Thursday’s Workwear Report: Cotton Blend Floral Print Dress

dress-brooks-brothers-saleOur daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. 

Today we’re continuing with the Brooks Brothers sale with this lovely cotton blend floral dress, which is on sale for $79 from $398 (!). It’s an ottoman cotton viscose blend (woven in Italy) so it has a bit of texture to it — like a nubby, stripey kind of texture. The colors are really cute, but I can see why it’s not selling at this time of year, as the white makes it feel a lot more summery. Still, this will be a great dress to pull out in March when it’s feeling a little spring-y out, and to layer with a black sweater or a black blazer. You can also pick up the green in the pattern or go for contrast and wear it with a purple sweater. I always love purple and green together. It’s an amazing deal, and the dress is pretty well rated. Customers have shared praise like, “great work dress,” “beautifully made,” “great fabric and fit,” etc., so this seems like a good find. It’s available in sizes 0-12 at Brooks Brothers for $79. Cotton Blend Floral Print Dress

Here’s a plus-size option.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]



  1. lovely dress! :

    So pretty! And would be much prettier without the black tights.

    Is my color accuity going? I see the third color as being in the blue family (not the green family). It is a warm blue, but IMO still blue.

    • It’s showing as very teal (heavy green) on my monitor!

    • I’ve tried this on in the store in the spring/summer, its more of a teal color in person. It is very pretty, but two notes – the small pintucks around the waist were VERY unflattering in person – the fabric was stiff and they pouf out right around your belly. I also found the sleeves very constricting, but if you don’t lift or have more muscular upper arms it shouldn’t be an issue.

  2. Clotheslines :

    Following along yesterday afternoon’s post, what do you all think of clotheslines? Everyone had one growing up (rural SE US then economic migrant to NYC blue-collar exurb). NO ONE has them now (even my family has moved to Team Dryer, even if the dryer is on the back porch). Could they make a comeback?

    My current suburb (think Bethesda / North Arlington) might flip out, but there are so many Prius / Tesla / urban chicken owners that I could sell it as being green but probably would get eye rolls otherwise. HOA places forbid them, but I don’t have a HOA to tell me no (FWIW, I’m not going to do this, but I really loved hanging wash (not unmentionables, those were dried inside) with my grandmothers and how wonderful sheets were that had dried outside in the sun)(I do not miss the sudden rain or how nothing dried when it was humid, which was always).

    • I like them. I’m from the rural SE though. We had one in our yard growing up that my mom used, but we couldn’t even see our next door neighbors’ houses, so it’s not like anyone could see it. I have the poles for one in in my back yard, but they’re under a giant tree. Ain’t nobody got time to get bird poop out of clean laundry. I don’t think they look trashy as long as the rest of the yard doesn’t look trashy. Some people in my circa 1940s and 50s suburban neighborhood (mid-sized southern city) have and use them and I don’t think it looks bad, but they have tidy yards. Also, one of the things that I think is so charming about some European cities is seeing the laundry out drying. It’s nice.

    • anon dryer fan :

      My mother had one in an upscale NJ suburb. She got a few comments. Hanging the clothes was a lot of work, if I remember, and so was remembering to bring them in before a rainstorm, and so on. Plus I still remember a pretty royal blue rayon shirt I loved that got seriously faded on one side from the sun. I couldn’t live without my dryer.

      • My neighbourhood has communal racks (in an outdoor, enclosed area) and actual racks in your own garden are prohibited. Tumble dryers are relatively rare- we only have one b/c someone gave it to us. The racks are a good idea in theory but we live in Scotland, if it rains, you want to be able to dash out and get your clothes quickly, not have to go through gates and doors. Older flats have these drying racks that hike up to the ceiling so they aren’t taking up floor space.

        I dry undies, tshirts and socks, towels, and sheets but everything else goes on a rack in front of the radiator and outside if I’m home during the day and it is sunny. I’m sure it is a bit “tacky” but I can think or worse things.

    • I use one and love it. It’s mainly an environmental thing, dryers are just such an energy suck and terrible for your clothes. I obviously still use the dryer when I have to and in winter and what not, but it’s a last resort. That said I am also a bit of a social pariah for all my peculiar habits that go against the consumerist grain.

      • We have a compost bin in the front (only) garden and definitely get some side-eye from our neighbours.

        • I compost too!

          • Anonymous :

            Do you live where where are bad roaches and/or mice? We are in the SE US and have horrible roaches and mice sometimes get in to our older house. I am concerned that this would just attract more of the same. Yes? No?

            I am not opposed to composting, but we already have a ton of huge trees (so: sometimes too shady to grow anything and the leaves are a nuisance and roach magnet already; I don’t want to double down on this).

          • There are mice in the neighbourhood but I haven’t noticed a problem with the compost. We don’t put bread in but do put eggshells (which I suspect is a no no but it seems to be working). Note, we’ve never gotten any dirt out of it but it has reduced our bin waste and is more pleasant than putting the mini bin out for city collection.

        • I have two compost bins along side my garage. I’m not sure anyone even knows what they are.

          As far as clotheslines, I’m considering stringing one or two up across my unfinished basement. I’m also not opposed to something outside, but it’s sort of a trek from my basement laundry to any suitable yard location for a clothes line.

        • Now that we have our own yard we mostly compost in a bin outdoors, but before that we had a worm bin inside. It’s just a couple stacked rubbermaid totes with worms in it that eat scraps and turn it into pretty awesome compost. We actually still keep it up – during the winter it’s so much easier to put scraps in the bin in our spare room rather than taking it outside. As long as you keep a good balance of shredded newspaper to scraps it doesn’t smell or attract bugs.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            A friend of mine in the bay area used to have compost pick up with their trash and recycling service. She had this green plastic bin that she kept under her sink and put it out for pickup. It somehow didn’t smell at all. I always thought something similar should be in place throughout the country although I have no idea how we’d make it work in NYC.

          • Minnie Beebe :

            I live in Chicago and I have a compost service. Yes, it is a bit ridiculous to pay someone to take away my compost (and then pay again to have compost brought back) but I feel good about the expenditure from an environmental standpoint. I used to have a small, electric composter but thought it was too noisy inside. Keeping it outside usually resulted in it getting filled up with water. And I don’t want a regular compost bin because I don’t really have the space, and I don’t want to attract rats. So we have a service. Two pickups a month, for $25, which is perfect for our family of 3.

            Eggshells are fine in compost, BTW, but they’ll probably break down quicker if you crush them before dumping them into the bin. I don’t worry about this with my service, since I’m sure everything’s run through a grinder prior to adding to the big bin.

        • Composting is the LAW now in Seattle–the city provides green bins, and picks up the compost like they pick up trash. We compost at home, at work, at Starbucks–it’s amazing.

          • Yep, SF too. It’s great. It doesn’t smell because the bins close like regular garbage cans & they take them away every week.

    • Anonymous :

      My mother had one in our fancy NJ suburb when I was little. Then she got a full time job and it turns out only being able to dry clothes in day light hours doesn’t work great when you have a 9-5.

    • They are incredibly common in my area of New England. I love using ours in the summer. I have an indoor clothing rack that I use in the winter. It is hands down the best way to get humidity in the indoor air during the bitterly cold and dry winter months.

    • I have an indoor clothing rack that I just throw out on our patio in the summer. We don’t have a good place to run a clothesline, and I really didn’t want the heavy umbrella type one my parents had.

    • My mom grew up line-drying her clothes in the rural South, but has lived in neighborhoods where the HOA explicitly forbids them since then. Her solution has been to hang lines in the basement or attic, if you have those options available. I also don’t use the dryer much since I grew up line-drying everything, but I’ve been in apartments since I went to college, so I just have a massive collapsible laundry rack and throw sheets and towels in the dryer. I’ve got a yard now, though, so I’m planning to put up some lines in the backyard this spring! But I draw the line at our neighbors a block down who have lines strung up on their front porches…

    • We had one in PG County when I was growing up. When we first put it up, one of our neighbors came over and asked if our dryer was broken, but they got over it. I haven’t gotten around to putting one up at my new place, and I might just wait for spring.

    • I think, in high(er) density areas, clotheslines work best if all the clothes are in pristine condition. There is something unattractive about seeing rags hanging out to dry.

      Having said that, I LOVE my indoor drying rack. (I don’t see the point of hanging things outside where birds can poop on them.) I use it for everything except bed linens and towels. Someday I am going to have a proper laundry room and I am going to install a Sheila Maid drying rack.

    • AlsoaVirginian :

      Love them. Great for kids to hang their towels on when they get home from the pool. Clothes smell fresh. Neighbors be damned.

      • I live in NoVa now, but grew up in a small town where my mother hung the clothes out (I frequently had to bring them in.) I miss the smell most of all! If I did something like this, it wouldn’t be for the environmental factor but the fact that I assume it must be way better for the clothes/longevity.

    • Clotheslines are prohibited by my HOA (grrrr), but I’m able to mostly avoid the dryer by hanging or using drying racks inside. It’s much better for your clothes and saves lots of energy. I do sometimes throw things in the dryer for 2-3 minutes to get the wrinkles out first and for sheets/towels to kill dust mites.

    • I had one in Seattle. Could only use it in the summer, but I loved it. I live in a condo now, but if I had a backyard, I would definitely be Team Clothesline again, especially for certain stuff (sheets, for example).

    • Just curious, how on earth do people deal with nicer sweaters/bras/etc. if you DON”T have an indoor or outdoor line or drying rack? I was taught to never.ever.ever throw those things in the dryer, and I find clothes last longer and look so much nicer dried flat. But then again I even took a folding drying rack to college, so maybe I’m a weirdo….

      • The shower curtain rail.

        • +1

        • Same. Plus stair railing along the top floor, back of dining room chairs.

        • anotheranon :

          +1 shower curtain rail. Tights get hand washed in the shower with me and hung on towel rack that is in the shower (easy way to make sure they get washed in a timely fashion- take off, toss in tub, wash, hang immediately– constant revolving door of clean tights). Sweaters get laid flat on towels on floor, top of washer/dryer. Underwear also gets laid flat on towels on top of washer/dryer

      • I hang stuff on hooks, door handles, over the top of doors, and on towel racks. If I need to dry something perfectly flat, I lay a towel on the carpet.

        • Brilliant! I’ve wondered how to do this.

          • I have two of these for drying things flat:


            When I don’t need them I just leave the hooks on the door and put the mesh racks in the closet (unfolded, they just lean against the wall). They take up no space when I don’t need them, and when I do they’re awesome.

          • Thanks Torin! I’m so glad I came back to this thread.

      • I now have two folding drying racks and still don’t quite have room for everything… too many sweaters, and being on the line between two sizes means little tolerance for shrinkage!

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yeah, same! I put about 75% of my clothes on my drying rack, and I think they last much longer and in much nicer condition! Particularly jersey teeshirts and thin sweaters – mine almost never get pills except where the arms rub on the sides.

      • Midwest Mama :

        I lay clothes on our made beds and turn the ceiling fan on in the room to dry them faster. Seems to work for us. I don’t dry very many things because DH and I are tall, so any amount of shrinkage may make our clothes too small.

      • My husband does the laundry and he is really fussy about not drying blacks (fading) and his dress shirts. He also does a special load of my washable work stuff using the hand wash cycle and woolite dark.

        Anything that will be folded dries on a rack. Anything that will eventually be hung up is dried on hangers on an old coat rack/tree thingy. We have several satin padded hangers for my knitwear that do a pretty good job of not leaving hanger marks as the items dry.

        (Yes. He’s a keeper. I know. )

    • I think we had one outside for a little while growing up, but I suspect there was an issue with the poles holding it up and maybe that’s why we gave up on it. I don’t think we were using it that often. It was behind the house, and our neighborhood was pretty woodsy so I don’t think the neighbors could see it.

      We did, however, have an indoor clothesline for a while. I think we only used it for clothing that couldn’t go in the dryer. And now I have a garment rack I hang things on when they need to air dry and I can’t leave them hanging in the bathroom.

    • I would not be pleased if I spent $1+ million on a house in Bethesda or North Arlington and I had to look at your clothes line out of my window. This isn’t exactly a place where your nearest neighbor is 2 miles away — they WILL see it. And it doesn’t exactly look respectable.

      • Why doesn’t a clothesline look respectable?

