Tuesday’s Workwear Report: The Dani Top

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

This Dani top from MM.LaFleur has been on my radar for a while, but it keeps selling out. Lo and behold, all four colors (deep indigo, deep plum, pomegranate, and viridian) are available right now in sizes XS–XL. It looks really nice — I like the band at the bottom and the crossover V, and it’s machine washable, too. Like most of what MM.LaFLeur offers, it’s made in NYC. It’s $165. The Dani Top

Two lower-priced options are at Saks and Lord & Taylor, and a plus-size option is at Bloomingdale’s.

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  1. Anonymous :

    I have this top – it’s wonderful!

    • I’ve been eyeing this top for a while now. I look best in tailored tops — I can’t tell if this one will be too drapey/billlowy. Can you comment?

      • I tried it on at the MM LaFleur pop-up and it definitely was not drapey/billowy. I ended up going with the Deneuve, which has long sleeves – the crossover hit in a better spot on me (FYI, that one is not drapey either).

      • Kat is so smart to give a lower price option then the $165 in the picture. I will go to L&T to get mine, but in the same blue if it’s there. YAY!!!!

        I am a bit concerned about the V neck, b/c of Frank and his pencil. I do NOT like it when he puts his pencil in the V and tells me that I should be wearing another colored Bra! FOOEY on him. He can poke at his own wive’s boobies, but NOT mine. I did NOT even like when Sheketovits did stuff like that. He was another schmoe, kind of like Sara Jessica’s husband on the HBO show. I could NEVER make love to a guy with a MUSTACH, b/c there is useueally so much food particles in there that if he should want to kiss me, I would smell what he ate for the last 3 meals! FOOEY!

    • It’s super cute. I’m curious how it would work for tall and/or long-waisted people. Sometimes tops with those banded bottoms hit at a weird spot and I just got rid of a similarly styled sweater that always felt too cropped.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Thanks for asking this question. I have the same issue (not tall, but long waisted) and the measurements are 22.5 inches from the shoulder, which is way too short for me. I need 25 inches.

    • This is GORGEOUS. Do you need to wear a tank under it for gaps?

      • I have been considering MM La Fleur for a while but I am a 32H and short waisted (otherwise, I am normal/average height). Can anyone who has similar bust issues comment on how MM La Fleur fits them?

      • no – no tank needed. im a 32DD.

        • christineispink :

          similar bra size, 5’6″. What size did you get?

          • Anonymous :

            I got a small. I am 5’4, and the top is on the shorter side (and I have a short torso). It may be too short for you, but worth trying.

  2. Not a Green Card Marriage :

    BF and I are talking about getting married. He’s in the US on a work visa and is in the process of filing for his green card through his company. The green card will take about 10 years. Obviously, if we get married, he can file for a green card that way, but we want to make our decisions about marriage based on our relationship, not his legal status. Fortunately, he will be able to stay in the country regardless of if we get married so it’s not really a factor.
    However, none of our relatives seem to see it this way. Several of my family members have warned me about him “using me” for a green card and some of his family members have congratulated him on finding a US girl willing to get him a green card. We’ve both explained that he doesn’t need me for a green card and we have a committed relationship because we love each other, not because of immigration. It kills me that our families don’t seem to recognize our relationship as legitimate, and I worry that they will never see us as a “real” couple. Any advice on telling well-meaning family members to politely f-off?

    • Anonymous :

      I also married an immigrant who was already in the US and adjusted his status. Marriage is between 2 adults. It is one of the most adult decisions you’ll ever make, up there with having children, so you have to make it on your own. A few family members definitely raised eyebrows, but I ignored it and they all came around. Don’t fixate on the immigration part. Focus on your wedding, building your marriage, and creating a future together. Immigration is stressful. Its full of waiting. Its expensive. So look at it as a necessary evil, but not a defining feature of your relationship.

    • Anonymous :

      No advice. At least you get to pick your friends — maybe go celebrate your engagement with some people who will raise a glass and cheer you on.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, maybe just let him keep going via the green card process through his job. ‘Actually, I’m not sponsoring him, he has his own status’ is a pretty quick way to shut people down. You can probably just switch to you sponsoring him if there’s ever an issue with the other path.

      Alternatively, just ignore them. ‘That’s rude and untrue.’ is the simplest response I can think of.

      My DH immigrated to Canada, specifically to be with me but he still went through the process in a non-family category because he didn’t want anyone to think he was ‘using me’. Which was silly because he’s from a wealthier European country and if anyone benefits from the marriage for immigration reasons, it’s me.

      • Hmm, I wouldn’t do this in the US, I’d do whatever the fastest way is given the current political state. My advice echos anon at 9:21, you don’t respond, you make your decision and let people talk and you don’t care what they say. You love your life. Someone is always going to have something to say and the only person to listen to is yourself. If your whole family is unsupportive, consider that license to have a wedding you want without so and so on the guest list.

      • Anonymous :

        No, this is terrible advice with the current immigration environment in the US. My husband is applying for a renewal of his green card and it has taken (so far) 14 months. They will be processing his application in June or July… 20+ months after he put it in. At least he has the right to stay here while his application is processing, and he has a stamp in his passport allowing him to travel while he waits, since he has ill elderly parents in his home country. A colleague of mine is here on an H1B and has been in the application process for a green card for several years now. His career is here, he owns a home, his elementary aged child is solely an American citizen, and if his H1B isn’t renewed he and his family will have to leave the country within 2 weeks.

        I wouldn’t get married so that he has the green card, but if you are getting married anyway, definitely have him apply for a green card based on his change of status. It will give him a lot of protection much sooner, especially if the current administration decides to restrict work visas.

        • Thanks for correcting. I had no idea it was so bad in the US. The news covers DACA issues but no idea that legal immigrants are being treated so poorly as well. That’s awful.

          • Unfortunately, very long waits for green cards and similar issues have been going on for years. They’re not a result of this administration.

          • Let me add that I’m not a Trump fan, but think it’s important to blame him for the many things he has done wrong. Blaming him for everything sets up straw men which are easy targets for his supporters.

          • Anonymous :

            It has slowed down a lot under Trump though. I have a friend who has been trying to get a greencard since 2015 (he’s married to a US citizen) and shortly after Trump was inaugurated he got a letter basically saying his case was “paused” for six months and then it was paused for another six months when those six months were up. I think it’s finally moving again, but the Trump administration definitely seems to be processing greencards even more slowly than Obama’s administration did (although I agree there were delays, etc. under Obama).

      • I would petition him myself. If it takes 10 years through his company, there’s no guarantee that visa priority category will exist in 10 years. If you petition him as your spouse, he’ll have a green card in about a year, and he may apply for naturalization 3 years after that. I would want the security as I build my family here in the US.

    • Anonymous :

      “Stop. I don’t care if you are joking, it is incredibly hurtful to hear you belittle my relationship.”

      And if they don’t stop, hang up or walk out.

      You can’t make them approve, but you can stop listening.

      • Anon in NYC :

        +1. You need to be direct here, and you need to shut them (at least, your family members) down. Tell them that they’re being rude and hurtful. Have him deal with his family members.

      • My family is American, and my brother married a woman from another country. My mother kept expressing “concerns” that the wife was using my brother to come here. It took her awhile–and some pretty direct comments–to realize that the wife actually had it pretty good in the other country, and that she was giving up quite a lot (ie her entire family and friends) to come be with my brother. And that my mother should be grateful that the wife was willing to immigrate here to be with our family, rather than the other way around. Nothing like realizing you could lose access to your children (and any potential grandchildren) to bring family around.

    • Equestrian Attorney :

      I am also a foreigner in Canada who married a Canadian. I have full status here thanks to my Canadian degree and job, and the amount of jokes about marrying just to get citizenship was still really, really annoying. Remember most people have no idea how the immigration system works and may actually believe what they are saying. They often have seen a tv show about immigration scams and no assume its widespread. But if it gets to you (or your husband to be), seriously, tell them to cut it out.

      • There was a whole movie back in the 80s or 90s called “Green Card” that people probably took as fact.

      • “Remember most people have no idea how the immigration system works and may actually believe what they are saying.”


        I have been in your exact position. It’s annoying because it’s nobody’s business but yours.

        In our case, he did end up getting his green card through his employer because we got married when he was in the last stages. But it didn’t stop the comments. We got married in 2012 and most family members don’t even remember, if that helps.

    • Haters gonna hate :

      I would look them straight in the eye and be honest.

      “Why would you say that?”
      “That’s very hurtful.”
      “We are very much in love.”
      “That’s insulting.”
      “Are you suggesting we shouldn’t get married?”

      Combine as needed.

      If you call them out, most people will stammer and apologize.

      Congratulations :)

    • the yellow one is the sun :

      Family members can really cross the line when you’re talking about marriage – the crazy comes out, I think. Our situation had different facts, but similar cautioning and eyebrows raised based on perceptions that were incorrect, disrespectful, and hurtful. We actually postponed our engagement at first, and then once we decided “f- ’em” and planned a wedding with a quicker timeline, we got raised eyebrows for a different reason!! We just stopped engaging them on those issues and trying to talk it out – we would politely change the subject or find a reason to hang up the phone. It was hard not to agonize over it in the moment, but maybe it’s helpful to hear that in our case everyone got over their issues, our wedding was lovely and (almost) everyone had the sense to appear happy for us on the day of and we didn’t hear anything afterward. I’m really glad we didn’t change our plans based on their knee-jerk reactions. I actually think that it was a good opportunity to set boundaries and establish that we were adults making a decision that was not their business – the more firm we were, eventually the more they seemed to respect that maybe we knew what we were doing.

      Good luck!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I kind of feel like “f-off” is not the worst response here…

    • Anonymous :

      Think very carefully about this. Your relatives may be seeing things more clearly because they are not in love. Marrying a US citizen is seen as hitting the jackpot as far as residency goes. I’m not saying your relatives are right just be cautious. By the way, ask me how I learned this.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh, come on. I also married an immigrant. Half of US marriages end in divorce. I get annoyed when people marry immigrants, divorce, and feel victimized that it must have been a fraudlent “green card marriage”. You do realize one reason we have wait times in the years, not months, is because USCIS/DOS screens for fraud? We have removal of conditions on permanent residency to further screen for fraud?

        I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I’ve been cheated on by Americans. There are jerks, cheaters, and abusers in every culture and country. That doesn’t mean it was fraud for a green card.

      • FYI if you sponsor someone for a green card through marriage, you promise to support them above poverty level for 2 years even if you divorce. That being said, I did it, and we’ve been married for a decade so it can work out

    • No real advice except develop a thicker skin. If your and your fiance’s family have these hurtful comments right now, there will be plenty more down the line (good examples for fun practice! “can you not have babies?”/”are you earning more than your husband – why isnt he providing for his family” / “how come husband is doing the dishes, wife’s job”).
      Brush it off!
      As an aside, my brother married an American citizen (he was on a visa and greencard processing via his job) but decided to keep at it instead of applying via marriage. It might have been some of the above comments plus his own ego, I wouldn’t recommend this approach.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      The best reason to marry someone is because you love them and *want to be with them.* Marriage is a legally recognized way to say “this is My Person and we are sticking together.” I see absolutely nothing wrong/weird/whatever with marrying someone because it enables you to stay together. If your relatives are looking askance at that… eff em.

      The Daughter Of Parents (Still Happily Married, Just Celebrated 40 Years) Who Married So That One Could Stay In The Country

  3. Dude Dressing :

    Heading to Paris in a few weeks. Mainly have my wardrobe planned, but am at a loss how to help DH. Tends to wear big white chunky sneakers with Dad jeans on weekends, and I am just not sure how to help him smarten it up a bit for this trip (and maybe for life:)). Are there retailers I should go with him too, or looks to aim for? Think mid-50’s. Mainly need shoe/pant advice – tops he has under control and he has a nice warmish leather coat. Thank you!

    • Anonymous :

      Oof. I would go to Nordstrom and get them to help you. Everyone in Paris wears sneakers, but they’re more like “fashion” sneakers than something you’d wear to the gym.

    • AlexisFaye :

      What’s your budget? Nordstrom has a personal shopper service that is free (they get paid off the clothes you buy). You do just what you did here. Tell them what you’re looking for, what you have already, general style stuff (don’t like, like, etc.), give them your budget.

      It’s such a time saver, if Nordstrom is in your standard shopping budget. The shoes and pants I’m wearing today mine picked for me. And my favorite coat/sweater/jewelry.

      But I’m incompetent at clothes.

    • Anonymous :

      My husband has flat feet so if he has to do a lot of walking, he needs the support of an athletic shoe, otherwise he will be miserable by the end of the day. Otherwise, he likes Cole Haan and Sperry (not the boat shoe style) for loafer style shoes with some support. They aren’t the trendiest, but they look fine with jeans and chinos.

    • If you trust your own taste, take him somewhere where there are lots of options in a super low pressure environment – Nordstrom Rack, DSW. “Just try them on.” “We only spent $80 on them if you only wear them for this trip.” That kind of environment – particularly Nordstrom Rack – also helps him see how few white sneakers are out there. “Hey hon, it might be time to retire the white sneakers…you notice there aren’t too many of them here? They’re not really in style anymore.”

      My husband likes Lucky jeans – depending on where you live, you might have a Lucky store, and their sales reps are really knowledgeable. And since their stores are small and they only mainly sell jeans, it’s not an overwhelming or fussy experience.

      My (classic, a little rugged) husband also gets the Trunk Club box for men. His stylist has nailed his taste.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, my husband has also had spectacular lick with Trunk Club, including shoes. If you’re willing to spend a bit of money and you have the time I’d go that route.

        Failing that, +1 to Lucky jeans.

    • Try Ecco sneakers. My husband (31) loves them, and he gave them a try at the recommendation of our travel guru Rick Steves (who is 60+).

      • Those plus the AG chinos (my FH says they are softer than even well-loved jeans) and a sweater would be a great look.

      • My husband also swears by Eccos. He’s particular about which style, so find a department store and give a few of them a whirl. DH’s tend to be ~$200, but they last forever.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Another vote for Ecco sneakers. Just looked at Nordie’s web site and they have at least a couple of great styles on sale right now.

    • What about just getting him New Balance sneakers? They’re the same level of comfort but a bit more stylish.

      • +1

        The classic gray suede ones always look fashionable enough to me, while still being in the safe zone for non fashionista men (fashionistOs?)

    • No thoughts on the pants, but maybe try Allbirds for the sneakers? They look nice and I’ve heard they’re very comfortable (bought some as a gift and he loves them). The black wool with the black sole look more fashionable than white sneakers.

      • +1

        Definitely order some Allbirds for him. Free shipping and free returns if they don’t work out.

