and ended getting a brooks juno (which I love, but I can’t speak to the previous moving comfort version) but also an old school traditional looking one from under armour that I thought would never work but since the thing is really tight (but not across the band, somehow it’s still really comfortable) there’s no bounce. This is the one I have:

    • The VS bra that has an interior bra with cups/clasp and then an exterior part that zips. It’s my favorite one.

    • christineispink :

      I’m a 32DDD runner and only wear the Tech Athena (from Title Nine). I’ve tried all the others including the Juno and they all had too much up and down bounce for me. I buy a 34D in this bra b/c I don’t like being SUPER tight in the band (run in summer/humidity = chafing). I ordered every 4 and 5 barbell sports bra and did a bunch of jogging/running in the hallway and jumping jacks in them. The Tech Athena was the first one I actually took on a run and didn’t NOTICE anything – as in, after my run, I was like OMG I just ran 5 miles and didn’t think about my boobs once!

      • +1 on Title Nine for this sort of thing. I went into one of the stores while travelling and laid my hands on my unicorn sports bra there. They had a large selection of highly supportive options and staff that knew the inventory backwards and forwards. I would think that their phone and chat staff would be equally helpful.

    • Anonymous :

      I love the Lululemon Enlite bra. It’s not cheap at all but worth every penny; I was jumping up and down in the dressing room when trying it on and had no movement.

    • biglawanon :

      North Face Bounce B Gone. Prefer the simple, comfortable design (underwire free).

  4. Anonymous :

    My husband is not the most naturally organized person and sometimes needs to work from home. We don’t have a dedicated desk/office area and not sure we have the space for one, but I’d like to figure out a way to coral all his stuff, at least, so it’s not random,y everywhere and he isn’t always asking me where his charger/laptop/etc. is.
    Does anyone have any solutions? He is happy with his system but it’s driving me bonkers so I need an easy solution he can follow. I’m thinking something like a big office box or something else I can put on a bookshelf.

    • Anonymous :

      stop finding his stuff for him

      • Anonymous :

        Seriously! It’s not your problem.

      • Yes. I used to help my husband by tidying up and putting his crap away, but then it was always my fault when he couldn’t find something because I had “moved” it. I stopped helping… he still can’t find anything (and certain parts of our house are an absolute mess), but I just leave him to scramble to find his things now. It’s not my problem.
        Also I designate certain surfaces as clean, and I try to just focus my attention on those when I get stressed out over his mess. For example, my half of the bedroom dresser, my seat at the kitchen table, etc. It’s not perfect but I much prefer this over constantly cleaning up and stressing out us both.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ll see you the disorganized spouse and raise you two kids.

      I’d get them a box for their things but draw the line there. You have to sink or swim. You have to put in the work. I have a job and numerous house tasks and kid tasks. If you don’t care to put in the time, I don’t care to put in the time, either. If it is important to them, eventually they will do it.

      But to really help them, you have to back off entirely and let them own it.

    • Ikea has a bunch of containers that can be used to corral stuff but if he is happy with his system, why change it? Is it driving you crazy because it’s a mess or because you have to find his stuff? If it’s because you are finding his stuff, stop doing that. You wouldn’t go to his office and help him find things.

      • It’s because his stuff is everywhere and I don’t enjoy the look of a tangled charger on my tv stand. Nothing to do with helping him, helping me only.

        • If that’s the case, he may not use whatever new system you implement. You should impress upon him how much it bothers you and suggest he find a box/bag/location that you can both live with. He has to want to do this for you, and if he doesn’t want to, that’s a separate problem.

          • This would be my concern, setting up a system for OP that OP’s husband won’t use and then OP is cleaning up his stuff all the time.

          • Box/basket in which you put whatever is currently in your way. Answer to “where is it?” = “if it’s not in the basket, I don’t know.” Rinse, repeat. Works for partners, spouses, kids, and in one case, an intelligent dog (he was much better about finding his own crap and checking the basket first than anyone else in the house.)

        • Anonymous :

          “Yo lazy. Put your stuff away. @

        • Senior Attorney :

          When I was married to a messy guy I just piled everything on the desk in his office. If your husband doesn’t have an office, designate a place so that he will know if you move something, it will always and only be to that place.

          • Anonymous :

            But this is literally what she is saying – there isn’t a specified place and she’s asking advice on what furniture/desk to buy to create that space.

    • Anonymous :

      Ikea has great options for office/desk set ups using minimum space at low cost. Look for their solid wood furniture if you want something to last.

      I understand the issue that even if you stop helping him find it, and you tell him to stop asking you, you still have to watch/hear him wander around rummaging through stuff when you just want to chill on the sofa with a glass of wine.

      • I get that in the short term it will be more annoying than just finding it for him, but then she has a lifetime of finding his [email protected] for him, and probably her kids as well due to the behavior/dynamics they are modeling.

        • This is person dependent. My DH loses his stuff all the time. It’s not ‘short term’ because he’s been like that since he was a kid and he’s not bothered by it. I have a more minimalist/organized approach and we’ve found a happy medium via my setting up organization systems that reduce my stress but are realistic for him to use. Being married means tolerating imperfection in your spouse. I’m constantly late for stuff and that irritates him, but like the organization – we find a way that works for both of us.

          • Baconpancakes :

            …did I post this and then blank out? I swear this is exactly us. If I set up the organizational system and remind him a couple of times, my SO will eventually remember how it works and the towels will go where they’re supposed to go, the spices will stay alphabetized, etc. But I am always late and he is patient with me.

          • This is what I’m looking for – suggestions for a specific system. Thank you.
            FWIW, we have successfully done this with other stuff. Like he likes to leave his sweatshirts lying around because he will walk the dog again eventually and I find it annoying so I hung hooks by the front door that make it easy for him to get it off our armchairs without losing access to it. He is fine with changing what he does, just won’t create a system on his own because that’s not how his mind works.
            I should add that he’s not per se happy with his current system, he gets frustrated looking for things and that’s part of why I find it annoying.

          • Similar here. SO’s “system” when he lived alone for storing his clothes was: put dirty clothes straight in the washing machine until it’s full, then run it, then run the drier, then take clothes out of the drier until you run out. He literally never put them away. When he moved in, I asked him to please not do that because then I have to move his sh*t to use the washing machine, so he took his clean clothes out of the drier and put them on the floor. I was like, this is not an acceptable solution, and gave him two hampers, one for dirty clothes, and one for clean. He was perfectly happy to comply with my new system, but would not have thought of it on his own. He tries to meet me halfway, he’s just not wired to think the way I do and I can’t expect him to be.

            OP, I would suggest moving things around to find space for a small desk from Ikea, with shelving if possible, and just ask him to keep everything stored there in whatever fashion he likes as much as possible. It sounds to me like part of the problem is that there’s not a dedicated space for his things, and that’s both why they’re everywhere and why he can never find them.

          • I don’t understand women who mommy their partners. A functioning adult should know how to put dirty clothes in a hamper ffs. It’s not about your brain being “wired” that way, it’s about not being a total slob!

          • Thanks for the marriage tip. My husband of almost 15 years said “tell him to find his own stuff” so…But if you can implement a system and he will use it, great.

          • Anon for this :

            At 10:38 its a language of love thing. Some people like to help or clean or mommy or whatever word you want to use to show their love to someone. If that doesn’t work for you, don’t get into that kind of a relationship. In my relationship, I’m the receiver of some of that mommying. My husband’s love language is acts of service. He feels fulfilled helping me in those ways and I 100% need the help and accept it with loving arms.

          • christineispink :

            This is us, too!

          • Anon at 10:38: Where are you getting Mommying? I asked him _once and only once_ to please change his habits with respect to his laundry and gave him the tools to do it, and I have never had to ask him again in nearly two years.

            Some people are OK with being slobs. That’s fine for them. They live in their houses, I live in mine. I’m not OK with that, and SO is willing to be less of a slob because it makes me happier. But telling someone who is OK with being a slob “just don’t be a slob” is like telling someone who has never been taught to dance “just waltz”. What do I do with my feet? How do I not trip over your feet? They need specific instructions or they’re going to fail because they literally don’t know what you mean. If you make a specific, reasonable request and then your SO doesn’t effing do it, that’s not OK, but you have to make a clear request if you want them to change their fundamental habits about something.

      • Yes, this too. He just walks around sighing and grumbling and it’s annoying. I don’t usually help find anything unless I put it somewhere myself & then I just say it’s on the shelf. It’s really just the mess and sighing I want to curb. Funny how the default response is often ‘just stop helping’ here when that’s not always the problem.

        • Anonymous :

          Omg chill. It’s a good suggestion. Not all advice is gonna be perfect.

          • It’s just an observation. Not meant to give offense.

          • OP – It’s often a suggestion here because women need to stop carrying the entire mental load for their families.

            Every other day there is a question like “How do I help my husband do X (when he hasn’t bothered to help himself)?”, “Husband hates his job. How do I encourage him to find a new one?”, “Husband is depressed/abusive/bored but won’t do anything to address the issue. How do I fix it for him?”

      • And if you don’t have space for a full desk, how about a little cabinet where he can at least store his things? Something like this maybe:

        • P.S. I think it’s nice you’re willing to help him set up a system that works for both of you since you recognize that is one of his weaknesses. Marriage is definitely a give and take. I do all of our organizing/tidying, but my husband does all of the cooking/laundry. We capitalize on each other’s strengths and help one another in areas where we are weaker. It’s a nice thing to do :)

    • Anonymous :

      Of course he’s happy with the current situation. He can drop his stuff wherever and it will magically appear for him when he needs it. He’s not going to expend the mental energy to keep it organized because he experiences zero repercussions for not doing so.

      I know you said above you don’t like looking at his tangled cords all over the place. OK then wrap up the cord neatly but leave it where it is. He will keep leaving stuff all over the house if you keep organizing it for him. Stop doing that and he will change his behavior. As a kindness and because marriage, get a little basket to put near the front door, tell him, love of my life, I want you to find your things easily so here is this cute basket I got for you, now you can ask it where your charger is and not me because I will not be mothering you anymore.

    • Put Tiles or some other blue tooth tracker on the items he misplaces the most (laptop, charger cable) and then he can find them himself.

      • Thaks ladies. I like the box and tiles ideas.

        FWIW, I don’t look for his stuff or tell him where it is, unless I know for some reason. Usually I just sit on the couch and say ‘You should really just have one place for all these things’. This also isn’t really a love language thing to me, unless wanting to be in a tidy environment is a self love language… I really am just trying to figure out a way to deal with his clutter/disorganization in a relatively compact environment. I get that there are women and men who ‘mommy’ their partners but not one of them. I just don’t see why I should suffer on principle because we have two different approaches to storage. But interesting to see how different people interpret this stuff.

    • christineispink :

      I had my husband pick out a fabric box (from Homegoods) a few months after we first moved in. It’s slightly smaller than a banker’s box and open on top. If I come across random “his sh*t” as I’m picking up the apartment/organizing my things/common spaces, I toss it in the box. When it gets full, he has to clean it out. This was our compromise of my not picking up after him (and getting resentful/annoyed that I’m always the one putting the remote control back to the “right place”) and also not having clutter all over b/c I refuse to clean up after him (visually stressful). I was at a HH where I was explaining this and a senior partner later only heard part of the explanation and asked if this was how I was training my PUPPY!!!

  5. I’ve Made A Huge Mistake :

    How long did it take you to feel settled into a new job? I’ve been here for a month and I’m pretty unhappy. I’m bored a lot but there just isn’t enough volume to give me more work. The honeymoon phase is over. I wonder if this will get better over time or if I was just so desperate to leave my last job that I took the wrong position.

