Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Dolman Sleeve Wrap Dress

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

We haven’t featured an Ann Taylor dress in a while, and I really like this dolman-sleeve wrap dress. It’s slightly more relaxed than the usual wrap dress, which makes it a little more appropriate for work, and it comes in a bunch of different colors and prints — and it’s getting good reviews. It’s $98 (for now, until they have one of their frequent sales) in regular sizes 00-14, petite sizes 00-12, and tall sizes 0-12. Dolman Sleeve Wrap Dress

Two plus-size options are here and here.

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  1. DH and I badly need a short getaway this weekend after dealing with some intense and upsetting personal things. We’re in the greater Boston area. Been here forever and have seen lots and lots of nearby places, though I’ve never been to Acadia/Bar Harbor. Anyone have a moderately priced, nice quality B&B or hotel to recommend? Restaurant for Saturday night? It might be an up & back trip from Saturday AM to Sunday PM. We just need to check out from reality and disconnect together for a day or two. We’re in reasonable shape, but not looking to climb mountains. What’s my best resource for finding a good, easy, scenic walking trail for Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning? Thanks in advance.

    • Anonymous :

      Porches in western mass is lovely.

    • Lateral Hire- Conflicts Check :

      Seems like a long drive for an overnight, maybe something in the Portland area would be easier/more relaxing by virtue of less time in the car?

      • I was going to suggest Portland too. Easy drive from Boston, lots of nice restaurants and waterfront.

      • When we lived in Boston we did an awesome weekend away in Portland. It’s an easy 2 hour drive and the city is so beautiful and friendly. Highly recommend.

      • Be forewarned that the Old Port festival starts Sunday at noon. It can be a madhouse, fun but crowded. Perhaps not the quiet escape you were thinking. What about a trip to Freeport (25 min north of Portland) stay at the Harseeket Inn and do an Outdoor Adventure Course for a day (kayaking, paddle board, etc) through LLBean. Tuscan Bistro is a great restaurant right next to the Haraseeket.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve spent a lot of time in the Bar Harbor area. It’s beautiful but I’m not sure I’d recommend it for a Sat-Sun getaway from Boston because it’s close to a six hour drive without traffic and traffic can easily add an hour or two to it.
      My favorite restaurants in the area are Jordan Pond House, Side Street Cafe, the Terrace Grill at the Bar Harbor Inn, Havana and Jordan’s (breakfast only). Of those, Havana and the Terrace Grill are the fanciest/most romantic. Galyn’s is also fancy and upscale and used to be a favorite but I think the food has declined there in recent years.
      For easy walking trails, there’s a nice path along the Park Loop Road that has really scenic views of the coast. The loop around Jordan Pond is also nice (but not ocean scenery) and there are easy, paved paths at the summit of Cadillac Mountain, which you can drive up. Bass Harbor Head Light is nice too and easily accessible by car.
      No advice on hotels, since I have family in the area. If you have a dog, bring him/her – all the trails in the park are dog friendly except the really technical ones and BH has lots of dog-friendly restaurants.

      • Anonymous :

        I also second the advice about Portland – not only is it a lot closer, but if excellent restaurants and romantic hotels are your highest priorities, Portland makes more sense than Acadia. The main reason for going to Bar Harbor/Acadia is scenery, everything else is secondary. And while I like the restaurants I recommended in BH, they’ve got nothing on the restaurant scene in Portland.

      • I second the loop around Jordan Pond for an easy trail, and if you want a harder hike you can go up the mountain at the far end of Jordan Pond and get great views. And at the end of the hike, get popovers at the Jordan Pond House!

    • If I was in Boston, I’d go to Martha’s Vineyard. Totally magical, lots of places to walk and hike and lots of good food.

      • +1

        If the weather forecast is good, this is ideal time to go, before it gets too crowded with summer visitors.

    • I suggest Damariscotta, Maine. You’ll get a more remote feel than Portland or southern Maine, but it’s still only about 3 hours from Boston. Friends have stayed at the Mill Pond Inn in Nobleboro, ME (on Lake Damariscotta) and enjoyed it. It’s right near a swimming beach on the lake and has canoes/kayaks you can borrow. For dinner, there are several good options in Damariscotta- if you’re a fan of oysters, I recommend King Eider’s Pub. During the day, drive down to Pemaquid lighthouse and wander around the rocks and the old fort. Breakfast is fantastic at the Cupboard Cafe in New Harbor (near the old fort). There are also nice walking trails closer to where you’re staying in a park called Dodge Point.

      • I second Damariscotta. We stay at the Newcastle Inn (you can walk into Damariscotta easily), which is lovely and relaxing. Love the Public House, King Eiders, (Sherman’s) Maine Coast Books. You can get out on the water, see lighthouses, and wander the mid-coast.

    • Drive to Acadia way too long for an up and back. I’d head to the Berkshires, to Portland, or to Vermont. Check out places like the Nebo Lodge (ME) or the Pitcher Inn (VT) or Topnotch Resort (VT) if you want a real getaway. All of these have great restaurants in or near them so no need to have a lot of logistics involved.

    • If you’re really set on Bar Harbor and have the money, your best bet might be flying. It’s a ~1 hour flight from Boston to Bar Harbor. You’d need to rent a car at the Bar Harbor airport since the Bar Harbor airport isn’t that close to the village of Bar Harbor and it’s really hard to explore the area without a car.

    • I’ve stayed in Southwest Harbor, which is a little town on the other side of Acadia from Bar Harbor, at Acadia Cottages. There are a few restaurants to walk to, a lobster pier, and the Common Good Cafe for popovers (it’s like a soup kitchen, you give them a donation). A good resource or finding trails in AllTrails (app/websites), otherwise you’d need to buy a trail map – there aren’t really maps on trailheads in Acadia.

  2. Lateral Hire- Conflicts Check :

    I’m waiting to clear conflicts at a new firm before an offer becomes final and anxious to give notice at my current firm and make plans for my limited time between jobs–any anecdotal info with respect to how long this typically takes? Thanks!

    • Recent lateral :

      Congrats! I lateraled recently and the initial conflicts check and preliminary background check took about a week. Thy said that it’s fine to give notice at that point and I did. I’m a corporate lawyer, though, so ymmv. I gave notice right away and was sooooo happy. Good luck!

    • Anonymous :

      Too long. It always takes too long. I just insist that I must give 2 weeks notice and that I am taking two weeks between jobs, non-negotiable, so the sooner they finish it the better for them.

    • Anonymous :

      Well it actually takes about a day to clear conflicts, but if you’re a new associate who’s not bringing business with you then you’re not exactly at the top of their priority list. So… a week or two depending on how busy they are.

      Get it in writing that you’ve cleared conflicts. Don’t be dumb like me and take their word for it then on your first day at your new firm they tell you that they don’t actually have a job for you yet or maybe ever because there’s a conflicts problem so you should just go home now. Also give notice as soon as you finalize your office. Again, don’t be dumb like me and wait until the partner is back in the office so you can tell her in person and meanwhile your jerk senior associate who knows you’re leaving sends you a ton of confidential client information for a new matter that your new firm is on the other side of.

    • Anonymous :

      A week or so is typical IME, although it could be much quicker or take much longer. Don’t give notice until you’ve cleared conflicts. It is extremely rare that a serious conflict arises, but it’s not unheard of.

      • Yes, do not give notice. When I lateraled a second time, my new firm made me get a conflict waiver because they had represented an angel that invested in a Series A round I worked on for the issuer 3 years before as a 2nd year at my first firm. I have no idea what possessed me to even list that transaction on my conflicts check form. It was incredibly annoying, particularly because the new firm represented portfolio companies of PE and VC fund clients all the time. I’d already given notice because the lawyers I was joining were pressuring me so hard about my start date, and I wanted some time off. Don’t be me.

    • I’ve seen it take a month.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I guess it was a little bit different (maybe different ethical rules in Canada) for me, as I had to give notice before I could clear conflicts because the conflict check was done between the firms, not me. We already knew about the major conflicts (current litigation I had been on the other side of, etc.) that needed walls, and as a mid-level associate not bringing files with me, there wasn’t much else of concern. I got a “yes, you’re fine generally” in about a week but I’m not sure they finished running searches on every matter I ever worked on until past the time I started. If you’re not bringing files, there is really nothing that would prevent your move that you wouldn’t already know about!

      • Ime it’s less about “something that would prevent your move” and more about firm politics. Yes, pretty much nothing should prevent an associate from moving. That’s what ethical walls are for. But some partners are d!cks who don’t care that an office halfway around the world wants to hire you. They have to be able to tell their special snowflake client that all of the firm’s 2000 lawyers worldwide are 100% devoted to them at all times and would never have any divided loyalty.

    • It depends on who you represented (big companies take a long time to review), how important you are and how big the firm is. If it’s a big firm, they have a lot of information to sift through to compare to your work. If you are moving with a group of partners, you will be prioritized. Otherwise, it can take a few days to clear. It also depends on the partners at the new firm. If they have to be contacted about a potential conflict, then you have to wait for them. Don’t give notice until you are clear. And seriously, be nice to your conflicts team just like the rest of the staff, they are in a tough position where EVERYTHING is urgent all the time. They aren’t just sitting around waiting for associates to join, they are also usually juggling new submissions for partners alongside laterals.

    • Lateral Hire- Conflicts Check :

      Thanks all. It sounds like I just have to be patient, at least for a week or so. I already negotiated a later start date with the new firm so I could take some time off and still provide generous notice, it’s probably hurting me in terms of prioritization! But it’s only been four business days, so I think I need to relax =)

      • I did not have a problem with this conflicts business because my previous employer had be serving subpeenees. So the manageing partner hired me practically in the elevator! Yay!

  3. Stormtrooper :

    Any recommendations for Kuerig-like coffee maker that doesn’t use disposable pods (or whatever those Kuerig cups are called)? It’s a Father’s Day request from my dad. TIA

    • Anonymous :

      What about a Keurig using the reusable cups instead?

      • +1

        I’m not sure what a Keurig-like coffee maker that doesn’t use pods… is?

      • Anonymous :


        Get him a couple of the reusable cups, and a gift card to Trader Joe’s to try their beans.

        They are supposed to be coming out with recyclable cups soon.

        I must admit that the reusable cup doesn’t make very good tasting coffee on my machine. How picky is he?

    • Anonymous :

      I have the Hamilton Beach Scoop 14 oz single serve maker and I LOVE IT

      I’m the only coffee drinker in the house and it’s so simple – I hate the thought of KCup waste. This has a little scooper that basically works the same way, one cup of coffee. Easy to clean, easy to use.

