Coffee Break: Cookie Cards

LOVE this idea - you can gift single cookies and personalize them as thank you/birthday gifts!Oooh: in my latest “things I’ve learned from the readers” column, it’s that there are totally awesome single cookies you can send to someone for less than $6 (and personalize it for just a few bucks more). (Here’s the recent comment thread about it.) What a great way to make someone else’s day and go the extra mile when “nothing” is inadequate as a gesture/action to express your thanks/love/affection… but an official note/gift is too much. Lots of options, and they come with a $5 off card so whoever gets the cookie can pass the good vibes along. Cookie Cards

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  1. I am excited about these!

    Wonder who I owe a Thank You to!

  2. That was ME! I feel so “yaaaaaay” about being a part of so many awesome gals here showing love to the awesome people in their lives! YAAAAAY

    • I love this idea! Can you tell me if this cookie is a decent size or is a single cookie going to feel like a disappointment. I would with a team across the country and would love to use these occasionally.

    • Anonymous :

      Thank you! What a nice thing to share w the Hive. I sent one out the day you wrote in – can’t wait to see how it turns out.

    • Not That Anne, The Other Anne :

      I just sent one to my BFF today after not so subtly asking which flavor of cookie she would pick, if she could. :D

  3. frustrating neighbors :

    I posted this weekend but someone recommended I repost today when there are more eyes and opinions…

    Neighbors just moved into the apt below mine 2 months ago. In that time, they smoke outside causing me not to be able to keep windows open (and thus using a/c at night rather than cool night air) and they have a pitbull they let run offleash in common areas. I went 2 months without saying anything but last night as I was coming home, they were smoking with the pitbull running free and I paused a phone call to say hello, to ask them to try to smoke further from the building since the smoke goes into other apartments, and to let them know that the complex has strict rules about any dog being off-leash and the fines are super high. I felt like it was quick and I was polite.

    This morning, the complex mgr. calls me, says these people filed a complaint against me that I’m urinating off the balcony onto their property. I chatted with the mgr., explained what I’d said to them last night, explained that I’d be more likely to end up with wet feet if I ever even tried to pee off of something, and I wonder if this was a complaint to retaliate against me talking to them or to make me look bad in case I ever complained. Mgr seems like he understood, said he’d let them know he talked with me and he didn’t think I was actually urinating, and that he’d look into the dog thing as they don’t have one registered to their unit.

    Now I’m feeling anxiety about whether they’ll retaliate or something. I get anxious easily and I can’t tell if this is a legit thing threatening the calm of my home or if I’m overreacting.

    • I read it this weekend and I can’t believe they did that! CRAZY!

      My suggestion would be to just keep your head down. They are the ones who got management involved. You confronted them directly and were mature and polite about it. If this is the way they conduct themselves I would guess they won’t be your neighbors for long…

    • I read it too and was so frustrated for you.

      I only thought of one thing that may make this all one big misunderstanding, but do you happen to have potted plants on your balcony? If so, the water runoff from that could look like ur!ne to them below and they might have been fuming this whole time that you are ur!nating on them so when you complained, it set them off and they complained. Regardless, I’m sorry. I would remain polite with your neighbors and maybe in a couple of weeks tell your management company about the smoke. Your complaints are valid, it’s just a matter of being credible to your management.

      • Or from the AC unit.

      • I see this, and agree with the point, ultimately.

        But it’s a big ole leap from water dripping off balcony –> upstairs neighbor is peeing on us.

        • Anonymous :

          That was my thought. Never once have I thought a drip from an upstairs neighbor was u r i n e unless I had a really good reason to believe so. My first instinct would be water from plants, a/c unit, spilled drink, etc. These people are clearly retaliating for the OP daring to say something to them about smoking and the loose dog. I’ve had people react poorly in similar situations in my urban, non-gentrified neighborhood.

          • I explained that one or twice ever (which may have been before they even moved in), there were huge rains and I used a squeegie around 2am to push the water off the balcony onto the plants below, which is nowhere near the doorway for them, I looked first, and it’s not an area where anyone could walk.

            I wonder if they heard it and thought someone was urinating? Not sure if I should leave a nice note on their door or assume they suck and just avoid them.

          • Anonymous :

            No, do not leave a note on their door. You are not coming off as nice and concerned, you are coming off as a sanctimonious rule-enforcer.

          • Definitely assume they suck and avoid them. A nice note is not going to help here.

          • Thistledown :

            Yes, avoid them, document anything you can. Continue to be polite and reasonable when talking to the manager. Absolutely avoid escalating anything having to do with neighbors.

    • Anonymous :

      Their reaction was over the top but tbh I’m not surprised you got some kind of retaliation. It’s much easier and more comfortable for you to close your window and turn on the AC than for them to walk far away from the building every time they need to smoke (every hour? more?) instead of smoking on their own patio. Apartment living comes with inconveniences like this.

      The dog issue is different and imo you should’ve just reported to management that “someone” is letting a pitbull run free.

      • Anonymous :

        Don’t take this advice

      • Yeah, I agree. This is a situation where you’re technically in the right, and it would be nice if there could be some kind of justice. But this is real life, and it’s not fair, and getting the outcome you want is probably not going to be worth the hassle.

    • I had a similar (though not nearly as extreme) neighbor. Ultimately, I kept complaining about their violations (in their case, noise) and their lease was not renewed. It turns out other people were complaining as well. If your neighbors have an unregistered dog the building is going to have a hard time giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    • This is completely bananas.

      I don’t think I would stick a note on their door though. I think I would stick with what you’re doing: approach them calmly and politely if they’re doing something out of line. Pretend nothing is going on with bizarre accusations about urinating to management. If they accuse you of it directly, just deny it outright because it is in fact false. Basically, continue to be a reasonable person in the face of their attempts to escalate, and hopefully that will stop the escalation from happening at all.

      • Document document document. Keep notes on your calendar with times and activities. Double check your lease so you can quote line and verse. I had something similar happen, but when I reminded the culprits that I’d been taking notes for months, they shut up and mended their ways (after two written complaints to management as well).

    • People smoke. You live in an apartment. Close your window.

