Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: DKNY Ruched Top

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

I was looking at Macy’s for our suits roundup and came across this ruched top from DKNY — and I love it. Some people might say it looks like a nursing shirt, but I don’t really care — it’s a really flattering and cute top (and it’s machine washable), and it has a thousand iterations. There are seven prints and colors as well as a fabulous abstract print, an animal print, more options in blue, and sleeveless options in white, navy, and a black and white stripe. It’s regularly $49, on sale for $29, and with code MOM, you can get it for only $25. DKNY Ruched Top

Macy’s has a plus-size option that’s also on sale.

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  1. Anonymous :

    How much do you save (or invest or have left over) per month AFTER retirement savings and after your bills are paid? Helpful if people would say salary/industry and city. And more importantly if that savings number goes down – say with a new job – do you feel squeezed/like you’re not saving at all because that account is growing slowly? I keep falling into this trap of – and have to remind myself that I AM maxing out a 401k and that does count as saving even if for 30 years from now.

    • We max out our 401ks, which is about 18% of our gross income. We used to put a lot in short-term savings, but have decided to do other things with our money. We have an emergency fund of 6 months expenses (with no cutting back, so could last us longer if we truly needed). We are building a new house later this year, and on top of the emergency fund have saved enough to have a 20% down payment for that when combined with the equity of our current house (minus Realtor fees for selling). We also transfer $400-$500 each month into our vacation fund if we haven’t spent that much on traveling already (like a weekend away that isn’t our big yearly vacation which is what the vacation fund is for). We decided at the end of last year that given the fact that the aforementioned savings goals were accomplished, we should be upping our debt repayment (my student loans) and our contributions to charity rather than saving for the sake of saving. It has been a little difficult because we actually had a furnace expense of around $4000 earlier this year. We had the funds, but it felt like a big hit because we’d made some big payments to our debt in January. We’re still working on balancing all the goals to get our cash accounts back where we like them.

      • 9;07 Anon :

        I should note that we also put $350/month in our child’s 529 along with sporadic bigger payments if our spending has been low or we get a bonus. She is 2.5

      • These are all very smart people. Tho I am smart, it is only in LAW. I personaly have my dad manage my bank account, and pay all my bills and credit cards, but I do max out my 401k, b/c that is done at work. At the end of the year, Dad files my tax returns and tells me that I will be OK, even if I do NOT find a husband. He does want me to find a husband who will be able to take care of me and pay my bills after he retires to NC, which may be sooner rather then later. Rosa has Ed, so he wants another Ed for me.

    • Anonymous :

      After maxing out both of our 401ks, we invest about $2,500/month in mutual funds. Husband also puts about $600/month into permanent life insurance. That’s in addition to $5,000/month that goes to student loans (oy). We have about $130k in cash. At some point we’ll start putting more into cash when we get ready to buy a house.

      Honestly I don’t even think about the $$ going into our 401(k) even though it’s like $3,000/month. But I do have to remind myself that we’re going to be really glad we socked it away 30 years from now.

      • 9;07 Anon :

        “Honestly I don’t even think about the $$ going into our 401(k) even though it’s like $3,000/month. ”

        Yes! Once you get used to it, you pretty much forget about it.

      • Anonymous :

        I forgot to mention – I am a lawyer and my husband works at a start-up. Our pre-tax HHI is ~$360k before bonuses, which are not guaranteed but should be around $80k this year (all of which will go into cash savings or short term investments). I still have $150k outstanding in student loans. Our rent + utilities is $2,800/month.

    • Anonymous :

      Almost nothing, but we max our 401ks and overpay our mortgage and we have a small child (childcare costs us ~$1000/month). When the mortgage is gone (~5 years) and kiddo is in school we will be able to save almost $5k/month on top of retirement. HHI is $150k, LCOL area.

      • What is the interest rate on your mortgage? I’m trying to figure out why, in a LCOL with likely low appreciation on real estate, it makes sense to pay off the mortgage so fast rather than build up your liquid savings….

    • We have about $3,000 a month liquid after usual spending and retirement savings, though we aren’t 100% maxed out yet. We’ve had some major expenses and needed a bit more cash flow for a bit but will soon go back to being maxed. The $3k goes to savings or vanguard index funds depending on what’s on the horizon. The months that we have a major expense, nothing goes to extra savings/index funds and we cash flow it with the $3k. Right now we had to dip into savings for a $15k medical expense. We took $10k from our savings and are trying to cash flow the other $5k. Once that’s paid off, we will contribute the $3k/month to savings until that is built back up to the full $20k before switching back over to the index fund investing.

      • Pre-tax household income is $175k before bonus which is sporadic. Mortgage with taxes and insurance is $2k/month. Our property taxes are insane but our property prices are reasonable.

    • Chicago suburbs, making ~$150K gross HHI. We max our 401ks and have a 6 month emergency savings. Ideally we save beyond that, but not every month. Not even really most months. We’ve got two kids in daycare right now, plus needed some major work on our house, so all excess savings has stopped. Hopefully in a couple years we’ll make a little more, they’ll be in public school, and house stuff will taper off, so we can start adding to our savings again.

      • Sorry, I should say that “maxing out 401k” to us means getting our full employer match. We’re not hitting the limit by any means.

    • Anon for this :

      Oh! I had these same feelings. I built a net worth spreadsheet that tracks everything: retirement accounts, savings accounts, loans (student loan, mortgage, etc), assets (cars mainly), etc. It really helped me see that even though I have very little money left after each paycheck, DH and I have a net worth of almost a million dollars (our goal that we randomly made up one night in our 20s was to hit a million in combined net worth before we both turn 35; we’ve since modified to make it to $1M before DH turns 35, since he turns 35 6 months earlier and we think we can make it happen).

      BUT to answer your questions in more detail:
      HHI of gross $300-$350k (I do freelance work so it varies, DH’s bonus also varies)
      DH maxes out his 401k ($18500) and gets a 6% match
      I max out my profit sharing 401k ($18500) and do an employer match (somewhere between $10 and $25k since it’s based on profit sharing)
      We each have an IRA that we max out ($5500)
      We put about $10k-15k away annually for our kids’ college (we have 2 kids and one on the way; oldest will start college in 2031). We’ll be upping this as the kids move into elementary school and out of daycare, but for now we’re comfortable with what we have.

      After all that, plus bills (hello, daycare–even though it’s part time, it’s Boston, so it’s $$), we save about $1500/month into our long term savings. We could do some belt tightening and get to more like $2500/mo.

      • I also put together a spreadsheet! It isn’t the most sophisticated in terms of functions, but very very useful for seeing the big picture and tracking changes over the quarters.

    • I just want to take a moment to applaud the women on this site for these kinds of numbers. These numbers are insane – most families (in the US) can’t scrape together a grand for an emergency in less than a month.

      For those of us at more modest incomes, are there any posters here that have savings numbers and income numbers closer to the average that can give some insight into how much and how they save?

      • Anon for this :

        I posted upthread- with a HHI for $300-350k. Wanted to share that until a few years ago, our HHI was much, much lower. DH and I have been rigid about retirement savings since graduating from undergrad, making fairly frugal choices, such as DH going to a medium-ranked business school on a 75% scholarship and working part-time at his old employer for one year while going to school full time. Even though he got into a top 15 school, it woudl require him/us (we were married) to move across the country where I couldn’t keep my job. As it turns out, in the 2 years DH was in business school, I got a salary bump from 80k to 120k. He graduated from B school and took a low-paying consulting job (50k on a 1099 basis) for 2 years to get exposure, and that led to a full time gig paying 120k that led over the past 4 years to various promotions and now pays $200k with a $35k bonus.

        When our HHI was $90k (DH in business school working a bit, me working full time), we still saved as much as humanly possible. Our approach has always been “pay yourself first”– money goes into predesignated buckets, and whatever’s left goes into spending/savings.

      • HHI is 80k + child support. I’m on my own with 1 kid. I put 10% of gross in retirement, max out my ROTH, and put $100 a month in a 529. Currently saving 800-1200 monthly cash. I’m about to buy an apartment (1 bedroom) in my VHCOL city. Once that happens, my monthly cash savings will go down (mortgage etc will be more than my currently cheap rent), but I will be contributing towards equity so from a net worth basis, will be a wash. After the purchase, I will have 50% of my annual salary in savings as an emergency fund (9ish months of expenses) and about 10-40k in cash savings towards moving expenses, painting, etc. That will also form the basis for a renovation fund if the place needs it (it almost certainly will). Depending on how the details of the purchase shake out, I may redirect some of that surplus to retirement savings or will save aggressively for renovations and then redirect it all to retirement when that’s done. I hope that my ability to save will increase once my kid is out of daycare, and all future raises are going directly into savings of some kind. I have no debt of any kind (large scholarships + aggressively paid off school loans while living in awful apartments in non-trendy neighborhoods; no family help whatsoever).

        As a sole earner with a dependent in a VHCOL area and in a not enormously paid field, I feel like savings have to be my top priority. And yes, I could move to a cheaper area (though not really bc of kid’s other parent) or get a higher paid job – but I’m in a career and job I’m passionate about and live in the city I grew up in and want my child to have that same amazing experience. Yes, I am making huge sacrifices in square footage and consumer spending, but they are absolutely worth it to me. And I feel like I’m teaching my kid my values – doing what you love, doing good in the world, being part of a community, having amazing experiences – these things are all more important than having a large house, a car, or lots of stuff.

        • Also a single parent here in a VHCOL; no child support and no alimony. HHI is $180K. I max out my 401K and put $200 a month into kiddo’s 529 plan. I have an emergency fund of 10K (which would be gone in 2 months if I lost my job).

          I do receive large federal and state refunds after I file my taxes ($10-15K a year). I use about $8K of that for additional 529 deposit, a Caribbean vacation, life insurance policies, and yearly aftercare (pay in full for 10% rebate). The rest goes into American Funds.

          • Anon at 11:08 am :

            Let’s form a club. This single parent thing is hard.

          • Anon at 12:07 am :

            I’m in! It will have to be a virtual club because there’s no time for anything else lol

      • anonforthis :

        I am from Europe and 27. Currently, my earnings are at my all-time lowest since I am doing a post-graduate programme. I saved 10% of my take-home pay of 25000 EUR. I think that I should have saved more, but I had some extra expenses related to moving, health and replacing some expensive items (laptop, home repairs). The relatively high retirement savings are part of the gross-net difference in my country.

        During the last four years I saved 20%-30% of my net income (the salary was around 20% higher). All in all, I don’t have any debts and I saved around 60000 EUR so far. I will be satisfied if I continue to save at the rate of 20%-30% in future.

        • anonforthis :

          I’m just realizing that I used to earn up to 40% more during the past years (not around 20%, as I’ve written above)… But the (relatively) low earnings should be over once I am done with my PhD :)

      • $87k income (single, no kids)
        LCOL East Coast, homeowner
        401k is maxed out
        $700/mo student loan payment
        $200/mo savings after all bills are paid

        I need to really cut back my spending and save more, but this is my current savings profile.

      • Sure! I make ~$45k per year. (My SO and I live together but aren’t married and keep separate finances, but our HHI is ~$85-87k, which I think is also germane. We live in MCOL city.)

        I save 15% of my gross for retirement, and get a 14% employer match for total retirement savings of 28% of gross. This is split between my state retirement plan and an IRA.