    Every morning I don’t want to get out of bed and come here. What is worse – sticking around at a bad job for a year or so, so it doesn’t look bad on your resume, or leaving a new job after a couple months?

    • A month is not long enough. I’ve found a minimum of 3 months and often at least 6 months to get settled. Unless it’s a terrible or dysfunctional environment, or unless it’s a total mismatch for your skills with no potential to get better, give it more time.

    • Anonymous :

      A year.

    • Clementine :

      Two separate answers: One, I didn’t feel settled for 18 months at my current job.

      Two, if you are miserable, LEAVE. If you are truly miserable and know it right away, there’s nothing to be gained by torturing yourself for another 6 months. With regards to fears of looking like a job-hopper, it’s kind of like divorces – the first one, people assume that stuff happens, but when you start to have three or four it becomes a warning light.

    • Anonymous :

      18 months to settle into what is now a job of 10+ years.

      Obviously you know your own office but our new people are sometimes bored because the process of integrating them into things that look simple but are not takes a while. We have a delayed honeymoon phase that starts at year two.

    • I would give it more time. There is often an awkward phase about 1-3 months in where you’ve been oriented on all the basics but aren’t yet cycled into the real work you’ll be doing. I would use this lull to really be proactive about searching out things that you can help with – if you have regular 1:1s with your boss, remind them that you have more capacity and would love to take on additional work, even short-term projects.

      I also think it would look pretty bad on a resume to leave after a few months – that’s just enough time to be a big hassle to a company. The company has gone through the entire hiring/interview process, thinks they’ve found someone, on-boards them… and then the new hire promptly leaves without adding any value to the company. I would see that as a red flag on a resume and would definitely ask about it. Probably the only answers I’d be comfortable with are very clear-cut issues like “my partner’s job moved across the country”. Unfortunately, “I was bored,” would make me concerned that you would do the same thing to me.

      • This is good advice, thank you.

        I’ve also recognized that part of this is probably winter doldrums.

    • If you are just bored at 3 months but the environment/coworkers/boss are ok (i.e. not abusive), I wouldn’t consider that a bad job. It sounds like it is just taking time to get you ramped up which is normal. Have you talked to your boss about your workload and do you have any reasons to believe it won’t get better over time (e.g. other coworkers doing similar work also do not have enough to do)?

      • You’re right – my boss is nice, the job is low stress, I work my 7.5 and go home. It could be a lot worse. At my last job were constantly understaffed and overworked.

        Unfortunately it’s a very small operation and I didn’t quite realize going in just how small, so there just isn’t a ton of work.

    • I agree with anon at 9:38 and Clementine. If you’re just bored but people are nice enough and the pay is decent and you’re at least interested in the topic/the job doesn’t look bad on your resume, stick it out for a bit. If you’re miserable, give yourself permission to start looking for a new job.

      I knew I made a mistake within my first week at a new job, but I had been unemployed and it was the only offer, so I had to take it. I was miserable every day (to the point of crying several times a week) until I finally landed a new job 15 months later. (I knew this job was such a poor fit that I began applying for other positions the same month I started.) To feel settled into my new job (that I really enjoy) has taken a full year, which really surprised me since I consider myself bright and I’m working in my field, but I feel so much more competent after a year.

    • givemyregards :

      Commiserating because I’m also in a new job (about 6 months in) and I frequently worry that I should have taken the other job offer I received, gone in a completely different direction with my career, etc. Like you, I was also leaving a previous job that I haaaaated (and, like anon above, knew was a mistake within the first week) so I worry that in my rush to get out of that job (and to find a new job with a move to support my SO’s job) I didn’t think things through as clearly as I normally would have.

      Having said that, though, it has definitely gotten better since the first three months where I was really freaked out and had a hard time getting out of bed and dragging myself to the office . What’s worked for me is repeatedly reminding myself that it does take at least a year (for me) to get settled in and that it’s better to wait until then to reevaluate your options than to make another hasty move under duress. Also, the oft-cited but kind of annoying advice to try to use the down time to learn new skills, focus more on your home life, etc. is actually helpful, although if you’re like me, being bored at work means that I have a hard time getting motivated to do anything at all. But if you can drum up the motivation to go to the gym, or do some busywork (even if it’s self assigned! even if you never turn it in! I made a bunch of new spreadsheets when I first started that were overkill and only useful to me, but at least it gave me something to do!) it will at least make the day go by faster until you have real work to do.

      LTDR, this is a bummer, but ultimately I think very normal when starting a new position and I’ll hang in there if you do!

    • anonforthis :

      I think it depends and you need to use your judgment. This exact same thing happened to me. I was senior enough to know this wasn’t going to change, so I left after 2 months.

    • anon out west :

      I am in a similar boat! Contemplating leaving a job after less than a year due to management and work flow issues. How does one evaluate whether it is worth staying? Is it dumb to leave a high-paying job just because you don’t “like” it?

  6. Richmond recs? :

    I tried to search the archives but came up empty – sorry if this has been asked and answered.

    Recommendations for a late spring/early summer girls’ trip to Richmond? We’ll be there for a long weekend and enjoy eating, shopping, walking around cute neighborhoods/outdoor markets/etc, mani-pedis, drinking wine, and other low-key activities. We will have a car and we’ve never been to the city before, so we’re also up for some sightseeing in and around the city.

    • Hmm, I wouldn’t think of our city as a girls’ weekend destination, but it is very laid-back and relaxed, especially if you’re coming from a big city. Everything is just so easy and mostly inexpensive, there’s no traffic, and parking is usually a breeze. My suggestions would be:

      – Carytown for shopping
      – Church Hill for walking and great restaurants; close to the Canal Walk
      – Scott’s Addition for restaurants and breweries (not so nice for walking)
      – Brunch at LuLu’s
      – Maymont for walking and picnicking
      – Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
      – Museum of Fine Arts; has a nice restaurant as well as a coffee shop
      – Flying Squirrels minor league baseball game if the weather is nice, even if (like me) you don’t like baseball
      – Stay away from Short Pump unless you have your heart set on mall shopping. It is overcrowded and full of chain restaurants.

      • Following this thread. Any specific restaurant recs?

        • I really liked stumbling around the Fan. Good restaurants. Near Carytown.

          If you like history, Poe stomped around here. And if you go all the way down Broad Street, there is the Patrick Henry “Give me liberty” church you can visit.

          The Jefferson is a cool older hotel. Lots of other options though.

          • The Edgar Allen Poe museum is very tiny, but worth a visit. The gardens are pretty if it’s nice out.

            There’s also a small national park at the site of one of the Confederacy’s biggest civil war hospitals. Can’t think of the name of it… also a very small museum, but I found it very interesting.

            The Museum of Fine Arts also might be worth a visit. I’m not really an arts person, but I like that museum.

        • One of my favorite dinners ever was at a place called Spoonbread Bistro in Richmond. I highly recommend it!

        • Richmond has such a great food scene, it’s hard to be specific without a few parameters. My go-tos recs are Edo’s or Mamma Zu (try to go for lunch or get there early for dinner, the lines are cray), Fat Dragon (amazing happy hour app specials), Black Sheep, Lunch and Supper (get a reservation), and L’Opossum for something really upscale and unique. Comfort is good if you want classic Southern food. Alamo for BBQ. Proper Pie for savory pies to take to a brewery or for a picnic. The farmer’s market is also fun and has a lot of food trucks, if you feel like a little more of an excursion. We can never seem to get into the bar at the VMFA because it seems to be slammed whenever we go, but that’s another classic Richmond spot.

          There is much more of a beer scene than a wine scene, FYI. Even if you’re not big beer drinkers you should make sure to check out at least a couple, since RVA was recently announced as the #1 city for beer tourism in the US, if the radio yesterday was to be believed. Hardywood is a classic for a reason; the Veil, Vasen, and Triple Crossing would be my other picks. Most of them are in Scott’s Addition, which is walkable.

          Also cosign RVA’s recs.

          • Richmond recs? :

            I’ll check out all these recs! To be more specific on food, we love:
            -dessert/ice cream shops
            -small/sharing plates restaurants for dinner
            -cute cafes or other casual spots for lunch
            -favorite cuisines include Italian, Mediterranean and similar
            -would like to keep prices in the range of $20/entree for dinner and ideally <$10 for lunch

          • Random comment, but I moved away from Richmond over a decade ago and it makes me beyond happy that Comfort, Edo Squid and Mamma Zu are still going strong. I recommend all of these places.

          • Edo’s and Mamma Zu both serve delicious Italian food, but my husband and I stopped patronizing them because the service is so incredibly slow and rude. We are just too old to put up with being treated like garbage by waitstaff.

            Richmond’s vibe is more “tattooed hipsters” than “cute cafes.” You might like the Daily Kitchen in Carytown for lunch. For cute cafes, you could venture west to the Libbie & Grove area, also home to Pearl’s Cupcakes. For gelato, Gelati Celesti on Boulevard. Shyndigz (cake) and Charm School (ice cream) are on my list to try.

          • northside :

            Shyndigz is right up your alley, Richmond recs! You must go. All they do is dessert and cocktails. It is a magical place. For shared plates, check out Pasture. I haven’t been yet, but Stella’s is an upscale Greek/Mediterranean restaurant that’s supposed to be to die for. They also have a more casual “grocery” across the street that does takeout if the price point in the dining room is too high.

            I’ve found that the service at Edo’s and Mamma Zu is fine at lunch or for weeknight dinners. But yes, service at Mamma Zu in particular can be dicey on the weekend. Getting rude service at Mamma Zu is a classic Richmond experience, and the food is worth it IMO…but you should be aware of what you’re getting yourself into and adjust your expectations accordingly.

          • +1 for Pasture!

    • Richmond recs? :

      Thank you all so much! Cannot wait to browse all these options! :)

  7. Being blocked in :

    When I run the world, this might have to become a felony and/or cause to be in colonial-style stocks (? is that the right word?). WHY, why, WHY do people think it’s OK to block someone’s car in? Especially right before rush hour? And if caught, refuse to be contrite about it???

    • Tow that car :

      Wait what? That’s not acceptable. I would call for a private tow except it would cost money (which I would ask to be reimbursed for) and probably take longer than finding the offender. But really, there’s no excuse for them.

      • Being blocked in :

        Roommate’s SO moved a car to block our common driveway (all cars in back) this morning. And then took a shower.

        • I would entirely without apology take their keys, move the car without reference to whether it’s legally parked when you leave it, tell them where you put it, and just go to work.

          • Yeah agreed. This is different than a stranger blocking your driveway. You have access to this person’s keys, yes? So move the car. Don’t make her get out of the shower to do it.

          • Being blocked in :

            The joys of being in a city. We didn’t initially know who’s car it was. And roommate’s room has an attached bath, so no amount of knocking on a locked door did any good since SO was in the shower (closed door I guess) on the far side of it. I hadn’t seen the car before, so I didn’t know (SO usually takes transit and had to move due to some street-cleaning that you have to move your car for (OR BE TOWED, ironically)). Other roommie recognized it from earlier.

          • With this information, have a house meeting and institute a rule that everyone needs to leave their keys by the door so this doesn’t happen again. Even if you didn’t know whose car that was, if you saw a strange set of keys next to the door you would’ve put two and two together. This seems like a pretty innocent blunder on roommate’s SO’s part but still SUPER aggravating when you’re trying to get out the door.