      • Depends where she lives. In my city there is a ban on smoking in apartment buildings. All units newly occupied since 2012 are non-smoking. (If you moved in before then, you are grandfathered in.) And there’s no smoking allowed in any common areas.

        • Well, Ms. Rules would have said if it was against the rule because dogs can’t be on leashes. She wants them to move further away. She can close her window.

        • lawsuited :

          It sounds like the neighbours are not smoking in the building – they’re smoking outside but not far enough away from the building as OP would like.

          In some municipalities, smoking is not allowed within X feet of a building, but absent a by-law like that, I think OP is SOL WRT smelling smoke when she opens her windows.

          • In almost all Canadian cities smoking must be 10m from public buildings. It’s a fairly normal bylaw, not saying OP is Canadian, but I think it’s possible she lives in a city with similar rules and courtesies to prevent second hand smoke and cancer.

      • Anonymous :

        Nonsmokers are not obligated to accommodate smokers. Smokers are the one with the “hobby” that causes cancer and premature death by any number of causes. The rest of us are not required to put up with that, and that’s been codified into law in many places.

        • This! Also, many of us are seriously allergic to cigarette smoke. I am also curious if the building is smoke free. I know that my building is and it means no smoking anywhere near the building – not just inside.

  4. Can we talk about fall flats? Has anyone purchased closed toe flats you like? I’m really struggling – I’ve worn the J. Crew CeCe for years but would like something other than a ballet flat. A few parameters – I don’t walk a ton, but a few blocks (~.5 miles each way) between car and work, so it should be comfortable and relatively durable. I like the look of the Nisolo smoking shoe. Are there other, similar options out there you can think of?

    • For short-haul commuting shoes, I really like these Ugg flats (no they don’t scream “Ugg”) —

    • Anonymous :

      I just bought these. They seem comfortable and the nude color is really pretty.

      • those are cute! on a similar note, I just got these: (I see a Me Too suggestion below as well — yes! They are so comfortable).

    • JinSeattle :

      Flats from the Me Too brand have served me well and don’t look like walking or comfort shoes. I’ve seen loafer styles.

  5. Canadian Reader :

    Anyone have a Kobo? Thoughts/comments?

    For some reason, Canadian library e-books do not work on kindles so that option is out for me.

    • lawsuited :

      I have a kobo and it works fine, but I end up using the kobo app on my iPad most of the time.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re still around – yes, I love mine. I got one with the integrated overdrive app so I can check-out library books directly from my library without having to plug it into a computer or anything. Mine has a back-light that changes color (blue light for day, warm yellow light for night).

  6. Repeating from the earlier post (thanks for the reply!)

    In search of Kindle advice: which to pick?

    I need to replace my aging Kindle and am trying to figure out which option would be best for me. Must-haves are (1) lightweight, (2) able to read in direct sunlight. I don’t think I want anything as tablet-ish as a Fire (isn’t the point that I’m reading and not distracted by games or whatever?). Some people have said that the Paperwhite isn’t as eye-friendly as the model that’s one older / cheapest — anyone care to chime in?

    • I have a Paperwhite (it is a few years old) and haven’t experienced any problems reading in direct sunlight. And the nightlight has been an absolute GODSEND for my marriage. I have to read to fall asleep but don’t particularly like clip on book lamp, DH has a hard time falling asleep with any lights on – even the book lamp would be a problem if I moved around. The Paperwhite totally solved that issue.

      • +1 to all of this. I love my Paperwhite and bought a second one immediately after I mistakenly left the first on an airplane. I love it.

      • OCAssociate :

        +1 to all of this, including the book light and annoyed husband. Love my paperwhite.

    • Anonymous :

      I have the Oasis and love it. I figure I kept the last one seven years I should splurge on the best model. Love how it feels in my hand.

    • I’ve owned three or four kindles to date and the Paperwhite is my favorite yet.

    • Anonymous :

      I have the paperwhite and, tbh, I don’t like it. I like the e-ink and the built-in light.

      I don’t like the lack of designated, physical buttons for turning the page. To turn the page, I have to move my finger to use the touchscreen. So many times, I highlight a word or make a “clipping” by accident instead of turning the page. It wasn’t a problem at first, but after 100+ books, it’s getting annoying.

      I also don’t like that Amazon removed the headphone jack. I used to listen to Audible books on my kindle and I can’t do that anymore. It’s minor but still annoying that I can’t do that anymore.

      It bothers me that the paperwhite didn’t come with a charger. It’s a normal micro USB charger so I have a few already so it’s not a big deal but still. It’s a slap in the face that Amazon wants $20(!) for a charger.

      When this paperwhite breaks down, I am going to splurge on the Voyage just for the darn page-turn buttons. The Oasis looks weird to me so I would want to try it out before buying.

  7. Hey, all. Could use some tips on how to navigate parties, dates and general weekend fun while trying to lose weight the slow, steady way. I do fine with meal prepped lunches and dinners during the week. But put me at a buffet or on a date and after a glass of wine, I lose control. I feel like all I do at these events is say no in my head until I just give in and go crazy. Suggestions like snack beforehand are not very helpful when the point of the evening, whether date or party, is centered around eating and drinking festive foods and drinks. Any ideas short of just skipping most parties? Sure, I can lose the weight if I stay in every weekend and only snack on carrots, but that doesn’t sound like much of a life…

    • Anonymous :

      This is also my struggle. I do weight watchers and if I know I have a couple social things then that’s it- I have to save all my weekly points for that. I try to focus not on perfection but on making good choices, so if there are healthy options I hit those first.

    • Okay, so I’m not sure if you are truly wanting to lose or if you’re miserable about the process, but assuming you really do want to lose and still socialize, I hope this helps!

      My experience comes from being someone who doesn’t drink and whose work and friend times often surround alcohol. When interacting with friends, no one cares. When interacting with others, some feel weird or try to insist on bringing me a drink.

      I found that I can get a soda with a stirrer straw and no one knows it’s not alcoholic. Or I get one drink that I don’t love the taste or hate the taste, which helps me to drink in sips which keeps a drink in my hand without actually doing much drinking.