        • +2. Buying myself a pair for my France trip in late spring to wear with jeans/khakis during the day.

      • I bought my husband some Allbirds. He says they are the most comfortable shoes he has ever had.

        • Also made him get some viciously expensive designer jeans, as he has slim hips and no a$$, and others look like jean diapers on him. They have a little stretch to them, like women’s clothes have had for years now, and the jeans have been deemed The Most Comfortable Pants Ever. So I guess my specific recommendation would be properly fitted black or dark wash jeans and black Allbirds, with random tops as desired.

    • Eh…everyone will know he’s a tourist anyways. Let him be comfortable!

      • Anonymous :

        Yup. He ain’t gonna change.

      • I think it’s a good excuse to suggest a few updates. : ) You can be comfortable in well-fitting clothes, too.

      • Agreed. Has HE said, “We’re going to Paris and I’d like to up my fashion game a bit?”

        I can’t imagine how it would make me feel to go on a vacation where my SO informed me that I had to wear new clothes that I don’t really like because my usual clothes are not fashionable enough. I think it would probably make me feel self-conscious the entire time – not exactly the most pleasant vacation.

    • +1 to Nordstrom personal shopper. My husband has used them and so has my college-aged son. They had very different needs, but both came out of the store with clothes that fit what they needed and their personal styles (but elevated).

    • Does “think mid 50s” mean he is mid 50s, or that he dresses in a way that reminds you of men in their mid 50s? If he’s actually >50, I wouldn’t put him in shoes like Allbirds!

      My DH is 35 and dresses more like an LL bean catalog than a Nordstrom one, but still looks “modern.” He wears Lucky jeans, polo shirts (he refuses to wear anything with an obvious label, so Polo or Brooks Brothers only if the logo is sewn in the same color as the shirt, otherwise LL Bean or similar polos), pullover sweaters, etc. He wears merrells or sperry top siders depending on the season. FWIW he used to be a complete New England prepster complete with pink pants, ribbon belts, popped collar, etc. I think his 30s (and fatherhood) mellowed him out.

      If your DH is in his 50s (or even not), try the sperrys that have more support. My dad has rocked those for years and probably has 4 pairs of sperrys on rotation at any given time (winter, summer, boat, and “working on the boat/fishing” (ie full of holes, covered in paint and smelly).

      At least he’s not socks & crocs :)

      • Is this med abuse? :

        If you’ve been given Ambiem to help you go to sleep but you routinely take it to feel mellowed out and deliberately stay up (i.e., not what the package says to do: take and go right to sleep b/c it is for sleeping) b/c you like how it makes you feel, is that OK?

        Concerned that my long-term BF is doing this (on-going).

        It’s like being with someone who is stoned. And it has caused him to pack on about 20 pounds of Ambien eating weight (basically he eats a 4th meal every day now after he has taken his happy pill). And then stays up super late b/c he can’t get to sleep after eating 2 plates of pasta, a bag of Doritos, etc. So I go to bed 2 hours earlier, then he sleeps in b/c he is tired, and I am lonely / feeling alone.

        So we have a relationship problem. We’re not like old people where we go to each others doctor appointments, but I’d like to give his doctor a piece of my mind (not sure how candid BF is — he probably needs anxiety therapy and not Ambien and Ambien is a crutch that is now hurting him and giving him some bad habits). But in addition to the relationship problem, is this a legit medicine abuse problem that a clinician would treat as such?

      • Hello, 35! I have no opinion on whether or not the OP ought to try to up her lovely husband’s fashion game (he might appreciate it, but that’s kind of between them). Also, I know tone doesn’t translate well but I feel compelled to tell you that I am 53, can advise that men in their 50’s CAN be stylish, including in their footwear choices.

        I might gently suggest you keep this comment in a file someplace to re-read when you reach the dotage years of the 50’s. Honestly – it’s not all that bleak here….I promise!

        • oh sure! I just meant that Allbirds aren’t really a style I see on people over mid 30s (but I live in the suburbs). There are tons of fashionable shoes for men of all ages–but what might be comfortable and fashionable at 50 may be different than what is fashionable and wear-able comfort wise at 30.

          • Of Counsel :

            I am in my 50’s and just came back from a week in Rome where I walked approximately 10-12 miles a day in my Allbirds. My 70’s mother has a pair she loves. I do not pretend to me as trend-conscious as the younger (and I suspect NYC-based) contingent of this site so will not speak to fashionable, but I can assure you that they are plenty comfortable for less-young feet.

            My main concern for OP would be trying to get new shoes broken in for a trip in a few weeks. Her husband definitely does not want to take off for Europe with new shoes.

        • Senior Attorney :

          No kidding. My hub just turned 70 and he is rocking an amazing wardrobe, courtesy of Trunk Club.

    • Dark jeans :

      My 55 year old husband wears dark wash jeans, button downs/dress shirts, and athletic half-zip pullovers (which look dressier with a button down under it). He’s a runner and wears either running shoes or dress shoes depending on the occasion. If were were going to Paris, I think he would pack all of this plus dress pants, a dinner jacket/blazer which could be worn over jeans or dress pants, and exercise clothes. He’s not big into clothes but it’s a look that works for him. It’s important to get the jeans, dress shirts and pullovers fitted enough to look fashionable.

    • Michelle Obama, is that you? :)

    • Dude Dressing :

      OP Here:

      Wow – thank you for all the amazing help. To those concerned about his psyche, trust me- on this issue, he welcomes the help. He is kind of oblivious and knows it. He is in his mid 50’s, and would be concerned if we tried to put him in something he thought was skewing too young, so will definitely avoid that.

      As I did for myself, I am going to start with shoes. Honestly, the white clunky ones don’t look that great even here! So, find a pair of more stylish but extremely comfortable shoes for him now, so he can break in. Maybe a more fashionable pair of sneakers, plus some Cole Haans so he can alternate. From there, I do think a pair of dark wash jeans is a fabulous idea, and one I had not thought of (even though I am taking a pair – duh). I will ask for help at Nordies; he will flinch at the cost (loves to clothes shop at Costco) but I think if I approach in on a cost-per-wear that will appeal to his accountant’s heart.

      He has great sweaters that really flatter his skin tone (xmas gifts typically) so some of those with a button down below, and possibly a half zip, plus leather coat.

      Feeling like I have a plan – thank you! Cannot wait to check out Trunk Club for future purchases for him….

  4. I think I’ve read about a few people doing the No S Diet on here. Anyone have any tips for someone struggling with the No Sweets part? I’ve started it and realizing just how addicted to sugar I am (and how prevalent it is!). I am doing a decent job I think, but it’s been about 4 weeks and the scale is moving incredibly slow. How do I keep up motivation, especially when I’m turning down yet another piece of office birthday cake?

    • Decide on rewards for meeting reasonable goals – either by hitting a certain number of pounds (like 5-pound increments) or for every week without cheating. Make sure they are rewards you really want and don’t let yourself cheat and have them if you haven’t earned them. I’m on a no-shopping ban right now, but for every 10 pounds I lose, I get to buy something (mostly specific shoes) and that’s so exciting to me that I stay motivated. The rewards don’t have to cost much though – it could be a book or something relaxing for yourself, just make sure they aren’t food!

    • I’m not familiar with the No S diet, but something that helps me tame my sweet tooth is being picky about which sweets I choose to eat. The grocery store sheet cake? I can pass; it’s not that great. Soft, fudgy, homemade brownies? Those are my favorite so I would take one.

    • Also not familiar with the No S diet but I have a rule that I don’t eat food at work I didn’t bring with the exception of when a meal is provided. This helped me cut down on the junk that my coworkers brought in to share.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think you just have to go cold turkey. If you’re used to eating a lot of sweets it’s going to be hard, I’m not gonna lie. Since I gave up sweets I have fruit for breakfast most days and that is a nice sweet treat now that my taste buds have adjusted.

  5. How do you let go of old hurts and not let them cloud your life? I went to an affluent mostly white private school until I graduated high school, but I didn’t really fit that definition- I’m not white, was visibly not well off, parents were divorced, etc. Basically I had a lot of outward markers of low status, and while many people were nice enough to me, it wasn’t uncommon for parents to not want their kids to be friends with me. Some were pretty explicit about the reasons (race, class). This came up again because one of my childhood friends mentioned recently that she really regrets losing touch with me for a time, and it was because her parents forbade her to be friends with me because she wouldn’t amount to much if she did that, and her self confidence was low enough that she sort of believed them.

    I find that I still have a chip on my shoulder about being the unwanted one. this has manifested itself in a lot of different ways (my mom didn’t want me, see above about friends growing up, husband’s family also shares some of their ideas about race/class, so I’m not welcome there either. Husband went back to school recently, and a few of his classmates have made it clear that I’m beneath them and sort of treat me like I’m disgusting. It makes me feel like the poor dirty girl who no one wants. It’s weird because I’ve been really successful, am now really wealthy, have wonderful friends, husband, and I’m close to my family. I’m attractive and dress well (I used to get made fun of for being ugly and poorly dressed by classmates and a couple of their mothers too). So the old vision of myself doesn’t match the current reality, and I’m not generally one to care about whether others think I have enough status or what they think of me in general.

    That said, it’s hard to let go of some of these things, and I feel like when things like this happen today (husbands’ classmates snub me, for example) it stings more than it should due to the history of related things in my life. How do I change my perspective?

    And please don’t say therapy. This isn’t some huge problem I need to parse through, I just need a paradigm shift and some new ways of thinking about the issue. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • Probably not the paradigm shift you were looking for, but you rock. You’ve taken all the negative stuff thrown at you and somehow made a wonderful like for yourself. So people snubbing you now is at least as likely to be envy as it is a feeling of superiority.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d be happy to be your friend.

      I was in your shoes, but white. Preppy clothes last forever, so you could get them at the church thrift stores in my town. I passed, but I didn’t know how to stay Gstaad (srsly — give me some vowels!).

      The good thing in life is that we are adults and can sail our own ship now. And we are adults for a lot longer than we were kids.

      Talent is randomly distributed. Opportunity is not. I hope you can seize all of what you have opportunity for today.

    • First of all, you sound amazing.
      Second, maybe you handle some of these emotions by focusing on helping others. Could you be a mentor for a school aged child in a similar setting to your high school? You could help minority kids by being a role model. Or, you could help a regular old plain white rich kid by being his/her mentor and showing them that successful adults come in all colors. Volunteering might help you get beyond yourself a little and escape the chip that you [understandably] have on your shoulder.

    • If you do want to reframe things, then reframe them! Maybe people don’t like you just because….nothing to do with your background or whatever. There’s plenty of reasons that people don’t like one another or aren’t BFFs. There’s something very freeing about not caring what other people think, if you are on a course that makes you feel fine. If some grad school acquaintances of your husband aren’t friendly, bully on them–you don’t need those people as your friends! If some mom you meet at a coffee is a little frosty–NBD, it wasn’t meant to be. Sure things sting when others are rude, but you do need to reframe it–their loss, not yours. Surround yourself with people who want to be with you!

      And BTW, the high school friend that told you that she lost touch because her parents forbade her from seeing you–I’m not sure she was doing you a kindness by sharing that information. In fact, it seems like salt in a wound. Do you really want someone like that in your life? Ask yourself why these not-nice people’s opinion matters so much to you, and instead, go find friends who like you for you–who you are–now, today. Not who you once were and overcame, but who you are today, and how you present yourself to the world.

      I might be projecting my high school anxiety on you, but kids weren’t always nice to me then. I still don’t like to go back to my hometown and I keep a good distance from those folks on facebook. I don’t really need updates on the lives of people who were unkind to me. There’s really not a lot of point in revisiting that time in my life. I, like you, went on to bigger and better things, but there will always be some underlying insecurity and I don’t necessarily need or want to go there, reminder-wise. And so, I leave that in the past. It’s OK to close certain chapters and be glad they are over. Don’t bring the baggage from those times with you.

      • Anonymous :

        In my HS, a lot of the anxiety was from the parents (they paid for boarding school and Waldorf / montessori school before that and here is a Poor in our midst who is doing better). The kids were a lot better than their parents but I see how the angst could be infectious. And there were meanies, but there were meanies in my non-fancy schools, too. Haters gonna hate.

      • I guess I don’t really think about the past unless analogous situations come up in the present, then I find myself more upset than I really should be. I don’t think I care a ton what these people think, but then I find myself feeling all chip on shoulder about it. It’s frustrating because one of my better qualities is a disregard for nonsense and what people think. This is harder to shake for some reason.

        Anyway, I guess my point is it seems like you’re saying “just shake it off.” Obviously I know that’s the answer, but I’m having a harder time actually executing than usual. Second point is that it’s not just stuff in the past. Current things bring up old wounds. And I do remove myself from those situations when they occur, but sometimes I can’t. (for example, in-laws, although I’ve more or less stopped talking to them for several years now, but they still do things like bombard me with not very nice snail mail, so…)

        • Yeah that’s why therapy helps. Because it isn’t as easy as just deciding you’re awesome.

          • +1 In order to really move past this for good and develop coping/situational skills to deal with it, you need to unpack why and then learn those skills.

            What these people think about you isn’t about you, it’s about them and who they are as a person (hateful ones, at least in some instances, inexplicably ignorant in others). It’s not a reflection of who you are. However, as mentioned above, since you aren’t having any luck moving past it on your own, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to at least give therapy a shot. I used to feel this way and therapy has allowed me to truly shrug it off and not give one whit’s of energy towards what these people think of me even if I have to interact with them.

          • Second Anon :

            +1 In order to really move past this for good and develop coping/situational skills to deal with it, you need to unpack why and then learn those skills.

            What these people think about you isn’t about you, it’s about them and who they are as a person (hateful ones, at least in some instances, inexplicably ignorant in others). It’s not a reflection of who you are. However, as mentioned above, since you aren’t having any luck moving past it on your own, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to at least give therapy a shot. I used to feel this way and therapy has allowed me to truly shrug it off and not give one whit’s of energy towards what these people think of me even if I have to interact with them.

        • Ditto on the therapy. I didn’t do enough of it but one therapist did eye movement desensitizing therapy to help me with my “not good enough ever” that was ingrained in me as a child by my Asian parents.

    • Anonymous :

      Is your husband shutting down his family/classmates when they make these types of comments? If not, that his 100% his job. He should not be friends with or socialize with anyone who treats you that way because of your race, looks, or background. I’m very surprised to hear that in an institution of higher education your husband’s classmates are making overtly racist comments. Gently, is it possible that based on your childhood, you are seeing snubs that aren’t there?

      • Yeah, it’s possible that I’m seeing snubs that aren’t there. I think that’s part of the problem. That said, it’s hard for me to figure out how much of it is in my head vs reality, because some of it is definitely real.

