Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Cowl Neck Sweater Shell

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

This cowl neck sweater shell from Ann Taylor looks really lovely. I love the wide ribbing, which gives it a more fitted look, and the sort of casual cowl — it’s very cool. Note that it’s machine washable, as well. It comes in the pictured blue (online only) as well as black and white, in regular and petite sizes. It’s $69.50, but with code YOUPICK, you can get 20% off. Cowl Neck Sweater Shell

A plus-size option is at Zappos.

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

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  1. You guys, I ordered denim from Everlane and I am wearing them today for jeans day and they are amazing so I had to share. I got the high rise dark denim skinny jeans and I have had 4 compliments so far since I have gotten to work. They’re perfectly dark with no whiskering (which I hate), thick but not too thick, and the skinny leg isn’t SUPER skinny (i.e. not tight to my ankle). They list the measurements of the jeans (not your body) so you can measure against jeans you already have for the perfect fit. Oh and they’re $68. I’m eyeing the cheekies next… does anyone have them? Happy friday!

    • Chiming in to say I have these as well and they are a great option for work. I also recently purchased their Day Glove shoe and I’ve been wearing it on my commute – so far one week and no blisters!

    • Marshmallow :

      I have an Everlane problem– they’re taking over my closet. I have the skinnies, boyfriends, and cheekies. The skinnies are my favorite but they are all good. The cheekies fit like I wanted the boyfriends to fit– very high waisted and fitted through the hips, a bit relaxed in the legs. Like a good mom jean.

      My issue with the cheekies is size. I go back and forth between a 28 and 29 in most jeans. The 28 cheekies fit but were TIGHT, like actually “cheeky”. The 29 were a bit more relaxed but still fitted so I went with those. But after wearing them, they’ve stretched out noticeably. :-/ I still like them but they fit looser than they look on the model.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Do they have enough length to spare that you can put them in the drier?

        • Marshmallow :

          Yep– I was just thinking I should try washing and drying them on hot. For reference I am 5’4″ and bought the ankle, and it hits the very top of my foot. I actually had them cuffed the other day.

      • Which size do you have in the skinnies? Should I get the same in the cheeky or maybe size down if they stretch like you say?

    • The above link is a referral link. KP, you couldn’t tell us about them without embedding that?

      HARD SIGH.

      • That is a ridiculous complaint. Why oh why is everyone here so grumpy??? So. What.

      • There is a general disclaimer on the bottom of ALL the posts here that “this post contains affiliate links…”. Reading is fundamental.

        Also, it’s a fashion blog. That is how fashion blogs make money. It’s common sense and well known. What do you care if Kat makes a dollar if you buy, it literally doesn’t affect you!

        • I think she was referring to the commenter’s link, not Kat’s.

        • They’re not complaining about Kat, they are complaining about the KP poster’s link.

        • Not Kat’s post – KP’s comment.

        • That’s Kat’s disclosure. This poster also has to disclose. And we care because it’s illegal and shady not to tell someone you’re profiting from their clicks.

          • You have to disclose affiliate links in online ads, which is why bloggers and instragrammers have to do it. Is a comment an advertisement?

          • Anonymous :

            Yes. A comment is an ad just as much as a blog post. Anything you’re posting online saying “this product is good” is an ad for that product.

      • Marshmallow :

        Ugh– agree. Go ahead and post a referral link in your comment but it’s sleazy not to say what it is.

        • Sleazy? Shady? Illegal?

          You have GOT to be kidding me. I’m not the OP but I’m so irritated with this.

          • It is illegal. The FTC actually regulates this. It applies to undisclosed affiliate links in comments, message boards, and other media. It doesn’t have to be a traditional ad placement to require a disclosure. If the poster is incentivized to share the link she needs to disclose that so other readers can weigh whether she is sharing her impartial opinion and make a purchase decision accordingly.

        • The commenter didn’t post a referral link, it’s part of Kat’s script on this site to make all links referred links.

          • Anonymous :

            If that’s the case, that bothers me more than the original assumption. As much as I respect that Kate makes her living from this blog, it rubs me the wrong way for a link that someone else posted to be turned into an affiliate link for her because she didn’t find the product.

            (different anon, regular reader, occasional poster)

          • Anonymous :

            Kat, dangit

      • I think it just came up when I copied the page of the jeans I was viewing? That’s where I meant it to link! I haven’t ever gotten anything for free from Everlane.

    • Would you mind sharing what body type you are? I have big hips, a butt, small waist, and jeans are… a problem for me. Always on the lookout for ones that fit curvy. Thank you!

      • Levis curvy cut ones (on their website) are magic for me.

      • Definitely hourglass here. Small waist, big butt and medium thighs. There’s a tinnnny bit of extra space in the waist but not show-your-underwear-when-you-sit extra space.

      • Hourglass here and the best I have found are the Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution jeans from Nords. They even come in petite,

    • I’ve been meaning to make a post asking about these jeans! Thanks for the tip!

    • How well do these retain their shape after a few wears? My problem with skinny jeans is they stretch out and look sloppy by the end of the day.

      • No idea on her rec, but I have the J Crew Pull-on toothpick in two colors and have been really pleased that they simply don’t sag out. I have had that problem with pretty much every jean but somehow not these. They are pull-on though, so I wear them with longer tops that cover the fact that there is no zipper. I have worn them on long plane rides and they retain their shape and am wearing them right now at work, too! I don’t know your height, but I am 5’3″ and they are some of the only ones I own that are not inches of extra fabric at the ankles so I’ve been happy with them.

        I do have some Old Navy ones that don’t stretch but they carry a big caveat in that you have to go touch them in person because sometimes even two of the same jean look and are cut totally differently – and don’t get me started with 0nl1ne from them. I guess that’s what happens when you pay $15 for them but still.

        (And no, I am still not the GMG bl0gger and have never received a commission on anything.)

        • Anonymous :

          My only issue with the Jcrew toothpicks is that they are too skinny for my calves. Like I can’t actually pull them up my legs (I do have a wider calf).

          My other issue with jcrew jeans (which is why I got rid of mine) is the rise in the back wasn’t high enough and I felt like it was constantly dealing with plumber crack every time I sat down.

      • They hold their shape pretty well. I think they say 2% stretch or something but they’re the least stretchy jeans I own, by far. I find they do loosen up in the knees from a day of sitting but I haven’t experienced sag anywhere else.

    • Anonymous :

      On the models, it looks like these jeans are too long in the crotch. Is this how we’re wearing jeans now, or did they just not do a great job fitting the models?

    • Rats, all their jeans are all too short for me. Sadness.

  2. Anonymous :

    Does anyone have recommendations for sneakers that are cute, comfortable, and *available in wide widths*?
    I’m going to France this summer and would like something less tacky-tourist than my Nike running sneakers. I’ll be doing a lot of walking so sneakers (preferably ones I could add some sort of insole to) are key, but I want them to look nice with whatever casual outfits I’m wearing (jeans, day dresses, etc.)
    One thought I had was Superga’s, which seem to be popular in Europe, and I’ve read they run wide. Does anyone know if that’s true?

    • I see a decent amount of French tourists on my commute and they’re all wearing Nike (often the black ones) or New Balance. I think you’d be fine in those or the Allbirds posted over on the mom’s page.

      • If you don’t want to pay full price for the Allbirds, Steve Madden Travelers are a great knock off of them and they are fantastic.

    • Not sure what kind of quality you’re going for, but I have the Target Mossimo Reese slip-ons, and they are much wider on my foot than other shoes. I wear them a ton, and they’re very comfortable for walking. I’ve had them for about a year, and they’ll probably have lived their life by the end of this summer. But for $25, that’s fine.

      • Anonymous :

        it appears they actually sell these in a wide width:

    • Not sure I understand why Nikes wouldn’t be a good choice here? I would get the ones that look like light running shoes in a bright color. I think most of their fly-knit stuff qualifies.

    • I did Paris and Rome last summer with Ecco gladiator sandals and Mephisto sneakers. The Mephistos were worth the hefty price tag. I put in some insoles and didn’t have a problem. I believe they have wide widths. I have heard that some tend to run small, so I bought mine early in case I needed to send them back to get a different size.

    • Anonymous :

      New Balance makes I think five widths.

      • Anonymous :

        I wear New Balance for this reason. Nikes run narrow and not sure if they don’t make wide or if I’m not looking in the right spots to find them.

        • Nike makes some of their shoes in wide, but not all of them. I gave up on the brand because finding the wide ones was too much of a pain and they run SO narrow.

        • They only make the ugly ones in wide, sadly.

    • I have super wide feet and wear Vans. Since they’re canvas, my feet easily mold them to fit. They’re not the most supportive but you could add insoles if you need.

    • Anonymous :

      I have Superga’s that I like in white. I ordered the unisex ones. Apparently there are Superga’s for women and then unisex. Just know your Euro size (39/40, etc.). They are true to size but a bit wider than women’s shoes generally. Quite comfy although flat – but you could definitely put in an insole.

      It’s what I’m planning on wearing in Europe this summer. I also love black nikes and have some, but don’t think they look as good with dresses or skirts.

      • Thanks everyone for the ideas so far!
        While I love my Nikes and wear them all the time at home, Anonymous at 9:59 totally captured my problem with them for this trip: they just dont look nice with skirts and dresses! If anyone else has ideas about cute sneakers that look good with skirts and dresses, I’d love to hear them!

        • With skirts and dresses I think you really need something low-profile like Chucks (but more comfortable than Chucks).

          • +1

            And honestly, for many of us, cute sneakers just wont look that cute with skirts and dresses. Maybe they look cute on an 18 year old model on a blog, but that doesn’t translate to my big feet….

        • Don’t know about the width, but my dream sneakers to wear to France would be Vejas.

        • In mod, but Vejas

        • Anonymous :

          Toms Avalon. I live in Europe and wear these all the time for long walking days (with Smartwool secret sleuth socks). They look a bit nicer than sneakers with dresses.

    • I love my Superga’s but they took a bit of time to break in, so if you’re thinking about it you might want to order them now. I have duck feet and they fit well, but my heel would slip out if I didn’t use a no-show sock. The “Cut-for-Chucks” Converse no-show socks work well with the Superga’s.

    • I had this same thought when I was in Paris two years ago. I should have bought black Nike’s – that’s what everyone was wearing (and not just the tourists). Your feet will thank you. Learn from my mistake.

    • Adidas Campus. They look cute with a casual skirt. They don’t come in wide sizes, but the regular size runs wide.

  3. Travel Purse :

    I’m going to be traveling in Italy and Greece at the end of this month, and need a versatile new purse that works/looks good in a variety of places (ie city, wineries, day on a catamaran). I like cross body bags for this purpose, since I’ll be wearing it most of the day, and want it to be big enough to carry my wallet, tissues, small sunscreen, sunglasses, and ideally my kindle (I’m traveling solo for part of the time), but also small enough to carry around all day.