      So, when it comes to your stuff… if it’s dates, suggest taking a walk or going to a museum or something which is more intimate in giving time to talk and doesn’t involve food. If it’s parties or social events, try to choose something that eats slowly if there’s nothing healthy. If you go without being super hungry, there’s no internal desire to snack attack and if you stick with club soda or something that can pass for alcohol but isn’t, you can avoid losing your inhibitions and eating otherwise.

      If you do go to a restaurant for a meal, check out the website in advance and figure out what you’ll order. Knowing means you won’t be browsing the menu and seeing what you’re not wanting yourself to have. If anyone questions this, it’s something many do if they have food allergies or if they’re picky eaters, so it doesn’t look strange to anyone. You can just decide in advance, then open the menu, count to 20, then comment that you heard -whatever you’re going to eat- was great there and you’re going to order that! As someone who’s a super picky eater, I can tell you that you may think it’s weird or awkward but no one ever notices or cares the process of deciding what to order or what you actually eat, unless you morph into a When Harry Met Sally person at the time of ordering.

      Oh, and you are a total [email protected]$$! So many don’t have the drive to stick to a weight loss plan and you are doing it! Go You!

    • Stop saying no. Budget extra calories on those days so you can have a reasonable amount of party food. Reasonable enough that you don’t feel you’re denying yourself, which leads to the giving in and going crazy.

    • anon a mouse :

      Exercise and strategize. I always up my exercise for weeks when I know there are a lot of social engagements. And I try to eat ahead of time, and take mints for when I want to be done eating. But! It’s an event! I give myself a points budget and try to stick to it. On a recent night I allocated myself enough for 2 glasses of wine and an appetizer.

      It’s hard, especially to see other people eating a ton of food. But I try to take the long view. In another month I want my fall clothes to fit. I won’t remember that [fried appetizer] that I ate at the networking event.

    • Something that deters me from overindulging is thinking about what a PITA it’s going to be to enter all this crap into WW. Pick 1 or 2 things and eat only those. Don’t eat stuff that isn’t special. If you really want cheese squares you can have those anytime, so have the bacon wrapped little smoky instead (but only 1 or 2). See if you can find what will be served beforehand and see how many points it is. Sometimes I’ll look at the bacon wrapped little smoky and know it’s 10 gazillion points and not want to bother.

      • Anonymous :

        I LOL’ed at “bacon wrapped little smoky” — what?

        • Anon in NYC :

          a little smoky is a mini hot dog (I did not know this until, like, 2 years ago).

        • It’s a little mini smoked hot dog wrapped in bacon (preferably maple bacon). So much more worth it than a cheese cube. Go big or go home, ladies!

        • Chicaganon :

          Smoky refers to a smoked sausage :) They’re somehow the unofficial food of holiday parties, at least where I’m from.

          • pugsnbourbon :

            Or without bacon, simmering in a mystery sweet sauce (cocktail sauce? barbecue sauce?) all night in the crock pot :)

          • That secret sauce is often BBQ sauce, chili sauce, grape jelly or some combination of the above. A little onion and garlic powder also.

          • If that is wrong I don’t want to be right.

          • Back in my much younger days, we used to call those monkey d!cks in bbq sauce.

        • Anonymous :

          To pugsnbourbon’s comment, I believe the concoction is grape jelly and barbecue sauce! Something weird like that.

        • Cornellian :

          I have never heard this term before.

        • Really? Do you live under a rock?

    • Anonymous :

      I get the weirdness. What you can do is eat healthily at all other times, but especially the day of. Eat your veggies. Exercise. And just let it go and enjoy yourself. One night a week doesn’t matter. Two nights, you’ll have to be a little more careful but it’s still doable.

    • Anonymous :

      One of my tricks in these situations is to drink something that I hate. It basically forces me to nurse my drink because I’m trying to drink something disgusting, so I end up never drinking too much (and not eating the drunk snacks that come with drinking too much).

    • For drinks- Have your one glass of wine or whatever and then switch to sparkling water. Drinking more than one (for me– might be 2 for others) leads me to make food choices that I don’t actually want to make, so first thing is to limit the drinking to where you can make the decisions that are right for you.

      For food- if it’s a get-together be proactive and bring a veggie tray and fruit plate. Go crazy and eat as many veggies and fruits as you want! :) Sure you can have some of your friend’s special crab dip too, but really fill up on the veggies. If it’s a restaurant just do your best to make a reasonable but not overly restrictive choice. For example, I like to get a fish or chicken dish with veggies on the side when getting a plain salad will just make me feel deprived. I actually find that sit-down restaurants are the easiest to keep to an eating plan because there’s no option of grazing. Buffets are really hard- I again just try to fill up on some healthy stuff and get small portions of other yummy looking items, but it is definitely harder to stick to that plan.

      This advice is just what I try to do, but I also agree with the others here– if you decide that this type of planning just isn’t tenable for you, then don’t worry about 1-2 days a week of (reasonable) indulgence. There’s actually a fair amount of studies that show restrictive eating several days a week and unrestricted eating other days can be a very effective weight loss strategy!

  8. Is it normal to dread dates? Or am I just going on too many boring ones with little chemistry? I find myself not looking forward to them but going out of a sense of obligation.

    Think I just answered my own question, actually. I would give up on online dating altogether except it seems to work for everyone else in my circles, so I don’t want to totally rule it out (and besides, it’s not like I’m meeting tons of eligible men out and about).

    • Anonymous :

      Sounds like you are burned out and should take a break from dating! I know this means that you may not meet someone as quickly, but it also means that you will have a better attitude when you do go back to dating and (IMO/IME) this results in better dates and better chances of clicking with someone. I’d much rather go out on 5 medium dates, than 20 duds.

    • There’s a fb group of women here who are dealing with the dating world, if that helps

      Also, if dating is no fun, either stop for a while (it’s no fun for you and it’s no fun for someone to go on a date with someone who already dreads it). Otherwise, maybe find things you want to do and invite someone to join you? Then if it stinks, you did the thing you wanted to do so it’s still a yay, and if it’s good, it’s a fun first date with someone great.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m totally pro dating app/site hiatus every few months whenever I feel burnt out from it. Take the extra time you were spending on dating and put it to something you’ve always wanted to do — I used those chunks of dating-free time to learn to cook, totally purged my wardrobe, and started working out regularly. The randos will always be there, but giving yourself a clear head will make it easier to find the good ones and recognize them when they show up.