      • I’m so glad I don’t live near you. Sound like a peach!

      • I would not be pleased if I spent $1+ million on a house in Bethesda or North Arlington and I had a neighbor who was so condescending and rude.

      • Hah! Something about the snobbishness of having a million dollar house and not wanting to see neighbors laundry combined with the reality that said million dollar house is actually a fairly modest home with no privacy from the neighbors strikes me as hilarious.

        • Right? $1m doesn’t buy you something crazy in Bethesda and the houses are stacked right up on top of each other!

          • So what? I’m paying for location not distance. And since there isn’t tons of distant, I REALLY don’t want to be seeing your bedsheets hanging out there when you could spend a few bucks and run a dryer.

            I guess million dollar homes in Manhattan or London aren’t worth it to you either bc they’re just apartments??

          • Anonymama :

            Oh, you misunderstand me, I live in a million dollar house in a very expensive suburb myself, I just think clean laundry on the line seems wholesome, somewhat European, and environmentally friendly, and in the universe of things to get annoyed at your neighbors about, it wouldn’t even register to me.

          • Anon, the bigger issue is that you sound like a jerk, and an elitist jerk at that.

            When you live near other people, you will occasionally have to put up with things you don’t like, even things you don’t think are “respectable” (read: things poor people do).

          • There’s a huuuuge difference (sorry, couldn’t resist!) between hanging out plain old bedsheets, dish towels, shirts, and trousers, and hanging out or mangy cleaning rags, or nasty-looking old underwear with holes or patches, or lingerie a la Fre der ick’s of H0llyw00d.

            Hanging the wash outside makes it smell fresh (well, maybe not in the polluted air around DC) and helps the environment by conserving the energy required to run a dryer. Besides, what’s so terrible about the honest evidence of honest work? Wouldn’t it be worse to know that your neighbors _never_ washed their sheets, etc.?

          • You would be correct, a million dollar home in either of those locations seems ridiculous to me also. I lived in Bethesda for three years. Glad to be gone.

            REGARDLESS, yes, as someone also pointed out, it’s not about the house it’s about your nasty attitude. What exactly about someone’s clean laundry is offensive to you? How does it impact your life on a day-to-day basis? Plant some trees if it bothers you that much.

      • regular from Arlington :

        I grew up in North Arlington and now live where homes are more modest than the older Arlington homes and cost much more. I think using a clothesline is admirable and I should get mine back up when life gets a. it less hectic.

      • Seventh Sister :

        A neighbor’s clothesline would be preferable to the things I see from my million-dollar house in a similar area.

        In no particular order my neighbors have/had: permanent junky piles of gardening crap in their yard, a yard “sale” of random plants every weekend, visible laundry baskets full of junk placed on the fancy floating staircase, upholstered furniture waiting for pickup for weeks, and (maybe “best” of all) the big-screen tv selections of one curtainless neighbor includes a lot of movies where the plumber comes over then everyone magically loses their clothes.

        • Seventh Sister :

          One more thing – my neighborhood is the kind that is going from blue-collar/middle-class respectable to gentrifying jerks (me).

    • I have a stupid question for the clothesline people – how do you get your clothes to be soft? I use a drying rack in my house for a lot of my clothes, but often they end up being stiff depending on the material. Do I need to add fabric softener? What am I doing wrong?

      Yes, I know I can Google it, but this thread just reminded me so I am being lazy and asking here.

      • Just a couple minutes in the dryer first helps a lot with stiffness and wrinkles. Jeans might still be a little stiff, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem after wearing them for a few minutes.

      • I have the same question. When I lived in SE Asia we had a washing machine and no dryer, and all my clothes were positively crunchy when they were dry. I’ve never understood the romance with clotheslines since then.

      • I stick them in the dryer (no heat) for 5 minutes after they come off the line. But I love the stiffness in the sheets.

    • Wow, it had never occurred to me in my life that hanging your laundry out to dry would be… tacky? That seems bizarre to me. Clotheslines are very common where I grew up, if maybe slightly old fashioned.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 it had never occurred to me that laundry hung up to dry was tacky. It’s clothes. But then I grew up in a sunny, if humid, Southeast Asian country where the poorest and wealthiest neighbourhoods had clotheslines or bamboo poles with laundry flapping merrily away.

      • Seventh Sister :

        Strangely enough, my husband thinks this, but he’s just wrong. Maybe it’s regional? I grew up in a Southern-ish area and he’s from New England.

    • Love it!

      I love in a progressive urban suburb in the Midwest. Houses are pricey and yards are small. And I love hanging stuff outside in the summer. There is nothing nicer than freshly cleaned sheets that have dried in the summer sun.

      But where I live the weather is not great for most of the year so it is not a common occurrence.

      My parents did it all the time growing up. And part of that is when you have 3 kids and a lot of laundry it can be an efficient way of drying that is nicer on your clothing/items.

      I never use the drier now except occasionally for sheets and to fluff towels. All clothes hang to dry on my awesome Costco drying rack.

    • We have a clothesline in our So Cal suburb. Our back yard is very private so I don’t think the neighbors can really see it. We don’t use it for everything but I do love the fresh-air smell for sheets, and it’s a lot faster for my delicates than using the drying rack inside.

    • My parents use one at their house in SF, I’m in la and I have a small one (or a 6ft rope outside) that I use if I hand wash.

    • I don’t dry my clothes in a dryer, but I live in an apartment in a rain forest, so I just use a drying rack indoors. You don’t get the lovely dried-outdoors scent, but you do get the other benefits!

    • I have to mention, you need to be pretty on top of things to use an outside line. We used one when I was growing up and we would often forget things out there (my mom was busy, our lives where chaotic). I still know the feeling of heading to bed and realizing my sheets must still be on the clothesline. then having to make my bed with dew -damp sheets and sleep in them.

      My mom was VERY happy when we were able to get a better dryer that didn’t fry everything. She took the clothesline down immediately.

      I get the appeal. I just think it’s weird how things that were at one point the only option for poor people become retro trendy for well to do people.

    • It never occurred to me that anyone could have a problem with a clothes line. And the fact that some HOAs ban them reinforce my desire to never buy a house covered by a HOA.

    • No Problem :

      I would never use a clothesline outdoors. I have terrible allergies. No way am I drying my clothes outside for pollen to get all over them. I wash them to get the pollen out!

    • I use one of those folding drying racks indoors. Makes a huge difference in how long clothes last. I hang dry pretty much everything aside from tshirts, socks, sheets, and towels.

    • For those of you who hang sheets to dry indoors on a clothes rack: how do you have enough space?? I have a king sized bed. The drying rack + shirts on hangers on the shower curtain rod is plenty of space for drying a load of clothes, but definitely not for sheets. Where do you hang your sheets??

    • Indoor line :

      I haven’t made the leap to an outdoor clothesline but I dry the majority of my clothes on either a folding clothes dryer (similar to this or my extendable indoor clothesline (I think this might be the one I have If I put one outside, I’ll probably get another retractable line. I’ve been very happy with it. I live in the mountain west, so don’t have to worry about humidity and things dry quickly indoors or out. Outdoor clotheslines aren’t common, but not rare either and no one would question it.

  3. I’m the poster who asked about whether people would retire early and some of you asked how we were in this enviable position.

    1. Don’t live in the US, so much lower taxes. I take home $200k out of a gross income of $250k
    2. No student loans as our Asian MBA is both well respected and didn’t cost anywhere near US MBAs
    3. No credit card debt…ever. This is a big deal in Asia.
    4. We’ve worked nonstop since we were 22, no breaks of any kind

    And to the people who said I would be an SAHM not a retiree, I DGAF either way. Where I live, we don’t shame people using these labels and I’m confident enough in my own skin either way!

    • Congratulations! It sounds like you are in a great position!

    • Can I just say- I LOVE this! and good for you. And I totally love your comment at the end about retiree v. SAHM- who care?! Ugh. Congrats! (and I’m very jealous!)
      Would you care to give any tips as to how y’all ended up in Asia? I’m ready for a big change.

      • We are both Asian, that’s how we ended up there:) we made the decision early on to stay in Asia ( but out of our home country) as we always wanted to be close to parents. Guess we got lucky.

        The US is literally the opposite side of the globe from where we grew up, so living there wasn’t something we ever considered. Plus I forgot to add that our childcare costs are nothing compared to what you guys pay.

        • Anonymous :

          Shoot — don’t publicize this too much. If you are that well paid, your work might reconsider how much they need pay your replacements! Pay them too much and they will retire on you. Pay them less and they will be with you for decades.

          Also: since you will need a replacement, where do I need send my CV to? I’d like to retire in a decade or so :)

    • Anonymous :


    • Anonymous :

      Omg no one was shaming you. It’s just that walking around saying you are retired when you’re staying home with your kids while your husband works because you can afford to is going to prompt serious side eye. You’re basically telling people “I have gobs of money btw. Just so you know.” Nothing wrong with being a SAHM!! Enjoy it!

      • If they could both afford to retire but he wants to keep working, she is still retired. I consider a SAHM someone who has to rely on her husband’s income to survive. OP is not in that boat.

      • Yes, on the original thread, they were shaming her for calling it “retirement,” just like you are here.

    • I like Chris Hogan’s quote – “Retirement is not an age – it’s a financial number”. At least in America, we’ve been so conditioned for so long to think retirement = X years old. It makes much more sense to think of it in terms of $$ – how much do you have, and how much do you need?

      • Unfortunately, because health insurance is largely tied to employment in the US (and can be prohibitively expensive otherwise), retirement often is an age.

        • +1

          Right now the Obamacare offerings are terrible in my area, and very expensive. I am a huge supporter of Obamacare in theory, but it hasn’t been a smooth transition in my State. I spend $450 per month premium for health insurance with Obamacare. It is the cheapest plan I could find, and doesn’t include any of the “good” hospitals in our area. So heaven forbid I get cancer etc… $7000 deductible, $1k co-pay for an ER visit. Terrible drug coverage.

          40’s no medical problems. One doctor visit a year.

          So just imagine what the premiums are in our area, which are age based, for someone who wants to retire early. For a family. For all those years. With not very good health care.

          So that is likely different for the OP in Asia, and certainly if her husband is still working.

          To the OP — hats off to you! Very smart planning. My friends who moved to Asia and are managing childcare with live in parents (who also do all of their cooking/housework/errands… I’m not kidding…) are very happy, and very very wealthy.

          • Ah, but recall that Obamacare also provides certain subsidies or expanded Medicare for individuals and families with low incomes (based off of the poverty line). So, an early retiree (with or without a family) actually just has no/limited/low income and can, depending on the situation, qualify for healthcare at a reduced rate or alternate coverage.

        • But that’s a question of money, not age. If I need X in order to be able to comfortably support myself for the rest of my life, then X should include everything (including healthcare costs). So if you have X at 45, and want to retire, then why isn’t that retirement? And if you DON’T have X at 62, then don’t retire just because “62 is retirement age and I can get social security now”.

  4. Evolution of Friendships :

    I started seeing an amazing therapist over the past two years and I’ve seen my confidence improve and willingness to put up with certain things change dramatically (aka I have boundaries now yay!). As a result of that my friendship dynamics have changed now that I am less of a doormat, need less validation from people, etc. So I’m curious, how have your closest friendships changed over the years? Whether they started in college or high school, post grad, etc. in general and as a result of you making an important change in your life.

    • Anonshmanon :

      I’m still good friends with my elementary school bff, and over the decades, our friendship has changed. We stayed very close when my family moved and I had to switch schools, but during university, it became clear we have different values. At this point, our relationship is built on shared memories and mutual affection. If she were to enter my echo chamber today, I’m not sure I’d let her stay. I value this in her and make an effort to keep the friendship alive.

    • No feedback re friends but I’m having issues right now with my relationship with my Mother after seeing a wonderful therapist. I’m getting better but my relationship with my Mother has taken a nose dive. It’s definitely a problem that I didn’t anticipate when I began therapy.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m curious to hear responses on this too…same issue for me. I was a little shocked about how many narcissistic and borderline people I had in my life (and then I was like, “ohhh, of course,” because I too was dysfunctional). The ones who I think are truly toxic I have just cut out. Sadly, out of my small group of friends, that was the majority. The good news is that it is now so much easier to find and attract healthier people because (1) I’m healthier, and (2) I know I need to be selective and look for certain things. I’m just sad that it took me so long to figure something out that seems so…basic. Although if you grow up with dysfunction it is much harder to see.