    I’m finding that a lot of bags that are the right size are frumpy-looking. Do you have any favorite bags you use especially for traveling?

    • Anonymous :

      I just got the Lululemon Festival bag for this exact purpose. It’s nylon and lightweight.

    • Anonymous :

      I have an MZ Wallace. It’s a little sporty-er than I was looking for but I love it. High quality nylon, supposed to be water resistant (though I haven’t had occasion to try yet), and it fits wayyyy more than it looks like it does. I can fit my DSLR, a spare lens, a water bottle, regular sized wallet, and sunscreen in the Paige version.

    • I like Kate Spade cross bodies for this purpose. There aren’t too many options on the site, but Amazon has a lot of nice ones.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I have a Tumi crossbody bag for this purpose. Mine’s an older style they don’t seem to make anymore, but the Voyageur Capri looks pretty close. If you get it in a neutral color, I think it’d be fine for all occasions except fancy dinners. Tumi does have outlet stores with cheaper versions and you can sometimes find these on ebay if you don’t live near an outlet.

    • Tumi Luanda in flight crossbody bag. I have been wearing it every day since july 2016, still going strong.

    • old navy crossbody bag in plum. it has 2 zip compartments and an open pocket in between them (good for something like a map or a water bottle). It’s super light and because it’s not real leather, it’s easy to clean and also doesn’t look fancy enough to steal. It also curves around your hip a little (soft sided bag), which helps make your wallet harder to steal. Used mine for 2 summers in Europe and love it so much.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have a leather Tory Burch that is ok for all events. It is kind of a longer bag but the strap detatches and you can fold into a clutch for slightly fancier evenings out.

    • Orla Kiely small messenger style bag. Easily carries wallet, phone, Kindle, bottle of water, and an extra cardigan if I think I might get chilly. It also has two pockets on the back where I can stuff an umbrella. Oh, I can also fold my straw hat and fit it in there. It’s lightweight and not too big and I get compliments on it all the time.

      Can’t link right now and i bought it last summer anyway. Found it on Zappos and paid about $100.

    • Marshmallow :

      I use the Lo and Sons cross-body for this. It has an actual Kindle pocket. It fits a lot more than you think– the only thing you’d have a hard time getting in there is a water bottle if the rest of the bag is pretty full.

      I was also recently drooling over the Raven and Lily mini duffel crossbody– it looks like you could fit a LOT in there, although it might become a black hole.

    • I have a ‘Morning After Bag’ from Rebecca Minkoff that I bought second hand. It holds EVERYTHING, and can be slung over your shoulder or become a crossbody. It’s amazing.

    • Anonymous :

      LeSportsac small cleo crossbody in basic black. Not sure if it qualifies as frumpy, but it’s perfect for travel. Fits a wallet, water bottle, small umbrella, and misc items, super lightweight, and can be washed in the machine.

    • I have a black Frederic Paris bag that works over the shoulders.

  4. Anonymous :

    Question – have any of you here been involved with any kind of food shelter – whether a food bank providing groceries or a situation serving hot meals? If so is there some calculation out there for how much it costs to provide a person with one meal (whether hot or groceries)? I’ve seen varying ranges – some organizations saying $3 = 1 meal. Others saying with $1 they provide 10 meals, and I don’t even get how that’s possible? Wouldn’t even rice and beans or pasta and sauce come out to more than 10 cents per meal? Just curious as I’m trying to get some sense of how far a donation goes? FWIW this is in NYC and for the most part it’s likely groceries/occasional hot meals being used to help out people who work but have trouble making ends meet; it isn’t necessarily meant to provide meals to the homeless (though obviously they aren’t denied).

    • They likely have a partnership with a food distributor so they’re getting the food at cost. Or they may have a matching program from corporate sponsors – so the $1 donation you make is really $2 or $3 to the organization.

    • Anonymous :

      I work for a nonprofit, and this kind of math is really tricky – there isn’t necessarily a rule of thumb. On the low end, they could be including only the cost of food, and some might be donated. On the high end they could be including more of the overhead costs necessary to deliver the meal, e.g., paying for the space rental, utilities, staff costs, etc., all of which are totally needed to get food to people. Each organization is probably using a different set of assumptions. You could contact their Development (fundraising) staff and ask if you are really curious. If you want to know how the organization is spending their money look at their annual audit to see what percentage is going to program services vs. administrative and other overhead costs. But in general, don’t be afraid to support nonprofits that spend money on overhead – the most effective organizations are not necessarily those that are spending the least on overhead. (Google the overhead myth for more on this).

      • + 1 million to all of this. My career is in nonprofits and specifically I spent 7 years in food banking.

    • I doubt there is a one size fits all answer. The food bank where I volunteer mostly utilizes food donated by grocery stores and food manufacturers so they are able to distribute 6 meals for every dollar donated. You’re better off calling the bank you want to donate to and asking what their numbers are for this.

    • I worked for a food bank (not a food pantry, but the food bank that supported over 300 food pantries and soup kitchens) for seven years. Using the food bank and the national food bank network, Feeding America, food pantries can provide incredible support. This is why donating your dollar is so much more efficient and better than donating food. They are accessing food from the government, purchased food directly from wholesalers, and donations from grocery store chains and local farmers. The difference in dollar per meal can be that they calculate differently or that they are receiving different levels of support and resources. At my organization, $1 purchased $10 worth of food. Again, donate money – not cans! Happy to answer any questions if that helps.

      • +1 – I work for a food pantry that receives individual donations, grocery store donations, and also purchases food from our local food bank. The most bang for the buck is easily the food bank. Additionally, it allows us to purchase things in bulk, so food pantry “shelves” have a more uniform look and our clients aren’t fighting over the one random box of Apple Jacks on the shelf. Yes, this happens.

  5. Does anyone have any tips for an international overnight flight? We are flying out of Newark at 11pm and getting into Paris at noon local time the next day. Two weeks later we are flying out of London at 5pm local time and getting back to Newark at 10pm. Thanks!

    • I do the US West Coast to UK pretty regularly and it isn’t fun but it isn’t anything out of the ordinary. When you arrive in Paris, I would avoid crashing in your hotel, get plenty of fresh air and stay up until as close to your normal bedtime as possible. I wear comfy clothes and shoes on the plane, try to drink as much water as I can, and avoid too much snacking.

    • Anonymous :

      Bring ear plugs and an eye mask. Also try generic benadryl or melatonin to induce sleepiness.

    • I’ve done versions of this trip several times. I can’t really sleep on planes, although that is the best option if you can. If you can’t, I just stay up with books/movies through the flight, which isn’t super long. Once I get into Paris, I go straight to the hotel and check in. I take a 2 hour nap, then get up and spend the next 4-6 hours doing something outside. Then I go to bed a bit early local time, around 8-9. It gets me pretty much onto a European time schedule and I have no problem sleeping through the night. The flight back is way easier because you basically land and go to bed at a normal US time.

    • Yay! Fruegal Fridays! I love Fruegel Friday’s and this cowl neck, but won’t wear them to work ever since Frank took his pencil once and tried to peer in until I slapped his pencil away. FOOEY on HIM! He still continues to do stuff like this even after the manageing partner told him to stop doeing things like this to me all the time.

      Anyway, as for the OP, whenever we traveled overseas, we always went at night and I sleep on the flights, so when I get there I am wide awake. The other OP is right to bring ear plugs and an eye mask, tho you do NOT want the mask on to tight. You do have to stay up when the food comes around or you do NOT get any food!

      This weekend, I am goieng to LI to spend time with Grandma Trudy and mom b/c Dad has a meeting in DC with a goverment agency he would NOT tell me about, and then has a flight to Munich. I hope he is NOT goeing back to do stuff behind the iron curtan, as it has been many years since he did this stuff. FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t sit in front of the French boy’s soccer team coming back from their US tornement. If it can’t be avoided, as soon as the little boys start kicking your chair and pulling your hair when you fall asleep, stand up and walk over to their coach and ask that he move and sit behind you. If they refuse, vomit on them.

    • I always try to get some shut eye on the way there to minimize jet lag upon arrival. That’s typically after they serve us dinner. Then when I arrive I try to stay up until at least 8pm so that my internal clock can get adjusted asap. This works when I travel solo. Not so much with family and friends because when they start taking naps I follow suit.

    • I eat dinner before boarding so I don’t have to wait for dinner service to try and sleep. I bring an eye mask and take Tylenol PM. Last trip, I downloaded the podcast, Sleep With Me, where the guy tells meandering stories to try and bore you to sleep. Once I land, I am team “no nap” and struggle through the day if I didn’t get much sleep (which is typical for me, even with all of the above) and then allow myself to shower by about 9pm and go to sleep after.

      • +1 to all this. I usually leave the midwest at 3pm-ish and arrive in Europe at 8 or 9 am the next day. I find putting on a low-key podcast or audiobook leads to better sleep than trying to fall asleep to the in-flight movie. Leaving as late as you are, I’d second the idea to eat dinner ahead, take a Benadryl or melatonin, and ask the flight attendant to not wake you up for dinner. For in-flight comfort, I have an eyemask that looks like a bra (so it isn’t squished up against your eyes – so comfortable!) and a pillow that wraps around an supports the chin.

        I never nap the day I arrive. It’s so tempting, but my sleep gets even more screwed up if I do. Drop your stuff at the hotel, have a late lunch, plan an activity that involves walking around, have a long dinner, don’t do anything that requires much mental engagement. Go to bed around your normal time – usually 10-11pm for me. Sleep the full night but don’t sleep in too late, and you’re likely to be on track by Day 2.

        I would not sleep on the flight back home if possible. Get home and go to bed right away, but if you’ve slept several hours in transit. If I sleep on the plane coming over, I’m more likely to be waking up at 3:30-4am for the next several days.

    • OfCounsel :

      Obviously, talk to your doctor, but I skip the melatonin, Benadryl, Tylenol PM, etc. and go straight to Ambien. With a pillow and white noise through my earbuds, it knocks me out for eight hours and I wake up with no grogginess.

      If you decide to go that route, use common sense. Wait until you are at cruising altitude in case your plane has a problem and you have to go back. Only use it for long-haul flights. Try it in advance to see how you react and DON’T MIX IT WITH ALCOHOL. Virtually every nightmare Ambien story starts with “I took it with a glass of [insert alcoholic beverage]”.

    • Anonymous :

      Double check your check in time with your hotel–if you want to be able to go straight to your room and shower ask if you can do early check in or reserve the room for the day before you you don’t have any hassle.