      • We have this. It’s pretty great – easy cleanup, no filters required. I also like the Melitta pour-overs – requires filters, though.

        • I have the Boden pour-over pot (comes in single serve and 4 cup sizes) which has a reusable filter. It’s a little siltier than paper filters but having only the grounds to compost is great.

    • Anonymous :

      So…like a single cup coffee maker?

      • Anonymous :

        yes, but he wanted something that went directly into a cup, not into a pot.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I have a De’Longhi Magnifica and I adore it beyond all reason. It grinds the beans and makes one or two cups of coffee at a time, as well as steaming milk for cappuccino. It’s stupid expensive but worth every penny, and no pods.

    • I hate Keurig coffee with a passion so I would not get it, esp. if the re-usable pods somehow manage to taste even worse than the regular pods.

      What about this:
      It’s got great reviews and is pod-free (use one of the ubiquitous BBB 20% off coupons to bring the price down).

      • Stormtrooper :

        This is perfect! I don’t want to get a Kuerig either, so this is a perfect recommendation. Thank you and to everyone else who responded.

        • Betty White :

          We have this and it’s great:

          • Stormtrooper :

            Thanks – this also looks really great

          • I have an Aeropress. While handy and reliable, I do get annoyed with the filter.

          • GirlFriday :

            I ADORE my aeropress! We use it every day, without exaggeration. Godzilla, do you use the paper filters (annoying) or have you seen the metal one that’s reusable? We got one and it has been worth it!

    • A good gooseneck electric tea kettle and a single cup Melita filter, plus some really good beans like Peet’s.

    • UGH! stuck in moderation – but I’m the same way, hate KCUP waste and only want one cup of coffee and I LOVE my Hamilton Beach 49981A Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker

      It has a little scoop you put grounds in, so has the same mechanism as keurig machines. You then take out the scoop and dump into trash/sink/compost. solid cup of coffee. Very easy to use (there’s only 2 buttons!) and also very easy to clean.

    • Pour over!

      Chemex is great for multiple cups.

    • Aeropress

    • There’s a reusable Keurig pod thing that is about $10 at target or similar.

      I used this for years before getting just a better coffee maker generally, but loved that I wasn’t creating so much waste with all the K-cups.

    • Buy a Keurig and some of the reusable filters.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Senseo coffee makers use pods that are in paper like a round teabag and are compostable. I used to use my roommate’s about 10 years ago and it was just as good as any other single-serve machine.

    • Greensleeves :

      We replaced our last Keurig with a Bunn McCafe Single Cup MCU. ( You can brew a single cup with your own grounds or with a K cup. We generally use our own grounds, but we also keep chai K cups on hand for my mom and decaf for the kids. You can also get hot water for oatmeal, or brew tea from loose leaf or bags. There are different brewing drawers you slide in depending on which of these you want to do. And you pour the water in each time you brew, so you can control how large a cup you get by how much water you put in. We love it!

  4. Are flowers appropriate here? :

    I work in a small office I share with my immediate supervisor. We have an above average amount of personal chitchat and are generally fairly close. Her father-in-law just died. Normally I am of the opinion that you don’t “gift up,” but I’m inclined to send flowers. Is this appropriate?

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, it’s appropriate. it’s not really a gift, it’s an acknowledgment of her family member’s passing. I would make sure to address the flowers/card to both her and her spouse.

    • Anonymous :

      With the caveat that I’m generally not great at this stuff, I’d say it’s appropriate and would probably be much appreciated.

    • Card (not Hallmark card, but handwritten) expressing sympathy is more appropriate.

    • I think that’s very appropriate and falls outside the category of gifts.

    • The obituary may say where to send flowers (if you’re thinking of sending them for the funeral instead of directly to your supervisor).

    • Know your office, but I’d be more likely to coordinate/suggest someone send flowers on behalf of the organization and then send a personal card to her home.

  5. BigMommyLaw :

    I went to law school when I was 22. It’s been a good ride, but I just cannot see keeping up the intensifyingly crazy pace.

    I made it to equity partner with two grade-school children and right now, I really just want to train my associates so they are doing most of the heavy lifting within the next 5 years (when I am due for a breakdown, if my family can manage that long). Except I have work to do. But I can’t get that done until the small wee hours of the morning b/c I have clients to tend to. And then the associates need to be trained / manage / work reviewed (this is a huge deal — no one seems to think that lawyers need time for managing people (but look at the army or any football team — you train, you drill, you review, you prep, you learn, you watch tape; no one expects the brain surgeon to graduate from med school and just start cutting open people’s heads).

    TALK TO ME ABOUT CLONING, LADIES (or CLONING LADIES (interesting that the comma makes NO DIFFERENCE)). SRSLY.

    [And I get that more household help would make my life easier, but that’s not the point, esp. long-term. All that gets me is more at-work time and the goal is to manage myself out. I’d rather be at home more.]


    • I’m not in law and have 0 useful advice other than my partner and I are buried in business and don’t have time to pee, much less hire and train someone to offload work to. Her kids are high schoolers and mine are preK so we have our own issues (and live to far to make her kids watch mine in a summer compound where we work round the clock…because it came up.)

    • Anonymous :

      Hire a more senior associate, delegate to a service partner, do zero housework- zero. You’re an equity partner- literally have a housekeeper/cook come twice a week.

      • BigLaw hates service partners!

        They’d like to see 5 people doing the work of 7 (b/c Margins! too many foreign offices at 50% utilization! too much deadweight!).

        I’d like to have 5 people doing the work of 7 for 5/7 of the money. But management s*cks. They don’t see chronic overutilization as a problem. Or insist that you can’t hire unless the person will be 90% utilized. That is crazy — you don’t grow at increments of 1 FTE. And being 130% utilized is an awful life.

    • Cornellian :

      When I was a first and second year I had no idea that senior associates/counsel/partners still felt like this, haha.

      The only way it seems like you can make life less miserable when you’re more senior is to pass a client on. I’m not sure if that’s a luxury you can afford or how that would work for you, but I have seen partners try to limit hours and it never seems to work for them. I’m a senior associate, and as much as it hurt to drop off as the senior associate on one of my longstanding clients, I now can spend time with my kid, sleep more than 3 hours a night, etc.

      • I envy how other professions (medicine esp.) can just schedule people in shifts. Or have “your” doctor go on vacay for 2 weeks even though your baby is due in those two weeks. So you have to accept that another doctor (and largely nurses you’ve never met before who leave promptly at shift change) will get you through the most important medical events in your life.

        I would trade 50% of my pay for a hard stop at the end of my shift.

        But if we’re alive, there’s not reason we can’t respond to that e-mail unless we’re lazy (if we’re important enough: we’re onsite with a client and can’t well multitask then, but still must respond promptly thereafter).

        • Cornellian :

          Even dropping a client doesn’t really fix the “shift” problem, but it does minimize the number of people who have claim to you at 3 AM and improve your chances of actually being “off” for 3 consecutive waking hours.

          i would trade some significant portion of my pay for not having to keep time. BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.

          • This is why I make less at a government office, rather than attempt to get a LCOL firm job. Billed time for 3 years. Never again.

    • The amount of time consumed in training is killing me right now, so you have my sympathies. I feel like life will get better if I can just get my associates to the point where they can do more work independently, but it is taking SO MUCH TIME every day to train them. I know I can’t just say f it and turn the docs myself, because otherwise they don’t learn, but when I’m doing my own drafting at 2 AM because my only work time between calls was consumed with giving multiple rounds of feedback on a simple document, it’s hard to remember that.

      (And my associates are fine – this isn’t criticism of them; it’s just that I never realized how much time the partners had to invest in training me until I was one of them.)

    • I’m not in law but it sounds like you need a right-hand man or woman. Is there one associate that stands out above the others? Or is there someone who is good but not on the partnership track that would be happy to work for a healthy salary and manage the rest of the staff?

      I think it would be a lot easier for you to have just one loyal, committed person to lean on than trying to do it all yourself.

      I work at a F50 firm and every C-suite exec I am familiar with has this person. Not an executive assistant but a strong professional in the right hand role.

      • I think that law just drives away people right when they could be most helpful.

        We have a lot of female associates in my group. MCOL city, so eveyone owns houses and then has babies around 30. And then we slowly lose every single one of them (or their PT holds them in, but the group suffers, b/c the first year just doesn’t replace the sixth year who goes PT and then moves on).

        The guys quit, too. Or leave b/c they think they won’t make partner.

        We are awful. I hate us. We should have hired good people during the recession.

        • sixth year :

          +1. I don’t think law firms can solve retention issues unless they’re willing to take a hard look at how they’re run, including whether a 7-8 year up-or-out career track serves the firm, the practice, and the lawyers who work there.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If you are senior, you should be able to assign entire cases to mid-levels and they assign and supervise the work of the more junior people. You review bills, take part in big picture strategy, and attend the face time things like mediations and depositions but otherwise, your mid level should be leaving you alone.

      • *should* being the operative word

        Today’s 8th years weren’t hired b/c of the recession, nor were the 7th years.

        The 4th-6th years are on maternity leave / PT / etc.

        There is no one.

        • Alternatively, the 7th-9th years who survived didn’t get any training because there wasn’t any work when they were starting out (and what little there was got gobbled up by more mid-level/senior associates), so they’re operating at more of a 4th-6th year level anyway.

          • Unless they did bankruptcy. Which I don’t do.

            But BK has been slow, so now they are like third years in any other money group (finance?), struggling to learn something before they get dropped for being senior with no partnership prospects.

      • For what it’s worth, at my firm (and it sounds like the OP’s), only the absolutely most senior equity partners are that hands-off. The billable expectation for partners is the same as it is for associates – there’s a lot of reference to being a “working partnership” – and then you have a much higher nonbillable expectation layered on top of that. Aside from the firm’s expectations, it’s also typically my client’s expectation that I’ll have a high level of involvement when we’re hired for a deal. We can delegate some small deals to senior associates (never to mid-levels), but most of the time, I am expected to be on all negotiation calls and all strategy calls and to have reviewed all of our drafts.

        Not sure if this is a difference between litigators and deal lawyers (or a feature of being in a specialist practice), but I doubt I’ll ever get to the point where I’m just doing high-level strategy and reviewing bills. Although I wish I could, because that’s the fun part (the strategy, not the bills).