        Since December, I’ve averaged saving 13% of gross for other stuff. That number has been as high as 24% and as low as 0%. I’ve only been tracking my savings rate since December, and this has been an unusually expensive spring (extra vacation whee), so it’s lower than I would like. My goal is to consistently get above 20%, which I think is achievable based on past savings numbers.

        My emergency fund is topped up to my satisfaction given my current lifestyle parameters (no kids, renting) at ~$6,300, so my focus is saving for a down payment. I have ~$34,400 saved now (relevant: substantial chunk of that came from an inheritance after my grandmother passed away). The last time I checked, the sum of my retirement accounts is ~$41,400 (may be lower now, thanks stock market…). I’m annoyed that I will just barely miss the “save your salary by age 30” mark, since I was really hoping to get there, but considering that I only started making over $40k or receiving a retirement match 2.75 years go, I’m not beating myself up about it.

      • I’m am in a MCOL. HHI ~$180k DH is self employed so insurance and everything is through me. 401K is at 7% with 6% employer match I dont max it out. Current balance is $100k. $17k is savings and try to contribute $500 per month. Student loans $250 per month with 17K balance. Mortgages are $1400 per month with $193K balance ( home and some property out of state). We have one 0% interest CC with $5500 balance. We both have whole life policies that run about $250/month We are expecting our first child and daycare will be $1100/month. My actual amount brought home after health insurance and taxes and SSI etc is $5955. After all the bills are paid we have $$1500 left over. This doesn’t account for miscellaneous spending such as eating out, target, amazon, ect. DH take home varies month to month so we try to save big chunks when he has a good month. We both drive nice cars that we purchased used.

        I was not taught ANYTHING about finances. I come from a very low income family with parents who bring in about $25k/year. I made a TON of mistakes in and right after college and have slowly dug my way out. I graduated undergrad with $60k in loans. I bought my first home before I was really ready and that was a good decision because I sold it and was able to take a chunk and pay a huge portion of those loans. I could be saving more and be more mindful but I am slowly learning. DH came from similar upbringing. Parents had a bit more financial knowledge but did not teach it.

        The numbers people post here are not even in my realm of reality for the most part.

    • Anon 4 this :

      – Gross HHI before bonuses: 630k (Bonuses could be as much as 200k but its an all or nothing system – if we get them 90+ percent go to long term investments for retirement. We work hard to try and make sure we meet our hours targets because of the amount of money at stake and the all or nothingness of the system)
      – We max out our 401Ks (we started late after law school and clerking so we don’t have as much here as many others)
      – We put 8k a month in long term investments for retirement
      – We have 62k in an emergency fund that we add 1k to a month. We haven’t figured out when we are going to stop doing this but 60k is 6 months of living expenses so probably soon.
      – 3500 a month to various other short term savings accounts (new car, vacation, pet, splurge)
      – Mortgage/property tax is 3k a month
      -All car/property/other insurance adds up to about 5k a year, maybe a bit more

      • Anon 4 this :

        Forgot to say we are in a NE Coast city.

        In terms of how it feels, we feel behind because of low paying jobs before law school with little retirement savings/savings generally at that time, law school with no savings, clerking, and law school debt. We both eliminated our law school debt, bought a modest house in our expensive city, and now are playing catch up on retirement. A big driver behind staying in our current jobs is to “catch up,” which I think we’ve now just about done. Our net worth crossed $1 million a few months ago, right around when I turned 35 (DH is a bit older). Our new goal is to have $1 million in retirement savings (401k, IRAs, Investments) before we leave our current jobs. I think we are about 18 months away from that so I don’t know if that particular goal will happen because we are pretty done at this point.

        I do feel anxious about taking a lower paying job and saving less. I’m worried we’ve engaged in too much lifestyle creep and cutting back will be hard. (I spend way more than I need to on food, clothes and jewelry). But my hope is that a lower paying job will come with less stress making some better choices about spending easier.

        • To reassure yourself, go to one of those retirement calculators online, and enter in your current net worth and ages. And see how much they will be by the time you retire at 65. You should be reassured by this number.

          I hope you will be able to enjoy your life with a lower paying job you enjoy soon. Well done.

          • Anon 4 this :

            Thanks. I have done that and I understand logically it should be fine. Its more about how it feels than reality. I just try and remind myself we made sacrifices to pay off the student loans and buy a house and it wasn’t miserable at all so there is no reason it would be in the future. Its not entirely logical, I realize.

      • I read this as pet splurge instead of pet, splurge and wondered if that was splurging by buying more pets or splurging on the existing pets. Both made me smile. I now realize they were two separate categories.

        • Anon 4 this :

          ha ha its both! We definitely do indulge the pets and have foster animals and we do splurge on ourselves too from time to time.

    • After maxing out 401K and other bills, we save about $3000/month. Annual HHL is $150,000. Our financial advisor seemed to be impressed by how much we save.

    • After maxing out my 401k, I was putting about $6-8k/mt into index funds when a biglaw senior associate. I paid off my loans and bought a house when a junior/mid level. Now that I’m in government, I’m trying to save an extra $2k/mt outside of my TSP account (basically a 401k). This is not so much because I feel I need to save the extra money, but because I want to get used to living on that budget because I want to have a kid in the next 2-3 years and will need to pay about that just for daycare.

      • Anonymous :

        Also, re how it feels, I miss being able to save so much and it is an adjustment. I just remind myself that I’m doing well by normal American standards. And I’m so happy to be out of biglaw, so that helps remind me that the tradeoffs were worth it

        • Anonymous :

          My story exactly. Did nyc biglaw where I was saving 50% of my net per month on top of the full 18k for the 401k. Then landed in government in DC where it’s more like a few thousand per month net plus the 18.5k 401k and yeah, it feels like savings just don’t add up anymore. And then I remind myself that a few thousand per month plus a IRS max 401k is still a LOT esp given that I’m single so there aren’t 2 incomes paying the rent, saving etc.

    • Love this post :

      HHI – 100,000 in VHCOL city

      Saving: $1500/month for an emergency fund/down payment. We currently have ~ $3,000 in there. We had more but used it up to pay off DH’s fed student loans.
      Investments: $100/month
      Maxing out my Roth IRA and his 401K

      I was lucky enough to graduate without loans (thank you parents!) and DH just paid off federal loans. He is making monthly $1,000 payments to parents since they helped pay off loan. (I suspect parents are squirreling away the money for him but can’t say for sure). We are fairly new in our careers and hoping to get significant raises in the near future. No children so hoping to save as much as possible before those expenses become a reality.

    • biglawanon :

      HHI ~425k in HCOL city

      Max out 401ks, save around 8k-10k a month in mutual funds

      I realize this is insane and we are very fortunate. I want to retire early, so I do feel like I don’t want to leave our jobs.

    • comparison is the thief of joy :

      My HHI is just about $140,000 gross (associate at a mid-sized law firm in a HCOL city). I think I am somewhat underpaid, but I want to switch fields so it kind of doesn’t matter for now.

      I am a single 30-yr. old lady. I have around $270,000 saved in retirement already. This is largely because 1) my grandparents helped me pay off my law school loans, and 2) when I got divorced, we sold our home for a profit and split the proceeds.

      I max out my 401k and Roth IRA, and on top of that I put around $3,000 per month in investments. I want to save as much as I can, but I also love weekend getaways, fun restaurants, and cool new bike gear. I am not going to put that stuff on hold.

  2. Not in the US so can’t relate much but I aim to save 25% of my net income no matter what.
    After paying rent, bills and savings then anything else is my disposable income.
    In my previous job/country, rent was 25% of take home, now it’s over 50% for a similar net income but I still won’t change my rule of 25% in savings.

  3. Linda from HR :

    I may need to go try this on during my lunch break today! I’m on a mission to upgrade my work wardrobe and look a little more polished at work, even though our office is relatively casual, but I can’t seem to find a button-down top that looks good on me! Is it possible that look doesn’t flatter everyone, or do I just need to hunt down the right cut?

    • Anonymous :

      Of course it’s possible that button downs don’t flatter everyone. Most things don’t flatter everyone. I’m very abundantly naturally blessed of bosom and button down shirts are not part of my wardrobe.

      • Linda from HR :

        That . . . might be my problem as well. I used to have a white button down from H&M that was cut for that sort of figure, but it doesn’t fit anymore. Maybe I should hunt down a new, nicer version.

      • Anonymous :

        Yep. As a short and busty woman, button downs are not ever going to be part of my life. Even if I could find one that actually fit – I hear there are some made by cup size – there’s way too much going on in the style of shirt. I need to streamline my upper half, not add volume and detail.

        • Housecounsel :

          A while back, Kat posted a roundup of button-down shirts for those of us who are a bit more well-endowed. Many of the options, if I recall correctly, are no longer in business! I’d love to see new recs. I ordered one from Bravissimo, but it wasn’t the greatest quality and that brand seems to run short for me, even though I am only 5’6″.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I really like popover style shirts for this, as they have the feel (and often the fabric) of button downs, but only have two or three buttons. J.Crew had one that had a covered placket a couple years ago. Covered plackets work, too.

          I think they look really good on my short-waisted, large bosomed self, but part of that is fashion – looser cut tops are more trendy now.

          • I’m not sure button downs’s attractiveness or lack thereof have any correlation to bust size. I’m a 30A and button downs look awful on me. I feel frumpy, masculine, and confined whenever I wear them so I just don’t anymore.
            I like shells with blazer/cardigan and fitted-but-not-too-fitted tops for a business casual office.

      • I have a small frame, narrow shoulders, and am busty. Crisp button downs absolutely do not work on me. Softer ones, like Loft’s utility blouses do work. I also like popovers, because then you can tuck without getting the weird little bulging out that happens because of the buttons and placket.

        The only button downs I’ve found that work for me, somewhat, were from H&M and also New York and Company. The NYCo shirts had a tiny snap between the crucial buttons, which I think is genius, and we’re more fitted through the waist. The H&M shirts kind of worked because I think they were cut to be a little “s*xy” – also fitted through the waist, but room for the girls.

        But honestly, there are so many kinds of tops out there that will help yo look more polished, don’t sweat the button downs.

    • I want them to work so badly but they always end up looking wrinkled, stressed at my bust and with makeup on the collar. No matter what I try. Now I stick to blouses with blazers. I love that this has sleeves. I just got a couple of the tops recommended at Kohls and they are great, just no sleeves.

    • Anonymous :

      How could one cut of clothing flatter everyone? I don’t wear button-front shirts; they aren’t comfortable on me. There is no rule that says that everyone has to own one.

      • Linda from HR :

        Good point, I guess I figured it was one of those things that was so ubiquitous and everyone has at least one, so I thought maybe I was doing it wrong if I look like a pirate every time I put one on.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Or maybe you’re doing something right! Pirates are awesome! Maybe not work appropriate, though.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t have many button front shirts (button down actually refers to the collars that button). Mostly in plaid/flannel so they are more casual. The collars never sit right and I’m always rolling up the sleeves and I can’t tuck them in, etc. etc.

      Popovers with a button front and no collar are totally my jam though…

    • TBH, it seems that button front shirts cause so many fit issues for women, including those with your shape, that I view them as something for people at the beginning of careers that require them, and if they don’t fit well, people move to other office-appropriate shirt styles.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m basically as flat chested as they come and button downs still don’t flatter me. I never wear the damn things. There are so many other options out there for a work uniform.

      • +1. Button downs make look even flatter. I really want to like them, but they do me no favors.

