Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Crepe Bow Fit & Flare Dress

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

We’ve seen the return of the secretary blouse, and this is like a secretary-blouse dress — but also sort of a shirtdress at the same time. I think it looks like an easy thing to wear to work: I like the unusual wine color, the fit & flare style, and the keyhole neckline that’s hidden by the bow. (You could always look to Claire Underwood and Diana Trout for TV workwear inspiration by accessorizing with a belt to accentuate your waist.) The dress is $128 at Nordstrom, available in lucky sizes only. Crepe Bow Fit & Flare Dress

Here’s a plus-size option.

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  1. I had been looking at a similar, non-bowed version of this dress on Amazon. I’ve heard mixed reviews re Lark and Ro here, but fyi

    • Re Lark and Ro, I tried it out a few months ago when the brand was one of Amazon’s “Today’s Deals” and did a bulk order. I sent most of it back for fit issues (I was just guessing at what size to order), but I kept some pieces that were interesting and I wear often.

      I think the quality is pretty similar to low/mid-price brands you would find at Macy’s or maybe H&M’s work line. I would not be happy with Lark and Ro if I paid full-price.

      • Good to know, thanks!

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I found everything too tight on the shoulders, which is not a complaint I generally have in clothes. But ordering and returning from Amazon is so easy, why not try?

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I looooove this in the “poppy” print. And I love the price tag….

  2. Business Development/internal marketing :

    I just joined a large firm as counsel (came over from government) and I have a meeting in a couple hours with the firm’s business development group–any thoughts on what I can ask them to do for me/things I should ask? Fwiw, I was brought in to support exisiting clients, so I (perhaps naively) didn’t make the transition with a business development plan laid out in my head. I was a junior associate last time I was at a firm, so I don’t have a lot of insight into what a good business development group can help with.

    Also–now that I am here, suggestions on how to market myself internally? I’m starting to set up meetings/lunches with partners I think I’m well positioned to help, but any other tips?

    • Anonymous :

      1. Do you have a budget? Can you take me to a fancy dinner? Sporting events? Does your firm have season tickets to anything? Can you travel to other offices/cities?

      2. Do you need any pre-approvals? Who tracks expenses and deals with reimbursements?

      3. Do they have any canned brochures? n.b., they may need a refresh, in part to include you.

      4. Any client guidelines? Some are very strict about travel / entertainment / meals.

    • Talk to them to strategize about building a book of your own, not just supporting others. Service partners are at the mercy of rainmakers. Find out how they can help you get on boards and network and how they can help you pitch.

      • This–very true. If the business development team is not helpful, your practice group head could help you strategize on this.

    • Anonymous :

      Since you were brought in to support existing clients, I’d ask the business development people about what events usually happen for those clients specifically. If there are no targeted events, would a targeted event (e.g., a lunch and learn) be useful. If there already are targeted events, is there a way you can participate to be able to meet the clients.

      Also – try to feel out if they want a business plan from you. If so, is there a person who helps with that (we have one at my firm who helps mid level and senior associates submit business plans as part of their reviews)?

  3. Anonymous :

    My company just rolled out a flexible work hours option. Previously, we’d all been required to work the same scheduled work hours with a mandatory hour long lunch. Because of the nature of our work, people rarely took the lunch so they just got extra long workdays out of us. The company has now said we can deviate from that set schedule and individual departments can determine what that looks like.

    The culture here is that every crisis pops up 15 minutes before the end of our workday. I’m thinking that this is going to be awesome for lower staff, but that mid-level managers (like meeeeeeee) are going to end up dealing with these crises and still working the crummy long days. Anyone here have best practice tips for what working different schedules looks like in your office?

    So, current required hours are 9-6 with a required (LOL) hour lunch. Now we could theoretically work 8-4:30 with a 30 minute lunch or even 10-7 with an hour lunch.

    • If you’re a mid-level manager, you should be exempt from mandatory lunch breaks and OT. So…there’s that. I would discuss with someone higher than you that the flexible schedules have to be staggered across the department and then work with staff to achieve this. Also, if you know that you’re going to work until 7, come in at 10. Also, if you are a manager, make sure your non-exempt staff are actually taking lunch. Otherwise you’re not paying them mandatory OT and could face a wage-and-hours suit. You don’t want that.

  4. Is it just me or do shoes just not hold up well these days? My shoes are hardly lasting 3 months of 2 or 3 days a week wear. The soles get thin and they creak at the seams. And don’t even start me about heels. I have not had a pair of shop original heeltips last more than a week. I’m fed up taking new shoes in for new heels after 4 or 5 wears.

    Rant over.

    • Rant on! Seriously, everything sucks right now. I have always bought my sheets at tj maxx and been happy enough with the quality. I had a set that I really liked that I bought a few years ago and ended up buying the “same” set (the tags are exactly the same) a few weeks ago, but the drop in quality was shocking. I felt like I was sleeping on a scratchy paper bag. So now I’m out the $80 I spent on the crappy set and I am ending up having to pay three times as much as I did for that original set of sheets to get something of comparable quality. It makes me so mad when businesses cut corners with their materials and construction and we’re all helpless to do anything about it. I joked with my husband that in a few years when I need another new set of sheets I’ll be paying $400 to buy sheets made out of actual garbage that someone picked up off the street.

      • I bought a new mattress cover and tried to put it on my bed last night, and I was appalled at how stiff it felt, especially for how highly rated it was on Amazon. I could tell it was going to make my soft pillow-top mattress much less comfortable, so made the bed back up without the cover. On top of that, it had an awful chemical smell that I don’t want to sleep in.

    • Anonymous :

      I hear you. I feel like it goes way beyond shoes too.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve never had the heel tips on shoes wear out after a week of wear, even on cheap shoes. Do you have a particularly grueling commute through a field of rocks or something? Or more likely, do you maybe drag your feet a little when you walk?

    • Aquae Sulis :

      It might just be perception, but I definitely feel like quality has gone downhill across the board.

      • You feel like it has…because it has. Fabric quality isn’t as good, there are more synthetics, and things just aren’t made to last the way that they used to be because clothing is seen as a disposable commodity, rather than an investment to be maintained.

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          I used to buy nearly all of my clothes at BR/Ann Taylor/etc. and they were great quality. I have decade-old pieces from those stores that are still in great shape. But if I buy from those stores now, the stuff won’t even last a year. I gave up, and just buy more expensive brands. Same with shoes.

      • Yes. I can’t believe how quickly the straps on bags begin to crack. This did not happen with bags I bought on a teenager’s budget when I was a teenager in the 90s.

        And buying premium brand names doesn’t help as much as I want it to. I tossed a can opener and garlic press for just straight-up breaking apart after a few months of use. Both were Kitchenaid. That’s without even getting into the issue of stainless steel that starts to rust.

        Meanwhile, I never 100% know if what I buy on Amazon is a knockoff or not.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      I 100% agree on shoes. I feel like I run through a pair of black heels every two months. And buying more expensive shoes doesn’t seem to help – so I just buy Clarks on sale and call it a day. It’s insane. And I don’t even have a hugely walk-intensive commute.

    • Frozen Peach :

      THIS. I’m super hard on shoes anyway because I have an unusual gait and large feet and am just not trained to pay attention to shoe care. But it got to the point where I could wear a nice pair of pumps for less than three weeks before something would scuff or a heel would crack or need repair. I have solved this with a shoe uniform of incredibly basic, incredibly cheap black flats. But I realize that that’s only an option because my workplace has a casual dress code and I give zero fs about shoes to begin with.

  5. Wish I Looked Like Gal Gadot :

    I need some style help. I’m 5’4 and cusp sized, about size 14. I’m 32 but look very young for my age and have a baby face. My office is business casual and I shop at stores that generally have current fashion – J Crew, Banana Republic, etc – but no matter what I wear I feel like I just end up looking roly-poly and more on the cute end of the spectrum than stylish. I want to look put together and mature, not cute.

    Does anyone have advice? I tend to stick to more classic styles and neutral colours…maybe I should just wear all black all the time.

    • What does your hair and makeup look like? Eyebrows?

      Do you actually know what silhouettes are more flattering on your body or are you just buying whatever is in the store? Right now everything has ruffles on it. I don’t think that helps if you’re trying to move away from “cute”, so hopefully you are not buying that type stuff.

      • Wish I Looked Like Gal Gadot :

        I wear my hair naturally curly (another thing that I feel makes me look cute, but I don’t have time/patience to blow it out). Eyebrows are on point. Makeup is minimal because I’m lazy, but I do feel more put together when I wear it, so that’s a good reminder to step it up.

        I NEVER wear ruffles!

        • Don’t feel like you *have to* blow out your hair to be “stylish”, please! Find a solid, skilled curly hair stylist and cutter, and get comfortable with ways to style your own hair that support your overall look. You can be stylish and avoid cutsey with curly hair! Do you, do what makes you comfortable/feel best, but don’t confuse curly hair with being unstylish!

          • Wish I Looked Like Gal Gadot :

            Don’t misunderstand me, I’m happy with my curly hair and take good care of it! I just meant I don’t really style it beyond letting it be curly. I agree that curly hair doesn’t mean unstylish.

          • +1!!

            OP are you getting your hair cut by someone who specializes in curly hair? If you think it looks “cute” rather than sophisticated, maybe try a different stylist and style. Look for pictures of a style you do like and take it in and ask if they can help you achieve that style. I also wear mine curly, and I don’t really think my style reads “cute”.

          • Posted too soon — disregard!

            I don’t style mine either, FWIW. I pay for expensive cuts, and then let it do it’s thing.

          • I think it was from this place that I found The Directrice. She has curly hair and does not look “cute.” Quite sophisticated, in fact.

            By the way, love her blog! So thanks to whoever brought it up.

        • Great! Sorry to jump on that! Fellow curly head here who has been told im- and explicitly that it was unprofessional, wasn’t in fashion, etc., when it was otherwise well cared for and styled! Didn’t mean to project.

          Rock on with yo curly self!

    • hi–I am the same size and height, and the roly poly snowman look is hard to avoid. I do best in dresses–shift, a-line, or fit and flare with a high set waist. Look for serious office dresses, not prints or casual, with elbow length sleeves.

      I wear tights in the cool weather, and bare legs with bronzer/leg make up in the warm weather until I get a tan. I hate panty hose!

      Try petites–they often look better than regular sizes. I find petite NYDJ pleat back blouse ($88) looks slimming over slim leg pants, and it comes in many colors. Nice jewelry and good shoes make it look polished.

      What is your office setting?

      Skip the blouse tucked into the skirt or pants thing–doesn’t work for shorties. If required, get a drapey silky blouse and blouse it a bit, and don’t wear knits. Too revealing of roly poly ness.

      But most important, love yourself. Be kind to yourself as you find nice clothes. not all of us are 5’8″ and 130 pounds–but we have hearts and souls.

      • Wish I Looked Like Gal Gadot :

        It’s funny you mention that NYDJ blouse, you just reminded me that’s one of my favourite things I own! I should buy more of them.

        Thank you very much for the advice, I appreciate it.

      • Wait, you put makeup on your legs???

        • Anonymous :

          I also often use makeup on my legs – Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. I have a lot of visible veins and don’t always want to look so purple.

    • Anonymous :

      1. Love your handle. Me, too. At least I can wear flats like she did on the promo tour.

      2. Talbots? They have women’s petites and regular petites (some friends are about your size and just try on all of the clothes when they go). They tend to have not to have the most youthful vibe, which might be a plus for you. And they are on the more ladylike end of the spectrum. They are running good sales now and you may find something you love. Their clothes are very well made (I have a leather pencil skirt from there that I got ages ago that is a workhorse). [I know, it’s not where the coolest kids go, but you want work clothes, no?]

      3. Maybe Gretchen Scott ponte stuff for fall? There is a website. The sizes should include you.

      • Wish I Looked Like Gal Gadot :

        You know I always think of Talbots as where my mom shops but I got their catalogue in the mail recently and they did have some really nice stuff. Thank you for the suggestion.

        • I second this. I’m cusp sized, and while some of their stuff is matronly in a bad way, much of it is classic and “mature” in a good and polished way. They’re one of the few places where I find items that are lined and of decent quality that hold up.

      • I recently ordered a bunch of dresses from Talbots. Some of the clothes run boxy, so be aware of that, but overall the quality is extremely good and you can’t beat the clearance prices. I’m relatively hourglass and it’s one of the only stores where I can find fitted clothes that don’t get too vavavoom.

        • Lorelai Gilmore :

          And FWIW, Talbots stuff is of sufficiently high quality that you can tailor it. Some of my favorite clothes are Talbots dresses and blazers that I had tailored so they are less boxy.

