Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Emilia Ponte Jacqard Blazer

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

I think this jacquard blazer from Boden’s new ponte line looks great. I like the unusual “imperial blue” color — a dusty but deep blue that I think you could wear with either navy or black easily. (It’s also available in “pink pearl.”) I just love the seams and the darts, the subtly textured jacquard fabric, and the fact that it’s fully lined. It’s $150 at Boden in sizes 2-16. Emilia Ponte Jacqard Blazer

Here’s a lower-priced option in both regular and plus sizes, and here’s another plus-size option.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

Psst: Happy Valentine’s Day to all!  



  1. Anonymous :

    The blazer doesn’t seem to fit the model very well. Not sure if she is too slim for it or if the proportions are off…

    • It seems to be a fairly heavy weight, which I think works nicely for cropped blazers, but not s0 well for longer blazers.

      • I agree. This reminds me of all the conversations we have about frump and how to define it… this blazer isn’t making the model look more professional/polished to me at all.

    • Anonymous :

      I think that this model needs a shorter jacket with two buttons and a higher stance.

      She’s narrower in the torso and this jacket is making her look wide and boxy.

      • This is my problem with so many blazers… I “flare out” too quickly from the waist, it seems, so I’ve resigned myself to looking a little frumpy and/or not buttoning.

    • anon a mouse :

      Boden has the best fabrics, but they just have not figured out the right cut of blazer (for me) yet. Probably 3x a year I order one or two and they always get sent back. Figure it out, Boden!

    • It looks fine to me….. maybe I need to revisit my work wardrobe

    • I work with someone who has all her old suits from the 80s and wears them with pride. This blazer looks like that.

    • Yes, it look’s a little like a gunnie sack, which is what dad calls my clotheing when he finds out the PRICE of it. He does NOT even care that the manageing partner subsidizes it. He thinks I spend way to much on my clotheing. I need new clothe’s to win in court. And I have a 93% sucess rate with the judge, but onley 41% in the Bronx. FOOEY!

  2. Anonymous :

    So I’m going to apply for online jobs. If I get an offer, I’m going to my boss and will tell her that I would like to start working remotely at least a couple days a week. I am going crazy sitting in the same office all by myself everyday ( I work in a different building than my team). When she says no, I will tell her to think about it.

    After a few days, I will approach her and ask her and if she says no, I will tell her I received a job offer and will resign.

    Sounds good? Can you guys see any holes in this plan?

    • Have you asked her about working remotely before? If not, I’d recommend you do that before you go to the trouble of applying for other jobs. You could do one day a week on a trial basis; if that works, then maybe you can increase it to twice a week.

    • If your issue with your current job is that you feel isolated and alone because you are not physically with the rest of your team, then you should seriously reconsider planning to work remotely full-time. (I’m assuming that’s what you mean by “online jobs”.) Working from home can be great because you have added flexibility and you get to be home etc., but can get lonely after a while.

      Are there other issues with your job? Can you ask your boss to move you to be with the rest of your team?

      • Anonymous :

        I was sick once and asked her to work from home. She told me if I did that again, I would need to take a few hours of sick leave off as it is not fair to the company if I worked but was not as efficient. -_-

        • Anonymous :

          But being the efficiency issue has to do with you being sick, not working remotely, right? If you haven’t had the conversation about working remotely (when not sick), it might be worthwhile. I mean, would that save the company costs by not having to operate an office location for just you?

          Basically – if you want your current employer to consider letting you work remotely, then you need to make a business case for it.

          As for holes in your plan – the biggest one I can think of is your plan hinges on the fact that you will find another employer that will let you work 100% remote from the beginning. I don’t know that those jobs are widely available. Which is another reason to work the remote angle with your current employer if you can.

        • Anonymous :

          And that is fair. If you are too sick to work take a sick day.

          Have you actually asked her about working from home?

          • Anonymous :

            There are days when I’m not “too sick to work” but would otherwise benefit from being home – maybe my stomach isn’t feeling well, maybe I have strep through and don’t want to pass it around, etc. I agree if you’re too sick to work take a sick day, but saying every time you’re too sick to come in to the office you should take one is myopic. I had a client like this though — if your butt wasn’t in your seat, you couldn’t possibly be getting anything done. (due to weather, we occasionally had a work from home day… I actually got MORE done on those days. I like a good balance.)

          • I agree there are degrees of sick and your boss’ one-size-fits-all-sick-people response isn’t flexible, but it’s defendable.