      • +1

        I dislike the way they look tucked in. The line of buttons creates a stiffer fabric that makes a weird poof in the middle of your stomach. Untucked, I feel like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, which is generally not something I associate with professionalism.

    • Anonymous :

      I gave up on button down years ago. I am petite on top. The never fell nicely, always worrying about wrinkles and good fit/fall under a topper. So glad to be rid of them.

      Actually, the top posted today is my unicorn. The ruching/faux-wrap is very flattering for my small bust. I want machine washable. And sleeves so I don’t have to keep cleaning my toppers. I had a similar capped sleeve top from Vince Camato that I got at Macy’s last year and I wear it once a week and kick myself regularly for not buying more.

    • I don’t think buttondowns look good on any woman. On small people like me there is just too much fabric and they are rumple and stiff. On curvier people they gape and pull. They are just sloppy on everyone. If you want something with a button front, try a softer blouse.

      • *rumply

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I hate button down shirts on me but strongly disagree with this, too. A woman rocking a sleek, well-fitting button down and a sort of slightly butch style… ten thumbs up.

        • I guess my point is that I have never seen a sleek, well-fitting buttondown on a woman.

          I also dislike them on men unless worn with suit and tie.

          • Linda from HR :

            I don’t mind seeing them just paired with khakis, but I’m in Boston and there’s a ton of tech companies, so it’s a pretty common look.

          • Anonymous :

            Never? Okay…

    • Rainbow Hair :

      It can feel AWESOME to just be like, “yeah no I don’t wear that.” That’s me with buttoned shirts. They don’t look great on me, they’re not worth the effort, so eff it, I’m done trying to make them work!

    • Linda from HR :

      Update: tried it on, loved it, will order it online since it’s not on sale in the store. The white is totally see-through but the orange-red is great!

      • I wish it were a soft woven nylon rather than a polyester. Am I being silly or imagining the fabric wrong? I do love that orange-red color.

  4. Anonymous :

    I’m sure this has been covered, but the search function isn’t working for me. What are your favorite healthy bring-from-home lunches? I know myself well enough to know that I’m not going to make a beautiful salad to bring to work every day, but I need something with some good nutritional value. Office has a fridge and a microwave, so I’m good there, just having a brain block on new food ideas.

    • I like a hot lunch so tend to make big portions of dinner and eat leftovers most days.

      • This is what I do. Also makes it easier to meal plan.

      • How do you deal with the garlic-y, onion-y breath that goes with eating “dinner” meals for lunch?

        • Baconpancakes :

          Drink water after lunch, and don’t make out with your coworkers. ;D

          • Yeah, ’cause water takes care of food breath…

          • Baconpancakes :

            Yep, it does! A lot of food breath has to do with dehydration of your mouth and food particles stuck in your mouth, and rinsing your mouth by drinking water helps get rid of that!

          • Actually, Baconpancakes is totally right.

            Most of the people who have noticeable bad breath, in my experience, are dehydrated. I have never noticed someones garlic status based on their breath if I am not kissing them. But I’m extremely put off by bad breath when I am talking to someone and dehydration is the main cause.

          • Dry mouth and bad breath is a relatively common medication side effect (even if you aren’t dehydrated). But I think most strong food smells can survive some water, toothbrushing, or mouthwash. I’ve read that sulfurous smells like garlic can last hours or days.

        • Lots of water and good mints. Lots of folks at my office keep a toothbrush and mouthwash at their desks. That’s not weird.

        • Mrs. Jones :

          I usually brush my teeth after lunch at the office.

    • I’ve been bringing TJ’s multigrain blend with their Rosemary Balsamic chicken on top. Other favorites that I can make in large batches on a Sunday and portion out: sauteed chicken sausage with peppers, onions, and tomato sauce; roasted vegetables (plan to start adding farro); lasagne.

    • On Sunday, I make a large pot of soup that DH and have for dinner. The rest is portioned out for my work lunches through Wednesday with any leftovers frozen. Soup is a great way to push lots of vegetables, though I will admit that I favor the creamy, more substantive soups over watery soups, as I find them tastier and more filling.

      I also take a sheet pan and fill it with chopped veggies and 2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and roast. Again, Sunday night dinner usually over rice/couscous/farro with a drizzle of balsamic, and then packaged for lunch. Such an easy no-brainer meal.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m all about grab and go meals. I spend the better part of Sundays planning and prepping meals so I can put zero thought or effort into eating healthy during the week.

      Soups, stews, and chilis are great. They freeze well and if you portion them out before freezing, they thaw quickly too. I’ve been on a chorizo chili kick because my doctor told me to eat more fat. A small portion is really filling, which is fabulous because I can make like 20 servings in the crock pot in one go. My best soup hack – make your own parmesan broth. Boil parmesan rinds and whatever veggies and herbs you have on hand for like ~45 minutes. Freeze and use for easy soups – white bean and kale is my favorite.

      I made a big batch of meatballs last weekend and I’ve been surprised how versatile they are. Lunch today is 2 meatballs with a cucumber and greek yogurt “salad”. I’ve also had zoodles and meatballs for dinner this week.

      Chicken thighs in the slow cooker is another great go-to protein. The thighs have a better fat content than breasts so they reheat and freeze better, and a smaller portion goes farther. I like making little “stacks” for lunch – chicken, avocado, tomatoes, and whatever green I have on hand.

    • Anonymous :

      I have the easiest lunch routine ever. 2 vegs + meat + carb. I use a combination of left overs + lunch-specific stuff I have sitting in my fridge for the week.

      For instance, I make a giant sheet pans of roasted carrots at the start of each week so I have an easy vegetable option in my fridge to add to other left overs. I often supplement with frozen peas which I can microwave from frozen. I keep prepared single servings of meat frozen in baggies – cooked chicken breast portion, pulled pork, slice meatloaf, etc. I will make up rice or barley at the start of the week. I keep naan in my fridge. Between all of this prepared stuff and the leftovers I generate each night, I can piece together a variety of meals throughout the week.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Crustless quiche – use whatever you have in your fridge for meat, veggies, cheese, etc. Chicken or egg salad with made with mostly Greek yogurt and some mayo. All of that is stuff that I can make in a large batch on Sunday night and use throughout the week.

    • One of my favorites on rotation is to put my protein on a bed of spinach, the spinach steams when I heat up the protein. Now that’s it’s summer, the protein will be grilled chicken most of the time.

    • This is where the instant pot is your friend. I make lots of bean and lentil stews, heavy on the vegetables, that I portion out into 2 cup containers for the week.

      Or sometimes I don’t do that and instead eat a peanut butter sandwich.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I do a lot of soups in my life, and freeze individual portions and throw those in my bag for lunch. Or I do the Bon Appetit “insta-lunch,” where I just put leftovers on a salad. Most things work surprisingly well. Leftover salmon -throw on greens with pistachios, lemony salad dressing (in the fridge at work). Leftover steak and carrots – throw on greens with ranch dressing. Leftover stir fry – throw together with leftover rice and salad to make a “bowl” lunch, put some pickled beets in it, doesn’t even need dressing.

  5. Need some help on wording. My organization is piloting a women’s mentoring program, and politically, I should apply to be a mentee. I’m going through the application, and am stuck on what I want to gain. I’m doing it for visibility to senior leadership, but obviously can’t say that. What are good choices for this sort of thing?

    • Anonymous :

      Do you have any desire at all to do something for the woman you’re mentoring? (I hope so; I’d hate to be mentored by someone who was only doing it to get noticed by her bosses.) Focus on that.

    • Increase knowledge and understanding of the organisation, with an eye to advancing within the organisation.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d say I want to gain increased leadership capacity, deeper knowledge of the company, an understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing senior leadership. Good luck!

    • You can say networking instead of “visibility to senior leadership.” Your mentor will be able to introduce you to more people that would be good for you to know.
      Having a mentor is also super valuable, it sounds like you only want to do it for that one reason. Your mentor can help you navigate situations at work, help you learn about how the company is organized, and just be an ally to you.

    • Thanks all! I used a combo of your terminology and submitted the application. No idea how many applicants there will be, but it’s a large organization and a very small program. I’ll let you know if I get selected!

  6. I like chicken and salmon salad sandwiches (although depending on your office, salmon salad could be a smelly faux pas). For both I cook the meat and let it cool (or use leftovers) and combine with some light mayo, finely diced celery and onion, salt, and pepper. I try to have about as much celery/onion combined as meat. On whole wheat bread, it makes a really filling lunch for me. For the salmon, I often use leftovers. For the chicken, I like to make chicken breasts in the slow cooker over the weekend. Just put them in with a few tablespoons of water and cook on high for 3-4 hours. They’ll be juicy and easy to shred. For the salad, I prefer to cool and dice the chicken rather than shred it, but you could do either. I like to pair the sandwich with a piece of fruit and/or an easy salad of prewashed/precut lettuce. I make so much chicken that way to use for lunches. Mostly to add to lettuce salads, but sometimes for sandwiches.

  7. Annual check ups? :

    Ladies, I’m 30, in good health, and don’t make a regular practice of going to the doctor. I’ve been once in the last 3 years for a minor emergency. Next week, I’ve scheduled a regular check-up with blood work because it is offered by my insurance for free for a limited time. Is there anything in particular I should ask to check?

    Alongside my physical, I scheduled a well woman exam with pap. I specifically requested a female doctor, they said ok but then scheduled me with a male doctor, and I wrote back to say no, please change. Small victory for me as I’ve had bad experiences with male doctors in the past.

    In general I want to get better about monitoring my health and being proactive. Do I need to see a dermatologist, eye doctor, etc, at my age if I have no problems? What do you all do?

    • Linda from HR :

      It’s recommended that you see an eye doctor regularly even if you don’t have problems (admittedly, I am not in the habit of doing this but I should be). Dermatologist not so much, just make sure you’re keeping an eye on your moles and seeing a doctor if any of them change.

    • Anonymous :

      When you go for your check up, ask them what specialists you should be seeing. You should definitely be seeing your gyn every year. If you have risk factors for skin cancer, then dermatologist as well. My internist told me to see an ophthalmologist every year since glaucoma runs in my family.

      • Anonymous :

        I thought it’s no longer recommended to see a gyn every year if you’re over 30 and have never had problems? Isn’t it like every other year or every 3 years now? My doctor only sees me to monitor my bp.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes. Anon at 9;29’s first sentence is the right answer. OP – ask your doc.

        • Anonymous :

          My gyn likes to see me every year. It’s paps that are only necessary every three years if you have no bad history. But there is a lot more to a women’s health exam than a pap (pelvic exam, breast exam, etc.)

        • My understanding is that you only need pap smears every three years in that case, but you still need the pelvic exam where they feel around every year.

        • I’ve always been skeptical of this rec. Honestly, if you’ve had new partners in the last year, I’d go every year. On average, cervical and uterine cancers usually grow slowly but there are rarer forms that will progress from abnormal pap to cancer in less than a year and I don’t want to be on the bad side of that statistic (trust me from experience from totally normal one year to multiple testings and surgeries later).

          • So…maybe new partners is a reason to ask your doctor to do it more often. That’s fine. But for women who haven’t had a change in partner number, then why do it more often?

          • to 10:49: Oh the naivite!! You get the testing b/c you never know if your partner has been 100% faithful. I know, I know, you’re religious enough and good enough and perfect enough that NO ONE would ever cheat on YOU….

          • 10:49 b/c you have no guarantee that your partner hasn’t had new partners.

