Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Drape-Neck Ponte Sheath Dress

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

This dress looks amazing, and the reviews are good — when people found the right size. The common complaint among reviewers is that it’s sized large, so you may want to size down or get a couple of sizes to try. (It’s an online exclusive, so you can’t try it on in the store.) I think the neckline is lovely, and I like the 3/4-length sleeves. The invisible back zip is also very nice, and the dress is machine washable! The dress comes in pale blue and black in misses, petites, woman, and woman petite sizes. It was $129 and is now $109 at Talbots. Drape-Neck Ponte Sheath Dress

Psst: You can earn triple points today through Saturday at Nordstrom — we’ll try to do a roundup later this morning of some Hall of Famers you may want to check out on the theory of “if you’re going to buy it, you may as well earn triple points doing it.”

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

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  1. barking help :

    I just bought a place I love. About three months later, some renters moved in at the place upstairs and diagonal from me. I met them on their way in and they were nice enough and walking a giant dog.

    Ever since, their dog has been barking loudly, sometimes nonstop for hours while they are out. My building was peaceful and quiet until they came along. I love dogs, but I do not love the headache of nonstop barking.

    I don’t know what to do. Is there a point in talking to them? They may not even know it’s happening since it seems like it’s always happening when they’re gone. But what can they really do?

    the alternative is that I could go to the condo association, but I’m worried that would be harsh.

    Any other ideas on how to deal with this?

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Awesome Etiquette podcast and blog has done a bunch of posts about how to address this!

    • I’ve never been a dog owner so there might be something obvious I’m missing… but I’d be worried there’s something wrong with the dog if it’s barking for hours while they are gone (maybe it gets anxious left alone for that long?). I’d start with mentioning it to them, since I’d imagine a dog owner would want to know.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah if it’s consistent barking I would imagine the dog is stressed. My dog barks very regularly at just about everything you can imagine – the mailman, thunder, sometimes even WIND – but it never lasts for more than a few minutes. If it’s on/off barking it might just be an easily scared/excitable dog but if it’s continuous the dog probably has separation anxiety or something like that. I would definitely mention it to them.

    • Shoe problems :

      Are you working from home, so this is a daily thing? Then, I would nicely mention it to them.

      If it is just a random thing you experience on the rare Saturday afternoon when you are lounging at home and they are out, I might be more flexible.

      But yes, I always review the condo rules carefully.

      I recently had a similar experience, except I am the renter and the new couple+dog bought the condo next door with a tiny yappy dog. At first it drove me crazy. Honestly? It has improved a lot. I suspect that a dog in an unfamiliar new home, may also be more anxious and the barking may be initially reflecting that.

    • I would absolutely want to know if my dog was being disruptive when left alone! There’s no way they can know how the dog is acting if it only barks when they’re not there. It might not be an immediate fix, but there are things they can do.

      • +1. Definitely let them know and give details if you can about when barking starts, how long it lasts, time of day, etc.

      • Yes, absolutely. I love my dog but I don’t want her disturbing people, and I also don’t want her to be distressed. I don’t know what’s happening during the day unless someone tells me. If my neighbor told me “hey, just so you know, your dog’s been barking all day” before going to the condo board, I would appreciate it and try to solve the problem.

        That being said, not everyone is reasonable. If you go to them and they get hostile, blow you off, or don’t do something about the barking, go to your condo board. We had a bad neighbor a few years ago who let his dogs bark all night. When a couple of polite conversations didn’t work, and he got snappy with me, I reported him to our city under our animal noise ordinance. The dogs stayed inside at night after that.

    • Anonymous :

      Talk to them. They obvi have no idea it’s happening because they aren’t home, and there are plenty of things they could do to help fix this.

      • Clementine :

        Yeah, I’m a dog owner and I’d want you to say something for sure. I’d rather hear it from a friendly neighbor than as an ‘official’ complaint via my landlord threatening to kick me out.

        That being said, in case you were wondering ‘what the heck can you do?’ there are a couple solutions. Those include, but are not limited to:

        -They have these citronella collars that can sense when a dog is about to bark (something about the voice box moving I think) and then they spray a fine mist of citrus/citronella into the dog’s nose. It doesn’t hurt them, it’s just annoying/unpleasant. (This worked on my now-husband’s former landlady’s dog who would literally otherwise bark nonstop if he could hear people ‘on the other side of the wall’- aka in my husband’s apartment.)

        -Figuring out if the dog is bored and arranging for a dog walker or more exercise
        – Giving the dog a toy that keeps them busy
        – Blocking access to a window if they are barking at something out that particular window
        – Anti-anxiety meds (these are legit a thing)

        As a fairly experienced dog owner, I’d rather know that I should do something. In fact, it’s likely that they assume he stops barking as soon as they’re out of earshot (which is pretty common).

        • PSA on those citronella collars — they don’t work if your dog is exercising. Hanging around in the house, sure. But I tried using one with my dog while taking her for a run and her panting starting setting it off continuously about 10 minutes in. She wasn’t even breathing that hard. I had to turn it off.

        • anonymama :

          The citronella collars work well, and there is also a little birdhouse thing that emits an unpleasant (for dogs) high-pitched beep (humans can’t really hear it) in response to the dog barking (or any loud noise). It actually works pretty well for my dog, and now even without turning it on she barks way way less.

    • Cosigning the gentle “talk to them” suggestion. I am the [ashamed!] owner of two yappy dogs…they are almost silent when we’re home and even after we leave (for hours on end). But when we’re coming and going to/from our place, they unleash the most embarassing excited yapping. Our neighbors know this and know that it is very situational, but we’ve spoken to them (alas, we know it is happening) and apologized profusely. Dogs bark, sure. But all day? I think they must not know, or the dog has some new seperation anxiety. Fixable for the most part I’m sure. Good luck!

    • As a new dog owner, would definitely mention it to them. I would actually appreciate it – not only because I’d feel bad it’s disturbing you, but also because I’d be worried about my dog. Especially in new surroundings, dogs can get anxiety or any number of things.

      • fake coffee snob :

        As a rec, if that’s something you’re worried about – we use a furbo camera to keep an eye on our dog’s barking (and we love it! we shoot pieces of kibble at him from work!) but I’ve also used the dog monitor app (it’s around five bucks, and it’s ios/android friendly) on an ipad I left at home and that worked well for bark alerts as well.

  2. Paging strapless bra seekers! If you don’t mind going across the pond for a great fit, Curvy Kate just released a strapless bra that they tested in real life by having someone do cartwheels in the bra….nothing budged. It was amazing.

  3. Has anyone successfully gotten Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum timed passes? Does being placed in the online “queue” mean you’ll get tickets eventually, or is it a waste of time?

  4. We adopted our rescue dog when she was one year old and we lived in an apartment. The poor dog would howl for 20-30 minutes when we left. We learned about this through a compliant from a neighbor. I would have greatly appreciated someone approaching me in a kind, friendly and informative manner as has been suggested. Coincidentally, we moved out of the apartment shortly thereafter.

    FWIW, I felt bad and figured she would outgrow it. Our wonderful dog is now 10 years old and I realized recently that she still does it. After 9 years of us coming home consistently and her being well taken care of, she still has separation anxiety.

    • Complaint. I need caffeine.

    • And that was intended for “Barking Help”. I actually do post on here semi-regularly! Sheesh!

    • Don’t know if this would help (or if it’s even a problem in your current location), but my neighbors started to give their dog a stuffed Kong a few minute before they left the house. It distracted the dog enough to put an end to her immediate anxiety about them leaving.

  5. Question for the Canadians :

    What style of pants goes best with court robes? Black, I know, but as I amazingly do not appear to own a pair of black pants I need to go shopping before my call to the bar.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      In all honestly, whatever you feel most comfortable in. If you intend them for all season wear, consider something lightweight as the full outfit is very hot in summer.

      I personally prefer skirts as I find it easier to tuck in the shirt smoothly.

      As for colour, black or dark grey are both fine. I have a court-stripe pencil skirt that is my fave but almost anything will work.

      True story – I once saw a woman at Court of Appeal with lululemon pants on – she looked a bit stressed so perhaps she was pressed into service at the last minute, but still – that is what the emergency suit is for!

      • Yay Kat! Thanks for pointing out the Tripel Points @ Nordstrom’s. I hope too many peeople do NOT go running to get this dress and it is NOT available for me when I go this weekend with Rosa in White Plains. FOOEY!

        As for the OP’s, this is a very fasinating p’ost. I never even thought of this, as I will have to figure out what do do when I become a judge. I always thought I would wear a sheathe dress under my robes, and have my pump’s so that when I took off my robes after court was over, I was good to go. But NOW, listening to the HIVE, it appear’s that female judges wear slack’s and may NOT even wear pump’s. I know I can NOT wear flat’s or I will never be seen once I stand up after holding court, even for m’otion practise.

        I still am figureing out what to do and alot depends on if I can get MARRIED first. I sure hope to find a guy willing to MARRY me soon so we can have 2 kid’s! YAY!!!!!

    • Check the rules for your specific jurisdiction. We’re allowed black or court stripe but no dark grey. I had the pants and skirt made in court stripe but post-2 kids, I wear my court jacket with black pants. I wouldn’t do an ankle length pant for court – although you’ll probably see some worn. Black narrow leg that hits below the ankle bone is what I would go with. Or black skirt. Don’t forget you’ll need a black blazer/suit jacket under your robes as well.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Anonymous, where you are the robes don’t also come with a waistcoat? That is so interesting – I just figured it was the same everywhere.

        • By waist coat do you mean the standard black long sleeve court jacket? We have that but the alternative allowed is vest + suit jacket which is frequently used by people use if they are not in the courtroom a lot. I’m in a super small jurisdiction so I don’t want to out myself – small as in lots of people have a specific local seamstress make their court clothes because she’s less expensive than Harcourts.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            So interesting – had no idea that was a thing!

          • I’m in Quebec, and never realised our robes are different! Ours are like tents and you can wear basically anything underneath (rumour has it some people don’t wear anything at all…). If wearing pants, I recommend simple narrow black pants (not ankle length). Dark grey seems ok to me but check with your jurisdiction. And please, no sandals.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Emma – do they zip up or something? The Ontario ones just fall open so wearing nothing would definitely not work.

    • Cosigning whatever you feel most comfortable in. Court robes are really uncomfortable (or maybe mine are just too tight right now) so having bottoms that are comfortable is key.

      I generally wear skirts under my robes but that’s all superficial – I feel like the robes are really unflattering so I try to make my bottoms more flattering (so I feel better about myself) but that’s just me.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Sing it sister. Women have been at the Ontario Bar since 1897 and the outfits have not been adapted to the female form at all in that time. Grf.