  6. BabyAssociate :

    I’ve been eyeing the L&S Seville and a see that there are a quite a few on sale right now. Any thoughts on the Saffiano leather v. perforated Saffiano leather? I love the look of the Vachetta, but don’t love the color option. I rarely carry a computer, so I’m leaning towards the 13″ option.

    • I have a 15″ in saffiano leather and love it. I love that it stands up on its own. I needed the larger size b/c I carry my computer home each night.

      If I get a second shell, I might try the perforated styles but wanted non-perf to be my main serious work bag that I’d be OK in in front of clients.

      • BabyAssociate :

        Those are great point, thanks! I moved to a more formal office, so this would be my serious work bag too.

    • I have the 13″ saffiano and I regularly carry my Surfacebook laptop. I love it; I’ve traveled with it and it holds up. I like the idea of traveling with the nylon shell, which I’ve done a couple times, because of the sleeve that goes over your suitcase handle and being able to shove it under the seat without worrying, but that means that you have to pack the leather shell in your suitcase and that is kind of a pain. I didn’t care for the look of the perforated leather because the holes bug me, but a plus is that it should be lighter. One downside is that the bag is narrow, which means it’s easy to carry, but it also won’t fit a large 40 oz water bottle the way that bigger (but less professional/sleek-looking) bags do (like the OMG and the Dagne tote, both of which I also have). I would go for it! I’m considering getting a second shell to swap out when my current one starts to look worn, but haven’t pulled the trigger.

  7. Finally going to get the Girl on the Go Trench from Edie Bauer.

    How is their sizing? I am usually between a small and a medium but like to have things a little roomy.

    Also, should I go for the lined or unlined version? I live in a place with long winters so I am tempted to get the lined version but I feel like the gap in my wardrobe is for something lighter.

    • I just got the lined one in a small and had to send it back because it was too large (the sleeves were way too long—not a problem I usually have—and it looked sloppy). I’m hoping the extra small fits and has room for layers. I have a down coat from Eddie Bauer in a small that fits fine, so I’m not sure if the girl on the go coat is just more bulky or what. I’m 5’6” hourglass about 125 pounds.

      • And the lining zips out, which is why I opted for that one. Maybe others can say whether the lining makes a difference for sizing.

      • I think it’s meant to be layered over things perhaps? I am 5’4” and thin and ended up with the unlined XS petite. I still have some room, which I like because I get chilled easily.

    • Not That Anne, The Other Anne :

      I found it to be extremely roomy – as in, I looked like I was wearing a choir robe instead of a trench. I know it’s meant to be layered over things, but there’s roomy and there’s choir robe.

      • It is very roomy – I am between a medium and a large, and kept the large because with the liner AND clothing, it works and I needed a raincoat with a hood. But it does kind of look like a sack. And in warmer months when I take out the lining I sort of feel like I’m wearing a poncho.

        • Sorry – my point was: size down. I choose the large because I wanted a roomier coat, but without the lining it’s too big.

    • I bought and returned 4 in 4 different sizes (S & XS, and Petite S and XS). Yes the sleeves are roomy and long but that’s kind of OK. What I couldn’t get past is how little shape it had. It looks like there is waist shaping when you look at photos but the one size (XSP) that didn’t look sack-like was far too tight in the chest (I’m 32C). I really really loved the dotted navy pattern and so wanted to make this one work but it just did not. I also did not care for the loudness of the swooshy noise that most waterproof jackets make.

  8. Anonymous :

    Question for the Hive – has anyone ever done personal/private makeup and hair lessons? Is this even a thing? I’m in my earlier thirties and have had the same makeup and hair routine forever, and I have no idea how to really change up my makeup or curl my hair (without burning myself) for a fancy night out, etc.

    I know you there are a thousand people on YouTube who talk about these exact topics, but I’m looking for something that’s personal to me – like someone that can literally position my hands on the curling iron. thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      I would live this. The closest thing I have tried is the Bobbi Brown make-up counter at Nordstrom’s. And some hair salons offer free consultations.

    • Following with interest! I’m helpless when it comes to hair and makeup and I’m tired of feeling frumpy all the time.

    • Anonymous :

      If you get a makeover at a Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier counter, they will show you how to apply the makeup. Book your stylist for a special occasion style and ask her to show you how to replicate the style yourself.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I bet the person who cuts your hair has some resources.

      • thanks! I’m the OP – this would be a normal-ish question to ask her, right? In my situation, she’s cut my hair for 4+ years, so it’s not like I don’t know her.

        I’m just trying to get a sense of where this request falls on the “yeah, totally normal there are a bunch of resources like that in every city” to “um, that’s totally weird, why would you even do that” scale.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          Oh yeah, I think it’d be a totally normal thing to ask. Especially if you’ve known her for a long time.

        • I told my hairstylist that I had been trying to learn to curl my hair with a straightening iron from Youtube videos but still couldn’t get the hang of it, and she suggested we book a “styling appointment” where she taught me how to do it. I am still not very good at making it look even but I now understand the mechanics at least.

        • There’s no harm in asking. One hairstylist I had also did make up, but I didn’t know it until I mentioned my upcoming wedding.

    • There are some makeup artists in my major city that have an option of one on one lesson. It’s usually a littler expensive, but sub $200 to get a one hour private lesson on how to do your whole face. As far as hair, tips from your stylist and youtube are your best bet.

    • Nelly Yuki :

      If you live near/are willing to drive to Sephora, they do this! You can get a 45-minute consultation focused on what you would like. It’s free as long as you spend $50. I did it because I wanted to do my own wedding makeup, and it was great. No one made sure I spent $50 (but I did). I was also told I could purchase a $50 gift card to use later. I thought it was great. My advice would be to put as much information as you can in the notes section when you make the appointment online, and show up with a bare face so that part of your time is not spent moving your regular stuff. I highly recommend this!

    • It’s a thing. I’ve had a makeup lesson where I took all of my makeup to a professional makeup artist’s studio. We went through it and showed me how to work it in (with her products when I didn’t have matching ones) to create a few different looks. It was fun and I really enjoyed it, but she also said that I was doing a pretty good job on my own so it wasn’t a huge revelation or anything.

    • If you live in NY, LA or Dallas, the Blushington chain (like DryBar but for makeup) offers a variety of classes. I have been meaning to take one for ages but never have.

    • I paid $200 for a private an hour and half make up lesson with a pro. At first I was really luctant because it was a ton of money for me. It ended up being a life changer and I wish that I had done this sooner, as in my early twenties! She had five star reviews and more than 200 reviews on Yelp. So I knew she was very good going in. The most helpful thing was that she first watched how I normally applied makeup and then told me what I was doing wrong and showed me how to do it correctly. What I wanted was to learn how to do a more natural make up look and how to do a party look. She showed me a lot of little changes that were very specific to my skin color, texture, and eye shape, that ended up making a huge difference. I also learned that given my eye shape, liquid eyeliners did not look good on me, and that I had been applying shadows and blushes in the wrong areas which made my face look chubbier.

      A lot of the really good ones do not advertise makeup tutorials because they make more money doing weddings and editorials. So it is best to call them directly and ask if they would be willing to do so,etching like that. My makeup artist actually only does makeup lessons in the winter when there are fewer weddings.

      I’ve tried out the Sephora/Bobby Brown ones before and do not recommend them. The girls who give you the makeup lessons are not that well trained. A lot of them have way too much make up on, and really should not be giving makeup tips in the first place. They are also trained to give uniform advice, when the most helpful makeup tips that you want are ones catered to your features. You get what you pay for. They might be cheaper than a professional wedding makeup artist, but the amount of individualized lessons you learn is nowhere close. In fact, I found their advice to be way worse than some of the YouTube ones.

  9. Is anyone else really depressed that the media response (some, anyway) to the Toronto incel attacker has generally been about how we can “redistribute” s*x to angry, aggrieved men? Of course, that’s coupled with “No way, rape is wrong! We just need more s*x workers!” as if women in systems of prostitution ought to be the outlet for rapists. I can’t even handle a) the misogyny and b) the cognitive dissonance.

    • Anonymous :

      Also depressed about it in part because the media is also ignoring that part of the incel ideology is that they think they are too good for ‘workers’ – they don’t want that because they think it’s below them. Such hateful misogynists.

    • Where are you seeing this message?

      • Academics on Twitter are discussing it, often in response to Ross Douthat’s NYTimes article. I’m sure you can find it elsewhere too, but I get most of my news from the two above sources.

        • I get all my news from NPR and had not seen the Douthat article. That is a seriously messed up utilitarian-sounding argument. Aside from the fact that nobody has a right to $ex.

        • There’s an intelligent response to Douthat’s article in the New Statesman.

        • nasty woman :

          I read that one. I’m never impressed by Douthat’s reasoning, but this was particularly abhorrent. I would like to see even ONE column from him that acknowledges that women are autonomous human beings.

        • “Academics on Twitter are discussing it” is exactly the sort of thing to ignore. Always. That and law review articles.

    • nasty woman :

      Yes. I’m also disappointed how little research most of the people writing these think pieces have been doing– a lot of them don’t seem remotely aware how deeply misogynistic these people are. It’s not a question of lonely, shy guys struggling with online dating. Oh, and UGH, warning us that there’s gonna be a “revolution” and this their lack of s*x is an issue that needs to be fixed for the good of society by such redistribution– i.e., sleep with him or he’ll hit you! Hello, we’ve heard that before. But the men writing this drivel don’t even THINK about what they’re implying. It does seem like a lot of commentors are giving resounding pushback, FWIW. I’m also irritated at rich white men libertarian wankers using this as an argument against wealth distribution– “See! If you don’t think s*x redistribution is acceptable, then why wealth distribution!?! Ha! Gotcha!” F right off with that. A) you can’t redistribute people and relationships and B) I’m really tired of men using actual harm to women as fodder for navel-gazing philosophical arguments. I’m getting really tired of men.

      • I’ve been hearing this more from women, and I don’t understand it. I don’t know how supporting women in s*x work became volunteering other women to babysit men who are on the verge of violence. I can’t tell if they’re coddling these guys or if they just think all men are this terrible, or both. It also seems incredibly sheltered and naive about the psychology behind violence against s*x workers (no, it doesn’t boil down to stigma–it’s misogyny) and also the incidence.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        “I’m really tired of men using actual harm to women as fodder for navel-gazing philosophical arguments.”


    • I’ve seen this all over. Capitalism solves everything! It makes no sense; incels want to be chosen (over other men).

    • I much preferred the Talmudic response:

    • I don’t think we should have created a culture in which anyone feels entitled to s*x. Maybe we should think about it in a larger ethical framework, every single time. “You aren’t entitled to s*x whenever you want it, from whomever you want it from, and without repercussions” is a reasonable starting point.

    • This is pretty much the same as the “walk up, don’t walk out” campaign that claims school violence will end if kids just make friends with the violent loners.