        • I should also add that I think it’s easier to delegate a lot of stuff in a corporate M&A or finance practice (the endless closing checklist updates, the simple ancillary docs like bills of sale and assumptions, the corporate formation stuff). I used to do that kind of work and it was more common for a senior associate to manage everything except the most significant negotiations. With what I do now, though, my deals typically involve one very complex agreement, and there just aren’t as many pieces that can be carved off.

    • I think you need to let go of the idea that you need a “clone” at work. A competent midlevel to senior associate – or better yet, non-equity partner – should be able to handle pretty much everything on a project except client relations/negotiations and final draft review. You just have to get OK with it not being 100% exactly the same as you’d do it.

      • +1. At my last firm, I worked for an equity partner who had mastered being OK with things not being 100% exactly the same as he’d do it. His clients were always happy. Objectively, he got great results. He had some of the lowest billable hours but highest comp among the partners. He spent his time in the office on big strategy (and included associates in strategy meetings so he didn’t have to repeat/re-explain things), client relations, delegating to or checking in with associates, and reviewing final drafts and key cases. If I or another associate wasn’t “getting” something, he pushed us to keep researching/writing, but he never did it himself. (This requires working well ahead of deadlines, obviously.) It was one of the best working relationships and some of the best training I had.

        • Why did you leave?

          This would be awesome, but IMO you can’t do this without the junior partners and great sr associates. If it’s just you and a third year, you have the worst of all possible worlds b/c you still have to supervise and train the third year and do all of your work and all of your managing clients. That’s like two FT jobs, which is too much for anyone.

          • (1) That’s a long story. It wasn’t by choice. It boiled down to hours, but I felt like I had legitimate reasons for low hours. The firm didn’t. I was told that this partner had agreed to my being asked to leave and hadn’t stepped up for me. I was given time to look for another position. When I gave notice, this partner told me he was surprised and hadn’t been told. It was sh*tty, and somehow I felt like it reflected poorly on me that he didn’t know. On the other hand, as much as I liked working with this partner, I didn’t like the actual work he specialized in. So I’d enjoy talking to him for 20 minutes about stuff, then he’d leave, and I’d spend 7 hours on research and writing on a topic I found dry and boring.

            (2) That firm’s culture was to staff cases leanly. In many cases, it was just me (a third or fourth year) and the senior/corner-office partner. For the last year or so at that job, there was a great senior associate (who has since made partner) involved in the cases, but he didn’t really review or supervise my work directly. We’d either divide up tasks and hand them directly to senior partner, or each be responsible for different sections of a brief and then exchange and revise each other’s, and hand one draft up to the senior partner.

      • +1. As a (as far as I know/have been told) very competent senior associate (corporate), I work with some partners where I do all of the primary drafting and they review it, give me a handful of changes, and off it goes. Their quality of life is much better. It’s not 100% the way they would do it if they did the first markup, but it gets the job done. I work with other partners that have to review every.single.change. and it has to be their exact preferred wording. We go through multiple drafts because I cannot be a clone (although with enough years/time, I get closer to knowing the preferred stylistic things for that partner). And sometimes said partners take entire sections they think are “too complicated” and do it themselves (into the wee hours of the morning). The trick to delegating appears to be being okay with it not being exactly how’d you do it, or you will never be able to delegate effectively. I’m trying to keep that in mind as I delegate to more junior folks.

    • Biglaw midlevel :

      I work for a partner like you– brilliant, works around the clock, but still takes the time to train and supervise (and is genuinely a kind a nice human), and works really hard to make sure her associates aren’t overloaded. I feel awkward saying this to her, but thank you a million. I appreciate her more than I could ever say without sounding strange.

      I’ve always wanted to ask: why continue at a firm at partner level when you’re this awesome? An absurd amount of work and so much firm crap.

  6. Someone asked yesterday about the Halogen seamed pencil skirt. I checked my closet last night and I have one in a size 12, with the tags still on. It’s black with a black panel in front that’s textured. It’s an interesting version of the skirt and I think Kat featured it here. The shape just was never going to work for me and I don’t know why I didn’t return it. It wasn’t the right size for the person who asked yesterday.

    If anyone wants it, please email me at nolar e t t e @ gmail (obv without the spaces). I will be happy to mail it to you for free. No reason to take up space in my closet.

  7. I love the pattern on this dress!

    Just did my first TV interview today – I’ve done print and radio but have been dodging our comms director when a call comes in from networks but I decided it was time to rip off the band-aid. Luckily foreign language media so no one I know witnessed my awkwardness (didn’t realise that I’d be taking questions from a translator in my ear rather than the reporter standing next to me).

  8. I’m about to start a new job in a new industry (same profession) after a long period of unemployment. Suddenly realised it’s been a long time since I was the new woman in the office. A long time since I knew nothing about the industry I work in. Eek.

    Fake it until I make it?

    • Same here... :

      … I’m 2 months in and I don’t even know. Solidarity sister.

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      Fake it till you make it! You know the stuff you have to do for your specific role. You can do it in your sleep. Take that as license to go out and meet people in the company and drink from the firehose and learn as much as you can about the industry. Go you!

    • Ha! I just did this after 20 years (!) with a large company in a senior role, I took a specialty role with a smaller company and am in the process of building a new department. I’m a month shy of a year in and I’m finally starting to feel like I have the hang of it.

      It hasn’t been easy but it has been good for me and the new challenge has been good for my brain. It has been good for my confidence too, because now I know that I can learn new tricks (despite being and old dog) and build new relationships.

      Be prepared for an uncomfortable 6 months period and some questioning of yourself and whether you made a mistake. But you didn’t. You made this choice for a reason, and you CAN do this.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yes, fake it until you make it, but remind yourself, “I don’t know about [detail detail detail] but I know for sure I’m great at [skill skill skill].” They hired you for a reason! And also, probably no one expects you to know the ins and outs of the industry — they expect you to bring skills and the ability to learn quickly. You’ve got this!

  9. I get that this is easy outrage bait, but I don’t want to be so cynical that I cease to be appalled by this. But a leader of an actual country said he doesn’t have bad days “because he’s not a woman.”

    Not only did he think it, he felt comfortable enough in his power and status to say it out loud, on film, and have it recorded for posterity. I can’t imagine what Angela Merkel or Teresa May or Mary Barra or Janet Yellen think of this – how do you read this news article, then go on with your day? How do you lead a country or a company and not address this? Yet, it’s such old news that it almost feels unnecessary to talk about it.

    • Why are we still taking Putin seriously when he says garbage like this?

      • Cornellian :

        He has nukes?

        • Yes, but I can’t imagine this is news to people who have been paying attention to Putin. Are you really surprised he is a sexist a$$hole?

      • Because our President has called him a great leader? Because the way people are represented in media matters? Because the Qatar/Iran/Saudi conflict has direct ties to both US and Russia and our economies, as well as the rest of the world?

        • Yes, obviously, but it’s no secret that Putin is a sexist a$$hole and he says crap like that to get headlines and a reaction from the world. He’s playing those who will let him like puppets.

      • Because he’s incredibly powerful?

        • Not in dispute, but that statement is pure former spy theatrics in an attempt to continue playing the world like a puppet. I didn’t say IGNORE him period, but ignore this statement and focus on the things like the fact that he has nukes. The chance that he launches a nuke didn’t change based on this statement.

    • I heard a story about how Putin heard Angela Merkel was afraid of dogs, so he brought a dog to a meeting with her. She handled it so well and showed such disdain for him afterward, telling the press that he felt he needed to intimidate her to prove his manliness.

      • He used to be a top spy. These kind of mind games are classic spy tricks. Then he claimed “I had no idea she was scared of dogs.” Suuuuure.

        • Yea, because it’s totally normal to bring your dog to meetings with other world leaders! Who could fault him? . . . ugh

          • To be fair, I would be totally excited about a dog at a meeting if I were a world leader. But Putin 100% knew about Merkel’s well-documented fear of dogs and knew she would not be happy about it.

      • Cornellian :

        I love Merkel. I was an exchange student in the former East Germany and learned a lot about her then.

        Merkel grew up under the SED, I think she is uniquely well positioned to identify Putin’s mind games and resist.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I just googled that because I missed it when it happened. The CNN picture sums it up perfectly. I’m also surprised that his dog is a black lab. I would have pictured him owning something less mainstream and more viscous.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          To be clear, a black lab can be scary and I’m not trying to minimize what he did to Merkel. I’m saying that if absent that story, you stopped me on the street and asked me to guess what kind of dog Putin had, I would not guess a black lab.

        • I remembered the incident but I thought it was a German Shepherd until I googled it based on this post.

        • Marshmallow :

          I hadn’t heard of this either.

          “According to a 2014 New Yorker profile of the German leader, Merkel responded to Koni’s presence by quipping, in Russian: ‘It doesn’t eat journalists, after all.'”


  10. Travel Clothes :

    Got excited about two products recently and realized they were unavailable in the timeframe I need them. One was a pair of super comfy-sounding but stylish walking sandals with a low heel (featured here last week) from Charleston Shoes. The other was a travel dress from Beta Brand. It was light sweatshirt material, loose with long sleeves and pockets. Links to follow.

    Recs for similar items? Taking a 3-week trip to SE Asia! I’m mid 20s so want things that are youthful but practical. Need:

    1. A comfy but stylish shoe I can wear all day to temples, etc, but feel nice enough for dinner. Don’t love wedges but a very small heel might work. Lots of support but not too ugly. Usually I travel with one pair of walking sandals and one pair of nicer shoes for evenings, but I really need to pack light.

    2. A comfy dress to wear on the 30-hour flights. Want something I can wear with and without leggings.


    • Travel Clothes :



    • ponte python's flying circus :

      I’ve had good luck on this front with Aerosoles sandals in the past, but I wore my favourites till they fell apart and can’t find the same model again (but of course. WHY, retail. WHY.) As for the dresses, take a peek at Athleta?

    • What about Birkenstock Mayari’s for the shoes? They’re the strappy version that’s super trendy this year

    • Cap Hill Style just did a feature on Rothys flats — very comfortable, stylish and she walked for miles in London. Based on that rec I just purchaed some.

      • Oooh, I saw that too and was interested, but they’re so pricey. Report back after you get them.

        • Will do! I got these.

        • Triangle Pose :

          I love mine. I got them in Orchid, the pointy toe. It’s like wearing slippers. If you need a ton of arch support I would put in an insole. The fact that I can throw them in the washing machine is amazing.

        • Love mine as well. I try to wear barefoot shoes, so the minimal insole is a bonus for me. One caveat: they do get stinky on me after 1-2 weeks of daily wear. They are machine washable, so that’s not an actual problem, but I do have to wash them regularly.