    • My terrible downstairs neighbor in college and his sketchy friends used to do this. (It was a house converted into four apartments, with parking in the back and a narrow driveway that they would block.) I was just out of the military, and I knew they were usually hungover in the mornings, so I would go downstairs and knock *loudly* on their door in the way that only an annoyed noncommissioned officer can. For some reason they never looked happy to see me.

      It doesn’t sound like that solution will work for you, but definitely tell him and your roommate that he needs to not do this again. It’s frickin’ inconsiderate, is what it is.

  8. Anonymous :

    Wow, I was really stunned by this article.

    I’ve been thinking I’ll probably have a small glass of wine occasionally during pregnancy. Now not so sure.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d be interested in knowing how much alcohol the women in the study drank and how much alcohol can cause a disorder on the spectrum. Are we talking about one glass or heavy drinking every day?

    • Anonymous :

      Wow. I agree. That is slightly terrifying…I know some people don’t drink when they’re actively trying to conceive, and I always thought that was a little extreme. But that may be my approach now too…

      • Anonymous :

        Exactly where I am! And obvi the study has huge gaps but still. Literally sobering.

      • Anonattorney :

        You can drink while TTC. The CDC’s recommendation is for women who aren’t paying close attention, so may end up binge-drinking while being definitely–but unknowingly–pregnant.

        Alcohol during TTC can affect fertility, but it doesn’t affect your as-yet unfertilized, unimplanted embryo. Trust me.

    • I didn’t read the study, but I also didn’t read anything in this article that suggested that “a small glass of wine occasionally during pregnancy” is more likely to lead to FASD than previously believed. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • +1 sounds like fear mongering to me without much hard data?

      • blueberries :

        Isn’t this study consistent with the rates of problem drinking is this country?

        I’m not an expert in this area, but every study I’ve seen that says a moderate/modest amount of drinking causes problems defines moderate/modest at a lot of drinking (to me). I didn’t see anything here that changes that analysis.

        It seems that the public health message is based on an idea that women won’t understand what a small amount of alcohol is and so must be told not to drink at all. Otherwise they might consider a 9oz pour a small glass of wine and then have two because it’s only a small glass.

        • Yes, exactly.

          A lot of out medical advice is designed to be extreme and to pretend that moderation doesn’t exist. A pregnant woman who has three sips of champagne at her best friend’s wedding has a negligible amount of alcohol in her body that may literally be too small to be measured. Yet, she would be excoriated for even putting the glass to her lips.

          Too much iron can harm babies, so we have a stupid situation in which half of pregnant women are anemic.

          What is especially sad is that the medical community knows that these things are hard to measure: the people who follow the rules that might be wrong follow other rules and are therefore much healthier overall. Controlling for so many factors is very difficult (if not impossible).

        • +1. Every one of these “studies” and articles and this advice in general treat women like idiots who don’t understand the concept of moderation. Pregnancy and childbirth is one long exercise in realizing the medicine and treatment communities still think women’s tiny fragile brains need to be protected by big strong smart men.

          Nothing in this article is new. Since a “safe” amount varies by woman and genetics, somehow the default becomes “don’t drink at all.” If we treated driving like alcohol & pregnancy, we’d tell people that there’s no known safe speed limit, so just don’t drive at all. On any road. At any time. In any weather condition.

        • That was my take too. It’s plausible that the findings (as described in the article) are a result of problems resulting from minimal levels of drinking, but it’s at least equally plausible that they are the result of higher levels of binge drinking than previously assumed.

    • Anonymous :

      I feel like the message might be more useful if there was actually discussion of FAS and associated disorders, instead of just the “don’t drink in pregnancy” messaging, which is probably prudent, but doesn’t get at the WHY.

      And more discussion about what we do and don’t know about the affects of alcohol in pregnancy – which is hard to study proactively because of ethical reasons, which means it’s also hard to establish causal connections between timing/quantity and effect.

      And don’t even get me started on that CDC message. It may have had a point, but to boil that point down to “You should be on BC if you want to drink alcohol” was missing the point an distracting from the intended message.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah that’s just untenable advice and I think highlights real problems in how we think about health care messaging. You can’t ignore the fact that human beings are involved.

      • Big +1 to your last paragraph. So now we’re mommyshaming women before they’re even PG? Awesome.

        • Yea… I’ve been TTC for almost a year– am I supposed to NEVER have any alcohol for years on end? That’s absurd.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Well, you’re not a real person, you’re just a potential baby vessel. So obviously baby vessels don’t get to drink alcohol, right?

            This whole thing makes me so angry I have nothing but bitter sarcasm in me.

          • I’m here for ALL of Baconpancakes’ bitter sarcasm. SAME, girl, same.

          • Why is it absurd, though? I can see why it would suck if you work in the wine industry or something, but for an average person, why is it THAT big a deal?

          • Nope. You’re not potentially pregnant the entire time you’re TTC. Based on the “typical” menstrual cycle, when you get your period and for about 2 weeks after, you know you’re not pregnant and can’t conceive. About 2 weeks later, you’ll ovulate and may become pregnant. So while TTC, on average half the time you may be pregnant.

            Everyone has their own risk tolerance and should make their own decision whether/how much alcohol is worth the risk of problems for their (potential) child. Maybe some are ok drinking even in those 2 weeks they might be pregnant (I wasn’t and TTC for about a year). But worries of FAS and related issues aren’t reason to abstain every day while TTC.

        • I have lots of friend TTC (welcome to the 30s) and no one is abstaining unless they know they’re pregnant. We’re not binge drinking 21 year olds who won’t know we’re pregnant until we’re 2 months along. We’re mature adults who have talked to our doctors and made informed, doctor-approved decisions to drink 1-2 glasses of wine on occasion, even sometimes during the two-week-wait. I, for one, am not concerned that you think this makes me a bad person. Make your own decisions and stop trying to make others feel bad for theirs.

    • Anonymous :

      I did not see anything in that article from which I’d conclude that a small glass of wine occasionally during pregnancy (particularly later stages) causes harm to a fetus. It looks like the research is the same as it has been for years—we don’t know how much, if any, alcohol is safe during pregnancy. I’m also skeptical of the research methods in this particular study and how the researchers concluded that neurological issues were caused by mothers drinking, especially since they acknowledge the problem of accurate reporting.

    • This isn’t really news. I’ve always been surprised that so many people in this community defend drinking in pregnancy when any doctor will tell you that NO amount of alcohol has been shown to be safe and not drinking at all is the standard medical advice and has been for many years. Doctors have also known for a long time that alcohol can cause problems in babies that aren’t necessarily immediately obvious or life-threatening. I know my doctor told me about some study from a decade or more ago that linked even light drinking to some behavioral problem in kids (ADHD, I think). I just don’t understand why anyone would take the risk unless you find quitting cold turkey to be difficult and if you do, you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I love wine but it was an easy decision to give it up for 9 months to protect my baby.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Because we have an unnecessary and imposed martyrdom complex that mothers are forced to carry, and this is just one more way women are told they must sacrifice or be shamed.

        And there’s no study that shows that keeping up a running program is safe during pregnancy, either, but we do know that intense physical activity can sometimes cause miscarriage, so probably we should stop going to spinning class, lifting weights, and training for marathons while pregnant, too. I mean, I know some people who love being physically active, but it’s an easy decision to give it up for 9 months to protect your baby.

        • Same with stress. Plenty of studies suggest that stress is bad for a pregnancy. So I guess pregnant women should not work or have friends or really leave the house for fear they might encounter something stressful! And stress is particularly dangerous in the beginning stages of pregnancy so any woman who isn’t on BC should do the same.

          • +1 I’m one of the TTC anons above, and I’m honestly much more worried about the effect stress from my biglaw job will have on my potential (hopeful) future baby than the potential glass of wine I will have before I know I’m pregnant. But I’m still going to be working, and luckily most people aren’t making me feel guilty about that… yet!

        • Baconpancakes, that’s false. There is strong evidence that running (and other vigorous) exercise is not only safe during pregnancy, but beneficial for mother and child. The caveat is that it might not be safe for someone who has NEVER exercised before to begin an intense regimen while pregnant. Check out James Clapp’s very well-researched book for a starting point.

        • That’s not remotely an reasonable analogy and you know it. There’s lot of evidence of the benefits of exercise in pregnancy for both mother and baby, which is a good reason for doctors to recommend women keep exercising. There’s no positive to drinking in pregnancy (red wine may be good for your heart but so are plenty of other things and giving it up temporarily isn’t going to cause any detriment to your long term health or the baby’s health the way giving up exercise would). And any link between even very extreme exercise and miscarriage is far more tenuous than the link between heavy alchohol intake and health problems, which is wel-established.

          • Anonymous :


            And there is not good evidence on maternal stress and fetal development issues outside of like refugee camp/fleeing your home/not enough food situations. Work stress does not cause life long developmental issues, alcohol does.

      • + 1

        I don’t get why people are so up in arms over this. I love wine as much as anyone else, but why take even a minimal risk??? I get that it sucks to be TTC for a long time and abstaining, but if that’s what you have to do then you do it.

        • Obviously you don’t get it at all.

        • I get what you’re saying, but it seems like every single thing you do or eat during pregnancy carries some risk in some way. Where do you draw the line? Never leave the house because you could get hit by a car?

          You can do everything perfectly during your pregnancy and your kid could still get cancer or become a serial killer or collect pet snakes.

          • Anonymous :

            Yes, most things carry some risk and some everyday things like driving are probably riskier than tiny amounts of alcohol but those things are also much more essential to every day life. I don’t think you can look at risk in a vacuum and say “alcohol is less risky than X, Y, Z so it’s fine” – you have to also weigh how much you need to undertake those risks. I have to drive to work every day if I want to be employed and I have to be employed if I want to provide for myself and my baby. Nobody needs to drink alcohol and if you feel like you do, that is definitely concerning.

        • Anonymous :

          They take the risk because they haven’t met a kid with FASD, if they had they wouldn’t.

      • Maybe people just have a bad reaction to your self righteous smugness?

      • Completely agree.

        MD PhD

        • Maybe try harder to understand then. Because this type of smug judgment is why people lie to doctors.

          • And why we don’t trust you.


          • Anonymous :

            And that’s why their kid ends up with an ADHD diagnosis instead of an FASD diagnosis and appropriate treatment – they don’t want to admit any amount of drinking while pregnant.

            If you’re going to drink while pregnant, at least own your choices even when you don’t like the consequences.

        • As an MD, you are not qualified to evaluate evidence on causal impact of alcohol consumption on birth outcomes – that’s not what MDs are trained to do, so please stop. What is your Ph.D. in? Because based on your opinion, it is not in anything that deals with causality either.

          • I mean this sincerely, but if MD’s are not qualified to evaluate the evidence on the causal impact of alcohol consumption, then who is?

            Reading and contextualizing medical literature is a skill physicians should (though don’t always do enough of) be equipped to do.

          • Epidemiologists? This is based on statistical analysis, not on clinical or lab based research, right?

            I had a few small glasses of wine over the course of two pregnancies. So far, my kids are normal enough. My grandmother was encouraged to smoke and drink when pregnant w my mom to reduce stress and prevent weight gain. My mom was low birth weight but is pretty darn sharp as an adult. Isn’t anecdata fun?

          • Um, we are in fact trained to do just that. Haven’t you ever seen an MD present research findings?

      • Does “no amount has been shown to be safe” necessarily equate to “it has been shown that harmful effects will result when any non-zero number of alcohol units are consumed during pregnancy”?