        Husband has been kind of slow to shut comments down. He eventually did with some people, but took him a while, which I think is part of what hurts. With the school people, he isn’t actively friends with people who are jerks, but he still hangs around them in groups. He says he didn’t choose these people, and usually when something happens he has some reason for not being aware of it, like, “oh, I didn’t notice I was talking to someone else at the time.” And he just sort of leaves it at that. I don’t know what I expect, though.

        They’re overtly classist comments rather than overtly racist. It’s funny because I make a LOT more money than these people have/will, not that it should matter. It’s not like I run around in hand me downs the way I used to, so part of me is sort of insecure about why it’s still so d*mn obvious that I’m the poor dirty girl. Again, not that it should matter.

        • Yeah hon. Therapy. Literally no one thinks of you as dirty. Srsly. It helps.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Definitely. Therapy doesn’t have to be for big giant issues so even if you feel like this isn’t serious enough to warrant it, do yourself a favor and get some help. It’s so hard to start and sometimes it’s hard to find a therapist who’s a good fit, but it’s so worth it!

          You don’t have to keep feeling like this!

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Ehhh, at my institute of higher education, someone put fried chicken in the Black Student Association’s mailbox. And a colleague’s son just transferred (from a different school) because someone hung a noose on his door. So it doesn’t surprise me at all.

    • Anonymous :

      Therapy. Obviously. That’s exactly precisely what it is for. To shift your ways of thinking.

      • +1

        It doesn’t have to be some huge problem for therapy to be helpful. And I’ve sometimes found the stuff I think is small and not that big of a deal … there ends up being a lot more to it, and my therapist has been really helpful in sorting stuff like that out.

    • I read this book last year called “How to be an Adult” by David Richo. It was very helpful to me in dealing with the lingering affects of some old wounds. It’s a short book but was filled with a lot of very good insight.

    • I’m going to flip your perspective on this: it’s not you, but it feels like it’s you because you’re getting a lot of information about people’s characters really quickly. Normally, it would take years to figure out that they are nasty people, but you are learning within minutes. It hurts, but it’s them.

    • I know you said no therapy, but cognitive behavioral therapy is almost exactly what you’re describing. It teaches you to evaluate your reactions and consider alternative beliefs. You should be able to do focused therapy to work through this one issue. Therapy isn’t all about tackling huge problems, it’s also to make you happier.

      Alternatively if I feel like I’m dwelling on something that is holding me back, I visualize letting it go. Do what works for you, but I picture a wind tunnel and releasing the experience into it and letting it go and vanish. For some reason this helps me more than just telling myself to let go of something.

      • +1

        Perhaps OP does not want to go to therapy because she feels it will just be a rehashing of sad memories but not only are you already doing that to yourself but therapy is a great tool to learn healthy coping mechanisms as well as strategies to let go of negative self-talk. Please dont discount therapy in your case. Its not the end all be all but with the right therapist, I think you can get through your issues a lot easier (i.e. the only way out is through).

    • You will get over it all. I did. Still work in progress but I’m doing amazing.
      Black, super flat chested, short, curvy, unbelievably smart, very bad eyesight and a penny-pinching father.
      Until age 20, I had never actually bought a non-thrifted item so it was quite a discovery that clothes have so many labels and smell so nice vs the thrift bug spray smell.
      I was bullied and beaten up by teacher for being able to get good grades without paying him for extra classes.
      Had to fight for the first ever merit scholarship in the poshest school in my country. Didn’t have money for basic transportation (we’re talking less than 10USD) so spent almost every weekend on campus. Continued to wear my thrift clothes while students learned to drive in cars I couldn’t pronounce the make of, summered in amazing cities and wore bags worth amounts I couldn’t picture.
      The only reason anyone would every talk to me was if they wanted to know how I got an A+ when they knew clearly I didn’t study (I was on every club etc.).
      My mother chose to let herself die, my dad continued being a jerk, I was fired from my job for being good at it and making people look like they were slacking.
      Years later, I am still surrounded by upper crust wherever I go. I managed to be the first person of my ethnic and general background to make it to an MBB in Europe.
      I am about to make a second work transition meaning I will ascend even more. So last year was the year when I decided to shake of the whole: “I don’t know how to ski, I never held a Graf diamond, my name is not on a university wing etc.”
      I’m doing da*n fine. Still black, still flat, still half-blind (I managed to find ways to work around it) AND I rock. It took a lot of meditation, inner-child healing, repeating mantras, and some retail therapy to get to this point. I am fine. Some people love me and they don’t know 5% of what I went through.
      You will be fine. You will be loved. You are loved and you belong to yourself.

      • Houda, your post is so touching. Wish you all the best and I have so much admiration for you.

        • Thank you. I must reconfirm, I am much better now, we can only talk about some things once the healing process is well underway :)

    • Betterandbetter :

      I had a similar experience, though I didn’t get placed into the different culture until HS and college, and I am still overweight,not especially and still daily lose the battle with my chin hair so at least you have that. Some things that help me when I regress to that time is remembering that I am great and that I should go where I am celebrated, not tolerated. It helps when you are dealing with negative things to go towards something else instead of away from the thing you don’t want if that makes sense? It’s a different thing to think “How do I stop thinking about this thing that makes me feel bad? Vs. When I think about this thing that makes me feel bad I should redirect my attention to things that make me feel good rather than try to reason myself out of the negative feeling (working through the negative feeling is worth doing, but since you nixed therapy…) Also the older I get the less painful I find rejection because I find at least it simplifies things. “What? You Don’t like me? Great! Now I don’t have to worry about how much of my limited time and attention I should spend on you. God knows I have enough on my plate.” Also people who intentionally try to make people feel bad are either awful or in pain themselves which to me means responding with pity/compassion or contempt not shame on my part.

    • Something someone told me once that really hit home when I was dealing with some difficult people: “They don’t matter.” Full stop. Those people do not enhance your life in any way and have no bearing on your future. It sucks that you went/are going through this, but those people do not matter. Focus on those who do matter: your awesome friends, husband, etc.

      I know you said no therapy, but I agree with the previous poster that this is what therapy is for: to work through issues you are having trouble working through yourself.

    • What do you have around you that is nice? Sounds like you’ve got a husband who lets people talk mean to you, you’ve got undermining childhood friends (who maybe want you to help them manage their emotions, which is work they should be doing themselves), etc. Do you have things around you that effortlessly remind you of how awesome you are? Do you have an adoring pet, or a hobby you love and are good at, etc… I’m thinking of something beyond a possibly stressful job and family life…

      I like the volunteering idea not for the moral part of it but for the reminder you will get of how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING you are when you find people other than your husband’s family/coworkers and your old friends to compare yourself to.

      My dad didn’t want me and I have been the poor one at the fancy school. I know it hurts. My life right now is structured around things that make me feel good, not remind me of the bad.

      • So here’s a question. what exactly should my husband do in these cases? If I ask him to do something that I think will help, he’ll do it. Should he never hang around groups of people when the snubber is there? If he wasn’t there for the snub, he couldn’t have done anything about it in the moment, and unless they explicitly said something nasty, what can he say? In those cases he’s been willing to say something. But things like introducing me to one of his “friends” and getting pulled away, after which she refused to say hello or shake my hand, gave me a disgusted look and said “UGH!” and turned away… I mean that’s hard to address no?

        He also basically doesn’t speak to his family because of their interactions with me (and him…) I don’t know. I just don’t really know what’s fair to expect. Part of me wants him to just not hang around (even in groups) people who have been jerks to me, but I’m not sure if that’s reasonable.

        • No it isn’t hard to do anything. He shouldnt socialize with people that rude. Totally reasonable expectation.

        • Broken mirror :

          Maybe the friend is drunk, on drugs or has some mental issue and her reaction is not related to your appearance or perceived class but because you are sensitive about the topic you interpret everything from that angle.
          It’s similar to when a sales associate does not pay attention to you when you are in a fancy store and you assume it is because they look down on you (when in fact they were serving another client in a room, or are about to end their shift, or wear a medical device so can only hear you if you speak to them from the front etc.) but it’s mostly a remnant from the years you couldn’t afford Hermes, and now 2 Birkins later, you’re still analyzing every interaction from that angle

          • Yeah. And that’s one of the things I think makes it harder to address than when someone explicitly calls me “Mexican trash” or something like that. Like, you’re being rude but I don’t really know the substance of why as I would in the latter example, and it may not be me at all, then we’re making drama out of nothing.

            On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t matter why they’re rude, it’s a reasonable expectation that husband doesn’t hang around rude people. I’m open to opinions here.

          • Cinderella :

            The insecure me would feel unbelievably selfish for having cut-off my husband from his family, and now his friends and potentially every social circle he’s been in, without even being able to offer my own family’s companionship because I don’t have that either. I would feel as marrying me was a punishment and it’s up to me to grow thick skin and clap back as many times as needed instead of having him think few times whether he made the right choice cutting off his roots for me.
            The confident me is screaming that I am worth it, but also that they all can eff off.

          • Yeah it’s 100% reasonable to not care why people are rude. I socialize with zero rude people and it’s easy.

        • Lately I have found that when unwanted-anything negative- thoughts come into my head, I’m mindful, examine the thought if need be, and then, inspired by Hermione & JK Rowling, “with my wand and a burst of light (or whatever level I’m capable of at in that moment) I silently “obliviate” the thought. I have also found “expecto patronum” and “muffliato” to be helpful.

        • My brother and I were both poors at private schools. He taught me this trick in response to all rudeness which I use to this day. When someone says something rude/classist/racist, put on your most innocent face, open your eyes wide, smile in disbelief, and say like you are REALLY engaged (depending on level of obvious snark): “What do you mean by this, exactly?” “I’m sorry but I just could not hear you well enough. Could you repeat?” “Do you feel there is a problem with …? I’d love to hear your take on it.” “You don’t seem happy. Are you feeling OK?” “I couldn’t hear you/ I didn’t get your name, but I want to say that I just love your . I have one just like it, actually.” Key is to sound sincere. It works like a charm. The offender usually retreats of their own accord within two sentences. So when that “UGH” person turned away, you would chase her down or wait until she’s talking with someone else, put your hand on her shoulder and say how much you love her shirt and you have one just like it. It is seriously so empowering. Have fun acting!

    • Deeply Anon for This :

      I am going to take this conversation in a slightly different direction since you seem to be asking about how to let go of resentment and anger at past hurts (although the need to address current snubs is a different and very real issue). My situation was completely different and related to being abused as a child but I have a lot of experience with letting go.

      Your resentment hurts YOU. It does not have any impact of the people you resent; it does not hurt them; it does not keep them up at night. They are not the ones with a wound that will not stop bleeding – it only impacts you and the people you love. It informs your interactions with the world. Realizing that (really and truly realizing it) was the best thing that ever happened to me. I also realized that dwelling on it was not helpful and was incredibly hurtful, which is one of the reasons I stopped therapy very quickly after I tried it.

      So I have a mantra every time those past hurts come to my mind. Essentially I remind myself that those thoughts are not not helpful or healing. I did not have a choice about being hurt, but I control whether those hurts rule my life now and I chose not to let them. (And then I pray for strength and grace to be the person God intended me to be, to forgive and to do His will in all things – but I recognize that is not everyone’s cup of tea!)

      I wish you all the best. Anger is hard.

    • Anonymous :

      “I just need a paradigm shift and some new ways of thinking about the issue.” <— That's literally what therapy is for.

      And honestly, I'm kind of confused about how you're so certain you're being snubbed for being formerly poor… I mean, if you're wealthy and well-dressed NOW, and (it sounds like) have been for some time, how would your husband's classmates who he only just met even know that about you? It sounds like you're encountering generic classist jerks (who are everywhere in the types of circles it sounds like you now travel in), and they are making generic stupid classist comments, and you're interpreting those comments as being made "at" you when it's really just what passes for conversation among a certain type of wealthy/privileged person.

      Get out of your own head. If you can't, get yourself a therapist who can help you get out of your own head.

      • anonymous :

        Well I’ve been told multiple times that I’m not good enough for my husband (from a couple of his classmates), so there’s that. There’s definitely a lot of things directed at me. I don’t think a lot of this is necessarily about class/race/whatever, my point is that the snubbing continues and regardless of whether it’s classist or not, it reopens those wounds. A lot of it is really weird and not what I think of as within the bounds of normal behavior.

        • Anonymous :

          Classmates have actually walked up to you and said the exact words “you are not good enough for your husband?” Really? How old are these people? That’s just bizarre behavior from actual adults. Like, so far outside the bounds of normal human behavior I’m not sure anything other than “are you f-ing kidding me?” followed by laughing and walking away is warranted.

          So either (1) these are the worst people ever, and you need some help unpacking why you attach any significance whatsoever to any of it (and why you’ve apparently selected a husband who is fine with all of it); or (2) you are grossly misinterpreting what is happening because of your baggage (which would potentially explain your husband soft-pedaling his response to the perceived snubs, because he possibly thinks you’re misinterpreting/overreacting but doesn’t want to say it). Either way, therapy is a good answer – an outside observer would be so helpful here to sort out what is actually happening vs. what your emotional baggage is telling you is happening.

          • +1

            Agree with this completely.

            I worry you may be reading too deeply into comments that may not be intended as you hear. And as you start telling your husband he shouldn’t socialize with any person who has said such comments, and any group of people where such person may be present, and his family…. I just really worry that something is going to break. And it might be your marriage.

            Therapy is needed. It will be a lifechanger.

            Are we missing something?

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve climbed from coach to first class, but not to private jet money. I did the climb via my career. I have a lot of business, social and residential interactions with private jet money. The folks who are snubbing you at parties are also snubbing me for looking quite a bit like my peasant forebears, and anyone else who doesn’t share their backgrounds. In other words, it’s not you.

      In turns of coping, at events I look for the other outsiders, as that’s where I am most likely to find my friends or allies.

  6. Edna Mazur :

    Jean recommendation.

    Help. I saw my rear end in the mirror yesterday and realized I am in desperate need of new jeans. I wear an Old Navy size 12. I’m an hourglass but with a third-baby, six months post partum pooch in the front. My rear is long, wide, and flat (this sounds awful, but I swear, I don’t look that bad). Probably dark wash, no distress. Any recommendations for brands or styles that might be flattering. Hoping to keep under $75 or $100 as I am still, slowly, loosing baby weight but I want to have one pair that I feel amazing in.

    • Anonymous :

      NYDJ literally is made for you.

      • Second NYDJ. My rear is also long and flat and they’re the most flattering jeans I’ve owned. I’m partial to the Ami jeans and you definitely want to size down because they’re very stretchy.

      • Edna Mazur :

        Oh, I like the look of these. More expensive than I was hoping but I might have to splurge and try some. So, size down from Old Navy type sizes?