        • Seriously. Shapeless, with huuuuge shoulders. In a skirt, I look like an ice cream cone.

          I only wear skirts with mine, but it’s mostly because my waistcoat is a touch too short to wear with pants.

          Shirt tip: instead of paying $100 for the Harcourts one, I bought a bunch of tuxedo shirts at Moore’s. Generally when I’m in QB, it’s for a multi-day matter so being able to have a clean shirt without worrying about laundry is amazing. Especially when I’m out of town for court.

          Check your shirts to see if you need cufflinks before you get to court. I ended up binder-clipping mine together last week.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I much prefer skirts like everyone else has said. The shirts are so long and big (arggggh) that you have a lot to tuck in. Tucking into a skirt (or into your nylons) first is way easier.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I had no idea this was a thing and I find it fascinating.

      • Anonymous :

        Despite all the complaints about comfort and ill fit, I actually love the robed system because it means that juries are not judging you on what you wear which I know is a concern for female lawyers in the US sometimes. We basically wear the same thing or a very close version thereof under the long black robe every single day of the trial in Superior Court or Court of Appeal. Provincial Courts are different and just have regular business suits as standard dress, but they don’t have jury trials either.

    • Thank you everyone!!

  6. Hourglass :

    By my mid-30s, I have ended up with a very pronounced hourglass body. I have 32e cups, a small waist, and a large butt. I’m pretty self-conscious about it and am looking for tips on accepting it and dressing it. When I search online, I mostly find people talking about how desirable a shape this is for women, but I just don’t feel that way right now. Mostly, I’m uncomfortable physically and mentally with it. Any guidance on owning it? Including for working out? Thanks.

    • Check out Justine Leconte on Youtube. She has a special video on dressing hourglass shapes.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Fellow 32e with a larger posterior. My posterior and chest have both become more pronounced since incorporating resistance training into my workout routine, however the health benefits from resistance training are totally worth it for me as well as the increased protection against osteoporosis in the future.

      In terms of owning it, I have had success focusing more on what my body can do as opposed to how it looks on the workout front. I also have tried to buy clothes that flatter my shape. I know that drapey stuff that hangs off you is sort of in right now but nothing ever “hangs” off my frame so I just try to channel my inner Joan Holloway / Marilyn Monroe. I am most comfortable in sheath dresses with a bit of stretch and some ruching at the waist so they sort of “hug” my frame. Also I often buy pants / skirts etc a size up and then have the waist tailored down to fit.

      One final thing – make sure you get supportive / well fitting undergarments. I have found this makes a great deal of difference.

      • This is all really good advice. In addition to being a busty hourglass, I’m short and the drapey stuff looks awful on me.

      • So you too saw a cup increase when you started strength training???? This is a revelation. It happened to me too, and I have no idea why and can’t find any info on it. (My bum grew due to the same thing, but that makes more sense.) Thanks for your tips.

        • JuniorMinion :

          My best guess is that strengthening my pectoral muscles has led to my bre*sts being a bit higher on my chest and presenting a bit fuller as those muscles are directly under my bre*sts… I think this is perhaps what made me go up a cup size. I also ended up going down a band size – So I went from a 36/34C to a 34/32E (depending on fit). I also have found a wide variety in cup shapes / band fits between brands and the fact that I’m now fuller / perkier might push me up a size in some brands.

          I also have trouble with putting my arms in shirts that used to fit and have noticed things “gapping” at my waist more but being snug on my posterior / thighs.

        • Cup increase might be partially because of increase in size of your pec muscles. Bigger muscles without any decrease in size of the b00bs on top of them = larger bra size.

          • This makes sense! I realize that I didn’t “need” an explanation, but it helps to have one. Thanks so much Torin and JM. My body’s changes have been similar to the above and I feel like I’m the only one who’s not excited about it. But yes, the benefits of strength work are totally worth it.

          • Nudibranch :

            This is why our mothers/grandmothers chanted “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” in those gym classes in the ’50’s.

        • newbinlaw :

          What exercises do you do for chest? I do circuit training and I think chest is a neglected area and would like to add that in. Everything else is getting perkier, but they are… not. haha

    • Rainbow Hair :

      There’s a lot of stuff out there for hourglassy shapes that is designed to really play up the whole “vintage bombshell” thing… not my jam right now. I’ve had more success in sheaths for work and one button blazers.

    • Anonymous :

      I can relate to the process of “owning” your shape. One thing that helped me was to find images that were closer to representing me and my shape and making them part of my life. It normalized how I felt. I was lucky that I found a couple of fashion bloggers and some pintrest boards that worked for me. Even when the bloggers wore things that were not my style, it was still nice to see a shape like mine presented as beautiful.

      While I’m on my soapbox, I also find that the older I get the more I feel sensitive to the shear volume of teenagers in media images. I really appreciate brands that do diversity well. Size, Age, Shape, Color, Style come in so many variations!

    • Fellow hourglass here. I just want to address some language here–you talk about being “uncomfortable with it” and want to know “how to dress it.” I think it may help your confidence to start thinking about your body not as a separate “it” but as YOU. How do you WANT to dress yourself? What makes you feel good–not from outside commentary or validation, but what moments do you find where you’re appreciating your body? The advice to focus on what your body can do is good, because it is a focus on your own strength.

      I’m of the same mind as JuniorMinion above–I just channel my inner Joan/Marilyn/Salma Hayek/Sophia Loren. These are strong, confident women or characters, and I just choose that over wishing I was in someone else’s body. I don’t know what your background is, but mine is latin, and the women of my cultures just have these gorgeous hourglassy shapes, so I also choose to see my body as part of the gift of my heritage–rejecting it or criticizing it would be rejecting part of my deeper identity!

      Agreed that sheath dresses with ruching or interesting waist lines are a great way to go while looking professional.

    • Ugh. Yeah. It’s a conundrum. When your body looks like a s#x object any time you wear “flattering” or more form fitting clothes. Yay. I’ve always had this body shape and it’s a blessing and a curse. I usually end up looking frumpy because that’s the only way I can look that isn’t s#xy, and it freaks me out to look s#xy. My sister told me my work photos (in a modest dress from talbots) looked a pin up because of the way my body is shaped. I am so sick of getting gross unwanted attention or being nervous about not being dressed professionally that I default to frumpy and it is kind of sad, to be honest. I don’t really know what to do about it either.

    • A bit late to the game. I’m a similar shape. My go-tos for work is L.K. Bennett and Boss. Both assume a smaller waist/ribcage but a more curvy figure without needing massive amounts of tailoring. St. Johns (stalk until on sale) sheath dresses also work well and you can dress them to a more youthful look with a cool blazer.

      My other advice is when you go shopping, pick someone to help you that has a similar proportion to you. Chances are they’ve tried on the clothes and know what will work in a way that a non-curvy sales associate will not.

      • Boss??????

        I am slender, with a somewhat high waist to hip ratio, and I have to get Boss tailored like *crazy* to make it fit. I usually buy a size 8 for my hips and have the waist taken in to be about a size 2. So strange how different people can have such different experiences with brands….

  7. Travel tips :

    Looking for any and all of your best travel tips and product for my 3-week honeymoon in SE Asia in July!

    Specifically looking for some ultra comfy but cute sandals I can wear for lots of waking with different outfits (tend to wear a lot of dresses). I don’t love “bulky” sandals if that makes sense.

    Also in the market for luggage and a purse. My partner is worried about checking bags as we’re flying with a pretty budget airline through China, but I will have a lot of liquids to pack (especially bug spray, which I always seem to have trouble finding in Asia) and think I’ll need to check.

    Any skin, hair, makeup products for ultra hot and humid weather? I would love to find an eyeliner and mascara that lasts in this weather, as that’s really the main makeup I wear.

    Also just general tips for a long trip? We’ve got around 30 hours of travel just to get there, and I’m dreading it.

    • I like the MZ Wallace Abbey crossbody purse if you want something on the smaller side. Lightweight and roomy, nylon so it stays clean, and looks cute :)

    • cat socks :

      I recently discovered the blog Travel Fashion Girl. I’ve seen several posts about comfortable shoes and there are posts with packing advice for different countries. Congrats and have a great trip!

    • Are you flying Air China? I recently flew with them to Tokyo through Beijing. On the way there our checked bags didn’t make it on the connecting flight because we landed late and had a quick connection, but the airline was able to get them to us less than 24 hours later. On the way home we landed on time in Beijing and had no problems with checked bags.

    • On the bug spray (coming from a mosquito magnet), you might consider getting DEET wipes or non-aerosol pump sprays which sometimes come in less than 3oz.

      • +1 i have the off deep woods wipes and they work!

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        just be aware DEET really screws up plastic. I have a water bottle that was never the same after I touched it with deep off woods on my hands.

    • Also wanted to add that I think your husband is being risk averse but not unreasonable on the checking bags. Depending on where you are going and which Chinese airline, the service can really vary. Another thing to contend with if you don’t speak the language is that they will often make baggage announcements in Chinese only, so you may be looking for the carousel for a while.

    • Naot sandals are amazing. The classic style–begins with a K?–is not bulky, and depending on the color way you choose they don’t have to look granola or grandma. I did not have to break these in at all and I survived 95° temperature with really high humidity right out of the box. I also have a pair of walking cradles sandals that are inoffensive enough.

      • I was referring to the Kayla, btw. And a note that they run a tad slender, so you may want to try before you buy if you are concerned. If you have narrower feet, there are plenty of options on sale at Amazon and 6pm.

      • Fussy Feet :

        Second Naot, specifically:

        Super cute, walked miles in them shortly after buying without issue (and pretty much all of my other sandals took some getting used to, these were awesome from the beginning)

    • I haven’t done Asia, but I did backpack through Eastern Europe for two weeks. My go to sandals were Tevas and Chacos, although I have recently switched to Birkenstocks. Original Chacos are a little more bulky, so they may not fit your goal, but there are a good less bulky options in both brand. I have the Teva Tirra and the Verra and both are super supportive (I wear them hiking) and are relatively cute all things considered. I wear them with dresses consistently.

      • +1 I’ve worn my Tevas all over the world including SE Asia. They are very comfortable to wear all day. Some styles are more fashionable than others. July is the rainy season in much of SE Asia so you may want to find a shoe you know can get wet and dry quickly.

    • I’m not sure if they’re cute, but Birkenstock Habanas are definitely pretty trendy right now and I found them to be very comfortable.

    • Depending on where in SE Asia, you may want to BYO sunscreen. I had some trouble in Vietnam finding sunscreen without bleaching ingredients.