      • Wildkitten :

        I ordered a pair too.

      • I love them. I have the pointed toe version in two colors. In the right colors, they’re polished enough to wear professionally. They’re my go-to shoes for networking events or meetings/appearances that involve a long walk. I get a ton of weekend wear out of them too. I wore them to an unexpectedly muddy outdoor event and they didn’t stain at all, everything washed right out. They’ve gone through the washing machine multiple times with no change to shape or comfort.

        • What are the right colors to wear professionally? I don’t need another pair of black flats, but I’m looking at the flax ones.

        • Which colors do you wear to work?

          How is the arch support, if any?

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        I bought some as well!

    • I like the Birkenstock Gizeh sandal in a neutral sand color. Very comfortable for lots of walking, not enough straps to rub up blisters in the humidity, but simple enough that they’re not out of place in a restaurant. For dresses, I took a similar trip last summer, and got a black short sleeve dress from Uniqlo which was super comfy and worked well with or without leggings, but I could dress it up with accessories and wear it out to nicer places.

    • Naot Kaylas! I have them in a nude-for-me (but not orthotic looking) burnished leather and the wedge piece is the same color as the rest of the shoe (less visually offensive in my opinion).

      • Also, these are available on Amazon prime for fast shipping to get you provisioned before your trip!

      • Caution–These run both narrow and small. I sized up two Euro sizes to get to my normal US size, and I don’t have wide feet at all, and they sometimes rub.

        I would also say that SE Asia is INCREDIBLY warm, so you really want breathable fabrics. And bring a bandanna to wear over your face and extra asthma meds if you are at all sensitive to exhaust–the 2 stroke moto exhaust everywhere did a number on me, and on my non-asthmatic friend.

    • Old Navy has much less expensive swing dresses that are supercomfy. No pockets though; not sure if that’s a deal breaker.

    • One, I think you would get those shoes on time. I ordered mine over Memorial Day weekend and they have shipped, will be here June 12.

      Two, how about this dress

      • But I would personally wear a sleeveless dress (the same brand as my link has lots of options) and a comfortable cardigan on the plane. Lots more options that way.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I just bought a pair of Sofft Richmond sandals at Nordstrom Rack (they have them online, too) that are very comfortable. I bought them because my mom also has a pair and loves them. They come in black, silver, and brown.

      Dresses: Gap softspun knit. Love.

      • If I could only wear that material for the rest of my life, I would. Street legal PJs, I tell ya.

    • Anonymous for this :

      The Ecco Flash gladiator sandal (which comes in various styles) in a metallic colour will save you I am not kidding. I have walked for miles and miles and they are still cute enough with a dress for dinner (if you don’t mind a flat – SO HARD to travel without heels for supper but it can be done). I am so afraid they will stop making them that I have 3 pairs stored in my closet….

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        I have been looking for a pair of metallic sandals to replace my Born gladiators I’ve worn to death, and these are perfect! Thanks!

    • Dansko has a few styles that look like Swedish Hasbeens

    • Regarding what to wear on the flight, I adjust much better if I bring pjs and change on the plan. It resets my mindset and I’m much more comfortable. Also, I don’t feel like I’m wearing the same clothes for 30 hours helps a lot in being refreshed when I land. No one cares, either, or if they do it’s because they wish they had changed. And bring some throwaway slippers for the bathroom and asia.

    • Long jersey skirts are awesome for travel (and temple appropriate, a bonus depending on your itinerary). Also, only Americans wear shorts. Long linen pants/capris are good SEA climate alternatives if you’re looking to avoid sticking out/looking touristy.

    • Eager Beaver :

      What about this dress:

    • Anonymous for this :

      Unsure if you are still reading but this dress is great on a long flight (assuming it is available in the states):

      Lole has a few options you might like.

      Have fun on your trip!

  11. I am organizing a small, retirement dinner for a colleaugue who is a close friend. I have purchased a group gift, have a card for everyone to sign, have restaurant booked, and am generally ready. The only aspect of this I am not sure about is if I shoukd give a speech.
    This is a small gathering…about ten people give or take a couple. I will say a few words, but this is really worrying me and creating anxiety. I asked another person who is attending if I should give a speech, and she said I could say something for a couple of minutes if I wanted. I am not nervous about speaking ( just regular – want to do well — type of nerves), but was wondering if on the occasion of a small dinner, a short speech would seem appropriate, or would it seem contrived? Any ideas about what I should do?

    • Anonymous :

      It’s a toast, and you should absolutely give one.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      the shorter the better IMO. I’d probably propose a toast along these lines: I’ve enjoyed our time together and hope you enjoy retirement. Cheers!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, a toast.

        And don’t be afraid to give one short anecdote about the guest of honor, along the lines of “I’ll always remember the time you did XYZ thing that really inspired me/educated me/whatever.” Retirement is a huge deal and it won’t kill the party guests to listen to a short tribute with some actual substance.

    • Thank you for the suggestions! I was thinking of a toast along the lines of…it was an honour and pleasure to work with you…etc…, and wish her a great future in her retirement.

      • Yup, that sounds about right.

      • And if you can add a “we will miss her …” and then list a few specific qualities or talents or a silly reference that you associate with her. Something personal, so it is clearly a toast to her.

        3 sentences is fine.

    • Anonshmanon :

      Just a small toast when everyone has their drink seems absolutely appropriate. If there is no occasion earlier in the day, and you hand over the gift there and then, it gives you something to talk about.

      • Thank you all. I followed all your suggestions today and I wrote about fifteen lines, with a longer version, and a shorter one (depending on the general mood I guess), and I will try and practice/ memorize so I don’t look down at my paper unless I am stuck. Now, I just have to worry about not tearing up too soon into the toast.

  12. RAWR. I hate apartment searching in NYC. Yes, let me hand over all this personal information plus my first born child so that I can be approved to pay you an obscenely high monthly rent. Thank you brokers and landlords for being the least responsive people ever when I have a question, but expecting immediate replies from me during the workday.

    Just needed to vent after not being able to snag my top choice apartment after another applicant got to it first.
    Happy hump day!

    • JuniorMinion :

      Yeah its terrible. I always tell people (I am in TX now) that renting an apartment in NYC was way harder than buying a house – both from the financial standards (the 40x income / monthly rent) and the difficulty / timing / info required

      • Do they believe you?

        • JuniorMinion :

          The smarter / more worldly ones do. The ones who have grown up in small town Texas just think that buying a home where they only have to put down $10 – $20k for FHA is normal and worship the gospel of home ownership and have no view on other parts of the world.

    • You have my sympathies, apartment hunting in big cities like that is a super stressful pain in the butt. Getting my current place was fairly easy, but only because of really good timing, and especially after seeing my friends really struggle in recent years I don’t expect an easy go of it the second time around.

      Good luck! I hope it gets better!

    • Marshmallow :

      I have done it and can confirm: the pits. Sympathy!

    • Just Another Attorney :

      I’m not sure how fancy you are looking for, but I have had good luck using this company:

      They have no fees, they are just a rental agency arm of buildings they own and maintain. Super easy, just see what you want, rent what you like.

      • Oh thanks! I’ll check it out

        And thanks everyone else for the sympathy. Hoping to lock down a place this week! Just have to pound the pavement this week.

  13. I love fries :

    Late night eating help needed….

    I work late, and don’t leave until after 11pm most nights. I’ve had a healthy dinner earlier, but I have gotten into a terrible habit of picking up something to eat on the drive home. A snack…. A “reward”…. Something…..bad. Like, drive through McDonald’s (the only thing open) and get a large fries bad. And some nights, the thought of this treat keeps me going until 11pm.

    How can I get out of this?

    My work schedule will not be changing any time soon.

    My weight is….ok….but I could loose a few pounds. My cholesterol is so-so, and there is no way to exercise much with my current schedule.

    • Anonymous :

      Change your route home.

      Tell yourself “unhealthy food is a punishment not a reward.”

      Leave work earlier and work remotely.

      Brush your teeth before you leave the office.

      • I love fries :

        Wel….. I actually drive out of my way to get the snack. It is not on my way home….

        I can’t leave work earlier, and must be there in person. There are others there with me as well.

        I actually tried the brushing my teeth before leaving (I’m impressed you came up with that) and do this most nights, and it still doesn’t work.

        As I eat quite healthy (and a bit routine/bland since…. No time…..), the majority of the time, these treats taste incredible.

        When work/life gets so busy and brutal, it is hard not to live day to day and the simple things can make such a difference.

        • So do you want to stop or do you want permission to keep doing it? Some part of this is going to require you changing.

          • +1 Make yourself stop. If you can’t, get therapy to address why you can’t stop yourself.

          • Yup. Also, adding exercise isn’t something you can’t do, it’s something you won’t do. Which is fine, I’d probably prioritize sleep over exercising if I had to work that much, too. But it’s not impossible or out of your control.

        • Find a different snack and leave it in your car. Plantain chips are delicious, gourmet popcorn, something spciy and cruncy, whatever single serving that you can find. Allocate the calories in your daily routine and accept this as your treat/dessert.

          • Seconded. I used to do something similar on the way home, except with Chipotle. The only way I stopped it was to find something marginally better for me but that still felt like a salty treat (I went with veggie chips, which are surprisingly good, but sometimes just a small bag of regular chips), and I ate those right before I left the office. It was hard to justify the cheat on the way home when I had already had a (smaller) cheat at the office.

        • How restricted are you eating during the day? If you’re eating the same bland stuff every day, it may make you crave the salty/savory goodness of fries even more. Maybe try to change up what you’re eating at lunch for slightly more interesting foods and challenge yourself to go a week without fries. You can even try to get some of the flavors in — e.g., get a salad or bowl with sweet potato chunks at lunch.

          • +1 – you’re going to have to replace some of the thrill of fries somehow.

        • Why don’t you try incorporating more treats into your regular diet? I always find that when I try to eat super healthy I end up just binging on sweets. A diet with regular small indulgences is probably healthier than otherwise eating super healthy but eating fast food fries every day.

        • Tech Comm Geek :

          Honestly, I’d give yourself permission to do this one thing. It sounds like you’ve done a great job of structuring your life to be as healthy as possible. Mental health is also health. If this is keeping you going and giving you some sensual relief, keep doing it. You’re not moving on to binge on 6 more things.

          • +1. My approach to pregnancy eating where mcdonald’s fries are the ONLY thing that kills my constant (still ongoing third trimester) nausea when it gets to be too much for the diclegis.