      • I don’t get this either. We have known for years that alcohol has never been shown to be safe during pregnancy. In my line of work, colleagues study how in-utero exposures (mostly to pesticides) affect children’s IQ, BMI, behavior, and other outcomes at different points in their life. The take-away is that there are long-term consequences to short-term exposures and that there is so much we still don’t know. What’s really scary is that if you’re pregnant with a girl, exposures during pregnancy harm not only her, but her eggs (which are fully developed after 4-ish months). You can see the effects in HER future children as well. Check out the Dutch Famine study for one well-known example.

        All that being said, it’s well worth it to me to take the simple step of abstaining during pregnancy because quitting drinking is easy for me.

        • Do we know that no amount of alcohol is safe, or do we not yet know what level of alcohol consumption is unsafe? Either will get the result “There is no known safe amount of alcohol”, but one is from a place of knowledge and the other is not.

          Obviously there is some level of consumption that is unsafe, as evidenced by FAS, but I thought we didn’t know where or if there was a line. Is it consumption at any point after fertilization (even before implantation)? Is it consumption after implantation or after the first missed period?

          Yes, obviously no alcohol consumption is the safest route, in light of the fact that there is no information on what is safe. But let’s be clear on the basis for that “no information”. AKA, let’s give women a clear view of why the recommendation is made. Show the work instead of just giving the conclusion.

          • + 1 million to this. Bingo.

          • I have a post in moderation on what I was able to find when I looked into this. It’s not as though we just aren’t researching this topic.

          • Fwiw, my doctor did basically pitch it as “we don’t know what – if any – amount is safe, and there’s no benefit to it, so the safest thing to do is to cut it out completely.” She didn’t lie and imply that it was proven that small amounts of alcohol are harmful. It was all about risk vs benefit, as were her other recommendations about foods, etc. to avoid.
            She also said drinking during the two week wait was fine because baby is not sharing your blood at that point.

          • Anonymous :

            For me, it’s about cost versus benefit. There are lots of medications that aren’t proven safe in pregnancy either, but it makes sense to me that a woman and her doctor would choose to keep her on a medication that isn’t proven unsafe and has tangible benefits to her health that can’t be obtained some other way. That medication is serving a very important purpose so the (likely very small) risk is worth taking. But alcohol doesn’t serve any purpose and so because we know for sure that a) large amounts of alcohol are very unsafe and b) it’s unclear what, if any, the “safe” level of alcohol is, it just seems like an easy choice to give it up completely.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Alcohol does serve many purposes. I can certainly go without it but I think it is unfair to say it serves no purpose.

          • Anonattorney :

            @Blonde Lawyer – agreed. I mean, we could just eat Soylent or some other nutritious goop during pregnancy that has all our daily nutrients. Why eat specific foods at all? All you really need from that burger is the iron. Go take an iron supplement.

            Obviously people do certain things because it brings them pleasure, comfort, excitement, lowers stress levels, etc. Is it necessary? No. But that’s not the standard that we should be using. Otherwise we’re setting up horrifically unattainable standards. Those standards then guide everyone else to start making judgments and policy regarding what women can and can’t do with their bodies during pregnancy.

        • Your pesticide example is actually a great one but for the opposite point. There are many harmful things in our environment and there’s a lot we don’t know about just how harmful stuff is. Is it enough to just wash your vegetables or does enough of the pesticides seep into them that it’s not safe to eat any commercially grown produce during pregnancy? Don’t even get me started on meats.

          It’s not just about alcohol. I hate hearing “it’s easy enough to avoid wine”. Ok well I guess it’s easy enough to do all your shopping at the farmer’s market. And eat a vegan diet. And work from home if you live in a city with a lot of smog. And don’t wear heels. And don’t work out to much. And and and…. And it’s not just “hey do this if you can” its treated like a moral proscription. You’re shaming women for not fundamentally changing everything about their lives because they’re PG.

          • It’s almost as though our entire society should change to be less harmful to women and children.

          • Except people NEED to eat food, work, and live somewhere to survive, so the risks associated with those things need to be accepted at some level (although you can always take steps to reduce your risk, as you noted, and ideally, we’d have greater regulations and protections to protect all women to the extent possible). You don’t NEED to drink alcohol, and if you do, that’s something you should deal with.

          • I cannot possibly equate “it’s easy to give up wine” with “it’s easy to go vegan, shop only at farmer’s markets, go fully organic,” etc. Those other things involve real tradeoffs. Giving up wine doesn’t. It’s a beverage, go get another beverage.

            The attitude that wine is So Very Important to Have (all the time after work! and tee-hee, in mommy playgroups! and I can’t possibly go to a wedding without alcohol because what will I ever do with myself!) is an attitude that enables quite a few alcoholics to cover for themselves because wine is so much Girly Funsies!

            I agree no one should stress if they had a little bit of alcohol before knowing they were pregnant, and a glass or two during pregnancy isn’t the end of the world, but the medical community has been pretty unanimous that no amount has been proven to be safe, so why take the chance.

      • The book “Expecting Better” by Emily Oster has a very good, thorough and scientifically based analysis on why drinking is ok during pregnancy.

        • She’s not a scientist or medical professional and many people have criticized her analysis. That book is one viewpoint to consider, it’s not the gospel.

          • +1 She is coming from a risk/reward perspective as an economist, and it seems like she’s willing to take risks given her personal preferences. I was NOT impressed by her book at all.

          • YEs, she is a scientist who is professionally trained to evaluate data/causal inference. MDs are not trained to do that.

          • She’s an economist. MDs are much better qualified to understand and interpret medical studies.

        • Emily Oster is not a doctor. No OBGYN will tell you that it is safe to drink while pregnant. If it is a risk you are willing to take, then fine… but to say the risk is not there is just plain false. I don’t know why the women on this site are so attached to this idea. Gestating a baby safely makes you feel like a marter, really? I think women who are unable to go without drinking for the duration of pregnancy should wait to try to conceive until they deal with that issue.

          • Ummm, actually I had 2 different American OBs tell me that it was safe to have ~ 1-2 drinks / week after a thorough and honest (on my part) discussion of my drinking habits. I probed them pretty thoroughly on it. My German friends thought I was nuts for restricting my drinking, and for eating salads. They all drank lightly throughout pregnancy but avoided all uncooked vegetables.

          • Anonattorney :

            Both of my OBs said that it’s okay to drink small amounts while pregnant, especially during the third trimester.

          • Where are those German friends located?

            I hate the mysterious claim that Europeans drink continually throughout pregnancy. In 15 years of annual travel to Europe across 10-12 different countries including western, central and eastern europe and three stretches of living in Europe (2 different countries). I have NEVER seen a pregnant woman drink in public. My DH is European and has 36 first cousins, two sets of high school and university friends and I have my own friends from living and working in other European countries, and I have never seen any family or friends drink in private.

          • obvious “have never seen any family or friends drink in private” is referencing pregnant family members or friends. Non-pregnant ones are serving alcohol with both lunch and dinner.

          • MDs/OBGYNs are NOT qualified to evaluate whether drinking during pregnancy is safe. They do not have the necessary training/skills to analyze data and evaluate to what extent the observed relationships are causal. You are conflating correlation and causation.

          • My OB flat out told me that if given the choice between a stressed out patient who stews around the house with high blood pressure after a hard day and one who drinks a small pour of high quality red wine after work once a week or so to calm down, she would choose the latter, every time.

          • Yep. “Everyone in Europe does it” is what naive American women say to assuage their guilt. My best friend has lived in France for a decade and says all her friends gave up alcohol during pregnancy. And they drink wine all the time when not pregnant, these are not teetotalers.

        • As someone with a science background, I really disliked Expecting Better. It seemed to me like she really got off on shocking people with her “radical” viewpoints (e.g., alcohol is perfectly safe in pregnancy) and then she picked out the studies that supported that viewpoint. That’s….not at all what science is.
          I have no real opinion about the safety of small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy – nobody I know gave up alcohol while TTC, some of my friends drank lightly during pregnancy but most (including me) didn’t drink and my OB said she wouldn’t recommend any alcohol after you miss your period but didn’t seem super judgmental about it – but I really really hated that stupid book.

      • 1 study =/= a finding of fact. Science requires repetition.

        • It’s worth noting, since it wasn’t included at all in the NYT article, that the conservative estimates in this study almost exactly replicated the results of two smaller studies.

          This is just a complete frustration with the sensationalization of the article, not the general idea that science requires repetition.

          One of the studies whose findings they replicated is available for free, I’ll include the link

          • The other smaller study is also available for free.

        • I was responding to this comment:

          “I know my doctor told me about some study from a decade or more ago that linked even light drinking to some behavioral problem in kids (ADHD, I think).”

          There’s ample evidence that heavy drinking causes FAS (though the exact amount that causes it isn’t precisely known), but this comment struck me as completely without scientific foundation. The commenter was fuzzy on what she even remembered the studying supposedly showing; and linking =/= causing; and 1 study is not a finding of fact.

      • + 1

        I’m tired of this “up in arms” narrative on drinking and pregnancy. You know it’s not good for your baby. There is ZERO benefit from drinking during pregnancy and if there is even a minor potential of long-term harm, you don’t do it.

        • I believe that all women have absolute rights over their bodies, pregnant or not pregnant, and that if they choose to drink, so be it. I just don’t get the pretending it’s safe angle. If you want to drink, you don’t get to ignore the evidence that it’s harmful. Own it and acknowledge that there is evidence of harm and zero evidence of safety and you’re going to do it anyway.

          • +1. I can understand taking all studies/medical advice with a healthy dose of skepticism and deciding you’re going to do your own research, but it’s interesting to me how many people I know have taken most of the studies as gospel (for example they would never dream of not breastfeeding, because studies show it lowers the SIDS risk) but choose to willfully ignore the alcohol studies. Pretty much any study will have its critics and there are plenty of criticisms of the SIDS/breastfeeding studies too (like the fact that many of them don’t control for socioeconomic status and other relevant factors) but nobody wants to pick those apart, they’re happy to just follow the conventional advice for everything except the recommendation to give up alcohol completely.

        • Frankly, I’m so terrified of having a severely autistic child or a child with other special needs that I’d abstain for however long it took to conceive in a heartbeat. Others may feel more comfortable with the risk and with their ability to handle it, though.

          • You probs shouldn’t have children at all

          • ^This

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Ummm, FAS is not autism and there is no way to present autism. So either do not have kids or accepts some risk on that front.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Ummm, FAS is not autism and there is no way to prevent autism. So either do not have kids or accepts some risk on that front.

        • Anonattorney :

          There is also ZERO benefit to me eating a bag of Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream chips while 7 months pregnant. But you know what? Sometimes I do it, because it’s hard working 60 hours a week, running after a 2.5 year old, and waddling around with a giant belly, sore back, and searing pain in my pelvic bone.

          I get tired of the articles discussing what women should do during pregnancy. You know what they should do? Get a doctor, go to regular doctor appointments, and have discussions with their OB that are tailored to their personal situation.

        • Fine, let’s play that game.

          It has been proven innumerable times that being married to your child’s father at birth has incredible benefits, and not being married harms children. (There are exceptions for extreme circumstances, such as abuse, but the general rule holds and is proven.) Those harms far exceed the harms of drinking small amounts of caffeine or drinking a glass of wine. Would you propose bringing this level of shame upon women with a baby bump and without a ring?

          (I do not. I support giving people information, however comfortable or uncomfortable it may be, and letting them make their own decisions.)

          Can you provide an explanation as to why we freak out over a pregnant woman ordering a tall latte and not other things that cause far larger problems?