    • If you’re already sticking to classic styles and neutral colors, I wonder if a few accessories might help you feel more pulled together? Looking around at people I see on my commute, I feel like the right shoes or an interesting necklace or a well-chosen bag are usually the difference between a good outfit and a great one.

      No specific advice, because I am too lazy/time-pressed to bother with accessories bahaha. But maybe someone else can chime in?

      • Anonymous :

        Seconding simple accessories if you don’t already wear them! I have several pairs of fairly basic colored studs (like the Kate Spade set that everyone seems to have), and the exact same outfit somehow looks a million times more put together and professional every time I put them on.

    • What sort of colors/patterns do you wear?

      Sometimes simple looks sleek. Black and white. Less prints, except classic prints. Choose a color palate that compliments you. Not all neutral colors, unless that works for your coloring.

      Sometimes monochromatic, mixed with a pop of color (ex. bag or shoes or belt) is good.

    • Marshmallow :

      It sounds like you’re already doing things right with the neutral colors and classic styles– you probably DO look put together and mature!

      If you feel like it’s a fit issue, can you look into getting some of your clothes tailored? I’m your same height and I have to have all my pants and jackets hemmed. Just having the sleeve on the jacket taken up so it hits at the right place makes a big difference.

      And I hate to say it, but black might be a good options because it never reads “cute.” I’ve started wearing more and more black lately and I don’t really miss color. I’ve picked up a few white blouses with black piping/detailing, and when I want to look sleek without having to think about it, I go for a black and white outfit.

    • Wear more tailored styles. For example, instead of cardigans, do a jardigan or soft blazer so that there’s a little more structure. I always kind of feel like I’m wearing a costume if I try to do a blazer with my outfits, but stuff like the MM LaFleur looks more natural on me. If you really like cardigans, maybe do a pencil skirt with one, so the skirt can add some of the structure. Go for a shirt dress or a stucture a-line or sheath and avoid dresses made of that very soft floaty kind of material.

      • Wish I Looked Like Gal Gadot :

        That’s a good idea. I also feel like I’m wearing a costume when I wear a jacket, especially in my casual office, but I’ve always loved those jardigans.

        • FYI, J Crew Factory has a sweater jacket (jardigan? swacket?) in their new arrivals. I think it’s cotton, which, I wish it was at least a wool blend, but it looks like it would fit this niche nicely.

        • So did I, at first. Then I got used to it. And I think it made me sit up straighter and look like I was in charge in meetings. Maybe commit to wearing one once a week and see how it goes?

        • +2 on looking like Murphy Brown in a suit jacket (not that I don’t love Murphy Brown that look is just not “me”). The Target ponte knit blazer has been a game changer for me. I can wear it at my desk instead of a sweater (which feels a bit frumpy/too casual), and I look put together when I get called into a last minute meeting. It goes well over dresses and casual pants! win/win My office is biz casual too so maybe try that? I’m definitely not advising against jardigans, just trying to give you more options!

      • Senior Attorney :

        I picked up a “sleeveless blazer” (back in the day we just called them “vests”) this summer and I’ve been wearing the heck out of it. That might be another non-blazer third-piece option for you.

    • My BFF is your size-ish. She always looks polished. Some advice on looking less “cute”

      Don’t wear a-line skirts. Go for a straight or pencil shape

      Don’t wear prints

      Don’t wear pink or other pastels

      No ruffles, bows, or filmy fabrics

      Always wear a heel, even if a low heel. No round toed flats

      The dress featured today would be a bad idea for you. A sheath dress of tailored fabric would be a good idea.

      Structure is going to be your friend.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I have found a lot of this to be true. A lot of internet/ladies magazines told me I should be wearing fit and flare, fuller skirts, etc., but if I want to look more grownup, a sheath in dark colors is the way to go. I’ve found that a slightly-past-knee length with high heels looks good too. Also looking tired all the time has helped me look my age :-P

      • These are excellent tips. I too save my round-tie flats for weekends. A pointed or almond toe reads as more mature to me, and always something with structure. I avoid big logos as I feel like that reads “young” (YMMV, but the giant Tory Burch metal logo on their flats doesn’t read as mature to me, even though I know they’re expensive).

        Love a knit blazer. My office is also fairly casual, but I feel better if I’m dressed on the slightly more formal end of things, and this is a workhorse for me.

        I know hair was discussed up thread, but have you considered a simple pair of pearl or diamond (or CZ) studs? Pearls are classic and sound like they could be a good fit for the look you’re aiming for.

    • Have you considered the weight of the fabrics you are wearing? A dress or suit can be super structured but if it is unlined lightweight tropical wool it will look rolly polly. I’d suggest investing in more pieces that are either lined or with heavier weight fabrics which will immediately look more professional. The difference between a thick knit cardigan and a light weight Jackie-cardigan can be striking. Unfortunately, this requires going to the store to actually touch the fabrics. I’d also experience with different types of fabric.

    • cake batter :

      As someone about your same size and height, I love most of the suggestions you’ve gotten. I’d also suggest dark nails, if that’s a look you’re into. I always feel [email protected] and grownup when I rock charcoal or navy nails. Pinks and neutrals make me feel like a baby.

      Someone above said no prints, but I’d suggest sticking to bolder prints like stripes, houndstooth, or abstract brushstrokes. I wouldn’t necessarily avoid florals – just stay away from florals in pale colors on white backgrounds. Large bold florals on a dark navy or black background can look more adult than little pink flowers on a white background.

      I also hate the look of a cotton tank top under an unstructured cardigan. I see that look a LOT on younger women in my office, and it just screams “teenager” to me. If you’re going to wear a cardi, pair it with a silk shell or something more structured and stylish than a basic tank.

    • Wish I Looked Like Gal Gadot :

      Thanks to all for the invaluable advice, I’m taking all of this into consideration!

      I think I’m pretty good on the jewelry front already: I mostly wear discreet Tiffany sterling silver or gold studs, or pearls, plus my watch.

      Katie, I hear you regarding ballet flats. I’m transitioning from all my round toe flats to almond toes or loafers!

    • Are you me? Same height, almost the same size, curly hair, and similar office environment. I don’t have many tips but just wanted to say I relate and thank you so much for posting the question because I’m benefiting from the valuable tips that were offered by others above!

  6. Anonymous :

    We’re having some friends over this weekend and one of them follows a gluten free vegetarian diet. Any ideas for apps/finger foods? Looking for stuff that’s naturally gluten free as opposed to made to be. Also needs to be easy.
    I know GF diets vary but this isn’t someone who is very strict about it, as far as plates and cross contamination goes.

    • Veggies and hummus.

      Tomato-basil-mozz skewers.

      Peaches or strawberries with creme fraiche.

      Cheese with rice crackers (TJ’s has some really good ones).

      • If you don’t have a TJ’s, Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins with Brown Rice, Almonds & Flax Seeds (look for a blue-green box) are sold in regular grocery stores and delicious!

        • Anonymous :

          I’m partial to Mary’s Gone Crackers, which are seed crackers that are pretty good.

          • These are good but this kind of thing would blow my entertaining budget unless I only provided the “special” ones for the person with the highly restricted diet. Is there any way to do that graciously?

          • I wouldn’t call it gracious, but these days restrictive and expensive diets are so common that it wouldn’t think twice if a gluten-free guest were carrying a little separate dish of crackers, or refilling their plate from a box in the kitchen when they finish their crackers. Totally depends on the group, your setup, and your comfort level though.

          • Wow, I am super-confused. A box of gluten free Diamond Pecan Thins (the most delicious of the flavors, IMO) costs like $3.29 at my Target…I am not sure how providing a $4 box of crackers is going to blow your budget, unless you normally entertain by offering generic saltines and cheese in a can? If there’s something I’m missing here I’d be happy to stand corrected. I usually budget a minimum of $5 per person just for food when we have cocktail parties (and it usually ends up being closer to $8 or $10pp). That doesn’t include drinks.

          • Anonymous :

            No. I mean you could put out half the box of crackers and save the rest for another day, I guess. Or try to save in your other purchases – use a $1 coupon on something else to make up the difference in the cost of the box of crackers. It’s not gracious to have something available for only one person.

          • JuniorMinion :

            Costco often has these! I think they are significantly cheaper than in the grocery store

          • Both Blue Diamonds Nut Thins and Mary’s Gone Crackers are reasonably priced and delicious even if you aren’t gluten free so I don’t see why you can’t just put out those crackers for everyone.

            Also, aren’t some tortilla chips gluten free? Chips and salsa? Chips and guacamole? You could also do crudites and some sort of dip.

        • I must have the Blue Diamond Nut Thins in my home at. All. Times. I’m not even gluten free– they are so delicious. I also have a package in my purse right now. They are life saving for my nausea when I have a migraine.

      • Anonymous :

        yeah rice crackers are really good – you can get them at any grocery store now, but whole foods has a big selection. and serve with a couple kinds of good cheese – one hard cheese, and maybe a goat cheese.

    • Anonymous :

      Caprese skewers are delicious, easy (altho can be time consuming) and naturally gluten free.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh boy…vegetables?

    • Veggies and dip/hummus, cheese plate with gluten free crackers, tortilla chips and salsa/guacamole, vegetarian nachos, mozzarella and tomato antipasta platter.

    • I just wanted to say good luck! Entertaining people with such tremendous restrictions is such a challenge. I hope you can figure out how to pull this off and still have a balanced menu and lots of fun!

      • Oh come on, this isn’t some giant hardship. Look at all the amazing ideas people have offered that are perfectly normal party food. Don’t make a martyr out of yourself for serving vegetables.

        • Eh, when you’re planning a theme menu and have more than 1 restriction, it can get pretty limiting sometimes. So, vegetarian might be fine but wait until you have someone whining about not being “able” to eat dairy, then someone is on the gluten free bandwagon. When that happens, I go from thrilled to be entertaining to over it because the restrictions don’t mesh with my lifestyle and my cooking preferences. I would stick to going out to dinner with people who are vocal about being on such restrictive diets, personally. It is not martyrdom but wanting to host and not be a short order cook in my life own home.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I completely understand that restrictions can be difficult to accommodate but I don’t get why “able” is in scare quotes and gluten free is a bandwagon issue. There is a lot more awareness now than in the past so more people are seeing doctors or trying diets for medical reasons. Those people just dealt with always feeling ill in the past. I medically cannot eat dairy or gluten. I won’t die from it but it will make me sick. I don’t whine though. I tell my host ahead of time and I offer to bring my own food or to supply ideas if they still want to shop.

          • Y to the East :

            Ditto. I pack lactaid always, and sometimes bmoc (bring my own crackers) cause it’s way easier.
            But the bandwagon complaint thing is a super irritant pet peeve of mine. Sorry I legit can’t ingest certain foods without causing damage to my intenstines/stomache/bowels… I am sure for every “not eating gluten today” there are plenty of “because it makes me uncomfortable/ill/etc.”
            Geez Louise.

          • As a guest on a restricted diet, I actually agree. I think it’s just awkward to be served something special or different. It’s even worse if a menu is designed so that everyone else has to eat by my restrictions (let a girl eat vicariously! I wouldn’t have chosen this diet for myself!).

            I am more comfortable eating something beforehand, and then sipping on my drink and making whatever thing I can eat last a long time. I know people who don’t eat are annoying, but I think it’s still less annoying than fussy restrictions.

          • Anonymous :

            But realistically, you don’t need to have each piece of food edible from everyone. If you have a meat and cheese platter then fine, a vegetarian can avoid the meat. The GF people can avoid the wheat crackers. Everyone can eat the veggies and hummus. Seems pretty easy to me. If you’re the type of person that can only envision serving one thing like cocktail weenies in crescent rolls and nothing else then I get that it would be hard, but I think a raw veggie tray is a pretty average thing to serve that can be adapted to suit many themes. Obviously the person posing the question doesn’t find it an unbelievable hardship to accommodate and it doesn’t sound like she needs any luck to do it. Your hostility to people who don’t eat dairy is weird, many adults are lactose intolerant. The lactose tolerance gene is mostly a northern european thing, so unless you hang out with a bunch of WASPs, inevitably someone is going to be lactose intolerant. Especially as you age, you often lose the ability to tolerate lactose even if you could as a younger adult.

    • Anonymous :

      What apps would you normally have? On top of what everyone else said, you could do deviled eggs, crustless mini quiches, olives, pickles. You can easily get gf versions of chips and crackers these days.

    • Anonymous :

      tortilla chips, guac, salsa?

      grilled veg (served at room temp) with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt? I might do this as part of a (meat free) antipasti platter. Think gorgeous grilled veg, marinated artichoke hearts, sliced heirloom tomatoes, and maybe some nuts on the side? Served with either GF crackers/chips (rice crackers or corn chips) or just on their own.