            Also, there is a good “oven fries for two” recipe from Eating Well (just google it) I used to use in law school when the craving strikes. It’s one potato, olive oil and salt (I omit the thyme). Still felt indulgent, but way fewer calories. Obviously did not taste the same as McDonald’s fries, but even replacing half with oven fries could help the cholesterol/calories. It’s quick enough that you could prep it once you got home and then use the baking time to relax/do other things/put PJs on, etc.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you start by scaling back portion size and ordering a small fries? I tend to do the same thing and use food as a reward, but I have been pretty successful at ordering small portions.

      • Wildkitten :

        The small ice cream cone at McD’s is also a pretty good option.

      • I love fries :

        Yeah, this is something I could try. Thanks.

        • When ever I want junk food. I tell myself that eating poorly is not loving myself. Eating poorly is hurting my health, why would I want to hurt myself? Then I firmly decide I wont hurt myself and value myself

          • I mean, that’s great for you, but 99% of Americans eat junk food on at least a semi-regular basis and the idea that someone can quit cold turkey just by giving themselves this sanctimonious speech is kind of absurd.

          • I don’t think that’s true.

          • Wildkitten :

            Junk food is delicious AF, but if this pep talk is something OP thinks would work for her she could consider writing this on an index card and keeping one at her desk and one in the car. I’ve had good luck interrupting negative thought patterns by keeping the opposite thought on an index card that I read at least daily.

          • Not OP, but eating food that tastes delicious and makes me happy is totally a form of loving myself. Physical health is not the only kind of health. And junk food in moderation doesn’t necessarily = bad physical health.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            I love myself. I eat some junk. As long as it’s in moderation, loving yourself and eating fast food aren’t in moderation. I know plenty of who have very healthy diets who certainly don’t love themselves, and vice versa.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            “loving yourself and eating fast food aren’t in moderation” should be “loving yourself and eating fast food aren’t *mutually exclusive*”

    • McD’s hot fudge sundaes might be better for you than their fries.
      Keep protein bars (like Atkins or Special K meal bars) in your car.
      Have a non-food delight waiting for you at home. Maybe a delicious body scrub for an evening shower?
      Pictures of thinner you on your phone’s home screen?
      Try on “goal” clothes when you have time. This idea is put down all the time, but it worked for me, better than anything else, as motivation.

      • I love fries :

        I should have something in my car…..I used to have a bag of sunflower seeds, but maybe something more satisfying?

        Thanks for your ideas.

        • JuniorMinion :

          Trader joes thai chili cashews or some of those cello whisps (the parmesan cheese crackers) might get you the savory / umami you are craving

        • Pre-portioned granola (something with both salty and sweet components) works for me on the snack cravings. Other faves are the plantain chips someone recommended, TJ’s natural beef jerky,. or having one of those Yasso frozen yogurt bars (the mint chip are delicious, only about 100 calories, and at least have a small amount of protein).

          I also have found gum in the car to help, as well as having favorite calorie free beverages at work (mostly fizzy waters or different teas).

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Far be it from me to knock any form of ice cream, but I’m not convinced that all of the sugar in a sundae is any healthier than fries.

    • I did this exact routine for two years and gained 15 pounds. On my 5’3″ frame, that was significant. Figure out another reward for yourself that takes zero effort, because I know the last thing you want is another todo.

      For me, I decided to invent midnight tea. I put on a kettle while I change into pajamas, and make a cup of decaf tea. Eat a digestiv biscuit (McVities Dark Chocolate are good and on Amazon Prime) with the tea, read a trashy magazine or romance novel in a comfy chair, and then get to bed. Feels luxurious and pampering and calming. There’s no shame in subscribing to US Weekly and People and Harlequin so you always have a new “treat”. Or if brain-stuff is your speed, try Mental Floss or Games World of Puzzles or Discover. Subscribe to a young adult book subscription box. (All of these I’ve rotated through over the last few years – I’m now on a Book of the Month Club subscription.)

      • This sounds amazing <3

      • Shopaholic :

        Wow what’s the book of the month club? I love the sound of that!

        • It’s a monthly subscription box where judges pick 5 different books each month, write up summaries, and then you select which one you want in your box. I’ve liked 8 of my 9 selections and it’s really helped me expand which genres I read.

          My referral link is here:

          But you can also just google it if you don’t want to use that.

        • Wildkitten :

        • Shopaholic :

          Darn this is US only.

          Too bad because it sounds amazing.

          • Wildkitten :

            You can see their five books and buy them for yourself! I love the idea but I have to prohibit myself from buying any books or I’d buy all the books.

          • Shopaholic :

            Good idea WK!

        • There’s a YA one called Uppercase Box.

      • I love fries :

        I like your idea of substituting a new reward/routine. While I am wary of keeping any snacks/cookies in my apartment or I may eat.them.all….. Maybe I can find something a little sweet that seems like a reward.


        Sorry to hear about your weight gain. I totally see that coming. Shockingly my weight has been stable so far, but I think it is because my muscles have atrophied from lack of exercise and have been exchanged for lighter fat!

        • Yeah the digestives are sweet but not overly addicting, and combined with a good tea, I can usually stop at one and still feel like I got a treat. I keep them right next to my tea packets, so I just grab one of each and set them on the table next to my chair. (Laziness almost always prevents me from getting up to get a second one – if I’m getting up, it’s to put the cup in the sink and go to bed.)

        • Never too many shoes... :

          What about a glass of night wine when you get home, maybe with a piece of cheese? Light enough to sleep and just smooths out the edges of your long day…

          • This is a terrible idea. I’m not saying you can’t have a glass of wine every day and be healthy and not an alcoholic, but OP is basically saying she’s addicted to french fries. Replacing that with an addiction to wine or dependency on wine to unwind and fall asleep doesn’t sound remotely healthy, even if the calorie count/cholesterol is lower.

      • I have a problem like the OPs–managing my energy after I come home from a work or church event, especially after our soup kitchen dinners where I engage a lot with the guests and volunteers. After chubbing up a bit since ordination I started to try & do this also–drinking a nice cup of special tea and reading something that I will really enjoy, often a cozy mystery novel. I can’t always take that time since sometimes my family needs attention as soon as I walk through the door.

    • I got into a similar habit with nice chocolate bars at the grocery store. My solution was to substitute fresh organic raspberries. I love raspberries and they feel like a treat, but it’s a healthy treat instead. Is there anything more healthy that you could substitute?

    • There are lots of good healthy bar recipes out there. Maybe whip one up over the weekend and it can be your treat when you get home. But the tea and magazine idea is great too.

      Alternatively, maybe bake some sweet potato “fries” (you can get some in the frozen section) and have that instead if you’re really craving the salty friedness?

    • Do you have a roomate or partner at home who you can ask to keep you accountable if you get junk food on the way home, or friend who will text you to check in on whether you are following through on your commitment? My husband is lovely, but if I tell him to keep me from eating sweets, I know he will shame me into compliance (this sounds sort of anti-feminist when I type it out, but I hope you get my drift, and it is, after all, what I asked him to do, and it is a strong motivator, since it makes eating the sweets less enjoyable!) Sometimes another person is a lot stronger than your own willpower.

      If you’re looking for sweets, I’ve found Kind bars have some delicious chocolate-y sweet and savory bars that are almost as good as a snickers, but with like 5 grams of sugar. Trader Joes also has a good dupe of these for cheaper!

    • Give yourself permission to get this treat less often (maybe once per week) and in a smaller portion. Find a different, healthier treat for other nights. So, Tuesday can be your special small-fry night, but other nights, try tea, fruit, nuts or seeds, etc. Or, if you’d look forward to a non-food treat, tell yourself that when you get home, you’ll light a good-smelling candle and do something relaxing for 15 minutes. Sometimes, you just need to accept that you like something that’s not good for you and find a way to work it into your life without doing too much damage.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      So, fries are delicious. Especially McDonalds fries. When I get into habits like that, it’s the good feeling arising from that sensation that I’m craving, especially when (as you say) my schedule doesn’t have room for me to do other things that would make me feel good.

      I think that you might do well to look into non-junk food you can have around that is *intensely* delicious/flavorful. Like I am obsessed with agua de jamaica and found it in bottles, so I have a very very cold glass of half water half jamiaca (it’s a strong flavor!) and it definitely feels like a treat. I also find that pre-chopped fruit straight out of the fridge can feel indulgent (like mangos?!). Is my California privilege showing? Do you like sour? Maybe you can make a ~fancy drink~ involving citrus juice and sparkling water? Do you like savory? What about a few bites of really good cheese?

      • anon associate :

        +1 to your first paragraph. When you’re working all the time, there’s no fun stimulation anywhere. No novelty when you’re always in the office, no exercise, no fun hobbies, less music or fun TV, if you’re single, less LGP, etc. Of course you want something!

        I used to be a terrible snacker in times of stress, but I’ve done a good job kicking habits. What works for me, like Rainbow Hair, is having something else very delicious but non-junk. For me, that’s fancy cheese and cured meats. In summer, fruits. Once I got myself away from routine sugar/fat, I stopped craving it. That’ll be what saves you– I no longer feel like I’m fighting my desire for greasy/salty/sugar to the level that fast food gives you. When I do eat it now, it’s such a shock to my body that I need a much smaller amount to satisfy the craving and often feel physically bad after. That’s enough disincentive for me. Plus, you can also say to yourself “hey, I’ve gone 1 month without it, I feel better, I feel trimmer, I feel less ‘addicted,’ I’m not going to re-start the cycle now.”

    • I think this should not be the takeaway of this post, but I really want McD’s fries now.

      • +1

      • Anon for this :

        Brand marketing is real! When Trump made his awful comment about skittles, I sat at my desk and craved skittles for 3 hours and then went to a local convenience store and bought them mid work day.

    • Anonymous​ :

      The way I break habits like this is to change the frequency you engage in it. So, if you’re doing this every day, start telling yourself “I’m not going to do that today, I’ll do it tomorrow.” So you’re now eating fries every other day, instead of every day. Which is something. Then try every third day. Then once a week, then every 10 days, then every two weeks. This has worked for me in reverse when trying to start a new habit (working out, eating more vegetables) because feeling like “OMG, now I gotta do this every day for the rest of my life?” is for me, as bad a feeling as “OMG, I can never do that again as long as I live?” Extremes generally push people to extreme behavior.

      Pretty soon, it will be more normal for you not to be at McDonald’s than it is for you to be there.

      I love the “midnight tea” idea and anything else you can think of as far as self-care. Bubble baths, aromatherapy (you can take essential oils to the office; I don’t believe in the “essential oils as medicine” hooey but aromatherapy works really well for me, as stress relief). Pet-sit for a friend and get dog or cat snuggles for a couple of days.