          • You are so right. Personally, I think it’s because people have a lot of fear about conception and child rearing, and they grab onto the easiest things to see/control and place inordinate amounts of importance on those things, losing sight of the bigger picture.

          • nasty woman :

            Honestly, I think it’s because we already stigmatize alcohol use so much in society. (Despite, of course, heavily using it.) If alcohol use is already seen as a questionable choice with questionable motives, then the specter of a woman doing this questionable thing WHILE she’s pregnant with a Perfect Innocent Unblemished Fetus is simply ghastly. She’s “selfish” for putting her baby at risk– whereas with something like working at the pesticide factory, driving, drinking caffeine, whatever– she can at least “justify” her self-interested behavior as producing a stigma-free, socially-accepted, measurable benefit to herself/baby.

            We LOVE making women, especially mothers, justify self-interested behaviors. (“Studies show children benefit from seeing moms in the work force” anyone?) One of our top-5 favorite national past-times.

          • Anonattorney :

            To me, the problem is that every time one of these studies comes out, people take it upon themselves to pass judgment and start policing what other women do with their bodies. That is the issue. The idea that stranger on the internet can get away with calling a woman a bad mother if she has a couple of drinks during pregnancy. Or that same stranger can randomly decide that the child with ASD actually has FASD that went undiagnosed because her wealthy white mother hid her drinking habits from her OB.

            I get the need for the studies–they are helpful, they guide behavior, and we need to know the information to make informed decisions during pregnancy. But I just hope that people can be more cautious and refrain from blindly casting blame on women for certain outcomes. Believe me, working mothers don’t need any more guilt.

          • It’s magical thinking and control. It’s (relatively) easy to not drink alcohol or coffee during pregnancy, and I think a lot of women really obsess on this because it makes them feel like they have some sort of control over the outcome of their pregnancy.

            Sort of like how people always want to know if a lung cancer patient smoked. If they did, then the asker can be relieved, because they don’t smoke so of course they’ll never get lung cancer. Which isn’t entirely true.

          • I’m the Anon from just above (with the question).

            It goes beyond pregnancy. Our car seat standards are so stringent and evolve so quickly that parents (both dads and moms) essentially have to purchase a brand-new car seat every time they have another child. They can’t give Kid #1’s seat to Kid #2, put the oldest in a new car seat, and later give the younger kid the oldest’s big-kid car seat. They buy four or six or whatever car seats.

            Many can afford that; many cannot. It does reduce risk – “even one child!” – but at substantial cost that ironically results in people having fewer kids.

            My question is never what is “best” – it’s about what gets the job done well enough, given the resources available. Perfectionism is for high school students and micromanagers, not public policy.

            Just my two cents.

          • Anonymous :

            Where are you buying car seats? Most are good for 6-7 years at least.

            I have three kids and I’m still using the first carseat from my first kid – it’s not expiring until August at which point it will be 7 years old and I can use the seat that my second kid is currently using.

          • Anonymous :

            +1. It’s a lot of magical thinking. I think that much of our discourse about health is based on this exact type of magical thinking — did you get cancer? Then you must have not eaten your broccoli. Did you break an arm? Must have been engaging in something risky. We want to blame people for their own health problems because it makes us feel insulated from the terrifying fact that life is uncertain and sometimes bad things happen to good people.

      • It seems like a jump to conclude you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol if you don’t want to completely give up alcohol for 9 (or more) months. I was too sick to drink (or eat much) throughout my pregnancy, but it was still hard during holidays and weddings.

        Our mentality of “it’s a small sacrifice to make absolutely sure nothing happens to the fetus” also means women abstain from a lot of things during pregnancy (medications, coffee, tea, deli meat, raw foods, certain cheeses, processed meats/nitrates, certain fish, etc.), in addition to giving up time for doctors’ appointments, comfort, and sleep. Growing a person is tough work, and a “zero risk” environment makes it more stressful (but stress is bad for the baby).

        Also, this mentality doesn’t end with pregnancy. Recommendations favoring vaginal births instead of c-sections, exclusive breastfeeding, and having an infant sleep in the parents’ room for a year don’t take into account a totality of circumstances for an individual mother/family.

      • Doctors in other countries do not believe that “NO amount of alcohol has shown to be safe.” This is categorically untrue. In the UK, it is socially acceptable (and doctor approved) to have one glass of alcohol occasionally during pregnancy.

        Incidentally, I heard the summary of this study on the news last night (delivered by a doctor) and she said that the amount in question was 4+ drinks in a sitting, which is wholly different than having _a_ glass of wine.

        Again, this choice is personal, but sometimes people on this hive are very categorical about things that are simply not so.

        • Agreed this, like all of pregnancy and raising children, is a nuanced issue that people want to be able to make black and white. Also a lot of the people accused of being “up in arms” about this here are worrying about drinking while TTC (along with the potential consumption of alcohol during the first two weeks after conception before you can know for sure you are pregnant). The people who are, on the other side, being so indignant and categorical saying “just don’t drink ever, geez” probably have not been TTC for long periods of time. It’s unrealistic in this country as an average, social woman to abstain from alcohol for indefinite periods of time if you don’t conceive right away. As far as I know, there have not been any studies to suggest that babies born to a woman who drinks a bit in the first two weeks after conception and then does not drink for the rest of the pregnancy end up with a FAS disorder.

      • I’ve read a bit about this. It looks like we already understand some of the ways that alcohol interferes with neurological development (directly impacting fetal nerve development; lowering thyroid hormones, etc). As this article discusses, people with the predicted developmental disorders are out there.

        And what we traditionally call Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (the syndrome associated with corpus callosum defects) isn’t the only developmental disorder alcohol can cause. The damage caused by early, light drinking can be less dramatic, and the connection to alcohol can be missed. It’s my understanding that some people’s diagnoses of autism, ADHD, depression and anxiety, and a number of rarer neurological conditions are being shown to stem from prenatal alcohol exposure.

        It looks to me as though we are never going to do a double-blind controlled study on human subjects to prove that even light drinking is a problem, because researchers already believe, on the basis of evidence we already have, that this wouldn’t be safe or ethical. If they are right, then it’s alarming to me how many volunteers they would get if they went ahead anyway.

    • great. i’m pregnant and had less than half a glass of wine/a couple of sips, very early on for a religious holiday before i know i was pregnant

      • You’re fine. Please talk to your doctor if you have concerns, but my doctor (unlike the media hype) has made it very clear that a small amount of alcohol in the first couple weeks after conception does not carry significant risk.

      • You’re fine. My OB was very firm that drinking even in small amounts during pregnancy is risky (and she was very critical of Expecting Better), but she was also clear that she defines “pregnancy” as beginning when you miss your period. Before then, the baby isn’t sharing your blood supply so it’s fine. Even if you drank later in pregnancy, it’s overwhelmingly likely your baby would still be fine. Just because there is enough risk to recommend avoiding it doesn’t mean doing it once or twice is likely to cause problems.

      • Seventh Sister :

        Your kid can kiss Yale goodbye! KIDDING. Seriously, there is a neverending set of people who will tell you that XYZ will ruin your kid, whether it’s alcohol before you know you’re pregnant or letting your baby cry or not picking the “right” kindergarten. Don’t worry.

        • Anonattorney :

          Or your kid can be perfectly healthy, have a high IQ, develop good study habits, get into Yale, and then . . . realize as an adult that they have a general anxiety disorder and serious depression that makes them very good at being a student, but terrible at managing a high-stress, high-paying career. They then have to move back home and the only way to have good mental health is to take low-paying, low-impact jobs, because anything beyond that triggers paralyzing anxiety.

          I mean, you can honestly do everything perfectly and your kid can end up a messed-up adult. Just do your best, love your kids, and be supportive. And cut other parents some slack.

    • Anon in Midwest :

      My OB/GYN also has said that the study about risks of getting pregnant over age 35 is outdated and flawed. (She’s not debating as to whether there are risks at an older age, but we’ve discussed if it is OK for me to have children at age 35 or 36 vs. now.) Has anyone else been told that?

      • Yes 100%. My doctors have told me that the risks do not really significantly start until 40.

      • My doctor framed it as: the only difference between having a baby at 34 vs. 36 is that insurance covers the genetic testing for the 36 year old.

      • I’m not sure how old you are, but from extensive discussions I’ve had with my doctors, there is no magic cliff that is the same for everyone after which trying to conceive gets harder and pregnancy will be riskier. Everyone’s timeline is different, but as a very general matter, getting pregnant is easier when you’re younger and the risk of various pregnancy-related issues increases as you get older.

    • Not surprised by this at all.

      Spend 24 hours with a kid with FASD and there is no way anyone would think about drinking at all during pregnancy. Not worth it to have a kid with those issues for the rest of your life. Similar to autism except less treatment and program and social supports available. If it was autism that was caused by drinking instead of FASD, this wouldn’t even be a debate.

      So tired of people who have never spent time with an FASD child pontificating about how it’s fine to drink during pregnancy. The ONLY cause of FASD is drinking alcohol. It is 100% preventable. And so tired of weathlty white women showing up with their ‘ADHD’ diagnosed kids when many of them haven’t been honest with their doctors about how much they drank during their pregnancy. If you have native amercian ancestry, then even occasional light drinking can trigger severe FASD.

      • Yes. And I am sure that with autism as with ADHD, some people really do have FASD–their doctors just didn’t pursue this diagnosis/know that the mom was drinking while pregnant. There is just so much denial out there. Don’t get me started on my family (“we all turned out fine!” — no, we really didn’t).

        • Anonymous :

          Well I have 4 people with ADHD and 1 with autism in my family of people who have literally never had a drink in their lives. The LAST thing we need is for people to start getting judgey of moms with kids with ADHD/autism and thinking “oh, she must have drank alcohol while pregnant” to try to explain these disorders. Maybe FASD is underdiagnosed, but let’s think of how bad it would be if we over-corrected here.

      • Thank you for saying this.

      • So tired of people who have never spent time with an FASD child pontificating about how it’s fine to drink during pregnancy.


    • Oh I litigated a case related to fetal alcohol syndrome as it relates to special education and learned a LOT about FAS in the process, terrifying stuff.

    • Wait, am I missing something? Who are all these women who are capable of drinking alcohol during pregnancy without vomiting? I couldn’t even drink water without throwing up.

    • Anonymous :

      Somehow we all turned out ok, since this stuff wasn’t known when we were conceived.

      • Anonymous :

        Speak for yourself, I was conceived in the early 80s and my mother was absolutely told not to drink.
        Anyway, your logic is terribly flawed. Nobody is arguing that the absolute risk is very high and obviously the majority of babies born to mothers who engage in risky behaviors will turn out fine. The majority of babies born to smokers will turn out fine too (and did in the 50s before the risks of smoking were known) but that doesn’t mean any reputable doctor would endorse smoking during pregnancy.

      • If only.

      • Anonymous :

        Given the litany of things pregnant women aren’t supposed to do that used to be widespread, I’d say it’s a wonder the human race has survived at all.

      • Anonymous :

        You realize the same logic is applied by people who think that car seats for children are unnecessary because ‘we all survived’?

    • Ok, I just read the full article. Diagnosis with ‘alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder’ required meeting one of the following criteria:
      A. 6 or more drinks per week for 2 or more weeks during pregnancy
      B. 3 or more drinks per occasion on 2 or more occasions during pregnancy
      C. Documentation of alcohol-related social or legal problems in proximity to (prior to or during)
      the index pregnancy (eg, history of multiple citations for driving while intoxicated or history of
      treatment for an alcohol-related condition)

      Diagnosis with full or partial fetal alcohol syndrome did not require meeting these criteria, and could be based on expert evaluation alone. However, my initial read of the study does not give a breakdown of how many children were classified as having full or partial FAS without meeting this criteria. From what I can tell so far, the study is not designed to tell us anything about the effects of low levels of alcohol consumption, and does not add anything to current knowledge of that issue. Insofar as the NY Times story suggests that it does, that is sloppy reporting.