    • Oh, I feel this way a lot when I am dating. I’ve been on a break for most of the year because of it. I went on a second date recently and felt like I was going to throw up before the date (not out of excitement, mind you), so… yeah. I’m taking a break.

      • And was the second date blah?

        • Yeah, I guess so. We were at a concert, which was an actually fun thing to do. I’d also gone to a happy hour before I met up with him, so the “I’m going to throw up” feeling had passed by the time I saw him. But he still asked why I was being standoffish. I think it was hard for me to get past my initial impression that he was kind of full of himself.

          • So no Date 3? (“Full of himself” is a yuuuuge problem for me.)

          • Nah, we made tentative plans to meet up and then kind of mutually flaked. Which is actually how there came to be six weeks between the first and second dates, so a third date may yet happen! heh.

          • I love the phrase “mutually flaked” and know exactly what you mean.

          • Thistledown :

            Asking why you were being standoffish seems like some sort of shitty pick-up artist strategy. What are you supposed to say to that?

    • How much vetting are you doing up front/are you agreeing to dates where you don’t really see yourself being into the person, just for the sake of going? If so, then continuing to go won’t help, and it’s better to pare down to going out with people you think have the possibility of being interesting.

      I tend to only experience the sense of dread/nausea before a date when I know I’m just trying to make something work rather than actually harboring genuine interest in the person. This happens when I think I *should* go out with the guy because he’s nice or ticks boxes I’m interested in, but I’m just not getting any chemistry vibe. I’ve now been on literally hundreds of app dating dates, and I have never once had a good date, or had chemistry develop, once I started to feel that dread/nausea feeling. Not once. So I try to pay attention to it.

      • I vet a LOT. I probably only respond to 5-10% of the messages I receive, so while I don’t go on five dates a week or anything, the dates I do go on are good quality. There’s just never any chemistry. The guys are good on paper but I feel nothing. I don’t think about them when I’m not with them, and I don’t get butterflies.

        Some of these responses and the ones below make me wonder if I should be powering through and continuing to date people when there is nothing inherently wrong with them, but when the thought of kissing someone makes me feel ill, i don’t think I can do it. Either I’m bad at dating or I just haven’t met the right guy yet. I don’t know which!

        • Oh, I am staunchly against “powering through”–when I feel it in my gut and/or I have a physically aversive response, I know I should NOT power through. Everyone’s different, so other people’s experiences may be different. I’m wondering, though, if there’s something else that’s making you more ambivalent than you might otherwise be. Is there any chance you’re dealing with some underlying mild depression or anxiety or insecurity or self-worth issues that are causing you to wall yourself off to people who might be good matches? It seems surprising to me that you are NEVER excited. I am perhaps rarely excited about a prospect, but if the text banter is witty, I definitely get at least a little excited to meet someone (even knowing that the vast majority of the time it doesn’t work out). I find that when I’m feeling anxious, stressed, or a little depressed, I have a more difficult time getting excited about anyone.

  9. I’ve been replaying my failed dating history lately, wondering if I was too quick to give up on otherwise good guys because there was no spark. This made me curious – how important is spark/attraction to you and how long do you wait for it? If I am repulsed right off the bat, i don’t go on a second date, but it seems like there’s a gray area of “could possibly be attracted to” where there’s no chemistry immediately, and I am always confused as to how long we should keep going out for (assuming the guy keeps asking). Thoughts?

    • So, in the spirit of the thread above, I’ve done a lot of continuing to go on dates as long as the guy keeps asking, in hopes of a spark developing. I’ve usually ended up cutting these off somewhere around date 5, which seems to be long enough for me to start to drop my guard and see if there’s a spark when our personalities interact a little more naturally.

      I don’t think there’s a hard number. I think the key, though, is whether some kind of spark does appear sometime in those early dates. I mentioned above feeling nauseous in anticipation of a second date – that’s happened to me enough times that I’ve started referring to it in my head as the curse of the second date. But sometimes, the second date isn’t cursed – we have great conversation and laugh a lot and I feel attracted to the guy. Once, I suddenly felt a spark on a third date when we were hanging out with some mutual friends (and our previous interactions had been kind of mundane).

      I’ve found I don’t much like being rejected for “no spark” after a single meeting, so I try not to do it to others unless the first date was truly unpleasant.

    • I’ve broken up with several good guys. They were nice people and I wish them well. Didn’t make them the right partner for me. If there’s no chemistry, you shouldn’t keep dating.

    • IMO, if it’s a “yes” or a “maybe” then I keep going. As soon as it gets to a “no,” I think about why and decide whether the “no” should be a “maybe.” (For example, there’s a difference between an instant no because he’s too short or not college educated or doesn’t read much is different than an instant no because he’s a racist or a jerk or rude, etc..) As soon as it’s a “no” for reasons that aren’t me being petty, I’m done.

  10. anon a mouse :

    In the spirit of today’s post (which I am totally ordering for a friend soon): what are other products that you’ve discovered and love thanks to social media?

    I’ll start: a relative was recently raving about Bombas socks so those are now on my Christmas list. And friend has been talking up ThirdLove for undergarments.

    • Anonymous :

      Thinx the period underwear!

    • I LOVE my Bombas socks. I discovered through Shark Tank.

      I discovered and really like Fabletics (esp. the salar leggings) through social media targeted marketing. :)

      I’m sure there’s a million other things but that’s what I’ve got off the top of my head.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      That Biore Watery Essence sunscreen that bloggers love is my favorite right now!

  11. PLEASE help me deal with a passive-aggressive male colleague :

    I work in a support manner to a man. My working relationship with him has me at the end of my rope. He might reply to 10% of the emails that I send him. Just this morning, I sent him 6 emails regarding different topics/strings of communication, and he has replied to none. Meanwhile, other people send him emails copying me and so I see his responses coming back in real time. When others ask about why various projects are taking so long, I am hearing from others that he throws me under the bus.