      • Kind of beside the point, but does anyone else ever feel like there must be a better way to test that isn’t so invasive? Like in 100 years they’re going to look back at us and wonder how women endured such barbaric treatment in the name of healthcare?

        • I totally agree.

          Same for mammograms. I have actually stopped getting them because they are so painful. I am ultrapetite, and one time the tech tore my pec muscles getting me in that torture device and I was bruised with internal bleeding for weeks.

          Just…. no.

          • I think calling paps barbaric is a little much. Cervical cancer is real. They do not cause me this kind of pain, but if they cause you this kind of pain, I totally get foregoing them. But that doesn’t make the procedure barbaric.

          • Anonymous :

            Yeah, I call BS on the male/female distinction. Men have to get a finger up their butt for prostate exams. I’d rather have a pap than that. It’s not particularly comfortable or fun, but I don’t think it’s physically painful, and if it is you need a different doctor.

          • Anonymous :

            Who said anything about a male/female distinction?

            But as long as we’re on the topic, men don’t have to get that done until later in life. And maybe there should be an alternative for them too!

          • Anonymous :

            My DH is 35 and his doctor recommended it. Maybe not annually, but I don’t have a pap annually either.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think you need a derm, honestly. I’m very fair and have loads of freckles. I went for a skin check because of posts here and the doctor basically laughed at me and said “you’re 30. You don’t need to be here if you don’t have a suspicious mole.” Maybe skin checks are more common in sunny states like CA or FL but in my area they don’t seem to be a thing.

      • Please find a new doctor. Your doctor gave you horrible advice. A skin check is painless, non invasive, and takes about ten minutes. Being under 30 is laughable; melanoma is the most common type of cancer in Americans aged 25-29. Also, the states with the highest rates of melanoma are Utah, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Get a yearly skin check by a professional who knows what they’re looking for.

        • I’ve seen multiple dermatologists who wouldn’t give me a skin check even though people in my family routinely get skin cancer (I lost an aunt to skin cancer who was younger than I am now), and even though I had multiple bad sun burns as a child. They acted like they didn’t understand what I was asking for. My insurance company wouldn’t cover the one derm who did (since she also biopsied a mole, and they insisted this must have been a “cosmetic” procedure, probably because the practice does a ton of cosmetic procedures).

          I used to think of dermatologists as some of the very best trained specialists, but I don’t know even know how to find one who sees this as part of their job.

          • Look for or ask for a recommendation for a dermatologist who specializes in cancer. I asked my “spa dermatologist” for a rec and she was happy to point me to my awesome “regular dermatologist.”

          • Anonymous :

            Thank you for this suggestion! Knowing what to ask for can help so much; I will follow up on this.

      • Yes this is terrible advice and you need a new doctor. One of my Ph.D committee members died of melanoma when she was in her early 30s. Unlike me, who has Celtic ancestry , grew up with sunburns galore in California, and is very high risk, she didn’t have any apparent high risk factors in skin type, background, etc.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I’ve gone to a gyn, eye dr, and derm annually, throughout my adult life (and dentist twice a year). I’m practically a poster child for the risk of skin cancer so the derm is important.

    • I’m surprised noone has mentioned annual dentist visits.

    • I do a physical every year, and lady exam every 2-3. It’s just good practice. I usually go around the 4th of July, when things get slow around the office. I go to the eye doctor every two years at the advice of my actual eye doctor, with the caveat that he would want me to come in sooner if I feel something has changed or have an issue arise (my prescription hasn’t changed in over 10 years). I’ve never seen a derm, though my pcp has done skin checks, but I would go in a heartbeat if I had risk factors or needed help with bad acne or something.

  8. NYC picnic and/or outdoor resto suggestions: second date, I suggested outside, but I’m drawing a blank. Thoughts?

    • Lazy option that I’ve employed in the past: hit the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle, right across from Central Park. There’s a buffet and a bunch of ready made food. All you need to bring is a picnic blanket.

    • Central park – go to the zoo, or just walk around. There are lots of decent delis bordering the park where you can get a sandwich and pack it in. For more of an outing, I also love the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park zoo is small but nice, Coney Island – ride the wonder wheel!, High Line (crowded, cliche, but still kind of fun), Governor’s Island, Brooklyn or NY Botanical Garden (cherry blossoms probably still blooming)…

    • Anon in NYC :

      Terroir on the Porch (wine bar on the High Line with small plates).

      • Terroir has no reservation options, and we are two divorced parents with kids :(.

        • Are you bringing the kids along?

          • Anon in NYC :

            Agreed – kids change the recommendations! Here are my kid-friendly ideas.

            With kids, Shake Shack in Madison Square Park may be a good option. No reservations, but you can eat outdoors, it’s kid-friendly, and I’m pretty sure there’s a playground in the park. Another option would be Gotham West Market. It’s a food hall, but you can eat/drink and then walk one avenue to the Hudson River Greenway.

            If you’re in Brooklyn, there’s Roberta’s (pizza), or Greenwood Park (kid-friendly beer garden, best for a mid-day date with kids), or the Whole Foods in Gowanus that has an outdoor roof top dining area.

    • Beaubourg or City Vineyard at Pier 26

  9. Veronica Mars :

    I’m thinking of painting my home office pink (more of a brown-pink/neutral pink, not hot pink or bright pink)(The winner right now is Bashful by Benjamin Moore, but that could change). Should I consider putting up white/linen curtains behind me so the pink isn’t showing on video calls? My office wants to be very hip/cool (I saw a job posting that said something like, “Purple hair? Don’t care.” But I could see it being an unconscious bias. Thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      No. You’re overthinking this. That color won’t even show up as pink on a screen.

      • Veronica Mars :

        This is brilliant. I hadn’t even thought of checking the color with my computer camera. Thanks for the tip!

        • Anonymous :

          I think you missed the point of the comment.

          • Anonymous :

            Sorry – I was anon at 9:39 but not the anon at 9:30. Her point was that you’re overthinking, and you responded with another step to check the color. Do what you want, but I agree that you’re overthinking. IMO, you’re in “is my water bottle professional” territory.

        • Anonymous :

          Honestly I think that color will just show up as a white or off-white. My advice would be different if you were going with a hot pink.

        • Veronica Mars :

          Eh, I’m on video calls for most of my day, so it does matter to me how I look and how I’m presenting myself.

          • I think the color of your office wall matters much less than how you style it beyond the color. I’ve seen pictures of wall colors that are crazy and that on their own would seem weird. But with the stuff on the wall, are totally amazing. I’d pick the color you want but maybe also try to find some cool ways to accessorize/decorate your wall behind you, too.

            It sounds like you have more video conference experience than me, but every time I worry about my background, it ends up being totally unfounded. The actual area being recorded ends up being so small that I take up most of it.

          • How you look and how you present yourself have nothing to do with the color of the walls in your own house.

          • Veronica Mars :

            10:45 anon–I agree. It’s going to be styled very sophisticated, with lots of ivory and chocolate to make it feel more grown up. From the camera’s view, however, it’ll just be my face and the pink wallcolor–I use my built-in camera so there’s not really a wide enough angle to capture anything else, and I’ve found if I hang things behind me, it can cause a glare if it’s a glass picture frame.

            and anon 11:38, I disagree. Maybe you don’t do a lot of video conferencing, but if you have colleagues you only see via video conferencing, the background does have an impact. They literally just see your head+shoulders and the background color. I always get comments when I’m in the office and using one of our rooms with a bold wall color or mural behind me (again, my company is trying to be hip).

          • Pen and Pencil :

            This color probably will show up as pink, but blush is practically neutral IMO. As long as you don’t go crazy with lace and over the top girly-ness I can’t imagine anyone finding this unprofessional. I would have different opinions if you wanted highlighter yellow or sponge paint.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Is it close to the color of your skin (as they each appear on camera)? That would be my main concern.

    • Anonymous :

      My living room is Benjamin Moore Bashful and I absolutely love it – so go for it! I will say, the color does look different depending on the time of day and the natural lighting. In the middle of a sunny day, it’s very faint pink, while in the evening with lights on, it’s a bit darker pink.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Ohhh, this is reminding me of the time we had a video conference at work with a young woman who had moved back into her parents house. She was in her childhood bedroom complete with ruffled canopy bed, Harry Potter and kitten posters, and school trophies in the background. Not the most professional look!

      OP, pink sounds awesome and is very on-trend. I doubt anyone will notice

    • Instead of chocolate, consider a French gray shade as an accent color. Pink and brown are both warm tones, so using gray as accent color will give a nice balance with a warm tone and cooler tone. I’m speaking strictly as a designer, nothing to do with your webcam.

  10. London Recommendations? Mid June :

    I posted about this earlier, but it was too late in the day: please share what you would recommend for a trip to London in mid- June with a 17 year old girl. I’ve tried searching for past posts but have trouble with the results. Thanks to all who responded previously and to the others in advance.

    • Anonymous :

      Shakespeare at the Globe? A day trip to the Cotswolds (I would have loved afternoon tea and antiquing in a quaint village when I was 17, but YMMV)? The Borough Market is a fun place to eat. Definitely Harrods. Walking around Notting Hill to see the colorful houses and fancy neighborhoods. Buckingham and Kensington Palaces.

      • +1 for Shakespeare! You can get 5$ tickets near the stage, last time I went it was amazing! You want good weather though.

    • Anonymous :

      Depends on her interests but I’m a history buff and I’d have loved to see:

      Parliament tour
      War cabinet rooms
      Westminster abbey
      Take a boat down the Thames to the Tower of London
      Anything she might want to see at the V&A

      • Anonymous :

        Forgot to mention:

        Day trips to Oxford and Stratford (take in some Shakespeare)
        Visit bath for a day or so if she reads Jane Austen

        • London Recommendations? Mid June :

          Thanks for all the great responses so far! I’m wondering if there are things I should try to book now before I get there? Keep ’em coming!

          • You should book high tea at Sketch, Brown’s or Claridge’s in advance.

            I would also add–you can take a boat from the original Tate to the Tate Modern down the river, and see two great museums.

            I love the Cabinet War Rooms and my favorite under-the-radar London Museum is Sir John Soane’s house.

            You should take her shopping–fashion is definitely a season ahead over there, so let her wander around Oxford Circus, Selfridge’s and the like. I am not a huge fan of Harrod’s–it trends toward foreign money/all designer.

            I like to stroll through Hyde Park and Greenwich Park (short train ride on the mainline train from London Bridge or you can take the T/DLR) and bonus–you can see the Greenwich Meridian.

            Crown Jewels at Tower of London. (Go early–lines are very long in summer).

            Day trip to Oxford or Cambridge, go punting. Day trip to Hampton Court Palace.

            Maybe hit the Portobello Market on Friday or Saturday starting at Notting Hill Gate and walking upward to see all the different things (from antiques to cutting-edge sneakers).

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes to all of this. And if you can possibly manage to get tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, do it. It’s pricey but just completely amazing.

            Instead of Harrod’s, try Fortnum & Mason. Similar but much more manageable.

            Also day trip to Windsor Castle.

          • Anonymous :

            @MJ – I found a comment of yours from about 2 years ago about your London rec sheet:
            It’s such a comprehensive list that I bookmarked it for the future

            @London OP: MJ’s London Rec sheet might skew a little older, but definitely worth using it as a starting point and asking the girl what types of things she wants to do/see

    • Linda from HR :

      Is there time for a day trip to the Harry Potter studio? There’s a bus that takes you out there on a bus and back again. Old buildings, historical sites and museums are awesome, but the Harry Potter trip is a nice contrast to all that if she’s into that stuff. Portobello Road is also really fun.