            So back to the question: have you actually asked this boss about working from home, unrelated to being sick?

          • I haven’t asked but no one does. She clearly stated when telling me about her idea on fairness and working from home when you are sick, is that we are all more efficient in the physical office setting.

    • Anonymous :

      You can just ask her if she’d let you telecommute. If you don’t like you job, that is one thing, but it kind of sounds like you’re looking for a new job because you feel nervous about talking to your boss.

      • Also in Academia :

        If I had told one of my staff “no,” and their response was to “tell me to think about it,” that would not be well-received. Whether or not your boss is right or not is completely debateable, but if she says no, that should be it.

        • That’s very authoritarian. What about open discussion and collaboration?

          • Not all jobs/bosses/situations are open to discussion and collaboration….?

          • I think open discussion and collaboration is appropriate when discussing ideas in regard to work product, but if the company policy is no teleworking and you have asked and already been told no, then you should assume that’s the final answer. On the other hand, if you don’t care about your job or advancement and are fine with leaving on a bad note, continue to push it and see what happens!

          • I would bet the OP is a millennial. This is why many milennials unfortunately get painted with the same (bad) brush. The level of entitlement here is pretty astounding.

            OP, do your boss and company a favor and just quit. There are many other ways to solve your problem of “going crazy alone in your office” that you apparently haven’t even investigated. The business does not exist to serve your needs. Maybe a period of unemployment or underemployment will do you good and teach you some valuable life lessons. P.S. bosses are not obligated to “collaborate” with you about your work conditions. This isn’t like school, where everyone has the same amount of input and control. If you can’t deal with that, my advice is to start your own business, or marry a rich guy.

          • I should say, can be appropriate in certain situations as anon said. Your boss is your boss, you have to respect the hierarchy at some level or get out.

          • Can we stop hating on millennials please? Plenty of us aren’t entitled and just deal with things we don’t like. And plenty of us are tired of other people acting entitled, millennial or otherwise.

            anyway, I get so anon’s point and I agree that the OP is way off the mark. But there really isn’t any reason to make this all about millennials and how much we all suck.

          • Anonymama :

            Eh, in this case I think “millennial” was also short-hand for young and inexperienced in the working world, which correlates with my impression of the op as well.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Agree w anonymous at 11:40. I’m a millennial and I don’t think this is kosher. Can we not.

          • I think there is a way to discuss it, but telling her to think about it is not an appropriate way. It comes off badly, like you’re trying to admonish her or that you’re being immature and can only think to threaten to quit to get your way. People are reacting to the wording in the post, not your actual desire to work remotely or necessarily how you would communicate it in real life . You can make a solid and rational case for teleworking with your manager, absolutely, but then you need to accept the decision and absolutely do not argue with her.

    • anon telecommuter :

      I was in a similar situation with my previous employer and forced their hand. I was given the go ahead to work remotely for half the week, but the organizational culture did not support telecommuting. At all. There was resentment, petty grumbling etc from people who had no connection to me/my work product or were impacted in any way.

      I moved on to a huge geographically diverse organization that relies 100% on collaboration among remote teams. I work from home full time and I’m a million times happier.

  3. anonymous :

    I got rid of a few items that don’t really fit me that well, and now my work wardrobe is down to 25 pieces including everything but shoes, of which I have like 3 pairs. Is this too minimal? I also like colors, so I have a red dress, a green dress etc. None of these are patterned or anything like that, but I’m just wondering if I’ll need more stuff. Other minimalists, how many items do you have?

    • This entirely depends on how comfortable you are with your wardrobe.

    • I’m actually trying to par down to as few items as possible, thought I don’t have anywhere near as few as 25 yet. I think what’s important with a minimalist wardrobe though is not the raw number of items, but the number of unique combinations/outfits you can make with them. How many can you make with your 25?

    • I think a lot of this depends. Does everything in your wardrobe go together, or do you have pieces that only go with one other thing? Do you actually like (and will therefore wear) everything? It also depends what the items are – if you wear mostly separates and only have three tops, this probably isn’t enough. But say ten shells, five dresses, three skirts, two pants, and five blazers/cardigans would be plenty.

      • Hm.
        5 dresses (2 of them are printed, I lied)
        4 skirts
        3 pants
        3 suit jackets that match the aforementioned skirts and pants
        2 blazers
        8 tops

        The 3 suits are grey black and navy, the tops are all solid colors. so I guess most things could go together? I got rid of everything I didn’t like, so this is stuff I’ll wear. I just don’t want it to be super obvious that I always wear the same thing.