      • Seriously. Can we talk about mental illness instead? Normal people don’t kill people because they’re lonely. You have to be effed in the head to make that reach.

        • Anonymous :

          This. I don’t see a huge difference between guys like this and the fathers and husbands who wipe out their families in murder suicides–even though the latter have everything the former think they want.

    • My father told me that when he was in his 20’s, he was in a men’s support group. He admitted that if women could hear what was said by guys in that group, they would be fearful.

    • Woah. I live in Toronto and that is not the way the media here is responding to it at all.

  10. I hate how fat my face looks when I smile. Is there anything I can do? (Please don’t suggest that I get over it, I’m looking for genuine replies). I’m not overweight and I have a great cheek bone structure when I’m not smiling (thanks mom), but I loathe picture time because I know my face will all of a sudden gain 10 pounds. I’m 25 and this has been going on for a few years but wasn’t the case in high school or early college. It’s not just in my head either, a few people have kindly confirmed for me that I tend to have “chipmunk cheeks” when I smile. I’m so upset over it that I would shell out $$ but I don’t know what I would even get.

    • Start practicing your closed mouth smile in a mirror. Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth while you do it.

      I would strongly discourage doing anything invasive for this issue. In fact, if you are fortunate enough to carry extra weight in your face, you will age so much better and will appear younger longer with fewer wrinkles. You do know that middle aged women literally inject fat into their face, right?

      People walk up to me and tell me I need to gain weight because I lose weight first in my face. Can you believe people do at? I am actually slightly overweight….. Ugh.

      • +1 to this. There is an option to get fat pad removal from the cheeks to enhance your cheek bones and give you more defined face shape, but those people age pretty badly (see Madonna, many think she had this done) because that sucked in cheek look is pretty in your 20s, but once you show signs of aging, is more akin to an 80yr old without teeth.

    • Practice smiling differently? My eyes get squinty and have little bags under them when I smile naturally, so smiling for pictures means I need to dial it back a bit and smile more with my eyes/rest of face and not just my mouth.

    • Fellow chipmunk here. Have you ever seen pics of celebrities where they look like they are pushing their tongue against the back of their upper teeth? Apparently this is to circumvent exactly what you’re talking about–the widening of the face that occurs with a big smile. It does work–so does opening your mouth a bit more (don’t close your bite entirely) when you smile so you elongate the height of your face, making the width look smaller.

    • Gahh, I have now two replies that are both sitting in the mod queue.

    • Wait 5 years. Most peoples’ faces thin out quite a lot with age and you are still pretty young. I always had a lot of fat in my face until I was approaching 30 and now at 35 I would even say my face is angular instead of round, though my dimples are still there. A tip for pictures, open your mouth a little and leave a gap in between your back teeth and turn your head a bit, like a 30 degree angle from the lens. It might also help to look at pictures of beautiful people with rounder cheeks, like Tiffani Thiessen.

    • Practice smiling in the mirror and find a smile that you don’t hate. In general, try to have “smaller” smiles (i.e., don’t grin). I agree that I wouldn’t have any sort of surgery for this!

    • I have this problem too. Its most exaggerated when I REALLY smile, squinty eyes and all. When I’m in pictures, I try to do a small smile with just my mouth and that tends to look better.

    • Anonymous :

      Is any of it due to jaw, rather than cheekbones? If so, you can look into botox in your jaw which will shrink the muscles.

    • This will be gone before you know it. Seriously.

      Also, it might be inflammation from food intolerances.

  11. I have admitted to myself that I am one of those people who takes my stress out at home. I’m not kicking the dog or abusing my partner or anything, but I am unpleasant to be around after work. I am trying to manage my stress the best I can (therapy, exercise, healthy eating, breaks during the day, plans to look forward to, medication for anxiety), but it’s still a challenge and my personal life is suffering. Has anyone been this person? How do I turn this around so that the people who are most important see the best of me and not the worst?

    • I have had that realization at times, or at least the realization that I was skirting too close to the edge of unpleasantness at home. Honestly, it helped me to consciously say (as I felt myself about to say something negative): “this is not who you want to be.” It somehow reminds me that I have a choice and that what I want is to be my best self and that whatever negative thing I’m about to say isn’t going to help with that. Secondly, I force myself to look outside myself when I’m grouchy from work. Instead of deluging my husband with vents and complaints the second he walks in the door, I force myself (even if I don’t feel like it) to smile and ask how his day was. If I don’t give in to the temptation to be negative the moment it strikes, it sets up the evening better for all of us.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        +1. I tend to carry stress with me for longer than useful. It takes conscious effort to recognize your feelings/thoughts, correct and redirect them (good ol’ CBT).

        One thing that helps it click for me is telling myself that I choose how I react/respond/interact. Reminding myself that I’m in control of my stress and emotions puts me in a better position to handle my sh1t.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      My sister is exactly like you and it causes so much conflict in her home, in my home, and with every friend/family she interacts with. It sounds like you have good ideas on managing the stress so follow through with those things. When you start to lash out, ask yourself, how would I feel if someone was treating me like this?

      • Instead of lashing out, I more often become very withdrawn and preoccupied with my own stress and popsicle-like. When I’m stressed I am not as affectionate as I would normally be and not nearly as fun.

    • I drop my stuff inside the door and take a walk around the block as soon as I get home.

      I also make a conscious decision to separate myself from stressful situations so I can calm down. Like when I came home this week to find my mom had let herself in and was ‘helping’ by doing laundry in a way that means I’m going to have to redo like half of it. She helps in so many other ways (picking up my drycleaning, running errands for me) and she’s going away for two months next week so it wasn’t the time to make it an issue even though I’ve asked her to leave the laundry alone before. I realized it was a me thing and that she was coming from a place of love and good intentions so I went upstairs, changed my clothes and took a few deep breaths. It helped a lot and I came back down much calmer.

    • I don’t know if this is healthy or not, but I try to really compartmentalize. So once I get home, I try to disconnect from work and not think about it. Some of the discussion the other day on this s!te is helpful for that–change clothes immediately, have a glass of wine, etc. to help your brain make that shift. My husband and I also typically only allow a few minutes of venting about work. Very occasionally I will say I really need to get this out and unload a little more, but I try not to do that often. I also tell him–I’m really feeling stressed and I am sorry if I am taking it out on you. I don’t mean to be. Then I really try to stop taking it out on him. It requires being conscious of my reactions and choosing how I act instead–which is hard for sure!

      • I have a friend who will do the second thing you said – apologize for taking it out on you, but then never stop. Honestly, it drives me insane. In your case, though, it sounds like you’re really taking steps to handle this and she isn’t.

    • Clementine :

      Two things: one, I made a routine for myself when I got home – I immediately take off my work clothes and take 15 minutes for myself. Then, I come downstairs and commit to leaving work behind (to some degree).

      Second, this was enough for me to seriously consider leaving jobs.

    • My husband has a terrible habit of this — I applaud you for recognizing it. You need something good to counteract the bad. Endorphins are wonderful. I suggest exercise — in whatever form works for you. My husband likes to come home, change clothes and run 1 mile as fast as he can. Sometimes he’s home in less than 10 minutes but he’s a totally different person. Or for you it might be yoga, or walking, or riding your bike. But get the endorphins running and, ideally, some fresh air.

    • Willynilly :

      My now-husband brought this to my attention when we first became serious. What worked for me was to constantly keep tabs on when I was stressed out and to have him point out when I was being quippy. It took a lot of reminders, fights, and self-checking to get to a point where I notice it faster myself. The following things all helped:

      – Thinking of 5 to 10 things I was grateful for. I did this every morning on my way to work
      – Taking deep breaths when something stressed me out
      – Downloading the calm app and forcing myself to meditate for 10 minutes during my lunch break
      – Switching from news/serious podcasts to light music on my drive home from work to let the stress go
      – Asking him what the best part of his day was and forcing myself to talk about the best part of my day
      – Learning to communicate about things that were bothering me immediately instead of bottling them up and becoming passive aggressive. This was the hardest and most effective. I had to learn to force myself to talk about unpleasant things but to not do it in an unpleasant manner. It took time but got easier with practice where now I can easily communicate what I need before it becomes a problem e.g. “could you please rinse the dishes when you put them in the sink so it’s easier for me to wash them?” instead of “why do you always put the damn dishes in the sink willy-nilly….”
      Hope these help!

  12. Any tips on working with a junior associate who is not great workwise, but assigned to me? She was a super enthusiastic summer associate but since she came back, she has been dealing with personal issues (her boyfriend is ill) and is constantly tired or not available to assist. Her work product needs help but I feel bad making her stay late to get stuff done (because she’ll tell me she’s heading to the hospital), so I end up handling changes myself and resenting it. She works hard enough, but her attitude is that if she is on track to make her hours, she can turn down work, even when she is a 1st year and part of a team and the client needs the work completed.

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks for reminding me why I did not go into biglaw.

      • +1

      • +1000

      • I will counter just to point out that BigLaw has been way more flexible for me than some of my friends and family members when it came to this sort of thing. The flexibility in my schedule (particularly as I’ve gotten more senior) is huge. I’ve been able to work remotely (while getting paid, not taking FMLA, vacation days, etc.) pretty regularly (and for weeks at a time) for a lot of family health crises and everyone has been super supportive. As long as I have my laptop, power and an internet connection, I can do my job from pretty much anywhere. There are less than pleasant or compassionate people everywhere, but that hasn’t been my experience at my firm.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you pull in another junior associate to help? This doesn’t sound like BF is just ‘has the flu and is home sick this week’ ill. I would want my colleagues to be empathetic if I’m meeting my hours and need to visit a family member in hospital.

      But I’m not BigLaw so maybe my expectations are out of wack.

    • As someone who’s been in that situation (seriously sick family member in my first year of BigLaw), can you have some compassion? BigLaw is hard enough without coworkers like you. If her work product needs help, talk to her after the fact, or send her a redline, to help her improve substantively.

    • Maybe you need more resources? It sounds like she is doing a fair amount of work.

    • What kind of help does her work need? I think you should try to be sensitive to the fact that she needs to spend time at the hospital (and try to avoid making her stay later than necessary). But if there are quality issues with her work product, you’d be doing her a favor to point that out to her and give her feedback on how she can improve. It may also help to tell her that success/longevity in biglaw depends on the quantity AND the quality of your work.

    • Working with her isn’t the issue. The issue is that you need more assistance than she is able to provide given her (very understandable) personal circumstances. (And if she’s already meeting her hours despite the fact that you’re handling the revisions that she should be doing, it sounds like she has a lot of work on her plate and your workload expectations might be unreasonable anyway.) You need to rope in another junior associate and divvy up the tasks between them so this junior associate has the capacity to take her tasks from start to finish (i.e., do her own research and drafting and then review and implement your redlines) and therefore can learn how to improve her work product.