      • Lots to Learn :

        +1. This was the favorite thing our family (2 girls ages 15 and 19) did on a recent trip to Lond0n. If you like HP at all, it is an AMAZING visit. And you must book in advance. If sold out, look for Gray Line tours that include it.

    • anon a mouse :

      She probably would enjoy doing the Camden or Brixton markets – great people watching, lots of interesting things to look at, a good place to buy unique souvenirs.

      Also check out walking tours — we did a nighttime Jack the Ripper tour that was really interesting, and an older teen would probably find it fascinating if she’s not easily spooked.

      • Linda from HR :

        I did that too last year! But in mid-June, the latest tour we could find was still before sundown, so it was still interesting but not very spooky.

    • I have a daughter that age who hates shopping! So it is a “know your child” type of thing. I have had good luck giving her one day on our trip where we will do anything she wants (within the limits of safety, legality and budget). When we went to Rome, I was surprised that “her” day was spent visiting the aqueducts and the Appian Way, which are not on anybody’s list of must-dos for teens. My suggestion is to give her a guidebook to London (maybe with a couple of tabbed suggestions) and ask her what she wants to do.

      The flip side is that we spent one day doing what I wanted with the promise of no complaints! (Although it turned out that she loved the Vatican Museum.)

    • Lots to Learn :

      The Harry Potter studio tour was the favorite thing our family (2 girls ages 15 and 19) did on a recent trip to Lond0n. If you like HP at all, it is an AMAZING visit. And you must book in advance. If sold out, look for Gray Line tours that include it.

      Our kids also really loved the Burrough Market. And Tower of London.

  11. Anonymous :

    Can anyone recommend a Lasik provider in the NYC area? Anything I should keep in mind while assessing? I’m definitely not looking to bargain hunt, but price is a consideration because I’d like to just plunk cash down ASAP and get it over with. Earlier this week, one of my contacts FELL OUT at work and I’m just so over it.

    • If you want to save cash, I recommend you beef up your HSA or FSA and do it when that account is full.

      My contacts used to fall out all the time if I wasn’t using enough drops or cleaning them properly, and occasionally you get a dud. It happens.

      You should go to the best doctor you can find who is associated with an academic institution.

      • KateMiddletown :

        You can reimburse yourself from HSA vs pay directly out of it. My plan (EyeMed) has a few providers that are discounted, and my eye doctor has specifically said don’t go to X go to Y in our town. I’d start with your current eye doctor’s reco.

    • Anonymous :

      Dr Goldberg Little Silver NJ ( on North Jerey Coast Line from NY Penn ) He practically invented it. done thousands and my whole family with excellent results.

  12. Anonymous :

    I’m invited to a partner’s birthday party that is being held at a bar and hosted by the partner and her husband on their own dime. Is this an exception to the don’t gift up rule? I was going to bring a nice-to-me bottle of champagne and a card.

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      I think if this were at their home, then a bottle of wine would be appropriate, but because this is at a bar, just bring a card and say happy birthday.

    • Not an exception – mostly because I don’t tend to give any adults birthday presents (maaaaaybe if I’m related to them I will). They want you to celebrate with them, not collect gifts. And it would still have the optics of giving a gift to a boss/manager/etc, so I don’t see how that changes just because it’s off site?

      • Agree. I had my bday at a bar last year. A couple people generously gave me gifts and it actually kind of was a pain to deal with since we ended up walking to another place afterwards. I personally would never expect a gift (the gift is your company!) and I don’t think adults typically do. You could offer to buy her a drink, but I don’t even think that’s a requirement.

    • Huh, maybe just me, but I think it would be weird to bring a bottle of champagne to a bar. They’re going to have to keep track of it and remember to bring it home with them.

      I’m like Anonymous @ 10:53 — I don’t give adults gifts for birthdays unless they’re very close friends. I think a card is great.

    • Anonymous :

      If you want to give her a gift or decide you feel you need to give her a gift, bring it to the office on Monday instead and thank her for the nice time. I would be so annoyed with having to keep track of and haul home a bottle of champagne from a bar. Not to mention that depending on the place, they may not even let you bring it in at all.

  13. Can anyone recommend some hard candies that aren’t a) super high calorie and b) packed with artificial ingredients? I have a long flight coming up and it helps my ears to suck on candy, but I don’t want to overdo it.

    • What about a cough drop like Ricola?

      • I’m pretty sure they make a sugar-free Ricola too, although I can’t speak to the ingredient list.

    • They aren’t technically hard candies, but you can sck on them for a long time – Grether’s Pastilles

    • Gin Gins hard candy. Made with all natural ingredients, and the ginger actually helps settle my upset stomach (motion sickness). Only about 10 calories per candy. I keep them with me at all times in my purse. But, full disclosure, I LOVE ginger.

      • plus, the “how not to die” book claims that ginger is good for counteracting the UV rays :)

    • givemyregards :

      queasy drops? I always take these on flights anyway because I get nauseous – three of them are seventy calories which is similar to jolly ranchers but 30% less sugar. I also love gin gins, but if you’re not a total ginger lover, they may not be your cup of tea.

    • YMMV on how bad the ingredients are, but Werthers “no sugar added” taste a lot like regular Werthers, and I carry them for motion sickness and for flights.

      • Wait, aren’t Werthers caramels? How can you make them without sugar??

        • This! My coworkers couldn’t understand why I thought Sugar Free Maple Syrup was ridiculous. It’s made of sugar! So what’s worse, natural sugar, or a ton of aspartame or whatever chemical sweetener they use to make the label say “sugar free” :)

  14. Introvert Junior :

    How do you get comfortable/good at client development? The partner I work with took 3 associates out to a luncheon event where several clients also attended. The other 2 associates are more senior than me so they know the clients already. I had a lot of trouble inserting myself into the conversation without sounding awkward. I ended up being quiet most of the time. Also I have trouble hearing them over the loud chatters at the place. Not wanting to make them repeat themselves every sentence, I just nodded along for the most part.

    I know this comes with practice. As a junior ish (3rd year) associate, I haven’t had a lot of practice. I am also an introvert so socialization gives me anxiety in general. So I was just wondering if anyone has any tips for me. I really want to get better since I know people will start evaluating me on that skill the more senior I get. TIA!

    • Honestly, practice.

      But don’t feel like your only path to business development is being someone who’s really great at smalltalk and working a room. You can and should improve those skills, sure. But people who are good at business development find something that is authentic to them. Maybe your focus will be on writing articles or a blog or one-on-one interactions. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, just try to be the best version of yourself.

    • My firm gave us a 4-day course in sales/business development. It came with a CD or whatever – tracks to download. They were basically a short summary of the key points of the class, with a lot of motivation and review of techniques – i.e. BE motivated. Believe that sales is “a noble profession” – you’re not annoying clients, you’re helping them solve problems that you and your firm are able to solve. But — MOST IMPORTANTLY – you’re building relationships. Imagine that you’re meeting a new friend. I know you said you have some social anxiety, so maybe address that on your own, but if your friend introduced you to a new friend, I’m sure you’d be friendly and social, right? You wouldn’t wonder why you there or think that you didn’t belong – heck you’re just friends together! If you have that mindset in business situations — that you belong, and it is a natural relationship, not a one-off transaction, it helps. Hope this helps.

      • Meant to add that I listened to the CDs before meetings with clients or potential clients, or before big calls, things like that. If you think, I need extra help with this, it’s ok to get that extra help a lot of different ways.

  15. Lately, I’ve found that I want to turn down almost every social invitation to a happy hour, get-together with school friends, etc. It just doesn’t sound that fun to make small talk all night (and spend money at a crowded bar) when I could be home relaxing with my husband. I’m not sure if this is an aging thing or what; I’ve always been an introvert, but I used to get more excited about certain social plans. Now I only get excited for plans with truly good friends, especially if they involve one of the outdoor activities I love. The problem is that I have no truly good friends in my new city despite honestly trying to develop some of these superficial friendships. I guess I’m concerned I’m crossing the line from introvert to misanthrope now. Should I be concerned or am I overthinking it?

    • If you want friends you won’t make them sitting at home with your husband and I think you know that. Go to things. Keep trying. Life is long. No friends makes it lonely

    • Maybe if you initiate you can change the venue to outdoor activities. Meetup has outdoor activity groups, but it takes time to get to know new people. It seems that you prioritize deep connections and outdoor activities, and nothing’s wrong with that. I highly encourage you to keep trying, as my father died the year before my mom was scheduled to retire. Even though he focused most of his social energy on her, she made it a point to keep in touch with good friends, who have supported her in her time of need and currently provide a social outlet.

      • +1

        It sounds like you’re not excited about being at a bar, more than not excited about hanging out with people. Suggest a get together for something other than going out for drinks!

    • If you want to develop deeper friendships it takes time and repeated frequent social contact. Just meeting up with superficial friends at a bar once every three months won’t do it. Invite them to activities you prefer on a more frequent basis to 1) get out the house, half the battle is showing up and 2) develop deeper relationships with people other than your husband. If you classify them as that that is how they will remain. Maybe reframe as “friendships of varying closeness”

      Also, you’re asking too much from these relationships you call “superficial friendships”. Small talk is a part of human interaction with people of varying degrees of closeness. It is how conversations start. TBH if you’re trying to talk about deep personal things or religion/politics every time you hang out with someone you’re a bit of a pill and that might be why your friendships don’t progress.

      • I agree with your last point about not being a pill, but I’m really confident I’m not doing that – I have discussed politics exactly one time in two years with these friends (around the election, so everyone was). The problem at this stage in my life is that I feel like I’m putting in the work and showing up to these events most of the time, but it still NEVER progresses past small talk. I have made really good friends in the past in a variety of activities (so I know it’s not that everyone hates me or something), but they’re all long-distance now – why am I getting so stuck this time?

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Maybe it’s the setting? What if you invite them over for dinner or afternoon tea/coffee or something where it’s easier to talk? Smaller groups might help as well.

          I also know someone who starts good friendships with “So, tell me your life story!”

        • Another anon :

          Even with my best of friends, I don’t go past small talk in a bar. That happens individually or in small groups in person or on text.

    • If this is a recent thing, I wouldn’t worry so much. I go through phases of less and more socializing, depending on what I have going on. Also, if it’s an activity I don’t enjoy (sitting in a loud bar), I’m not wasting my time on it.

      I am also currently trying to make good friends in a new place and it’s not easy. If I meet people that I get along with, I will invite them to activities that I’m doing anyway, like taking a couple of people on a day trip w with DH. I also invite people over for board games.

    • I feel this so much. I don’t even have anyone waiting for me at home, I just want to curl up with a nice book and a fuzzy blanket and be alone. But then sometimes I want to go out to dinner or check out that new brewery or do a paint nite and… no one is available for me. So I force myself to do things I don’t want to do so that sometimes people will reciprocate and do things I want to do that aren’t necessarily their preferred activity.

    • Love this post :

      Hi are you me?

  16. Any recs for sectional couch?

    I have a new, giant office that is big enough to fit a sectional couch in the corner. (Max size is 110 x 90). I would like it to be comfortable enough for naps, while still office appropriate.

    • Anonymous :

      Ummm no but congratulations!!!! Not sure what you do but huge corner office + time for naps seems like a great gig!