      • the yellow one is the sun :

        Ditto on NYDJ. They are absolutely worth paying more than at ON and are often on sale at my local department stores so you should be able to get a deal.

      • Yes and you can get them at Nordstrom rack

    • I’m not sure how well it would keep you on budget, but could you try a nordstrom personal shopper for this just to try a variety of fits/rises across a variety of brands?

      • Edna Mazur :

        I’d love to, but I’m about six hours out from the nearest Nordstrom :)

        • Aw man!

        • The Frenchie Is My Favorite Kid :

          I used The Trunk Club, which is a Nordstrom company personal shopper service where a stylist sends you a bunch of stuff based on your needs. I found an awesome new pair of jeans that way – I’d never have picked them and I get so many compliments. You can just send back (f0r free) whatever you don’t want and you won’t be charged.

          I tried Stitch Fix, which is similar, but it was kind of a flop.

    • Have you tried Wit & Wisdom jeans? The Ab-solution styles have a stretchy waist band. Several are around $40 at Nordstrom right now (free shipping & free return shipping). Also, I’ve switched to high waisted jeans post-baby . My favorite is Paige but they’re more expensive. Good luck!

    • The Wit and Wisdom jeans at Nordstrom are amazing for this. I think they are about $70ish, had to try a few sizes to get the right fit. Read the reviews, there is helpful info there. Highly recommend.

      • Edna Mazur :

        These looks super cute too! I’ll have to look into those as well.

      • I have these and they stretched out so much that they’re now unwearable. They’re in my goodwill pile

        • I have 3 pairs and haven’t had that problem, thankfully. Might be a difference in styles.

          I do have a pair that is really showing their wear and need to be replaced – but – I have had them for a year and worn 2-3 times a week. This is a softer, stretchier fabric – so I am not really surprised that I need to replace them, and I don’t really feel that bad about it since they were relatively inexpensive.

          Definitely better quality than Old Navy, not as good as Paige, but totally awesome and reasonable for the price point.

    • I really like the Gap Sculpt jeans – they do a lot of the work for post-partum bellies.

  7. Anonymous :

    Y’all, I need some romance in my life. I’m an old married lady (with a kid to boot!) and I want to read some books to remind me what it’s like to be in love. I’m not looking for the bodice-ripper romance novels – I want good fiction (or non-fiction, I suppose) that uplifts me. Think “Time Traveler’s Wife” type thing. What are your favorite books about falling in love (or that have good romantic storylines)?

    • Outlander! I also find rereading Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility to be very soothing and uplifting.

      This is maybe too bodice-ripper-y (although they’re not bodice ripper-y at all), but cbackson always recommends Courtney Milan’s romance novels. I’m not usually a huge fan of straight romance novels, but the ones I’ve read from her have been fun, smart, and sweet without being saccharine.

      • +1 to both of these recs. Another romance writer I really like is Joanna Bourne – she has a series about spies (male and female) during the Napoleonic wars that are great and not bodice ripper-y at all (most of the women are armed and dangerous, and most books only have 1 or 2 sex scenes). Sherry Thomas also has some good books, especially Delicious.

    • Anonymous :


    • The novels I re-read over and over again are Nora Roberts’ Irish trilogy (aka Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy) and anything by Lynn Kurland. Your library probably has all of these.

    • +1 to all of emeralds’ recommendations. I’d also add Frederica by Georgette Heyer. If you like witches and vampires Discovery of Witches is enjoyable. It is more of a story of a woman finding herself than a love story, although the latter is significant.

      • I have like 30 of Georgette Heyer’s novels. They are somewhat formulaic but I enjoyed them all so dearly. Unknown Ajax is probably my favorite.

    • The Japanese Lover is a good read.

    • Romance has come a long way from the bodice rippers of the 70s. If you want stories about falling in love, then romance is really the genre you should consider. There are a whole range of subgenres within the genre, so you might need to sample a few to find your niche.

      I second the recommendation for Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas and Joanna Bourne. I also recommend Julie James – really competent and smart heroines. Nora Robert is a prolific and dependable. Smart B!tches, Trashy Books and Dear Author are a couple of really good website for getting recommendations/reviews.

      • +1 for Julie James. Also check out The Hating Game.

        • Nudibranch :

          Yes to Julie James. You might also try Penny Reid and Laura Florand.

          • Nudibranch :

            If you need a blog to follow for ideas, I usually like (and agree with after I’ve read them myself) Jayne’s reviews at Dear Author.

        • +1 to The Hating Game. I was surprised by how much I loved that book. Sometimes I just re-read certain chapters because I loved it so much (lame, I know, but I’m also reading Fire and Fury so that requires a brief break at times!)

      • +1 for Courtney Milan. Also check out Julia Quinn – I find her Bridgerton series very humorous and romantic. If you are in LA, The Ripped Bodice is a brick and mortar store focused solely on romance of all types, genres and ilks. They are excellent at recommendations! They also have a website – you might try contacting them for some suggestions. I love supporting them because it’s a female-owned business and they are just the best people!

      • I think my comment got eaten – +1 for Courtney Milan. You also might want to check out Julia Quinn – her Bridgerton series is humorous and very romantic. If you’re in LA, check out the Ripped Bodice, which is a brick-and-mortar store that only sells romance. You’ll find all types, varieties, etc. They also have a website, so you might want to contact them for recommendations – which they are fantastic with. I love recommending them because they are fantastic to deal with and it’s great to support a female-owned business! Good luck!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      The Light We Lost. Sweet, easy fiction. The ending isn’t uplifting…but it’s a hopeful book, IMO.

    • the yellow one is the sun :

      Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is really charming!
      Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
      Ditto on recommendations for Courtney Milan

      And it’s technically YA, which I don’t read a ton of but I loved Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and liked Landline by her too.

    • Please read Remember the Sweet Things by Ellen Greene. It is a beautiful true story about love and marriage.

    • Late to the party. All of Beverly Jenkins books, specially “Indigo”. She is an American author of historical and contemporary romance novels, with a particular focus on 19th century African-American life.

  8. Got a call this morning that my best friend’s car was stolen out of her gated apartment parking lot. Drove her to the police station to file a report. In our city it’s very unlikely that she will get it back. Is there anything I can do to help her? I feel so bad that this happened.

    • Anonymous :

      Flowers! I mean, if you have a spare car to lend her, great, but I vote flowers. You can’t really fix this and they show that you are thinking of her.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s annoying, but it will be more annoying if it is recovered b/c it may be just trashed. So — best case scenario, find a good detailing shop. Otherwise, her car insurance may cover rentals and she should check that out until she knows if she needs to go shopping (maybe you could help with that).

      • This is so true. A friend of mine had her car stolen, and it was recovered…full of bullet holes and water. Because it was a new car, the cost to repair < cost to replace, so it spent like, a month being fixed and has never been the same.

        My dad's car was stolen a while ago and it was found…set on fire. So, he got a new one ;)

        • People steal cars to joyride in, for a chop shop, or to commit crimes in. If it’s joyriding, it’ll get recovered somewhere weird and full of mcdonald wrappers, cheap booze, chip bags, and cigarette butts. And it gets worse from there. Pray it’s set on fire or dumped in a lake or something and she can restart with a new car.

          • Thanks everyone. It was only a year old luxury sedan, so insurance probably won’t cover the entire amount she had left to pay on it. Her insurance is paying for a rental for the next couple of weeks until the car is found or not, then she’ll get an insurance settlement.

    • Continue to offer her rides in the meantime until she gets rental car/insurance stuff worked out. Instead of “do you need a ride anywhere?”, say “hey, I’m going to run errands at x and y and get some groceries- want to tag along?” I recently dealt with months of car drama, and this was the most helpful. I constantly felt like burden to everyone around me, but I will never forget offers like this that let me keep a little dignity without having to beg for a ride.

      • +1, and also – if you can spare your car for a day or two, it can be really helpful. I had a car issue a year ago that meant my car was in the shop for 6 weeks. Even though I could rent a car when I really needed one, and filled in the rest with a combination of walking/biking/uber… there tended to be errands that piled up which weren’t significant enough to warrant renting a car BUT would have been a huge PITA to do without one. Having access to a car for a day or two was really helpful to knock those things out.

  9. Has anyone tried the Everlane $50 work pant? I’ve been trying to find a new pair of basic black pants for the last year, and it’s been a comedy of errors (pants that stretch to twice their original size! pants that pick up every piece of fluff and lint in the atmosphere such! allegedly machine-washable pants that get destroyed by a gentle cycle on cold!). I’ve heard good things about Everlane’s quality but this seems too good to be true.

    Alternatively, who’s got a favorite pair of skinny/straight leg black work pants? Price point is not mega-important at this point because I just want to be DONE with this dumba** quest.

    • Brass Modern Trouser. Love it so much.

      • Anonymous :

        I love the Brass ponte pants!

      • Can I ask what your body type is? I am an extreme pear with a booty and short at that so I have a hard time finding pants…

        • Alas, I am 5’5″ with relatively small hip/waist difference, so perhaps not the best fit model for you…

      • Oh wow, how have I not heard of that brand? I want everything. Will probably order both the modern trouser and the ponte pants, and see which ones I like better. Thank you!

    • They don’t feel super-luxurious, but for a basic black work pants, I am loving the Audrey from NY & Company (the regular version, not the ankle, but that’s because it’s winter). $25 each, and you can toss in the washer and hang up to dry. They come in tall, petite, plus, etc. I bought 4 pair because you can only wear them once before washing or the knees will look stretched/wrinkled. Super comfortable and look very nice.

      • Great price point! I’m looking for one workhorse pair and usually wash my work pants like…once a month, so I don’t think these are the right fit for me, but I hope someone else can get some use out of the rec!

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          A month? How? My pants start to get kind of funky in less than a week. Do you have a trick for going so long between washes, or are you just gifted? (Or maybe I’m cursed?)

          • I think it’s a combination of factors. First, I’ve never been a sweaty person, which is probably key. And I never do anything in work pants other than sit at my desk, or at most take a brisk 15 walk, so unless I spill something on myself or the dog swipes a paw on me they just…don’t get dirty. I also wear skirts and dresses frequently, so since I’m only wearing pants 2-3 times a week, each of my two pairs of go-to pants only gets worn 3-4 times before being washed. Usually I’ll pull out a pair of my second-tier work pants at least once or twice a month, too.

            I think my laundry frequency would be different if my dog was prone to jumping or if I had babies/kids spilling crap on me. And also, maybe I’m gross and this is the kind of thing that I shouldn’t admit to people, haha.

          • Emeralds — I have exactly the same laundry rhythms as you. No shame!

    • I have not tried the work pant but I adore their slouchy chino. It’s kind of a challenge to style but it’s great quality and flattering. I think I’ll order the work pant and some jeans. My current favorite skinny black work pants are the Madewell skinny skinny. I got them from ThredUp and I’d be willing to pay full price if I could find them again. I think they were made for J Crew? I also want to note that I do not like the Eileen Fisher pants everyone raves about, or those yoga “dress” pants that are all the rage lately.

      • I have a pair of (non-Everlane) slouchy chinos that I loooove. They’re in a summery color so I can’t wear them all year, but they’re my summer workhorse pants. Let me know if you like the Everlane work pants! I like the “surplus” color, even though I don’t really need green work pants.

        This was my last stop before dropping $200 on the Eileen Fisher pants :)

    • Baconpancakes :

      Piggybacking on this, is there a nicer version of the Old Navy Pixie pants that won’t collect lint and sag but is machine washable? I had a pair from the old Limited that eventually gave up the ghost after 7 years of wear, which I replaced with the ON pants, but they simultaneously fall down and are too tight on the waist.

      • I like the Gap bi-stretch skinny ankle pant for a similar look and bit better quality. They don’t sag on me.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I tried those, but for the cost differential, the fabric didn’t seem to be of a significantly better quality. Are yours of a very thick fabric?

      • I replaced my Old Navy Pixie Pants with the Loft skinny ankle pants cause of the lint thing. They’re machine washable and sag less than the ON ones. The hem did fall out of one pair of pants I bought there (not the ankle pants but still) after 1 wash, but it’s an easy fix and they’re pretty inexpensive so whatever. The quality seems good otherwise.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        The Limited is back! At least online. So you could see if they have a pair similar to your old pair.

    • Ann Taylor’s ponte skinny pants work for me. They’re a 5-pocket style, which is fine for my office but not all. I’m an hourglass.

  10. I have 3 weeks off and am planning to go to SE Asia. Anyone have any suggestions on where to go and what to see/do? I will be travelling by myself for most or all of the trip, so any suggestions on ways to be social and meet some people would be appreciated as well!

    • Chiang Mai, Thailand – Elephant Nature Park is absolutely must-do. Thailand is a big backpacker destination so if you stay at hostels you’ll meet tons of people.

      • +1 to Elephant Nature Park! They are the gold standard for ethical elephant tourism in Southeast Asia and it’s a great place in general for animal lovers. In addition to elephants they have tons of dogs and cats running around the property. They’ve all been vaccinated for rabies, so you can play with them, and most of them are up for adoption so you might end up taking one home!

        If you can’t fit ENP into your itinerary and want to interact with elephants, definitely look for a place that doesn’t let you ride them. Even if the elephants seem to be treated well currently, they’ve gone through a brutal process to break their spirit and train them to be submissive to humans, otherwise it wouldn’t be safe for them to be carrying people on their backs. That process involves separating babies from their moms at a very young age and lots of physical abuse (you learn a bit about it at ENP) and f you go to a trekking camp you’re supporting that process, no matter how happy the elephants seem currently.

    • Huge fan of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. It’s ethereal–one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I enjoyed Vietnam a lot–it was cheap, I felt safe (once I mastered crossing the street). I also went backpacking in Sa Pa (the Northern mountains) and spent a good chunk of time in Hanoi. That’s all I got.

      IME, the best way to meet folks to travel with is to stay in hostels. Lots of hostels have their own rooms, so you don’t have to do it college-style. People can give you great recs on what to see or what they liked in the last city. If your budget allows, you might look at GAP adventures (former Sobek), which have great guided group trips for young folks.

      Also check out the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forums for your destinations–I find those very helpful with insider tips and good suggestions.

      If you are going to SE Asia, make sure you visit a travel clinic and get the shots and meds that you need. I took anti-malarials at the behest of my doctor, and that is the first and only time I’ve sleep-talked. My friend said I was saying some hilarious stuff, all while asleep.

      • Senior Attorney :

        + a million for Ha Long Bay. Vietnam is amazing although you have to watch your belongings very carefully in Ho Chi Minh City — I lost my camera when I left it in a dressing room for just one minute. Hanoi is fantastic, especially the Old Quarter. And if you’re not into hostels, the Sofitel Legend Metropol in Hanoi is just great.