    • Burrito bowls with rice, beans, guac, corn, tomatos, salsa? Non-veg people can add chicken or beef.

    • Sweet potato skins with salsa and/or guac, mushrooms stuffed with cheese, fancy olives, nuts. This isn’t that hard.

    • Why not just put out a cheese plate…?

    • Lays Potato Chips are both vegetarian and gluten free

    • I think maybe quiche is out of style but I do them when I have lots of people over. Easy to do ahead, good warm or at room temp, and people seem to love them. My typical quiche only has sautéed onions, herbs and cheese in it. I focus on really good cheese and eggs.

      Last time I did this, one of my friends was on a g-f diet, so I made one quiche with a rice flour crust. It was a bit fussy and next time I’d buy a pre-made crust for that one, but she loved it and was so appreciative. We are all good friends so I put a little note next to it on the buffet table that said “T’s G-F quiche”.

      This would work if your friend is vegetarian and not vegan.

      My easy sides are usually nuts and olives and grapes and all of those work too.

      • Or just skip the crust entirely and call it a frittata instead of a quiche :) My SO has celiac, and this is what I do now when I want quiche.

    • Most of my book club is gluten free now — we just do chips & salsa, plus cheese & rice crackers, and veggies with some kind of dip/hummus, maybe grapes.

  7. Working from home :

    What would you do all day if you were working from home without any real work to do?

    I have an unchallenging job without enough tasks. I’ve raised my hand repeatedly about the situation but it won’t change any time soon. The job is well paid, highly flexible, and has great maternity. I want to have a baby next year so am not going anywhere. At work, I spend my free time doing training, networking etc. It’s a weird thing to complain about not having enough to do, but it’s almost as bad as having too much to do!

    But 1-2 times a week I can work from home. I usually have a meeting or two but otherwise not much actual work to do. I can’t leave the house because I have to be “online” in case someone calls or IMs me. So, I try to do my domestic chores like cleaning, cooking etc. But sometimes (like today) I’m just really bored. How would you fill your time if you were in this position?

    • Take online courses! There are so many free ones now. You can take them from your computer and still be responsive to emails.

    • Anonymous :

      can I have your job?

      • Working from home :

        the grass is always greeener… at the office, I can’t browse the internet or wear headphones (open floor plan), so I basically click around Outlook all day and come up new ways of organizing folders. The days are excruciatingly slow and I am making no contributions to society or using my brain at all. “Great maternity leave handcuffs” is definitely a subtype of golden handcuffs.

        • Are you me? Per somone’s suggestion on this s!te (thanks, ‘rette!) I have started using my “free” work time to organize my life. I get my finances in order, plan parties and weekend activities, read up on child development (and also anything that interests me – this week it’s phage therapy), and plan nice things for my two close friends who are expecting. That sounds kinda lame/silly on print, but it has brought me so much joy. A friend and I coordinated a baby shower together and I just felt very organized and prepared and generally happy about the whole affair rather than dreading it like I usually do. Maybe try to become your own personal assistant? I hope it brings you the joy it’s brought me. Signed, i’m just here for the maternity leave

    • I had a similar job and used to batch cook. I’d make huge pots of soup and put them in individual containers in the freezer for later. I also gave myself permission to go for a walk around the neighborhood – I felt a little imprisoned otherwise.

      I don’t have my WFH job anymore, but my current job has slow periods. I joined my church board and do a fair amount of church business at work. Because the board is staffed almost entirely by those who are 55+, I use spare time at work to do computer things like updating the website and Facebook page. Maybe you can find a nonprofit that needs help.

    • Anonymous :

      What is your job and where can I get one? Totally serious. Need BigLaw exit plan and you can sign me up.

      For your actual question: KonMari purge and organize pictures and back them up.

      • Working from home :

        Non-law, compliance-type job at a European financial company. There IS some work to do, it just takes me more like 20 hours a week than 40. No kids now and miserable, but I know I will be thanking myself down the line if I still have this job in 3 years when we hopefully have a 2 year old and a newborn!

        • Anonymous :

          Take classes, get great books to read, start writing a book, learn a new craft or skill, practice a musical instrument, start a blog or online business, take in freelance work.

    • Anonymous :

      Is there a professional association you could get involved with? Teach a continuing education session or volunteer on the board? Great resume booster and work-related enough that you don’t need to feel guilty about spending work time on it.

    • Do a workout video? Read books? Kon Marie your house?

    • Wish I Looked Like Gal Gadot :

      Kick back and enjoy getting paid to watch TV.

    • Anonymous :

      I do some reading and development for work projects, take training courses, clean, do laundry, make lunch, lift some weights. Like the other poster I used to make big batches of stews, soups, and curries that needed to simmer all day. I’m sure you could do other tasks that have long wait periods, like baking bread.

    • If I had this job I would workout, fold laundry, meal prep, read, knit, study another language, and probably watch some trashy TV.

    • I also have this same job situation, except I WFH every day of the week. It’s a LOT of time to fill, so even with filler activities I find myself pretty bored. I find that even internet browsing becomes more interesting if I move around throughout the day. I might spend the morning at my desk, go out for lunch to see civilization, and spend the afternoon on my laptop in our bright sunroom or on the back porch with my dogs. Daytime TV is miserably boring, so I built a very long playlist to run through my home Sonos system that keeps up some energy.

      Or… you could always do mid-morning yoga!

    • Write postcards to your elected reps or voters (if that’s something you enjoy check out Postcards to Voters on the Book of Face).
      Learn a language thru an app or online courses.
      Read a book
      Schedule home repair/maintenance/other contractors on those days
      … lots of good ideas above! Definitely don’t feel guilty about using the time to do what you enjoy as you’re still on-call and can drop whatever you’re doing if needed.

  8. BankrAtty :

    Write articles for publication in industry journals/publications? Read said publications? Read The Economist cover to cover? Paint your toe nails? Learn to knit?

  9. Ponte problems :

    Does anyone else just hate ponte? I work in business casual office and am so tired of being unable to find cute, work appropriate skirts that aren’t basically made out of yoga pants.

    • They need to start paying me for recommending them so many times, but Calvin Klein pencil skirts are my jam. They have petite and regular and are really well made. No ponte in sight! I have four colors.

    • No and yes. I wish there was more variety available, yes. But I love ponte! Ponte 4 eva! But other things 4 eva too!

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, I wish everything was made out of yoga pants. I do think that a lot of the ponte out there is of awful quality, though!

    • Raises hand! HATE it. I don’t find it professional 90 % of the time, I don’t think it’s flattering on most people and I won’t buy it because I don’t trust it not to pill and look like used sweatpants after a few washes/wears.

    • I love ponte for dresses, but not for skirts. Ponte dresses seem a little more formal to me.

    • I dislike that some ponte starts to pill, but I need my ponte for days where I am bloated! I have tons of non- ponte cute skirts in everything from wool to stretch cotton, to silk to brocade,because I sew, and skirts take me less time to make than dresses (I make them while watching netflix). I agree though that there does not seem to be that much skirt variety / skirt fabrications in stores now.

    • Nope. I don’t know where you’re shopping that all you’re finding is ponte. I’d love more.

    • I don’t think I’d like a ponte skirt but I love my ponte dresses.

  10. Innocence Voulnteer? :

    Has anyone done any volunteer work with an innocence project? I already work full time but I’m trying to get more involved in causes I actually care about and I’m wondering if this is something worth exploring. Is it possible to volunteer for something like this when I can only offer limited time? Of course I’ll reach out to my local innocence project directly, but I was wondering if anyone here had done it before.

    • Nelly Yuki :

      I have done it! I joined my local innocence project board as a very new lawyer. I was the “token” young one. I did not do any actual legal work because they needed attorneys who could fund and staff a pretty big undertaking and I didn’t have that kind of leverage or experience to bring a project like that to my firm. The board was very focused on fundraising – and rightfully so – and I ultimately decided to resign when I my job prohibited fundraising and I did not feel like there was anything else useful to me to do.

      I found that the opportunities to volunteer were either college-level (help with events/social media) or Big Partner level (take a case and use firm money and resources to run with it). There was not much for me to do in between those options – I think once I helped draft an RFP.

      Board meetings were once every six weeks or so on a weekday evening.

  11. Does anyone have a daytime moisturizer with SPF they like for under $30?

    I’ve been using a Clarins one that I’m happy with (anti-aging, protects against environmental pollution – I’m in DC and use public trans and walk), but the $55 price tag is more than I’m willing to pay again.

    • I like La Roche Posay and Cerave. Some of the LRP ones seem expensive, but look at the cost per ounce before saying no.

    • I’ve started using the Neutrogena one from CVS – less than $20 but may not be up your alley if you’re really into beauty/skincare. I feel like it gets the job done for me, but I also recognize that I’ve only just dipped my toe into the world of skincare.

      • The blue line that Neutrogena does is nice. I have sensitive skin and it’s nourishing and not irritating.

    • First Aid Beauty, it might be a touch over $30 but it’s fantastic.

    • I have very dry skin and use Kiehls Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 30. The biggest bottle costs $50 (but it will last for months).

    • If you’re open to Asian skincare, Biore watery essence or watery gel are both wonderful for me.

      • This is what I use (also in DC) — great for summer! I use cetaphil moisturizer underneath if needed.

        I recently moved to moisturizer + sunscreen after using the combo for a long time because it turns out the combinations actually don’t work that well.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Biore Watery Essence is in my amazon cart – are there any drawbacks?

        • I love it and can’t think of any drawbacks. That said, I use a regular moisturizer underneath/first. I wouldn’t just use that and nothing else. But I’m down with the multi-step thing.

        • Agreed with Anonymous if you’re relatively dry as far as skin goes. In the summer I’m a bit of a grease monster (also in the larger DC area), so I do use it alone.

          The big draw for me is that it’s not greasy like a lot of other SPF containing moisturizers.

          I do layer Cerave under it in the winter if I’m feeling dry/dehydrated.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Good to know – I will probably do the same. In summer I get so shiny my friends can use my forehead as a mirror, (and I’m in Virginia), but I can play around with adding moisturizer if needed.

            Still looking for a great primer, actually. Laura Mercier was recommended here the other day – planning on asking on the afternoon thread about that.

      • I really like it, too. Also, the Shiseido sunscreen in the yellow tube.

    • I like Avene hydrance/ optimal with an SPF of 25 — not sure if I have the product name right as now I am using another SPF 50 sunscreen during the summer ( I only use the SPF 25 it in the winter during darker, rainy days). It comes in a white container, and there is an identical container without SPF, so be aware of this! It is a bit more at full price– 36 dollars or something, but I wait for a 20% off promotion and I live in Canada, so the price may vary for you. I actually have been using a variety of Avene products, and they are very gentle and seem effective. I like clarins as well, though find their skin care products aimed at men are actually better, and a bit less expensive.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I have been using Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face, SPF 30, $8 at Target. It absorbs really well and doesn’t leave a greasy residue– I have stuck with it because almost every other sunscreen I tried made it hard to put on makeup afterwards, and this doesn’t.

    • I’ve been using the Kiehl’s ultra facial cream with SPF 30. Their 50 ml container is about 27 bucks, and I really like the feel. That being said, I go through it pretty quickly.

    • Linda from HR :

      Honestly, I’ve been using the Simple protecting daytime moisturizer, it’s only about $15 and works pretty well.

    • Olay regenerist lotion SPF30

    • I use a Laura Mercier all-in-one primer as my daytime moisturizer and sunscreen. I love it!!

    • Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 30. I break out easily with sunscreens but this hasn’t given me any problems.

    • YES!!! Keys Solar Rx Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunblock is available on Amazon for $29. The active ingredient is zinc, so it does a better job of protecting against wrinkles and hyperpigmentation as compared to typical chemical sunscreen filters. The moisturizer ingredients are all natural and work really well for my dry skin. Can’t recommend it enough.

  12. paging Puddlejumper :

    Would you still be willing to share your Japan Google doc? anon561313 at the google mail service

  13. I need a classic navy skirt suit, but I’ll only wear it a couple times a year. I’m thinking of J.Crew (Super 120s or Italian stretch wool) or Talbot’s (seasonless wool). Does anyone have those and have feedback? I was going to order online and return what doesn’t work.

    Anything else I’m missing in that price range? BR’s navy suit right now actually has BELL SLEEVES – do not get me started. AT’s navy skirt suit has a FRONT THIGH slit. WTH, people, WTH.

    • Midwestern Constituent :

      Really? Did you see this one? I prefer 2-button blazers myself, but I have the black wool blazer and I really like it.