    How do I handle this? I am actively forwarding incriminating strings to my boss. But I want to fix the problem. I’ve tried saying to him “we need to communicate better; tell me how to communicate with you so we can move forward together” and he says things are fine, etc., in person.

    I feel like a non-person at this point. Every email I send to him is like throwing a message in a bottle out into the ocean.

    Sometimes I will follow up on a question to this person 5 or 6 times, him never responding, and then a THIRD party will ask “what is going on with X?” and he will resurrect my initial email, delete all my follow up emails, and then respond to the broader group – giving others the impression that I am not following up and doing my part to help him stay on top of things. (I am not his secretary). But it seems petty to jump in and say “just to clarify, I asked for this information 7 times…thanks for finally getting back to me…”

    I need help. So much help. And it makes me seethe that he would never be so disrespectful to a man.

    • Anonymous :

      You’ll never fix this. Start looking for a new job asap.

      • +1

        This is clearly not a situation where someone sucks at emails. This is someone who actively puts you down, creates poor relationships between you and others, and has no problem continuing to do so.

        I’d start looking for another job or, if you can afford to leave before having another job, go talk to the boss, explain the situation, and explain that based on this, you’ll be leaving. I’m normally against exit interviews since I think it gives free advice to a place you’re leaving (why help them on the way out), but in this case, speak openly if you don’t think they can hurt you in another place of employment. (I’d almost be wanting to send a collective office email that you believe in not being a doormat or someone’s patsy so you’re out, but I know I probably wouldn’t actually do that.)

      • + a million

      • Thistledown :

        After one or two follow ups, can you forward the chain to his supervisor with a note saying, “Matt doesn’t seem to have time to work on this, could someone else with more availablility take over the project?”

        He’s accountable to someone, so make sure that someone has the information they need- just keep the focus on the project “I need a decision on X to move forward and haven’t heard back from Matt- should this project be put on hold?” Rather than focusing on the behavior “Matt never responds to my emails-please make him talk to me.”

        You could also try talking in person or scheduling meetings- try sending out the agenda before and after. “Status: on hold until Matt pulls the report.”

        And start looking for a new job.

    • Anon in NYC :

      This guy isn’t your boss, right? Is there any reason why you can’t just reply to the third party (copying him and your boss) with your email thread and/or reply to his reply and outline the various steps you’ve taken and what needs to happen next? I mean, it’s petty, but also eff him.

      If you haven’t already, I think you should pull a few of these examples and sit down with your boss and directly explain that basically this guy is slowing down these various projects and you’re not sure what to do about it.

    • Two thoughts —

      A) Are any of these things that you’re emailing about really your responsibility, rather than his? If I expect something to be handled by a subordinate, I generally want them to handle it and not email me constantly.

      B) Can you email him a lot less? If you’ve emailed him six times in one morning — that’s five times too many. Give him less noise to sort through.

      • PLEASE help me deal with a passive-aggressive male colleague :

        1. No. And I am not his subordinate, we are the same level but different functions.

        2. Can try to email him less, but we have SO many projects and I can’t copy a single email into 6 different email subfolders to keep track of things. Plus, one of those emails might have 15 questions on that project; another email might have 5; etc., so it would just get so unwieldly.

        • No offense, but I’m not likely to respond to your emails either. Is there a reason you’re not having a meeting or a call to go over your seemingly voluminous and ridiculously long emails?

        • To add a little more context to my comment above, I’m a SME in my area and receive support from other business units. I’ve worked with people who send emails just like you do on big projects. It takes me SO LONG to write up responses to six different emails with 5-15 questions, but I can rapid fire respond over the phone or in person. The best support units then send a summary email for each project to summarize the phone call and I only need to respond if something was miscomprehended.

          The person you’re emailing may have many irons in fires burning hotter than yours. A quick phone call with the person to indicate that you’re not getting the responses you need and is there anyone else you can reach out to might be very beneficial for both of you. If that phone call is not beneficial, it’s time to go over his head.

        • That does seem like a lot. I would have a really hard time with 6 emails from one person in a morning with up to 15 questions per email!

          If you regularly need this amount of input from him, would a weekly phone meeting or in-person meeting be more reasonable? Get all the questions out of the way in an hour and then cut down on the volume of emails?

    • yup, get out now :

      Thirding to say you need to get out. This person is actively undermining you, and it will spread and damage your reputation. This started to happen at my old job, and fortunately, my direct boss put a stop to it as soon as she found out, but there was some lingering damage for a while.

      In contrast, I’m in a new role where I get credit for my work! And asked to present! And told that I’m doing a great job! And it’s assumed that if I haven’t answered an email, I missed it (because I’m human) or I was doing something else important! This is healthy. Someone intentionally deleting follow-up threads or not answering you but answering others is absolutely ridiculous.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you ask your boss to strategize with you on how to cope? Since you said you were peers, maybe run a few things by your boss and see what could be appropriate. Things like if he isn’t replying and it’s negatively affecting deadlines you cc his boss and/or the PM after he missed them on your next request for info stating that his response is urgently needed, maybe cc a third related party on some general emails, if he doesn’t make a decision then say that you will choose X if you do not hear otherwise and then you proceed without his input, set up reoccurring status meetings with all involved parties to get feedback rather than doing it via email, start stopping by in person or on the phone to follow up since clearly email isn’t working, etc .

  12. My best friends are getting divorced. I am equally close with both of them. Each blames the other for the split – one cheated, the other has a long-standing alcohol problem. No kids. Despite the current state, they were once one of those rare couples that matched one another so perfectly you couldn’t imagine one without the other.

    I want to remain ‘neutral’ and maintain my friendship with both of them, but both are very raw right now and each wants a safe space (with me) to vent about the other. What boundaries are appropriate, here? Am I dreaming that I can remain friends with both, or will I need to ‘choose a side’ at some point?

    Any advice / lessons learned would be welcome.

    • Anonymous :

      They can’t have you as a safe space to vent. “Sorry, I love you both, and I can’t be your place to vent.”

    • Anonymous :

      Sadly, you are likely dreaming that you can remain friends with both of them. Particularly given the allegations. Even in the most amicable divorce, friends tend to go with one side or the other (or frankly, most often, neither and everyone ends of moving on).