    • Yes, the real issue here is 1) your lack of compassion at her situation and 2) quality of her work. If she is meeting her hours (which are already a lot) WITH a sick partner, she’s honestly performing better than most would. She can improve quality of her work within those hours, so consult with her on that. DO NOT tell her that even though she’s meeting her hours, she can’t go see her hospital ridden partner because you want her to do more when you could easily pull in another attorney. That’s selfish and mean.

    • nasty woman :

      Or maybe her attitude is that she’s trying to manage a personal crisis and her new biglaw job, and she hopes that for now she can accomplish that by making her hours and then going to the hospital. I understand the need to get work done for clients (especially big law clients), but it sounds like you’re assuming bad intentions on her part- that she just thinks she’s done when hours are met because lazy/entitled/not trying instead of “has SO in hospital.” Maybe it would be best just to have an open conversation with her about it. She’s probably very stressed and nervous about balancing her worries about her SO and needing to care for him with her stressful new job. Talking candidly about it and acknowledging the issues could be helpful. If I was in her position, I’d appreciate just getting it out in the open rather than having to scramble to pretend I was the perfect biglaw first year, while knowing I wasn’t and that people probably realized that.

    • When I was in her shoes (mom in the hospital as a third year, mom with stage IV cancer as a fifth year), my colleagues made a point to pull in help if I needed it and let me take the lead on how much work I could take on. They also let me work remotely from my mom’s house and from the hospital as needed (my mom lives 2 hours away). So I suggest having compassion and helping her improve and likely being flexible about face time requirements.

    • Why can’t you give her feedback and request changes during business hours?

    • Marshmallow :

      I think you sound plenty compassionate– you say you feel bad about asking her to stay late but client work still needs to get done. I have been the associate with a sick family member (or been ill myself) and you mostly just tough it out because that’s the job. But I do agree with the others that the answer here is probably roping in another junior associate, both for practical reasons and because it would give her a break it sounds like she really needs.

      It’s hard to separate the quality issues from quantity/availability in your post. Have you had a real sit-down conversation with her about it? Perhaps if she knows you’ve noticed, plus you add another junior so she has more time to focus on the work that’s still on her plate, she’ll be able to absorb more of your feedback and improve her work quality.

      If this is really an attitude thing and not just a situational thing with her SO. Is she exposed enough to the final work product to have buy-in on the project? Is she getting opportunities for connection with the client, even if it’s just an explanation of why a certain brief is getting written or deal is being closed or whatever? I find I get much better work product from junior associates when I take a few minutes to explain the big picture and WHY we are doing something. They feel more responsible for the whole project that way rather than just a cog in a wheel.

      • “Feeling bad” is not being “plenty compassionate” if you are mentally penalizing her. You have set a silent expectation for her to exceed her hours without telling her about that expectation, and you have silent criticisms of her work product that you haven’t asked her to improve. You are not being plenty compassionate.

    • What helped me with a mother in the hospital as a third year and again as a fifth year was when my teammates pulled in an extra person for support, let me tell them how much I could take on, and were flexible on remote working. I billed a lot of hours from my mom’s house and from her hospital room. Caveat with I had a very good reputation and my work product wasn’t suffering, so I think the issue here is that she’s a first year and likely still needs supervision and the quality. Talk to her about the quality, but also bring in another junior to help. And try to be flexible with remote working.

    • I think that this is something that needs a firm fix and not a you fix. And that you are being compassionate.

      If she is on-track to meet hours but is turning down work that the group needs to have done, then she needs to be officially scaled off of the group’s normal expectations. Being on-track is sort of a minimum expectation for continuing employment, not a sign that your work expectations are being met. We have a hard weed-out for fourth years and this is the sort of thing that lingers (being last-place in your class means you get the “It’s time to find another home” talk first). Officially going to lowered expectations should save her from that, let you officially move work to others, and perhaps justify an additional hire.

      It’s unfortunate, but it’s how you manage when the expectation is super-human availability and people just can’t deliver. But it’s ultimately more humane than sacking people immediately or loading them up for work just to see them fail or quit. [We had a summer come back unexpectantly pregnant with twins, have HE, and then bed rest. It didn’t work out in the long run (ultimately moved to be closer to family so she’s have more help with her children), but it gave her time to figure her life out with forcing her to do something that messed with her health or forced her to do bad work or outright quit with no plan.]

      It’s a convo for her, senior people, and HR to have. Then take your directions from senior people/HR and don’t deal with her / rest of the team in an ad-hoc and potentially unfair to everyone way.

      • I’m sorry but no you’re wrong. OP PLEASE do not take this advice. You should manage this situation directly with the Associate. This isn’t an inherent quality that can’t be managed, ESPECIALLY since she’s a first year who should be trained.

        You are essentially saying that because of what could be a temporary but extremely serious situation this first year (A FIRST YEAR! All attorneys know that the first two years are all training) should be pushed out? That’s ridiculous. You realize the example you gave was a pregnant associate put on bed rest so your team pushed her out on purpose- you’re lucky you didn’t get sued out the *ss? I’m going to assume you have almost no women with children (or women at all) in your group? This Associate’s bf being sick has no reflection on her ultimate work ethic.

        • Disagree — it sounds like a 5th year is trying to figure out what to do with a first year on her own. With all due respect, this is what tends to get first years, 5th years, and law firms in trouble.

      • nasty woman :

        Sigh…I posted what I thought an “ideal” (or close to ideal for biglaw) solution could be. Anonymous at 12:19’s post is how I understand biglaw to actually work. (Do you work for my former firm? They loved pushing out women, especially ones with disabled children.) God, I’m so glad I’m left. (Will fully admit I could not sustainably deliver partner level super human availability.)

        That said, you’re right that biglaw’s expectations for success (and by that I mean partner, not simply being a good associate for 6 years ’till you go in house) do require superhuman dedication/abilities. No point in denying it and no point in destroying a person if you can gently off ramp. Maybe learning that lesson early will help the 1st year plan her career. That said, I don’t think that off-ramping her right now is appropriate, if that’s what you’re suggesting (it’s a bit hard to tell). She’s still a 1st year- of course her work needs review. Further, hopefully this situation is temporary. Finally, if it does wind up as temporary, taking her off important projects and officially lowering expectations will put her in a position it will be very difficult to recover from.

        • Anonymous :

          FWIW, my BigLaw firm will put someone on 75% time in a heartbeat (so you would get a bonus if you are on-track for yours, but the more important thing is you have cover to turn down work, which help manage the group dymanics of “why am I always here until midnight when Cindy (ostensibly) gets to go home at 7” or “Cindy has billed 2100 but the rest of the group billed 2300 so Cindy is the slacker”), esp. if it is likely to be temporary (can’t quite tell, but would assume that this is maybe a year max, based on having a parent recently in chemo).

          I have a feeling that you lose ground over time compared to your peers (so they make partner sooner, they get the choicest assignments, etc.), but if people are otherwise very happy with your work, it lets you run your own race. The goal is to be still working in 5 and 10 and 20 years, not that you are the highest ranked in your associate class when under significant life stress.

        • Anonymous :

          FWIW, my BigLaw firm will put someone on 75% time in a heartbeat (so you would get a bonus if you are on-track for yours, but the more important thing is you have cover to turn down work, which help manage the group dymanics of “why am I always here until midnight when Cindy (ostensibly) gets to go home at 7” or “Cindy has billed 2100 but the rest of the group billed 2300 so Cindy is the slacker”), esp. if it is likely to be temporary (can’t quite tell, but would assume that this is maybe a year max, based on having a parent recently in chemo).

          I have a feeling that you lose ground over time compared to your peers (so they make partner sooner, they get the choicest assignments, etc.), but if people are otherwise very happy with your work, it lets you run your own race. The goal is to be still working in 5 and 10 and 20 years, not that you are the highest ranked in your associate class when under significant life stress

          • Anon at 12:19’s reply really solidified my decision to never pursue BigLaw. Your employee had the very normal experience of having children. And your firm was so unwilling to accomodate that very normal life event that she had to move away so she’d have help with the children? She couldn’t have had an on-site daycare, or a flexible work schedule? Nothing? Maybe there’s more to the story but your post reads as though she had kids and that was a hassle for your firm so it’s better that she move away.
            Maybe if the firm reframed and thought of it as “this is a challenge but it’s important to retain women so we will make efforts to support them even after they have the audacity to reproduce” you wouldn’t have lost a new associate that could have turned out to be an incredible asset to your firm. Makes me wonder what the female-to-male partnership ratio is.

    • Your relationship and her work product will suffer if there is not a lot of give-and-take in this situation.

      When I was in college and doing a relatively high-powered internship, my life and health fell apart. I performed well because my boss gave me the mental space to not have everything be a crisis, despite the fact that the company was understaffed and I was being asked to perform well above my level. It meant a lot, and ultimately, it meant that both the company and I benefitted.

      My suggestion is to not have a talk with her about hours or her specific work product. Introduce the idea that all first-year associates need a huge amount of revisions, and that time ought to be scheduled in as part of the task. Do not mind if she gets work done from home, starting at 11 pm when she arrives back from the hospital. Be realistic about deadlines (don’t do the “everything is an emergency” routine).

      And thank your lucky stars you aren’t going through what she’s going through.

  13. Hoping to get some advice from you all. I’m terrible at networking and am at a point in my career (big 4 senior manager) that technical skill alone won’t get me to the next level. Has anyone been in a similar position? Any advice other than just getting over it and doing it?

    • Networking internally (like with other lines of service, other partners/SMs, etc.) or networking externally (clients and potential new clients) or both? Are you not great at it but want to get better in general (regardless of promotion requirements) or do you genuinely not love that aspect of work?

      You’re at the point in your career where a lot of us really had to step back and think about what we wanted and what the next step was asking of us – not just can I suck it up and do the networking I need to do to make partner but do I want to be doing it for the rest of my career because continued networking is a big part of being partner. If you’re really more of a technical person there are some pretty great internal roles (some still have path to partner) and client-side roles you can move into that just aren’t available to people with less than 10 years in public.

      Join a professional organization that has regular meetings/social events. It can be directly related to your work or not – industry group, young professionals, women’s lean in circle, etc. Go, even if only for a short time, and give yourself a goal to introduce yourself to x people each time (x can = 2). If it helps take some notes when you get home so you remember them next time you see them at an event. The introduction doesn’t have to include sales or even establishing a professional connection – just get comfortable being friendly. If you’re real nervous join a low stakes group or even a meetup that has no professional element to it. The professional networking will come much easier once you’re comfortable just putting yourself out there to say hi.

      • Thanks. This is super helpful.