      • Midwestern Constituent :

        This skirt could work, if you like high-waisted ones.

    • I’m just here to say WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIND DECENT SUITS. I have a navy one from jcrew (which apparently they no longer sell, even though I bought it less than 3 months ago), and I’d gladly drop up to $1k on more suits, but I can’t find anywhere that has reasonably decent suits.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        Boss suits are about $850 and are excellent. They always seem to have navy/black on their website, and sometimes grey.

    • Calvin Klein. I have this suit in navy and it is perfect. Also comes in petites if you need that.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I might hold out until fall and get the normal BR wool suit they’ll probably offer soon. I adore mine.

    • I have a navy J.Crew one in the stretch wool that is a champ. The color is a good navy (not too flat, not too vibrant, good for different skin tones) and I prefer the way the stretch wool wears over the super 120s – which I also have in gray). Also the fabric is objectively/clearly nicer than my CK and AT ones, which I would buy whenever on sale. I wish there were more options, but as someone with a lot of suits the navy stretch wool is my favorite. I don’t have any Talbots so can’t compare for you.

    • Just chiming in with my disappointment at BR and AT’s current suit offerings — this summer was dreadful. J. Crew got so much of my money because they were the only ones that make tall lengths that carried anything normal-looking.

    • Talbots seasonless wool is my go-to these days (and by go-to, I mean, the only reasonable combination of quality and price left, IMO…)

  14. I have another entertaining question. I invited people over for a picnic starting around 3pm (seemed like the consensus best timing for my friends with toddlers). But I have to decide what to make. So far I’m thinking mini frittatas cooked in a mini muffin tin, caprese skewers, peanut noodles and smitten kitchen cheesecake bars. But I feel like I could use a couple more things. What would be good? What would you expect if you went over to someone’s place at 3 on a weekend?

    • I like hummus and babaganush with veggies and pita chips. I might also do finger sandwiches. Add a good fruit salad and some chesees and I think I’d call it a day.

      One other idea – I’ve been obsessed with watermelon salads lately. Watermelon, kalamata olives, feta and mint with a little sea salt is a delicious combo.

    • Just cheese, crackers, fruit and salami would be fine! Maybe a bowl of chips and dip. You don’t have to provide a full meal at 3 pm. Just some snacks and beer/wine would be fine for my crowd.

    • Lots of chips and guacamole and a cheese plate would be my go-to. At that time, people will want to be snacking and those all sound perfect, plus chips/guacamole and a cheese plate don’t require any work by you :)

    • I think that as long as you have enough food quantity-wise, it’s flavorful and not “light,” you can make whatever you want. A shindig starting at 3pm goes into early dinner if people are still there at 5-6pm, you could round out your meal with a few more apps, such as chips/salsa/gauc, hummus, small sandwiches, flatbread pizza, etc. Also summery things like watermelon and sangria with in season fruit are great.

    • Things that go over well- Fruit salad/skewers, proscuitto wrapped melon, cheese and cracker tray, selection of olives/pickled things.

    • YMMV, but sangria or frose. Some kind of festive adult beverage, if that’s your thing.

      Some cold fried chicken (store bought is fine!) would be delicious, too. Or a charcuterie set up?

      • Actually, a store across the street from me does amazing charcuterie. Maybe I’ll get a plate from them.

    • In situations like this I go to Costco or Whole Foods and poke around in the prepared food cases, and also the aisle with the frozen appetizers. Chicken satay skewers might work; mini regular muffins; prosciutto-wrapped cheese sticks or asparagus spears.

      Speaking from experience, don’t lock yourself into too much cooking or you’ll be too tired to enjoy the party. Done that myself one too many times.

    • Chips!

  15. I have a Talbots seasonless wool suit in charcoal. It is very nice, especially for the price point. The fit is TTS and less boxy than some other Talbots styles.

  16. Inspired by the post above about the Innocence Project — do any of the lawyers here have an opinion on bail funds, such as the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, Bronx Freedom Fund, etc? I know they are highly recommended by many criminal justice groups, so I have been thinking of donating, but I have a bunch of naive questions.

    First of all, it seems like kind of a strange concept: presumably the funds exist because many judges set bails that are too high, but couldn’t this problem be fixed at the source by (1) having better representation for the defendants (to advocate for lower bails based on their clients’ circumstances), or (2) having more woke judges? So, would it make more sense to donate to (1) a legal aid charity or (2) a political cause supporting the appointment of pro-justice-reform judges?

    And secondly, if you are a judge — wouldn’t you be annoyed if you heard that a client of whom you demanded bail had had the bail provided by a bail fund?

    • Why would a judge be annoyed that a defendant made bail? The purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant appears for court, not to prevent the defendant from being released pending trial. If the judge feels the need to keep the defendant in pretrial detention, she’s supposed to deny bail, not set the amount so high that the defendant can’t pay and is stuck in jail.

      The idea of trying to fill the bench with “woke judges” is not feasible. Turnover on the bench is very, very low.

      In most places better representation isn’t the issue. In many courts, defendants are not provided with counsel at first appearance.

      • And even if defendants are represented at a first appearance, many judges and areas have formal or informal guidelines for what bail is “appropriate” for the crime, even absent an impassioned plea from a competent lawyer. I’ve seen judges refuse a bond reduction motion that was agreed by the prosecutor on a non-violent crime because the Judge thought it was too low for the crime.

        It would be great if we had more woke judges, but as Anonymous points out — people get those gigs and stay in them until forever. It’s a long process.

      • Hi, thanks for your comments, this is very helpful! I think I did not explain my question about “judges being annoyed” very well, so, in case you’re free to answer further questions, here’s what I meant:

        As you say, the judge presumably genuinely believes that the bail amount she sets is the right amount. (Although of course, we on the bail-reform side think that that it is too high.) The help provided by the bail fund reduces the amount of bail paid *directly* by the defendant, to a level that, in the opinion of the judge, is presumably way too low. So, isn’t there a risk that, in response to this, if a judge constantly has bail funds helping her defendants, that the judge will just start to increase the bail she sets? So that the result is just a steady increase in the amount of bails?

        • Think about it this way, though – anyone who uses a bail bondsman pays only a fraction of the actual bail amount, and bail bonding is incredibly common and longstanding.

      • Anonymous :

        In many states the initial pretrial release determination is made not by a judge but by a magistrate or other quasi-judicial officer, who is usually not elected and may not even be law-trained.

    • What? Why would it matter to a judge where the bail money is coming from? And do they even know? (Serious question, IANAL.)

    • My state is in the middle of implementing major bail reform and the bail bond industry is angry. But in most places, bail does not function as it was intended to–instead it is used to keep poor, non-violent defendants incarcerated for long amounts of time pre-trial while defendants with money, and in some cases, even violent defendants are able to bond out quickly. It is a long-standing system in most states and takes motivated stakeholders on all sides to effect real change. It is not an easy process at all. Whereas, posting bond within the system you are dealing with can help real people in a real, immediate, and feasible way. It is much easier to fight your case (not to mention keep your life together) out of jail.

      • Hi, thanks for explaining this point. So you are saying that people who care about the unjustness of bail should work *both* for long-term political change (via organizations like the Pretrial Justice Institute, ACLU, etc) and for providing immediate relief (via bail funds). This makes sense to me.

        May I ask, what is your personal opinion on how to prioritize? Like, if I have $100 to give to bail issues, should I give $50 to the Pretrial Justice Institute (is this the best organization in the space?) and $50 to a bail fund? Or more to one or to the other?

      • Anon for this Judge :

        Many of us are well aware of the problems with the bail system and hate it. I, for one, would be happy to have low-income defendants obtain help with bail. Generally I will OR my misdemeanor defendants but by the time I see them they’ve often been in custody for long enough to lose their jobs. Hate it.

  17. Weekend plans :

    This is kind of a weird question, but how do you deal with weekend plans when you are trying to make more effort to get away and have specific plans, but you get invited to random stuff back home? For example, I’m trying to organize a few weekends to go camping 4-5 hours away, which will require leaving on Friday and coming back on Sunday. Then I get an invite for a BBQ on Saturday night from someone I haven’t seen in a while, meaning that I’ll be hanging around home all day Friday, Saturday during the day, and Sunday just for a short event on Saturday night. I don’t want to skip a camping weekend for a BBQ, but I also don’t want to blow off the friendship completely (especially if it’s someone like my parents’ best friend who I grew up with, but might only see 2-3 times a year now). What do you do here – try to find another camping weekend in the packed weekend schedule or just blow off the BBQ and get the full three days away that you wanted?

    • If you are me, you blow off the BBQ because you already had plans. If you are my husband, you insist that the camping trip be canceled for the BBQ. This is why we have not been camping in two years.

    • Go camping and make plans to have dinner with that friend. If saying no to a BBQ because you already had plans means this person will end your friendship, you don’t want to be friends with people. Everyone has plans during the summer and some conflict with others. I have never found it to be a big deal.

      I don’t cancel plans for people anymore unless it’s an emergency. My friends all understand that we won’t be able to attend every event. It happens. People are busy.

    • “Thank you for the invite, but we already have plans that weekend. I’d love to see you, though – can you do dinner on X?”

      I presume you wouldn’t cancel plans with other friends to do this thing, so don’t cancel plans with yourself. You aren’t blowing off the friendship, you are having a life.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I agree with this. People understand.

        My husband and I always say we are professional fun-havers, and summer is the busy season in professional fun-having so our calendar fills up fast!

    • Of course, I go camping. I’m not even sure why this is a struggle?

      And I tell the friend that unfortunately you have other plans, but would love to get together for brunch/picnic/walk/drinks the following weekend.

      • Weekend plans :

        The struggle is that I only see some of these people a few times a year, if that. These invites tend to come from people that I like and that I grew up with (like in the example above with my parents’ best friend), and if I don’t go to their annual BBQ or whatever, I probably won’t see them again for another year. We don’t really have the kind of relationship where we can just grab coffee the next week instead. I ultimately like them and would definitely like to go to the BBQ when free to catch up, but I’m not sure it’s an important enough relationship to cancel existing plans for.

        • AnotherNon :

          I believe you’ve answered your own question then. If this is just an acquaintance then pass and go camping. Skipping this year’s BBQ because you already had plans doesn’t qualify as “blowing off the friendship.” I agree that this really shouldn’t be a struggle.

        • Then don’t do it. I don’t see the problem here.

        • Senior Attorney :

          This is just a call you have to make. I might change my camping weekend under these circumstances.

        • Meg March :

          Don’t go to the bbq, and start having your own event (maybe an end of summer, maybe a holiday party), so that the chances to see those people go up to 2 times a year!

  18. Retirement check-in :

    I need some motivation to keep shoving money away for retirement, which I know is the right thing to do, even though I really, really want to use it to do other things right now. Would anyone (esp those that have been working a while) share:

    – Age/marital status
    – Personal retirement savings/joint retirement savings
    – Contributing factors/notes (eg. Started after law school & playing catch-up, have $xxx in non retirement vehicles but it’s earmarked for retirement, have real estate worth xx that will contribute to retirement funds etc).

    For me:
    I maxed a Roth IRA for the past 2 years and the rest is 401k (includes employer match). I couldn’t afford to max the 401k both years but I did 7k/8k/10k YTD. This is basically all my expendable income, but I do have an emergency fund. And no kids.

    • Man, if I was 25, making good money, and have 40 years ahead of me to save, I would be spending my money on travel or other fun things right now. But that’s probably not good advice haha.

      • Bad advice. She has 40 yrs of compounding ahead of her. If she doesn’t save now or saves minimally and then says she’ll start “for real” at 30 or 35 — then you’re only looking at 35 or 30 yrs of compounding. Maybe consider the math before giving this kind of advice.

        • I mean, yes, Anonymous at 10:35’s advice is not the best way to absolutely maximize your retirement savings. But most people can still save plenty to live on in retirement if they start at 30 or 35 and there’s no guarantee you’ll be healthy enough in retirement to enjoy your money. You have to have some balance between spending and saving. I didn’t start saving for retirement until age 30 and don’t regret it – I’m saving aggressively now and am on track to have $1M by age 60, which is way, way, way more than most Americans have and is a number I’m comfortable with.

          • $1M is at 60 isn’t much. Don’t forget about inflation.

          • I agree with this. Obviously she should save some for retirement now, but maybe not to the point of giving up opportunities to travel. I really made the most of my 20s and am incredibly glad that I did. I developed a couple chronic health conditions in my late 20s that have made travel a lot harder and a lot less fun. I was in grad school/low paid postdoc until my early thirties, but in just a few years my husband and I have really buckled down on savings and have managed to save enough that we could save nothing else and still have ~2 million by retirement age. So I agree that the benefits of compounding are really important and you should save as much as you reasonably can, but don’t count on being healthy forever and take your opportunities to travel (or whatever other active pursuits you care about) when you can.