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think it’s crazy to hope to remain on friendly but rather distant terms with both of them, but I think it’s crazy to hope to remain very close BFF-level friends with both of them, especially if the divorce is bad and they both want to talk badly about the other person. Yes, you can tell them “I don’t want to trash talk John/Jane, let’s change the subject” but don’t be surprised if this changes the nature of your relationship, because I’d be hurt if I was going through a bad divorce and someone I thought was a best friend wouldn’t support me by commiserating with me about the things my ex had done.
      Did you have a relationship with one of them before they became a couple? My default is always sort of that the one I became friends with first is “my friend” and their spouse is “my friend’s spouse” and no matter how much I like and have become friends with the spouse, my loyalty would lie with my original friend. But I realize not everyone sees it the same way, and some people may just choose whichever person they feel closer to.

    • I tried to do this once. And I told them that I was going to do it, so please leave me out of it and I would be a friend they could have fun with without talking about what went wrong. One of them could do that; the other trashed the ex all the time. My friendship with the first survived; the one with the other didn’t. Eventually, one of them will probably force you to choose a side or you’ll hear enough that you’ll want to choose a side.

    • This happened to my sister in law when her good friends got divorced acrimoniously and one of the parties made her choose sides for a while. After a period of time (a year or two!) that party’s feelings were less intense and they “allowed” her to be friends with the other spouse again. It sounds very immature but it’s a testament to the nature of the feelings of a breakup like that.

    • I think that even if they respect the boundaries you’re trying to set, you’ll eventually lose one of them. When I got divorced, I eventually had to end my friendship with my much-beloved sister-in-law, even though we never discussed the breakup after the initial conversations – for me, it was just too painful to still be in the same social circle as him. When you still have a friend in common, you’re not as able to fully separate, and for many people that becomes vital.

  13. Know What I'm Getting Into :

    I received an offer to interview at a local (suburb of large city) boutique firm. They are less than a year old but have 4-5 partners and about 15-20 associates. I’m currently in a very stable position and am concerned that this firm might be expanding too rapidly. Or is this normal? Are there any ways I can find out about the financial stability of a firm? I have fears of leaving my very stable job for a new firm, and having that firm go under in six months.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you can certainly ask questions about the history of the firm, how they’re growing, and what kind of growth they see in the future. If a group of 5 partners and 15 associates at a big firm left to start their own firm and then hired a few more associates, that’s not exactly rapid growth. But if one partner launched the firm and has hired all these people (that s/he didn’t previously work with) this quickly and is looking to hire a bunch more over the next few months, then yeah that would be a red flag to me.

    • That does seem big for a brand new boutique firm. I’d ask where everyone came from and how busy they’ve been. Did the 4-5 partners bring all 15-20 associates with them? How prestigious are the partners? Are they very senior attorneys who are involved in the bar, on every nonprofit board in town, are former judges or were considered for judgeships, and have big books of business? Or are they law school buddies who decided they’d had enough of big firm life?

    • Small Law :

      If you have a good network, see if you can find someone in your six-degrees who left the firm or has referred cases back and forth with the firm. Always take former employees with a grain of salt, but ultimately can be enlightening.

  14. Recommendations for comfy but not hideous slip-on sneakers with arch support for commuting?

  15. Emmy awards :

    I looked through the morning thread and the posts here so far and I haven’t seen anything about the Emmys. Did you watch? Best/worst dressed?
    I didn’t watch, but I did look at photos. IMO, Nicole Kidman and Gina Rodriguez looked great, but I really didn’t care for Ellie Kemper or Tracee Ellis Ross’s dresses, among others.

    • I hate the way everyone hates on Ariel Winter. I get that her fashion choices are often over the top, but she was a kid who was overly s3ualized and she’s young, so it’s pretty clear she’s trying to claim her body and her s3xuality. It’s like when people hate on Taylor Swift for dating around, as if that’s not what most women did in their early 20s.

      I loved Jane Fonda’s ponytail, I liked Jessica Biel’s dress but wished it was one type rather than a different fabric on each side, and I actually thought Reese looked lovely even though many seem to hate it.

      I hated that they cut off some speeches, especially Sterling’s, which was so so needed and wonderful.

    • Anonymous :

      Thandie Newton was my fave! Wasn’t a fan of Reese Witherspoon’s suit dress (love the menswear look but I don’t think she pulled it off) and Sofia Vergara’s dress was a) kind of ill-fitting up top and b) the same dress she always wears.

  16. Anonymous :

    My entire career has been in criminal indigent defense. Someone just asked if I would be interested in the holy grail – pro bono criminal work for a private firm. I have no idea how to approach this! Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    • I don’t have personal experience with this type of transition, but yes! You would be interested, right? I would find out what the next step would be – talking formally or informally with the firm?

    • Anonymous :

      I guess I am biased as a career public defender, but why do you see this as the holy grail? And will you really get paid a firm-size salary just to do pro bono work, or will you be expected to represent paying clients and then get to do some of the pro bono work too? Also, I would be curious about who decides which cases the firm will accept.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 — I am in public interest and I am suspicious of the biglaw pro bono partners. Having worked with a few on cases, they always seem to be left holding the bag. Sure, biglaw associates are supposed to do pro bono — but what happens when the associate is supposed to be doing xy for pro bono but a partner suddenly needs them for a (paying) project. The pro bono partner has to step in and often clean up the mess. I see associates get constantly traded out on cases and I suspect its because of this. I also dislike having newbie biglaw associates come in with zero experience and act like they are helping just by the esq behind their name — yet don’t take time/ interest to learn the practice area enough to help.

        Rant being over, I think it would be hard to switch to some where that I wasn’t surrounded by people of similar passions. We do what we do because of the passion and when I tried firm life, I found it sucking my passion away.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, there are people who get paid to do “pro bono” work at Big Law salaries. That is why it is the holy grail.

    • Anonymous :

      I imagine it’s her holy grail due to salary. OP consider how you’ll feel being the pro bono partner (associate?) at a private firm? Other partners will pretty much say to your face that you are taking $ out of their pocket — which you are — if you don’t do any paid real work.