        I know external networking is not my jam (at least how I perceive it to be) because I lack the confidence that I have much to offer random people. I think I’m just beaten down. This comes on the heels of finding out someone under me was taken to an event with our mutual new client since the partner assumed I wouldn’t like it and also being told I need to be more like a colleague who makes my skin crawl.

        • Those sound frustrating (and you’re not alone). With regards to the networking, you’ll want to build your confidence there because that’s helpful no matter what you do in your career. For confidence just remember that some of the people that it seems to come easily to really aren’t that great but they don’t seem to let it bother them (case in point your colleague). It doesn’t seem to hold them back so why should you be considered any less worthy?

          For the partner taking the other person to the event I wouldn’t rule out that the other person just asked as well. I sometimes fall into the trap of if you work hard and do good work everything else will come but a lot of times just asking is more important. Also, depending on the relationship you have with the partner (or another trusted partner who can provide more detailed situational advice) it might not be terrible to call them on it (tactfully). “I would have been happy to go to the event and I’d like to be considered next time. It seems like an important relationship building event that is key to doing my role well.” If they point out that it’s not your usual MO you can just tell them “True, but I see that it’s important and I want to improve in that regard.” Maybe even a “I need your support to do that by including me on events like this.” Some of this feels a little blunt but if you can’t talk to a partner candidly about what’s holding you back it’s going to be hard to address it.

          In full disclosure, I left as a SM largely because I didn’t find the politics worth it. I have no regrets (but still have friends there who are happy to be staying).

          • Anonymous :

            Thank you. I really appreciate the thoughtful responses. Big4 obviously lost someone great when you left.

    • Networking internally (like with other lines of service, other partners/SMs, etc.) or networking externally (clients and potential new clients) or both? Are you not great at it but want to get better in general (regardless of promotion requirements) or do you genuinely not love that aspect of work?

      You’re at the point in your career where a lot of us really had to step back and think about what we wanted and what the next step was asking of us – not just can I suck it up and do the networking I need to do to make partner but do I want to be doing it for the rest of my career because continued networking is a big part of being partner. If you’re really more of a technical person there are some pretty great internal roles (some still have path to partner) and client-side roles you can move into that just aren’t available to people with less than 10 years in public.

      Join a professional organization that has regular meetings/social events. It can be directly related to your work or not – industry group, young professionals, women’s lean in circle, etc. Go, even if only for a short time, and give yourself a goal to introduce yourself to x people each time (x can = 2). If it helps take some notes when you get home so you remember them next time you see them at an event. The introduction doesn’t have to include sales or even establishing a professional connection – just get comfortable being friendly. If you’re real nervous join a low stakes group or even a meetup that has no professional element to it. The professional networking will come much easier once you’re comfortable just putting yourself out there to say hi.

  14. Not Legal Counsel :

    I’ll have an afternoon to burn in Boston on Monday for business travel. We’ll be near the waterfront. What is the top one or two things I should do in the area?

    • Find a waterside seafood shack, get oysters and lobster and French fries and a mojito or a beer, and sit by the water and enjoy.

    • The Public Garden is stunning right now–bed upon bed of tulips. The Esplanade is also heavy with cherry blossoms.

      I’d recommend you grab oysters at Neptune Oyster, B&G Oyster House, Row34 or a drink on the Envoy rooptop bar called The Lookout.

      • +1 on the Envoy rooftop bar! There is also a very large Legal Seafood with outdoor seating, if you are looking for lunch that includes a lobster roll. I also have a soft spot for the No Name restaurant but I don’t believe there is outdoor seating.

    • The Barking Crab

    • Lobster is always a popular suggestion but I’ve gotten decent lobster and oysters in other parts of the country (places that fly it in daily – not sure where you are from if that’s an option). What I haven’t found anywhere else is a good fried clam or scallop roll so please consider that – and be warned it can be a lot of fried food but so good. This post makes me glad to be local and not have to choose – bring on summer seafood!

      If by waterfront you are down in the seaport I would venture back towards the financial district and walk the Rose Kennedy Greenway – a strip of nature downtown. To fully appreciate it you need to know that for many years there was an elevated highway that cut through the city and we had the infamous “big dig” to put it underground and now we have the lovely greenway and access to the seaport which <10 years ago was parking lots. Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall is at the end which is mostly shopping in a historic setting but an afternoon sounds like the right amount of time for a leisurely stroll and end up at a restaurant/bar with outdoor seating. Someone mentioned the Public Garden which is also great but a little further – your best bet will be to Google map the walk and decide how much of your afternoon is free.

  15. I need a reality check about wedding flowers. I’m in NYC. Is it at all reasonable to try to find a florist who will:
    -put together a few bouquets at a reasonable price, as well as
    -sell me a bunch of loose stems so I can arrange them myself in a bunch of bud vases?

    Is this like… profoundly cheap/insulting/impossible? I’ve just spoken to a couple of florists who have acted like I wanted to kick a puppy for not wanting to spend $3k+ on extensive, elaborate floral arrangements with extremely expensive ‘delivery fees’ AND ‘design fees’ thrown in there on top of the cost of the actual arrangements. I think this may just be the wedding industrial complex trying to gauge me, but I need advice.

    • If you want something that simple I think you can probably just do it yourself.

    • You can get pre-arranged bouquets and loose stems from Costco, delivered two days before your wedding for a few hundred (instructions are to put them in water two days before to get blooms to open). I went this route and it turned out beautiful.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        I got Costco flowers and did the bouquets myself! They were great. I wanted very simple flowers; I probably would have gotten Costco bouquets if I wanted something more elaborate.

      • +1

      • Is it worth the membership just to get the flowers? (Leaning towards it anyway, now that there will be two people in my house.)

        • A membership is roughly 50 to 65 a year, depending on your location. Wedding flowers typically cost thousands of dollars. So yes. You can cancel after the wedding year.

      • Flats Only :

        My husbands cousin did this and the flowers were gorgeous. The bouquets came pre-made from Equador via FedEx, and they just put them in water. I think they also got loose flowers for table arrangements. Everything was really pretty and lasted beautifully.

        • Anonymous :

          we did this with bulk hydrangeas – just make sure you order 2 days in advance – ours were delayed in customs and ended up coming in the day before the wedding

    • I did my own wedding flowers, you can wholesale various kinds online. I used Blooms by the Box. That doesn’t solve the bouquet issue, but might get you partway there.

      I did make my own bouquets and boutonnieres, when I was in girl scouts we did tissue paper flower boutonnieres for the father-daughter dance, and I practiced both the boutonnieres, bouquets, and vase arrangements at the engagement party. It was fun and easy! My wedding party was only 5 people total, though.

    • Not NYC, but I did what you were suggesting by not using a traditional florist. I asked a million people and found a local garden club who thought it sounded like a fun project, so they created some simple bouquets and bud vases for a reasonable fee. (I supplied the bud vases.)

      I’m not into flowers and didn’t want a bunch at my wedding. The wedding party carried flowers, we gave single roses to the moms/grandmas, and I put single stems (with some greens) in a tiny bud vase surrounded by tea lights on the tables. If I couldn’t find someone to do it, I was going to skip the bud vases and just use a taller candle in the middle of the table. And then order small flower arrangements from 1800flowers as the bouquets/roses.

    • You should be able to get someone to do a few bouquets for you, selling you flowers might be trickier if you imply you want them at cost. I would order the stems separately and only have the florist do the bouquets. There are probably lots of flower market-type places in NYC where you can order stems, but is a good resource. Other online places that will have centerpiece packages are bloominous, blooms by the box, and the bouqs. You might also try Whole Foods floral department – they probably also do bouquets. Costco and Sams’s (or BJ’s) also do bulk floral orders, but their selection is very limited.

    • I ordered my wedding bouquets from a grocery store with a floral center. I just said “I like hydrangeas and hate peonies and those weird palm spiky things. Here are my colors,” and they took from there I think my bridal bouquet was around $100 and was lovely. I get that people make their own, but I was 000% interested in giving myself or my friends and families a little fussy chore before my wedding.

    • My mother did my flowers for my wedding as a complete beginner (and now has her own floral business 3 years later – but not in NYC). She frequently orders bulk flowers from Costco and also from Fifty Flowers. All of my wedding flowers were from Fifty Flowers (and they have consultants that can help you pick out what will go well together, worksheets for determining the right number of flowers for a bouquet, etc.). We spent $3K on flowers, but if we’d gotten them from a florist, it would have been around $10K for what we did (it was so, so stunning). She taught herself a lot from youtube tutorials. I’m so proud of what my mom has managed to accomplish.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I think you want something like Candidate mentioned. The one that looks appealing to me is Bouqs.

      • anon a mouse :

        I recently used Bouqs for the first time (non-wedding) and was really impressed with the quality of blooms and the presentation.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I’ve used them for regular bouquets and I’ve been pretty happy! I overall prefer the designs at UrbanStems, though. (Referral link gets you $15 off and gives me credit as well.)

    • The Bouqs (online florist) will do weddings as well. They have some pre-designed packaged options on their website for well under $1000.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Not in NYC, but Whole Foods did this for my wedding at a very low cost. Just charged me for the flowers, no arrangement/labor fee. I provided my own vases and ribbon.

    • I think the Bouqs has a package that will do just this – really reasonable for large orders. Just make sure you give yourself (and have space to) store the flowers for a few days, they really only open up on day 2 or 3.

    • I did my own wedding flowers from Trader Joes. They were so accommodating – I let them know what day I would be coming in and they specifically ordered certain colors of flowers for me. I made 20 centerpieces, 6 bouquets, 8 boutonnieres and had flowers in vases for 100 people as a take home gifts. It cost $300 total. I would highly recommend.

    • +1 to what’s been said, but adding that you might want to look into whether there’s a flower farm that does weddings. Not in NYC, but I had a flower farm do my flowers for a fraction of the cost of what a florist would cost. They also sold flowers by the bucket for people who wanted to do their own arranging. The Dollar Store has a lot of simple vases that work for centerpieces.

    • No, I don’t think it’s WIC, I think it’s florists who need to charge money for their services in order to make a living.

  16. Becky with the Good Hair :

    Last night my boyfriend of 9 months unexpectedly broke up with me. I didn’t see it coming at all, and it has been a shock that I’m only just beginning to grasp because I could see a long-term future with him. I was awake nearly all of last night and couldn’t get more than 10 minutes of sleep. I would appreciate suggestions and ideas for moving on in a healthy way. In an attempt to be positive and keep my routine in tact, I still made my workout this morning, and am finishing up a drafting a large motion at work. I’m glad the weekend is almost here, but I’m worried about the free time and am thinking about bringing work home to distract me. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I’m so sorry! I think it’s important not to pressure yourself to move on right away. If you do, that’s fine, but it sounds like this is a big loss to you and if you need some time to grieve/wallow, that’s also 100% normal and fine. Sticking to your routine is probably healthy; do you have local friends you can call on to be there for you, especially who will be flexible about comforting you and/or distracting you? (It might take you a little while to figure out what you need.)