      NB: this does not mean that low levels of alcohol consumption are not a problem. To my understanding, that’s still an open question. But this study was not designed to answer that question.

      • Anonymous :

        You win the comment section today. Thanks for the summary from all of us who don’t have access to the full study article!

      • THANK YOU! I just read the article myself and came to very similar conclusions.

        The only thing this article can do is estimate the prevalence of alcohol related disorders in the community.

        Since the prevalence is higher than previously reported, hopefully this work will help procure the funding needed to do the secondary study which to look at the relationship between amount of alcohol consumption and development of these disorders.

        As awesome as that would be to know this more definitively, I’m skeptical it will ever happen, because that study is super super expensive to run.

  9. Has anyone taken Loestrin and want to share any experiences they had? I have my annual OBGYN appointment next week and the last time I saw her, she mentioned switching me from Aviane to Loestrin to possibly help with b r e a s t pain I get before my period. Aviane is the only thing I have ever taken (past 5 years). I have been researching and a few forums have mentioned that Loestrin made people lose their s*x drive. That’s the second problem I planned on bringing up next week – that I haven’t had a s*x drive in months. I wouldn’t want to switch to something that will make it worse/won’t help. I know everyone is different and my doctor will ultimately recommend what she thinks but just wondering if anyone has had any experiences they can share.

    • If you haven’t already, you may want to tinker with reducing your caffeine intake during your PMS time. I also got some relief from the tenderness by taking an evening primrose oil supplement during months when it was really bad.

    • I took it for a year. Stopped taking it because I broke up with the guy and didn’t want to keep taking it. Ended up taking it in the evenings instead of the mornings because otherwise I was ravenously hungry by noon and dead tired by 7:00 pm, to the point it was making me depressed that I didn’t want to do anything. I was moodier during PMS than I ever was off the pill, but didn’t notice any appreciable difference on dr!ve/desire. Was the only BC I’ve ever taken, and was only on it for about a year, so I don’t have any comparisons.

    • I stopped having cyclical breast pain when, after receiving this advice from a breast radiologist after a mammogram, I stopped wearing underwear bras. Wire-free only for me and my breasts never hurt anymore, and my fibrocystic condition is better. I’d try switching bras before getting on medication.

    • Not sure what to say about the b pain or s drive, but I have been on loestrin for a long time and have loved it. There was a point that my insurance changed and I had to do something else and felt … somehow cuckoo? My MD said of course that there is no scientific reasoning behind it but of course patients feel a preference so I was back on Loestrin. You don’t really know how you will respond bc our body chemistries are different, so as long as your doctor is open to helping you find the right one, that’s the best you can do. I like that it is very light dosage and appreciate the iron pills at the end as I typically have low iron. I have always had light p3riods and these made them even lighter and only typically last 2 days.

      • +1 – I’ve taken it for 26 years now so any side effects have long ago passed. In general, light periods and I don’t think I ever had side effects with it, no sex drive issues either

    • Have you tried high intensity exercise? :

      Intense exercise a week before my period totally prevents any breast pain and soreness for me. When I say intense exercise, I just mean doing something that gets my heart rate up, like a couple spinning or bootcamp classes during that week before my period. It’s definitely worth trying. Exercise before my period actually gets rid of 90% of my PMS symptoms. I usually end up with a little bloating, but no cramps, mood swings, or breast tenderness. When I forget the exercise though… my PMS symptoms come back with a vengeance.

      • I second this recommendation and have recently discovered this about myself as well. I was having severe b r e a s t pain for two full weeks before my period that hurt so bad it felt like I had two open wounds on my chest. I started a workout routine 7 weeks ago (BBG on the Sweat App) and the pain has completely gone away. I “should” have terrible pain this week leading up to my period and I don’t have any. I’ve decided I’m going to stick with this exercise plan based on this fact alone.

    • I have been using Loestrin for 10+ years with no side effects like you mention, no weight gain, no mood swings. Prior to switching I used a different low hormone BC (I think it was called Yaz? not sure if it is still available) and I was MISERABLE. It is so dependent on your personal body chemistry.

    • I was on Loestrin about 5 years ago and I lost my drive completely. I also weirdly lost weight after going off of it, even though I hadn’t gained any while on it.

  10. Anonymous :

    Joy. S$x dreams about a coworker. Whyyyyyy

    • Brains are weird. That is all.

      • I mean and I’ve been hung up on him for three years but still why why why can I not move on

        • I still have occasional dreams about my high school boyfriend and I’ve been married 10 years. Brains are weird indeed.

        • Dreams about someone you’ve been hung up on for 3 years are different than a random coworker.

          If you want to move on, realize that the version of him in your head is very much NOT the version that you would get in real life. You’ve likely put him on a pedestal and romanticized a lot of his quirks, but at some point the fantasy would crash down. Can’t tell if you dated him and moved on, or you’ve never dated him, but regardless. Push him off that pedestal, girl, and find you a guy who is into real-life you.

    • I once had such a dream about my boss and when I saw him that day turned bright, bright red and he noticed and I just kind of mumbled “Been trying not to cough” and avoided him for the rest of the day.

  11. Does anyone know how to get on verizon’s do not mail list? I’ve tried contacting multiple times.

    • Found a link to unsubscribe from email. Can’t seem to find one for paper mail.

    • Are you a customer? I bet it is an account setting.

      Prospective customer? I’m not sure that is possible

    • Prospective. That’s good to know. Any chance someone has used the usps prohibitory order? Is it effective?

    • Anon, come on. :

      IME this is literally impossible. I work for a competitor of Verizon and get all of my services for free as an employee benefit and Verizon STILL sends me piles and piles of trash. Based on my last name, they even started sending me notices in Chinese thinking the issue is that I can’t read the ads in English. I called and told them this and the mail never stops. I feel like Harry Potter in the first book.

      • Thanks for the HP reference- that made me laugh.

        • Anon, come on. :

          All the movies are on streaming on HBO, which may or may not be how I spent two consecutive days when I was sick. When then OF COURSE made me go back and read all the books.

    • They keep sending me ads for FIOS even though it’s not available in my area. What a waste.

  12. Sleep training myself :

    Over the last several weeks, I have been spontaneously waking up between 4:30 am/5 am every day, and I can’t fall back asleep. I usually go to bed between 10:30 – 11 pm. I normally like to wake up at 6:30 am and I really love my sleep, so I hate getting up so early.

    Anyone have this issue? When I wake up, I continue to lie quietly in bed with my eyes closed, but I’m still not able to sleep. The upside to this is that I don’t feel particularly tired, but I can’t imagine it’s good to only have 6 hours of sleep a day.

    Any advice?

    • Flats Only :

      It might not be spontaneous. Our neighbor got a bread delivery route, and started up his bread truck every morning at 4:30 AM. His headlights and accelerating engine at the stop sign in front of our house woke me up daily for weeks, but by the time I was really awake he was gone, so I thought it was just me. I “caught” him one morning when I woke up a little bit before that. I eventually learned to sleep through it.

      • Flats Only :

        Try ear plugs for a night or two, and see if you start sleeping through until 6:30 AM like you want to.

      • Yes, this often happens to me when my neighbor with an obnoxiously loud car leaves at odd hours of the early morning (3-5 am). I only “catch” him when he idles for an extra long time (why??????????). Unfortunately for me, earplugs tend to fall out by that time of the morning, but it’s worth trying if you think something like this is a problem. On the other hand, it also happens when I’m more stressed out than normal. Both cases are frustrating!

        • i sleep with earplugs and a white noise machine. if you aren’t quite ready to buy a machine, there is an app called “White Noise,” that I use when I travel. This has really helped with my sleep.

      • Might be the Adipose.

    • This happens to me when work is really stressful. I wake up in the middle of the night a few times and can’t fall back asleep. It really sucks.

    • Thanks all. I actually wear earplugs and have a white noise machine on every night, so it’s not a noise issue. Nor am I that stressed. In fact, I’m hardly stressed at all. I can’t figure this out!!

      • Something similar has been happening to me! For my whole life, it has been all I can do to drag myself out of bed in time for school, work, doctor’s appointments, flights, and other activities. Then, about 2 months ago I randomly started waking up 30, 60, or even 90 minutes before my alarm. On the weekends, I’m waking up several hours before my usual time. And once I’m up, I’m up – no falling back to sleep. I have no idea what has brought this on and how long it will last. I love sleep and kind of miss it!

        • Anonymous :

          I could have written every line of your post. It’s awful. I’m not just waking up earlier but I’m sleeping less deeply as well. I’m tired and I really miss my sleep. I’d chalked it up to getting older (I’m 49) but maybe it’s something else.

      • Commiseration. This exact thing has been happening to me lately. If I actually slept through until my alarm went off, I’d probably get enough sleep.

    • Too Early Wakeups :

      I often wake up at 5:30 needing to urinate but don’t want to leave my warm bed/be awakened even more by moving around, turning on the bathroom light, etc. Basically, I think the need is not so urgent as to keep me from falling back asleep and sometimes I’m so sleepy that I don’t really immediately realize what is going on. This is always a mistake, I can never go back to sleep, and the times I bite the bullet and go to the bathroom right away, I’m able to do so quickly and go back to sleep, resulting in more hours of sleep than I would have gotten if I’d just immediately tried to go back to sleep. Any chance that’s going on?

  13. Warm gloves for skiing :

    I went skiing a few weeks ago and while I had a blast, my hands were freezing. I bought some cheap gloves from Amazon that had great reviews, but they didn’t cut it.

    Any suggestions? I’m going back soon and won’t have time to go to a store, so online only please. Specific links especially appreciated!

    • I posted these last week when there was another question about ski gear. I wore these skiing in New Hampshire in January when temps were single digits and my hands were SO WARM.

      The colors and sizes available online are pretty lackluster, so if you have a Columbia outlet near you, head there. Better colors (I got just plain black and gray) and better prices.

      • Thank you! Unfortunately they don’t have my size (medium). If anyone has other ideas I would love to hear!

        • Here they are from two other stores:

    • Look online at REI – any brand they carry is going to be decent, so just find something in your price range. Mittens are warmer than gloves and you’ll want to order a pair of liner gloves to wear underneath whatever you choose, so don’t get the outer gloves so tight that they can’t fit.

      • +1. I am an avid skier and have poor circulation and have bought many pairs of gloves and mittens over the years for skiing from all sorts of the “big” brands. My REI mittens are hands down the best ever.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        Think about adding a glove liner. They have many at REI.

    • Mittens. Buy a higher end brand.

    • Anon in MT :

      Swany mittens with hand warmers added. They’re like sleeping bags for your hands. I ski in them all the time. Add hand warmers on really cold days. Link to follow.

      • Anon in MT :

        I have the Swany toaster mittens and I’ve been fine in sub-zero temps (with a hand warmer pouch added in the pocket for it):|404_113834|8522910004|none|7188072e-139f-4c3a-9a1c-06c7407c6a4b|pla-392113115993&lsft=cm_mmc:PLA_Google_LIA|404_113834|8522910004|none|7188072e-139f-4c3a-9a1c-06c7407c6a4b|pla-392113115993&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7erc27-U2QIVAdlkCh0bfQsAEAQYAiABEgJHUvD_BwE

    • Hestra, always Hestra, only Hestra, do not pass go, just buy Hestra heli mitts or gloves.