        • Quick and dirty math gave me this:

          – If all of your tops work with each skirt and pair of pants, you have 61 options, not including with/without a jacket or blazer (56 top+ bottom combos and 5 dresses)
          – If you want/need to wear a jacket each day, you can go 1 work week with no repeats, but have to wear all of them again the following week

          So really, it depends on how versatile the tops and bottoms are, and how often you wear a jacket.

    • I have about 35-40 pieces, and 6 pairs of shoes. I don’t wear a lot of dresses, so I have both skirts and pants as well as blouses and sweaters. Its plenty for me. I wear tops 2-3 times a month, bottoms a little more frequently.

      I did a fashion challenge on FB in January, where we all had a capsule of about 25 items, and each day the host would tell us what to wear (i.e., colored pants, neutral blouse, neutral blazer, statement necklace for one day). I got bored wearing just those clothes and missed my other pieces, even though I don’t have that many more. Some people in the FB group are still using that capsule in February, they enjoyed it so much.

    • Is this just your work wardrobe or your weekend/special event attire also? For work, I rotate between five dresses, two cardingans, one blazer, and two pairs of shoes. For weekend, I have two pairs of jeans, two short sleeve shirts, two long sleeve and a whole gaggle of subpar clothing for yard work and lounging. There are three additional pairs of shoes for weekend wear.

      My summer attire and maternity clothing is packed away, so that would add to my tally. There’s also a tote of too small clothing that I could entirely pitch, but am waiting to see how much weight I drop post-baby before I part with that.

    • This is more than I have. I have enough outfits to wear each dress or top every other week (pants and skirts are all generic enough that I can wear them multiple times a week with no problem). Maybe 18 items total? It seems fine to me. No prints, though, and mostly muted colors.

      This doesn’t count weekend/special event clothing.

  4. We’d like to go to Savannah for a few days this spring but will be travelling with a one year old. I’m thinking that we should book an air bnb because baby goes to sleep early and we’d basically be sitting in the dark if we have just a regular hotel room. However, I’ve never done air bnb and I’m not familiar with Savannah. What’s the best way to search my options and find a place that’s central and well-maintained? Anyone have any specific recommendations? Suite hotels or b&b’s okay too. TIA!

    • Savannah has relatively compact downtown/historic district so most anything in that area will be central to what you want to see. There are several options for suite hotels as well in the historic district. Many of the houses that are downtown are pretty old and that is part of their marketing charm so read the reviews carefully to make sure you are okay with how well maintained they are. I’d also look at VRBO/Homeaway and search for property rental companies that do vacation rentals.

    • Recent visitor :

      I was there for a conference last year and my husband and I stayed at the Hilton Homewood Suites in the historic district. It’s a great location, and the bedroom is separate from the living area.

    • Will you have a car? Parking can be a pain downtown and parking at hotels can add up quickly.

      Is your 1 year old walking? Forsyth Park may be a good area to look for an airbnb but is a drive/fairly long walk to most of the restaurants.

      I would stay within the streets of MLK and Broad as as far west as Forsyth Park. You will be spending a lot of time on Bay St., River Street, Broughton and Liberty.

      The Andaz has suites and is in a great location (Ellis Square). If you’re looking for more amenities, you could look at the Westin across the river. You will have to drive to downtown or take the short ferry across the river. I personally love the Bohemian but I don’t think they have 2 room suites. Stay away from the DoubleTree, it’s really gross.

      Let me know if you need any more recommendations!

      • Thanks! Any thoughts on Embassy Suites (605 West Oglethorpe Avenue)???

        • Based solely on location, I’d probably go for the Springhill Suites about a block or so further east. Embassy Suites/ MLK is on the western edge of the historic district.

    • Similar to what Recent visitor said – you could look at the less expensive hotels that have suites – Hyatt House, Resident Inn by Marriott, Hilton Homewood Suites, etc. Those hotels have cribs also. Not sure if Air bnb places would have that. And a lot of those places include breakfast.

    • Savannah Attorney :

      Savannah resident here. Crime in Savannah is so bad right now I’d actually recommend going to Charleston instead!

      • Can you clarify what part of Savannah and in relation to other cities? I ask because I’m going there next month and can’t imagine that it is worse than other cities, but would like more information.