    • I went to Vietnam, Hong Kong and Thailand last June. It was beautiful and fun, though extremely hot and humid (I came from DC, for reference, and found it much more miserable than our summers here.)

      +1000000000000 to the bug spray. I got eaten alive in Thailand and Vietnam, and spent some MISERABLE hours on tours waiting borderline in tears because I was getting bitten up so bad. That said, maybe bring a pair of lightweight pants so you can cover up if this is an issue for you.

      I wore a lot of lightweight summer athletic clothes — wicking tanks from lululemon, running-type shorts, maxi dresses (sometimes these were uncomfortable because they trapped heat under my skirt!) – I think I took one pair of jeans as well. I took a pair of converse, flip-flops, boat shoes and low wedge madewell sandals. If I went again, I’d take my Tieks and my Birkenstocks as well/instead of some of those. (I know you said you don’t like “bulky” sandals, but insert your preferred option here.) A wrap/scarf to cover my shoulders, and a small purse for outings that closes in two ways (so zips AND snaps).

      Also, I flew business class on Cathay Pacific (thanks, credit card rewards!!) and they misconnected my bag at JFK and it didn’t arrive until the next day. So things happen under the best of circumstances. Take two outfits in your carry-on.

      For long flights — neck pillow, eye shade, earplugs and/or noise-cancelling headphones, fuzzy socks, a scarf or sweater you can wear or shove behind your low back for support. Take an ipad loaded with entertainment in case something is wrong with the IFE. Get water EVERY TIME the crew comes around with it. If you lay over at an airport for more than an hour or so, pay to get in to a lounge and take a shower/eat some food.

      • +1 to the insane heat and humidity. I was in Thailand in June last year also and it was GHASTLY. I love hot/humid weather in general, and I enjoy going to places like Vegas or Arizona in the summer where all you have to do is lie by the pool. But trying to go out and see temples when the heat index is 120 is pretty miserable. I actually collapsed one day while sightseeing. Wear as little clothing as possible and drink lots and lots of water.

        Before we went everyone told me summer was the wrong time to go to SE Asia and I ignored them, because I’ve been to lots of other places in a “bad” season (Europe in August, etc) and it’s been completely fine. But the people who warned me were really right. I will never ever set foot in SE Asia in the summer again.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I had good luck buying DEET bugsprays in SE Asia, for what that’s worth. They were honestly a little scary in their intensity (kiiind of ate through plastic) but getting dengue sounded scary too? But I am delicious to mosquitos and often I just had to cover my body fully. I agree on the sunscreen thing, bringing your own, esp if you want to avoid “whitening” agents.

      One ‘tip’ for Chinese airlines is that flights change/get cancelled a lot? Flights from Shenzhen or Guangzhou to KL or Hanoi were always getting rescheduled to like, 12 hours later. Not ideal.

      If you’re flying through Hong Kong I’d look into the limits on carry on liquids — once they made me throw away my 2 oz sunscreen :-(

      I’m so jealous — where are you going?

      • Rainbow Hair :

        OH! Bring lots of those little packages of tissues, for bathroom purposes. Also travel size hand sanitizer.

        For hair, can you start spacing out your shampoos now? I found that being able to skip shampoos somehow made my hair less awful in the humidity, even though I wanted to shower all the time. Also maybe learn some easy braids that look good on you!

        • Anonymous :

          I showered basically every time I entered my hotel room, but only washed my hair every couple days if I could help it. It poofed like no other otherwise (and I have thin, fine, straight hair!)

    • Another anonymous judge :

      I’m sorry I have no Asia specific advice. However, I CAN say that these Ecco sandals are fabulous. I have walked miles and miles in them. No break-in period, look cute with simple dresses and skirts, wear like iron:

      Best long plane trip advice I have received includes:

      1. do NOT wear an underwire bra,
      2. bring at LEAST two extra outfits in your carry-on. You can do this, I promise. Look up Hitha on the Go, or various pinterest boards, blogs for packing light and even elegant,
      3. bring extra underwear and ziplocs (or wear your older ones you might want to throw out along the way) and change once or twice during your flights. It is amazing what clean undies will do for you,
      4. someone here mentioned a “foot hammock”. I’m considering this for my next long flight, and
      5. have fun and enjoy the journey!

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        The underwear and ziplocks is also amazing advice for the sweaty, hot and humid sightseeing you will be doing. Consider sweat wicking athletic underwear if you have it.

    • Re makeup – This wasn’t obvious to me, but switch from using creams and liquids to powder based makeup when possible. I used Mineral makeup and it worked well with the humidity, my usual BB cream made my face look shiny and sweaty in that weather.

    • The Vionic Nala sandal is the most comfortable walking sandal I have ever owned (and I have all kinds of foot problems!). They’re super cute in person (as verified by about 6 of my friends, who I insisted tell me if they looked like old lady sandals, and all of whom were blown away that they’re made by a “comfort” sandal brand). I have them in both the gold and black colors.

  8. Ladies – help me buy a new Hobo wallet. My Sadie was stolen and honestly losing that wallet is almost the worst part of the whole ordeal. It was eight or so years old, worn in all the right places and was beautiful.

    I could easily replace with with another Sadie, but perhaps you guys have experience with a Hobo wallet that is either more minimalist (but still has at least 6 easily accessed credit card slots) or one that is a bit roomier and can carry my iPhone also. I really loved the magnet closure on the Sadie, so I would definitely lean toward another wallet with the magnets.


    • espresso bean :

      Fellow fan of the Sadie here. Honestly, I think it’s a favorite for a reason. I’ve experimented with other Hobo styles over the years and always wished I had a Sadie instead because I love the clean lines and the styling. If it still haunts you, you should treat yourself to a new one!

    • I use the Hobo “Linn” card case as a wallet and love it – it carries 17 cards plus cash, and it’s small enough to carry in a pocket.

      No magnets, would not fit an I phone.

    • I had a Hobo Lauren that I loved, but it is a huge wallet. It kind of doubles as a clutch, but it is not the best for holding the larger phones we all have now.

    • I really like using the Danette when I travel, because it holds my phone (iphone 6) and has a retractable wristlet strap, and it’s about the same size as the Sadie, but doesn’t have the magnet. What about the Rachel or the Taylor? The Taylor is the same dimensions as the Sadie but the picture shows a phone in there (without a case). I like the Lauren, but I only use it as a clutch – it’s way too big for a wallet for me.

      • Oh, and for the minimalist option, I’m currently carrying the Linn. I generally use it in the summers when I’m carrying a smaller purse.

    • Is there a place for coins on the Sadie?

    • Trudy Beekman :

      I love my Lauren clutch wallet. In addition to two exterior sections, which are magnetized together and are like separate external pockets, and the standard internal card slots, it also has a large zip pocket where I have been known to stash my large Android phone. I receive tons of compliments on this wallet. It’s big, but it keeps me organized and I love that I can grab it and go when necessary. It fits in the bag I am currently carrying (also a Hobo product, the Everly crossbody, which is the smallest bag I own at 12.5″ W x 10″H). I promise I’m not a Hobo shill; I just think their products are really well designed and good quality for the price point.

    • Thanks everyone! I’ll take a look at all of these recommendations.

  9. Reduction? :

    So, after 15 years of wanting one, I’m seriously considering getting a br3ast reduction. Right now, I’m roughly a 32G/34F, and I’ve realized that physically and psychologically this would be a good choice for me.

    The only catch – and the reason I didn’t do this 10 years ago – is that I wanted to have the option to nurse any kiddos. Well, I’m winding down my nursing journey with my kiddo and know that it is biologically impossible for me to birth another kid. If we did choose to expand our family via certain avenues, I could potentially BF that child; however 1) we don’t actually know that we want to, 2) I’m totally fine with formula feeding if we do end up with another newborn, and 3) I don’t think that I want to put off my own happiness and physical comfort for something that there’s only a 1% chance I’d even want to do.

    I guess I’m seeking validation of my choice…. or someone telling me ‘no. this is not a smart thing to do.’

    • Anonymous :

      It’s a fantastic idea!

      Wait at least 6 month – 1 year after you’re done nursing to be sure that nursing effects have settled. I would definitely go for it! I’m back to my regular size post-nursing and missing my bigger b00bs – wish I had the option to be in the 32C range without having to get implants (implants are something I don’t want consider).

    • Do it after waiting for a bit for your shape to settle. And it is water under the bridge now, but I wish someone had told you then that a reduction isn’t a complete bar to nursing.

      • Baconpancakes :

        My doctor made it very clear that while there was a strong chance my reduction could impact nursing, since he managed to keep the important parts completely intact, it should work. Haven’t had any children yet, but I’ve made my peace with the idea that it might not work.

        • Reduction? :

          Thank you both.

          And I should make it clear that I had a doctor (not a plastic surgeon it should be mentioned) that although all doctors make every effort, by their estimation it was ‘highly unlikely’ that I would have success breastfeeding. I’ll mention that I didn’t even know combo feeding was a thing, but who thinks about these things when they’re in college!

          I’m currently just nursing morning and night. The kiddo is 18 months and I plan on fully weaning by 2. I figure it will take a while to get some insurance approval – I should mention that I’ve got documented back issues (awesome!) and some photos of chafing (even pre-kid I was a solid 34DD) post intensive exercise. This is something that I’ve thought about for so long that the idea I might just say ‘yes. Let’s do this.’ is… shocking.

          • Baconpancakes :

            I got it done quite young, as I was a 36H by the time I was 17, and I have literally never regretted it for a second. If you think it will make you happy, it is absolutely a good decision. My doctor was a plastic surgeon, so maybe that would make a difference.

        • I’m glad that your doctor gave you some hope. 20 years ago, I was told my chances were low. Probably the best advice I got was that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It’s the presence of b-milk, not the absence of formula that conveys any benefits. My lactation consultant was so supportive and really helped me find peace with what my body could do.

    • I had a medically-necessary BR surgery before I had a living child (after my first child was stillborn). Though the docs tried to save the necessary bits for breast feeding, they did not succeed. I went on to have three healthy children, none of whom I could breast feed. I’m not going to lie. There were tough moments — feeling like I had lost a critical part of being a mom, being subjected to the hospital video while in recovery from childbirth that compares not breastfeeding to riding a mechanical bull while pregnant, getting an occasional nasty look while publicly bottle feeding newborns, and having a pediatricians’ office try to convince me that wearing a contraption to feed my child formula from my breast area was better than allowing my husband and I to share feeding responsibility/joy (a choice that did not feel like the right one for us). But mostly, it was fine. My kids are now healthy and happy (no allergies, fewer illnesses than most breastfed kids I know), and no one knows that they were bottle fed. I think the key is owning your decision, knowing that a healthy you + formula is better for your child than an unhealthy you + breast milk. And not letting the haters hate. Though ultimately mine was really not a choice, part of me wishes I had done it years before. I’m so much happier without carrying around that weight, and feel like a much healthier person overall. Good luck!