      It’s okay to treat yo self occasionally – research shows it’s actually detrimental to diet and health long-term if you don’t – but every night is not a treat, that’s a bad habit. Give yourself permission to give it up (I know it sounds weird, but try it).

    • The way to stop this is not “no treat” but “different treat.” Is there something you can treat yourself with that is better for you? What about something that’s not food? If I don’t go to McD’s all week I will buy ___ this weekend (even if __ is a small box of Godiva chocolates, it’s better than eating fries late at night)

  14. I’m gifting someone the coffee maker they requested, and need to find reusable cone-shaped filters. I thought they were easy to find at grocery stores, but that hasn’t been the case. Any suggestions, hive?

    • Cornellian :

      I get mine at amazon every few years.

      • My Cuisinart came with one of those gold tone permanent filters. Dumb question, but should I be replacing it?

        • Cornellian :

          I’m no authority on it, but I notice that after a couple years I can’t get the discoloration out and/or grinds sometimes get through. My dishwasher or I may be rougher on it than you are on yours?

          • lost academic :

            I try not to put it through the dishwasher very often. I rinse thoroughly after use and probably put it in the dishwasher every week or ~5 uses.

    • Rent vs Own home :

      After my divorce 6 years ago I went from being a home owner to renting. I’ve really enjoyed renting — no yard work, maintence or surprise home-related expenses. I live in a depressed area so housing values have not increased (small rust belt town in the Midwest). I have no debt. I am getting ready to move the DFW area and trying to re-evaluate this. On the one hand, housing values have really increased in that area so it could be good return on the investment. On the other hand, I’m not sure how long I’ll stay in the area and my job is high stress. Not owning is making the moving process easier. I’m on the fence here. What are your thoughts?

      • JuniorMinion :

        I would rent for a while until you get the lay of the land (say 1 – 2 years). That way you will be savvier if you are interested in buying (you will have real world, lived knowledge of the different neighborhoods) and if you end up moving somewhere else you won’t have to sell a home.

      • I lived in a small town in the Midwest and moved to DFW about 2 years ago. I would not advise buying immediately (although many people do so). DFW is huge, and housing prices and neighborhood characteristics can vary wildly. For example, I live in an apartment now and LOVE IT. However I wanted a condo which meant moving about 30 mins away. This would have made my commute to work about 50 minutes long. I’m glad I had time to weigh my options as ultimately some things have happened in my personal life that would make that commute impossible now. I suggest waiting at least a year.

  15. I am too addicted to my phone and mindless browsing on the Internet. I want to stop and pursue my other hobbies more, but the habit has become so ingrained that it is hard. I put my phone in the other room while I’m working, but I want to go check it. I turn off my computer, but I get tempted to come back and browse my favorite websites. How do I break this pattern? I don’t want this to develop into a permanent problem.

    • Cornellian :

      There are apps that track how many times you have looked at your phone. It was horrifying for me.

      You can also use addins like leechblocker on your computer so that you can’t view certain websites, or you can only view them for X minutes per day. I found it very useful in law school.

    • I just heard a new hack on the radio this morning and am trying it! Apparently we’re attracted to phones because it’s firing off our brains and the color of the screen contributes. So if you change your phone to grayscale – you won’t be so interested in your phone.

      it could be a total load of hogwash, but whatever. I’m trying it.

      -> General
      -> Accessibility Settings
      -> Display Accommodations
      -> Color Filters
      -> Grayscale

    • Same happens to me, but I find that it’s just getting over the initial hump, then I don’t miss it as much. So force yourself to go without for X time period, then maybe you’ll find you don’t miss it as much.

      • Yes, if I let my phone battery die and I can sort of force myself to not check it all the time. I do this sometimes on the weekend.

    • Betty White :

      I also have trouble with this. Part of my solution has been to take all the “fun” apps off my phone (i.e. Facebook, Candy Crush, etc). I can still get to Facebook through my browser, but that extra step reminds me why I took it off in the first place. I have left Instagram on there but only because I never spend more than 2-3 min on it at a time and don’t get sucked in the way I do with Facebook.

      • Same. I uninstalled FB and installed Friendly instead, which uses a browser version and also takes up less space. It also allows you to filter your timeline to exclude all posts with ‘x” word which can be helpful. You can also add instagram to Friendly. It has a lot of other features too.

  16. pugsnbourbon :

    I have an interview for an internal position (very small promotion doing interesting work) this afternoon and I’m a bundle of nerves. I think I have a good shot, but you just never know.

    I did, however, kill it on the outfit front – black blazer from Macy’s, gray pencil skirt from Loft, blue patterned top from Kohl’s (I’m cheap) and my beloved, $20 pointy-toe pumps from JC Penney.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      That outfit sounds fabulous! Carry that confidence with you.

      I’ve had decent luck with one of those breathing gifs to guide you to breathing slowly and fully. Schedule yourself a couple of minutes to use one?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      You send battle ready, friend. Deep breath and best foot forward! You got this.

    • I like to listen to “You’re the Best Around” from Karate Kid before interviews, but YMMV.

    • fantastic outfit!
      good luck! & have fun!

  17. I’m fairly confident in my body- I’m strong, and fit. But my arms just dont reflect that- there’s a lot of muscle under there, but theyre looking really flabby. I’m 30- too young to have lunchlady arms!

    Besides general weight loss, have you found any exercises or tips/tricks for better arms? I’m tall and strong, and want my arms to reflect that- Michelle Obama style!

    • If you’re fit and strong with a lot of muscle, can you accept them as they are?

    • I feel like this is genetic. My upper arms are the first place new weight sticks, and the last to lose any weight. Spot-toning is very difficult in general.
      The “tricks” I use are either keeping them covered or just saying f* it, depending on my mood.

    • Anonymous​ :

      My arms are seriously my least favorite body part and my biggest struggle. Weight lifting has helped to give me firmness, but I have no definition. I’ve tried lots of things over the years and ultimately, my arms just look bulky, they never look like Michelle Obama’s. Honestly, I think some of this is genetic. My mom pointed out to me that very few women in our family wear sleeveless shirts – we all have big arms. Small waists, big b o o b s, nice booties and big arms. I guess you can’t have everything.

      • You and I must be related. Same body shape in the entire family.

        I have lunch lady arms at every weight. It all went downhill in my mid thirties when I was pregnant with my second child and it has never been the same. I’m not wild about it but what are you gonna do?

        Elbow sleeves for the win.

    • It’s probably genetic and you can’t spot reduce fat. You can work on building muscle in your arms specifically and/or work on losing weight overall.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I’m struggling too. If anyone has any light-weights (like 2/3/4/5 lb) workouts that are online they love and take 10-15 min, I am all ears. My legs are tight and muscular. I’m pretty fit. I go to barre 5 times a week. But my arms have muscle but no definition and I want guns like Michelle Obama, dam*it.

      • You’re not going to get real arm muscles or definition from barre – you need to lift heavy for Michelle Obama arms.

        • Yeah, 5 lb weights aren’t going to cut it.

        • Also, you might need to be Michelle Obama. Some of this is genetic.

        • Not true. I never use more than 4 pound weights and do no other weight lifting than barre twice per week, and my arms *look* extremely defined (keyword, look). I fully admit that I am not actually *strong*, but the average person who sees my arms would think so. At least some of it is genetic.

      • Try dips. If you can’t do your bodyweight at first and/or don’t have access to a dip stand, you can do them with your feet on the floor.

    • Betty White :

      Sorry, but “lunchlady arms?!” A) can we try not to come up with endless new ways/terminology for hating on our bodies, and B) your choice of words has a very classist vibe to me.

      • Thanks for calling me out- I’ve been thinking about this today. I didnt just come up with the terminology, FWIW.

        I’m generally pretty proud of and positive about my body, as evidenced in the original comment. I’m looking for tips for how to improve, not hating on my body.

        At the same time, I’m conscious of the people who still think that calling someone ‘[email protected]’ is a joke, when thats obviously not part of common speech anymore. Our words and phrases change, as we become more aware of the people around us. It’s entirely feasible that I’m at the beginning stages of this transition, with regards to the [very old] phrase ‘lunchlady arms’, and if it’s really classsist, then I’ll stop using it.

      • +1, the daughter of a former lunch lady.

    • I wear sleeves :

      Elbow sleeves, short sleeves, three-quarter length sleeves…

    • Do you actually lift? Or do any upper-body focused exercises? As others have pointed out, large arm muscles don’t come from small weights.

      Also: genetics.

  18. Wildkitten :

    [Re-posting from last night because I got great responses and am hoping for even more!]

    I am going to have a full life reset shortly – new job, new city, new apartment. I want to do what I can right off the bat to get set up in good routines. Gretchen Rubin is all about how fresh starts are the best times to set new habits. Does anyone have tips or tricks or worksheets or advice on how to go about doing this? Thanks!

    • Won’t moving out of the area make it harder to get your dog back?

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Check out bullet journaling. I use mine mostly as a habit tracker and accomplishment recorder. To-do lists spike my anxiety and make things worse for me, but I’m finding taking the time to actually write down what I’ve accomplished helps a lot.

      Avoid Pinterest when checking this out. There are people out there who get great fulfillment from spending HOURS creating beautiful spreads. Not me – I have some nice straight lines and some color coding (because color coding makes me very happy).

    • I created my own worksheets based on the habits I wanted to create plus tasks I want to accomplish throughout the year. So my daily worksheet has a morning routine (complete with check boxes) and another evening routine. It also has particular tasks for each day. For example, morning includes walking dogs, 20 min exercise, drinking water, eating breakfast, applying sunscreen, and taking Rx. Evening has flossing, cleaning all dishes, taking vitamins, etc. And I have daily goals, like read 30 min and drink 40 oz of water. It has a section for food tracking I use as needed. Then each day has specific tasks assigned – Monday is trash night, Tuesday is clear and dust living room, Wednesday is cleaning bathrooms, etc. Then I thought through all of the regular but not weekly tasks throughout the year and decided when they would get done. On the first Saturday of the month I have a long list of items – give dogs their meds, clear out fridge, return all packages, etc. So I know that first Saturday is always going to be a busy productive day and generally don’t make plans. I did this for every-three-month and similar tasks. E.g., I have car oil change every February and August. Dentist in Jan and July. Air filter change in Nov and May. Doctor in September.
      I put it all in a binder.
      This has helped tremendously, but it is very specialized for my own life. I am a listmaker. It took a while to get it in order, but now it is all there.