        I also highly recommend Cambodia — so much history and the people are so amazing despite their tragic recent history. Phnom Penh is great and Siem Reap and the temples is not to be missed!

      • Loved Vietnam – I travelled from the North to the South – starting in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and then moving to Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hoi An and through Ho Chi Min to Phuquoc Island. I wanted to go on Mekong Delta, but didn’t do it in the end. However, some of my friends did the Mekong trip and they were very excited about it. Personally, I did not find much charm in HCMC, but I needed the transfer to get to the island. Also, I love food and enjoyed trying different sub-cuisines of each territory.
        I also liked some of Thai islands – Ko Hai, Ko Lanta (southern part) and Bangkok was also interesting. But I found Thailand to be less authentic and enjoyable compared to Vietnam.
        I would also recommend hughlights of Cambodia as per Senior Attorney’s reco.
        If you get a chance, stop by in Singapore – it is worth it.

      • I LOVED Vietnam. Other suggestions: I really liked the Delta region. We stayed in a “home stay” outside Can Tho (we stayed exclusively in home stays, this one was just fancier) that was absolutely amazing. Huts over the Mekong and bike rides/boat rides through the jungle and really nice fellow travelers.

        I loved HCM too, but the main locations for hostels was definitely more dirty-backpacker vibe. I’d stay a few blocks away from that and spend my time drinking iced coffees in all the tiny, utterly charming hidden cafes. The food in Hoi An was the best we had, but Hoi An in general is a little more “Vietnam Disney World.” Just don’t spend all your time in Hoi An. Hanoi is one of my favorite cities in the world.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I stayed at the Sheraton in Ho Chi Minh City and it was fab with an amazing rooftop bar, if you’re going highish-end.

    • Anonymous :

      I went for 3 weeks a few years ago and backpacked around. I absolutely loved it and am so excited for you! The backpacker and solo traveler routes are well-worn there. I started in Ho Chi Minh City then made my way through southern Vietnam eventually crossing by boat to Cambodia and taking a bus to Phnom Penh. In Vietnam, I highly recommend getting a local guide to take you on a boat trip down the Mekong. I was able to find a local college student who did this as a second job and I also rode motor bikes with her. I did this close to the Cambodia border, not in Ho Chi Minh.

      In Cambodia, I took a bus to Ankor Wat and spent a few days there. I recommend biking the ruins if you are up for it. Bikes are $1 to rent, and you can go your own pace and get to the far flung temples this way. From here, I flew to Ko Phi Phi, an island in Thailand, but you could really take your trip a lot of different directions from here.

      Ko Phi Phi is really beautiful. I think they shot The Beach there. The town center is pretty touristy, but if you head out a bit, it’s less populated. You can take snorkel trips from here or just chill on the beach. Highly recommend getting a Thai massage. From here, you can head to Bangkok. Depending on how you like to spend your travels, I don’t recommend spending more than 2 days in Bangkok. You can easily walk or tuk tuk to the major sites in a 1 -1.5 days. I am more of an outdoorsy person and live in a city, so I like to hit cities quickly on my travels, but to each their own.

      I have been to dozens of countries, but SE Asia was by far one of my favorite adventures!

      • Anonymous :

        They shot The Beach on Ko Phi Phi Leh, which is an uninhabited island close to the main island, Ko Phi Phi Don. You can visit Ko Phi Phi Leh in a daytrip from Phuket, but I recommend staying on KPP Don so you can beat the crowds over there, especially if you’re traveling in high season. The beaches on KPP Don are also beautiful (turquoise water, powdery white sand, etc) albeit not as dramatic as the limestone cliffs of “The Beach.” We spent 4 days at a resort on KPP Don (Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort) and it was beautiful and super relaxing – the perfect way to end 2 hectic weeks of trekking around Thailand.

    • Anonymous :

      In Siem Reap, I really enjoyed the Grasshopper bike tour of Angkor Wat. The temples are very far apart, and most tourists get driven between them, but it was a ton more fun to be zipping through the jungle on six-inch wide trails. I also enjoyed Kep for just hanging out on the beach and eating seafood straight from the crab market (you pay them a dollar or so on top of the price of the seafood and they cook it for you).

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My favorites were Laos (especially Luang Prabang and the Plain of Jars!) and Vietnam (particularly Hanoi and Hue and Hoi An) and Siem Reap in Cambodia.

      You could probably do a not-too-rushed itinerary that, for example, started in Hanoi, then trains/cars to Hue and Hoi An, then same to Saigon. Lots of options to get from Saigon to Siem Reap, and then you can fly from Siem Reap to Vientiane. The sky in Vientiane was so big! And you can go to Buddha Park! If you’re going from Vientiane to Luang Prabang you should fly. If you’re going to Phonsavan don’t make the mistake I did of taking a tourist transit provider — just go on the bus with local folk… much less scary on the windy roads. It’s a long time in cars, but the Plain of Jars was a pretty amazing thing to see. There’s also a lovely ecolodge called Bon Pako not far outside Vientiane. If you’re going to any of those places, you can fly in or out through Bangkok and spend a night there if you want (wasn’t my favorite). It was very easy to get from Siem Reap to Bangkok in some kind of taxi thing.

      I found Hanoi very social and welcoming — just sit at a bia hoi place on the sidewalk and chat with people! Luang Prabang has an almost beachy vibe, lots of riding bikes and sitting by the river, and the best beer I’ve had in Asia, which also lends itself to sitting and talking with strangers.

      You’re going to have so much fun!!! I’m jealous.

  11. In late February I will accompany my husband to a fundraiser in a private home in LA (with the possibility of another the following night in San Diego). My husband is doing the fundraising (think arts organization, not his day job). Evening event with mingling, hors d’oeuvres, and a presentation for some big $$$ donors. We are in the Northeast and I need outfit help as much of my wardrobe consists of wool blazers/neutrals. I’m a size 6, 5’4, 30ish. Looking to spend up to $150 but preferably under $100. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      You need a couple cocktail dresses! Not too revealing but pretty. Try RTR

      • Yup, this is what RTR was made for.

      • +1 You should just do RTR. Also you can definitely get two designer dresses for under $150 (not sure about $100 – you can use a first time customer $20 off coupon code though).

        Also, not sure if youve used RTR before but for each dress, you can see photo reviews of different heights/sizes, which is super helpful.

    • Might be a bit over your budget, but for an artsy crowd in LA, I’d go for something with more movement than a cocktail dress – I’d get something along the lines of this dress (which I have and love, btw): https://www.shopbop.com/juliette-dress-misa/vp/v=1/1567620697.htm
      The suggested “you might also like” are pretty too.

      • Travel Compromise :

        I now really need an excuse to buy the Carolina dress in the “you might also like” section. $200 of gorgeously impractical green velvet and nowhere to wear it? Swoon.

  12. What do you wear on the weekend? I own yoga leggings and business casual skirts and dresses and realised that I feel a bit out of place in either at the weekend. A cute sweater and skinny jeans is clearly the answer but I have some health issues that preclude jeans (seams are very uncomfortable for me). I just want to own two cute outfits that I can wear to brunch, baby meet-ups etc. I’m in Scotland so I wear tights 10 months of the year.

    • Anonymous :

      Tunic-y sweaters and leggings, sweater dresses, tights, and booties.

    • What about t-shirt dresses? (They don’t just have to have short sleeves – you can find 3/4 sleeves and sleeveless, too, for different seasons.) You could wear those with tights. Sweater dresses in the colder months.

      • T-shirt dresses sound like a good idea. I’m currently nursing which complicates things a bit further but will wean over the summer. I always think sweater dresses are too office-y but maybe I should have a look. I’m going to the states in June so I’m planning to do an Athleta order and some browsing.

        • I was back in the UK at Christmas and bought a great striped long-sleeved t-shirt dress from H&M, it was ridiculously cheap. Also bought a swing cotton dress from Hush, which I see is much reduced in the sale! Very comfy and button-front so might be OK for nursing? Link below.

          • https://www.hush-uk.com/womenswear/daywear/dresses_skirts/posey_shirt_dress_black_star_stripe.htm

    • Diana Barry :

      In the winter for a daytime GTG with other parents I wear warm leggings (athleta polartec), and a Boden dress or tunic with a uniqlo heattech shirt underneath. I am always cold so I usually have a sweater over that too.

    • An out-of-the-box suggestion – if your health concern relates to pressure/sensitivity/bloating in the stomach area, and you’re still interested in the skinny jeans look, try on a few pairs of maternity skinny jeans with the full over-the-belly band. I wore mine for like 3 years post-partum and they are so comfortable. (This works for me because I tend to carry excess weight in my belly, so I have at least a little something there to hold them up – and I also tuck the band into the bottom of my bra).

    • Anonymous :

      Fleece lined black leggings, black tank and a sweater/cardigan/tunic over top is my winter weekend go to – usually with booties.

    • I have taken to wearing stretchy (not quite skinnies but narrow leg) jeans in either dark wash or black with a coordinating tee or tank and a long cardigan, usually in a color. With the jeans I tend to go with a cardigan in the Blue family. I mostly wear these with ankle strap flats if it’s not raining, low ankle boots if it is, or Mary Jane sneakers if I need to walk a lot or be sporty-ish (like attending my daughter’s games). I basically stick to black or navy as my weekend base colors and have shoes and accessories that work with that.

      In warmer weather I will switch out the jeans either a dark wash denim skirt (well tailored, not sister wives) or a black tank dress, and wear a similar topper but lighter weight depending on the weather. I will admit to wearing Birkenstock mayaris about 75% of the weekends in really warm weather.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Are jeggings out as well? I would also recommend non-yoga leggings in a more cotton-y, matte fabric, and maybe a looser fit (like the Lands’ End Starfish leggings) so they look less sporty.

    • My uniform is non-yoga leggings, paneled and made from thick material. I bought them from Zara few years ago and regret not having stocked up. I might need to get a few more.
      On top I wear real Aran sweaters from Ireland. They are oversized, thick and fluffy.
      I have been wearing this combo since September.

    • Hobbs knitted dresses rock. And if you want trousers look for the German brand Robell. Their trousers are soft and stretchy and their jeans are even stretcher. I can do Pilates in mine. You get them in independent smboutiques in Scotland (let me know if you want names).

    • Lately I’ve been wearing ponte pants (thicker material than workout leggings, have pockets and a zipper/button) with a military green button-down utility shirt and a long (almost knee-length) gray cardigan. I can wear the same outfit with booties or loafers depending on the weather. I also love my black stretchy maxi skirt for the spring/summer/fall. I pair it with a chunky sweater and scarf when it’s cooler, and when it’s warmer, a chambray half-button shirt or t-shirt. Super versatile and easy to dress up (dinner) or way down (beach).

  13. Travel Compromise :

    DH and I are trying to plan a big vacation trip. I like history, he likes nature. His ideal trip is a week of hiking in the wilderness, mine is a week in Rome. Any recs for fabulous places you’ve visited that have both? We’re looking to spend about a week, and don’t want to travel too much once we’re there. (Car or train ride is ok, multiple flights to different locations are a no-go) TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      Austria/Switzerland. Great cities, amazing hiking. Sweden. Quebec City. Montenegro.

    • Anonymous :

      Edinburgh and the highlands.

      • Yep. If you’re still reading, we did Edinburgh for a few days and the Highlands for about 5 days and it was the most remarkable trip. Second this great suggestion.

        • Anonymous :

          Not the OP, but where did you stay in the Highlands? Did you stay in one place and take day trips or stay in a bunch of places?

          • Fort William and Inverness are both good bases for day trips. I’ve done both – it just depends on what places you want to see more. Fort William is better if you want to climb Ben Nevis, which sounds like it might be up OP’s alley, or take the Jacobite Train across the Glenfinnan Viaduct (famously flown over in a flying car in the second Harry Potter movie) to the coast. Inverness is better for Loch Ness and the Culloden battlefield, as well as hiking in Glen Affric, which is gorgeous.

          • I stayed at Bunchrew House, which is 400 year old manor house turned hotel. Lovely service, good food, and a beautiful location. It’s about 15 minutes outside of Inverness.

    • As someone who enjoys hiking and historic cities– I adored Prague. The Czech countryside is amazing, and the city has more than enough to keep you occupied for a whole week. It’s very affordable and people are very friendly!


      Curious to see what others will say, too.

    • This may not help much since we haven’t done it yet, but our family is planning a walking vacation in England this summer. Our intention is to do most of the Winchester to Canterbury route known as the Pilgrims’ Way. The scenery and cathedrals will be incredible. We are going to use a company (haven’t decided which one) to make the arrangements and transport our luggage each night. We’ll make a stop at Jane Austen’s house.

    • Italian Dolomites? Maybe fly into Milan and out of a different Italian city to get a city/history day or two on either end of the hiking.

      Scotland is also great for history + hiking.

      • Dolomites + Venice! Fascinating history and great walking/hiking in both. You can drive to Cortina d’Ampezzo from Venice Marco Polo Airport in two hours.

      • Mineallmine :

        Ooh, yeah I flew into Venice and rented a car to get into the Dolomites. So beautful, and the agriturismos (farm restaurants) are wonderful. There’s a lot of history around there, even on the trails, because so many countries have claimed that region. We hiked from refugio to refugio, which was amazing, or you can stay in the little towns scattered around the mountains. We airbnbed when we weren’t hoking, and one night we stayed at a glassblower’s workshop.

    • Cinque Terre. Machu Picchu. Scottish highlands. Croatia. The El Camino de Santiago trail.

      Admittedly, there’s a lot of variation in intensity in that list, but one of them might be a good compromise. You could also compromise with 3 days of hiking and 3 days of city.

      • Anonymous :

        I loved hiking Cinque Terre but I don’t think there’s much there for a history lover unless you combine it with Rome or Florence, which are both a ways away.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I haven’t been, but I think Croatia would fit your bill. I really want to go to Croatia, though, so if you do go, report back!

      • Me too! It’s my plan for my yearly solo trip for my 40th birthday!

      • Anonymous :

        +1 for Croatia! And you can take the ferries up and down the coast very easily, and it’s usually only a few hours.

    • Machu Pichu

      • Agree. This is the perfect combination of nature + history. You can hike to some very cool ruins along the way – lots of fascinating history in that part of the world.