      • Never too many shoes... :

        “…the hospital video while in recovery from childbirth that compares not breastfeeding to riding a mechanical bull while pregnant”

        Are you fecking kidding me? As a woman who formula fed by choice, I would have lost my mind at that.

        • Ugh, sorry. Stabby right now on your behalf.

          I got parked in the waiting room after a m/c diagnosis in the “happy and loud” part of my OB’s office. Next time can I just have the janitor’s closet to be by myself in?

          • Anonymous :

            That’s terrible. I’m sorry. So little training could go such a long way. Following my stillbirth, the kind nurses put baby stuff (blanket, cap, etc.) in a standard bassinet. After I was moved to a recovery room, a nurse asked if she could take the bassinet away, stating “there’s no baby in there.” REALLY? Because I didn’t know.

          • I’m stabby on your behalf now. What is wrong with that OB’s staff that they surrounded you with “happy and loud” when you were dealing with that?! One would think that an OB’s office has come across similar situations in their practice and would have a better response plan. I don’t even have kids/never been pregnant and know that’s horribly insensitive!

          • UGH – my docs infertility practice shares a waiting room with the happy and loud OB/GYN section. It sucks sitting their watching all the pregnant ladies come in.

        • Anonymous :

          I wish I were. Best part is that our tax dollars paid for it. (It was a PSA sponsored by some government agency.) “You wouldn’t do this [insert image of pregnant woman on mechanical bull], so why would you do this [flash to image of bottle feeding baby]”) Its been nearly 10 years, but I still get ragey and sad when I think about it. I understand the intent, but wish that whoever was responsible had thought a little about the effect of that video on those who can’t/don’t breastfeed, for whatever reasons.

        • Edna Mazur :

          Agree, WTF is wrong with the people/hospital you encountered? We had to watch the don’t shake your baby video but I can’t believe the hospital made you watch a breastfeeding one. I live in a VERY breastfeeding evangelical area and got plenty of resources and support when I needed it, but when I had to switch to formula for one of my kids, I got nothing but support from the community and all doctors involved.

          I’m irate on your behalf, this is not how it is supposed to go.

    • In addition to giving your br3asts time to settle down after you wean, I would also wait until you’re okay with not carrying your kid around for whatever the recovery time is. A friend just did this and her kids are 4. She first visited the surgeon when they were 2 and based on whatever they discussed then he said wait until the kids are older.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I have 3 friends who did breast reduction after kids and all are incredibly grateful they did it. The lifting restrictions are something to thoroughly discuss.

    • I just had a consult too, and decided to wait til December (I’m super active in summer and didn’t want to lose that time in recovery). I will happily validate your choice – just making the decision to do this has given me so much hope of living a comfortable, active life where I can do yoga, lift weights, have garden parties, learn to play golf, cook, paddleboard, swim, see my shoes, and walk around b r a less without my giant boobs getting in the way. I get happy just thinking about walking into any old store and purchasing clothes/foundation garments, not spending $65+ per bra, no marks, no shoulder dents, no shoulder pain….It all brings me tremendous joy and I haven’t even had the surgery yet.

      Everyone I know who has done this has been extremely happy with the results.

    • I’m pretty sure formula feeding was a critical component of getting my newborn into great sleep habits early on (and, yes, total luck) and I loved that my husband was able to enjoy the bonding opportunities that feeding a baby presented. It also allowed me to get WAY more sleep and be a more effective parent early on.

  10. But it's a classic! :

    I think I buy classic styles (DVF wrap dress; tailored LBDs). Realistically, I’m not going to get 30 years out of that dress. But what are the outer limits for things that the women’s magazines / stores tell us are classics.

    For shoes, those are consumables.

    • I have two 10-year-old solid sheath dresses that I think are fine. The thing is, they were not very fashionable to begin with. I suspect if either was made with a patterned fabric, or had any kind of detail around the neck, etc, they would probably look dated.

    • A “classic” probably has a lifespan of 10 years max. Much less for anything in a print. Despite what people tell themselves to justify blowing their budget to buy a Burberry trench- note: not judging Burberry trenches if they fit the buyer’s budget– styles change too much to make anything other than a truly iconic handbag a lifetime purchase. Even the iconic handbag will go through years of sitting in the closet between periods of use.

      Ironically, non-classic/non-mainstream pieces have much longer lifespans in my closet. E.g., I have a 20 year old boiled wool coat from an independent designer that I wear about 4-5 times a year when the mood strikes. It’s never been on-trend, so it’s never been “out.”

      • But I think of DVF prints as classic prints. Like if you have one from 1972, it has proably been reissued recently (the green bamboo, the chain print, etc.). A lot of prints say “DVF” and not any particular year (although I agree — the collar shapes probably change more than a style like the New Julian, which is the wrap dress with no collar).

        I think that Lilly Pulitzer prints are the same way. They all scream Lilly, but a 2000 Lilly print dress probably is not really worth updating for a 2017 Lilly print dress unless you want a different cut or style or size. Like if it’s still wearable, why not?

        I put western boots in this category (b/c to me the look better a little worn), but not nice dressy boots. Those are more like shoes and can go in and out of style (like platforms — those are looking a little dated to me now).

      • Senior Attorney :

        I completely agree with the idea of “it was never really in style so it will never really be out of style” idea. And I tend to think DVF and Lilly prints are pretty evergreen, and definitely western boots!

        Things like “classic” white shirts and navy blazers and trench coats will eventually look dated because, for example, collar size and shape changes, the number and placement of buttons changes, hemlines go up and down, and so on. White shirts, navy blazers and trench coats are classic styles. But any given white shirt, navy blazer, or trench coat is eventually going to go out of style.

    • Great question, following. I find I get sick of clothes within a couple of years and they start to look dated. BUt, I buy “classics” too, including mainly Theory Betty dresses, various DVF dresses, MM LaFleur, etc.

    • I have a few things that are 15+ years old that I still wear. One is a black, boatneck, microfiber shirt from the Gap, circa 1997 or ’98. I’m not sure if Microfiber is the right word but it was that late 90’s heavy knit that was not jersey. It doesn’t fade or shrink or stretch, really. One of the cuff seams has broken but can be easily tucked in (or fixed if I wasn’t a lazy bum), and I love it. I don’t know why that fabric isn’t used more…it looks great. (I think now something like it is in the Travelers collection of Chicos, but it’s far stretchier and flowy.)

      A black, cashmere sweater with a polo-type collar from Lord & Taylor, circa early 2000s.

      A red, boatneck wool sweater from Banana Republic circa 2000 or 2001. I keep both sweaters in a cedar drawer, wear them once or twice a year, and have them drycleaned. They both look great.

      And now, in true old-person form, I’ll say, “they sure don’t make things like they used to.” Nothing I have bought in the last 10 years from any of those places will likely be in my closet 20 years from now.

    • I look at pictures of women in the 50s, 60s, & 70s and if they are wearing anything that I think could be sold in the store now, I consider that a classic. I think shirt dresses are pretty timeless. So are pencil skirts.

  11. Random vacation PSA :

    FYI, I found out by total dumb luck that if you have AAA, you get a free 2nd driver (if also a AAA meet) and free car seat when renting through them/hertz. Saved us $100+ on our rental this week.

    that is all. On to vacation!!

    • that’s really helpful, thanks for sharing!

    • Similar benefits if you rent through Costco…always worth checking your various cards as well as many have similar benefits. You should never have to pay for a 2nd driver because you probably have something in your wallet that will cover it–just have to figure it out.

      • Random vacation PSA :

        I think AmEx has some benefits as well, but I no longer have one. I was pretty excited to avoid lugging my kid’s car seat! Wasn’t going to pay $100 to rent one.

  12. Anon for this :

    Do any of you factor in whether or not youll be moving in the future when it comes to dating?? I’ll be applying to law schools out of my state this upcoming fall and all of those schools are on the east coast but still 3+ hour drive away (i’m currently based in DC). I’m not really interested in casual dating anymore and do want a long term relationship so I wonder if its worth trying to meet someone here if I’m just going to leave in a year and a half… I know when it comes to meeting someone thats right for you those things can be worked out but I’m wondering if its worth my time to online date anymore (as opposed to leaving it more up to chance if i meet someone IRL).

    • A year and a half? Don’t leave before you leave. You haven’t even applied to law school. You have time.

    • I do make this calculus, but I don’t think if I’d stop dating if I still had (at least) 1.5 years in a place.

      I seem to have a unique curse where I date people and then one of us has to move for a job… also, in the past I’ve frequently made the intentional choice to date people I knew were moving soon (like, 1 month-less than 1 year). That had its place and was fun, but it pretty much sets you up for sadness.

    • Delta Dawn :

      A year and a half is a long time. Plenty long enough to meet someone that you want to stick with. If you were only going to be in DC a few more months, I would say online dating in search of a serious long term relationship is a bit of a waste. But with a year and a half, you could easily meet someone, get serious with them, and start making plans for a future before you even have to move for school. I would keep online dating for now.

    • My bf could potentially be out of a job and need to relocate in a year and a half, but I am not borrowing trouble as a LOT can happen in a year and a half. Keep dating and cross that bridge when you get there.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I’ll be the voice of dissent here. I’ve been in this position a twice in the past five years. Both times I knew I was making significant moves (different country the first time, 10 hour drive the second time) and that was a significant reason I avoided serious relationship. Thinking back on it now, part of me feels like I just didn’t want a relationship at all and moving was a convenient excuse. Personally, I wouldn’t consider a year and a half long enough to make plans for the future with someone that included either asking that person to move, or doing long distance.

      That being said, if you really want to be dating, go for it. As other people noted, don’t leave before you leave!

      • I’ll dissent to your dissent (stupid board of lawyers).

        I knew, the way 20-year olds know things, that I didn’t want to settle down and have kids at 22 b/c I was going to law school and had Big and Important Things to Do. Like I was better than a Honda Accord wagon with cloth seats? So I didn’t really pursue a serious relationship in college (if you remember the Friends episode, I dated/hooked up with about 20 versions of Fun Bobby).

        If I could look back and do one thing over, it wouldn’t be to try to settle down in my early 20s. But it would be to be open to the possiblity.

        Now that I’m in my 40s, I am really touched when couples in my year reconnect at homecoming and realize that they were there all along. So many weddings to the Bless the Broken Road song (and I weep when I hear it).

        At any rate, be open to possibilities and change. Right guy, wrong timing — that will be hard. But nothing ever happens with the right timing, either: husbands, babies, deaths in the family, etc.