          • Considering the average American has around $100,000 in retirement savings towards the end of their working life, I’m comfortable not beating myself up about “only” having $1M. And if there is inflation, my salary will go up (I get cost of living raises) and 401k limits will go up and I will contribute more (I am maxing out 401k currently and plan to always do so). So if there is significant inflation I will have significantly more than $1M.

    • Here’s why to do it:

      – age – 37. Married, but have always contributed separately from H and without regard to his contributions.
      – 401(k) savings to date: $415K.
      – no employer match, maxed out every year since age 26 when started with a firm. No savings before then (law school + clerkship). Some law school loans, but not big law either (mid-law).

      Seriously, as a lawyer, even not at a big firm, just do it.

    • Age: 31, married. Husband is 40.
      Funds: I have about $28K, just started two years ago and couldn’t max the first year (I went to law school, graduated at 26, worked for myself for a while, etc. I should have started earlier). Now I’m maxing. Husband has $260K. He started after the military in his current job, wasn’t maxing, took a break for grad school, and is again maxing since about age 35. We are both set to get pensions.

      We plan to max until retirement, and hope to invest outside of our 401Ks in the coming year and thereon out, since our renovation of our house will be done and our emergency fund is fully funded.

      If I were your age, I would be so excited to have $35K in retirement. Keep it up. Your older self will thank you.

    • Never enough :

      I’m 36 and single.
      $250k in dedicated retirement – started around 30 due to law school/prior jobs earning around $25k per year.

      My net worth is about $1M with 10% of that being home equity. I have been saving like CRAZY since getting out of law school and realizing that my parents would need financial assistance and also I’ll never have anybody else to help me.

      I am the primary caregiver for my mom, who has Alzheimer’s. My dad passed last year. I struggle daily with anger that my savings are likely to be wiped out by keeping my mom in a good situation…leaving me with pennies right as I need to take care of myself without any support system of my own.

      I never expected to be a millionaire in my mid-30s and it is surreal to think that all this money will be gone within 5-10 years.

      • I know it’s not the point of the thread but: you are a good daughter, and I’m sorry that you’re having such a hard time right now.

      • She is a good daughter. But I also feel this poster is hurting herself, when other options are available.

        You should not be draining your savings. You know this. But you are also rich, even though you don’t feel like you are.

        I seriously hope that your mother is on Medicaid by now and you are using her money/Medicaid as her primary mode of paying. She does not need to be in a 10-15k per month memory care facility. That is not what most patients with advanced Alzheimer’s need. I speak from experience.

        Honestly, you have options.

        I recommend you go to your local Alzheimer’s assocation family support group meeting. Find out other options for your mother’s care that do not drain your savings. There are other options that are still good for your mother, and for you. You also need a better outlet for your anger or it will eat you alive. You will alienate those around you.

        MD who is currently a full time caregiver for a disabled parent, who understands the situation you are in, and was also too slow at stepping back and thinking reasonably about the situation.

        • Another caregiver here, for a spouse, and in similar situation. Please don’t impoverish yourself for your mother. I have to do it because it’s my spouse, but you don’t have to.

        • Anon in NYC :

          I’ll echo this. My MIL spoke to elder care specialists who were able to really figure out how to handle her mom’s care and aside from the flat fee she paid the specialists it cost her nothing. I really didn’t know that this was a thing that you could pay for until she did it. My friend paid through the nose (10k/mo) for his father’s care (Alzheimer’s and also an escape artist so needed specialized care), but I wonder if he could have avoided doing so if he had known these types of specialists were available.

      • Why would you bankrupt yourself for your mother’s health when there is insurance for this?

        Get caretaker insurance (often available through work) or dependent care insurance (she is your dependent if you’re her primary caretaker). A financial advisor could help you with identifying insurance that would work for your situation.

        Everyone in my family is healthy and I still have insurance for the odd occurrence that someone needs at home or long term in patient care which, no matter what you wish, will be the case for your mother. I’ve been there, there gets to be a point that they need to be in a facility with medical staff on site (not just a care assistant, who often don’t have medical training like a nurse would).

        • You don’t understand. There isn’t “insurance” for this sort of situation. That is laughable. Long term care insurance, as it exists today (and is disappearing and is not very good) is not adequate for severe disability requiring 24 hour care like Alzheimer’s. Caretaker insurance??!!? no such thing. Not sure what you are referring to. And as someone who is healthy and has no disabled family members, I’m not sure why you are giving advice on this.

          I’m a full time caregiver.

          But there is Medicaid for her mother, if her mother’s savings is exhausted. The poster does not need to exhaust her savings.

          I do agree that for Alzheimer’s that placement in a memory care nursing home is often reasonable and the best thing for he patient and family when a certain point is reached. Keeping mom at home with around the clock care can sometimes be done for cheaper, combining Medicaid and private resources, but honestly….. is usually too hard to manage and often not as good as a facility.

          • Yes, unfortunately my family is just realizing this – my grandmother’s “gold-plated” long-term care insurance provides for $300/week in care. It’s not nearly enough to cover keeping her in her home as her Alzheimer’s progresses.

          • Anonymous :

            Yeah, it’s a joke. My parents spent $150,000/year on my grandmother’s 24/7 care for the last few years of her life. I think they got a couple checks from the insurance for a few thousand dollars, maybe $10-20k total when they spent more than half a million. It was totally laughable the difference between what insurance thought the cost of long term care was and what the cost of long term care actually is.

          • I was referring to long-term care insurance when I said caretaker’s insurance because I couldn’t think of the word, but thanks for being a negative nancy and internet nitpicker. I’m just saying that there are good insurances that can help with this situation. It’s not my fault some of you have terrible insurance options.

          • Anonymous :

            I think the point is that these insurance options don’t exist or are incredibly difficult to obtain for people who have Alzheimer’s and will truly need to be watched 24 hours a day 7 days per week for potentially 5-10 years or more (round-the-clock care while recovering from a surgery or something or long-term assistance for a few hours per week are totally different). My parents have a great deal of education and financial resources (see: having half a million to spend on grandmother’s care). They looked high and low and could not find anything that would reimburse any significant portion of the costs of what they believed my grandmother needed. They looked into what they could get through their employer – a state govt that offers excellent benefits – and also lots of independent options. I’m not discounting that there may be situations where insurance can be very helpful, but it’s not as simple as just “oh, get insurance” especially for Alzheimer’s-related care. People aren’t saying this to be negative, they’re saying it because it’s true and it only hurts yourself and your children to bury your head in the sand & pretend insurance will provide for all your end-of-life care.

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t think Turtle has spent much time in this situation. Lucky for her.

        • I’ve never heard of “caretaker insurance” or “dependent care insurance” (what are they?) and can’t imagine it would be available or affordable given the parent’s existing condition. Are you thinking of long-term care insurance? The parent would never qualify once she has Alzheimer’s. Likely the only option is to use up mother’s own funds and then tap into Medicaid to pay for in-home care or care in a facility. No reason to feel bad about using Medicaid. As was well-publicized during the debate over ACA repeal, about 65% of nursing home patients are on Medicaid, so most facilities do have some Medicaid beds. The challenge is that you may not get into the facility you want, Medicaid doesn’t pay for private rooms and the patient can be bumped if a private pay patient needs the bed.

          • Yeah, Turtle has no idea.

            No need to be snide Turtle. Consider yourself fortunate that you don’t realize how bad your “advice” was. All insurance options are “terrible” for long term care for those with severe disability. How arrogant of you to imply that your healthy family is perfectly protected and we were shortsited…. when you had no idea that this insurance that you don’t even know the name of is not good. At all.

            There is no such thing as long term care insurance that covers 24hr Alzheimer’s care. It doesn’t exist.

    • Age: 30. Engaged, but my fiance makes much less than I do.
      401(k) savings: $110K.
      Notes: I graduated from law school with six figures of loan debt, so I spent my first few years in BigLaw paying that down really, really, ridiculously aggressively. I didn’t start contributing to my 401K until two years into my time at the firm. No match. Because I funneled so much of my income into my loans when I started, I’ve managed to stave off too much lifestyle inflation, so I have significant non-retirement investments, as well.

    • Married
      both 35
      joint retirement savings of $600k – mostly in tax deferred, some in Roth
      taxable savings of $120k

      It accumulates quickly. If it doesn’t hurt a little you aren’t saving enough is my mantra! Ready Mr. Money Mustache to get you excited.

    • SquashBlossoms :

      Age: 32, married. Spouse is 35.

      Total retirement savings is about $150,000. Often this site makes me feel like I’m “behind,” but I am proud of this number. The gross amount is broken out as follows: I have about $85,000 in my TSP, and another $15,000 in IRAs. Spouse has about $50,000 in his 401(k)s.

      I started making small monthly contributions to an IRA as soon as I got a paycheck (i.e., in high school). My dad instilled that even $10/mo is a worthwhile contribution to retirement. I’ve carried that mentality–that no amount is too small–with me, and am so, so grateful for my dad’s guidance. I’ve made small monthly contributions to my IRA at Vanguard since I was 16. I didn’t have a traditional 401(k) until I was 28–before that, I was in school or clerking. Once I started working for the government, I started contributing to my TSP up to the match amount. When I paid off my law school loans 2 years ago (and about 1.5 years after I started with the government), I shifted more money toward the TSP, and plan on maxing out for as many years as I can.

      Spouse is in a low paying job, and we’re essentially throwing all of his salary at retirement, and living off “my” money.

      We own our condo in a HCOL area, but aren’t counting on any of that equity for retirement.

    • Anon for this :

      Age: 32, associate at a regional law firm. Married, husband makes a third of what I do.
      Roth IRA/401(k) savings (me+husband): $153,000, $3k in a 529 for our 2-year old.
      Notes: Husband and I were working AmeriCorps jobs until our mid-twenties. I went to law school at 24, graduated at 27. Didn’t qualify for my 401(k) at work until 28. Up until that point I did intermittent Roth IRA contributions, usually using cash gifts from my parents. My first law firm job did a 3% automatic contribution, and I wasn’t maxing. My second law firm job does a 50% match of whatever I put in with no cap, plus usually a 3% of salary profit-sharing bonus. I maxed for the first time last year, and am maxing again this year. Husband is putting in about $7k a year. We have one kid in daycare and another on the way, which is currently a $17,500/yr payment, and will increase to $35,000/yr next year.

    • -32/single
      -150k in 401k and Roth IRA
      -I started out only contributing enough to get company match because I was paying off student loans and my starting salary was really meager. As my salary increased, I began to up contribution and I’m finally maxing out 401k this year. I also didn’t want to throw everything I have into retirement so for a while I was building another nest egg that I could access without penalties. It took a while but I’m finally comfortable maxing out retirement while feeling like I have enough outside of that. You kinda have to know what your priorities and comfort zones are.

    • – 33/married
      – Have about $400k in various retirement accounts and investments combined between my 401k, husband’s 401k, roths, and other
      – We were broke most of our 20s, both went back to school, saved only minimally during that time, started getting our feet under ourselves in our late 20s and have made tremendous progress in the last five years. Husband gets a ton of company stock at his Fortune 500 company ($20-35k stock per year). He makes low six figures, I make mid five figures.

    • 37/married (spouse is also 37)
      $300k/$800k (joint)
      I started saving way earlier than my spouse (Roth IRAs in college). However, he has a good match plus discretionary contribution, and I don’t have a match. We started working at the same time, but because he has a good match, in the years when we have not been able to fully maximize (either because we have a new child or because we were trying to save for a down payment), we’ve always maximized his, at least up to the match, and dialed back on my contributions. My 401(k) is mostly a Roth 401(k) though, whereas his is a regular 401(k) (no Roth option). We got married in grad school (him)/law school (me).

    • Baconpancakes :

      Have you used a calculator to figure out how much you should be saving?

      Having a huge retirement savings motivates me a lot, but there is something to be said for having enough disposable income to make up for all the hard work you’re putting in.

      Are your contributions automated? That’s the best way for most people, because if you don’t have to think about saving the money, but have it just all deducted automatically (for the Roth, since 401k is obv pre-tax), it hurts less.

    • 33, single
      401(k) savings: $105K; Roth IRA savings: $20k
      Other Investment savings: $100k

      Including my house equity, I have a net worth of about $450. I graduated law school at 25 with over $200k in student loans, but have been working in BigLaw for almost 7 years. I initially focused on paying off my student loans for the first few years and only did the default percentage to my 401k (2%? 3%? not sure). No match. In my third year, I started maxing my 401k and started doing backdoor Roth IRA investments in my 5 year. I wish I had started earlier.