    • My ideas are probably too vague to be helpful to you, because I haven’t traveled much (yet), but I thought I’d chime in anyway, because DH and I also look to mix nature and history when we plan trips. Seconding everyone who suggested castles and ruins–we just had a great time in East Anglia, which is not typically considered much of a tourist destination AFAIK, but I particularly enjoyed religious buildings that were destroyed by Henry the VIII and left overgrown since then.
      A couple of other ideas that I wanted to suggest though, since you didn’t really specify what kind of history:
      ~Maritime and naval history are, by definition, usually located on coastlines with beautiful scenery and wildlife. Again, we had fun in East Anglia (some of the wooden boats that went to Dunkirk are still operational)
      ~Artist colony and author retreats are often chosen for their isolation and connection to nature. Didn’t Hemingway and a bunch of famous poets hang out in Key West? And of course there’s a bunch in the south-western US. I’m a little rusty, but I bet if you have a favorite author, they were probably associated with a place worth visiting.

    • Normandy.

      • + one million

        I was so moved my going there earlier in 2017. I will (happily) never shake that experience.

    • Israel? History is obvious, plus opportunities for hiking in the north, seeing the Dead Sea, etc.

      Turkey? Istanbul & Cappadocia

      Argentina? Buenos Aires with a 4-day side trip to Patagonia

      • Travel Compromise :

        I’ve been to Turkey and would love to go back for this trip, but the recent travel warnings/visa issues made me reconsider. Can anyone speak to this?

        • There are so many great other options, I would be cautious about Turkey at present. If you decide to go, I would be more inclined to do a group or guided tour of some type as the guides would be knowledgeable about current events and change plans accordingly if the situation evolved.

        • BabyAssociate :

          I was in Istanbul alone around this time last year and I explored all over the city on foot and via public transit. I felt no less safe than I ever have in an any other major city. Sadly, I did not make it to Cappadocia, so I cannot speak to that.

          • But a lot has changed in the last two months no? I’d be worried that the current attacks on the Kurds in Syria by Turkey will lead to retaliatory attacks within Turkey.

          • I’m not an alarmist; I’ve wanted to explore Turkey for years; and I would not plan a trip there with the current climate. State’s guidance is that expats and Westerners are specifically targeted for terrorist attacks, and that US citizens have been subject to arbitrary detentions. The situation is definitely different from last year. I mean, statistically an individual traveler is still likely to be fine…but there are so many awesome places in the world that do not currently bear the level of risk that Turkey does.


    • Southern Spain and hiking in the Alpujarras/ the whitewashed villages there are beautiful.

    • the yellow one is the sun :

      Hong Kong? I loved the city proper, Aberdeen and Kowloon, Dragon’s Back trail, and hiking Lantau and Lamma islands just a short ferry ride away. It’s really an incredible place.

      This article has good info on hiking HK: https://www.sassyhongkong.com/wellness-hikes-trails-adventure-bucket-list/

    • Israel definitely fits the bill for this. LOTS of history and LOTS of outdoor activities/hiking. Potentially also parts of South America, like Argentina where you could include some time in the cities for more of the history part. We did a Greece Trip, which we absolutely loved and depending on which islands you choose, some have more hiking opportunities than others.

    • biglawanon :

      Oman (just not in the summer). Lots of historical things, beautiful coastline, natural pools, and desert hikes/activities. Clean and safe country with excellent roads and predictable weather.

    • Some of my tips will repeat ehat was already written, but at least you will see they are worth it ;)
      I am a combination of you and your husband – I need both – hiking and history.
      I loved Scotland (the Highlands, Isle of Skye, Edinburgh, St Andrews, small villages aling the roads), Austria (Salzburg, Vienna, the Alps), Italy (the Dolomites, Lago di Garda with nearby Verona), Slovenia, Croatia (most of my intl friends loved Dubrovnik), Spain, Czech republic (Prague from which you can make a lot of outdoor trips within max 3hr drive and/or stay in amazing B&Bs – check some facebook inspirations at Amazing Places), Slovakia (hiking in High Tatras or Slovensky raj can be combined with walks in some old cities or even visits to places on the Polish side such as Krakow or Oswiencim). Argentina’s Buenos Aires can be combined with a trip to Patagonia.

  14. Anonymous :

    Has anyone been to Scandinavia? Specifically, we are thinking of going to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and then driving for about 5 days or so around the fjords in Norway. It’s the roadtrip part in Norway that we are a little stuck on because there is so much to see and we have so little time.

    • I’ve been. I would skip either Stockholm or Copenhagen in favor of more time in Norway. I personally liked Stockholm a lot more than Copenhagen but I think that might be a somewhat unpopular opinion.

      • Considering a similar trip, can you elaborate about Copenhagen?

        • I feel like Stockholm is a more physically beautiful city. One of my favorite things to do in Europe is just wander the streets, people-watching and admiring the pretty street scenes and I felt like Stockholm was way better for that. Stockholm has an “old town” with beautiful buildings and public squares with cafes, and there’s no real equivalent of that in Copenhagen (Copenhagen has a cute canalfront area but it’s much smaller).

          We were there in March, so weather was not great in either place and I felt like there was a lot more to do inside in Stockholm – there are several major museums there (Vasa Museum, Nobel Museum, etc.) I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot to do in CPH in general in March – we did the canal cruise and that was fun but took about 2 hours and then we weren’t really sure what to do with the rest of the three days we had booked there. Tivoli Gardens was closed for the season and one of the palaces was closed as well (I think that was just random bad luck, not a seasonal closure). I think you’d probably have a much better experience in the summer.

          Scandinavia is expensive in general, but at the time of my trip (almost 10 years ago now), Denmark was significantly more expensive than Sweden or Norway. I’m not sure if that’s still the case. But we were poor students, so not only could we not take advantage of CPH’s amazing fine dining scene, it was really hard to find a decent dinner under $25/person in Copenhagen and as a result we ate a lot of fast food and at terrible chain restaurants. It was a relief when we got to Stockholm and could afford a regular meal at a decent local restaurant. I know a lot of people who love CPH and “good food” is usually high on their list of reasons why – I don’t doubt that’s true, but you have to spend big for it, it’s not like Asia or even many other Euro cities I’ve been to with great cheap eats.

          • Thank you so much for this! I have a similar style to you so this is incredibly helpful!

    • Rather Be Painting :

      I have a trip planned to Copenhagen in March – with a 16 year old daughter. I’m curious too about the Copenhagen follow up … and any other comments or advise as to things to do and see while we are there. Planning art themed trip.

      • Pale Girl Snorkeling :

        I loved Copenhagen! Great city, lovely people and one of the most interesting museums I’ve been to (museum geek) I was also in Norway and I took the overnight ferry to Copenhagen. It’s pretty reasonable for both a hotel room and transport and the views were lovely going in and out of the cities.

        My experience in Norway as that trains were the easiest way to get around. I’ve always wanted to take the Bergen to Oslo train which is supposed to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world.

    • The Frenchie Is My Favorite Kid :

      We flew into Copenhagen, flew to Oslo, flew to Stockholm and flew home from Stockholm last year with children and grandparents. Oslo was our least favorite city but we enjoyed Stockholm and Copenhagen.

      We enjoyed the food in Copenhagen more and we enjoyed the art museums there as well. Also, the smallish amusement park (Tivoli) was open late and was a great place to walk around, have a snack and let the kids play while we suffered from jet lag. We enjoyed biking as well.

      I wish we’d spent more time driving in the country side. Both cities were fairly quiet and pleasant for a few days though.

      For us, we splurged on the Marriott hotel in Copenhagen and stayed on the club floor – it was so relaxing because they had a lovely breakfast, tea hour and cocktail hour. In both countries, stores and museums were open fairly limited hours (10-6 ish for a most) so it was good to have a spot to relax and eat at the hotel.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      Went to Scandinavia for my bar trip. Loved Copenhagen and we spent several days there, definitely not too much time as the city has such a rich history and culture. We then did a cruise and went to several locations in Norway. For fjords, Geirangerfjord was my favorite stop and absolutely stunning. During our trip to Bergen, we also traveled out to a nearby stave church, which I’d highly recommend as it was such a unique experience. You’ll have a great time, we loved everything about the trip.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      I just saw this post about road-tripping in Norway: http://madlori.tumblr.com/post/170307927840/hey-im-thinking-of-taking-a-driving-trip-around

  15. Today’s challenge is texture – same color, different textures. Kat suggested mixing textures like silk, tweed, leather and lace.

    I’m on the west coast and still getting dressed. I have a lace sheath dress in navy i bought to wear to a wedding and could pair it with a long warm cardigan in a similar-enough shade of navy, but i don’t really have the shoes to make it work.

    I think I am going to wear different textures in black. I have a faux leather front pencil skirt that I have worn with a long silky tank and a fuzzy boxy pullover over that, all black.

    • Hit post too soon. What are you wearing?

    • Legally Brunette :

      I didn’t mix textures so much but I love my outfit. Gorgeous navy/turquoise/gold tweed skirt from Boden that I can finally fit into (woo hoo!), navy turtleneck from Express, Nadri long gold necklace, gold hoops from my mom.

    • Nerfmobile :

      Today for mixing textures I have a pair of black pants, a black top with a lace overlay (and a floral print on the lace) and a wooly cardigan in cream and denim blue. Plus charcoal grey suede valley flats.

    • I should have worn a t-shirt sweater with a flowy blouse underneath, a la The Directrice. Unfortunately, I realized this half way to work. (Do-overs ok on this challenge, right?)

    • Today’s challenge made me realize that my favorite Tory Burch cardigan has gone missing from my closet. sigh. We’ve had a lot of new cleaners through in the past few months and I can’t pinpoint last time I wore it but it’s definitely gone. I hope it’s just stuck in some random place but that’s pretty unlikely.

      • I was visiting my grandparents with my daughter. I had my fav thick wool Classiques Entier cardigan in the stroller basket because it was warm out. I left the stroller outside their apartment because the place is too small. No kidding, someone swiped the cardigan. So weird. Why??! So I feel you.

    • This was a hard one for me because I thought people might think it was odd if I wore a lace top and leather biker jacket to the office! I ended up with a gray sheath dress, white cardigan with small gray pompons and pearls around the neckline, and gray and white snakeskin belt/shoes. Since I wore all my texture pieces yesterday by accident, it was the best I could put together. Looking forward to blue and red tomorrow, though!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have a brown faux leather knife-pleated skirt with a silk knit tee and nubby tweedy moto jacket from several years ago. And pewter metallic reptile-textured pumps. And shiny smooth pearls. And a fuzzy pompom on my handbag. I am Queen Texture today! :)

  16. Slow cooker or instant pot? :

    My slow cooker stopped working rather suddenly. Should I replace it with another slow cooker or an instant pot? Can the instant pot stand in for the slow cooker for recipes I already like? My family is vegetarian, if it matters. Thanks!

    Also, if I do get an instant pot, what size do you recommend?

    • I think if you’re only going to have one, go for the 6 quart instant pot. It has a slow cooker function but it’s a very low slow cook. I just prefer to use the pressure cooking function and not cook things all day.

      • Agree. We are a family of 3 and the 6qt is fine for standard recipes. It is great for reducing the cooking time of beans and you can do rice as well.

    • I have a 6 qt and never use the slow cooker function. I just pressure cook everything I would have slow cooked and reduce the liquid a bit and consult the pressure cooking time tables in the book it comes with.

  17. Here's a fun one :

    You all have great taste so I’d love to know:

    1) What was the best item of clothing/shoes/accessories you bought last year?
    2) What was the worst? (so we can all learn from your mistake!)

    • 1) I invested in a good quality bag for work (Tumi) that has been worth its weight in gold.
      2) A vest. I am not a vest person, I discovered.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Best – $20 leopard print sleeveless top from Nordstrom Rack. I love leopard print and the neckline is square which is very flattering on me.

      Worst – some flowy tops from Banana Republic. They’re fine but I realized that I just don’t look great in flowy tops so I shouldn’t buy them anymore, even if they are more on trend.

    • Best = a navy blue and black tweed blazer from Ann Taylor. It looks fantastic with black, blue, cream, and olive tops (and these are the colors I wear 95% of the time), and goes well over a dress, jeans, slacks, or a skirt. I can jam it in the top of a suitcase and it doesn’t wrinkle. It looks polished but also is not particularly memorable so I can wear it multiple times during a conference. I wear this blazer so much.

      Worst – a 3 pack of workout tops from Amazon. I thought it would help my gym routine to have multiple clothes in case my favorite workout top is smelly or damp. But these look dumb and I won’t wear them, and it’s not worth it to return them, so blah they’re sitting in my drawer mocking me now.

      • Yes! I have recently discovered the power of the black/navy combo. I bought a tweedy jacket that has black, navy and a hint of lavender/grey in it… it has become my most versatile piece. I wear it constantly.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Two pairs of $13 black ponte leggings from Walmart. They’re thick, opaque, and so comfortable. I am 100% on team Leggings as Pants now.

    • 1) Scalloped sandals in a neutral-to-me color from a heritage Italian shoemaker. I feel like a breezy socialite every time I put them on, and they go with everything.

      2) The failed black pants I mentioned above. They looked great in the store. Wore them to work for the first time, and by 11am it looked like I had on a diaper they had stretched so much. Not my best look…

      • I hate my bi-stretch pants also. I just don’t get it. They don’t look polished and pick up every piece of lint in sight.

    • Best: Halogen zip up boiled wool coat (sort of a moto jacket but as a coat) bought at the Anniversary Sale. I get so many compliments on it and it’s warm.

      Worst: Gap bi-stretch pants. I hate them and feel angry and dumpy every time I put them on. They have also faded to a sickly black green after 1 trip to the dry cleaners. Fortunately, I bought a few new pairs and can trash them when the new pairs come back from my seamstress.

      • As a counter point – I love my gap bi-stretch ankle pants

        They are definitely a casual option but are super comfy and do require ironing. Great for days when I don’t have any big meetings. You can also get them for like $30. I wash them in the washing machine inside out and then lay flat to dry

        I also got a pair of pewter oxfords in the anniversary sale and they the most complimented items that i own.

        Finally, i discovered the jewlery section of Cos. It’s simple, architectural pieces that are really affordable.

      • As a counter point – I love my gap bi-stretch ankle pants

        They are definitely a casual option but are super comfy and do require ironing. Great for days when I don’t have any big meetings. You can also get them for like $30. I wash them in the washing machine inside out and then lay flat to dry

        I also got a pair of pewter oxfords in the anniversary sale and they the most complimented items that i own.

        Finally, i discovered the jewelry section of Cos. It’s simple, architectural pieces that are really affordable.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I got that coat, too, and I love it.

        Too bad we’re not having winter in So Cal this year…

    • Baconpancakes :

      Best: Boden Elsa Ottoman dress in Navy. Dang I love that dress. I’m never bare armed at work (too cold!), so the low scoop back is fine, and then I can go out for drinks and feel sexy.

      Best bonus: Old Navy star and moon foil printed leggings and top. As someone was saying about motivating yourself to work out, I love love love this workout outfit, and will go to the gym just to get to wear it.