      • Same here. I lost my BFF when she turned out to be a pretty gigantic narcissist and I just couldn’t see it because I thought that kind of thing was normal.

    • I lost a couple of deep but toxic friendships very dramatically. They were very codependent and everyone involved was unhealthy. I miss them terribly almost every day but my life has so much less drama and crisis.

    • I’m going through the same thing in therapy right now, building boundaries and noticing that friendships are different and in some cases, dying. I don’t have an answer, but you’re not alone.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I have a lot of long-term friendships – they’ve all changed, but we make an effort. I’ve known one of my friends since we were toddlers – we grew apart in a big way in high school, but reconnected in college, and now we respect and love each other for the very different people we are. We have extremely different lifestyles, but we share a lot of core values, and we can reconcile that easier as adults. My friends from high school are the ones I’m least close to – I didn’t like who I was in high school and we’re now mostly acquaintances. My friends from college and a few years after and I are less close in some ways, and closer in others. We don’t talk every single week, but the ones I’ve kept have been due to mutual interests and effort. There are a lot of college aged friends I’ve let go of, as I realized they were negative forces in my life. One in particular was hard to step back from – she needs a lot of help, has a pretty serious mental illness, but I can’t help her beyond what I’ve already done, and our friendship was entirely her leeching off of me, so I had to cut her off.

      Part of healthy relationships is realizing what you need in a relationship, and stepping back when you’re not getting it. It’s hard, but you’ll make healthier relationships, and come out of this much happier.

    • Anonymous4 :

      My closest girlfriend and I went through a very bad patch in our relationship after I went through two significant and traumatic events. Prior to those events I was very people-pleasing (not quite co-dependent, but borderline), never spoke up for myself, and did whatever others wanted. She was very emotionally needy and clingy. In the midst of grief and depression I ended up severing ties – I simply could NOT be her emotional crutch any more.

      Over the course of a few years, she began getting help for some marriage and emotional issues; and so did I. We’ve been able to restore our relationship, and it’s much healthier. If she wouldn’t have been able to work on her issues – all the work in the world on my part wouldn’t have been able to repair our relationship. I don’t think she would have gotten help if she hadn’t felt so lost when I cut ties.

    • My IDGAF level has also increased over the past 2-3 years, and I’ve been saddened by the affect it’s had on my friendships. But my perspective on how healthy those friendships were has also changed, so maybe it’s not all that sad in the end. I had some friendships with girlfriends that I’ve now come to see as bizarrely codependent, in that I felt like I needed their input and validation before making any decisions about my life and even before deciding how I felt about XYZ thing that happened at work that day. I think I was a scared 20-something who didn’t really know how to be an adult, and I reacted to that by forming unhealthy friendships. I’m now (early 30’s) trying to navigate maintaining those friendships but sort of changing their nature to something less codependent and more about just enjoying each others’ company. Success has been mixed.

      • This has been my experience too.

        I am fortunate to have several longstanding friendships despite having to deliberately pull back from a couple relatively new ones over the course of the last year or so.

        I no longer do for others who are not thoughtful to me. At this point in life (30s), if a friend is habitually late, obsessively negative or of a prolonged victim mentality, or absent in my time of need (unexpected death in the family or husband on a prolonged business trip), I no longer make excuses for that behavior. This year I have learned the hard way that this is what I must do.

        That being said, I think it is easier to give grace to others and generally be a better friend because now I focus on relationships that are a lot healthier to begin with.

  5. Anonymous :

    The plus size option is hideous. A literal tent!

    • It looks like it nips in at her waist, it just didn’t photograph well due to the print. It needs a belt. This style dress is flattering on me, though I’m a tip more top heavy than the model.

    • Anonymous :

      Sometimes the plus size models aren’t big enough for the clothing so it looks funny and tentlike on them, but good on actual people. I don’t think this one looks bad, though!

      • Anonymous4 :

        Yes. And I feel like every time I look at Nordstrom plus sized item in a photo it’s hideous. Then I try them on in-store and wonder why they just can’t select models and poses that make the items look like something other than a fancy circus tent.

  6. Any recommendations for email services other than Gmail and Yahoo? I have a Yahoo account for all my shopping stuff right now, but want to move off after all their security issues. Already have a personal Gmail account, so I could open another one, but wanted to see if there were other services out there.

    • In-House in Houston :

      Try Your email address would be [email protected] I’ve had it for over 15 years and love it. The one downside is that when other people see it, they sometimes think you mis-typed it and meant It’s sometimes infuriating. I made an online reservation to board my dog and was waiting for the email confirmation, which I never got. So I called them and they said they sent it to when I clearly entered

      • Yes I had a (yahoo) email address and I’d say a good 30% of people thought I’d spelled gmail wrong.

    • Do you have an iPhone? I pretty much use my and email addresses for everything but ecommerce. My old yahoo account is all “thanks for your order” and spam.

    • There’s

  7. New Year Finances :

    There was a thread a week or so ago about cash flow management (not budgeting – that part I have down cold), which got me thinking about our own system….

    TL;DR Our system isn’t working. How do you manage your checking accounts, bill paying, and spending on typical non-billed living expenses (groceries, gas, dining out, dry cleaning, etc.)? Particularly interested in how you manage it if there are two parties/an SO involved and you’re sharing accounts.

    DH’s and my current system isn’t working. DH and I currently have a joint checking account into which everything is deposited. On paydays like today, I religiously go in and pay bills, move money to savings, pay credit cards/non-autopay bills, and the balance left in the account includes $1,000 for spending between paychecks (joint expenses – dining out, groceries, dry cleaning, random Target/Home Depot trips, Costco, gas, etc.), and usually another $800 +/- for bills that are paid that haven’t yet cleared and budgeted expenses that are not yet drawn but will be between pay day and next pay day (ie: we budget for doggie day care, but money is not actually withdrawn until that day she goes. Effectively we draw this checking account down to $0 in the two weeks between pay days, and then it’s time for the next payday and start over.

    The problem is that if there’s $500 in the account, say, it’s not all for our joint spending. Some of that might be earmarked for future doggie day care visits or a credit card or bill payment that hasn’t cleared yet, leaving maybe only $200 of the $500 actually in the account for joint ‘living’ spending. DH isn’t the one paying the bills so he doesn’t necessarily know that – he just sees the $500. I’m thinking we need to separate this ‘living’ money from the bill paying/expense paying money, but that means opening another checking account – something we can do, but I wasn’t sure if there was just some much better way to manage all of this altogether. Suggestions? What do you do? Want to start out 2017 with our $h!t together!

    • Anonymous :

      Start using a credit card for “living” expenses. Agree on a budget. Don’t live paycheck to paycheck. Start using YNAB.

      • We use a joint credit card for any expense that doesn’t require a checking account withdrawal. It makes it easy to see in a given month that we have ‘X’ dollars that will deduct from checking and we have ‘Y’ dollars budgeted as credit card spend and then we watch that balance closely.

      • anon a mouse :

        YNAB! budgeting by categories will solve your exact issue. You look at the category to see whether you can buy a thing, not your overall bank balance.

        • third for YNAB. the goal is to be paying this month’s expenses with last month’s pay. it took us about a year to get there, but even without making major spending cuts the consciousness of using YNAB to see how much we could spend in a category (or having to reallocate and spend less elsewhere if we went over) increased our savings and got us out of this same pattern. 100% worth the upfront cost. their tutorials and support are also great. i highly encourage manually entering transactions rather than importing them — that’s what really makes you start thinking about what you’re spending and on which categories.

      • I love that you say “Don’t live paycheck to paycheck” as if that’s something one can suddenly decide not to do.

        • For most people reading this s1te, it is. It’s called living within your means. I didn’t read the OP as living paycheck to paycheck so much as using different accounts, but I don’t think that it’s a crazy notion. It just takes some planning, which is what this post is about.

    • Anonymous :

      What’s happening? Is he overdrawing your account? Can you just tell him $XX is for joint spending between now and Y date, if you need more than that, you need to go in and move money around? Also, do you have an emergency fund? Our $50k emergency fund is in (high interest rate) checking account that we use to pay bills that can’t be put on credit cards. We might be able to get a slightly higher interest rate elsewhere, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind of knowing that we’re never going to overdraw our account paying bills or with a trip to Target where we forgot the credit card.

      • Where’d you find a high interest rate checking account, if you don’t mind sharing?

      • A little more and probably meaningful context: we use Schwab (and love it for lots of reasons). It’s a double edged sword, but Schwab doesn’t charge overdraft fees. So that’s enabled us to ‘over draw’ the account (it just pulls the delta out of a different investment account) – and it’s generally small dollars, maybe $25 per period. Whenever this happens, once we’re paid again I immediately refund the overdrawn amount back to the account, but, I just don’t want to be in that habit any longer.

        We have a couple of well-funded savings accounts for other things (emergency fund, vacation account, home reno account, etc.) and we’re saving $2,000 per pay period, so savings isn’t the issue and we’re truly not living paycheck to paycheck. What we’re trying to do is live on this $1,000 budget we’ve set for ourselves, but because of how our cash flow system is currently set up, it’s tricky to stay accountable to it.

        • Anonymous :

          So, is there a reason you don’t tell your husband what you know? “Hey, FYI, we can only spend $200 because the rest is earmarked.”

          • Oh I totally do, but it’s a tad exhausting to update him daily. He’s not doing anything wrong. Money management is my strength and it’s not a strength of his. This dynamic absolutely works for us. We just need to get the cash flow portion of this exercise down.

            Maybe the answer is create a new checking account and just fund the $1,000 joint spending money in there and keep bills and other recurring expenses completely separate.

          • Or just keep an extra grand cushion in your current checking account. I don’t think you need to overly complicate this.

          • anotheranon :


            This is what I do. The peace of mind/convenience of knowing that I can get an expensive plane ticket or whatever last minute without having to move money immediately, or just not worrying about this when I’m shopping is worth it to me to forego any interest I’d otherwise earn. Sounds like you guys could easily do this (ie, you’re not actually living pay check to paycheck, just cash-flowing like you are).

          • I do this. My checking account is often in the red in my head, but I keep an extra couple thousand dollars in there so it’s always in the black in real life.

          • +1 to keeping an extra grand in the account with the understanding that it’s a cushion (and make sure he knows it too). Then you’re not stressing about whether it’s “overdrawn” (but make sure you both agree to mentally reset the balance by -$1000).

    • Anonymous :

      We do everything separate. We have a joint account that H can use checks for household bills for. My check (much larger than his) goes into that and basically all expenses come out of that. His check goes into his account. He pays for some designated bills (including child support). [We originally did this b/c his ex saw my $ as her $.] We could be more transparent, but at the end of the day, I really just don’t care. I am the better money manager when it comes to complexity (kids summer camps/nanny taxes/rental properties) and he is good with the stuff in his jurisdiction. So it works for us.

    • Anonymous :

      We both get paid biweekly so that’s how we budget. All money goes into a joint account. We put everything joint(including bills) on a joint credit card for the airline points. Autopays monthly. Anything that can’t autodeduct on the credit card gets autodeducted direct from the account (e.g. city taxes).

      We each have a separate account for ‘fun/personal money’. I have a credit card that autopays from my account. DH has the same. A set amount of ‘fun/personal money’ goes from the joint account to our personal accounts biweekly. There’s always at least a $1000 cushion on the joint account plus it has overdraft so nothing ever bounces.

      • Anonymous :

        just read your follow up comment above. Sounds like you have a good handle on things. Set a limit ($50? $100?) and have DH check with you above that re: earmarking.

    • Is it a timing issue or a spending more than he is supposed to issue. If it is the former, throw a couple grand in the account as buffer and stop worrying about it. (May be different in US, but keeping a minimum balance of a $5000 at our bank allows us to not pay any fees for the multiple accounts that we have / free credit card (rewards card), money transfers etc. That is a couple % return on the “investment” right there.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I know that I always recommend YNAB, but this could really help here. It sounds like he checks the bank balance, sees the $500 in there, and doesn’t remember that it is earmarked for something else.