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’ve been eyeing sectionals from Room and Board.

      • +1 to Room and Board.

        We purchased a sectional from them (York) and it is really comfortable and held up well. Plus they can make all their sofas in a huge variety of fabrics. Not inexpensive, but I would definitely buy another sofa from them in the future.

      • Anonymous :

        This. We have 2 Room + Board sectionals at home and I’m always taking naps on them (Metro with micro suede and Orson with boucle). Both are 5+ years old and still look great. The Metro is tailored enough for a Silicon Valley tech/biz cas office. For an office, I’d go for a more tailored couch in a fabric with no nap like their micro-suede. I would avoid the linen and boucle fabrics for an office.

    • Interior Define :

      Interior Define…we just had a custome made sectional and it’s AMAZING. can’t say enough good things about the process of creating, ordering and delivery….and, of course, enjoying it!

  17. How do employers judge a return to school? I work for a federal agency as a clerk for an ALJ, but would love to transition to land use law. An aptitude test found that one of my biggest strengths is foresight –> planning –> land use law. Is it better to network? Volunteer? How do employers judge non-US schools? As a woman of color, it would be great to leave the US for a year or two and date in a country where my stock is higher.

    • Land use law is actually a lot of lobbying and schmoozing in my city. Making nice with planning boards. Making nice with nutty community groups. Counseling your clients who are besieged by nutty NIMBYs. Trading horses to get a deal approved.

      It isn’t a lot of planning (unless you work for a city’s planning / zoning department making master development plans or updating zoning / building codes / parking rules for new buildings (n.b. everyone in my city drives a monster truck and the rest of people still cannot park within marked lines, thus compressing already scarce spots –> fix your standard width, please!).

    • Are you a lawyer clerk or a secretary clerk? If you’re a lawyer, what school would you be doing? Land use is extremely local, I don’t see how a foreign degree would help you at all. Also, frNkly, this whole thing is ridiculous. An aptitude year cannot tell you that you’ll be good at land use law.

      • +1 to this whole comment.

      • Thank you for the feedback Anonymous @ 10:57. I am a lawyer clerk who wants to work somewhere at the intersection of law and urban planning. The importance of being local makes sense. The aptitude test results related to foresight, and land use law seemed to be the smallest career jump I could think of. Are there other specialties you would recommend for someone whose strength is foresight, aside from policy? I think about the future all the time.

    • Going to law school to do land use law, if this is what your’e thinking, is not a great idea. Land use law is a niche area with limited positions and lots of them won’t pay well (because they’re for state and local gov’ts). I’ve never practiced specifically in this area but my practice area dove tails with it a lot, and honestly, I suspect it’s one of those areas that is very different in practice than in theory. (Although, it certainly seems like your best chance to do first amendment litigation is zoning law…..) Urban planning is cool and theoretical and fun. Anonymous’s assessment at 10:38 is accurate, based on my observations.

      If you’re planning on getting a degree that will not teach you American law at all, this will be next to useless.

      • The best place to do first amendment law I think is actually local ordinances (flag flying, etc.). We have a group of nutters flying a large confederate flag and they are trying to craft an ordinance on flag size to make them go away. But they have to be really really careful so it’s not so obviously just an attempt to delete that flag. Going to wind up in court anyway.

        • That’s what I meant– seems like a good chunk of people who wind up doing land use law deal with a lot of the local government law grab bag.

  18. Beating the Blahs :

    I need something to help me kickstart my life. I have a great job, good house, family, etc., but I’m not excited about anything. I thought a vacation would help, but I was still tired the whole time and didn’t come back refreshed. I love my life. I have a job that pays well, is interesting and rewarding, and I now have quite a bit of control over my schedule. But when I get home, I’m tired and don’t have energy for anything fun. I think it’s that I’m burnt out from focusing on work for the past decade, but I’m struggling with what to do with my personal time.

    After years of focusing on my career, I feel uptight and boring. I used to be able to relax and party but I don’t feel like I have a non-work persona anymore. I keep up with the news and read books, but I struggle to add anything interesting to conversations.

    I’d like to find hobbies, especially ones that help me build a group of friends.

    Any ideas? Or books that might help me brainstorm how to rebuild my private life?

    • Designing Your Life by Dale Evans & Bill Burnett

      • Beating the Blahs :

        Thanks I’ll try that. I’ve seen it recommended here but thought it focused more on career.

    • The Americans (no spoilers) :

      The answer is to exercise more (and if not, it never hurts). Tennis is good — very social if you take classes or join a league/team like USTA has.

      • Second exercise :

        I find that regular exercise really helps with this. When I get my blood pumping I become far more engaged in EVERYTHING. I start to think of things I want to do, read. redecorate, wear, people I want to entertain, etc. Also, I feel these bizarre bursts of satisfaction out of the blue. Commit to regular, sweaty exercise for two weeks and see what you think!

      • Beating the Blahs :

        You’re both right. I do feel better when I’ve been exercising and I forget that when I’ve been a couch potato for a while. I need to get over the idea that I need to get better at tennis before joining a group. If I just go for it I’ll get better eventually.

    • You need an active hobby. Why not try something new like rock climbing or cycling? You can make good hobby friends that way.

      • Beating the Blahs :

        Oh that’s a good idea. I used to rock climb years ago but stopped when my climbing partner moved away. I could definitely get back into it. Thanks!

    • I have some “boring” hobbies that have helped me meet a lot of interesting people. If you have space, I would suggest planting a garden. There is a lot more planning and science behind it than most people think. For example, how do you create a garden where you have blooms all year long? Where do you put the plants that prefer wetter soil vs the ones that like drier soil?

      My area has a beautiful botanic garden where I have taken classes and met like-minded people. Plus they have given me some great advice about my own garden. And it’s nice to be outside and in the sunshine too :)

      • Beating the Blahs :

        I do garden and I definitely talk to all my neighbors when I’m outside, but the classes I went to were all much much older people. While fun to talk to, they weren’t interested in being friends. Maybe if I tried other types of events.

    • I’m 30, not married, super active and I do the following:
      – Cycle a large yearly two-day ride with a team, which does training rides, brewery rides, etc. I joined one that a friend of mine captains, but you could find a club to join without knowing anyone.
      – Joined an athletic club that I love going to, and have gained several new friends. It took several months to solidify these friendships – and some are “gym friends” while others are now friends outside the gym. Either way, I love going there to hang out with them and do a class, chat before and after, etc. It’s still a place I find relaxing and enjoyable to be at even if I’m just going for a quick 9pm circuit by myself.
      – This year, I joined a country club (golf focused). I’ve been out there 4x per week so far, and it’s a place I can go either to decompress or have active social time. The culture at this place is very anti-snobby country club, the members are super welcoming, and several have either picked me up to join their group mid-round or have added me to their group on the tee sheet.
      – Travel/vacation 2-3x per year, very strategically. I always have a trip coming up or just came back from one, which is always an excellent topic of conversation. I don’t go on blow-out luxury trips, reasonable comfort is my motto. For example, I’m doing a 4th of July trip, so only taking 2 days off work but getting 5+ days of travel time (leaving Tuesday afternoon). I have my flight, rental car, and Airbnb stays all pre-booked and that clocked in at less than $1K. I can afford to travel in this manner a few times a year.
      – I have a cookbook club and book club with close friends, and only have to worry about hosting those occasionally, otherwise I just have to show up.
      – Volunteer almost weekly at a cool place making meals for people in need.

      Full disclosure, I used to be one of the party girls. I no longer have any interest in that same, “go out and party” life but I love to be around people while also doing something fulfilling and goal-oriented. I am somewhat spontaneous in that if a friend texts wanting to go for a glass of wine or grab dinner, I can make a snap decision to say yes and do it. For everything else I do, I need the structure of routine or having it scheduled in advance: having a tee time, a scheduled ride, gym classes I go to on a weekly basis, volunteering on the same night, etc. If left to my own devices I would sit at home and watch bad TV on the couch, I don’t self-motivate on demand well. But if I’ve pre-planned something, I’m mentally prepared and will just go do it.

      • Beating the Blahs :

        I’m in a city that is really hardcore cycling and mountain biking whereas I haven’t really biked since I was in elementary school, so those groups always intimidate me. But I do like exercise classes and if I started doing an unusual one, I could probably meet people. I think it’s a good idea to take small vacations.

  19. Impostor Syndrome :

    Question about impostor syndrome.

    How many weeks, months or years does it take to live as an impostor before you realize you’re no longer faking it?
    If I act like a professional woman with an important and successful career, along with the painted nails and a suit….I live that life daily for an extended period of time….how long before I can claim I am no longer an impostor?

    • Dude – there’s isn’t a time line. It’s when you realize you actually are all these things. So, what internal work are you doing to say “Hey, I actually am a professional women with an important successful career, and I’m good at it. Which makes me awesome.”

      The thing about imposter syndrome – you never were an imposter, you just felt that way. So, what are you doing to change your mindset?

    • anonshmanon :

      yeah, maybe you didn’t mean to sound this way, but imposter syndrome isn’t about being an imposter (which you aren’t), but it’s about feeling like one (this might sound like semantics, but is an important difference). It sounds like you finished some educational program, you got hired in a job, you get validated through reviews, praise for projects accomplished or promotions, all of which means you are actually doing The Thing. It’s just that when you started on this path, the people doing The Thing seemed so different from your then self that you expect to feel like a totally different person once you were at that point. Now you are at that point and somehow you still feel like yourself and not fundamentally different. For me, that discrepancy between how I expected it to be and how I experience it is the source of feeling like I don’t belong.

      I’ve become better at recognizing the feeling and rationally arguing against it, making myself take opportunities and generally act is if I have the confidence of a mediocre white man. It doesn’t mean that I never feel like an imposter, but I try to ignore that feeling and not let it rule my actions, and it’s like a muscle you train.

    • biglawanon :

      Doesn’t answer your question, but I don’t think I’ll ever get it out of my head completely. I am a senior associate, and was an engineer for a decade before law school. I get excellent reviews and believe I do good work. But I still feel like I am going to get “found out” at some point.

  20. The Americans (no spoilers) :

    Formerly, this was a racy show.

    Lately, this show is all work, all stress, bad hair, money problems; nothing racy.


  21. I hear you – I just finished an MBA while working full time, and I’m struggling to figure out what it means for me to do “fun” things again.

    I think I’ve just gotten used to saying ‘nope, sorry, too busy,’ so part of my plan is to just say ‘yes’ to anything I’m invited to, and also to start being more active outdoors (biking, hiking) and then seeing what develops from there. I haven’t read it yet, but I also picked up a copy of “What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend” which seems like it might be useful.

  22. Car loan question. I have one payment left on my first ever car loan. I’m on autopay. The most recent payment charged about $20 higher than normal so I called the lender to ask why. They said my balance is higher than my monthly payment for 2 remaining installments so they divided it in half (no idea how this happened since they’re the ones who set the monthly payment to begin with). They also said that the last payment could not be processed by autopay and I have to send in a physical check. They gave me the payoff amount and said I have to pay within 2 weeks… even though my next payment isn’t for a month. I haven’t gotten anything in the mail from the lender.

    Has anyone experienced this? It honestly sounds like a scam but I’ve never paid off a loan before so maybe this is just how it works!

    • It sounds…. like no big deal? Not sure why you think it is a scam.