      Worst: Old Navy pixie pants in black. Just uncomfortable, does not fit at all, collects lint like crazy, and has faded terribly after 7 washes. (The red pixie pants are fine, though! So weird.)

      Worst bonus: Capezio “Light Suntan” opaque tights. No one has skin that color. It looks like dead flesh. Ugh.

    • Travel Compromise :

      Best- A random $20 black dress I picked up at TJ Maxx on a whim. It fits better than any other work dress I own and can be worn at least 9 months of the year. I can’t find the brand sold anywhere (Annalee + Hope) and I’m already mourning its inevitable decline.
      Worst- Black Alfani pants from Macy’s. I shopped when I was super bloated, bought a size too large, and tried to tailor them myself. So no fault of the pants, but it was a terrible purchase for me!

      • I’ve had that same issue – finding a great piece at TJ Maxx but can’t find any sign of the brand anywhere on the internet (Grace is a particular favorite for knit tops, but apparently only exists at TJM or in my imagination).

        Can anyone who works in retail/supply chain/apparel manufacturing/etc. explain this?

      • I got lots of hits searching annalee hope on eBay!

    • I’ll play!
      Best: A cap sleeve mock neck grey sweater from BR factory. Oh and lucky brand basel booties.
      Worst: another pair of high waist jeans. High waist jeans just don’t work for my body type.

      I’ve also come to the conclusion this year that tops look best on me when they hit me right at the hip, or just very slightly below.

    • Best: Eliza J ruffle sleeve sheath dress from Nordstrom. Nice take on a traditional sheath dress, great color. I get complements every time I wear it. Link in reply.

      A bunch of bell sleeve tops I got at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. I tried a couple because the price was right, but totally not my style

      • https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/eliza-j-ruffle-sleeve-sheath-dress/4610309?contextualcategoryid=2375500&origin=recentsearches1&keyword=eliza+j+dresses

    • Best – new underwear and new bras. I replaced almost all my underwear with the 6 for $36 deal from soma, I bought two of the deals.

      New bras – I was definitely wearing the wrong size even after the highly recommended Nordstrom fittings. I used a bra that fits on redd1t and bought and returned around 30 bras on amazon and finally found my perfect bra. I have multiples of this Bra now and got rid of all my old ones. I now never have underwrites bugging me, I never have to yank at my bra. It’s life changing, seriously. (FYI Nordstrom had me in a 40dd, I’m actually a 38g in Elomi)

      Worst – I bought too many bags trying to find the perfect work bag, and I always go back to my tumi tote bags (I have beige and black ones). Lesson learned.

      • These are the Soma underwear I bought. Mostly in shades to match my new bras, but a couple of fun colors too


      • This is my bra – it comes in two black patterned colors and one beige color, and i have a couple in each


        • Similar size here (36hh uk sizing) and I own one of these and it is the t i t s!

          Also, their caitlyn t bra with the side lace, awesome.

          • ( . )( . ) :

            Similar sizing here too! Love elomi, thanks for the additional recs!

          • Pom Pom, I will check out the Caitlyn t!

            (.)(.) great handle LOL!!

          • I conflated two awesome bras!

            The caitlyn is great, but not a T shirt bra. Still recommend.
            The Amelia is my favorite–smooth for t’s and sweaters, etc.

    • 2017 purchases :

      Best: A trench coat from Hobbs on post-Christmas markdown. It was recommended by Cap Hill Style. It replaced a London Fog raincoat that always made me feel frumpy when I wore it — I hesitated to pull the trigger since the London Fog didn’t need to be replaced but I am so glad I did. I have gotten tons of use out of it!

      Worst: Banana Republic Ryan fit black wool pants. After I’d worn them a few times, realized they are doing me no favors and they get terribly wrinkled by the end of the day. (They were on sale and I bought two pairs–so I doubled my mistake)

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      1. Best purchase(s): MMLF Nakamura pants (but maybe I bought them in 2016)? They are super comfortable, super flattering and always look wonderful. In case that doesn’t count, I have a gorgeous long tweed coat that I bought in the summer from Cos because it was on sale. It is my new favorite coat.

      2. Worst purchase: I got a long dress from BCBG Maxazria for an event and I don’t really love it enough to ever wear it again. https://www.bcbg.com/en/felicia-geometric-burnout-print-gown/NLC65J61-R6N.html

  18. Vegan shoe recs? :

    Any experience with Ahimsa or Beyond Skin shoes in general, and also abt ease of ordering from US? I’m looking to update some very conservative work casual flats/ low heels that I wear into the ground (usually Clark’s ) but I want to go vegan with time. These 2 brands have the most simple nice looking flats I’ve found to replace my Ivanka Chic3 (worn since 2015 and they are wearing like iron) flats with hidden wedge. From Trump + leather to vegan! (Also going to try Rothys based on hive recs butvreally want a new forever shoe company.) Thanks!

    • No experience but Ahimsa and Beyond Skin shoes look terrific!

    • Don’t try Rothys!! I ranted about them in an earlier thread, they were by far my worst purchase of 2017. They run so small, have a terrible return policy, are made of a skin-irritating material, and get SO STINKY it’s unbelievable. Plus they aren’t even that cushioned, and don’t look nearly as nice in person as in photos.

  19. J crew coat :

    Does anyone have this jacket (either in this color or any other color)? Trying to get a sense of how it fits. If you have seen the yellow in person, is it more mustard or a bright yellow? I’m looking for the latter.


  20. Help me pant shop :

    I need black work pants that actually fit me. I’m 5’8″ and wide in the hips, but I don’t have the thicker backside that most true pears seem to struggle with. (I was never bootylicious, but I swear this total lack of butt is a new development in my mid-30s.)

    – I have wide hips and muscular thighs, but no booty to speak of. Curvy fits, like the Loft Julie, don’t look right even though they should work, in theory. I think they’re made for people with a much curvier backside than I have. I need a 12 to accommodate the width of my hips but then I’m left with extra fabric under the butt?
    – Loft Marisa used to be my standby, but I’m in between sizes. The 12 is ridiculously baggy, but the 10 is tighter in the thighs/butt than I’m comfortable with for work. Given how quickly they wear out, I don’t think alterations are worth it.
    – I’ve had good luck with Express editors in the past, but the rise on their new versions are way too low for me.
    – ON pixie pants are a disaster on me. If they fit in the thighs, they are GIANT in the waist.
    – Ponte pants seem to be a good solution because of the stretch factor, but they’re definitely not the norm in my environment. I can’t get past the mental hurdle.

    Help? Something machine washable is a must.

    • Have you tried the Eileen Fisher crepe pants? Everyone swears by them and they are so comfortable that it’s lkke secretly wearing pajamas to work.

      I’d order your regular size and one size down from a place with good returns like Nordstrom and see how you like them to fit.

      They’re expensive and don’t go on sale but they’re so worth it. I wear mine every week and have had them for 2 years.

      • This is the ankle pant, which is what I have. They also have other leg styles.


      • I tried these on last night, and while they are super comfortable, I’m kind of struggling with how I would style them for work. I think it’s the lack of a defined waist-band. How do people style these for the office?

        • I wear them with a blouse that doesn’t get tucked in and then a jacket or cardigan.

        • Yep no tucking

          • I actually kind of follow the Eileen Fisher “system” styling with mine. I tend to wear one of her silk tanks with a cardigan or jacket. I tend not to wear the boxier cardigans. I like the longer ones that are closer to the body. I also like the ones that have a horizontal back seam at the waist for some shaping. Not an EF employee, I swear! I just like professional, comfortable, washable clothes in pretty/sustainable fabrics.

      • Note that the Stretch Crepe Slim Pant, the Stretch Crepe Ankle Pant, and the Stretch Crepe Pant are three different styles and fit differently. The latter is closest to a traditional work pant and has a wider waistband.

    • Have you tried the BR Sloan pants?

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I’m wearing NY&Co tall pants, which pretty much work for me (I’m 5’9″ with no booty; my hips aren’t very wide but they’re wide compared to my waist, so I dunno if that helps).

  21. Recruiter / Headhunter :

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a headhunter / recruiter in the DC area for making the move from Biglaw to in-house, particularly anyone that works with Litigation/compliance type positions?

  22. Leopard Print? :

    I would like to find some muted leopard print pieces – maybe a dress or a skirt, ideally cream and gold. Any recommendations? Prefer under $200 for a dress and under $100 or so for a skirt.

  23. Freezing Floridian :

    Talk to me about winter coats. I live in central Florida, where I only need a light jacket a couple times a year. I own exactly one coat – a wool peacoat that is around 10 years old. I occasionally travel for work (we have locations all over the continental US, with a large population in the NE), and while I have made do in the past with my peacoat, I’d like to buy a new coat so I am better prepared for frigid temperatures. What type of coat should I be looking for? A puffer? A long wool coat? Something else?

    • I’d go for something like the JCrew Lady Day with thinsulate lining. Classy traditional professional and warm enough. If it’s mostlh business travel you don’t need the ultimate warm coat.

      • I’d actually go for the Patagonia Fiona – it would be business appropriate in the NE but also packable and light for travel.

    • You want a long packable down jacket.

    • I am from new england but now live in the seus. I’ve found that my lands end quilted primaloft jacket is thin enough to not take up a lot of precious closet space, plenty warm for when it is cold here, and warm enough for when I have to go home and get snowed on in NE. I wore it almost daily in DC for a year before relocating, commuted on foot, and it was perfect. Washes up great, too.

      It doesn’t appear that they sell the exact coat anymore, and I don’t love the replacement (https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-lightweight-primaloft-coat/id_314668?sku_0=::BRC )

      but this could work. sans hood: https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-casual-down-coat/id_315860?sku_0=::3LC

      I also own this, like it, and wear it when it’s cold here, but this wouldn’t cut it for NE cold and workwear: https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-lightweight-primaloft-jacket/id_302555?sku_0=::3WN

      • This is as close as I could find to the one I own: https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-primaloft-coat/id_308474?sku_0=::1EU

        • I have a similar coat and really love. Surprisingly warm and stylish. I just wish it had a hood.

    • I love my Patagonia 3-in-1 coat for travel. I have a lovely wool coat but don’t travel with it because it takes up too much room, isn’t water-resistant, and picks up lint/hair/smells too easily on a plane.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        SO has the male version of the 3-in-1 and it really is great for travel with the multiple layers. So great that I’m considering getting one even though they’re horribly expensive and it is rarely cold enough for me to need the whole coat where I live.

      • Freezing Floridian :

        This is a beautiful jacket! If I lived someplace colder, I would probably buy it. Alas, I wouldn’t get enough use out of it to justify the price.

  24. If I’m having kind of a hard time these days, is retail therapy a bad idea? I’m usually a minimalist and very frugal, but I make plenty of money, so part of me just wants to buy an expensive clothing item or two. The rational side of me knows that won’t make me feel any better, so why am I wasting time/money?

    does it make people feel better? Is this a reasonable way to lift spirits in moderation?

    • Go for it! Why not? It does give me a little lift, used in moderation.

    • Underwire woes :

      Yeah this is absolutely my #1 pick me up. If you can afford it, why not.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Yes, with a caveat. It has to be something that I both love and know I will wear/use, which usually means it’s something I’ve been mulling over for a while. Then whenever I see/wear that thing, it gives me a little boost because owning it is what makes me happy, not just spending money on it. E.g. buying a bunch of lipsticks is fun, but then I don’t wear them and they make me feel bad to have spent money on. Buying a luxury lipstick that is moisturizing and the perfect color for me that I wear often makes me happy, because I feel like I made a good financial decision, and I get to use a thing that is pleasurable to use.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        This is a really good distinction! Especially since if you’re a minimalist, having a bunch of stuff you bought just to buy it is even less likely to make you happy.

    • My most effective retail therapy has always been luxurious skin care, makeup, and fragrance. With, say, a fancy face cream or a lipstick, you get both the fun of picking it out and buying it and the boost/moment of self-care when you use it.

    • When I wear something that fits me well and is well-made, it absolutely makes me feel better. Do it!

    • If you know owning said object wouldn’t make you feel better, why not a fun experience instead? A weekend away to visit a friend, stay a night in a luxurious hotel, treat friends to a nice dinner, day at a fancy spa, etc.

    • I’m a minimalist and I like nice things. I don’t think that minimal means inexpensive. If you can afford it and it will fit your needs/lifestyle/desire; go for it. If you’re shopping only as a means to try to feel better I’m not sure that will work. Maybe doing something you enjoy (spend money on tickets) or time with someone you like would be a better pick me up.

    • Yes. My mom died this fall and I was in the doldrums, so I bought a beautiful bag, a handpainted silk scarf, and some pretty shoes that weren’t even on sale! And I still wear and love them all, and think of her when I do.

      Seems shallow but it cheered me up on a day i really needed cheering.

    • Anonymous :

      Splashing out will only help if it’s on something you really care about. Helen Mirren was quoted that she’d rather buy drugstore lipstick and spend her money on her place in the country. So if expensive togs aren’t really your thing, wait and splash out on something that is.

  25. Underwire woes :

    Help learn to love underwire bras. I have never in my life, even when I had tiny boobs, enjoyed underwire bras. I find them SO uncomfortable. When I sit they dig into my stomach. They leave red welts under my breasts and my skin very tender, almost bruised. I look at all these other women out there wearing underwire and wonder what’s wrong with me! I suppose part of the problem is that I’m cusp sized and apple shaped. My size is 38G (UK sizing).

    I have been fitted for bras many times, at many places, including Nordstrom and local high quality boutiques. The bras technically fit me the way bras are supposed to fit, but I can’t stand how uncomfortable they are. I can’t last for more than an hour without pain. I’ve noticed the underwire in the bras that are recommended to me (Elomi brand in particular) is very thick, hard, and unforgiving.

    Right now I’m wearing wire free bras that don’t fit me properly because I’m desperate. What am I missing? Do I just have to suck it up and get used to it? Does anyone know of any wire free bras in my size?

    • anon for this :

      Have you tried Third Love? I am not your shape or size, but they converted me from a wireless-all-the-time person to wearing their underwire T-shirt br* most days. On the other hand, I am small and don’t need significant support in that area.

    • I’m a 38K, and I wonder if the band is too large and moves about rubbing your skin, even if you’ve been fitted. If you’re sitting and it digsinto you, is there a gap in the band? If you lift your arms up, does the band move? It should fit snugly against your chest and not move.

      I know larger wire free bras exist. I’ve seen them online, but I can’t think of any brands offhand. Try the reddit A Bra That Fits. There’s great suggestions about types of bras within brands for specific issues. My sister learned she has wide root breasts (meaning, the connection from boob to chest is wider than me), so none of the bras I wear fit her. I wonder if you are accidentally wearing bras with a large wire to accomodate a chest like hers, and its just too much for you.