      So if you used YNAB, he could instead look at the app, see how much money is available in certain categories, and then spend whatever isn’t earmarked for something else. For example, you could have a doggy category and a miscellaneous spending (or groceries, eating out, etc) category. There’d still be $500 in there but he’d see that $200 is for the dog and only $300 is available for other spending.

      That way you wouldn’t need to set up a separate account, he’d just have to change his habit from checking the bank account to checking the YNAB app. It will be more work for you both at first by tracking transactions, but once you get going I find it really simple to keep up.

      • Betterandbetter :

        +100000 for YNAB. I have joint finances with my spouse and I never worry about what she is going to do. We are fine about talking about money with some regularity but for my friends in couples who don’t Is sell it to them as “YNAB is a way to be communicating about money all the time without actually talking about it all the time”

        As a side plug- We went from not having much saved besides a piddling amount saved in retirement (me) and 35K in debt (her) to debt free with a healthy and growing savings account, cashflowing a honeymoon and wedding, and between us saving 20% of our income to retirements with a goal of bumping it up next year in NYC. IN A YEAR. She’s a teacher and I am a public servant, well compensated but certainly not in the 33% tax bracket or anything . YNAB is worth every penny.

    • Our finances are completely joint and we have two checking accounts in regular use. One is for our actual day-to-day spending and the other is for our bills and budgeted expenses. It works really well for us. I keep a spreadsheet for the bills account showing anticipated deposits and charges, and check it every week or so to make sure everything has autobilled as expected. I also round up a little (so if I’m paying $223 on something I might put in on the spreadsheet as $230) so that the account builds up a little extra cushion that I can raid for the occasional unexpected expense. The other benefit to this set up is that if our daily spending account has a fraud issue and the card is reissued we don’t have to update all the auto billing info.

    • We have a joint checking account that I control. I pay bills and use that debit card for my own incidentals. I transfer money to my husband’s debit account so he can buy some groceries, gas, pay for eating out, and whatever other incidentals come up such as hair cut, or cash from the ATM. Sometimes, he worries it is low so he puts his transaction on a credit bard, but for the most part, it works for us.

    • Two bank accounts! Bills account (including those little random things), allowance account. I am single and do this for myself. It’s my simple budget, I keep spending in a separate account from bills. Bill checking account is linked to savings in case of direct deposit snafus, spending account is at a totally separate bank to avoid any of the, it’s fine overdraft will cover it reasoning.

    • I use Simple. It’s an app, but it works like a checking account (mostly). The account is held by Compass. It has budgeting features, so you can set up what they call “goals” for bills & savings goals, and it will earmark your money so you see an Amount Avsilable to Spend. You can also see the actually balance, too. No fees, no overdraft charges, great customer service. It’s not perfect, but it might be worth checking out.

  8. road tripper :

    The thread about not thinking people are well-traveled if they haven’t explored the US got me thinking. I’ve spent more significant amounts of time exploring in Europe than the US…so where are the places in the US that you think are absolute must-sees that are worth a designated trip? Happy with more general discussion, but would also welcome some me-specific recs since my boyfriend and I are starting to work on summer travel plans! I’ve spent a lot of time in NYC and DC since I’m based on the East Coast; in terms of destination cities, I’ve been to San Diego, NOLA, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, Charleston, and Baltimore (not all for vacay); and I’ve done two National Parks out West. I’m assuming my big holes are Boston (admittedly pathetic, but it’s just never inspired me and BF says he’s already spent enough time there, so I’m just going to wait for a conference), Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the PNW.

    • Anonymous :

      Wait, you’ve explored a ton of the us! #humblebrag

      I’d add Acadia and Shenendoah.

      • road tripper :

        Wasn’t meant as a humblebrag–I just love to travel and am always looking to expand my horizons! But to be honest, a lot of the individual cities have been for work, so I haven’t had more than a day or two to really explore. I debated even listing Atlanta :)

        I always forget about Acadia for some reason! That could be a contender.

        • Acadia is probably my #1 must-do in the entire US. A roadtrip from Boston up the Maine coast would be lovely. A lot of the smaller towns along the way are very charming and less touristy than Bar Harbor (but do go all the way to Acadia for the scenery).

    • That’s such a good question. We do biannual trips to the US to visit my family and I was thinking recently about what we’d like to do as side-trips. My family is in California so we tend to stay there – we did Monterey two years ago and are going to the Redwoods next week, I’m thinking Yosemite for our next trip. My husband is English and likes the “big” nature we have. I’d like to do Hawaii, maybe when baby Cb is 4 or 5. I love Kauai and I think that would be a good grandparents, parents, and kid trip.

      • Anonymous :

        If you are only planning to go to Yosemite once, I’d save it for when your child is old enough to remember the trip and to do at least some hiking. We took our daughter when she was 6 and she loved it. It remains her favorite vacation ever.

        • I know, I kind of have a fantasy of leaving kid with grandma and grandpa and going with my husband and having quite a luxurious stay with lots of hiking. I might need to do two trips.

    • What do you like to do? Are you foodies? Nature lovers? Museum goers? Sports fanatics?

      • road tripper :

        Between my BF and I, we’re all of those things! I’m more into high-end dining than he is, but he still loves checking out new restaurants. We both love nature and hiking. I love art museums, he’s more Air and Space or Natural History, but we’re happy to indulge the other’s interests. He’s a sports fanatic, I’m happy to go to the occasional game. Basically we’re laid-back, open-minded people who can find something to enjoy just about everywhere!

        • I plan long weekend trips around breweries/distilleries. My favorites so far have been Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY and Troegs in Harrisburg, PA. Both breweries are fun and they’re set in cute towns that have a cozy, intimate night life. It’s been mentioned here a ton, but VA wine country is also a great trip. I really want to do a Kentucky bourbon tour.

          • Troegs is AMAZING. My boyfriend is from Harrisburg and I demand to go every time we’re up there. Harrisburg overall has a pretty good brewery scene and a nice riverfront area.

            Also standard plug for Central Virginia wine country!

          • Can I come with you on your bourbon tour? :)

          • Awww I love to see Harrisburg and Troegs get plugged! Hopefully, you have been to the “new” location. It’s awesome and the food is great!

          • CountC – I went a year or two ago, it was in a big warehouse-like space with a snack bar that sold AMAZING food. I was expecting like, chicken fingers or something from a snack bar in a brewery. Not duck poutine and sausages made with their beer!

          • Yep, that’s the new spot! I like that they have outdoor seating and allow dogs out there. We have quite a few breweries and even a distillery in or around Harrisburg. We also have wineries and while the wine isn’t the greatest ever, it’s still nice to be able to have that option very close by for the weekends when it is nice out.

            Next time you come up and have some time, give Spring Gate winery a try! They have a great outdoor space, wine and beer, live (and pleasant) music on Friday nights, and pretty yummy food also.

          • @CountC – thanks I will!

        • Why don’t you take a tour of the Asheville area of North Carolina? See (and stay) at Biltmore = fine dining & art museums. Explore the area for world class BBQ. Go hiking. Etc etc etc.

          • Is early Oct. a good time for visiting Asheville/Great Smoky Mountains Natl Park? We’re thinking of going next year over my fall break. We like good food, natural scenery and moderate hiking and we’ll have a dog with us (but are fine leaving her in the hotel room while we hike or have a nice meal).

          • Asheville in the fall – it is absolutely LOVELY. Early October is perfect. It was one of our favorite vacations – you can’t go wrong there.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d add (general areas)
      Cheyenne, WY
      Denver, CO
      Des Moines, IA
      Green Bay or Milwaukee, WI
      Providence, RI
      Omaha, NE
      Tulsa, OK
      Salt Lake, UT

      • See, if my choices are Omaha, Tulsa, or literally anywhere else in the world, they aren’t high on my list. Like, Tulsa? Why? Des Moines? Literally what for?

        • Providence? No way. Absolutely not worth it. Better off adding Portsmouth, NH and Portland, ME (could do in one trip). There’s literally nothing in Providence. Newport, RI maybe… but again a tiny town and it’s a day trip.

          • Exactly. Like, sure have dinner in Providence? Newport is a great long weekend? None of these places are worth an actual vacation or much of a detour. I refuse to feel snobby because I’d rather spend a week in Scotland than Kansas.

          • Or Jackson, NH / White Mountains, NH in the winter. Stowe or Burlington, VT any time of year. WAY more to offer than Providence.

          • Born in Providence... :

            and cracking up. Great place to spend a weekend, not worth flying to for a vacation.

        • That was the point of yesterday’s thread though – that people only hit the typical tourist destinations in the US. If you want to really say you’ve been all over the US, visiting cities in the Midwest and other places that aren’t hot spots is part of that.

          • But not the point of today’s post. OP says: “so where are the places in the US that you think are absolute must-sees that are worth a designated trip? “

      • I’m from the Midwest and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going to cities like Des Moines or Omaha. There is more interesting stuff in the Midwest than those places. Mackinac Island in Michigan. Boundary Waters in MN. The Iowa State Fair is a cultural experience. The book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die is a good starting point (all of the above are listed in it).

        • Agreed with this. Midwestern cities are not great!!

          • Wow…that’s a blanket statement. What cities are you dismissing as part of that list?

          • All except Chicago and St. Louis. Many of them are lovely cities- Id love to live in Minneapolis, Cleveland will keep you busy for a weekend, Madison is charming, Milwaukee has its moments, but by and large I don’t think any of the cities are really worth a week long vacation or much effort to get too. The boundary waters, Great Lakes, incredible world class destinations. Des Moines? Sure it’s decent to pass through if you’re in the neighborhood. I really like the Midwest and lived there for many years but I don’t think it’s a must see tourist spot.

        • From a food perspective, you’ll find great farm to table food in places like Des Moines and Omaha.

          • I have family in Des Moines and go there a lot. The food scene there is ok, but it’s not someplace I’d travel to when I could go to Nashville or New Orleans or Chicago or San Francisco instead. It’s not a slam at Des Moines – bigger cities just have a lot more to offer food-wise. I think Des Moines would be a really nice place to live, but I wouldn’t vacation there unless I had family to visit.

          • And it’s only in the last year or two that “farm-to-table” has even become a thing in Iowa. Although Iowa has more farms, farm-to-table has been a concept for much longer in SF and NYC.

          • You know what else Iowa has? Covered bridges (or at least they used to). Remember the movie the Bridges of Madison County? That’s Iowa.

          • Hey, calm down. I love Iowa and I said I think Des Moines would be a great place to live. I just don’t think Des Moines has a food scene that compares to Nashville or San Francisco (or Minneapolis for that matter). I didn’t say there’s nothing else in the state worth seeing.

          • Des Moines must be further behind than Omaha on farm to table then. It’s been popular around here for the past five years or so. A humorous part of one of my last trips to SF was a restaurant that was sourcing a bunch of ingredients from Missouri and Iowa. It was like, yeah…..I can get this back home for 1/3 of the price.

          • Yeah, La Quercia pork from Iowa is super trendy at restaurants in Northern California. I swear it’s on the menu at half the places in SF.

        • +1 on Mackinac Island

      • Eh, I’ve been to most of these places for business and wouldn’t recommend them for vacation. It would be nice to see Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone but I would definitely not go out of my way to see Omaha or Des Moines.

      • If you wanted to go to Wisconsin, I would recommend Door County in the summer. It’s kind of a headache to get there from the East Coast (you’ll have to drive a few hours from Milwaukee or Green Bay), but it’s very charming and quaint. (But also, kind of like Maine).

        • lucy stone :

          Door County is great – but I also only live 90 minutes from it. I go to Cape Cod every summer and I don’t think it’s a significantly different experience other than the salt content of the water.

          ALASKA. Alaska is where you should go!

          • Alaska is a great trip. I’m fond of drive between Valdez and Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula was stunning. I’ve taken the train between Anchorage and Denai once and would recommend that as well. Still on my Alaska list is the drive between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay.

      • Omaha hosts the College World Series every year. If you are going to go to Omaha, I would try to go during that and catch a game. Omaha is really nice but not necessarily a destination in itself, but during the CWS it has a very unique energy. Lots of college baseball fans, a fun downtown area with little shops and eclectic restaurants, that sort of thing. Like others have said, maybe not a #1 place to go just any time– but if you’re going, I recommend June for CWS.

      • Anonymous :

        Speaking of Iowa, you know what’s better than Des Moines?

        Iowa City!