      I mean, do you think they would go to all this trouble for $20? I guess you can do the math yourself to see if you are overpaying by paying that extra $20. But it doesn’t sound crazy to me that they chose your monthly payment to be a nice/round amount (ex. $230/month instead of $230.43) and then they evened it out for the last payments.

      And maybe they their autopay program has bugs, so they want you to pay before the autopay kicks in for the last payment so they tell you to pay within 2 weeks because they expect many people will be late and they just want you to pay before the 1 month interval end date.

      I would totally pay off the whole balance with a check now and be done with it.

      Congrats on paying off your car! Now be an even smarter adult and only buy a “new” car when you can buy it cash, buying pre-owned certified and save more for an early retirement.

      • Anonymous :

        That last paragraph is… special. If you have good credit you can get a car loan for 2% or less. Why would you pay 100% cash for a depreciating asset when you can throw that cash into the market and make more than 2%? Put down a reasonable dp so you’re not underwater on the car as soon as you drive it off the lot and save your money for a better investment.

        • Anonymous :

          And not everyone has the privilege of being able to wait to get a new-to-you car until they have enough cash saved. Cars break. And are essential to getting to work in many areas. The snotty attitude about how smart adults only buy a new car when they can pay cash was really uncalled for.

        • Exactly- I have a zero percent interest loan. Why in the world would I do that?

    • This is how it works, not a scam. There is some fluidity around a payoff amount and even around the last payment because the interest accumulates.
      On our last loan, we paid off the payoff amount and then a couple of weeks later, they sent us the title.

    • IDK about the 2 week deadline but the extra $20 ($40 total?) is completely plausible as a result of rounding. EG, your monthly payment should technically be 100.258888 but you pay 100.25. Search for the brett whissel amortization calculator and run the numbers to be sure. Also a payoff fee/title fee could have been part of your original contract and that could account for the extra charges.

    • That’s pretty weird on both counts. Check your loan documents to make sure there isn’t some caveat about when your balance gets low. It’s also strange to require a physical check for a final payment — they should be able to just refund you any overages.

  23. Sweater care :

    Does there exist a service like a drycleaner, but for handwashing? I hate handwashing my sweaters so much, and would love to outsource it . . .

    • Many dry cleaners near me also do laundry, so you could call yours to ask what they do for handwashing sweaters?

      But I no longer handwash sweaters. What kind of washing machine do you have? Mine is a gentle front loader and I have a “handwash” cycle and “delicates” cycle and both of those work well for my sweaters. I put some of the delicate sweaters in mesh bags, and use my amazing hand washing detergent. And then I carefully lay to dry on drying racks after. Yes, still a pain but not as bad as handwashing.

    • At first I thought you wanted to outsource washing your hands ;)
      My definition of handwashing sweaters is very loose. I put them with me in the shower stalls when I shower, so they get wet. Then I soap them up a bit while soaping myself, and rinse off and hang on the faucet.

  24. Wedding Shoes :

    I’m looking for shoes to wear for my wedding this summer. Can anyone help?

    – I live in Canada, so need somewhere that ships here. I’d prefer a Canadian company, but that’s not a must-have.
    – Colour should be matte white, without any sparkly bits.
    – Closed almond or round toe.
    – Neither block heel nor stilettos. I’m looking for something that tapers in a bit, but I’ll need to be able to walk on grass. Height preferably one to two inches, but could go as high as 2.5″.
    – Preferably t-strap, otherwise Mary Jane or similar.
    – Aiming for $100 or less including shipping and duty fees, but could go a bit higher for the right shoe.

    Do these shoes exist? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • You’ll need block heels or wedges if you’re going to walk on grass.

      Further to that point – I’d reconsider white shoes if you’re going to be on grass. White will show grass stains and dirt much easier than any other color. And ymmv but if you’re wearing a white dress, your dress and shoes might not be the same white… and one might look kind of dingy compared to the other in pics.

    • Maybe one of these?

      • I have the naturalizers in a different color. Fairly comfortable for heels!

      • Oops, didn’t see your closed toe preference, reading fail. I don’t actually see any that fit all your requirements with a closed toe at Nordies.

    • I’m probably hopelessly out of trend, but white shoes with a white wedding gown sounds kinda 80’s or early 90’s to me. I wore white shoes with my bat mitzvah dress in 1989. The conservative yet modern approach would be metallic. The more creative approach would be outrageous fun shoes if your gown is floor length — think polka dots or bright yellow Mary Janes. Sorry if this is the exact opposite of helpful since it doesn’t answer your question…

      • This. The reason they are hard to find is that white shoes with a white dress is dated. Coloured or sparkly shoes are much more common. I wish I had been more spendy with my wedding shoes and less spendy with the dress as they are fun thing you can re-wear for anniversary dinners etc.

        I’m in Canada FWIW.

      • Wedding Shoes :

        Dress is retro style tea length with a green crinoline, so I’m hoping white since it should be more neutral. I’m worried metallic would just be too much. Good point about then just being out of style, though.

        • I can see why you want to avoid colour if your colour pop is the crinoline. If you look for a matte silver or even a matte gold you might find a bigger selection.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Payless has you covered.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            They also have a few cuter trendier pieces but they are stiletto heel.

          • No T-strap though which is almost the hardest part of OP’s request to find

        • I would think about doing a pale, matte metallic that coordinates with your jewelry.

        • Senior Attorney :

          No shoe suggestions but your dress sounds divine!

      • Anonymous :

        Nested replies are too deep but re:Blonde Lawyer’s payless rec:
        These have been my go-to pumps for years, in black and brown. I can walk in grass, although the heels sometimes sink a little into really soft mud.

      • Anonymous :

        White heels with interesting details (embellishment, toe shape, etc) with white wedding dress seem less old-fashioned.

    • 1. Too Expensive:

      2. Heel too skinny:

      3. No ankle strap, not matte white (my favorite, though)

      4. No ankle strap:

    • I bought these for my wedding this summer:

      The designer also does a bunch of others you may like, including a lot of T-straps.

    • It kind of sounds like you want ballroom dance shoes or character shoes, so I’d look at dance supply places.

      • +1 We were thinking the same thing at the same time.

      • Or dyeables (and don’t dye if white), some are metallic:

    • What about Amazon Canada?

    • Look up character shoes; you may be able to find what you are looking for from a dance supply (bonus: they’ll be so, so comfortable).

      • Anonymous :

        (For example, Google “Aris Allen Ivory Satin 1930s T-Strap.” These appear to be out-of-stock, but this is the kind of shoe you may be able to find from a dance supply.)

  25. $7 return fee even for exchanges :

    Bummer: J crew and Uniqlo both charge the return feee for an exchange. Just called about this and was told of the recent policy change.

    • Lana Del Raygun :


    • Paypal was thing this year where if you pay with Paypal they will credit you return shipping costs at any retailer. Not sure if you can still sign up and you have to send them documentation that is kind of a PITA, but worth looking into.

    • Hmmm…. I’m bummed that I just ordered from them, without realizing this.

      Will definitely tend to look elsewhere in the future.

      What is it about shipping/fees like this…..

    • Linda from HR :

      Yeah, one of my go-to clothing websites just changed to that as well. They used to offer free returns if you were getting an exchange or store credit, and they didn’t have a time limit for store credit exchanges, now all returns cost $7 and you have 21 days to send it back. I’m not leaving over it but I’ll probably shop there way less now.

  26. Blonde Lawyer :

    I asked this question almost exactly a year ago but I want to see if there is any new advice.

    My Plott Hound (about 60 lbs, very short fur) has very bad reactions to commercial flea and tick products. We first tried the topical gel and it made her hyper produce oils for two weeks so she looked like a duck in an oil spill. We were literally washing her with Dawn at the vet’s suggestion to make her more comfortable. She kept trying to lick all the oil off.

    Next, the vet had us try the oral pill. She got very ill from it and threw up foam for two days and became lethargic.

    Now the vet considers here highly reactive. She said we could consider trying the prescription or over the counter collars but those have the same type of chemicals and we would have to watch her very closely. After reading about dogs having seizures with those that reacted to the other products, we are going to stay away.

    Last year we didn’t treat her with anything after those two reactions. The drugs must have stayed in her system throughout the summer because she didn’t get a single tick.

    This past week, we have been finding two ticks on her a day. She has the Lyme vaccine but ticks are still gross, she doesn’t love me yanking them off and there are still other diseases she could get.

    I’m looking into natural/homeopathic remedies. lists some collars and sprays that use a variety of essential oils. There is also a company that could come spray my yard that uses your choice of traditional pesticides or organic oil based ones.

    If anyone has had success with an organic collar/spray/wipe or any other alternative than the commercial vet products, please let me know. If I find one that works, I’ll let you know too.

    • Candidate :

      Could you consider a permethrin application? I don’t think that’s a common ingredient in most commercial flea and tick products. I used it last year to soak my hiking clothes, and had no ticks all summer. It’s a contact killer for bugs that persists on fabric for several washes, so maybe you could soak a bandana and have her wear it?

      If you have cats (as I do) you need to be very careful with the permethrin solution. It is not dangerous once it is dry, but deadly when it is wet.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I’ll add that to my questions for the vet. We do have a cat.

      • Anonymous :

        Well, Advantix has permethrin (and imidacloprid). Some of the natural products may already be using pyrethrin (which is the natural compound that permethrin was synthesized to resemble).

    • Anonymous :

      Can you just treat your yard, not her?

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        We are looking into that but we also take her places on the weekend and would like her to be protected hiking and stuff too. Treating the yard could help reduce tick removal to a weekly chore rather than a twice daily chore.

    • As someone else said, you have to be vigilant about your yard (treat it)/the environment around her.

      I had a cats with the same issues…seizures, foaming at the mouth, etc.

    • I’m a day late, hope you are still following. Maybe try garlic? We use the chewables from Springtime:

  27. I don’t know whether this has been covered, but I went to the mmlafleur at Bryant Park yesterday. They had in some of the new stuff that isn’t yet on the website. I bought a dress in green with a white print, and a top in navy with two prints, predominantly the same white print as the dress. Very pretty and nice silk fabrics.

  28. Travel notification for cards :

    Do you think it’s still necessary to always do travel notifications for debit cards when you go abroad? I just called my bank to give them a notification, but honestly, the last few trips I’ve done, I haven’t bothered and things have been mostly fine at ATMs. I think I got one cancelled transaction, but it was a very large amount and a smaller amount went through fine. They’re also all in first-world countries, so I’m guessing less risk.

    I know that for most of my credit cards, I don’t bother anymore as I think their algorithms have figured out it’s me (and they usually have my flight charge on there too). But not sure about debit cards.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I also don’t bother anymore with credit cards, but find that I still need to do it with my debit card (Chase) or I’ll be locked out of the foreign ATM and will have to call.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I literally always forget and I have never had a problem, even with overseas travel.

    • The last time I traveled abroad, I actually got an email from one of my CC companies saying “Hey, we already know you’re going on a trip, don’t bother telling us” because I had bought the plane tickets with that card. For your debit card, honestly I’d do it because better safe than sorry.

    • Anonymous :

      If you remember then just do it. With my bank, I can set a travel alert from the app up to a year in advance. I just set it up when I buy my plane tickets. It takes 5 seconds.

    • Having had the experience of travelling with someone who got locked out of his bank accounts because he had not told his bank he was travelling, I always do it. Better safe than sorry!