    • Well – healthy would be to grieve the loss. It’s okay to feel sad and not positive about this change, as long as you don’t let it drag out too long. Find your new normal. It will take time.

      Distractions are good – not because you shouldn’t dwell on it, but because it helps break up the mental energy you devote to dwelling on it.

      I got through my break up by having a home project (painting my apartment) that helped consume the time I would have otherwise been spending with the guy. It was nice because it was physical labor that also helped to wear me out enough to sleep.

    • Maybe not the best advice, but from personal experience camping out in bed and marathoning SATC and sobbing is kind of cathartic. It takes time to get over something like that, I’m sorry.

      • I agree with letting yourself feel your feelings. It sounds like you’re keeping it together as much as you need to, and that’s awesome! I like to watch a movie that makes me cry to just have that physical release. (My go-to is The Fall, by Tarsem) Be kind to yourself right now!

        • Anon in NYC :

          Agreed. Let yourself feel your feelings! Have a really cathartic cry. I’m sorry, OP.

          When I’m feeling down, the very first things that I let slide are things that actually make me feel better – like not eating good-for-me food in favor of emotionally comforting junk food, or sitting on the couch all day instead of being physically active. So I would suggest that you eat the junk food and sit on the couch, but also don’t forget to feed yourself vegetables and take a long walk (or maybe a hike – depending on where you are!). Maybe you could meet up with a friend for a low key dinner tonight or tomorrow?

    • Oh, man, I have been there.

      What helped was to keep busy on the first weekend b/c when I didn’t, it was all happy couples looking meaningful into each others eyes at brunch and dinner, which often had me randomly burst into tears.

      May I suggest:
      — something really time consuming (sequential manicure/pedicure, golf lesson, tennis lesson, driving range)
      — something calming (yoga)
      — something for the anger (for me: there is a 80s metal tribute band probably playing in your city somewhere; otherwise: HOCKEY PLAYOFFS, live or in a sports bar).

      • Yep this is all good advice. Also was broken up with unexpectedly. That first weekend, I went kayaking at a local park the next morning, went walking with a friend, got a pedicure/manicure, ate a lot of carbs with friends, and just let the emotions happen (there was definitely some crying alone on the kayak in the middle of the lake).

      • Batting cage. Even if you cannot hit well, its surprising how much you can work out once you get a piece of the ball.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Ditto to what everyone else has said, but you don’t actually need to move on right away. Be sad. Keep up the healthy things you are already doing. Bringing work home this weekend sounds like a good distraction to me.

    • Honestly the thing that helped me the most after a bad breakup was therapy.

    • Becky with the Good Hair :

      Thanks so much for all the suggestions! I hadn’t thought of going to the driving range, but I think that’ll be a perfect mix of time-consuming and slight anger release. I forgot I told a partner that ex and I would go to a baseball game tonight, so I need to build up the ability to gracefully cancel. SATC is probably going to be my go-to this weekend. And all the carbs.

      • Can you still go to the game with a friend?

        The advice above is good. Give yourself a bit of time to grieve. Then channel your energy and free time into positive activities. Take a class or join a club to learn something new. Add in an extra workout. Take on a new project at work. Just be moving forward even when it hurts because you deserve to not let this derail you in other aspects of your life and to be on your game when the next potential partner enters your life. Being at your best is also the best revenge.

        • Becky with the Good Hair :

          I thought about inviting a friend, but it’s so last minute. I’m not ready to tell anyone local or discuss it, as I’m still on the verge of tears. I had a really lovely phone call with my long distance best friend this morning and it helped a lot. Thank you for the ideas and the sentiment to not let it derail other aspects of my life – that is a really strong motivator for me.

    • What worked for me was 1) taking a trip somewhere that involves hiking and stranded us physical exercise, 2) visiting friends who live in another city, and 3) jumping back into online dating. Speaking for myself, I’ve never had issues with rebound relationships. Building an online dating profile for myself and browsing others’ profile online made me feel better about having broke up and also helped give me emotional distance from the relationship. I tend not to spend time doing the manicure, SATC reruns stuff because I feel like my times are limited and I’ve got to be out there meeting new people.

  17. Book recommendations? I have a long flight and work trip this week and want to load up my kindle. Ideally fiction; I’m not a fan of mysteries or crime thrillers, but am open to everything else

    • I read a ton, and these two may end up being my favs for 2018:
      The Great Alone
      The Last Thing She Ever Did

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      This Is How It Always Is (favorite of 2018 so far)
      Being Mortal (non-fiction but great writing)
      Books by Taylor Jenkins Reid are perfect for flights – light, fun, silly plots but pretty good writing
      the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy
      Ashley’s War – non-fiction about a US female only special ops unit!!!

      Hope you enjoy at least one of those!

    • Cookbooks :

      A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. It’s not a quick read, but it’s a beautiful one.

  18. London Recs? :

    Going to London next month for the first time in ages with a teenage girl. What are your recommendations for a fun time? I’m trying to search past comments but not having the best luck. Looking for tried and true tourist activities as well as shopping and off the beaten path recommendations. Thank you.

    • The Harry Potter play gets rave reviews.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      See the crown jewels at the Tower of London!! So amazing. Explore Borough Market and have lunch there. I toured Parliament and Buckingham Palace in my early 20s and loved both.

    • Tessa Karlov :

      When I was a teenager, we went to the Churchill War Rooms and the British Museum, and I loved both! Additional restaurant recommendation: Duck and Waffle.

    • Ouch! that hurts :

      Go to the Boden shop! It was too complicated for me to do last time, but ….

  19. pugsnbourbon :

    A (non-affiliate!) frugal rec: the Apt. 9 shirtdress from Kohl’s. It has sleeves, a lining (!) and a straight hem. The prints aren’t great but it’s available in solid black and olive.

    I do NOT work for Kohls. I’m just cheap and Midwestern.

    • grapefruit :

      Thanks for this, from another cheap Midwestern. I think I may grab one. I live in dresses like this in the summer. Dressy enough for my govt office but still super comfy.

    • I’ve been looking for a cute shirtdress, and I’ve been looking for something to do with a gift card from Kohl’s. So thank you, from a woman who is cheap and moving to the Midwest!

  20. Tell me if I’m off base here. A good friend recently went to a wine and beer festival with our friendgroup. I’ve been distancing myself from the group a bit because they tend to insulate bad behavior, even though individually most of them are great, and their drinking habits are just too much for me. I’ve focused on spending time with the folks I like. So maybe I’m biased about all this.

    Friend had a baby a little over a year ago. She’s been working super hard and now she’s lost the baby weight and then some (she was on the heavy side before she got PG). She looks and feels awesome, I’m totally amazed by her. But she also hasn’t had a drink in like 2 years.

    Well you can see where this is going, friend got super trashed at the festival and passed out. The group sent her home by herself in a cab even though she was barely conscious. She told me later that she apparently threw up at home while she was unconscious. I’m absolutely livid. I can’t believe no one let her crash on their couch or something to make sure she was ok. When I’ve tried to talk to people in the group, they deflect and say it was her own fault. Friend also doesn’t think this is problematic and just blames herself (and feels super embarrassed). I feel like I’m in the Twilight zone. This is not cool right? You take care of your friends when they make stupid mistakes?

    • Totally not cool, wtf? On the scale of “stupid mistakes,” getting trashed while with a bunch of friends is like, a 1-2/10. Other friends should have stepped in and made sure she was okay. Not cool.

    • Is friend a single mom? If not, she wasn’t alone when she got home; wouldn’t there have been someone to look after her?

      • Hubby and baby were out of town visiting his family. I was out of town for work. Presumably the group knew hubby was out of town because everyone always asks new parents – omg we haven’t seen you in forever where’s baby???

      • I don’t think putting a barely conscious woman in a cab is a great idea irrespective of whether someone was at home. I can’t imagine doing that to any of my friends. Horrible. Moreover, “It was her own fault” is not the reaction of someone who cares about friend. You can agree that it was a “mistake,” and not be totally callous and pretend like she deserved it.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Yeah, your instincts are definitely right, OP. Your other friends are acting like jerks well beyond the limits of enabling bad behavior — have they done this kind of thing before?

          • If they have I haven’t seen it. I have a self-imposed 2-3 drink max when I go out, so I leave a lot earlier than most people. It was pretty shocking considering how much a lot of them drink. Like, back in my youth when I would drink heavily, my friends and I ALWAYS had each others’ back. We kind of traded off who was the hottest mess. I guess I thought that’s how all heavy drinkers were with their friends? I’m so confused by the attitude, we’re in our 30s so we take care of ourselves now. Ok well when you’re drinking for 8 hours it doesn’t matter how old you are, someone’s going to need help!

    • Yeah, if I had a friend so drunk she was passing out, I wouldn’t send her home on her own. But I also don’t have friends that party that hard regularly anymore. It sounds like you are getting older and moving on from crazy party drinking sooner than this group of friends and that’s fine. I don’t think there’s anything you can do though, as all of these people are adults who make their own decisions. If any thing, let it be confirmation that you’re making the right decision to move on from this friend group for your own mental health. I think there’s this weird late 20s early 30s time frame where the social drinkers and the problem drinkers really start to be easily distinguished. It can be difficult to deal with, but seems to be a normal part of getting a little big older.

    • Agreed, that is drinking safety 101 from college. Your friend could have been assaulted, left on her doorstep, or choked on her own throw up and died. These friends are awful. At base being a good friend is ensuring the physical wellbeing of a friend in your presence that you can easily help.

    • Cookbooks :

      Definitely not cool. This is a situation where you bring your friend home with you. No one likes dealing with drunk people, but better things get a little gross than any level of dangerous.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree it’s not cool. It sounds like friend overestimated her own tolerance after not drinking for 2 years and maybe got carried away with the sudden freedom of being out with her friends and not having responsibilities later. Getting that drunk is a mistake, of course, but her friends should have helped her out, not just put her in a cab.

      But if your friend and the rest of the group don’t think this is a problem, you just need to let this one go. And make sure you’re not relying on this particular group to take care of you.

  21. Do cowl necks look outdated now?

    • This one is pretty subtle – I would never have described it as a cowl neck, actually. So no, I don’t think something like this looks dated. It is a very simple shell that could be worn in a lot of situations and is pretty timeless. For those of us who are small of chest, it is exactly what we look for .