      I think of the other investment savings as extra retirement savings, but am not sure that will 100% stick. I have a fully funded emergency fund, but would dip into it if I lost my job and wasn’t able to find another one in a year. I’m also thinking about having kids on my own since I haven’t been able to find a partner, and that might cause me to use some of the savings for daycare/college expenses – especially since I can’t see that working when I’m in BigLaw.

      • To chime in for those who aren’t in law or other very high-earning fields, I’m 33, single, and I’ve got about $55k in retirement, should hit around $60k by the end of the year. Started slow, but in the last two years, I’ve been able to put away a lot more and am starting to see some real progress.

        Until my partner and I combine finances, I probably won’t be able to max out my 401k, but I’m getting the full match that my company offers, and according to the advisors that I’ve met with, I’m doing enough that I should be able to maintain a modest yet comfortable lifestyle in retirement.

        The calculator that BaconPancakes recommended is good. While I admire all of our high-achieving posters here, I do have to step back and realize that just because my numbers don’t look like many of yours, doesn’t mean they’re BAD!

    • Anon for this :

      – 33/married (spouse is 28)
      – 135K (all in my 401k and IRA – spouse is in grad school and will catch up later)
      – Started at 26 after law school but primarily focused on paying down six-figure loans for the first few years. Not biglaw.

    • -29/married.
      -$100k in my own retirement accounts (mostly an IRA, 401ks, and a tiny pension from an old job), roughly $400kish total combined with DH (age 35).
      -I’ve been saving for retirement since I was in college, thanks to fiscally responsible parents who basically forced me to set aside money from summer jobs and internships. I’ve been slowly and steadily saving since then, and both my compensation and % deferred for retirement have grown over time to a pretty healthy number. DH was not a great saver in his 20’s, but got a solid job out of business school with an awesome employer match, so he caught up pretty quickly.

    • 31, my husband is 32
      401(k) savings: I have $67k, he has $105k
      Other savings: we own a rental property with about $70k in equity, and $6k in a 529, $10k in stock

      I often feel like I’m behind when I read other people’s responses, but it’s hard to save any faster with a child in daycare and student loans. Two more years of daycare and the amount we will be able to throw at our debt and retirement each month should be significant.

    • Savvvvveeee m! We saved a ton in our 20s, had a couple of years in our late 20s/early 30s where things were tighter and now at 33 we have 460k between myself and DH in our retirement funds, 100k of which is Roth (already taxed). We continue to save outside our retirement assets as well but that’s more for long term family stuff.

      We now have two young kids that use up all our money and we don’t feel like we need to okay catch-up. We’re used to the pain ;).

    • 28/single
      about ~22k in 401k, which is over the last five years with my employer max match, plus ~3k in an IRA that I inherited. I did take some out of that to avoid my taking out a loan for my last semester of my masters. Financial focus has been on paying off loans first, than I’ll start looking at where I can save/invest other places. Been working nonprofit in MCOL city since 22, not pulling in big money at all, so I’m happy with what I’ve set aside at this point.

    • – 35, married
      – Personal retirement savings = $190k
      – Joint retirement savings = $360k
      – Contributing factors/notes = Started retirement saving in my late 20s; my current employer has exceptionally good 401(k) benefits

    • 29 and married, husband is 28. No kids currently, but we’re TTC.
      401(k) savings: $60k
      Money Purchase Plan: $15k
      Husband’s 401(k): $110k

      Husband works at a company that matches 50% all the way up to the IRS limit (so puts $9,000 in if H puts in $18,000), so he maxes his out. My company matches 50% up to 6% of salary, so I’m putting ~12% of my salary into my 401(k). They also put an additional 3.75% of my salary into the money purchase plan. We both started saving at age 23. I should probably kick up my 401(k) savings rate a little while we don’t have kids and have some extra money kicking around.

    • Senior Attorney :

      How is this even a question? Your retirement savings should come off the top. Do some research about the power of compounding and how money put away now is worth so much more than money saved later because it has so much time to grow. Plus you never know what life will throw at you. I started late plus lost about $500K in my last divorce. It makes me sick to think what I’d have if I’d started early and gotten to keep it all.

      • Senior Attorney :

        And also? As somebody who is overseeing the care for my parents, who are both in their early 90s and show every sign of planning to live forever, there is no such thing as too much retirement savings. It goes fast when you start needing care.

    • Anonymous :

      40, married, no kids
      We have $250k in combined retirement savings.

      Neither of us had a match for a very very long time, and I didn’t start contributing until after I finished my PhD… but we’re currently maxing out savings in my 401k (my husband is self-employed, and we contribute to a self-funded one for him in years when we have extra income).

      We’ll have our home paid off in about 10 years, and are planning to stop working full time at that point. We won’t be retired, exactly, in that we won’t be withdrawing any money from our accounts, but we probably won’t be contributing much from that point forward. If our health (…and this country’s healthcare policy!) allows, we’ll be paying out of pocket for health insurance until we’re eligible for Medicare and will keep working until then. We’re not planning to start drawing social security until we hit whatever the max payout age is (again, who knows what public policy will look like in this area in another 30 years).

    • Age: 24
      Status: Single, no children
      401k: ~55k (very small employer match)
      Roth IRA: ~19k

      Started putting aside 8% of my paycheck in my first job out of college and have steadily increased my contributions to about 20% now.

    • Save! Book a contiki tour or something through cheap carribbean when/if a bonus comes around, but save the vast majority of it.

      – 31, single
      – $110k in 401k: 34% came from market appreciation over the last 9 years

      I started just contributing $3k to get my first employer’s max match at 22 (~9% of my gross salary then). I never contributed less than 5% of gross salary even though I was paying off $50k in undergrad loans and paying for evening grad school in real time.

      Currently paying a small fortune to have my eggs frozen. This is technically optional, but I have a fertility-related condition and don’t want biological clock pressure having any impact on relationship choices. Next year I’ll start maxing the 401k and will continue saving for a down payment in a HCOL city.

    • You’re off to a great start; keep saving!

      – 32 single/no kids
      – $111k in 401K and IRA; $380k index funds and savings
      – had no savings/retirement until after law school; no real estate; live in a very HCOL but have fought lifestyle inflation

  19. In-House in Houston :

    Can I tell you how excited I am that there’s a storm in the Gulf and that it looks like it’s coming straight to Houston? I’ve had to travel a ton lately and the thought of being holed-up for a few days and just watch NetFlix and stay in my PJs has me just giddy! Could even last into Monday….

    • I’m supposed to be flying into Houston this weekend to meet my boyfriend’s family – sounds like that may not happen. I’m hoping it works out!

      • The cynic with the cray in-laws in me can’t tell if you hope that the storm cancelling the trip works out, or if the meeting of the family works out. I hope whatever you want to happen happens!

      • If you have a boyfriend, you are covered either way. If you go, he will cover for you with the family. If you stay home, he will cover you @ home.

    • Not to depress you, but I have flown through a hurricane to Houston before, though it probably wasn’t technically a hurricane anymore by then. I was honestly surprised that all the flights were still ongoing.

  20. Has anyone found a polite way to correct a business contact who regularly gets your name wrong over email? Think Marie vs. Maria. I can’t think of any way to do it that doesn’t sound petty.

    • It’s not petty at all. Either in a separate email right after you send an email or as the last line of an email, something like “By the way, this may perhaps be the auto-correct function, but my name is Maria not Marie.” In case there really is something auto correct at work. If you know that they simply refuse to commit your actual name to memory, something like, By the way, my name is Maria, not Marie. You are entitled to have your name spelled and pronounced correctly.

      • +1 I have done this with internal and external contacts. It takes 2 seconds to spell someone’s name correctly, especially when it’s either in the email address, signature line, or both. I don’t care if they think I’m rude. Spell it right, act like you give a $hit.

      • I wouldn’t even give them the benefit of the doubt on the autocorrect thing. I would just say, “My name is spelled Maria.” I don’t think it’s rude to just say that without any caveats, preambles, or apologies. I give people a pass every once in a while, because my name has several common spelling variations, but when people repeatedly fail to get it right, I just correct them.

        • Exactly, it’s absolutely not rude to point this out, especially when it’s an ongoing issue. They’re being rude by repeatedly misspelling your name.

    • Former Retail :

      What about when one person consistently states to your title/position incorrectly (Jane, our widget manager, instead of Jane, Director of Widgets) in emails to clients? I”m not sure if it’s passive agressive or just careless.

      • This happens to me, but it’s more serious because people are representing to customers that I am legal counsel, when I am not. I make sure I correct it for everyone in a pleasant way on the group email, and then I educate the folks on my side (again) about how I am not a legal counsel for the company and why they should not hold me out as such.

        In your example, I think it’s probably a combination of carelessness and not understanding that there is a difference between manager and director. If it’s an email where you will be responding to the group, I would be sure to include your email signature with your title. I’m not sure I would correct it to the client, but I would likely correct it to the internal person in a separate email.

  21. Holidays without family? :

    My ex and I divorced in 2016, and while in every other way my life is vastly improved, the holidays last year were rough. I didn’t make advance plans, and I found myself at loose ends. I didn’t want to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with family, because I didn’t want to be around other people’s rituals when my own past rituals no longer applied, but staying at home alone really sucked. This year, I’m planning ahead. I’d appreciate suggestions for holiday activities for someone who’s single and not hanging out with family. I’m open to travel, but can’t take a long trip because of work obligations.

    • I’m sorry, that sounds hard but it’s great you want to plan new traditions for your new life. Tbh I would go to an adults-only all inclusive, lie on the beach, and drink my face off.

    • I volunteered one year with a mission in my city because it’s rinse repeat every year with my parents and I didn’t feel like doing it again. May not be what you are looking for though.

      • I love that – Depending on where you are located and your interests, I’d also look into hiking trips where you help maintain the trails or Outward Bound or a yoga retreat. As much as I love a good beach vacation, in this case, I’d probably prefer some structure and group camaraderie to keep me focused and invested, rather than a little wistful and sad.

    • I always volunteer at our local homeless shelter on Christmas Eve to serve dinner and I stay late to help clean up. It always helps get me out of my own head and since I stay late, I sleep in the next morning which feels indulgent.

    • The holidays my first year were rough, but subsequent ones were not, especially since my divorce was a net positive in my life. Are you sure you still want to avoid family? Avoiding doesn’t always make things better.

    • Art museum or the movies.

      • Eh, a lot of non-religious or non-Christian people go to the movies on Christmas Eve/Christmas as a family. I think it would be kind of hard to go there solo and see all the families, but YMMV. I go to the movies solo normally but I wouldn’t want to go alone right around Christmas.

    • Could you find some volunteer work to do on the holidays? I know my bf has done some volunteering on Christmas at shelters and food distributions. Maybe check in with some of the local nursing homes and see if there’s anyone that doesn’t have any family around that you could “adopt” for the holidays.

    • Create your own traditions. Declare the next few years your “deciding” time where you are testing out what makes you happiest.

      I adopt a family or two through our local Big Brother Big Sister org and just spoil all the kids rotten, plus give the parents stuff for themselves too.

      For a while I volunteered at a local pet shelter, but then I started an awesome gig of holiday help at the local pet boarders. It lets their regular staff have a little extra time off, and/or gives them the capability to house a couple more pets.

      I make a special trip to see my favorite relative. She’s 85 and lives alone, and I visit exactly when the rest of the family isn’t there. We get some special together time, and it breaks up the loneliness for both of us.

      I plan one project to do with my free time. Sometimes it’s going to hot yoga 10 times in one week, sometimes it’s getting all new furniture and layout for my living room, sometimes it’s learning how to make an awesome loaf of bread from scratch.

      I found a local spot that is my own “spot” and visit there for a couple hours. Think like a local park trail with a specific lookout point. It’s almost always empty this time of year, and it feels like a sort of meditation. Just be one with nature and appreciate my surroundings.

      Other ideas might be more meaningful to you, or you might do something and hate it. But the idea is to create your own rituals that give you a sense of belonging, and give you something to anchor yourself to each season.

    • Yoga retreat? Or spa retreat if that’s not your thing? You might be able to find a place not too far from you, wherever you are.

      I personally avoid the holidays with my family as much as possible because I cannot. with. the. drama. and make a point of being out of town. Anywhere, really. Just not with them. I’m perfectly happy to get together with almost all of them at not-the-holidays events, but the holidays bring out the worst in them as a group and I just gave up several years ago.

    • If you want to do something with other people, suggest an activity or trip to friends who are single or married without kids. Also, I’ve found that people who were borned and raised in other countries often don’t have families here and are also looking to do something with their friends on holidays. You may find a friend who also wants to take a short trip or you may find several friends who want to meet up to do something that’s actually fun over the holiday.