      • Wildkitten :

        I love this.

        • I do a method similar to the one above but in a bullet journal. Really helped with getting everything on one page to see what needed to be done when and to track new habits. I did my similar to this articles:

      • Anonymous :

        Want to add that one of the most important features of my binder, for me, is a single, ongoing to do list and some “To Buy” lists (home, clothing, gifts, plus general). That way I can put specific tasks on a specific day’s page, but I also have one place to write down all those niggling tasks I think of at 10PM as something I should eventually get around to, and a place to write down the thing I saw in a catalog that I want for my trip in two months or the perfect gift for X come Christmas. I peruse the list now and then to see what I have done and what I can assign to a date certain. Sometimes the “should do’s” just stay on the list for a while but at least they are not floating around in my head (e.g., transfer all CDs to hard drive).

    • Ooh that is exciting to have a fresh start. Think about the things that you wish you could start doing or stop doing and focus on those. For me it would be: closet organization to pick outfits more quickly, establishing a doable fitness routine, and creating a designated spot for mail that isn’t the kitchen table.

    • There’s an app I use called “my logs” and you can build categories and how to track certain things (like, just a check box? Trying to hit a min/max per day/week/mo?). It is intended to help you track habits. I used it for a while to track my food for the Mediterranean diet and it was awesome.

    • I have nothing useful to add, but all of these types of threads make me realize I am not nearly as organized as I thought I was! (I have no desire to change because my system works just fine for me, I just think it’s interesting).

      Good luck WK!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Have you read Better than Before? I assume so, but if not, start there.
      I picked a few I wanted to focus on- kind of like Rubin does in Happiness Project and added on from there. And I tracked it like CRAZY. I know I need those gold stars!

    • For real, the first thing you want to do is get all new undies. New undies, new you. I like the embraceable brief 6 for $36 at Soma. I bought this x 2 and threw out all my old undies. That is truly a fresh start.

      I do like the idea of keeping a bullet journal. My new-undied self and I started this in January of 2017 and it has kept me much more on task. My bullet journal is not P1nterest-worthy but it works for me. I like the daily tasks and the monthly tasks and the broad planning for the year ahead (I mostly use the latter to figure out when to go on vacation so that I make sure I actually do it.)

      Every morning when I get to work, as I’m having a cup of tea I look at what didn’t get done yesterday and move it to today’s list, then add all the tasks related to emails from this morning to today’s list as well. It’s a nice habit and a good way to press the start button on a work day.

      I like the idea of the above commenter about Monday is trash night, Tuesday is living room, etc and I think I’m going to make a habit of adding those tasks to my journal.

      • Omg +10000 on the new undies. The soma version of the lace thong everyone loves is beyond a mood lifter (if, ya know, a thong can lift your mood haha)

    • I would get rid of at least half of what you own. I moved last year and did this, and while it can be overwhelming to start from scratch on furniture, clothes, etc., it also really forces you to examine your values and preferences and not just things that happened to come into your house/wardrobe/etc over the last decade or so. Also, it makes moving so much easier when you’re not taking much with you!

      • Getting rid of superfluous stuff is a good idea, but why would you get rid of things you’re just going to replace? (Unless moving them costs more than replacing them, maybe.) It’s a waste of money and resources.

    • Anonymous :

      Late comment but…if you’re a planner person, there are a bunch of goal setting / habit creating planners, calendars or journals. I tried the ink and volt planner this year and really liked it (the cover felt good, pages smooth, I totally geeked out). But there are tons of related options, this is just one.

    • +1 to bullet journaling and making trackers. Start with Ryder’s youtube video on the bullet journal website, and add trackers as collections as necessary. Lots of examples on Bullet Journal Junkies and Minimalist Bullet Journaling fb groups.

  19. Meal ideas :

    What are your favorite meals that use either chickpeas or couscous (or both, I guess), and are easy and fast (ideally <20 minutes) to make? Also, I'd prefer no recipes with a million ingredients, because chances are I won't have them all on hand and don't want to buy a ton of extra stuff. Thanks!

    • JuniorMinion :

      Chickpeas are an excellent salad item – they go well with lemon juice / parmesan / herbs (fresh probably best but dried would work in a pinch) , or tomatoes/ red onions / olives / cucumber / feta cheese / olive oil / vinegar / salt / pepper (like a greek salad)

      You could also do a chili lime chickpea salad with avocado and cilantro.

      I unfortunately don’t have any couscous ideas…

    • Investigate pre-made simmer sauces. Some are murder on your dv of sodium, so do your homework. A morrocan tagine sauce with carrots, chickpeas, maybe some small (quick to cook) cubes of chicken, over couscous, would be delicious and fast.

    • Fish – whatever kind you prefer – season with old bay, sea salt, pepper, lemon juice. Bake in the oven (takes 10-15 minutes). While it’s baking start a pot of Near East Parmesan cous cous (takes less than 5 minutes to boil, 3 minutes to cook). Grab whatever frozen veggie you want and microwave, or if you’re feeling ambitious throw Green Giant cauliflower tots in the oven as well.

      • This sounds delicious. I wish cooking fish didn’t scare me so much.

        • Why does cooking fish scare you? It’s super easy and much less risky from a food safety perspective than cooking with raw chicken.

          • I have this fear of undercooking it (bad experience where I totally grossed myself out once). So now I err on the side of overcooking it and it never tastes right. And I feel like if I check it too frequently, I’ll just mess it up.

        • It terrified me too at first! That’s why I am still just on the “stick it in the oven til it flakes apart” stage of cooking fish :) It’s tasty enough for me though!

        • Rainbow Hair :

          I used to be scared to cook fish/seafood, and now my mantra is “eh, someone probably eats this fish raw!” (I mean, I know there are reasons/fish for which that isn’t true, but close enough.)

    • As a snack: microwave chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and Old Bay for 5min on a plate. (It’s best if you cover them and peel off the skins to save your microwave.)

      Otherwise, put chickpeas in everything – salads, soups. I even food process mine and then saute with onions, garlic, spinach, whatever else I have around for a vegan egg-like brunch.

    • There’s a great chickpea soup recipe that’s basically broth, garlic, spaghetti, and chickpeas, plus some spices.

    • I often chop up what vegetables I have and throw them in the couscous when it’s cooking so they steam in there. This can include carrots, onion, celery, peppers, broccoli, even greens – though they also make everything a big green. Adding a little Better than Bouillon helps with some flavor and salt. If I’m doing this with quinoa, I also often mix a blend of yogurt and curry powder in. I haven’t tried that with couscous, but it would probably work too! (And I’d throw chickpeas in the mix, they go well together.)

    • And if you don’t want to *cook*, you could make a salad of chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, maybe some garlic, or whatever herbs you like. Can make this ahead. Serve it over some doctored up couscous and enjoy! This with the fish suggestion could be light and lovely.

    • I just tried a pasta with chickpeas on a cooking app that I’ve been using. It has penne, chickpeas, tomatoes, rosemary. You cook the pasta right in the sauce. It’s pretty quick and was so delicious. I’ll post a link.

    • Jacking your thread a little – this may be a stupid question, but how do you cook chickpeas? I either eat them out of the can, sauteed with some kind of sauce, or baked, but the texture is never as good as it is at restaurants. I feel like I’m missing something.

    • I like to make a really simple salad with chickpeas. Chickpeas, couple handfuls of salad leaves, some feta or parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Easiest thing ever to throw together, and quite tasty.

    • Chickpea curry with rice. I’m sure this isn’t the “official” indian way of making it but as an Indian Am who barely cooks– throw in chickpeas; a tomato; an onion; ginger (powder is fine); garlic (powder is fine); turmeric and some water. Let it simmer and reduce to a soupy consistency. Serve over rice.

    • Chickpeas With Chard and Pan-Roasted Tomatoes – recipe from Real Simple

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I can’t find the recipe online, but couscous with chicken, carrots, and raisins. It’s in the cookbook “How to Boil Water: Life Beyond Takeout” (I think).

    • I like smashed beans as a side dish. A can of drained chickpeas or white beans (I like the small white beans but some people love cannellini beans), sautéed in olive oil with an herb like Rosemary and maybe a little garlic or garlic powder, then lightly smashed like you are making refried beans.

      For couscous I’m not a huge fan personally, but one of my friends made me a dish that went like this: salt and pepper and roast a chicken breast and some sliced red and green bell pepper. Cool couscous in canned chicken broth. Slice chicken breast and peppers and add to couscous. Toss with olive oil and vinegar (or bottled vinaigrette). Good for a light meal or to bring to lunch for a few days. If I were to make it I might add a drained can of sliced black olives and/or a chopped scallion.

    • Meal ideas :

      Thank you all so much! Lots of great ideas. I’m definitely saving this thread for continued inspiration :)

    • Joan’s on Third’s Curried Chickpeas Recipe on Food52 and Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon from The Kitchn are my two favorite go-to chickpea recipes.

    • Anonymous :

      Indian chana masala/chholey

  20. Paging OCAssociate!

    You posted yesterday afternoon about getting a spin bike (specifically the Peloton) without having ever taken a spin class before. Can you talk a little bit about your decision to do that, and what it was like getting used to the new workout? I am considering doing something similar (although not with the expensive Peloton bike! the dupe setup I linked to) and I want to make sure I’m making a good decision before I drop 400$ and sacrifice part of my guest room.

    There are not a lot of actual spin/cycle classes around me to try it out first so I don’t want to make an expensive decision that I don’t like. I am in desperate need of a good accessible workout routine and knowing my own circumstances, I think this might do the trick. My husband would also use it every once in a while but he has a great work gym, so it’s not like he’ll use it half the time.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Wildkitten :

      Not OCA but you can always go ride a stationary bike at a gym (gyms usually will let you get one workout free to test them out) and see if you like that before you make the purchase. Peloton also has a 30 day return policy if you end up hating it. Check the return policy on the dupe. I’d also consider your own habits. I know that I do not work out at home, I procrastinate or quit after like 5 minutes. I need to be locked in a group class with other humans and no cell phone. Does working out by yourself at home actually work for you (it might!)?

      • It might work well! I in no way shape or form can afford the Peloton, so it’s not even an option. I’ve used spin bikes before in my old gym with youtube videos, but never for more than like 10 minutes due to time or other factors. I may just make myself get into a routine with the videos but on a non-spin bike (imperfect, I know) and if I stick with it despite the bike not being right, consider the other option.

        Thanks, WK! Sending good relocation vibes to you! Any hints on where you’re heading? (Secretly hoping near me bc I left DC and need friends in my new city! Ha!)