    • My husband and I met when I was doing an internship in his city and so we dated for only two months in person and then were (bicoastal) long distance for a couple of years while I finished up my education. So I definitely wouldn’t stop dating just because you’re moving away in a year and a half.

  13. Baconpancakes :

    On advice here, I got a pair of Sketcher Go Walk 4 shoes for commuting – but they seem weirdly tight. Not “oh, it’ll loosen up a little” tight, but “I need a larger size” tight. Has this been anyone else’s experience? I bought the 10.5, so there’s only a half size larger to even try.

    • FWIW, I was looking for commuting shoes and tried the Skechers but didn’t love the look/fit.

      I bought Ked mesh sneakers and they have these amazing insoles that are so comfortable and I think they’re really cute.

      Let me see if I can find a link.

    • I love my Skechers (because I don’t have a Prada backpack) and I wear my normal size in the three different styles that I have. I don’t have the Go Walk 4, but I have the Go Walk Supersock – I don’t wear socks with those, but I’m not sure if you’re supposed to wear socks with the regular Go Walks or not. That’s the only thing I could think, or maybe the sizing is just wonky at larger sizes.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Love this! I need to go back and watch 10 Things right away.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          +1 Greatest teen movie ever. (and also the reason I can’t ever see brie without thinking “that must be Nigel with the brie!”)

    • Encountered the same thing last year. Ordered some Sketchers GoWalks in my size (5, I have tiny feets), decided it was fine they were tight because sneakers loosen up. Bad idea! They’re too short, and my toes feel like they’re being smushed in!

      But I like Sketchers, and I need a new pair of comfortable, durable walking shoes, so I may give it another try this year, but I’ll go to a shoe store and actually try them on, like we used to in the olden days.

    • I have two pairs of sketchers go walks in different colors and one pair is tighter than the other. Try a different color? I love mine.

  14. Delta Dawn :

    I went to the dermatologist yesterday, and with all of our recent discussions about skincare, I wanted to share her recommendations. She suggests the following “basic” daily skincare routine:

    1. Cleanse
    2. Antioxidant
    3. Brightener
    4. Moisturizer
    5. Sunscreen

    1. Cleanse
    2. Antioxidant
    3. Brightener
    4. Retinol
    5. Moisturizer

    She said if this is too much, the three essentials are cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. She also gave some suggested products but said that she is not particular about cleanser and moisturizer. She said she IS picky about retinol and antioxidants.

    Here are some of the specifics she mentioned:

    Antioxidants- SkinMedica TNS Recovery or Essentials Serum; SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic
    (P.S. If anyone can find a less expensive CE Ferulic alternative, please share! That stuff is $$$$)

    Brightener- SkinMedica Lytera 2.0; SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector
    (I’m not convinced I need to add this to my routine– she didn’t talk much about it, and I don’t think I have any discoloration, but if there’s another reason to use, I would love to hear it.)

    Sunscreen- EltaMD; SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair; Neutrogena Ulta Sheer Dry Touch; SkinCeuticals Physical Matte or Fusion
    (She said it’s important to use broad-spectrum sunscreen. Has anyone tried any of these brands before I willy-nilly buy one? I find most sunscreens to be smelly and greasy, and she said the Elta MD was the least annoying.)

    Retinol- Rx for Tazorac or Renova; SkinMedica Retinol Complex; SkinCeuticals Retinol
    (I didn’t get much more into this for now on account of Baby Dawn cooking.)

    Lastly, she said that for budget concerns, she would recommend the expensive retinoids/brighteners/antioxidants because the drugstore alternatives don’t have the same physician grade ingrediants (in particular, I read up on the CE Ferulic and found that its particular pH is patented). However, drugstore cleansers are a good place to save money, followed by moisturizers and sunscreens. I thought the visit was very informative and hope this can be helpful to someone else!

    • Timless CE on amazon – Skinceuticals patened the PH between 4.5-5.4 I believe (you can google this) and their ph is 5.5 (tricks-y, I love it). It works beautifully for me, does not oxidize quickly at all, and is waaay cheaper.
      Any reason she wouldn’t suggest differin for your retinoid which is OTC now? For a brightening product I like shark sauce (no sharks, just a name):
      My skin is oily and works best with lots of thin layers of moisture, so I do snowbang on clean just damp skin, then differin, then shark sauce, then a thicker serum or cream if its very dry.
      I haaaaate western sunblocks. Get thee to amazon and buy a japanese/korean version – read this for some suggestions, but the 2015 biore watery essence is my fav:

    • Anon in NYC :

      I like Elta MD. It’s not greasy, and I don’t notice any smell.

    • AnonChemist :

      This is a whole lot of hooie. There are many high grade inexpensive products (like the ordinary) the mark up has very little to do with quality and way more to do with profit margins.

      • Yeah I want a doctor when I see a derm not a sales rep.

        • Delta Dawn :

          I asked her to recommend specific products. Before I asked for detailed recommendations, she just provided the general routine of cleanser, etc. I asked for specific suggestions because I don’t have time to research them and pick them out myself. I thought it might be helpful to some other people; it’s alright to just scroll past posts that are not useful to you.

      • “Hooie” is relative… this is superhelpful to me, as someone who is basically washing my face with cerave and calling it a day. I appreciate the info.

        • +1 thank you for providing this! As someone who skips washing at night when it’s too cold – even the basic steps are a good reminder.

          • AnonChemist :

            I should clarify. Expensive skincare is hooie. Taking care of your skin is important, you still need to wash and moisturize and sunscreen at any price point

    • Also, if you don’t want smelly and greasy sunscreens check out the reddit ‘AsianBeauty’, and search for sunscreen recs. Asian sunscreens are formulated to be completely not noticeable, and they have great threads there explaining all the differences

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I have used and like both Elta and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Touch. I think Elta is a little less greasy, though they are both better than most. I use Elta for my face these days and Neutrogena for my body.

      • I’ve also used both and like them both. I absolutely LOVE the tatcha and and the origins moisturizer with sunscreen as well.

    • Do you know if your doctor is an advisor to any of the companies she recommends, or has any affiliations to her benefit?

    • Coco Chanel :

      With respect to sunscreens, I have tried a bunch and I really like this product.

    • I love EltaMD. Costco sells a two-pack online that I think is very reasonable. Lightweight, sheer, full coverage sunblock, no noticeable smell.

      I’ve been using Dermadoctor vitamin c serum and have been happy with it.

    • I LOVE Elta MD. I have been using the tinted sunscreen as a combo sunscreen/foundation for 3-4 years now. It doesn’t feel greasy at all and goes on very smoothly.

      • newbinlaw :

        ditto. Love EltaMD and have been pleased with every variation of their sunscreen I have tried.

    • Anonymous :

      In defense of the CE Ferulic… I have used it consistently for two years on the advice of my derm and it’s truly amazing. I wouldn’t trade it or the awesome results it’s yielded for me. You can consistently get 20% off on DermStore and LovelySkin. Both of those run sales on SkinCeuticals and I’ve always gotten it at a discount thru one of those two. I know it sounds like a lot of $$$ but in my opinion it’s worth it for the results.

  15. I really, really want to be the sort of person who confronts racist statements and microaggressions whenever I hear them. But the problem is that every time I’m in the moment and someone says something that I know I should call out, I find myself feeling completely dumbfounded. Someone said something nasty about a non-American name this morning – I sort of sputtered and said I thought it was a lovely name. Ever since then I’ve been replaying the interaction in my head and coming up with all sorts of other things I should have said in the moment and I’m so mad at myself for not saying them. How do I get better at this?

    • You could try having a few simple, all-purpose lines ready so you don’t have to think on your feet:

      “I can’t believe you just said that.”

    • I struggle with what to say in the moment also and have started immediately replying with “Why would you say that?” It’s the classic advice column advice, and it gives me a minute to gather my thoughts and it puts the burden on the offending person to actually think about what they just said.

      • I think that this also is more likely to lead to some growth and introspection for all hearers.

    • I think it’s so hard to know how to respond in the moment. You never quite know what to say. Last week a new co-worker commented to me “Jewish and wealthy often go together, don’t they?” I sort of just paused and said oh no not really.. not really at all… But I didn’t know if I should push it – if I should try to educate – or to let it go. I like the “Why would you say that?” suggested above.

      • To be fair, a Pew study showed that Jews ranked as the most financially successful religious group in the United States (by quite a lot). Having said that, my usual response to that type of statement is “I try to avoid generalizing about people based on [insert group]. Stereotypes are so often not true.”

        If someone says something really outrageous that I think is just not supported by evidence, I might add “I think that is a stereotype that is not supported by any evidence. Are you aware of any?” But this one is hard, especially when dealing with superiors/clients.

        • A few things.

          Poverty is a real issue among the Jewish community.

          I grew up in a family that was always worried about money. I’m not the only one among my Jewish friends with a similar background.

          Stereotypes about Jews related to wealth are linked to anti-Semitic canards stemming from the Middle Ages. These stereotypes still exist and are very harmful (see current French election). Did you know Jews in Europe at those times were not allowed to own/farm land or practice many professions? In many cases banking was the only avenue open to them – and then they were attacked and demonized.

          I don’t have time or energy to pull stats for you but please don’t perpetuate negative stereotypes without nuance. I’m not saying all Jews are impoverished. Please don’t imply all Jews are comfortable/wealthy/successful. If only it were so (+ for all other religious and other minorities as well.)

          • First I am aware of the pernicious and hateful stereotypes about Jews, their historical basis, and their ongoing effects. I apologize if my post implied otherwise. Particularly in our current political climate, antisemitism should be called out.

            As I said, “Stereotypes are so often not true” and I personally think that is a good way to respond to someone who is talking broad generalities (i.e. “Jewish and wealthy often go together.”). It is true that they often go together and that Jews in the US are actually statistically more likely to be wealthy than (for example) Southern Baptists. That means that calling someone out on saying something demonstrably false won’t work. I was trying to offer a suggestion for a way to respond to someone who says something like that but to whom you cannot be affirmatively hostile.

            Having said that, my comment offended you and I apologize again.

        • Anonymous :

          “To be fair, a Pew study showed that Jews ranked as the most financially successful religious group in the United States (by quite a lot).”

          My jaw dropped when I read this. Why in the world would you feel the need to say this? As a corollary, have you ever taken the Harvard implicit bias online assessment? Please do. The results you get may surprise you.