  14. Search isn’t working for me (on various browsers in multiple devices). Anyone have experience with Everlane? I’ve been searching for a mock neck cashmere sweater in black, and they have it. I’m also considering their denim and the boyfriend blazer. Thanks!

    • No, because they consistently seem to size me out (size 12) or I only exist at the top of their size range. It’s hard to tell because they only give garment measurements and not intended body measurements for different sizes. From what I’ve been able to find anyway.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I have a ton of clothes from Everlane, sweaters, t-shirts, silk button downs, a skirt, two cashmere dresses, and two pairs of ponte pants. The only thing that did NOT work for me was the denim, sadly. The material is great, real denim, not jeggings. The first pair I got fit well in the thighs, but were too big in the waist, so I sized down. The second pair I literally could not get above my hips. In hindsight, I probably should have just kept the original pair and got the waist taken in. I definitely wouldn’t caution anyone to not get the denim, it’s great quality, I just don’t think it worked for me personally.

    • The Mom Edit just did a post where one of their writers tried a bunch of Everlane items. Link to follow.

    • I love their transparent pricing, and have some of their clothes, but most of them don’t work on my body type so ymmv.

    • Architect :

      I bought that sweater in red for my daughter. She loves it. The color and fabrication are so good for the price. I also bought her a coat from Everlane. She is very happy with both items.

  15. Does anyone here have advice/experience regarding investing for retirement as a US citizen abroad? I am in the first stages of planning a long-term move, and I feel completely daunted by all my research into this topic, and like I’ll need to spend 50 percent of what I would contribute to my savings for various advisors to keep me in compliance.

    • Definitely have a chat with a tax lawyer who specializes in this. I’m actually tax lawyer who does retirement, but I do domestic only. If you’re moving for an international company, they may have advisors on hand who can help (i.e., many major multinational firms hire one of the Big 4 accounting firms to prepare the personal annual tax returns of their U.S. employees abroad – the Big 4 have armies of experts, too, who can advise on the taxation of specific situations). Because taxation will depend on whatever tax treaty the U.S. has with your host country, I’d really rely on a tax attorney for this. Good luck!

    • I’ve been an expat. The short answer is that if you are not on a US payroll, you will not be eligible for a 401(k). You can still contribute to an IRA or Roth (income limits depending). You are also eligible to contribute to tax-advantaged savings accounts in the country in which you are living and working, which may reduce your local tax liability, but will likely not reduce your tax liability for US tax filing purposes.

      In general, living abroad and taxes is quite complicated. I do agree you will need a local tax adviser who is familiar with filing US taxes for expats.

      The below webs t e should be helpful. Know that it is likely that the country you are going to has a tax treaty with the US, so you will likely be able to offset local tax paid on your US taxes via a deduction or credit (read the publication–it explains this). You also need to be very careful about how much time you spend in the US in any 12 month or annual calendar period too, or you can jeopardize your ability to take this offset.

      Will post link separately to avoid mod.

  16. Hats for travel :

    I’m looking for a decent wide-brimmed, packable hat for travel, either cloth or straw. Any suggestions for companies to check out?

    • Goorin Bros. has great packable hats.

    • Sol a Mer. Fantastic quality made in NYC company run by a woman in her 30s. Really lasts- I wear mine in the water, salt and chlorine, pack it all the time. Looks new.

      • Anony Mouse :

        I love these but they’re a bit out of my price range. Know of a comparable budget option?

    • I bought this hat and it seems like it would pack ok. It wrinkles a bit but I was able to steam the wrinkles out/squish them out with a book.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      How nice do you need your hat to be? I have the Crusher sun hat from Duluth that is great and very packable, but it’s clearly a hiking hat, not a fancy dinner hat.

      • I don’t want to scream hiker, although I will be doing some hiking. I’ll be in Europe so I’d like to look somewhat fashionable if possible. Not a total dealbreaker if I can’t though.

        • Anonymous :

          What about this one?

    • Of Counsel :

      I have an enormous head so Tilley makes pretty much the only women’s hats that fit me. Lots of options for style, SPF, and packability. Great quality.

    • San Diego Hat Company. I have had a couple from there and they pack well.

    • I have one from Nordstrom. I don’t think it’s specially designated “packable” but I do all the time and it looks great. The band came unglued but no dents or anything.

  17. sweater/blazer hybrid? :

    When an airline lost my luggage, I lost a blazer that was basically made of a light sweater knit. It had a shawl collar, pockets, and was that perfect hits-above-the-hip length. I’ve been searching for a replacement for literal years. Has anyone ever seen such a thing?

    • KateMiddletown :

      I bought one at Macy’s over the holiday (not sure it has pockets) – I believe it’s Alfani brand. It’s all I can do not to wear it daily.

      • I have the previous version of the Alfani one (normal 3/4 sleeves) and love it. Wanted to get some more but the new style is giant bell sleeves :( I wear the older one all the time and am hoping they do a redesign soon.

      • sweater/blazer hybrid? :

        The alfani cardigan is close enough. It’s in my shopping cart now. Thanks tremendously.

    • The jardigan?

    • Patagonia or North Face? They had something that sounds similar, but it wasnt a blazer really.

    • anon a mouse :

      J.Crew factory store has one if you search for “sweater blazer.”

  18. Bucket List :

    1. Go to Reese Witherspoon’s book club Instagram (@reesesbookclubxhellosunshine)
    2. Read the comments on this morning’s bucket list post
    3. Be inspired by all of the creative items on the bucket lists of others! Adding to my own list now!

  19. Looking for some hive research. :)

    We don’t give birthday gifts to our girls, but instead go on trips. We’re in the Midwest.

    I’m trying to plan a birthday trip in Sept for my youngest daughter (she’ll be 4). I asked her about her adventure, and she mentioned wanting to go to a “princess castle” (we did Disney last summer and I’m looking for a change) and a hotel with a pool.

    The hotel part is pretty easy. :) The castle is tricky. (Trying to stay in the US, probably eastern half of the country, near-ish to an airport, close to other things.

    Anything castle-ish you can recommend?

    • Well, the Biltmore is spectacular, but is a bit much for a 4 year old…unless you think she’d enjoy it?

      • I think a 4 year old would find Biltmore to be very boring

        • BeenThatGuy :

          Depends on the 4 year old. I took my son when he was around that age and he was fascinated with the house; he is almost 10 now (still talks about the bowling alley and swimming pool). I will say though, after touring the house, he was done.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          I am not that familiar with 4 year olds and what they find fun, but I think they might find the house tour boring, but running around the gardens/grounds while looking at the outside of the house might be fun. It definitely fits the castle request. I think you can also take carriage rides and they have some farm animals to look at, which seems like something kids would like? (Yea, my reference point for kids is not great). Biltmore is kind of expensive, but cheaper than Disney.

    • Would this list work?

    • Isn’t there a castle in Central Park? You could visit NYC—but then a hotel with a pool would be much trickier.

      Most of the “castles” in the US seem to offer museum/house tours, which are probably not that interesting to a 4 year old.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      How about Newport RI?

    • Where in the Midwest? There’s the Mars Cheese Castle in Wisconsin that is not too horribly far out of the way from the Wisconson Dells (which has water parks, aka hotels with pools).

      If she’s like my 4 year old, a 20 minute stop at a building that looks like a castle will definitely work for a “visit a castle” requirement. You could also check out a Medieval Times place or a college campus built in that Tudor-Gothic style.

    • I just googled Castles in the U.S. out of curiosity and there are surprisingly quite a few. Some in California, a bunch in Hudson Valley/upstate NY and some in PA. In PA there is also a kids amusement park called Dutch Wonderland that has a castle. There is also always Belvedere Castle in NYC. Not sure if you prefer city trips or other things, but you could do a Philly/Lancaster area trip – not sure exactly what other types of activities you are looking for but there is a lot to do in that area. There have to be some hotels with pools out there. Another option, while not exactly in the U.S. and not exactly a castle, is The Atlantis in the Bahamas.

    • On the way to Galena... :

      This is in Harvard, IL and cracks me up every time I’ve seen it. I’m planning on taking my daughter there, at some point, for visiting a castle.

      • This is kind of perfect!

        • On the way to Galena... :

          I’m glad you think so too :-) I never thought, in a million years, my knowledge of this place’s existence would have been relevant on this s!te, ha!

    • My brother’s family just visited the West Baden Springs Hotel. It’s decidedly castle-y and has a pool plus a lot of family activities. It’s also near the very glamorous Muncie, IN.

      • That’s the first place I thought of, as well. We were there for a wedding last summer, and had a great time.

    • Not in the US but in Toronto we have Casa Loma which would otherwise fit the bill

    • Senior Attorney :

      Hearst Castle in central California is great for kids and there are all kinds of great beaches nearby, too.

    • You can stay at Castle Post in Versailles, Kentucky! I am not including a link to avoid moderation, but it is just outside of Lexington, which has lots of great places to eat and things to do. The Castle is SO cool – I have loved it ever since I was about your daughter’s age. :)

    • Definitely castle-ish rather than castle, but look at Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio – depending on where in the midwest you are, this might be an easy trip. Can’t stay there but plenty of hotel options in the general area.

    • Mohonk moutain House!

    • Anonymous :

      A couple of ideas: DC and the Smithsonian Caslte, NYC and the Cloisters and (if you want to fly) Heast Cadtle in CA

    • A little off the beaten bath but in a beautiful, tranquil setting on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks. Tons of other fun stuff to do in nearby Eureka Springs.

  20. Bullet journaling question. I’m a lawyer and I’ve always kept my personal and professional calendars separate, but I’m starting to have a lot of overlap. My networking stuff IS my personal stuff. It’s also super unwieldy to have two calendars – I’m forgetting things because I never know which calendar to look at, especially on the weekends. There are basically four types of events I’m involved in: (1) lawyer-focused things, like bar associations; (2) community/charitable events that double as networking opportunities; (3) industry-focused events, like conferences or association meetings; and (4) individuals I’m prospecting – I need to make sure to connect with them every ~month or so to stay on their radar.

    I need to start tracking these activities to figure out what’s working for me and what’s not. I’d like to do that in my bullet journal (which I also use for purely personal stuff). Is this a terrible idea? How do other people manage this?

    • I don’t see why you can’t include this in your BuJo, at least for items 1-3 since there isn’t anything confidential about those meetings. I For number 4, could you put a note in your task list to contact certain people? You can always keep a separate file or spreadsheet for analysis of events/ follow-up with people if you think it is sensitive.
      I don’t put work to do lists in mine or client related meetings/phone calls. Those stay on my outlook calendar.

    • I have started putting personal stuff on my work Outlook Calander in shorthand/code. This keeps colleagues from attempting to claim evening time for calls and helps me understand what personal/work duties I have for the week.

      • givemyregards :

        Same – I’ve noticed that I lot of men that I work for seem to have no qualms about putting “dinner with so and so” or “kids t-ball game” on their calendars, so I’ve gotten over feeling weird about it. Plus it helps me be firmer about leaving on time. In outlook you always have the option make the details of an appt private, although it would be a “know your office” thing as to whether that would come across as strange. I see private 7pm appts on other people’s calendars all the time and it doesn’t phase me, but if you have a really nosy office with open calendar permissions, that may not work for you.

      • I have to put my personal stuff on my work Outlook calendar, or otherwise I just miss too many things. Two calendars is too many for me. I make my personal events/appointments/whatever “private” on the calendar, which is the norm in my office.