    • Anonymous :

      I do it with my credit cards (Chase and Capital One) and have had problems when I haven’t told them. For a long time, Chase was actually freezing my card based on transactions in the US but in a different state from where I lived, until I finally told them not to consider those transactions “abnormal” because I travel domestically so much. I can do it online for both cards, so it takes about 30 seconds, and I only travel internationally once or twice per year so I don’t mind taking the time to do it before each trip. I try to remember to tell the bank too, but I haven’t had problems when I’ve forgotten.

    • I work in banking and it really just depends on where you are going. They are overall less interested in where you use a credit card because it’s not an ATM. Limited debit card use in what we call “low risk jurisdictions” wont flag either, but pretty much any ATM use in a high risk jurisdiction will get denied unless you call first. Your bank may vary but that has been my experience working for several banks.

      • And what is “high risk” strikes me as highly suspicious. Last summer DS traveled a ton and used his credit card literally all over the country (in fact, he used it one day in Portland ME where he was living briefly and the next day in Portland OR where he had a job interview). He did a multi-thousand mile road trip and his card was declined, and frozen, only after Labor Day, when he tried to use it a gas station in the LA neighborhood where his Latina girlfriend’s parents live.

        • Because LA is much more high risk for crimes like money laundering and drug trafficking than Maine or Oregon. It was also probably the use in multiple cities in such a short time frame that set it off.

          • Maine and Oregon were much earlier in the summer. LA was the end point of a road trip that went from the Midwest to Austin to Denver to the Grand Canyon to Nevada to LA; the progress was pretty easily tracked. And he had already used the card in Las Vegas (which probably has some significant crime) and in LA other times that week- it was only in that one neighborhood that it got flagged. For about $25 worth of gas. So it still looks like some kind of profiling to me.

        • Seventh Sister :

          As an LA resident, it could be profiling, but we currently have a big uptick in debit card skimming, especially at gas stations and non-bank ATMs. It’s been going on for a few years, with no end in sight. My husband jokes that one of us gets our card locked every two weeks whether we need it or not.

          I’m sure there is plenty of money laundering in LA, but it’s mostly in the form of buying expensive houses and apartments in order to park cash someplace safe. As for drug trafficking…sigh. There is plenty of drug use (like any big city), but most of the drug trade in the city is apparently run by a single cartel. There is relatively little inter-cartel violence. Getting hit by a car is a much more likely way to get killed (everyone moves here to drive like a jerk).

          • Yeah, I drove in LA once and haaated it.

            DS he made it back alive – no drug violence, not hit by a car! But now he has bought a motor cycle, so there’s always something to worry about.


  29. Blonde Lawyer :

    Long post in mod. Not sure if it’s ever getting out. Short version – dog has a severe reaction to commercial flea/tick products both in pill form and in topical form. Dog is starting to get lots of ticks. I’m looking to try one of the organic/natural collars or sprays/wipes I see online, preferably the collar because I can take that off if there is a reaction. Anyone have a brand they like?

    • I just want to recommend that you run your choice by your vet, since this is a “buyer beware” area. Dogs aren’t quite as vulnerable, but I’ve seen some dangerous products for cats out there.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Thanks. My vet said she couldn’t recommend any since they aren’t regulated but I guess I could still run the ingredients by her to rule out any that she knows are bad.

    • Candidate :

      Could you consider a permethrin application? I don’t think that’s a common ingredient in most commercial flea and tick products. I used it last year to soak my hiking clothes, and had no ticks all summer. It’s a contact killer for bugs that persists on fabric for several washes, so maybe you could soak a bandana and have her wear it?

      If you have cats (as I do) you need to be very careful with the permethrin solution. It is not dangerous once it is dry, but deadly when it is wet.

    • Best way to avoid is to treat your yard and help your dog to avoid tall grasses outside of your home area. In addition, look into some of the organic gardening solutions that you may be able to spray topically to your dog BUT CHECK WITH YOUR VET WHICH ESSENTIAL OILS ARE TOXIC AND WHICH AREN’T FIRST!

      Neem oil sprays (very watered down) kill on contact and are a deterrent for many pests.

  30. Anyone have this top?

    • No, but I would have had they sent me the right color. (I ordered it in a dark purple and they sent me an extremely pale pink that looked awful on me.) I liked the fit of it a lot. It was flattering. Didn’t feel especially luxe, just like a regular polyester type material. I would definitely have kept it in the right color.

  31. A guy I briefly dated about 10 years ago and haven’t really talked to since friended me on FB today… I looked through his profile and I’m so shocked at the person he seems to have become. It’s full of these really hateful and offensive anti LGBT (especially trans) memes attacking them as mental illness and pedophiles, extremely pro-trump, anti-“libtard”, photos of big game hunting in Africa, misogynistic memes, very pro police and army despite having no connection to either… It’s just so weird to think our lives intersected at some point, we couldn’t be more different.

    • Anonymous :

      Definitely not excusing him (and he frankly sounds awful now), but I do think that the last 2 years or so have really caused the crazy to come out more than ever before in some people. And social media is the prime place to wave that flag.

    • I’m pro police and army and don’t really have a connection to either. The rest is disgusting of course though

      • You can be pro-police and not post “black people just need to follow orders” memes every time there’s yet another questionable police shooting.

        • The OP said nothing about this

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Legitimate question: what does it mean to be ‘pro police’ if not supporting the way police act, which is certainly at least partially comprised of shooting unarmed black people?

          • Linda from HR :

            Honestly I’m trying to figure this out too.

            I think when police brutality was just starting to become a mainstream hot topic of conversation, in the wake of Ferguson, a handful of people I knew were loudly supporting the officer, reminding people that if you’re not an officer you have no idea what it’s like, you know nothing of police procedure so you have no right to talk about what is and is not “okay,” and that the police put their lives on the line and we need to respect them and stand behind them, because at the end of the day they know their job better than we do.

            More recently, a few of those people have calmed down on the “shut up, you don’t know anything, respect the police!” stuff and have started to admit that yeah, sometimes officers do bad stuff, a lot of police departments need to improve their training and deal with their bad apples, and that it is okay for the general public to have informed opinions on police work. They’ve quelled their defensive knee-jerk reactions, and I’ve learned to control my horrified knee-jerk reactions and take some time to figure out what really happened, how police are supposed to handle those situations, etc. before saying anything blatantly ignorant and wrong about an officer.

            My sister is a criminal justice major working for a local police force. After Ferguson she was loudly and aggressively defensive of the police, and now she’s able to offer rational insight as to how the police are expected to handle high-risk situations, where they often go wrong, what needs to happen, etc., so she’s become a model of how to be both pro-police and critical of police work.

          • I’ll bite. I’m not using my regular handle since I’m giving a lot of personal info here but I don’t mind if regular readers are able to figure out who I am. I’m just avoiding google.

            My husband is in fed law enforcement, former local cop and many of our friends are in various branches of law enforcement – the former PD he was at, other fed agencies, etc. I can’t think of a great way to write this that won’t get me labeled as a “not all cops apologizer” but there are members of law enforcement that are trying to change the way things are. There are members of law enforcement that are disgusted when they see minorities treated badly by other law enforcement in the press or in real life.

            My husband is on a safety committee that is working to include racial bias issues into use of force protocols. His former department is working to educate their citizens to be careful what language they use when they make a call. They are training dispatchers to ask questions to determine whether a call is someone being racist or if there really is a suspicious person that needs to be checked out. He took a call once that was scary close to the Tamir Rice situation but the kid was white. It was a 911 call of a man with a gun in the woods behind a homeowner’s property. He responded, gun drawn and the 13 year old kid (thank GOD) dropped the “gun.” It turned out to be a realistic looking BB gun. He 100% believes the officer in the Tamir Rice case messed up. He shouldn’t have rolled up as quickly as he did. He didn’t give the kid a chance to drop the weapon.

            So I am pro-police in the sense that I recognize they have a very hard job working in some of the worst situations. They sacrifice their holidays. His former partner had to mortally shoot someone. It was an unquestionable justified shooting. A (white) man carjacked someone and drove through town shooting at everyone. When they finally got him stopped at a gas station the man was still shooting at police.

            That said, we are both still critical about what local police work is becoming. The uniform he wore as a local cop was a light blue dress shirt and pants. He looked approachable. The current uniform in a lot of cities is military style attire. He doesn’t support that change. He’d rather see more community policing and less military style policing.

            I respect that they have a hard job to do and that they make sacrifices. I support my friends and family in law enforcement since it is so much harder to be a cop today. The good ones are presumed to be bad. I attend law enforcement fundraisers and law enforcement memorials so I am “pro police” in that aspect.

            A young K9 officer was shot in Yarmouth, Mass while serving a warrant for a probation violation. He was killed, his dog was wounded. While law enforcement from around the country came together to mourn them, certain fringe types were posting things online like “good, one less cop.” Pro-law enforcement pushes back against that and lets law enforcement know we appreciate the risks they take and that they are trying to keep us safe.

          • Reply in mod.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Anon, I really appreciate your response. It gives some color to what “I support police” can mean. You’ve made me think about why, when I hear “I support police” it makes me so viscerally uncomfortable. I think that when I hear “I support police” I take it as a response to “the police have to stop shooting us!” (and usually it IS in response to something like that: when “black lives matter” gets the response “blue lives matter” for example)… And it’s like…”wait so you *don’t* think they should stop shooting unarmed brown people?”

            I’m sure if we talked we’d end up with some pretty fundamental disagreements (my politics are pretty [gestures wildly]) BUT it really does put my mind at ease, that perhaps some of the people who are saying “we support cops” mean it like you do, like “I have a family member who is a cop and I know s/he’s trying to improve it from the inside.”

          • Rainbow Hair :

            And a sillier aside — at least two of the local bars I might like to hang out at are “we support cops” type places and it makes me anxious to think of going there… but maybe I can chill on that front a little.

          • Rainbow Hair – I think you are right to be leary in some respects. I don’t go around saying I am pro police or I support police. I show my support with the things I do. I would never counter someone saying black lives matter with police lives matter. It is not either or. But I did consider putting a blue light on my front porch after the Dallas police shootings and almost all of Mass did after the Yarmouth shooting. That was in response to an incident, not in response to black lives matter.

            If someone is really going off about how all cops are bad people I will push back a little on that and challenge them. That said, a lot has changed in 10 years and it is not all good. Because of the legitimate criticisms of law enforcement it is now attracting less good cops and more bad cops and I’m not sure how to change that. I worked in a facility once that was very restraint oriented and moved to be near restraint free overtime so major philosophical change is possible. I think it will be the next movement.

            Even 10 years ago, my husband’s department required certification in “verbal judo” a deescalation technique used to avoid lethal force situations. That’s great but it is always going to depend on the officer’s perception of a situation and whether they felt their life was at risk. We need to work to change the unconscious bias people have that black people are scarier or more dangerous than white people. I don’t know how to fix that.

      • Pro-police and pro army is very very different than “kill all the brown people” rhetoric that often goes hand in hand with that. Many people lose their human empathy (whatever was there to begin with) and seemingly lose their minds on this sort of stuff. I think the last couple of years of alt-right pro Trump rhetoric has stirred up a lot of latent racists/homophobic people who now think they can spew hate in the open with no consequence (and sadly are often right on the last point).

  32. Yeah I guess what I meant by pro-police/army was in racist, caricature of a Trump-supporter kind of way. No appreciation for nuance, just “Blue lives matter” and thats the end of discussion. Lots of offensive (to me) memes.

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