          • TinyDancer :

            I’m not the poster, but can you elaborate on why your jaw dropped at reading this? I thought the poster was pretty clear that she would call out someone’s stereotyping by pointing out that stereotypes are often not true, which says to me that she’s against stereotyping people based on religion/ethnicity/race/what have you, or at least realizes how harmful stereotyping can be. But she’s also citing to supporting evidence that suggests that, among religious groups, Jewish people in America are (on the whole) better off financially, to point out that the broad statement made by OP’s co-worker is not simply a false statement. Why does that make you think she would get bad results on the implicit bias assessment? I read her response very differently from you. I thought it was reasoned and reasonable.

          • Inconvenient facts are still facts. Racism often is a willingness to judge individuals by group behavior. I don’t think we should shame someone, however, for saying something factually true.

          • anonymama :

            Yeah, but why would you bring up that fact in the first place, when all it does is reinforce pernicious stereotypes? And it really has nothing to do with the actual issue in question, which is what to say when someone says something racist. And everyone seems to agree that the comment was out of order, yes? The subtext to the “inconvenient fact” is that the racist statement is true, or shouldn’t be corrected, or else why would you say it?

            And I think it’s perfectly fine to judge people for saying things that are “factually true” when they are also out of line or inappropriate in context.

          • I am the Anon who originally brought up the Pew Research Study so let me try to explain my thought process.

            If someone says something racist that is simply not true under any interpretation of the facts (for example about immigrants bringing crime to America), the response is that their statement is just not true. There are different ways to phrase this depending on how polite you need to be, but it is a statement that is demonstrably false. All of the evidence is that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes (other than crossing the border illegally). In those cases, you can rebut them by pointing that out or just asking what evidence they possibly have to support such a statement.

            If someone says “Jewish and wealthy often go together” they are not saying something false. Jewish and wealthy often DO go together. Not always and not even most of the time, but statistically and by a considerable margin Jewish Americans are more likely to be wealthy (if we define wealth as a household income of over $100K) than other Americans, including atheists and agnostics. (Note: I am not implying that is because there is something inherent in Judaism that leads to wealth or the seeking of wealth.)

            The problem with the statement “Jewish and wealth often go together” (assuming the person is not trying to start a discussion about the reasons some groups in the US are more likely to be wealthy than others and how to address systemic barriers to success), is that is a broad over-generalization and supports a negative stereotype. It cannot be addressed by saying “what possible basis could you have for saying something like that” – or at least not addressed successfully. In that case, my suggestion to someone looking for a polite response would be, as I said earlier, “stereotypes are so often not true” (or “generalizations are dangerous”) rather than challenging the factual basis for the statement.

            Finally, I note that the groups identified in the Pew study as having higher wealth also tend to have higher levels of education. I think that cultural, political and economic factors that allow/lead Jewish, Hindu, Episcopalian and Presbyterian Americans to be better educated than the general population is responsible for their household income rather than anything having to do with any of their respective religions per se. However, we are now way beyond the original inquiry, which was how to respond to people saying things that are racist.

  16. Any travel tips for Pune? Traveling from the US in July.

    • This may be too late, but Pune is a lovely city, less crowded than Mumbai. You can fly there or order a cab from Mumbai. I would recommend against pre-booking a cab online; I got stiffed *twice*. Instead, have your hotel arrange it for you the night before.

      The area around Fergusson College / Shivaji Nagar is nice (more upscale).

      Try to find a place to get Vada Pav (street-ish food).

      Other than that, I’m afraid I’m not very helpful as I was there quite briefly!

  17. I found these shoes that I like, but I think they might look slightly juvenile on me. I’m not sure if its the patent, the flower or the combination of the two, but something is too youthful. Has anyone seen a similar, slightly less juvenile style? Specifically I think I like the thicker heel and the t-strap. TIA!

    • I do think they look a little young, but OTOH, my 62 year old boss is wearing flats with puff-balls on the toes about the same size as the flower on these today and she’s making it work. So, if you like ’em, wear ’em.

    • Senior Attorney :

      That’s funny. To me they say more “old lady” than juvenile. But I still like them!

  18. Planning a trip to Spain (Barcelona) and Morocco this summer, with probably around 3 days in Barcelona and 5 or 6 days in Morocco! Any recs? I have the Open Doors tour company previously recommended here, but am looking for specific things you might have done (or want to do!) that you enjoyed.

    • Devour Food Tours! They do a great job of food + history (+ neighborhoods) if you’re into that.

      Avoid Las Ramblas.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      I recommended the open doors and loved it! But also asked them to book a food tour for you through: Marrakech Food Tours. It was one of our favorites ever.

      Book tickets for La Sagrada Familia ahead of time – the line is impossible
      If you don’t want to take the time or pay for two Gaudi things than I suggest skipping Park Guell and just doing Casa Batllo especially since its going to be HOT in Barcelona during the summer.
      Delicious splurge restaurant- Tickets
      See if you can get into a concert at Palau de la Música Catalana if not its worth touring the building its beautiful.
      I haven’t done a food tour in Barcelona but have heard good things about the Culinary Backstreets one. I did that tour company in Istanbul and in Japan and enjoyed it a lot.
      There is a lot of street art so if thats your thing you could do a street art tour.

      • +1 Palau de la Musica. We loved the Picasso Musuem, but that is another thing you want to book ahead of time. In terms of areas, we LOVED the Gracia. Less touristy and just fabulously boutiquey with great restaurants and wide, gorgeous avenues. If you like Italian, Oso Galoso is a shoebox of a restaurant with fantastic food.

    • Also, research the timing of your trip. A lot of Spain–defintiely including Bcn–go on holiday and any places simply close down for the month of August. Something to consider.

      • Thanks! We did consider this and are going the last week of June through July 4th. Ramadan will be over when we get to Morocco (we’re doing Spain first).

    • If you have an extra day or two, go to Chefchaouen in Morocco near Tangier. It’s a nice smaller town away from the chaos of Marrakesh (love Marrakesh, but it’s crazy!) with gorgeous scenery, good hiking, and nice hotel/dining options.

    • Barcelona is one of my favorite places in the world. For food, I agree with the Tickets rec, we also loved Pakta. Expensive but we still talk about it years later. There’s a small cheese/wine shop of the Eixample with a tiny cafe in the back called La Cuina d’en Garriga – been back several times to the cafe, it’s delicious. Also, if you’re near El Born around breakfast, go to Patisseria Hofmann for croissants. Just go, get a coffee, and people watch on the benches nearby.

      • Oh, and this is random to suggest sushi in Barcelona, but if you like sushi, Koy Shunka is incredible.

    • I am sure you already know this, but it will be very, very hot in Morocco.

      Barcelona is amazing! I second the advice to book tickets to Sagrada Familia ahead of time. You can do the same for some of the other Gaudi museums as well (Casa Batllo, for example).

      El Born is my favorite area to “hang out” for casual restaurants and bars, and I generally try to stay in a hotel in that area.

      Last time I was there, we did a food tour through Taste Barcelona. I was extremely wary (I am not usually into group activities), but it came highly recommended from a very good friend so we decided to give it a go. It was a really fun evening, and we definitely went to more off the radar places that I wouldn’t otherwise have gone to.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My Morocco tips:
      – Try hiring cars through your hotels to meet you at the airport/train stations. Navigating the old cities can be tricky, but if someone from the hotel meets you, you’ll have a guide for your first time. Also to go to places that trains don’t go to within the country, cars can be hired for a very reasonable price. Also also, your drivers might end up being super cool and taking you great places to eat!
      – Definitely stay at riads inside the old cities instead of at hotels outside of them, but double check that they have AC!
      – Consider visiting Meknes and Volubilis (stay in Meknes for a night or two, and pay the brother of the guy at the hotel to drive you to Volubilis and Moulay Idriss?), and Chefchouen as suggested above.
      – Eat so many olives.
      – Do a hammam body scrub thing!
      – I might suggest going to Fes and Meknes over Marrakech if you don’t have time to go to all three? Fes is so worth seeing, and Meknes is manageable and charming, and Marrakech is just lovely… but if I had to choose two, I’d skip Marrakech. (Fes and Meknes are also close to one another.)

      …I’ll stop but if you want specific riad recs, I’d be happy to give them. Morocco is so lovely.

  19. Anyone here interested in/pursuing Early Retirement/Financial Independence? Or if that not extreme, anyone living along the lines of — when I get to $x net worth, I will leave my career/relocate to do something else/something easier? Would love to hear stories on the off chance that some of you are in that boat.

    • Early semi-retirement is my goal but I’m so far from it at the moment that I can’t really say what amount of money I would need to save to get there.

    • We follow Mr. Money Mustache blog but aren’t as hardcore as he is. We are saving/have saved a lot of money – net worth of $850k at 33 and 35 years old. I work part-time (we have young kids) and husband is hoping to scale down to part-time too in the next 3-5 years. It would be a pretty sweet life to both work part-time and have extra time to hang out with the kids and just enjoy life. We’re hoping that by saving so much now that we can save a little bit less once my husband goes PT and that compounding will do great things for us.

      • Wow, this is awesome. Do you live in a HCOL, MCOL, LCOL? Professions?

      • I would say MCOL – Denver. Me – CPA, him – electrical engineer. Combined income of about $200k.

      • And thank you! I get really excited when I look at our graphs! Compound interest is a real thing. We have worked really hard to get to where we are.

    • My husband travels internationally a great deal for work so I hope to retire from full-time work in my early 50s so I can start going on many of the trips with him. I don’t have a specific net worth in mind, but the timing of my retirement will definitely depend on our financial picture so we’re trying to save very aggressively now.

      • How old are you now? How much do you guys have saved?

        • We’re 30. Not much saved yet (<$100k in retirement savings) because my husband only finished his education a couple of years ago, I had loans to pay off and we just bought a house. But we're currently saving about $50k/year. My husband also plans to work long past a typical retirement age, which should counter my early retirement at least in part.

    • early retirement :

      So, we had dreams of doing this, but the reality is that we really enjoy working and we like our lifestyle. We’re also super conservative in our estimates, so we keep upping “the number”. It was originally $600k, then moved up to $800k… we currently have a net worth over ~$1.2M, and we still don’t think it’s “enough”. We have just over $40k in passive income from dividends, etc. We live in the most expensive place in the country, so we realize that we could pretty easily bail out if we moved to a LCOL area or just traveled for a year in a van (that’s DH’s big dream… I could do a summer, but I’m not sure if the wanderlust lifestyle is truly for me). We’re both 31, and we started getting into the Early Retirement Extreme blog (before he passed the torch to MMM) when we were about 25. At this point, we’ve basically just loosened up on our spending. We use Mint for budgeting, but it’s really more for tracking. Want a fancy steak dinner to celebrate a relatively minor accomplishment? Eat the steak. We put my DH’s super-expensive hobby into the budget this year. We’ve talked about quitting “real jobs” and just doing some side gigs to bring in $5k-$10k/each every year to supplement the passive income. But I’m currently under-utilized at work and I’m bored out of my mind. I’m intentionally seeking out a more intense job because I hate coming into the office to do barely 3 hours of work. So, while I love the idea of FI and want to achieve that, I highly doubt we’ll retire from “real jobs” any time soon.