        It’s like not being in Iowa, but like being in true Iowa. I love IC. God, I miss it.

    • What kinds of things do you enjoy doing? I really like Boston (I’m there a lot for work, but I genuinely do think its a great city) – lots of fantastic museums and history. But if those aren’t your things then I can see skipping.
      If you like hiking/nature I’d recommend Arizona – the Diamondback mountains are just gorgeous and very different from east and west coast landscapes. I also loved Colorado much more than I anticipated – the mountains around Vail are just amazing.
      Seattle and San Francisco are both great – I’d highly recommend them both if you enjoy food/arts/shopping. And the views in each city are really breathtaking – try to get out on the water if possible – ferry, boat, etc. – you really get a different view of the area.
      I’m from NY and kind of hated the sprawl and car culture of LA. For my money, San Francisco was a much nicer big west coast city, but I am strongly strongly biased towards walkability.

    • Anonymous :

      Drive up the California coast.

    • Anonymous :

      Except the point of that thread was that if you’re seeing only the coasts, you’re not seeing the US, and literally everything you listed as visited or want to visit is on the coasts, except Chicago, which is the stereotypical “not really the Midwest” Midwest.

      • road tripper :

        Okay! Then where are the awesome places in the Midwest that are worth planning a vacation around? I’ve also been to more of the Midwest than Chicago, btw–I road tripped there from my very coastal college, so definitely have experienced the vastness of the corn and soybean industries firsthand :) And I’ve been in Ann Arbor for a long weekend to hang out with a dear friend who was in grad school at UM, which was fun. I have friends in the UP in Michigan as well, and it looks beautiful; we love nature and hiking, and I’ve heard good things about the Ozarks.

        We were out West over the summer for the first time and loved it, and are definitely planning to do more of that in the near future (Utah, more of Wyoming, etc.), but that’s not really the Midwest, either.

        • anon a mouse :

          One of the things that makes this country so great is the diversity of experiences. It’s true that some cities are not known for their food. Instead of totally dismissing them, check out the Chamber of Commerce and find out what they are known for. There is culture across America even if it is not Culture as defined by Broadway and the Ivy League. (end soapbox)

          And here are a few suggestions —

          Nashville – spend a few days in the city eating and seeing live music, then do the bourbon trail (a bit of a drive, but very pretty).

          Mountain west – you’d get a great flavor driving from Denver to Salt Lake City and stopping in the small towns along the way. Glenwood Springs in particular is a delight.

          Upper Midwest – Door County Wisconsin. A cabin or canoeing trip at boundary waters in Minnesota.

          Southwest — Santa Fe (for all the food!) and artwork. Or Hill Country, Texas.

        • The Midwest stuff tends to be outdoorsy.

          Minnesota: North Shore, Duluth, Boundary Waters, MN State Fair (end of August, in the metro). Mpls-St. Paul have a ton of local breweries and a great food scene (per Tom Sietsma, food critic at the WPost). MSP also has a world-class orchestra, a thriving theater scene (including improv and comedy).

          Wisconsin: Door County, Apostle Island Lakeshore, Green Bay (go see a football game)

          North Dakota – Teddy Roosevelt National Park (Western part of the state) – these are the painted badlands, and prettier than the SoDak Badlands, IMO. Medora, ND – old-time-y town with live outdoor music show in the evenings. Fields of sunflowers in the summer.

          Montana – Makoshika State Park (more badlands), in Glendive (right off of the interstate). Camp, hike, pictures. Bozeman – college town, breweries, Musuem of the Rockies has an excellent dinosaur exhibit. Butte – mining town – tour the Orphan Girl Mine, checkout the School of Mine exhibit on mining and minerals. Kalispell/Whitefish – lake, cherries, entrance to Glacier Park.

          • Would we call Montana the mid-west though?

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t understand traveling to see a football game. I guess there are people that are super into it, but if the only reason to go to Green Bay is to watch football, it seems easily accomplishable with a tv or radio.

          • Anonymous :

            Anon at 1:13 – Going to a football game at a stadium and watching football on TV/listening to a game on a radio (!) are entirely different experiences. Not even remotely the same.

        • Kentucky: bourbon, craft distilleries, horses, scenery.

          Indy: motor speedway, town where Lincoln was born.

          Route 66.

          Riverboats on the Mississippi River.

          • Late to this, but here are some suggestions for my state:

            hit Kentucky in spring or fall for horse racing (Keeneland or Churchill Downs)
            hike at Red River Gorge and refuel at Miguel’s Pizza
            Go to the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green (complete with sinkhole)

        • Chicago based fantasty road trip :

          I’d fly into Chicago, drive to Milwaukee for a day or two (making sure to stop at the Mars Cheese Castle en route). The art museum there is awesome and I really like the Natural History Museum (much, much smaller the NYC’s but really cool). The NYT actually had a great “36 hours in Milwaukee” article a few years ago. Then I’d continue north to Madison for a 1 day or so. Then west to Taliesin East (where Frank Lloyd Wright had his summer home/studio/ school), House on the Rock and hit Cave of the Mounds on the way back to O’Hare. If you have an extra day in Chicago consider going to suburban Oak Park (which can be reached by the blue line cta train). It’s where Frank Lloyd Wright lived full time and you can visit his home and studio, as well as take a walking tour to see some of the (many) neighborhood houses he designed.

    • If you can handle a long road trip, my family took one that was really incredible when I was in middle school. We drove from home (Alabama) up through the Midwest to South Dakota and saw the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, across to Yellowstone, to the Salt Flats in Utah, across Nevada, to the the Sequoia Forests. along the coast of California to Monterey, then drove back home through the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater, and back across Texas home to Alabama. It took a couple weeks + during the summer but was an amazing way to see a huge part of the country. You drive through cornfields and prairies and oilfields and deserts and forests and up and down the Rocky Mountains. It was really neat. I hate road trips and will likely never do one like that again, but it was a really wonderful experience.

      • I should mention that we stopped at a lot of little random places along the way. Like a cowboy museum in Cody, WY and whatever other cultural curiosities we came across.

      • That trip sounds epic and lovely. I don’t know if planning something so big would be stressful or enjoyable but I aspire to do something like this.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Agreed. My personal recommendation would be to take a road trip. Some highlights from one that I took include:

        Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Southeastern Utah is gorgeous.
        Portland, Oregon
        Olympic National Park, Washington State. And while you’re out there, go to Cape Flattery, which is the northwestern most point in the continental United States and gorgeous.
        Drive on The Loneliest Road (US 50) or Beartooth Highway (US 212)

      • When I was 9 my family drove all the way from San Diego, California to visit my mom’s family in West Virginia. Stopped in Texas to see an uncle and various places in the south along the way. Epic and amazing. As CPA Lady said, just experiencing the cornfields, prairies, deserts, forests, and so on was really something.

      • The hubs and I plan to do this once The Kid is older, but in two road trips – one for the northern end of things (SD and MT to WA) and one for the southern end of things (NM and AZ to SoCal). We also figure that we will do an AZ Grand Canyon rafting trip, hit the high points of NV as part of one of our periodic treks to Vegas and then Texas is at least two trips of its own. That said, it will be a while before we are ready for that . . .

      • anonypotamus :

        I did something similar after taking the bar exam, and it was one of my favorite vacations so far (but since we took a month, definitely not something I’ll be able to do again for a while). We started in Seattle and went through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, out to Chicago through South Dakota (the Badlands were on my Must See list and they did not disappoint – one of the coolest places I’ve seen), along the Mississippi to St. Louis and Memphis, hit Dallas, Austin,, and then came back to the Bay Area through New Mexico, Arizona, and Las Vegas. It was a fantastic way to see a huge part of the country that I might otherwise have not made a destination, but am so glad I got to see. While we had a general timeline and plan, we booked places to stay along the way (or stayed with friends), and would basically start driving in the morning and seeing where we ended up. Esp. in the Internet age, it’s so easy to find recommendations for stuff to do ahead of time, or we had a lot of good luck asking people once we got there. It was a great way to get some local recommendations and ideas for stuff we hadn’t heard of. I intend to plan a few more shorter road trips (New England up to Maine, SE US), for future vacations and intersperse them with larger international trips.

    • Fly to a city, rent a car and then drive it to another city a few states away to fly back home. Those non-destinations between the airport cities is where I learned the most about the US and how other people live. The difference between city life and everywhere else is as big of a cultural difference as the US vs. international.

    • The biggest holes in your US sightseeing from a tourist perspective are Alaska and Hawaii. From a cultural perspective, the entire Midwest.

      • And the entire South and Southwest. Not a judgment on OP at all. I’ve probably been to fewer US cities. Just not sure why all the focus on the Midwest.

        • She said she’d been to Atlanta, Houston, NOLA and Charleston. That covers a lot more of the South than Chicago covers of the Midwest. And I interpreted “national parks out west” to mean Southwest, but maybe she just means California.

        • road tripper :

          I debated including a states section and decided not to because it was getting too lengthy, but I’ve at least set foot in every SE state and have spent significantly more time in a handful (Carolinas, Louisiana, and Virginia if we’re counting it in the South). Have also been to Hawaii (loved it) and am hoping to get to Alaska in the next five years!

          National Parks are Big Bend in TX (so borderline Southwest since we drove down from El Paso, but I’ve never been to AZ or NM) and Yellowstone + environs in MT/WY (Mountain West). I’ve only been to California once for a work event in San Diego, but I flew out a few days early to eat tacos and do some sightseeing. So I’ve barely checked off the West Coast in coastal snobbery bingo :)

    • When you do your west coast trip you should probably try to see Vegas too. If you road trip it, you’ll go right through it on the southern route. (Take 80 on the way out so that you go through Tahoe)

    • Here’s one for inspiration.

      When I was … 8 or 9 I was totally into Laura Ingalls Wilder. So my Dad saved up his vacation time and the family took a 4 week road trip that traced her wagon-trailed movements from her birth in Wisconsin I think, through the Dakotas, Kansas, and ending up in Arkansas. There were other stops along the way, but of course I’ve forgotten the details. I waded in Plum Creek. That was awesome. (My brother got a leech on his ankle and wailed like the earth was ending.) I stood in a corn field where the stalks were twice my height and the only way I could see anything was to look up. The cheese in Wisconsin was incredible (we also went to the Dells.) All of the locations where her books took place have some sort of museum or memorial, and we hit all of them.

      • My mom and I road-tripped to South Dakota to see her homestead because I was similarly obsessed. We also went to Prince Edward Island because I was really into Anne of Green Gables. I think planning vacations around books is great!!

      • Oh my god this is amazing.

        Your dad is fantastic.

        I was actually looking at the boxed set online last night, and nearly bought them (for myself). Such great books!

      • That’s amazing.

      • Truly amazing. I have always wanted to take a Laura Ingalls Wilder road trip, but I cannot get my daughter interested in the books. *Sob.*

        • I’m wrapping my box set up for my 8 year old and just dreading the “but this is so boring!” comments!

      • If you’re interested in an adult oriented book about pioneer life I recommend “Trials of the Earth”, a memoir written by a pioneer woman. I found it both eye opening and horrifying. (Her parents and brother die in the first few pages. On her deathbed her mother urges her to marry her future husband because he will take care of her and her younger siblings.)

    • It really depends on what you’re looking for. I’m well traveled through the U.S. and quite of bit of it by roads off the interstate. If you’re planning a big cross country trip, I think you’ll see some truly beautiful landscapes that will leave an impression on your heart even if they aren’t that particularly noteworthy. I have thoroughly enjoyed roadtrips through southern Illinois and Indiana. Drives through South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana are also etched firmly in my mind. This past summer we drove two lane roads Kansas and Oklahoma for the first time and enjoyed that as well.

      If roadtrips are not your thing, I suggest taking in more National Parks. I’m partial to Zion in Utah.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Montana is beautiful. I don’t know that I’d ever actually want to live there, but the landscape was so gorgeous that I dream about it.

        • Friend and I did a driving tour of MT – it is gorgeous. Hwy 200 through the middle of the state, up to Great Falls, thru Glacier Park, Kalispell to Missoula to Butte to Bozeman, Glendive, then thru the Painted Badlands (Theodore Roosevelt Nat’l Park) of North Dakota (I like them better than SoDak).

          • Tell me more! I am trying to figure out what I want to do for 2017 vacay. I am a big hiker and love being outside and also love road trips and just meandering.