        • Savannah Attorney :

          I can’t compare to other cities, but Savannah has a significant gang issue and problems with random and not-random violent crime right now. There is no “safe” area. Much of it has been in the news, but a lot of it has not been. After all, Savannah is heavily dependent on tourism. I would not under any circumstances walk around at night and certainly not alone.

          • I agree that you definitely need to be smart about your surroundings. I’m comfortable walking around the historic district alone in daylight and early evening hours and my husband and I regularly venture out for dinner/drinks in the area. With a small child, OP won’t going to be out very late though. I’ve lived in several other cities and don’t feel that the random stranger crime is that much higher. I do agree that gangs/drugs and even domestic violence drive up the crime numbers, but those are considered non-random/acquaintance crimes. It’s a small city though, so we tend to hear more about the random and high-profile incidents.

        • Savannah Attorney :

          This is a little heavy on the human-interest and low on facts and analysis, but it’s an accurate article.


    • We just stayed at the Andaz in a suite with a 6 month old. No problems with noise, etc. We brought our own crib so I can’t weigh in on that. And we didn’t have any problems with crime, etc. (referencing Savannah Attorney’s comment), but we weren’t out particularly late because we had a baby with us.

  5. Anonymous :

    I was sick once and asked her to work from home. She told me if I did that again, I would need to take some of my sick day off as it is not fair to the company if I worked but was not as efficient. -_-

    • This happened to me at my last job. In biglaw. I was apparently efficient enough to work remotely while on vacation but I still needed to come into the office when sick.

    • If you are non-exempt, then working while you are sick can be a problem for the firm in terms of benefits and compensation. You need to think of this from your manager’s perspective. She is right here, as are the other commentors, when they talk about company culture. Yes, some people are more efficient working from home but that isn’t up to each individual. It’s up to your manager, so take illness out of the equation. Are you a solid employee with a great track record? That is what will sell your bid to work from home. You need to prove how working remotely benefits the firm, not how it benefits you.

  6. Sloan Sabbith :

    Sleep has never really been an issue for me, but the last few weeks have been brutal. There were things to chalk it up to, at first: the flu, recovery, etc. But I’m approaching normal again and just can’t sleep- can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep. It’s been going on for about a week; the only night I got good rest was after taking Benadryl (I didn’t take it for that reason; I was having an allergic reaction and it was a nice side effect that I slept soundly).

    Last night, I probably woke up 30 times- only for a few minutes each time, but I was jolting awake each time like I scared myself. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to fall asleep; no late day caffeine, not playing with my phone. I’ve been waking up and thinking things in my apartment are intruders- really benign things like the blanket next to me and furniture. I’m not sure what’s going on- during the flu, I was taking Tylenol PM, but not doing that anymore. No meds have changed- I’m on a lot, but have been on the same meds for 9-12 months. I don’t take melatonin because I’m already on a med with a side effect of drowsiness and both combined make it hard to wake up. I do have anxiety and depression, in therapy but probably need meds, but that’s been a longtime thing and I’ve never had this issue before without something causing it- situational anxiety or something. When I wake up, it’s not from a bad dream, and I’m not anxious about anything, just freaked out generally.

    Ideas? I have a doctor appointment tomorrow and will bring it up, but it’s a specialist appointment and I’m not sure they’ll be any help. I need to make a PCP appt anyway, but I’m desperate to get good sleep. I already meditate at night before going to sleep and my bedroom is a comfortable temperature.

    • This is how I knew I needed to medicate my anxiety. I’m not sure how old you are, but in my mid-20s (early 30s now) I started waking up in the middle of the night multiple times a night in a panic. I also worried about shadows when I woke up, and despite feeling very safe in my then-apartment, was convinced someone was breaking in.

      This was the preview of me starting to have panic attacks. Mine started in the middle of the night. This is, from what I have read and been told by professionals, not uncommon. We tend to think of anxiety attacks having a trigger and then immediate reaction. That was not the case for me. Going on an SSRI (and for a short time a fast-acting anxiety drug) helped immensely.

      Anxiety is one of those things that can change as our hormones change (and as we age). I would encourage you to talk to your PCP and therapist.

      • I miss the edit button.

        I’m not saying what you’re having now is a panic attack, btw. Mine started as middle of the night anxiety, not full-on panic attacks. But then I would wake up feeling like I couldn’t breathe, or like my heart was pounding out of my chest and my hands and feet weren’t exactly attacked to my body (it’s hard to describe what the attacks felt like).