      • Congrats. This is my goal as well – to get to the point where I can seek out whatever job I want (and I too want a more intense one) without worry about salary. Question if you don’t mind sharing with the $1.2 million net worth – how much of that is invested in the market in anyway vs. held in cash or cash equivalents like CDs? Feel like I’m good at saving but risk averse about investing too much – obv have a 401k and a similarly sized taxable investment account – but feel the need to keep money in cash too.

        Also – for the 40k passive income from dividends, do you do dividend reinvestment or do you take the cash (even if you don’t take it out – do you just have the cash deposit into a money market or do you continue to buy more shares of whichever stock/fund paid the dividend)?

        • early retirement :

          Not totally sure on the exact portfolio allocation at this point. My DH loves to geek out about this stuff, so while we usually look at spending on a weekly basis, I only look at the portfolio about once a quarter (and I’m due for a detailed run-down!). Because the market has been really high lately, we’ve been holding quite a bit in cash because we don’t want to buy at the top. There’s a few stocks where we’ve added more money, even though it’s higher than what we originally paid (so, bought 100 share at $10, it’s been climbing to $20, so we bought another 100 shares at $12, another 100 at $15, etc.) I think maybe $150k of it is in cash or cash equivalents.

          We do some dividend re-investment and sometimes just take the cash, depending on what’s going on with the stock prices. We both have IRAs, in addition to our 401(k), but we can’t contribute to the IRAs anymore because of the income caps. We also have a few high-risk investments, like cryptocurrencies. We’re young, and it’s a small portion of the portfolio, so we’re ok with the risk. Oddly, we’re very conservative with our spending/mindset, but pretty risk-tolerant in our investing strategy. Once you cross the $1M net worth threshold, you can become an accredited investor, which opens doors to some risker investments. We’ve started experimenting with that a little bit as a way to invest some of the cash without buying into over-priced stocks.

    • anonymous :


      My father was a fancy executive and traveled 2 weeks out of every month when I was little and died very unexpectedly when I was 10. The day before he died he said he was going to stop traveling for work, it freaked him out so much. His death created a trust for me, but due to the reason I have it, I have only used it once – to buy a home. I just felt it shouldn’t be spent on frivolous things. Other than that, it stays untouched, growing. We save for retirement and otherwise live and save entirely on our salaries. We don’t have kids yet but hope to someday and plan to keep working and saving and growing our nest egg so that we can retire early and/or transition into something at a slower pace with more flexible hours. For us, time is the most valuable and precious resource, we want to be able to spend time with each other and our families. All this being said, we are the type of people who need things to do, so I think we will likely take on other ventures that are less demanding.

  20. Vietnam/Cambodia tips? :

    My husband and I are taking a vacation to Vietnam and Cambodia. We’re flying into Saigon and out of Siem Reap, and we’ll have 12 nights to there total. We’re thinking of doing four nights in Saigon, four nights in Hoi An, and four nights in Siem Reap. Does this itinerary sound good?

    I’d love any recommendations of things to do/eat/drink and where to stay. We will be eating tons of street food, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from sightseeing and activities with at a sit-down restaurant/bar.

    We’re both hoping to have some clothes and maybe a bag made, so I’d also love any advice for that also — any specific tailors or general advice for the best pieces to have made.


    • Senior Attorney :

      I would really recommend trying to get to Phnom Penh while you are in Cambodia if you can. It’s an amazing city with lots of history and fabulous dining.

      We stayed at the Angkor Village Resort in Siem Reap and it was fabulous and had all kinds of fabulous local flavor, plus an amazing open-air bar and long winding swimming pool with little boats you could paddle. If you want to really splurge I’ve also stayed at the Sofitel Spa and Resort in Siem Reap and it’s fantastic but quite pricey.

      The Angkor Night Market is fun. We had a fabulous French dinner at Abacus Restaurant in Siem Reap. And the temples are beyond amazing. I’d suggest a private guide if you can swing it. Go early in the morning and during the week to avoid the worst of the crowds. And watch out for the monkeys — don’t smile too big at them because if you bare your teeth they think you’re challenging them to fight! :D

      Be careful in Saigon — there is a lot of petty crime. I had my camera stolen when I left it behind in the dressing room at a store, which was pretty heartbreaking. Keep your hand on your wallet! But it’s an amazing city! Be sure to have dinner or drinks on the roof at the Rex Hotel, which is where the American journalists used to hang out during the war. We stayed at the Sheraton and were really happy with it — they also have a great rooftop bar there.

      We had really good luck in both places with guides from Tours by Locals dot com. Our guide in Saigon even got us up on the roof of the building from which the last helicopter took off in the iconic Hugh Van Es photo: Amazing!

      You are going to have the best time!!

    • We did a similar (but a bit longer trip that also included Laos) eight years ago and loved it, so get ready for a fabulous time. We didn’t do Saigon/Ho Chi Min City (we did Hanoi instead) so I can’t comment on that. Hoi An is lovely, but I’m not sure you need four whole nights there. You might consider instead splitting your time between Hoi An and Hue which is just a few hours away and has some really neat sites including the big ancient city and also tombs (big complexes) of former emperors (Min Mang is one name, but there were 3-4 others we visited- Kai Din (not sure of spelling) is another name I recall). To get to these tombs, we just hired a taxi driver for the afternoon to take us around to all of them.

      For Siem Reap, we did the main areas (Bayan, Angkor Wat) but also took one day to go to some farther afield (1-2 hours away) sites (again, hiring a driver for the day). One was Kbal Spean or “river of a thousand lingas” which was really cool and another complex (the name escapes me now) that is only partially rebuilt so it’s more ruins than a reconstructed site, which was different.

      As we were there so long ago, I don’t recall many specific places to eat, but I do recall a lovely French restaurant right near the water in Hoi An (that was kind of on a V at the end of where two roads converged that we enjoyed (I believe most seating was on the second floor). Siem Reap is super touristy so the restaurants in the main city section left a lot to be desired, but we found some more intimate restaurants out of the main tourist area.

      In Hoi An we stayed at the Vinh Hung Heritage Hotel and enjoyed it (good central location). I don’t recall the name of the place we stayed in Siem Reap, but it was a bit outside of the main town area, which we liked.

      Finally, I did have some clothes made at Thu Thuy Silk (I think) in Hoi An and the experience was meh. I think my main problem was that I didn’t have anything really specific I wanted made, so it was overwhelming for me to try to choose something quickly plus select the fabric, etc. One dress I got made I liked and still wear. The other dress I had made was unlined (which somehow I didn’t notice at the time/ in the lighting in the dressing room) so it was totally too sheer to wear, so that was a waste. My husband had a few casual button shirts made and I think seemed to like them. I recall the woman in charge being kind of pushy, so you need to be firm in exactly what you want (the more you buy, the cheaper each piece is, so we felt pressured to buy more). I also was unsure about the working conditions for the women who were doing all of the garment-making. I didn’t get a good glimpse of them, but with such quick turn-around on the clothes, I couldn’t help but wonder if the were working crazy long hours. But I really can’t be sure. Bottom line- bring a picture of a garment you want re-created or otherwise have a really good idea of what you want made for the best results.

      Have a wonderful time!!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, speaking of tailoring, my husband and I had button-front shirts made in Siem Reap (can’t remember the tailor’s name) and I liked mine but his ended up buttoning on the wrong side. So be careful about that.

    • I recently went to Vietnam and had a great time. I was in Hoi An for two or three nights and that was entirely too long, so I would cut that back and either go to Phnom Penh or elsewhere along the Mekong Delta.

    • I recently got back from Vietnam and have been to Cambodia before.

      Ho Chi Minh – I ate mostly street food and at local restaurants. Check TripAdvisor for recommended spots. I believe that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t have any stomach issues over a couple weeks. We ate at Noir one night. You eat completely in the dark as a way to use senses other than sight to enjoy food. They serve delicious food and it was fun to guess what you were eating. A lot of the staff is blind or deaf so it was sharing a bit of their experiences.

      They really push tours out to the Cu Chi tunnels and the Mekong Delta. I did a day trip to the tunnels and thought it was worth it. Definitely look for a good guide for that since some tours seemed light on information. It was interesting to compare the information there with what we saw at the war museum.

      Hoi An – I really enjoyed Hoi An, but you only need 4 days if you want to have clothes made. I recommend bike riding to the beach and through the rice paddies. I had 3 dresses and a shirt made at Kimmy Tailor. Friends used A Dong Silk and were also happy with their experience. Know what you want ahead of time and take screenshots. You will be overwhelmed by options once you are there. And be picky. We had 3 fittings and the associates might think something should fit tighter or different than how you prefer. There are many good restaurants so I recommend browsing the menus and see what looks good to you. Home was one that I remember enjoying. We had tea at Reaching Out and it was fabulous. It’s a very relaxing environment and was a great place to sit and people watch.

      Some Reap- it’s been a few years since I was there so I don’t have any specific restaurants or hotels to recommend. Do bring lots of water and sunscreen with you when you are touring. I remember that a lot of the temples and tourist sites don’t have much shade.

    • Vietnam/Cambodia tips? :

      THANK YOU all for these great recommendations! This forum is such a great place for sharing travel tips.

      Sounds like we should cut back on our planned time in Hoi An. I am a bit afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle Phnom Penh well because of the level of poverty and of course the tragic history, but maybe that’s something that we’ll reconsider.

      • Senior Attorney :

        We stayed at the Plantation Hotel in Phnom Penh and loved it. Small and with an amazing poolside bar. (I’m all about the pools and the bars…) We did an absolutely amazing architecture tour by bicycle rickshaw that was led by an architecture student. She actually took us right through apartment buildings that had been converted from churches and government buildings. Also a wonderful boat tour on the Mekong River from Phnom Penh. I did the Killing Fields and S-21 prison because I felt like I should appreciate the respect the history and it was tough but I’m glad I did. Also the Royal Palace is fantastic. You can have a fabulous (and expensive!) French dinner at Topaz and make sure you have drinks at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

        A great way to see the city is just hire a tuk-tuk driver for the day.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, and wherever you are, please don’t give anything to child beggars and don’t buy anything from children selling trinkets. They should be in school and you don’t want to reinforce their parents keeping them out to beg or sell. Even school supplies will end up getting sold. It’s hard to say no but really it’s for the best. You can google “should I give to children who beg” or similar to find out more.