      I’m married without kids. We stay in town for Christmas with my in-laws, who are nice but I’m not close to. Because my husband hates holidays and my family isn’t here, I have created my own tradition of meeting a friend early on Christmas morning for a run and then coffee.

    • You can get great deals on flights if you’re willing to fly on Christmas day or New Years’ Eve. (At 8pm on December 31, 2012 I boarded a flight to Europe. I woke up when we landed and started the New Year on vacation in Paris. NYE parties never seemed so overrated. Same trick applies to flying on Christmas Day.)

      • Anonymous :

        Yup, we’re Jewish and fly on Christmas Day a lot (and we often fly home on New Year’s Day to save money on the return). Lots of great deals, even to destinations that are popular at the time of year, like the Caribbean.

    • Thanks for the many great ideas! I might try one strategy for Thanksgiving, another one for Christmas. To be clear, I love my family and see them often, but they are all very much caught up in “this is what we do with the kids every single year,” and I either feel like a fifth wheel or am just not interested. Oddly, this tendency on their part is getting more extreme as the kids get older (high school/college/20s), perhaps because they fear the kids are not going to be interested much longer, either.

      • Go somewhere where they don’t have those holidays. Go to Canada during Thanksgiving or Morocco/Turkey during Christmas.

        • I went to Turkey during Thanksgiving a couple years ago and had a fabulous time. Weather was great, crowds were non-existent, trip was amazing.

          • wendalette :

            I love the appropriate meta-ness of Turkey for Thanksgiving! Was that intentional?

  22. Housewarming gift ideas? The couple recently got married, so in the last year we’ve given them an engagement gift (nice champagne), a shower gift (from the registry), a bachelorette gift (gag gift + a nice framed photo of the couple), and a wedding gift (off the registry since we procrastinated and all that was left were a couple of big ticket $$$ items). We’re going to their housewarming party this weekend, and I’d like to give them a gift, but due to the amount of gift giving this year, budget is relatively small (~$30ish). They ostensibly don’t *need* anything since their registry was all bought out … thoughts? I’m leaning toward another bottle of champagne and maybe a token house plant, but thought I’d throw this out to the hive for ideas.

    • Bottle of champagne/wine/spirits is my go-to housewarming gift. Or fancy box of chocolates if they are not drinkers. $30 is a totally appropriate budget for a housewarming gift.

    • I’d just do a decent bottle of champagne or wine. If I were them, I’d feel awkward getting so many darn gifts! (Also, I didn’t even know people did bridal shower gifts — is that a thing??)

      • Isn’t that the point of a bridal shower? I was more surprised by the bachelorette gift.

      • Gifts are basically the point of a bridal shower. You “shower” the bride with gifts….

        • I guess the bachelorette + shower gift seemed more than I’m used to, but I’m out of the loop.

      • Did you mean you didn’t know people did b-r3tt3 gifts? Because I definitely was NOT expecting people to buy me gifts for my own, and most showed up with some cute lingerie.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Ugh, I hate this tradition. 36F means I am extremely limited in my lingerie choices, and I don’t really want my friends picking that out anyway. Just… weird.

          • Haha, I found a 70’s era garden-position book for $1 at the local used bookstore, complete with air brushed photos and feathered hair. I loathe giving lingerie, which is why I went with a complete gag (and added a framed photo from a recent trip we had taken with the couple).

          • It was super awkward but at least my friends knew me well – they picked out things like cute boyshort & cami combos rather than like, the VS Very Sexy Ultimate Fantasy Corset nonsense.

          • Yes same! I was so worried I was going to get these when I got married that it stressed me out…like “hey sorry, I have to return this lingerie to a store that doesn’t carry anything that fits me, thanks for thinking of my gardening life?!”

    • Just do a flowering houseplant and a decent but not expensive bottle of wine. You can easily pick this up at a grocery store on your way.

      I hear you with the gift giving. I went off registry for one of my friends’ wedding gifts for similar reasons and she actually scolded me and made a point of telling me they returned it. *eyeroll*

    • Totally agree that you are not required to bring a gift. If you want to, just do a card + a small house thing like… a plant, flowers, alcohol they prefer or fancy sodas, bottle of olive oil, truffle oil, maldon salt, goodies from a local bakery (donuts, croissants, etc.), nice soaps, bird feeder, coasters, door stop, floor mat/rug, vegetable or fruit platter from Costco, pancake mix or fancy syrup, book (coffee table book or one of those homekeeping ones), magazines subscription, custom return address stamp with their new address, nice pad and paper, nice coffee beans or grounds or nice teas, nice honey, a map of local attractions in their new town (maybe there is a bike trails map or a restaurants guide), WD-40, dustpan and brush, $25 gift card to home depot, etc.

      All of these range from ~ $5 – $30 and mostly consumable or practical. Obviously know your audience- I would have serious heart eyes over Maldon salt and would squeal for as long as we lived in the house over an address stamp, but your friend may not. Also, totally OK to not give a gift and to just come!

    • I have given about 6 of the “Best Home Fashion Luxe Mink Faux Fur Throw” blanket from Amazon as housewarming gifts to various friends and they are always a hit. They are big, classy-looking, incredibly soft, and hold up even after machine washing. Price goes up and down a bit but I’ve always gotten them for around $30-40. They come nicely wrapped with a ribbon so it’s easy to just add a card and go. If you have prime shipping, you should be able to get it in time for the weekend.

    • Thanks all! Super helpful. The gift-giving seems excessive (and maybe it is…) but it was so spread out over the last 18 months or so it hasn’t been a huge hardship. Plus the couple never shows up empty-handed to our house, and were extremely helpful during a recent medical emergency, so I’m happy to reciprocate, so-to-speak.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      What about cut flowers in a pretty vase, or a potted plant in a pretty pot?

      Jewish tradition says salt and bread. That can be nice, actually, a fancy salt and a nice loaf of bread that can be eaten at the party.

    • Go to Trader Joe’s and pick up what looks good – a little flowering potted plant or an orchid.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Somebody gave us a little sign that says “Senior Attorney and Lovely Husband, est. 2016” as a wedding gift and we loved it. They have a bunch of them on Etsy and some are in your price range:

    • Tea + scone mix. Although I hope we’re not going to the same housewarming this weekend because that’s what I’m bringing :).

    • I like buying kitchen towels for housewarming gifts. It’s always nice to have fresh dish towels, and if they don’t need them now, they can save them for a bit.

      You could also get a card and a $25 gift card to Lowe’s or Home Depot or their local hardware store. There’s always something you need for a new home–yard tools, new AC filters, a particular tool, etc.

  23. Anxiety or bad job? :

    I have been incredibly anxious lately and I can’t sort out whether it’s me, or my job. (I have had issues with anxiety in the past.) I was promoted about four months ago into a middle management role, the first time I’ve had that type of role. In my office, mid-management means you’re doing substantive work and you’re leading/managing a team. I thought I would enjoy it, but I kind of hate it. Despite having good systems set up, I live in fear of dropping the ball on something. The number of competing demands on my plate is mind-boggling. And I don’t feel like I have any support whatsoever in actually learning how to manage. I’ve managed projects my entire career, but not people. We’re short staffed and I can’t find the time to actually HIRE SOMEONE to fill the gaps. There is always someone needing something from me, and I’m having a hard time actually getting to the substantive work part of my job. I constantly worry that the quality of my work is suffering and I’m no longer good at what I used to do.

    To give myself some breathing room, I’ve put some hard boundaries around my schedule (7:30-5:00) because I literally have no more work hours in the day unless I don’t want to see my kids at night. Or my husband, or exercise, or have any quality of life whatsoever. I’ve tried meditation, with some success, and I also try to have at least a bit of fun on the weekends. It. doesn’t. matter. I am still anxious/stressed all the time. If anyone thinks going into the higher ed/nonprofit world is a surefire way to reduce the stress in their lives, let me be a cautionary tale. This is what it’s like. Too many demands, too few human resources, and never feeling caught up.

    How do I either a) learn to thrive in this new position, or b) survive and manage my anxiety until I can make a clean break? Right now, I think my best option is to do this job for a year, then figure out an exit plan. I don’t think it will be possible to return to my old role without burning bridges and/or taking a hit to my reputation.

    • In case hearing it from an internet stranger helps: You got this promotion because you are good at your job. Any new job has a learning curve of at least 6 months. You are human, so yes, it might happen that you drop the ball on something at some point. And you will figure out how to deal with it because you are good at this. Can you have lunch with your predecessor in this job and chat about some strategies to manage workflow?

    • Transitioning to managing people is hard.

      The first thing you need to do is figure out how much of what you’re doing can be delegated to your team. Give them stretch assignments, and offload more than you think you need, because you will be meeting with them regularly to manage their progress on those assignments.

      Second, prioritize hiring. If you don’t backfill your open position(s), leadership will begin to believe that those positions are not necessary, and may cut them from the budget. Once you’ve hired new staff, make onboarding into a team exercise.

      You can do this.

  24. Career Advice :

    TL;DR: How would you respond to a long list of career advice questions you received from a new graduate of your alma mater that you don’t know from Adam?

    Explanation: Two months ago, I received an “Informational Interview Request” from a new graduate of the university that I attended. I do not know this person. He must have found me on LinkedIn since we have no connection other than we both went to the same school. I responded that I could answer questions or offer advice via e-mail, but that I did not have time to meet with him. The new graduate responds with a two-page Word document with about 30 questions covering everything from the generic “What advice would you give to someone in my position?” to providing a suggested job search strategy to tips on how this person should negotiate a starting salary.

    Due to a very unexpected death in the family and a busier-than-average summer workload, I have not yet responded to these questions. Yesterday, I got a follow-up e-mail from this person asking if I had a chance to look at his questions. While I am a firm believer in helping people who are in the position where I was a few years ago, isn’t this request a bit over the top? My first thought is to tell this person that a two page questionnaire is not appropriate to send to a fellow alumnus with whom you have no other connection, and that he should be more respectful of other people’s time. On the other hand, I did say that I could answer questions via e-mail, and who am I to comment on respecting other people’s time when I have not yet responded to his questions?

    • If you can answer some of his questions quickly just do those and skip the rest. I’d answer the questions specific to your field. Then send it back and say you’re busy and didn’t have time to answer general questions – best of luck, something like that.

    • Just reply with a few generic/general statements that address a few of the questions and note that while you appreciate that he reached out to you, you are presently very busy and are not available for further follow up. Optional to note that you have his contact information should you become aware of a position in the future, you will contact him.

      Also: “who am I to comment on respecting other people’s time when I have not yet responded to his questions?” = A person too busy for random strangers to make work for you (see “a very unexpected death in the family and a busier-than-average summer workload”). Do not feel guilty in the least. I guarantee you are not the only person he sent the multi-page questionnaire.

    • I’ve had people do this to me in other contexts. I just tell them “I’m slammed right now and my time is really limited, but here’s my advice.” And then I just speak in general terms, telling them what I feel like is most important.

      You’re doing this guy a favor, he is not entitled to your time, so don’t worry about not answering every single one of his questions. He wants to know how to get into your field; give him some advice about that. If he gets upset, that’s his problem, and also he needs to work on his social skills and emotional intelligence. Actually, that may be good advice even if he doesn’t get upset.

    • Answer a couple questions you think you can answer easily/you think would be most valuable (not all of them), along with the feedback that it might be more appropriate to for the requester to choose a couple questions he’s most interested in off the list to send, rather than the whole list itself.

      As for respecting people’s time – He’s making a cold ask of you, so you have no previous relationship or any sort of built in goodwill for him to play on. You don’t owe him an answer to generic questions (he could probably Google answers to), so yes, you can DEFINITELY give him feedback on the etiquette of respecting people’s time.

      • blueberries :

        I don’t think I would have been this clueless, but I would have appreciated gentle guidance on reaching out to people when I was fresh out of school.

    • Co-signing the “answer a few questions” response, plus I’d advocate for you adding a bit of friendly, upbeat advice to your response, along the lines of

      “I’m sorry I couldn’t address each of your questions in your document, though I applaud you for thinking about these subjects. A bit of friendly advice: as you engage in these informational interviews, keep in mind that it may be most helpful for you to narrow your focus to 2-3 specific questions for each person you reach out to. No one person will be able to answer all of your questions, and having a diverse array of advice will help you as you proceed in your career. Best of luck!”

      • Also, while these requests are indeed annoying, if you can, take an active role–as simple as that type of response above–to redirect the person asking. Little actions like that can build that person into a better professional, and that will help you, even in a roundabout way. No, he doesn’t know you, you don’t know him, “what does it matter?”, but he’ll graduate from your university and have the same brand name hanging over his head when he is out on the market. It will reflect on the brand that you’re a part of, right? That’s how I’ve thought of it when asked, obviously YMMV.