    • one other thing to think about – since you have a knowledge of the criminal courts, will you be asked to be the “fixer” for firm clients and/or spouses and children of partners? I know a few people who are paid well by firms to be the “fixers” – they all came from the DA/PD’s office.

      Granted, I don’t know if any of these people were originally asked to be a pro bono lawyer, but unless you’re running the pro bono program and coordiating larger projects, I would be very surprised if you weren’t asked to do (1) paying work or (2) be available to plead XYZ’s kid out of a speeding ticket. Just something to think about. I hope that I am wrong about this.

  17. Calibrachoa :


    I am in a rut with my cooking. It seems like every time I do chicken I do it the same way – bake with veggies and spices. Can you hit me up with your favorite chicken dishes? Next day lunch-ability a plus. No dietary restrictions :)

    • Anonymous :

      Google nytimes oven baked chicken schwarma.

    • America’s Test Kitchen grilled Mediterranean chicken with tomato feta salad.

    • Anonymous :

      Easy and good for tossing leftovers into a rice or quinoa bowl-style dish for lunch:

    • I recently learned how to make shredded chicken (basically, it can be done by putting a poached chicken breast in a standing mixer for a few minutes). I’ve been using Rick Bayless’ taco seasoning with shredded chicken and making quesadillas with the result.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Chicken coconut peanut curry! This recipe:

      We chopped the spinach first, and subbed in generic red chile paste for the gochujang (what we could find at our grocery store) and increased the amount for our taste. We also served it over quinoa.

    • Anonymous :

      I like to use the crock pot for chicken thighs. Dump either BBQ sauce or a jar of salsa on top, cook on low all day. Then use in sandwiches, tacos, salads, etc.


      this is always a hit. I roast potatoes while the chicken is cooking instead of boiling them. I also use all thighs instead of a whole chicken & a bit more wine than the recipe calls for. I also cook longer (about 45-50 minutes).

    • Check out recipes for kuku paka. We had it last night (used the NYT recipe), and it was delicious.

    • Calibrachoa :

      Thank you! :D I now have ideas for days :D

  18. I’m in this weird place where I’m so anxious and agitated that I can’t get myself to actually do anything task-wise (and instead just worry about the things I’m not doing).

    I know the answer is, “well, do that stuff.” (believe me, I know). and get so angry at myself.

    I’m not sure what is wrong with me. (already medicated, got the lists of tiny tasks….). I literally want a babysitter to come stand over mid-30’s me and make me do things.

    • Commiseration! I’m the same way. Personally, music helps me. So does meditation and exercise. In my experience there is no quick fix for this (I tried medication but it ultimately made me more anxious and not a lot more effective).

      Following for more/better advice!

    • No advice but just wanted to say I’m in the same place.

    • I’m there, too. I think it’s partly a case of burnout — in all areas of life.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I find that I’m more able to do stuff I don’t want to do when I’m also doing stuff I really want to do… not sure if that makes sense. Like, if I am working on a project at home (I’m re-teaching myself how to sew! just in time for halloween!) it somehow energizes me to focus on the stuff I’m doing at work.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Force yourself to do the stuff that if you don’t do, you’ll die or get fired or arrested. Everything else….step back from. Simplify the living h-e-1-1 out of your life. Don’t agree to new stuff if you don’t have to. Survive. Make it a goal to check just one single thing off each weekday. If you have motivation, use it to do the absolute most important stuff, even if it’s not the time to do that (i.e. if the most important thing is writing the motion and you feel motivated at 10 PM, screw work life balance and get that ish started- you don’t know when that will come again). Pomodoro method 25-5, or even 20-5 if you have to.

      This was me from June to August. It sucks. It’s horrible. I don’t want to come off as knowing all the answers- I don’t. I kept it together enough to not get fired, die, or let my dog starve to death and I was constantly ashamed and furious at myself for “failing” at everything. Don’t know how to make that better, I still get furious and deeply ashamed when I oversleep AGAIN or can’t work for hours I’m so anxious.

      Check in about your meds, too- do you need a daily maintenance anti-anxiety med? That has helped me a lot. Some days are still bad and I’ve just realized that for now, there will be bad days and it’s ok.

      It’s gonna be okay. You got this. Feel free to reach out to me at my username plus e t t e at the mail of google if you need someone to commiserate with.

    • Anonymous :

      I was in a place like that, and found that cutting out coffee (even though I only was drinking 1 cup per day) made a huge difference. I originally cut out coffee because it was bothering my stomach and the ability to focus again was a completely unexpected benefit.

    • Commiseration from me, too. Usually I recommend that you do the most stressful task first, but when it gets this bad, isn’t strategy is to do the quickest tasks first (the five minute emails) just to reduce the volume of stressors.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        +1 Do the things that are the least overwhelming. Add them to your to do list. Check them off.

        • +1 to this. Pilots of jet fighters use a detailed checklist every flight. When I’m overwhelmed, I make myself a “Fighter Pilot Checklist” (I even write that at the top of the page). Then I take tasks and divide them up into the tiniest subparts. Here’s an example: “Move socks from top of desk to drawer.” “Put pens and pencils in desk drawer.” “Put laundry basket by dryer.” “Plug phone into wall charger.”
          Teeny. Then go through them systematically and cross them off as you do them. It sounds weird but it works.

    • Like others on this thread, I’m in the same boat, so I just wanted to pile onto the “you’re not alone” heap here. It got so bad a couple of weeks ago that I had to call my boss and make very clear that if I didn’t get help, I was not going to manage and I might have a breakdown. This was more because of extreme workload causing the anxiety in the first place, and then the anxiety not allowing me to make forward progress, so the solution was forcing my manager to actually listen when I told him that we needed to get additional hands on deck. If that’s part of the issue here, consider firmly and directly asking for help, with a gameplan that involves you continuing to manage. Sometimes don’t realize you’re not actually superwoman when you’ve been operating at superwoman level for long enough. And although I felt ashamed to have to spaz out and ask for help, in the end my managers realized they had, in fact, given me too much, and the clients would benefit from putting a realistic number of people on my projects. Not sure if that’s your situation at all, but even if not–asking for help is a valid response in these situations, though the help you need may be different than the help I needed.