        • Senior Attorney :

        • Vietnam/Cambodia tips? :

          I’m all about the pools and the bars too!

          I fully agree with you on the issue of child beggars. During college I worked in a school in Mexico for ninos de la calle — such a difficult population to help, but supporting the incentives for them to be out of school is not the right way.

    • I had two sundresses made at Tina Design in Hoi An and was very happy (especially because I did not have a big order). I echo the advice about more or less knowing what you want before going in. The best advice I’ve heard is to have screenshots or dresses you love that you’d like re-made. Other Hoi An recs: Second the the Reaching Out Teahouse–delightfully peaceful. The same group runs the loveliest shop (Reaching Out Arts and Crafts) with extremely high quality, truly artisan level gifts. I also loved Lotus Jewelry for pearls and unique silver jewelry.

    • I have spent 4 weeks travelling in Vietnam – our trip lead from the north to the south.
      We have not spent more than 2-3 nights in the same place as we wanted to explore as much as possible and never regretted it.
      Hanoi was nice to see and feel the atmosphere and taste their take on Vietnamese food (great pho!) and as a starting point for an overnight trip to Halong Bay cruise (which we loved, it also included kayak trip, spotting monkeys on an island, visiting a cave and hiking trip on one of the islands).
      We visited Da Nang, which was interesting – they rarely see non-Vietnamese tourists there (outside of railway station). They had decent beaches and possibly the best sea food I have ever tasted. We hired bikes and biked to a near-by Marble Mountain and closeby viewing points.
      Na Trang was packed with Russian tourists – beaches were decent and food was nice. We have biked to some temples and other sightseeing points.
      Hoi An was different and packed with Western hipster tourists. We have visited temples, walked through the picturesque streets and enjoyed great food. You can feel the colonial French style here.
      Ho Chi Min was our transit spot to PhuQuoc Island – which was amazing. We managed to get a beautiful hut on a beach (Than Kieu resort). It was a few mins walk to a great beach restaurant owned by an Australian – which served amazing food. PhuQuoc was the only place where we have actually spent more nights (we were exhausted and wanted to chill for a few days). You can make some trips to the other side of the island (beautiful white sand beach).
      I would not feel the need to spend more than two days in any place in Vietnam.
      And I am saying this with a loving memory for this country.
      In case you want to visit the mountain region in the north (Sappa), then I can imagine you would need to spend slightly more nights there. Otherwise, off to Cambodia you go!

  21. HR Consultant :

    This is for the poster yesterday whose assistant is having multiple performance problems. I read the post too late yesterday to post back.

    Not sure that I need to say this to an attorney :-) but please make sure that if you have a conversation with her about her issues – whether it is one big conversation or several small ones – that you document the conversation; what was discussed as well as the day and time the conversation happened. Also, if after the conversation she doesn’t change her behavior, document future infractions. I hate having to have this conversation with people:
    Beleaguered Boss: Hey, I need to talk to you about my assistant, Problem Pauline. She’s having all these problems.
    Me: Did you talk to Pauline about these problems?
    BB: Yes.
    Me: When?
    BB: I dunno. Like, a month ago maybe? I didn’t write it down. Anyway, she didn’t change anything.
    Me: Okay. Have you written down the times when she’s done the things you’ve asked her not to do?
    BB: No.

    So at this point, Beleaguered Boss is going to have to put up with Problem Pauline for at least a couple more months while we document performance problems and implement progressive discipline. No documentation means it didn’t happen, and therefore it’s not actionable. I can get rid of a problem employee a lot faster when I have documentation and evidence from the manager about what’s happening. If your HR department is decent (believe me, I know not all of them are), it may be worth having a conversation with a rep about this employee and what your options are. The problems you outlined are not minor and in most places I’ve worked, would be grounds for putting the employee on a Performance Improvement Plan at the very least. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. Good luck.

    • I think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself. The person posting yesterday hadn’t even talked *once* with her assistant about those issues. That should be the first step, not thinking about how to implement a PIP.

      • HR Consultant :

        Nope. I’m going to rely on my 15+ years of HR experience to say authoritatively that you’re wrong. Behavior is a problem when it’s a problem, whether or not a manager has had “one conversation” about it. I’ve been involved in many situations where our first conversation about an employee’s behavior or performance resulted in that employee’s termination, if the behavior was serious enough. Just refusing to do work is bad enough. The combination of that and the other behaviors elevates the situation from an annoyance to an actionable situation. If you don’t think so, maybe you just haven’t been in management long enough. Situations like that poster’s need to be actively managed sooner rather than later.

        • newbinlaw :

          agree with HR Consultant. With this attitude, by the time you realize you need to be thinking termination, it is too late and you have to start all over with keeping records.

  22. Inspired by the thread above, I am planning to adopt an older dog (1+ years) in the next six months. I grew up with dogs so I have a solid understanding of the level of commitment required. I was too little to remember the training process with our first dog and out of the house when the second dog was trained, so I’ve never really experienced it first hand.

    Does any one have any suggestions for books regarding adopting and training dogs? I like to read a lot to prepare for big transitions. Also, any suggestions for training a dog to handle city life versus suburb life are welcome (e.g., types of things I may not be thinking of beyond leash training, training it to patiently ride in elevators).

    • If you get an older dog, you can probably find a dog that is house-trained, walks well on a leash and can ride patiently in an elevator. We didn’t do any training with our dog when we adopted her. She doesn’t know how to sit or stay or stuff like that, but she’s very well-behaved and house-trained.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      I would highly recommend Patricia McConnell’s books, and her blog The Other End of the Leash. She has tons of practical advice based on behavioral research and many years of work with working dogs and rehabilitating dogs with issues.

    • I second the Patricia McConnell books and she also has a very interesting website. The other trainer I consistently recommend is Karen Pryor. Her blog is fantastic. She uses clicker-based training which is the training method most used these days. If you’re looking for an interesting read, along with dog training, Sue Ailsby of Dragonfly Farm ( use the Go gle), trained her service dogs herself.

    • Our dogs adjusted quite well from the burbs to the city–including elevator waiting and rides–a few years back. If you know where the stairs are as an alternative to the elevator that can be an easy way to tire out the dog (in bad weather, if the elevator is down, etc), but it also tires you out! The one thing one of my dogs could not get used to was walking down the street and having city buses go by. They freaked her out!

  23. Any suggestions for a gift for a pregnant woman (as opposed to the baby)? My best friend who is like a sister to me is pregnant. I’m sure I’ll be getting lots of stuff for the kid once she knows the sex and the shower rolls around, but I want to get her something now that’s pregnancy/baby related but more for her than the baby. I don’t live near her and probably won’t see her until the shower. She’s not a big spa/massage person.

    • Darn, I was going to say a pregnancy massage. Depending on how far along she is, she may soon become a massage person, because it gets pretty uncomfortable toward the end.

      There are some nice pregnancy-related gift bags you can buy, which I would have loved to receive, for example:
      -Storq has a set of high-quality maternity basics
      -A pregnancy-themed skincare gift set, e.g.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      house cleaner
      delivery food gift card (like Door dash)
      bath products if you know the scents she likes
      bottle of good alcohol for after the baby is born
      comfy robe
      gift card for new clothes after baby is born
      hulu/netflix/ Audible/ amazon prime/ HBO – membership so she could watch things once the baby comes
      texture – thats the magazine app that you pay a set fee and get access to 100s of magazines on your ipad/phone
      a kindle – easy to read at night when breast feeding
      Shoes that are easy to put on without bending over
      Slippers with non slippery bottom

    • +1 would like to know

      my bff is pregnant – almost 30 weeks – and she’s not one to ask for help, or for anything really, and kind of shies away. I’d love to help (?) somehow, but not be pushy or obnoxious trying to insert myself.

      Are there any lovely gifts or splurges you wouldn’t get for yourself? Actions from your best friends you appreciated? Did you want to talk about being pregnant all the time? Or don’t want to talk about it at all?

      It’s all new territory to me (and her!)

      • this is sweet. Unless she’s on bed rest, probably not a lot you can do for her now, but you can always ask. I usually liked to talk about my pregnancy but sometimes worried about talking my friends’ ears off when they weren’t interested. A prenatal massage would be a nice splurge in the last, uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy. Mostly, she’ll need help after the baby comes — food deliveries and the company of an adult during maternity leave are universally appreciated!

      • LondonLeisureYear :

        You might enjoy this podcast – it dives into the feelings of becoming a mom when one friend is not a mom and one is. I really enjoyed it –

    • a pregnancy pillow?
      a maternity dress?
      a gift certificate to get her hair done? (most women I know grew thick gorgeous hair while pregnant)
      a gift certificate for maternity clothes?
      9 months’ worth of La Croix? (ha)

      • Love “9 months’ worth of La Croix”! I don’t think I’ve had one since Kiddo was born 2 years ago :-)

    • A really beautiful, comfortable matching nightgown and robe set. The maternity ones are usually nursing-friendly too, so they last long beyond the pregnancy. It was so nice in the early days after giving birth to have some beautiful loungewear that I felt comfortable enough in to not change clothes when close friends or family dropped by.

      • Yes, more than a nightgown + robe (although that sounds lovely) is the idea of beautiful loungewear for when people drop by. Some loose pajama pants plus comfy shirt plus cardigan or other coverup, all in a loose and forgiving fabric. Perfect for lounging when pregnant, perfect for mat leave.

    • Anonymous :

      I was gifted a really nice heating pad (Origins Hug) which I LOVED. So great for the aches that popped up during my third tri. It smelled lovely, too, but was way more expensive than I would have spent on a heating pad for myself.

      • Love the idea of a heating pad! I bought myself a normal heating pad (not scented or anything) from Amazon in my second tri.

    • A bathrobe in a really soft, smooth, washable fabric.
      Gift certificate for maternity clothes.
      Gift certificate for pedicure (for when she can’t do it herself).
      Gift certificate to yoga studio (for either prenatal or mom/baby).
      Magazines or books–I really liked light, happy reads at the time, like Bossypants and Yes Please.
      Good lotion (my skin was drier than usual).
      Hobby-related supplies, if she already has a hobby (knitting yarn, etc., but only if she already does the hobby. Someone gave me knitting needles and yarn while I was pregnant, and I just laughed because I will never knit).

  24. I was connected with a mentor through a formal program via a professional association. The program just concluded and we were encouraged to continue the relationship informally if we’d like to. I would – but I am not sure how best to ask that in an email. I am writing a thank you email acknowledging his support over the past year and would like to express my interest in continuing our conversations. I’m struggling with the wording.

    (Also, we are East Coast/West Coast, so our connections have been monthly phone calls and emails.)

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