    • Check nursing bras. I have a wire free one that I bought because I couldn’t find any non-nursing wire free bra in my size, and it’s really comfortable.

      • Underwire woes :

        It’s funny you say that because I just did an Amazon search for bras in my size and most of them were nursing bras! It’s not weird to have the flaps? Easy access, I supppose…ha.

        • It’s a little weird, but you get used to it. You might also try bras with different underwire shapes like the other poster suggested — the Chantelle C Chic bra has underwires that are less intense. I hate full coverage bras but like this style.

    • Ouch That Hurts :

      I found out that I have a tilted ri cage. One reason why the girls also sag sideways. I have given up on underwire bras. I’ve been through the whole gamut of the wires and fittings. So now I sag, but don’t hurt. Really hard to find non-wires. Have some nursing bras that are non-wired. So far past nursing age …. but whatever works. Those “Ah” bras are also ok at times, but their sizing is odd, esp. across different makers.

      I’ve sent more things back to her room dot com than I can mention, but they seem to have the largest non-wire selection.

      • Underwire woes :

        My boobs definitely sag sideways. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who can’t wear underwire!

    • I wrote above about my experience with Nordstrom fitters consistently giving me the wrong size (40dd) and finally finding my bra that really fits (38g in Elomi) using the redd1t sub a bra that fits. I used to have awful problems with my bras being uncomfortable until I found my real size and the right shape of bra for me (Elomi morgan, very comfortable!)

      I think you’re going to need a wire for support at your size but you might check out the old school playtex 18 hour bras in the box at target or sears or whatever. These are pretty old school but they’re basically the same bra Howard Hughes designed for Jane Russell, and she was no small b00bed little thing.

      I also saw that Prima Donna makes the Couture bra in a wireless style, but we’re talking pricey – over $100.

      But First, make sure that really really really is your size!!!

    • Nudibranch :

      Bravissimo has wire-free bras in your size.

      • Underwire woes :

        Thank you for the rec!!

      • Late reply here…but bravissimo has been a lifesaver for me. There are some good wirefree options ( the panache , I think). I also believe finding the right bra is not on,y about fit, but about how it feels psychologically. I buy a 36 back, even though a 34H fits better because even though the tighter band fits better, it also hurts a soft tissue injury in my back when I wear a too tight band. Close your eyes when you try on the bra, and sit down, move around in it with your eyes closed. If it hurts or bothers you, skip it:)

    • Anonymous :

      Have you looked on herroom.com?

    • Anonymous :

      If you live near a city and have the cash, I recommend you find an independent bra store. Not VS, not Nordstrom, but a place that must make its money only on bras. Go there for a fitting and buy what 1 of reccomend. It may be $80-$120, but this approach really helped me find something that fit right. Good luck! Been there!

    • I used to have a similar problem, and, in my case, it was happening because the bras I had didn’t have enough projection in the cups – it meant that the wires were being forced down, so they were sitting at the top of my stomach. I switched to the Cleo Marcie, which was recommended to me, and it has really helped… the wire stays right up in the crease now. Maybe something to try out?

  26. Supplemental LTD Insurance Question: DH has LTD insurance through work that does not require any type of physical exam, but since he out earns me by a lot and I’m pregnant we wanted to get supplemental LTD for him. He suffers from some anxiety and we were denied because of that. I realize this is totally legal, so I’m not complaining about that.

    My question is, if we cannot get supplemental LTD insurance for him, what else can/should we do to protect ourselves? What do people with chronic health issues do to protect their families in the event they will no longer be able to work, particularly if they are the primary earner?

    • Savings.

      • Savings + we both work + we never take a job that doesn’t offer short-term and long-term disability insurance.

        • … and we live on less than we earn so if necessary we could live on the LTD benefit + one salary.

    • Other than savings, all I can think of is passive income streams. Does his profession lend itself to writing a book, or a white paper, or an online course or something that people might pay him for even if he were unable to work for a time?

    • Live somewhere with a LCOL, get used to living below your means, and pay off your house ASAP.

    • I’m sorry you’re going through this. That sucks. It’s terrible that we are all one illness away from financial ruin in this country.

      • Anonymous :

        It doesn’t sound like they’re one illness from financial ruin though – I understand that this could be truly terrifying for a single person, but in the case of a married couple where both spouses work, it shouldn’t be that hard to keep the household afloat even if one spouse is out of work for a long time. Move to a LCOL area if necessary, but most people wouldn’t even have to do something that drastic.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, try another company. My husband suffers from depression and we were able to get both LTD and life insurance, though I’m sure our premiums are not what others may pay for it.

    • Anonymous :

      What do people do…. honestly? Struggle financially. You hope your spouse can pick up the slack. You try to work part time or form home. I know quadriplegics who work as IT folks from home. If your disability is serious enough, you apply for social security disability, which often pays very low if you are fortunate enough to qualify, and you become eligible for Medicare after two years.

      Most people do not have access to LTD through their work.

      People become bankrupt, marriages dissolve…

  27. Lana Del Raygun :

    I’m looking for full-length skinny/slim-cut work pants. I can find full-length skinny *jeans*, but everything even a little dressy seems to only come in ankle and capri lengths. They don’t have to be fancy—just, like, one notch above chinos. Does such a thing even exist?

  28. Salary Expectations :

    I was given a contingent offer this morning and am being asked for my salary expectations. They will absolutely not give me a number. It is a slight career change so I am already unfamiliar with the market. The job is in Vienna, VA (which they pointed out is “outside” of DC as if to say “don’t expect a DC salary”) but the cost of living still seems high in Vienna (my current cost of living is 50% less). Any recommendations on websites that report salary info? The salaries reported on Glass Door vary wildly and aren’t helping me very much. The position is a Jr Intelligence Analyst job for a very large defense contractor.

    • anon a mouse :

      Vienna is absolutely the DC metro. People commute into the city from further out than that. It is barely outside the Beltway and has the high cost of living that comes with it. If they are a defense contractor, they are well aware that the government unequivocally considers Vienna part of the DC metro.

      (Sorry I can’t help you with where to find a number, but a big company is almost certainly waiting for you to undercut your market value.)

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Certainly don’t say anything lower than the equivalent GS *with* the DC-MD-VA locality pay, but I’m afraid I don’t know how much more you should make in the private sector.

        • At the junior levels, GS pay and private sector pay are pretty close, IME. It starts to diverge rapidly at the senior associate/manager level.

    • Say no. If they haven’t offered you money they haven’t made an offer

      • Salary Expectations :

        I have been trying to get into this field for several years so I’m pretty desperate. They won’t give me a number. I don’t want to under value myself but this is a big break for me.

    • I believe that the contractors usually post the salary ranges on the postings, or at least mine always did. If the posting doesn’t show it, ask for the salary range from the company. You can also search for similar listings from other companies, which may post the ranges.

    • Not in your field so hopefully someone wise can help but FYI Vienna is in the DC metro area – the far end of it so maybe rents are a few hundred cheaper for apartments but don’t expect Richmond prices. I get the feeling they’re trying to pull one over on a newcomer by saying that. Vienna is the end of the orange line (silver?) – ie people commute to dc for there daily.

    • I would give them a massive range: perhaps between $50-80k.

      • No don’t. Terrible strategy. Anchors you at your low point.

      • Salary Expectations :

        Can I reasonable live on the low end of that? I currently make $65k in a much lower COL area. I realize I may have to sacrifice some things but the differences in rent prices really astound me

        • You can absolutely live reasonably in Vienna on 65k a year, but if you’re making 65k, I’d ask them for 80? My friends who went to private public consulting companies (so, Booz, Deloitte, etc. working on government projects) immediately out of undergrad started at 60-65k in 2012.

          • Oh yes. If you’re with any of the Big Defense Contractors, 65K with any kind of experience is low. Absolutely do not ask them for anything below what you need to pay your bills, but do some digging. You should be making 80-90 at any of the biggies with experience (vs straight from undergrad). maybe more.

        • No Problem :

          If you’re already making 65k in a LCOL area, your minimum should be 90k or higher. The change in COL alone will eat up most of the difference. Also, no idea what your current job is or whether that industry pays well, but the intelligence community pays a lot. Don’t sell yourself short.

        • Do you have student loans? If so, you cannot live on 65 in this area. For comparison, I moved from Austin, Texas (no state income tax) where I was earning 65 to Tysons (my apartment was $1800/month) where I was earning 90. Money was tight in Texas – I had to cut the cable cord – but money was so tight when I lived in Tysons that I had to put my loans in forbearance. If you don’t have student loans, it’ll be tight, but doable.

          If your position is the one posted below, try asking for $75k to start. Cite the higher COL in your new locale. Point out that apartments in the area go for X and you’d like to preserve your current standard of living.

          • Salary Expectations :

            Yikes, thanks for the info. I have a $500 student loan payment and also some credit card payments from bad decisions in college. I was planning to ask for $75k or just say “mid-seventies” and see what they say. I’d like to ask for $80k but I only have 3 years of experience and with it being a junior level position (in their world at least, I am mid level in my current company but again this is a big break for me in this field) I worry that will sound outlandish.

          • Anonymous :

            On the other hand, I make less than 90k, have lived in various places in Arlington over the last seven years, currently work in DC, and have never had a problem paying my student loans (of which I have plenty)/rent/etc. — $1800 even in Arlington will get you a nice one-bedroom, you can keep the rent lower than that with a roommate or a smaller place/off Metro/further out/etc. Sure, some months are tighter than others and it’s by no means a low cost of living area, but I’m getting full employer match on my retirement and I’m making progress in my career. The early years were much tighter, but it can be done.

            If you expect to save as much as you did on a 65k salary in a LCOL area, that’s probably not realistic.

          • I’m the Austin/Tysons anon. I think 75k is a good number. If you have a car and won’t need to metro, you should be able to find some more affordable housing options. I know the Vienna area has a number of older brick townhouse communities where you may be able to find something that’s not as expensive as the modern high-rises. Getting away from the metro will be the biggest savings you can find around here.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          I make $54K in the (cheaper) MD suburbs, and I’m doing fine. My rent is on the low end, but OTOH I was already fine last year on $45K. THIS IS NOT TO SAY YOU SHOULD ASK FOR $45K! It sounds like you should ask for a lot more! But don’t worry too much about getting by. :)

      • This is bad advice. That’s just telling them that you will take the low end.

    • Can you say how many years experience and if the job requires a TS/poly?

      You should absolutely expect a DC salary in Vienna, though. I assume they pointed out “outside of DC” for the (possible) commuting perk of a “reverse commute.”

      • Salary Expectations :

        It’s a junior level position that only requires several years of experience. TS but no poly. They made this point when salary came up and specifically said “the cost of living in Vienna is not what it is in DC, so…”

        • Anonymous :

          It’s true that rent in Vienna is slightly lower than in DC proper, but many people who work in DC live in Vienna or even further out — they need the DC salary to support the house/family/lifestyle out there. And to a lesser extent, I know people who live in DC/very close in suburbs who work out in that area. So be aware they’re fleecing you.

          With a couple years of experience and a TS, I’d expect to be in the 75-90k range. The clearance adds a lot of value. Your other experience would probably dictate where you are in that range.

        • Ask for 85. If they already like you so much they “made you an offer” (they havent), then tell them you’re looking in the 85k range depending on benefits blah blah blah. It’s not so far from 75 that they’ll drop you like a hot potato, but they MIGHT say “that’s above our budget” at which point you can hem and haw and tell them to make their best offer. ANd then take it or not.

      • +1

    • No Problem :

      Just found a posting on Indeed for a junior intelligence analyst at a company in Vienna. Maybe it’s even the one you’re interviewing for! They give a salary range of $62-72k. How many years of experience do you have? I’m not in that industry but it seems like it would be reasonable if you have less than 3 years of experience. Additional poking around there and Salary dot com might give you some more price points.

      Also, Vienna is 100% the DC area.

    • f you stayed in your current location, what would you be asking in terms of an increase in salary considering your experience etc. If 65k now would you want 75k, 85k, etc? Determine this then use a cost of living calculator to extrapolate that to number to Vienna.

      Might not be exact but gives you a starting point to negotiate with them.

    • Anonymous :

      FWIW, I live near Vienna and while the COL is high, it’s not as high as DC. We had a nice, 2BR apartment there for $1925 a month, within walking distance to the metro. I’m sure you could find something less expensive (though perhaps not much). Also, if you’re not commuting into DC, you do save a good amount on transport costs. I would expect to earn less in Vienna than in D.C., but not dramatically less. Maybe 10-20% less? Still, I’m not much help on what number to propose.

      • Salary Expectations :

        Thanks for posting. What do you think of the thread above discussing my current income/bills? Sounds like you may have had dual income but do you think living in the area on an income in the $60’s is doable? I think I’ve decided to propose mid-seventies but I really want this job so ultimately I may take it no matter what.

    • I’m trying to figure out why the company would make a point of saying “Vienna is outside DC” in terms of salary. As far as I am aware, no defense contractors are actually located in DC. They are all in the VA suburbs. They also all pay quite well (high five digits).

  29. Has anyone been to Palm Springs recently? Is it worth it? I am thinking of taking a solo trip in April/May. Any recommendations on where in town to stay, stuff to do, or otherwise “can’t miss?” Thanks!

    • Oh f yes it’s worth it! So beautiful there. Great outdoor weather that time of year, when it’s ljkely to be raining up and down the coast.

      I like to stay near downtown Palm Springs and walk around a lot – eat breakfast at Sherman’s, catch the farmers market at night, go out for drinks late at night if you’re into that,

      but lots of people like to stay outside the downtown area in one of the many great resorts. I have also done that and I like the la Quinta (not the same as the budget motel chain). The la Quinta has one big central pool with food and drink service etc, then lots of little pools all over the property closer to the rooms.

      I don’t golf but if you do, or play tennis, PS is also great for that.

    • I was there in September for 2 days, but we spent one of those days at Joshua Tree. Highly recommend Bootlegger Tiki for delicious cocktails!

    • In m0d please check back later, but yes! Go!

  30. Omg Girl Scout cookies are here. Bye bye pants!

    • Anonymous :

      Seriously. I’m pregnant and getting weighed every week now and am terrified about how much I will have gained at my appointment tomorrow, solely because of the Thin Mints.

      • They are called “Thin Mints” because they make you skinny. Duh.

        –5 months pregnant with my 3rd and all about the valentines candy this year.

    • Pants, schmants. My favorite niece just joined the girl scouts and I will make sure she reaches her sales goal!

      Pro tip: Thin Mints freeze well. Just put the whole unopened box in the freezer and take out a sleeve of cookies as needed. Also, they are delightful to eat while frozen.

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