          • Go to Montana! A friend got married in Missoula last summer so we hung out there for a bit, then road tripped down to Yellowstone, backpacked for a week, and then went back up through Bozeman, which was one of the most surprising and fun discoveries of the trip. If we’d had a few more days we would have added either the Grand Tetons + Jackson WY or Glaciers. Montana is tailor-made for outdoor activities and meandering road trips–just be mindful of wildfire season.

          • Emeralds, Montana is in the lead right now, right ahead of Isle Royal NP in Michigan. I just need to figure out logistics for each and see what makes the most sense and at what time of year :)

        • Sydney Bristow :

          This past summer we took the train from Portland, OR to Glacier National Park. It was a fantastic trip! So gorgeous and something to do sooner rather than later since the glaciers are disappearing.

      • This. I think it’s so important to get off the interstate. Want to see Iowa? Don’t go to Des Moines, or at least don’t make that your first and only stop. Get on a two-laner and see where it takes you. Stop in small towns and have lunch in the square.

        Another rec is to hop on the train. I love the California Zephyr. The train goes through parts of towns and cities that roads sometimes don’t. My favorite is to take it through the midwest during the holidays. I love being able to see houses lit up in the country that are miles away from other houses and know that I’m one of the few that gets to see them. The train isn’t cheap but if you want to see some places you might not otherwise, I recommend it.

    • I have a life goal of visiting all 59 National Parks. I think that’s a good starting point for seeing the US.

    • Ooohhh, you could do the bourbon trail in Kentucky if you’re into bourbon.

      • This is on my list. I also enjoyed the Jack Daniels Distillery in TN and thoroughly enjoyed the drive between it and Nashville.

    • I will throw in a shout-out to my home state–New Mexico! There is gorgeous hiking, a great microbrewery scene, amazing cultural sites including historic churches, Native American Pueblos, art museums, natural hot springs and the weather is usually beautiful. If you come in October, you can see the Balloon Fiesta.

      • ^ This! NM is beautiful!

        Anon @ 10:26 – where in NM? I’m Los Alamos originally.

        • I grew up in Albuquerque. My family is from Espanola. We used to go ice skating in Los Alamos every winter during our school break.

          • My family is in Albuquerque now – we moved there when I was in high school. And DH has family in ABQ & Santa Fe.

            I haven’t been to the Los Alamos skating rink in decades, but that spot always felt magical, especially if it started to snow while you were skating!

      • Anonymous4 :

        I have an aunt and uncle in Corrales – and I have fond memories of hiking the Sandias and cooking breakfast in the mountains!

        Old Town in Albuquerque is also a vivid memory for me.

        • I love Corrales! My favorite restaurant there burned down :( It was an old house with a unique history. I was so sad!

    • Southern Anon :

      San Antonio is really cool. The Alamo and lots of Spanish mission churches on the outskirts of the city, really good food, the river walk, great museums, el mercado. Great to visit in the winter. Boiling hot in the summer.

    • This is interesting to me. Personally, I find there are so many cool things to see/do in the US that the desire has never sparked in me to plan a trip Europe (I went to Paris for 2 weeks during college). DH and I are more partial to natural sights, rather than big cities so we like national parks, mountains, deserts, and beaches. Oh, and Hawaii is fantastic, even if it seems overrated.

      • You might consider visiting a European coast. My experience is limited, but the Amalfi Coast is unlike anywhere I’ve been in the U.S. and a trip can include Capri and Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii in addition to the beach towns.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My husband and I have a goal of visiting all 50 states. He likes to plan road trip itineraries and I’m just along for the ride, but it has been fantastic. We typically travel with his parents. His dad’s 50th state was North Dakota several years ago on one of our trips. My husband loves history and I love architecture and we try to see as many national parks and monuments as we can. Here are some of the places we’ve seen on these road trips.

      Rocky Mountain National Park
      Downtown Denver

      US Grant House in Galena
      Saw a baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago
      Architectural society boat tour
      Stayed in Chicago a few days

      Tippacanoe battlefield
      Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (so pretty!)

      Effigy mounds National Monument
      Pikes Peak State Park
      Field of Dreams movie site (This was really cool. Bring a baseball and glove and you can play on the field. I read that they recently opened up the home for exploring too but that wasn’t an option when we were there.)
      Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque

      Ate lunch at the Princess Restaurant in Frostburg, Maryland (we sat in the President Truman booth)

      Lighthouses in St. Joseph, Michigan

      Great River Bluffs State Park

      Scotts Bluff national monument
      Chimney Rock
      Stayed at Fort Robinson in old military housing

      North Dakota:
      Theodore Roosevelt National Park (both the north and south sections)
      Ate steak everywhere we stopped. The best steak of my life was at the Rough Riders Bar in Belfield, ND
      John Glenn’s childhood home in this cute little town of New Concord, Ohio (get ice cream at Dairy Dutchess)
      National Museum of the Airforce
      Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (saw the Wright Brothers shop)

      Fort Necessity battlefield

      South Dakota:
      Mount Rushmore (get there first thing in the morning and it isn’t super crowded)
      Badlands National Park (One of my favorite national parks. It is like being on a different planet)
      Minuteman Missile Launch Control Facility tour
      Wall, South Dakota to see the old timey shopping center

      Taliesin (Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate) – This was one of my favorite tours

      Fort Laramie
      Oregon Trail ruts in Guernsey

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Ugh, I had a really long response with a ton of specific recommendations that has disappeared. Hopefully it will get out of moderation in time for you to see it.

    • Glacier National Park in Montana
      Big Bend Park in Texas
      Grand Canyon & Sedona in AZ
      Arches National Park

      To really see America, I think you need to take a road trip. Hit up some big destinations but also stop at the little things along the way. See a rodeo in a smalltown. Eat at places you normally wouldn’t. Avoid the coasts.

      • I really reject this whole “real America” thing. I’m sorry, but Philadelphia and Los Angeles are just as REAL as some small town in Iowa that has a state fair. We have more people on the coasts, more universities, more culture. That’s just a fact.

        • And might I add, I think the racist undertones of “the Midwest is the REAL America” are just horrible. Notice how MOST of the suggestions on this thread are for the midwest- not even the Southwest where Native American and Hispanic culture are predominant.

        • Agree. The actual real America voted for HRC.

          • For heaven’s sake.

            America is an incredibly diverse country – racially, ethnically, culturally, and geographically. If you never see a part of it that is different from your own part, you are living in a bubble.

            I’ve lived in a liberal coastal city, aconservative coastal city, the rural South, and have spent a lot of time in the suburbs of a city in FL. I’ve visited about 80% of US states.

            None of those experiences are better than or interchangeable with others.

          • Thanks bridget. As someone who has lived on both coasts, the south, and the midwest, I am a bit taken aback by all these comments. I said to really see America. Not the “real America.” I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a “real America”. It is all America. All of it. Someone who has only spent time in the big cities is just as ignorant as someone who has spent only time in their small Midwestern town. This just reminds me why I haven’t been on this site in awhile, and why I will probably not be back again very frequently. -signed, a liberal HRC supporter who is just a bit turned off by all these comments here

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t think Iowa is more “real America” than Philadelphia, and I don’t think anyone said that here. People are just saying that seeing America includes seeing both the coasts and the flyover country, and not ignoring either one. Your comment about having more universities and culture on the coasts comes across as ridiculously snobby and I don’t think it’s true, certainly not per capita. The Midwest has many excellent universities. I would agree that there are valid reasons why someone might choose to vacation in Maine or California over Kansas, but it’s hard to take your comment seriously when you obviously have such disdain for the Midwest.
          And this really isn’t about politics. The Midwest generally follows the political patterns of the coasts, with red rural areas and blue cities and college towns. There just happen to be more rural areas in the Midwest. But you can certainly find people who are politically like-minded, if that’s what you’re looking for. Iowa City, IA is far more liberal than a random Philadelphia suburb, for example.

          • Anonymous :

            I do not have any disdain for the midwest. I went to college and law school in Chicago. But I find it ridiculous for people to suggest that I live in a bubble because I haven’t spent time in Kansas or Oklahoma.

        • Anonymous :

          I understand that a city like Philadelphia is probably culturally different from Des Moines, but I think many cities around the country have nearby rural areas that are pretty culturally comparable. Is Harrisburg or Lancaster, both probably an hour or two away, really much culturally different from Des Moines?

          • Anonymous :

            Yes. Harrisburg is way, WAY more conservative than Des Moines. Des Moines is pretty liberal, and I would say culturally much closer to Philly than Harrisburg. Iowa (and the Midwest generally) is not all redneck factory workers and farmers. The cities are blue and we have university towns that are even bluer.

          • Anonymous :

            Nobody is claiming that is it redneck factory workers or famers, though? I guess I don’t understand what the big cultural difference is that I have to go experience in person. Des Moines seems like a small city that is culturally similar to other cities, but there probably isn’t much to do while visiting on vacation that you couldn’t do elsewhere. I’ve been there and found it fine but unremarkable.

        • Anonymous :

          Having lived in Des Moines and Western MA, I can assure you Des Moines has more culture, a more educated population, a much better restaurant scene and is much more welcoming to minorities than many parts of Massachusetts. No, Des Moines does not have the cultural offerings or diversity of LA or Philadelphia… because it is a much smaller city. For a city its size, it is perfectly nice and there’s no need to look down on it. Please don’t paint the Midwest and “the coasts” with such a broad brush. The Eastern seaboard states have some areas that are as rural, poor, uneducated and racist as any part of the Midwest. You sound incredibly ignorant when you simplify it down to Midwest = backwards and racist, coasts = educated and progressive. Believe me, as a minority you are far better off in a city or college town in the Midwest or South than you are in a rural community in the Northeast.

          • Anonymous :

            ARe you a visible minority? I am, and have lived in the South and visited the Midwest. I would NEVER live there.

          • Anonymous :

            Yes, I’m a minority. Where did you visit? Was it a major city? There’s a huge difference between Des Moines and a small town in Iowa, just like there is a huge difference between Boston and a small town in western Massachusetts.

    • If you are into biking, Wisconsin has a number of beautiful bike trails that were converted from railways. Many of them interconnect. My favorites are the Bearskin (~30 miles in the Northern part of the state) and the Elroy-Sparta (eastern part of the state). There are options for eating and sleeping along the way. Many trails have beautiful picnic areas next to swim-able lakes too.

    • Alaska!

    • You’re missing the entire Southwest — Tucson, Phoenix, Santa Fe, the many places you can drive to from Phoenix (Grand Canyon, Sedona), plus Hawaii and Alaska.

    • These are clearly not city destinations, but there are some really spectacular places to see all over the US and all would be worthy vacation destinations in my book:

      Grand Canyon
      Jackson Hole / Yellowstone
      Arches National Park
      Glacier National Park
      Colorado – Aspen/Vail/Beaver Creek/Telluride
      Asheville, NC area
      Acadia – or even just Maine closer to Boston (Kennebunkport, etc.)
      Lake Tahoe
      California coast (LA, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, SF)

      So many places to see in the world (and US!)!

    • Have you thought about taking 10 days and driving cross country, then flying back? I saw a lot of the country by doing this twice. It’s a great method because you don’t have to devote a whole week to a smaller city (like, Omaha), but you can get the general vibe and grab a meal in a half day and then continue on your way. You’d be surprised how much ground you can cover doing this, and every day is different (high end dining one day, national park the next). This method allowed my partner and I to find some places we really like and come back to them later – but still feel like we’ve gotten more of a sense of what is out there in the US.

    • On my US travel bucket list:
      Zion National Park
      Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country
      The New England coast
      Charleston, SC
      New Orleans

      Some of my favorite US destinations:
      Napa Valley
      Laguna Beach
      Park City
      Palm Springs, CA
      Lake Tahoe

  9. Shopping help. Looking for a new pair of flats to wear to work. I don’t often wear flats, but have been occasionally with a dress/skirt and tights when I just don’t feel like heels. I’ve been wearing my black Tory Burch Reva’s with gold logo, but they are looking old and rough. I would LOVE Chanel flats, but can’t really spend that much right now. Any other suggestions? Open to anything, even Tory Burch if the logo is less noticeable.

    • I wear my Everlane modern point flats all the time. Highly recommended.