  21. Anyone have experience with Aerie leggings? I usually buy Old Navy, but some of the Aerie ones are cuter and comparably priced. Similar quality and fit?

  22. anon for now :

    I’m 5 or 6 weeks pregnant and I’m over the moon! Unfortunately, I can’t seem to think about anything else. Halp!

    • No advice, but congrats!!

    • congrats! i’m pregnant too and i thought my first trimester would never ever end because (a) i was so nauseous/puking all the time and (b) we wanted to wait to tell people, so it was like i was walking around with this huge secret for months and each day went by soooo slowly. In terms of work, I had to become more diligent about a to do list/blocking off my calendar to get things done and then to allow for time to think about the baby. I’m sure it drove him insane, but I used to text DH all day long, but it at least helped with some of my need to talk about it, even if he didn’t always respond right away

    • Also anon :

      Right there with you! I’m 8.5 weeks but am having trouble focusing. What’s derailing me is anxiety however since my first pregnancy last year ended in a miscarriage. Hoping for some relief from the anxiety in a few weeks. Congratulations!

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Congratulations! That’s so exciting!

  23. Prescription retinol question :

    Does anyone get a generic form of their topical retinoid? If so, which one do you use? Do you have sensitive skin?

    I have very sensitive skin, and have been using Atralin 0.05% GEL for years for my cystic acne (in combination with spironolactone). I have to now pay for all of medicines out of pocket until I reach my $7000 deductible with my new Obamacare plan, so I will move to a generic for sure. Wondering which generic you guys are using with good success, and if it is a gel or a cream? I am a bit worried my face will start peeling again (!). My primary care doctor will be clueless, and will just check the generic equivalent box on the script.

    Trying to avoid another $300 dermatology appointment, as finances are tight…..

    • givemyregards :

      I use tretinoin, which I’m pretty sure is generic because it cost me like $7, but I’m not 100% sure about that. I use the cream version and so far haven’t had any problems – I didn’t have a lot of peeling when I started, just some extra dry skin when the weather changed. .

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        It is generic. I have used that and switched back to name brand (I use tazorac) because I didn’t find it quite as effective. It was ok, I just felt the tazorac worked better at controlling my acne.

      • Tretinoin is the generic for Retin-A.

    • Linda from HR :

      What about Differin? It’s available OTC, last I saw it was only about $15.

      • Second the recommendation for Differin (adapalene). I used it when it was Rx and use the OTC now. Same experience, just much cheaper.

  24. Rec Request :

    What is everyone’s favorite eyeliner? I’ve been “tightlining” with eye shadow for a couple of years, but I think I need to change up my routine. I’d like something smooth and not too thick. Not interested in making a cat eye – just a normal lash line.

    • AnotherAnon :

      Tightlining is actually the underside of your eye, so underneath/inside your eyelashes on top.

      I like the Clinique twist ups for both, just regular lining and tightlining. A good drugstore dupe is the Rimmel twist up

    • Linda from HR :

      Kat Von D “tattoo” liner. I use the brown one on a daily basis.

    • Stila liquid eyeliner pen :

      I’ve been using the Stila liquid eyeliner pen for about 5 years now. I’ve tried a number of the other liquid eyeliners out there to make sure I’m not missing anything and the Stila one is the best. I also prefer liquid to pencil eyeliner because it goes on easier and doesn’t smudge. The Stila also doesn’t transfer onto my upper lid like most other eyeliners do. I also like that you can do either a really thin line that’s not obvious or a thicker line in the evening for more drama.

      • Stila liquid eyeliner pen :

        I should clarify that I only line my top lashline (on top of the lashes), not the bottom. I’ve tried the Kat Von D liner mentioned above but didn’t love it. Also, the Stila eyeliner comes off really easy with micellar water wipes. The only other liners I’ve tried with similar staying power were also really hard to remove, and I didn’t want to be scrubbing at my sensitive eyelid skin.

    • I have sensitive eyes/skin, so Clinque Quickliner. I have green eyes, and I love their grape/aubergine colors. They also have an intense purple that makes my eyes pop too. Stays on well all day with a small sweep of similar-shade shadow on top.

    • I love Clinique cream liner. It goes on really smoothly.

    • I like Lancôme liquid eyeliner. I use it in brown everyday. The latest version lets you adjust the angle of the brush—I didn’t know I needed that, but I love it!

      • Yes I like the Lancôme Artliner for a narrow line along my top lash line. Haven’t bought recently- latest version sounds great

        • Stila liquid eyeliner pen :

          I’ve tried the Artliner but don’t find the tip of the eyeliner pen to be precise enough. I have a hard time getting a thin, even line. Have you had this issue at all?

    • biglawanon :

      Typically a high end makeup person, but the best eyeliner I have found for tightlining/water line are Milani pencils. (Also I don’t understand how you are tightlining with eyeshadow – are you sure you are tightlining?)

  25. Coffee Snob :

    I’m looking to upgrade my coffee grinder, mine is not being very consistent with the grind. Any recommendations for one you love?

    • KateMiddletown :

      We have Mr. Coffee ($16 from amazon?) and it treats us right!

    • What do you use now? What you’re looking for is a good burr grinder. I have the Barratza Encore and really like it. If you want it to be even more consistent (especially for espresso) you could step it up to the Barratza Virtuoso.

      • Coffee Snob :

        Buying this one right now! Thank you!

      • Anonymous :

        Also, their customer service is fantastic. I have one that is several years old and they offer service packages. Sent it to them, paid about 60 dollars and it’s back and better than ever. Highly recommend. I have the Virtuoso.

  26. Today some lady I’d never seen or met before came all the way into my cubicle, to the point where she was literally right behind me as I was working, to toss a wrapper in my cube’s trash can, without so much as a “hello” or “excuse me,” just an “oh sorry, did I scare you?” when I said “oh” (because I felt like I should say something but didn’t know what).

    Look, I know us lowly cube workers aren’t as important as the office-having executives, but aren’t we entitled to some sense of boundaries?

    • That is super weird. I’d be annoyed, too.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh – you still have trash can in your cubes? Our employer took them away. So everyone has a little cup or whatever on your desk to catch the trash and then you trek it down to the communal trash/recycle/compost bins in the kitchen area (its really not that far).

  27. Senior Attorney :

    Outfit Chalenge, anyone? Here’s the prompt for today:


    Whereas last week’s sheath dress challenge was all about adding a tailored, fitted look to your basic sheath dress to change it up, this week is about making a structured sheath dress more casual by adding an unstructured element. I always think of a long cardigan like the Halogen one that’s been around for years, but you could also do a waterfall cardigan, a sleeveless vest/jacket, or even (if your office is casual/creative enough to do this) a kimono, utility jacket, or denim jacket. I always think of this as being a great look to pair with matching tights and boots or booties that are comfortable for you. The overall vibe should be comfy, easy, fun, and nonfussy — but still put together. As with our other sheath dress challenges you can do this with just about any dress in your closet, but it’s fun to try with one of your most classic pieces to see how many different wears you can get out of it.

    A note if you’re planning on wearing a winter coat on top of the look: personally I feel like long cardigans should be covered by a winter coat, instead of sticking out the bottom… so if this were me I’d probably bring the cardigan in a tote bag and just commute in the sheath dress. As readers say, though, YMMV.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I don’t have a long cardigan or any casual toppers that are office appropriate, so I am wearing my teal MM LaFleur Nisa dress with a lightish green short cardigan, and for the “unstructured element” I have a big infinity scarf with the colors of both the dress and the cardigan. Cognac pumps and bag. Not my super fave way to wear this dress but it’s fine.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I tried posting this earlier and my message is stuck. I didn’t follow today’s challenge because I don’t have anything that would work, but I love my outfit today – MMLF Foster olive skinny pants, black and white polka dot top, green stone necklace from India, bright yellow cardigan, and white/gray kitten heels.

      • Senior Attorney :

        That sounds so fab! It’s really just right for yesterday’s challenge, isn’t it?

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t folks commute in a long winter coat? I have 2, both of which cover my butt.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I’m in So Cal and apparently we just don’t have winter any more. It’s been in the 70s and 80s for weeks with no change in sight!

    • christineispink :

      I joined late – so I’m on Day 3 of Week 1 – but love feeling like I’m coming up with new combinations of the clothes in my closet!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I struggled with this one, but ended up wearing a Victoria Beckham dress with flowers on the front (VERY mod) from Target, a black Bobeau cardigan, black tights, and dark grey TOMS booties with a berry lip stain and earrings that look like hand mirrors.

    • I’m wearing a black-and-white checkered Calvin Klein sheath dress, with a dark gray (and ancient) American Eagle cardigan over it. Then dark gray fleece tights, black Ralph Lauren boots, and a silk scarf because I am really into them lately.

      Even if my coat didn’t cover my cardigan, which it does, forget carrying it separately! It’s cold today.

  28. Counseling/therapy legal Q :

    Getting close to making my first appt for my own counseling to discuss problems with my spouse- I posted a couple times yesterday on others’ threads and you guys convinced me to talk to someone. This is through an employer benefit. It’s a long term controlling relationship and I don’t where I’m headed yet. Does anyone know about mandatory requirements for reporting partner violence (In N.C. specifically?) I’d like to be able to talk to a therapist freely about a couple of the actual physical things that happened in the past, and from what I can tell unless I sign consent, this will not be reported anywhere? Thanks for info

    • Anonymous :

      From the website I will link below it looks like the only mandatory reporting in NC for counselors is for suspected abuse of minors, the elderly, or disabled adults.

      I’m glad you’re going to start therapy! That’s a huge step! Sending you internet hugs.

  29. Ellen?? Hmmmm. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

    I read an email on a listserv from a lawyer that I barely know. The cadence and capitalization and random asides and general tone reminded me of Ellen. Missing were the obvious misspellings in Ellen’s posts, but other than that, this person could have been Ellen. For a second, I was confused and thought I was reading this blog. Maybe I know the real life Ellen?

    • Anonymous :

      That’s awesome! See, and all of you thought she was a troll. Can you post some of it, just to crowd source?

  30. In the last year, I’ve developed a sensitivity to sulfites. There is no test for it, so all anecdotal but am also allergic to some sulfite-based medicines and am in the higher risk category of being a female adult with asthma. Sulfites are in everything, turns out and I can no longer drink any beers or wines without having allergy symptoms (sneezy nose, watery eyes, congestion) and last night I had half a beer and woke up with stomach issues. My doctor has suggested OTC allergy meds which haven’t done much and avoidance.

    Anyway – I know there are sulfite free wines that exist but haven’t been able to try them. Anyone else deal with this? Should I learn to just love bourbon?

    • Anonymous :

      Bourbon is awesome. What about hard ciders? Do they have the same issues?

    • I don’t have this issue but I a good friend does. She told me the sulfites are only in white wine. Red doesn’t have them. You might try that and see if that works for you. I know it worked for her. She drinks plenty of red wine. But also, yes, bourbon.

    • Cornellian :

      I have the same sensitivity. Short of buying special wines, I’ve had better luck with red than white wine, which I think is because tannins themselves add stability, so you don’t need as much added preservatives.

  31. I’m looking for some Valentintines Day gift help. My SO and I celebrate with gifts, but he is a very practical guy. Think, like, a younger hotter Ron Swanson from Parks & Rec. I’m getting him a nice leather dop kit and a bottle of his favorite whiskey… but I would like to add some extras to go in the dop kit. He is SO not the type who would like splurgy toiletries — can you think of anything else on theme that I could stick in there? Thanks for any help, ladies!

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