      Also, sleep. When you can’t sleep because you’re too anxious, you perpetuate the problem. You may need a short term med solution for that.

    • Kingsley > . :

      It would be so nice if we could have a buddy system for this crap, like your babysitter idea. Say I came over and spent a Saturday with you and we made those calls and picked up the entry table and organized the pantry and went to the gym and joined it. And then you would come over and make me call the insurance company and make the appointments and bag up the goodwill stuff….. that would be so great. Maybe this is something we should advertise for on craigslist

      • Some people do that with their friends! Like they rotate among each other’s houses every Sunday or something to help with a major undesirable task.

    • Thistledown :

      I tried making even tinier to do lists. When I couldn’t convince myself to spend ten minutes doing dishes, I’d try telling myself to was ten dishes. When that was too much, I went down to one fork. Surely I could was just one fork!

      If I couldn’t manage to wash one fork (or equivalently tiny task), I’d take emergency leave. I’d seriously consider in-patient therapy. It sounds like there’s something going on in your life that you’ve been ignoring and that you need to stop and deal with it before you have a complete and total breakdown. It may be time for a change that you can’t put-off any longer.

    • You and me both! I have a couple coworkers who used to do this with me, so maybe we can take it virtual?

      Tell me the number of things (I don’t care what they are, just a number) you are going to do in the next hour. I am going to do 4. Then check back in an hour and report how many you did and I’ll do the same.

    • Big hugs and completely understand the place you’re in. I get the sort of freeze you in your tracks anxiety as well. Some things that have helped me to function when it hits:

      – White or pink noise apps or websites such as Simply Noise – this has probably helped me the most!
      – Apps that block websites not on an approved list – I like “forest”
      – Blocking time on my calendar for tasks – sort of a to-do list or intention to focus on specific thing
      – Texting a friend / my partner to say that I am working on XYZ and ask them to check in on me after X time.
      – “Bird by bird’ – refrain that helps me remind myself that I just need to take it one step at a time – this is from an anecdote in Anne Lamott’s book by the same title.

      Also, adaptogens have helped me with my anxiety a lot so I would highly recommend. But they are discouraged for folks with manic depression or bipolar, and I would definitely check with your doctor.

    • anonymous :

      Self-help books about procrastination and what causes it might help. I can’t remember specific titles right now but understanding what leads to procrastination helped me quite a bit.

  19. Mentor who doesn't know what to advise :

    What are the hive’s thoughts on the MBA program at UNC Chapel Hill? I have a mentee who has identified it as her top choice program. I don’t know enough about it to say anything one way or another. I’m trusting she’s done her research to an extent, but I feel like I’m writing a recommendation letter for a program I don’t know much about. Is it really as prestigious as she seems to think? FWIW, I have a PhD and many in our organization have an MPH, largely from elite schools, so I may be biased. We only have one MBA (Wharton). Our organization would partially cover her going parttime, but many junior level staff leave after completing their graduate degrees. This mentee has mentioned that she’s interested both in policy/advocacy (what we do), but also in healthcare administration, so an MBA seems like it would open more doors than a MPH for her. I’m technically just her mentor within our organization, but want to see her do well professionally even beyond her tenure with us. Any thoughts from the hive?

    • Anonymous :

      I mean it’s fine – but I view it as just another MBA program – admittedly I’m biased bc I went to Wharton and UNC is no Wharton (or HBS or Booth) etc.

    • If her interests are both policy/advocacy and healthcare, I’m curious if she’s considered an MPH in Health Policy at UNC? She could still connect with some of the resources in the B school, and Gillings (the public health school) is top ranked.

    • As an NC resident born and bred, it’s very highly regarded. Sure, it’s not an ivy-ivy, but it’s essentially a public ivy as far as this region of the country is concerned.

    • It isn’t top tier, but it’s in the bucket of “schools smart people go to when they want a business degree”. A regional star.

      I wouldn’t drop my life and move across me country to go there, only to move back to California- I’d go to Berkeley instead. Same with Boston and BC/BU. Assuming the plan is to return to another region.

      If she’s in NC, or the SEUS, it’s a great option.

    • UNC has a highly regarded MPH program. A joint MBA/MPH degree is a powerful combination for someone interested in health care administration.

  20. AnonBee333 :

    These cookie cards are a game changer! Now I’m on Harry and David looking at all of the fancy gift baskets! #lifegoals

  21. How do you / would you handle comments about your appearance from clients? I am a family law attorney, and find that occasionally, a male client will (ALWAYS in an email) casually state that I am “attractive” or “beatiful” or something to that effect. Most recently, a client emailed to convey his concern that having a “skinny, attractive lawyer” is working against him. I find these comments severely undermining and am at a loss as to how I should respond. I can’t be the only one facing this, as I see beautiful attorneys every day. Also, if it matters, my appearance is very conservative.

    • I would not be surprised if this was a “Family Law” issue. Like, you’ve got newly divorced/ going through a divorce guys. This attractive woman is listening to all of their problems, their complaints about their wife. She’s being kind, and reasonable, etc. And so, they come on to you.

      I might respond fairly harshly. “I understand this is meant as a compliment. However, I want to be clear that our relationship is, and always will be professional. Comments about my appearance are not appropriate.”

      The question with regard to concern about having a “skinny attractive lawyer” could be different. A client once asked me if his race would hurt his case. Fair question, right? If it seems to be a genuine question you could say, “As you know, I’ve spent the last X years appearing in local courts on family law matters. I have appeared before all of the local judges, and seen many of them many times. Your case will be decided by a judge, not a jury. I have not found my appearance to sway the outcome of cases in any way. Furthermore, pursuant to Judicial conduct code Rule 2.3 a judge shall not manifest “bias or prejudice, or engage in harassment on the basis of se* or gender.”

      Or, maybe, you could put a disclosure on all emails, like tax lawyers? ” Pursuant to the rules of professional conduct, a lawyer shall not have se*ual relations with a client unless the relationship pre-existed the representation. Therefore, nothing in this e-mail should be interpreted as an intention to begin a romantic or se*ual relationship with you.

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