    • I have no answer to this question anymore. I used to recommend Ivanka Trump’s pointy toed flats religiously, and I will continue to wear mine until they fall apart, but I can’t bring myself to buy any new pairs.

      And no, I don’t research the politics of every vendor/company that I purchase goods or services from, but when I happen to know about those politics and vehemently disagree with them, then I don’t give them my dollars.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      BP Moveover flats at Nordstrom.

    • I just ordered some pointy toes black flats from Shoes of Prey. I can’t wait to get them! I looked everywhere – the closest I found on line was corso como pointy toed black flats but zappos was out of my size. You might check those out.

    • I got a pair of plain leather flats from J Crew Factory, and they are actually surprisingly nice. Comfortable, with a substantial sole, and don’t look cheap.

    • Try AGL.

      • +1 Love mine and have had them for over 5 years now. Granted, I wear them maybe once every two weeks in rotation with a bunch of other shoes, but they still look great. I got them resoled once a few years back. I think they look more professional than the Burch ones.

      • +1000. I have four pairs and love them more than words can say. Watch for sales, or pick them up at Nordstrom Rack or on Ebay. I have good luck with NIB AGLs there at great prices.

    • don’t laugh….payless has some cute flats that I’ve been wearing a lot (and I’m historically a shoe snob).

      also like Jessica simpson’s flats!

    • I haven’t worn these yet, because they are new to the line, but Nisolo has new pointy toed flats. I have their oxfords and absolutely adore them.

    • Marshmallow :

      French Sole New York aka FS/NY. I have their “Passport” flats in black and beige, and I think the older pair is going on 7 years now. Get them with the leather, not rubber, sole. They can be resoled and last forever.

    • I love d’orsay style flats. I have gotten some great ones by Vince Camuto recently, but Jcrew and Nordstrom also have good options.

    • I love my M Gemi stellatos for the pointy flats, I also love my Ferragamo Varas and Varinas. I liked my Vince Camutos for a while, but they died after about a 18 months :(

  10. I need jeans advice. Nowadays it seems like the only options are either super stretchy skin tight skinny jeans, or slouchy boyfriend jeans. Isn’t there some middle ground of slim fitting, structured jeans with a little bit of stretch for comfort? I’m thinking mid-rise and closely following the leg but not stuck to the skin. I have a small waist but ample hips and butt. Does this exist? How do I find it?

    • Anonymous :

      Banana Republic and Gap have straight fit jeans.

    • J.Crew Matchstick. I have them in black and dark wash blue.

      • +1. I also like Seven’s in the Kimmie straight and bootcut style – they’ve got a lot more stretch and don’t get quite as baggy as the matchstick style (but are more $$).

        • Oh I like this too! In trousers a ‘straight’ leg is often unflattering on me for some reason, but it looks like in these jeans it’s what I’m looking for. Thanks!

      • EXACTLY what I’m looking for in terms of shape. Thank you! Apparently ‘matchstick’ is the descriptor I’m looking for. Is it super stretchy or more structured?

    • NYDJ.

    • numbersmouse :

      I would look for jeans labeled “slim”, or “skinny” but only if the label also does “super skinny”. Old Navy’s curvy skinny jeans fit the bill for me. I also got a similar pair at Uniqlo, but they’re not really for small waist/big hips figures (plus I messed up and got the high-rise and since I’m petite they reach just below my b**bs).

    • Talbots. I love their straight leg jeans.

      • Nylon girl :

        Second Talbots on jeans. I also like their casual shirts as well–cotton knit 3/4 sleeves in stripes.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      I love the Naked & Famous straight leg. I have to size up and get the waist taken in (as someone with a small waist & ample everything else), but they’re structured, durable, made in Canada, and incredibly comfortable once you break them in. Not a huge amount of stretch because they’re raw selvedge demin, but they break in great and last forever.

    • I am a pear shape and love my Lucky Brand straight leg jeans.

    • AG stilt are cigarette leg, and meet your description depending on the fabric… They range from very stretchy to barely stretchy.

    • Madewell?

  11. Paging TO Lawyer :

    How did it go??

    • haha love this! It’s not till Sunday… I was just canvassing ideas so I had time to look up recipes/reviews during some quiet time at work.

      Thanks for checking in!

      • Paging TO lawyer :

        You will have to update us. I haven’t had a third date for eighteen years. I am living vicariously through you!

    • I was wondering too! Lol.

  12. Happy Thursday, all. We have a one-year-old, and I have started thinking about what holiday traditions would be fun for him going forward. (We celebrate Christmas, but are not religious). For example–my husband growing up always had Chinese food on Christmas eve with his family, and his mom bakes the favorite cookie of everyone in the family. We both have a tradition of opening one gift on Christmas eve, and going to midnight mass. My family always went to a movie on Christmas. One that we are thinking of doing going forward is from a friend of ours–having the kid(s) help pick out a charity for a donation.

    What are some of your favorite traditions? I’d like to build some great traditions for our son, so just looking for some ideas! TIA!

    • We have bagels and lox for Christmas breakfast while we’re opening gifts.

      Before grandchildren came into the picture, we’d always play Trivial Pursuit on Christmas afternoon. I’m thinking we need to replace it with a child-friendly game, because it was just nice to have everyone spending time together instead of off in corners with new toys/books/etc by themselves.

      • I might copy you and do the bagels and lox thing this year. I’m always trying to come up with a special Christmas morning breakfast but everyone eats candy from their stockings and doesn’t feel like eating whatever I’ve made. At least bagels can sit around until you’re ready to toast your own

      • My grandmother used to bake us cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, I kinda miss that.

    • Throughout my childhood (I had younger siblings), every Christmas eve, my dad would suddenly realize that he had to run out for a little while – help a neighbor with something, run to the store, etc. While he was gone, Santa would stop by, and hand out candy canes and one small present each. When Dad came back, we would excitedly tell him that he had missed Santa, and he would exclaim how disappointed he was. It sounds dumb, but it honestly took us years to figure it out. Now that we have kids of our own, my brothers have traded off on being the ones that have to run out during the visit, just to keep everyone on their toes.

    • Southern Anon :

      I make reindeer pancakes for Christmas breakfast. You can look on pinterest to see what they look like. I am not a pinteresty person at all, but it’s cute and easy.

    • Anonymous4 :

      When I was a child, my mom had a different Christmas activity for every Friday in December. We would turn on a classic Christmas movie and do one activity. One night we’d decorate gingerbread men and sugar cookies. One night we’d make homemade caramels and/or chex mix. At least two nights we’d wrap gifts. Our Christmas movie selections included White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol (with George C. Scott), Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Miracle on 34th Street (with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood).

      Our homemade treats would go on goodie plates as gifts.

      My favorite tradition we’ve started with our family is kicking off the Christmas season the weekend after Thanksgiving. We go out and buy our tree and a few new ornaments. I collect the reproduction Shiny Brites, and they release a new box every year. We pick out a bird ornament for our late son. And then pick an ornament that represents our living son’s current interests. Last year it was a race car. This year it is an excavator truck.

      I like doing Angel Tree or Toys for Tots for charity.

    • This may not be helpful as it’s not kid related, but for anyone looking for a way to celebrate their family of two, my husband and I reserve Christmas Eve as our night. He’s Jewish, I’m not religious, so we don’t have any church type obligations. We dress up and make dinner reservations somewhere fancy, and come home and slow dance in the living room. It’s pretty much my favorite thing all season.

    • New Jammies for hanging the stocking just before bed on xmas eve. Leave cookies for Santa and carrots and celery for Rudolph (my kids did not give one sh*t about the other eight reindeer)

      The gifts from Santa are not wrapped and are just sitting under the tree, so that when the kids came down the stairs Christmas morning they got to see their “big” presents right away (like a doll in a doll stroller or a giant sock monkey) We were very careful as our kids got older to use different gift tags and I even went so far as to have one of my colleagues write the to: from: so that the handwriting would be different than the from mom and dad tags.

      A one year old is going to care more about the boxes and the ribbons than what’s inside but as he gets older he will start being excited about the gifts. Let him open them at his own pace. If he gets something he’s really excited about he may want to play with it for a while before moving on.

      We usually have seafood for xmas eve and something big like a rib roast or goose for xmas day dinner. That may be just my heritage speaking, I don’t know. But until that xmas dinner (and I mean an evening meal) we are in our Jammies all day xmas day.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Love the bit about Rudolph – in my house we left out baby carrots for the reindeer and cookies and a Diet Coke for Santa.

    • At bedtime on Christmas Eve, we read “The Night Before Christmas” aloud before hanging the stockings. In addition to cookies for Santa, we leave a piece of cheese for his helper Santa Mouse (from a book I had as a kid that was reprinted a few years back–sadly it appears to be out of print again). Another tradition I like that we haven’t consistently implemented is leaving a bunch of whole carrots with the tops on for the reindeer. The reindeer are messy eaters and leave the carrot tops all over the yard.

      We go to the movies on Christmas afternoon.

      • I love the carrot idea! I’ve found recipes for reindeer food (basically oats and edible glitter) that I want to make and spread around the yard with my 2 year old.

    • Thank you all for the ideas! There are so many great ones here–also, I am very impressed that your families went to such lengths to make the holidays so magical :)

    • Nylon girl :

      In Christmas Eve, I make a chocolate wacky cake & we sing happy birthday to Jesus.

      • SF Lawyer :

        We sing happy birthday to Jesus and have angel food cake for dessert (because the angels!)

    • My comment is in moderation, not sure why, but basically – new pajamas and hanging stockings on the night of the 24th. Great photo op and then the kids look cute when they get up the next morning to open gifts.

      I do not love the idea of opening a gift on the 24th. I have two kids and we’ve tried it (and will probably get roped into it again this year) but someone is always disappointed with what they chose to open. If you wait to open everything till the morning of the 25th and they don’t like a gift, they can always move on to the next one.

      • We choose the gift for the kids to open on the 24th, and it’s their new christmas PJs.

      • I’m a grandmother now, and I copy a tradition MY grandmother followed of allowing the grandchildren to open a small gift each day that they are at my house before Christmas. They usually arrive 2-3 days before Christmas. But I give them Christmas pajamas on Thanksgiving evening, so they can wear them throughout December. It’s a fun way to kick off the Christmas preparations.

        • SF Lawyer :

          I love this idea. My kids have a hard time with the present explosion on Christmas morning, so we’ve often done present-opening over a period of days to spread it out – not in a formal way, but just organically.

    • I made my daughter an Advent calendar by decorating magnetic tins. She’s only two now, so she just plays with them on the fridge. But eventually I plan to put a little piece of candy and a slip of paper for a Christmas activity in each one. Some will be “Mommy’s busy” activities like write a letter to Santa or watch Christmas movies. Some will be “we have things to do” activities like decorating Christmas cards or meeting Grandma at the airport. Some are pure fun, like open a present early or go ice-skating. Some are educational, like picking from the Angel Tree or learning about holidays in other cultures. I’m hoping this will help me spend more time with her during the holidays, instead of stressing out about it.

      My favorite activity when I was a kid was driving around town after dark admiring everyone’s Christmas lights.

    • Senior Attorney :

      When my son was little, Santa hung candy canes all over the Christmas tree in addition to leaving gifts and filling the stockings.

      If I had it to do over again, though, I would get involved in the whole “Santa” thing. It’s all fun and games until your kid has his heart set on the one toy that is completely unattainable. Gah. Horrible. #powerrangers (Actually I’d do it, but I’d do it in a wink wink, nudge nudge kind of way that made it clear it was a fun pretend thing.)

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, and our big thing really isn’t Christmas at all — it’s Cookie Day. DS and I get together every year, rain or shine, and spend the day messing up the kitchen by baking cookies. We change up what kind we make (one year we did cake pops instead), and we invite whatever of his friends or my friends are around, there is general hilarity and the work product is usually pretty awful, but we have a great time and once we’ve done Cookie Day, we feel like we’ve had our Christmas and everything else is gravy.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Gah. Would NOT get involved in the whole Santa thing…

    • My mom always made the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls Christmas morning. She never made them any other time of year so it was super special!

      We also got a special ornament from my parents each Christmas. My mom was so good at choosing something meaningful, and it’s really fun to put them on my tree now. It jogs my memory about how obsessed I was with things like trolls, ice cream, my red Schwinn bike, etc. Plus my husband likes hearing all the stories about my childhood.