  22. How do you deal with family disapproval with your decisions? My BF and I have been dating 2.5 yrs, and are wanting to move in together in the fall (with a ring making an appearance in a year or so if all goes well). I’m worried that telling my (conservative Christian) grandparents might ruin my relationship with them. There are many ways we disagree, but normally I keep my mouth shut for the sake of keeping the peace. But I feel like this is something I can’t really hide. I’m also not really sure that I want to hide, since their presumed-disapproval is the reason my sister feels like she can’t come out to them, and I am so not about that ish. But other than their close-mindedness, they are really loving grandparents, and I don’t want to lose my relationship with them. Thoughts? (I’m not sure I’m asking my question clearly, but if not, I’m sure I’ll hear about it in the comments).

    • Can your parents run interference on this a bit? If you have a close relationship with your grandparents then you should probably tell them yourself, but maybe with your parents there for back up and moral support? Ime grandparents disapprove of a whole lot of stuff but are more likely to hold their peace if their own child – who raised you – is cool with your decision.

      I also wouldn’t shy away from the point you raise here – “Would you rather I lie to you? I thought we were closer than that.”

      • This — parents are your wingmen.

        FWIW, I think that living together is bad for a lot of only non-religious reasons b/c if the relationship ends, you are stuck in a real estate situation; DTR convos often sincerely stop when the decision to move in is made; etc. Even if your grandparents are very strictly religious, this is an issue where I can see people having legit concerns over.

        • What possible relevance do you think your second paragraph has to this discussion? OP’s concern is that her relationship with her grandparents will be damaged because they disapprove of a decision she’s already made. It’s totally irrelevant whether the grandparents are ‘right’ (ahem, they’re not). They don’t get to tell OP how to live her life, and they shouldn’t hold their relationship with her hostage unless she bends to their will.

          • Disagree — it seems that a problem is that they are religiously conservative.

            But saying that people can have non-faith-based concerns over the wisdom of moving in is like saying that the sky is blue. My atheist friends have good partners and bad partners. I worry, as a person, for the people with bad partners (esp. if they then move in together — it cements a bad situation). If people like your partner, it tends to go better. If they’d have concerns re you marrying this partner, they wouldn’t go away just b/c you are only moving in together.

            To the OP: if your parents are cool with this and are over the moon about your partner in general, having a messenger who states that to your grandparents goes a long way. If they view him as a keeper they are welcoming to the family, so much the better.

      • Parents are not really okay with it (for similar religious reasons), but thankfully of the “well, we don’t agree with your decision, but it’s your decision and we’ll support and love you no matter what” (parents are also thankfully not so conservative that they have a problem with LGBT, so sister is good there and would definitely get their whole-hearted support).

        Anon @ 12:25, thanks for your insight. We have talked about this (we considered moving in together last year, but decided to wait), and what you bring up were things we discussed. Luckily, we have systems in place like family living nearby (so no stuck-in-apartment-with-ex), and we have scheduled DTRs (is that weird or healthy? maybe both). Like you said, there are downsides, but we feel like the ups outweigh the possible downs. In this case, the objections are mainly just the religious ones.

      • BelleRose :

        Thanks for the replies! It’s less about “I’m making an announcement that we’re moving in together” and more about answering the “So are you moving to be closer to your job? Tell me about your new apartment! Who are your roommates?” sort of how’s-life questions. I thought about trying to not tell them, but I knew someone would slip at some point, and then there’d be the “why didn’t you tell us” on top of it all.

        And thank you, Elegant Giraffe, for your story. It does help!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Caveat that I have never been in your shoes, but I don’t think that this is an area where you leave it open to discussion or their opinions. “Grandma and Grandpa, I’m moving to X town. Joe and I are moving in together.” If they give you a hard time, I think my response would be something along the lines of, “well, we are really excited, and think this is a good next step before marriage. I’m sorry that you disagree with my choices.” And then just leave it at that. If they can’t keep their opinions to themselves, I think you need to reiterate the above and also ask them to please stop discussing it with you because you’re not going to change your mind.

    • I guess I grew up in a traditional southern family whose main solution to this stuff is “why do they need to know? if they don’t need know, don’t tell them.” Do they come to your house ever? If not, where and who you live with is not relevant to your relationship with them. They presumably know you’re dating and he comes to family events, I don’t see why it needs to be a BIG THING to pronounce to the world your cohabitation. Don’t hide it, but don’t make a big deal out of it.

    • Personally, I probably wouldn’t tell them. I don’t know if that’s the “right” approach necessarily; it depend so much on your comfort level and individual relationship with your grandparents.

      I tend to deal with certain overly opinionated family members by giving them information on a need-to-know basis, and that’s worked for me. For example, my in laws have no idea we did IVF to conceive our first child and I’ll probably never tell them because it’s none of their business and I know they wouldn’t approve. I won’t lie to them about it, but they haven’t asked and I don’t feel the need to offer up the information.

      Your situation is a little bit different because who you live with is less personal generally and more people probably know about it. But assuming they won’t be visiting you, I still don’t see why it’s any of their business – so if you don’t feel comfortable telling them, I don’t see why you should.

      If you do tell them, I wouldn’t make a big production of it. Mention it in passing as a statement of fact and then move on as quickly as possible – without making it seem like the issue is open for discussion.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I was you a couple of years ago, including the LGBT sister who needed/wanted to come out. I knew it would go horribly. And much to my surprise, it was fine. Grandma didn’t love that I would be a “live in,” in her words, but she mostly kept her mouth shut about it. I avoided telling her stories that related to the two of us sleeping in the same bed because I knew that would bother her – like I didn’t tell her about the time we woke up with a scorpion in the bed between us – but other than that, things stayed pretty normal. So all this to say, I hope you are totally shocked like me and it turns out to be OK and doesn’t cause a huge Thing!

    • I dunno, I never really announced milestones in our relationship until we were engaged and even then, it was just to nearest and dearest (we wanted to limit the calls and enjoy the excitement). I think moving in was more like a casual mention and just to immediate family like… I’m cleaning this weekend because we are putting BF’s place on the market and so I’m making more space for him in the closet. Of course they already knew him very well and that we were very serious about each other, so it wasn’t really shocking. (I will say that personally, I always believed I would not move in with someone without plans for marriage and I guess my family is of the same mind, so just didn’t voice any concerns.)

      In other words, live your life!

    • Would this really come up in a conversation with your grandparents? Do you see them often and/or would be hosting them at your (joint) home? If the answer is no, I personally wouldn’t mention it all. If the answer is yes… not sure what to do there. My father didn’t speak to me for 6 months when my now husband and I moved in together. It helped that we were 1500 miles away from each other, but it still sucked. I’m sorry you might have to go through this with your grandparents.

    • My parents aren’t religious but my mother is not especially emotionally stable and we have a somewhat … fraught emotional history. We’re not close and I don’t have any desire to confide in her about my life. I answer direct questions, but I don’t volunteer information, and I don’t elaborate very much. So, it was months after my SO moved in that I told her about it, because she never asked any questions about how I was doing or how he was doing and it just didn’t come up. I actually can’t remember how it even did come up. I didn’t lie about it; I just didn’t volunteer the information.

  23. My feet sweat during the day in my work shoes and then end up smelling. What do I do about this? Shoes are leather with leather insides.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      sprinkle baby powder in them in the morning

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Foot powder and/or no-show wicking socks.

    • Flats Only :

      My feet do the same thing. Foot spray and baby powder just make for a gunky build up between my toes. Yuck. I started putting very thin insoles from Summer Soles in my shoes. With the insoles the insides of the shoes don’t get damp and clammy, and if the insole gets smelly I can pull it out without damaging the shoe, and put in a new one.

    • Wash feet well.

      Anti-fungal powder in shoes (or spray) or dry antiperspirant on your feet! I also used the insoles.

      Take shoes off under desk (!)

      Never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Let them air out for at least a day or two.

      Taking sprinolactone for my acne stopped this problem for me. Amazing.

  24. Can you guys help me understand how childcare works in an HCOL with two parents with demanding careers? Are we destined for the nanny route? Can I get some ballparks on the cost of that?

    Currently, I’m out the door before 7:30 and regularly don’t get home until 8. My husband is slightly better, more like 8-6. Every day care I’m seeing in my area requires 6pm pickups. Do I quit my job because I want to have a kid?

    • Anonymous :

      You get a nanny. My understanding is that cost is somewhere around 50K a year (for us, that was about equivalent to two children in daycare). We ended up with my husband choosing to stay home, but I have been working 10-10+ all week this week and there is no way I could have made that work with daycare, and possibly even with only 1 nanny, since there are caps on the number of hours they work. My husband has been a saint.

    • OfCounsel :

      Cost varies so much depending on region that there is no one answer to this question. If you let us know where you are, people in that area might be able to help.

      You could either have a nanny (or 2) or daycare + evening nanny. In the latter scenario, you use day care from morning until closing and have someone who picks the baby up from day care and handles the time until a parent gets home. If you hire a nanny, you might have a hard time finding one person willing to regularly put in 10 hour days and might need two people. When figuring out which way to go, don’t forget to factor in the time to drop off the baby in day care. That might add 30 minutes + to to day of the parent who does that task.

    • Anonymous :

      And if you want to do day care your other options are:

      Nanny/babysitter/day care teacher to take kid home and watch him/her for an hour or two after school.

      Your husband sees if he can stagger his schedule more and work from, say, 7-5 so he can be there by 6 for pickup and you do dropoff. (Most parents in my HCOL area daycare do some variation on staggering.)

      You try to leave work more like 6 to see kid at least a few days a week and put them to bed and log back on after they go to sleep, which will probably be before 7 or 8 in the early years.

    • Anonymous :

      If neither of you can change your schedule, you get one full-time option (daycare or nanny) plus a part-time nanny.

      Costs vary a lot. I live in a MCOL area and had a nanny when my son was an infant, and it cost probably $40,000 for 40 hours a week and the taxes I owed. My kid is in daycare from 7:30 to 5:30 now, and it’s about $17,000 per year.

      Be aware that, whichever route you take, you need a good system of backup care. In the first year of daycare (whether that’s as an infant or at 3 years old), there are a lot of sick days. Having a nanny prevents some illnesses and means you have coverage even when your kid is sick, but you have to have a backup if the nanny is sick or can’t make it to work for some reason.

      Being a working parent is hard, and expensive. The moms s*te had a thread earlier this week on the % of household budget people were spending on daycare vs. their mortgage.

      • This is helpful, thanks!

        One thing I’m not thinking about is that it’s about a lot of boundary setting – my employer is famously flexible; but, because I don’t need to employ that flexibility I forget about it. Fortunately part of that flexibility means unlimited sick time and really easy ways to work from home. It’s definitely a mindset shift about who owns my time.

        Appreciate all of the insight, this s!te has taken me from my first college internship now to my first kid.

  25. I have a black Frederic Paris bag that works over the shoulders.

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