        • Coach Laura :

          Pompon- I’ve done the fake Peloton route. There are tons of YouTube videos from peloton owners and those who go the cheaper route. Google craftsanity spin bike for one woman’s review of the bike she choose. Global Cycling Network has some too. 10 20 30 minute interval training to longer ones.

        • givemyregards :

          Sorry, busting in bc Pompom, I wrote a few weeks ago about relocating to NC and I keep meaning to write a comment to thank you for your response! It was the day after my partner got his job offer so I was still totally freaking out and your “you’ll like Durham if you like Bawlmer, hon!” seriously lifted my spirits! It sounds cheesy but it really made me laugh and feel so much better. I have literally ZERO to contribute to this spin bike convo but I’m going to be in the same boat friendswise when I move if you want to hang!

    • Peloton owner :

      Not OCAssociate – -but my H and I bought a Peloton a few months ago. We had done spin classes years, and a baby, ago and just couldn’t make them anymore.

      Do you have access to a gym with spin bikes? If so I’d try a few rounds there — and if you’re considering using the Peloton programming, subscribing for a month and trying it at the gym.

      Before we got the Peloton we had a nice spin bike that I NEVER used. I hated it, in fact. I used the Peloton more in two weeks than I used our previous bike in two years. The thing that I really like is the feed back and knowing how to change speed and resistance. I haven’t tried the Peloton app with a non-Peloton bike, but probably will when traveling, so I don’t know how similar the experience will be.

    • OCAssociate :

      Hello! I was really worried that it was a stupid decision to buy a bike when I hadn’t taken any spin classes, and I don’t even really like road cycling. But, I HATE taking classes outside my home – if I have to deal with the hassle of getting to and from a class and changing at work or in the bathroom, I end up not going. However, I have a good history with regularly using home-workout machines.

      My thought process (i.e. justification) was: my firm provides a $1200 annual wellness reimbursement, so the cost of the bike was defrayed. My husband was also interested and said he’d use the bike, so that helped justify the cost. Finally, there is a trial period, so we could always return if it turned out I hated it or just didn’t use it.

      Now that we have the bike, I’ve been really happy with it. The variety of classes is outstanding. There are beginner classes of 20-30 minutes, so you can ease into cycling and get used to the bike, the instructors, etc. It’s really easy to just hop on for 20-45 minutes at home, so I’ve been doing that a couple times each week. I’m also super competitive, so the leaderboard aspect really encourages me to keep going.

      The main thing I wasn’t prepared for was the saddle soreness, but that goes away after the first few rides.

      I hope that helps you with your decision!

  21. Having lunch with a senior colleague in a different department – we basically have the same role, but he has the promotion version…which is what I want. What are some good questions to ask him about ways to get there? We don’t have a clear promotion structure, so I’m also information-finding on what actual next steps on a ladder would be for me. My boss is new and I have my first eval with her coming up in a few weeks.

  22. Rent vs Own home :

    Reposting as a separate post and not a reply: After my divorce 6 years ago I went from being a home owner to renting. I’ve really enjoyed renting — no yard work, maintence or surprise home-related expenses. I live in a depressed area so housing values have not increased (small rust belt town in the Midwest). I have no debt. I am getting ready to move the DFW area in Texas and trying to re-evaluate this. On the one hand, housing values have really increased in that area so it could be good return on the investment. On the other hand, I’m not sure how long I’ll stay in the area and my job is high stress. Not owning is making the moving process easier. I’m on the fence here. What are your thoughts?

    • With a high stress job and not being sure right now if you’ll stay — don’t buy. And just bc housing prices have increased a ton, don’t assume they’ll continue to increase – they might or may be on the cusp of falling off a cliff. You can never predict future markets, so setting that aside — I don’t think you should buy unless you’re willing to live someplace for 3-5 yrs. As much as people say renting is a waste – I’ve done the numbers and if you buy and sell quick, you never recoup all the closing costs, initial maintenance to make a home your own etc – bc values don’t go up that fast nor do you build equity that fast.

      In your case, move, rent, see how you like it, check out the areas, decide you’ll stay and THEN look to buy; by then you’ll also know the city better thus much reducing the chance that you buy someplace that looks good on paper but turns out to be a commuting hassle or something.

    • I’d look into Texas rental laws. That would make up 95% of my decision. Look into things like rent increases, rent control, responsibility for bugs/repairs etc. In my location there is great rent control pegged to inflation, it’s basically impossible for my landlord to kick me out or charge me any extra money. This means my costs are fixed for years to come, this security is not worth forfeiting to conform to the ownership dream. Don’t just think of repairs and maintenance, think of natural disasters or freak accidents. My city recently had some flooding problems which caused huge losses for home owners, as a renter I was unaffected.

      • Rent vs Own home :

        Thank you for this. I have a great job with a very nice six figure income so I feel like I “should” buy a house. However, I don’t really want to buy a house. This is food for thought.

        • RecentBuyer :

          I moved from a condo to a house last year. Two months in my husband was waylaid by a medical issue and all house maintenance fell to me. It has been brutal – mowing, shoveling, vacuuming, cleaning, cooking, walking the dog (which I normally love). I’ve been completely overwhelmed. I know you’ve owned before but don’t romanticize how hard it is to maintain a house on your own. You might consider budgeting for some outsourcing if you go that way.

    • If housing values have recently increased in the area, that seems like it would be the wrong time to buy? I’m not sure about DFW specifically but in some other HCOL areas (like the Bay Area) there is definitely a sense that the bubble is about to burst.
      Even if you do decide to buy, I highly recommend renting for a year before you buy something. That’s a good idea anywhere but especially important in a larger city with traffic and neighborhoods with very different personalities.

      • Your logic isn’t necessarily correct. Things in motion tend to stay in motion, so in an area where prices are on the rise, the central expectation is that they will continue to rise in the short term. Picture an upward slope- you are on that slope line, very unlikely to be at the crest of the hill.

        It is almost impossible to time turning points as an individual buyer, whether you’re talking about a period of steady increases followed by a downward correction, or a period of steady declines followed by an upward correction.

        Your best bet is to buy a house when you can afford to buy a house, with the intention of remaining in place for a long time, and not worry about the short term market.

    • Rent.

      I also enjoy renting, as you seem to. Let someone else deal with the problems… especially when I am working all of the time. I would never buy in an unfamiliar area when I am not even sure how long I would be there in a high stress job.

      I make much more $$ in investments than I would have ever made by buying in my area. Many financial gurus will tell you not to look at your home as an investment.

      You could use the NYTimes calculator to help you assess whether it financially makes sense. That is a great resource.

      Don’t let peer pressure force you to buy. For me, freedom is priceless. Mow a lawn….. are you kidding?!?! Yet for others, freedom to design their own home/live without close neighbors/plant a big garden/have lots of dogs etc… or a desire to have MY home…. pushes them to buy, and only you can decide if those emotional factors are important enough to you.

  23. I’m looking for a pair of good skinny black pants for work. I tend to like ponte. I do not like BR sloan, but about 5 years ago I liked the Gap “Really Skinny” which they discontinued and brought back later in a weird/different way. Does anyone have a favorite skinny black work pant they like? Thanks.

    • Cornellian :

      Vince Camuto Ponte Ankle pants at nordstrom. They are not kidding about them running large, however. I lost 5 lbs (am 5’4 118 or 120) and the smallest size no longer works.

      • ponte pants :

        Brass Ponte Pants are AMAZING. So comfortable and don’t stretch out too much. I wear them multiple times a week (oops…)

        • oooo these look great. Do they have a fly front? I’m trying to figure if they would be ok in a biz casual setting.

          • ponte pants :

            No fly – they are pull-on, with an elastic waistband (pretty wide) and a faux fly seam. I always wear tops that cover the waist anyway so it looks as if there is a fly due to the seam. I wear them in my business casual law firm in DC. I also saw that Brass recently came out with a more traditional trouser style pant –

      • +1 for Vince C ponte skinny and agreed they run LARGE

    • I have pairs from NYDJ and Seven For All Mankind.

    • Old Navy pixie. Particularly the long ones.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Gap Bistretch ankle? Might be the ones you didn’t like.

    • Loft skinny ankle

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      Not ponte (belying my screen name), but I finally found my unicorn black ankle pants: Express Editor ankle pants. Size down!


    Singing that Karate Kid song around my apartment this morning after it was suggested here and BAM phone rings. After 5 months of underemployment after a relocation, this makes my heart sing!

  25. If you are an AT card holder, you can get 40% off everything today (including this dress, which I just ordered).

  26. San Francisco recs? :

    Looking for restaurant recommendations for a short trip to San Francisco. Open to all sorts of cuisines. I am going with a good friend so we’d like a place with a great atmosphere and great food where we can have a long, leisurely dinner. Doesn’t have to be fancy. If you had one dinner, where would it be?

    • a millenial :

      depends on what you like. good mediumly priced options are: dosa (indian, dosas), gracias madre (vegan mexican but reeallly hip and good), beretta (pizza/pasta/californian, great nice wait staff), starbelly (california, the wait staff is really lovely and it’s super chill), little star pizza (more casual, longer wait bc they don’t take reservations), mensho tokyo (v. hip ramen place, LONG wait), trestle (casual-ish, medium priced prix fixe 3 course), aina for a mediumly pricey hawaiian-californian brunch/lunch. and if you want to go fancier of course you can go state bird provisions (go early, this is also one of the most famous californian places) or super fancy (benu).

  27. Anonymous :

    A close friend’s wife’s late stage cancer has returned and while they’re still pursuing experimental treatment, I imagine things don’t look good. The wife and I don’t get along. How often would you check in on the husband to see how he’s holding up, without it being overbearing or “too much”? They are pretty young, and have young kids.

    • If you don’t get along with the wife I would not try to intrude on their lives while she is presumably dying.

      I would offer to take your friend to lunch every once in a while, and that’s it. I would not bring over casseroles or anything because the wife probably doesn’t want to see you, and this time should be all about her.

    • Cornellian :

      Yeah, I’d let him be the gatekeeper. Instead of casseroles, if you can afford gift cards/etc, it may allow you to be helpful without stressing her out.

    • You don’t say anything about yourself or your family. If you have kids remotely close to the age of theirs, you might be able to have them over for an overnight with the understanding that the husband and wife use the time to do husbandly/wifely things. I have no idea, but would guess that that part of their life generally requires too much energy these days. Maybe they could give each other sensual massages or something, just to feel close in that way again without the added stress of kids around.

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