      Being kids, we always got up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. My parents wrapped every single thing in our stockings individually and we were allowed to open them while Mom and Dad were sleeping. Everything else we had to wait until they got up. As an adult, I find this brilliant and imagine that every minute spent wrapping all the little items is probably worth it in extra Christmas-morning-sleep.

  13. I’m going home for Christmas tomorrow and feel a bit like a kid playing truant. Everyone else is working until next week (but taking off the first week of January while I’m back on 3rd). So, so excited although daunted by the thought of an 11 hour flight with morning sickness (or all-day sickness). But it will be worth it. I haven’t been home for Christmas in 5 years, am looking forward to some good family time, and I just need to stick a bow on my belly and mom + dad’s present is sorted.

    • Please actually stick a giant bow on your belly when you land!!!!

      • I considered it but mom’s got a meeting so it’s only dad. And he’s our ride home and will bawl like a baby if my wedding speech was any indication.

        I overcame my supersticious nature and ordered a mama bear t-shirt. We’ll see how long it takes them to notice.

    • I so love this! Can’t wait to hear your story afterwards!

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Enjoy! I don’t have to work next week either, and I can’t wait.

    • Try the sea bands for the flight. And bring your own snacks, lots of them. You want to keep your stomach from being totally empty, but that’s easier said than done when you’re dealing with pregnancy nausea and have a lot of aversions. Peanut butter crackers were a good option for me–a little protein, a little salty carbs, and portable. Rice cakes also continue to be good as “first tri morning sickness” turns out to be “second tri all-day sickness.”

      And I guess they usually have puke bags on the plane, but maybe consider asking for more just in case? When I took a train trip in the first tri when I was puking frequently, just having some bags with me as back up was comforting.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Me neither. A third of my office is out next week and almost the rest of it is out the week after. Looking forward to being off next week AND having a quiet office the week after to catch up and finish up closing cases for the year.

  14. spamtest123

  15. Now that it appears that TheLimited is dying (thanks to the poster from yesterday for the heads up), what are similar brands I can shop at? I like TheLimited’s style and price point (I typically only buy at 50%+ off the listed prices). I need tall/long sizes in dresses and pants.

    • Wow, I just saw that – how disappointing! I’ll echo the question – the other stores that are close for me are BR, Ann Taylor, and WHBM, but none of them are really right. BR’s offerings have been terrible lately, and AT and WHBM are a little more than I want to spend and seem to have very limited selections, at least in my area. I used to include Express in that, too, but it feels more like a club store now (maybe I’m just getting old).

      I hate to shop for clothing online (and I’m certainly not buying final sales), but I might have to get more used to it. Yuck.

      • AT has such a bizarre and limited selection, even online! And even basic styles disappear completely after the season ends. It’s too bad, I was a fan of them a year or two ago and got a bunch of gift cards that I now can’t seem to use on anything but camis.

      • Nylon girl :

        Try Dillard’s Antonio Melani line. Hard to get on sale though.

      • Anonymous :

        I shopped at BR earlier this week and was happy to see that they have reverted back to their old style. So you might want to give them another try.

        • I agree – I’ve had bad BR experiences for awhile but bought a few things as part of their Black Friday promotion and was pleasantly surprised. I kept all 4 items from my online order, which NEVER happens.

    • New Tampanian :

      For me, I’ve been taking advantage of any Nordstrom sales. They aren’t quite at the same price point but for work dresses, I can usually find items around $60-90 on sale. Rue La La can be helpful too if you know the brands you like.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I was just thinking the same thing. I finally got a couple of the Madison blazers and they are perfect. I’d like to keep some sort of jacket in mind when I’m ready for new colors.

  16. 1yo girl birthday gift :

    What to get? The mom is super girly and I haven’t met the daughter. Would like to spend less than $50. Thanks!

    • My super girly friends all buy their kids tons of Pottery Barn Kids stuff.

    • kid nail polish (brand as something about “piggies” in the name I think)
      cute shoes/legwarmers
      play makeup (my girls are always into mine)
      Music cube
      “rainbow in my room” nightlight (I’m 33 and think it’s pretty b.a.).
      carseat poncho (if you’re in a cold climate)

    • Craft kits. Make your own jewelry/soap/lip gloss/etc. There are loads in lots of different price points. I got my 8 yr-old niece a ‘grow your own rock crystal and then turn them into jewelry’ kit this year, which was approved by the 9-yr old girl in the toy store next to me ;)

    • 1?!? Spend $10 on a board book.

      • (was) due in june :

        I think everyone is reading “10” as in ten and you typed “1” as in one.

        If one year old, the Roger Priddy 100 word lift-the-flap books. Get all four (animals, farm, words, numbers). My kid is obsessed with those books even six months later.

        She also loves kinetic sand if you want to spend more money.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I always buy books for kids of this age, but I’m a card carrying member of the “no such thing as too many books” club. On the other hand, my nieces and nephews apparently look forward to their books from me, even now that they are older!

    • Pick up something from Melissa & Doug.

    • I think some of these recommendations are too mature for a one year old. Like a craft kit and nail polish. You can’t get a one year old to hold still for nail polish to dry and their hands are always in their mouths.

      They sell so many cute warm hats for little ones I’d go for that. Like with kitty ears or whatever. And maybe a cardigan sweater. If you have to guess at a size I’d do 18 months.

      • Yeah, agree. I think the posters above thought this was for a 10-year-old.

      • Agree – no way would I let even my three year old near nail polish. Keep in mind that a one year old is barely walking yet!

        My default if I don’t know the infant / family well is board book + gift card to local toy shop. if you don’t want to get a gift card, I’ve given and recieved walkers (like the fisher price sit, strode, and ride lion); activity cubes (look up Alex toys); mega bloks; or cars suitable for 12-18 months (my 3 yo daughter still plays with the green toys fire truck she got on her first bday).

        Melissa and Doug is a good suggestion but just make sure to check age range for appropriateness.

      • it’s for mom to paint kid’s nails–like a kid-friendly polish.

    • Anonymous4 :

      Tobbles have been a top rated toy for a number of years now. I’ve gifted those a few times.

      I utterly adore anything made by Grimm Toys – you can find them on Amazon or Magic Cabin. They’re wooden, made in Germany, and very high quality. The Rainbow Stacker is gorgeous and perfect for that age. The nesting cups are also beautiful, as is the pull along sailboat.

      Hape and Haba make lovely wooden toys too.

      The Nikki Baby or Cuddle Baby Waldorf dolls are beautiful – check out Magic Cabin or Bella Luna Toys.

    • Green Toys pink dump truck. Because every girl needs a truck and this one is made out of recycled milk jugs and stands up to tons of toddler use and abuse. Price under $20; if you want to be a big spender, you also can get the Green Toys pastel took kit, which will take your tab up to $40.

    • Anonymous :

      The B. Toys drum set (pair it with the book “Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb”) or Fisher Price little people – the farm set is always popular, but they do make Disney princess sets if you want something girly. The kid will probably be ready to play with them soon, if she’s not already. Otherwise, adorable outfits or pj’s are a good bet.

    • That’s a generous budget for a kid’s birthday present… Some ideas:
      -clothes (find out the size)
      -board books
      -puzzles. might seem advanced now but she’ll get it eventually.
      -things she can push – those large toy trucks are good
      -bath squirt toys

  17. New checks :

    Where do you guys like to order checks from? Directly from your bank?

  18. Do any of you fly?

    I’ve been thinking about getting a lesson to see how I like it. Any thoughts or things to keep in mind?

    I think it’s probably expensive and I’m more curious than wanting to actually fly (like I would not want to stop flying commercially or fly with my children).

    • I don’t fly, but its very common in my industry. Several of my coworkers have small aircraft, and my college roommate took lessons.

    • Yes, it’s very expensive, particularly if you are in a HCOL area generally, it seems. Plane ownership is expensive as well (years ago, my FIL found that he bought the plane every 5-6 years in insurance costs). That said, taking a lesson doesn’t mean committing to getting your license, so try it if you’re curious. I got my SO a lesson a few years ago through Groupon and it was a lot of fun for him, and we upgraded to a 4-seater so I could ride along.

    • You can sign up for ground school first and see if you are still interested after that.

    • OK, 25 yrs ago (!) I took lessons. It was expensive then but I hear it’s much more so now. I loved it. I got to the point of flying solo a few times before dropping it due to time constraints; at that point it got very serious and time consuming.
      Do the single lesson, regardless !!

  19. I’m the person who posted yesterday about a brand new hire, buddies with the owners of my company, getting absolutely wasted by 3pm of his second day and sexually harassing every single woman (I got the brunt of it because he lured me out of the office by asking me to come meet a potential client, but he was alone at a bar) and dropping racial slurs. If anyone wants an update…

    Turns out he had been out drinking the night before, had the shakes, and decided ‘hair of the dog’ was the answer and he just didn’t stop drinking. Says he was blacked out the whole time. The contrition and humiliation seemed genuine. He apologized profusely and sincerely. I met with him with 2 of the 3 owners present, let him apologize, and then said my piece, which I had outlined ahead of time. I told him that the best way to move forward is to find something to work together on.

    I actually ended up coming out ahead, because it gave me an opportunity to handle an incredibly difficult situation with professionalism in front of the people who determine my future at the company. They both told me they respected the way I handled it, and I also trust that they’ll have my back if anything like this ever happens again. If anything, this has given me a leg up, odd as that is. I feel good about it overall.

    I appreciate everyone’s feedback. This is a great community and it definitely helped to have the space to vent. Thanks, everyone!

    • Thanks for the update, and I’m glad it ended up well for you!

    • Wow. That’s nuts! Sounds like you nailed it.

    • +1 to Wow. Good for you and the owners for handling everything with such professionalism and poise.
      Also–not yours to solve, but it sounds like your new hire has a drinking problem. I hope he finds a way to resolve it before anything even more terrible happens. Maybe one of his bosses can discreetly steer him to an EAP or other assistance. Life is fragile enough without preventable tragedies.

      Sign me “Maizie who doesn’t want any more deaths due to drunk driving”

    • Yes, I’d say he has a drinking problem (sez one whose now-late boyfriend was a serious alcoholic). If he has the shakes from only a few hours without alcohol, and “needs” the hair of the dog… It won’t stop. My BF drank at work regularly and lost his job.

      Also, this can be a serious liability situation for the company.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Paging Anon at 1:44 from this thread yesterday. You said you read a lot about the hacking/cybersecurity industry and I am really trying to learn more about this area– especially the “shady” sides like turned hackers. Can you point me in some directions? New to this topic in my professional life but very interested and need to learn more.

  20. Can anyone recommend resources to get more familiar with Excel? I don’t really use it as is.

    • Anonymous :

      YouTube has some great tutorials.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Once you’ve got the basics, I really recommend the Contextures blog. She gives wonderfully clear instructions, often in both video and text format. My go-to for Excel.

  21. Paging Sugaring Cranberries :

    For whoever was looking for help sugaring cranberries, I didn’t read the thread, but the cooking blog Brown Eyed Baker just posted something about it and her recipes are usually pretty good.

  22. Looking for gift ideas for a friend’s daughter who is graduating from college (bachelor’s degree), but plans to go to graduate school in the fall. She mentioned wanting “grown-up” jewelry, so I was thinking maybe pearl earrings? I can spend up to $150, and I’ve seen some cultured pearl studs in that price range, but is that something a girl in her early 20’s would wear?

    • I gave pearl earrings to a young woman about that age and they were a huge hit. They are classic and can be worn with anything.

    • Mid-late 20’s here – I got a pair of pearl studs on a vacation and I love them. Wear them all the time because they’re a nice neutral.

      • Anonymous :

        Mid-20s here and I concur. I got a pair as a gift and while I don’t wear them that often (because I’m lazy with earrings) I love having them.

    • Pearl earrings or just studs in general. Delicate necklaces are great as well.

      If you’re looking for pearls with some something extra, I LOVE these. And all of the studs. There is a match bracelet as well.

      **Note: I am from the South and lean toward big jewelry**

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I have fake pearl studs that I wear /all the time/. Wearing them today to make jeans and a sweater look a little bit nicer. Would absolutely love these. I like the tiny or small ones. Not huge- I have another pair and never wear them. I also love the pinkish fake pearl studs I have.

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