      • Thank you! Your suggested response wording was very helpful!

    • What I have done in this situation is instead give them 10 minutes of my time (roughly) for a call. You can do that while walking to the train or something, and then it’s over and you’ve helped someone out and built some good will.

    • No one ever wants to do this anymore but if it were me — I’d email him back and say, while I don’t have time to respond to your emailed questions, I’m happy to set up a 15 min call to discuss big picture career/industry issues. 50-50 shot that this kid even reaches out. Many won’t bc this 20-25 yr old set is quick to fire off things behind a computer but scared to talk on the phone. If he doesn’t reach out, your obligation is complete and nor do you have to respond to any other requests. If he does reach out, your obligation is complete in 15 min w/o having to sit there and type out answers and agonize over which questions to respond to or not. You can even let him run the call – if he wants to use his time on minor questions, that’s his choice. If he wants to use it on – I’m interested in your industry, I majored in x and interned at y and z, how would you suggest I proceed – that’s probably more useful but again his problem to spit out the questions or not. I get that he’s 22 but these kids purport to be soooo saavy bc they can use technology — well they need to learn that life isn’t just about computers (unless you’re a computer science person) and you need to learn human interaction as well.

      • Not sure why the tear-down on 20-25 year olds generally is warranted, given that OP told him she would answer questions via email… but OP, I would be careful about doing this if your email signature has a phone number or else risk him calling you in two months out of the blue (i.e. unscheduled) with questions. I deal with those calls all the time where they catch you off guard, talk endlessly, and then continue to call again in the future. (1) do not feel guilty; (2) if you want to help, briefly address a couple of broad themes and be done with it; (3) it is not your job or responsibility to train him on how to be a professional or how to learn people skills or to help him get a job *unless* you want to do these things.

    • You don’t owe him anything. Don’t feel guilty for responding on your schedule or even not responding at all. Nobody is entitled to your time like that.

      • +1 seriously

        The whole concept of sending someone a total stranger a 2 page questionnaire is just the definition of entitled. I get wanting to be helpful to someone just starting out, and I would totally be willing to meet with someone for a short coffee date or answer a couple of email questions to do that, but 2 detailed pages of questions? Dude, at the point the most important career advice he needs is: you are not entitled to this much of anyone’s time.

    • Answer a few, see if you can get him on the phone for 30 mins and call it a day. In general, business/life/whatever, long lists of questions are best addressed over the phone (unless something is in writing for documentation purposes, but clearly not the case here). Phone calls are easier because there’s a defined start and end whereas email chains can go on forever. Also, 30 mins is probably at least the time you’d take to read, re-read, think about, and actually draft your email response.

      • 30 min? Kid sounds annoying – 2 min into that call you could be regretting scheduling a half hr call. I was the one above suggesting a 15 min call.

    • That seems clueless at best and presumptuous and entitled at worst. If there are any specific questions I would perhaps answer those. Otherwise I would reply that he appears to be asking very general job search and interview questions and refer him to his school’s career services and the internet. I would seriously consider copying his school’s career services office, perhaps with the he name redacted.

  25. Easy breakfast ideas? :

    I did a good elimination diet and discovered I feel much, much better when I avoid dairy and gluten.

    I’m a busy working mom and I am looking for ideas of g-f bars or other portable breakfast type foods I can grab on my way out the door in the morning. I’d prefer not super sugary. I just need a little something to have in my stomach before I drink my first cup of tea at work. (The tea is non-negotiable)

    • *food elimination

    • Try Larabars. I am pretty sure they are all gluten free (or at least most of them – check the label to be safe). I like them because they are tasty with minimal ingredients.

    • Kind bars have a few with like 4 or 5 grams of sugar. No idea if they are GF. Trader Joes makes dupes that are like half the price. When I drive to work, I like to drink a green smoothie on the way.

      • Hmm I hadn’t thought of smoothies now that dairy is out. Are your green smoothies pre packaged or homemade?

        • Homemade — sort of an acquired taste — I put in a bag of mixed greens (baby kale and spinach, basically), cucumbers, avocado, banana, and sometimes some random other things. The avocado and banana make it creamy without dairy.

          • Also, I make a few days’ worth at a time — usually Sunday night for Monday – Wednesday.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Most smoothie recipes I’ve seen actually suggest you use almond or other non-dairy milks. I don’t like them pre-made, but I put all the ingredients in the Nutribullet the night before, add milk in the morning, blend, go.

        I put protein powder in most of mine – not sure if whey will affect you the same as milk, but they do make vegan protein powders you could try. My current go-to is:

        3/4 scoop vanilla protein powder
        3/4 c. unsweetened unflavored almond milk
        Large handful of kale or spinach (prefer kale)
        1/4 c. pineapple chunks (frozen)
        1/4 c. mango or peach chunks (frozen)
        1/3 frozen banana
        As written, 228 calories, 3 g fat, 24.8 g carbs, 25.2 g protein

        You can riff with different fruits – I’m doing a lot of nectarines right now.

        • Thanks for this. My kids make smoothies and tell me our blender sucks. Maybe I will order us all a nutribullet and give this a whirl (sorry for the bad pun, tea hasn’t kicked in)

    • Maddie Ross :

      I really like nut bars. Even the Nature Valley nut bars are good.

      • Thanks! I hadn’t heard of nut bars but I just googled these and I am hoping my grocery store carries the gluten free ones. These look like what I’ve been looking for. I’ve been assuming granola type bars all have gluten.

    • I like G-F rice cakes, seaweed snacks (not for breakfast), on the go smoothies and RX bars.

    • Hard boiled eggs. You can eat them in just a couple bites and you’re getting a whole food with lots of protein. If you don’t like the smell or fuss of preparing them, Eggland’s Best sells already boiled eggs.

      • Thanks! I eat a lot of eggs on the weekends but I unfortunately find hard boiled eggs…uh… repeat on me.

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 to hard boiled eggs.

        Helpful hint: Don’t use fresh eggs right from the store — eggs that have been sitting around for a few days are much easier to peel. And I just started using this peeling method that is a total game changer:

      • Anonymous :

        Also a helpful hint – steam your eggs, don’t boil them! It also makes them much easier to peel. Signed – we go through at least a dozen hardboiled eggs a week

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m a big fan of overnight oats. I make them with almond milk and a splash of maple syrup, and sometimes I stir in peanut butter right before I eat them. Keeps me going all day, I swear.

      • I’m going to try this. I’m thinking I can pre-prepare the jars for a few days with just the liquids and only put the oats in the night before?

        • Especially if you use steal cut oats, it will take several days of soaking for them to get mushy, IME. Of course, that depends a bit on your tolerance for mushy food, but I am willing to keep eating them after up to around 3 days of soaking, personally.

    • Anonymous :

      RxBars. I also make a huge batch of hard boiled eggs on sundays and eat them all week.

  26. Pill Popper :

    So I have a couple non-life threatening medical conditions and in short, I take about 20 pills per day.
    I am used to it and don’t give it a thought, can pop pills with no water etc.
    I was on client site with my line manager and we were rushing from meeting to another, I grabbed my pill box, grabbed my dose for the morning (6 different pills) and popped them quick while sorting my papers for the next meeting. We barely had 2 minutes to run out the door.
    Now I think my manager thinks I’m dying or something… I can’t erase the shocked look on her face.
    We didn’t talk about it since. Is this something I should address casually?
    I just don’t want her to think I will be missing work days or something like this.

    • Are we allowed to be nosy and ask what kind of conditions you have that require that many pills? I also have multiple chronic health conditions that require medication, but I guess I’m lucky that most of them are just once or twice a day, before or after work (besides inhalers/nasal sprays). My nosiness aside, this is none of your manager’s business. It could easily be vitamins, or ibuprofen for cramps, or a million other things with no major health implications. As long as you can do your job, it shouldn’t matter.

    • If she has concerns, she should address them with you directly. I wouldn’t do anything except continue to do your job.

    • Nope. Don’t say anything. For all she knows they are vitamins. If she jumped to conclusions then that’s on her. I am a pescatarian so I take a calcium, iron, and 4 multi vitamins (the daily dosage is 4). That’s 6 “pills”. So you don’t need to explain anything. At the end of the day this is WORK and you deserve your privacy. You do not have to share anything unless you want to. Especially about something more personal as your health. I wouldn’t worry about it.

    • Yep, I agree on not saying anything. My multivitamin + calcium is 4 pills, plus BC, allergy, and an antidepressant takes me up to 7 daily.

    • Please don’t dry pop pills!!!! So so so so bad.

      Please read the instructions and take with the appropriate amount of food/water. They can be irritating for the esophagus and stomach with liquid, may be absorbed differently (or not at all…), can get stuck (and you may not even feel it down low in your esophagus…), can have different drug/drug interactions. Like…. really not good. Especially doing it with a handfull of pills at once.

      Now I wonder why you have so many medical problems too!!!!

      • If a doctor prescribed them and she has a pill sorter – I am guessing she was instructed on how to take them. Keep in mind some pills have to be taken alone. Everyone’s body is different. I am sure you are well meaning but let’s not jump on anyone lol “Now I wonder why you have so many medical problems too!!!!”

        • Anonymous :

          Some pills can and should be taken without food, but I don’t think any medical professional would advise taking any pill – even something like Tylenol – without water. There’s a lot of evidence that doing so can cause long-term damage to the esophagus. It may not have been gently delivered, but anon’s advice was accurate and presumably well-intentioned.

      • *major eye roll*

  27. Am I the only one super excited for Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING?!

    • You and my daughter.

      I made pumpkin soup once (you know, from an actual pumpkin) and she said “this isn’t what pumpkin tastes like!”

      • Ha!

      • Anonymous :

        And the flip side of that… I love pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, etc. and hate the taste of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. So artificial and gross.

      • Wow. That’s funny. There’s a difference between pumpkin and pumpkin spice. That’s why I didn’t understand the hype last year when it was discovered Starbucks didn’t put pumpkin in its pumpkin spice latte.

    • Baconpancakes :

      My red-haired friend, whose nickname is Pumpkin Spice, is probably about as excited as you, but basically yes. Pumpkin spice laundry detergent was about when that trend jumped the shark.

      • For me it was pumpkin spice cat litter (though I’m hoping that was a joke, but I don’t think it was)

      • OH BOY I don’t know if I would do PS Laundry Detergent… eww? lol. I was meaning coffee, lattes, coffee creamers and baked goods mainly. As well as the joy that is fall weather and fall fashion YAYY!

    • I’m so f**king fall ready.

    • I am SO READY FOR FALL! I’ve been squealing about to my SO for weeks every time I see a new fall magazine in the grocery store or when we vacationed in Maine and would catch glimpses of changing leaves. SO DARN EXCITED! Already planning a pumpkin carving party for my neighbors <3

    • Delta Dawn :

      You are not alone! I can’t wait until it’s cool enough for what DH refers to as “Basic (Delta)”– leggings, tall boots, oversize sweater, the same plaid scarf every blogger has, and a dark fall manicure clutching a PSL like it’s the key to happiness. Which it is.

    • I’m so so ready for fall. I’m normally a hot weather person but I’m in my second trimester of pregnancy and completely miserable in the heat. Can’t wait for cooler temps!!

  28. Forgetting a store name :

    There’s an online store that sells really classic lines of silk shirts and other clothing/accessories. It’s not cuyana; does anyone know the name? I got a recommendation here but have now forgotten.

  29. Grana?

  30. Anonymous :

    We are invited to a wedding in Brittany next June. My husband has never been to France, and I’m so excited for this trip. I’m thinking of flying into Paris, spending a few days there, taking a train to Brittany for the wedding, and then renting a car for the rest of the trip. I’d like to make a stop in Angers, where I studied abroad, but then continue down to Provence and the French Riviera – never been before and it’s my dream.

    Has anyone done a similar drive? I think we should stop for a night in between Angers and Provence, but I’m not sure where. Is Lyon a worthwhile city to visit? Any suggestions for places to stay in Provence that won’t completely break the bank (I’m thinking less than ~$200/night). Suggestions for towns to visit, shopping, and restaurants (one vegetarian, one omnivore) are welcome too!

    • No other info but from everything I hear, Lyon is lovely!

    • The jenna sue design blog had a post about doing a road trip in the south of France recently. Not sure if it is the exact same location you’re wanting to go but it could be helpful.

  31. This dress is definitely a must-have for your fall work wardrobe. The color is amazing! And I love the tie neck detail and flared silhouette!

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