        This may not be at all what is going on with you. But I desperately wish I had taken my lack of sleep more seriously when it started, because it was definitely related to my underlying anxiety disorder.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Thanks, ELS. I’ll get on figuring out a med- I know I need to be on one even if this isn’t why. Your first paragraph is exactly what’s going on, though.

        I’ve had a panic attack before, so I didn’t think that was what I was having, but it makes sense that it’s just normal anxiety. Ugh. Getting me on a med is a pharmacological challenge, thanks, chronic illness.

        • I feel you. I didn’t have a chronic illness to complicate things, but it took three or four different meds to find one that worked without wiping me out or causing other unpleasant side effects.

          In the short term, until you can get in: it sounds totally hippie-dippy, but I’ve found that having an oil diffuser by my bed helps with my anxiety. Not in a “this is even remotely a replacement for my meds” kind of way. But having a pleasant, relaxing smell in the background has helped a little with the background buzz of anxiety.

          YMMV. I used to use candles, but I got sick of the replacement rate, and then also got animals who are jerks. :)

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah so that to me is classic anxiety, triggered by your month of ill health and generally being off. Definitely talk to your doctor about strategies to manage it, and add yoga or meditation on your own as well.

    • Call your therapist and PCP today and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist.

      It’s time.

      A PCP is not experienced enough to be prescribing meds for this. You at already using OTC meds for sleep and things are getting worse.

      Psychiatrist + therapist is perfect. It doesn’t mean meds forever.

      But you need help. Now.

    • One easy change that might help is using a light therapy box in the morning. I struggle with a lot of issues related to the change in seasons and the light helps with mood and also helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which can make it easier to fall asleep at night. Not instead of other suggestions, but in addition to / while you’re getting other things sorted out.

  7. Govt Mule :

    I was gifted a pair of Lularoe leggings. They are so soft and awesome. Not sure I will actually buy additional pairs due to my extreme hatred of MLM, but I might be legging convert. I have always firmly been on team “leggings are not pants.” Is there an acceptable way to wear leggings out of the house? I’ve been wearing them around the house with a long tunic sweatshirt. Do you wear leggings out and about, and what do you pair them with?

    • I often wear them with short casual dresses

      • Same. On my figure, leggings look best as a tights substitute. I wear them with above the knee dresses with a straight cut. (Well above the knee, like 5 inches maybe)

    • Anonymous :

      all the time. as long as the shirt or sweater covers your butt and front parts, you’re fine. but obviously don’t wear leggings out to a nice dinner, to work, or to a party. they’re fine for running errands, hanging out with friends casually, working out, or going for a walk. If you’re wearing nice boots and a nice sweater or blouse, it can take the look up a notch.

    • I wear mine basically how Bee does. Or belted tunics (belted because I have a large chest and smaller waist, so not belting makes me feel like a linebacker).

      • I have a really stupidly long torso, so a casual fit and flare dress probably fits me how a belted tunic fits you – it’s all semantics!

    • I was also gifted a pair of Lularoe leggings and…I love them. I hate that I love them, but wearing them is like being hugged by kittens. I’ve been on Team Leggings Are Weekend Pants for a long time, so I just throw on a longer sweater and roll with it.

    • Leggings are pants, and I’ll fight anybody who says otherwise (and win, because I’ll have full range of motion due to wearing leggings) ;)

      TIGHTS are not pants. Thin cheap leggings that are sheer are not pants. But thick leggings, especially the compressive ones? pants. I’ll usually layer a tank top under whatever shirt I’m wearing because I’m a little self-conscious about my stomach skin flap, but other than that…. don’t worry? Nobody cares?

      • Right. Do you and enjoy the range of motion!

      • Marshmallow :

        I was team “leggings are not pants” for a really long time, until I started buying the thick compression ones for yoga/barre/running. Those are pants. I often run errands after the gym on weekends and don’t think twice about being out and about in thick, opaque leggings with a normal-length shirt. If I’m not going to/from the gym though, I make sure whatever’s on top is long enough to cover my butt.

    • cake batter :

      Team “leggings are pants if your parts are covered” here. I wear mine on evenings/weekends with an oversized sweater or chambray/flannel top, usually paired with a down vest. I hate jeans, so leggings are my default non-work bottoms.

    • Protip: Viv Leggings are just as soft, just as awesome, Prime eligible, no competitive shopping!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I wear leggings instead of tights with a dress, blazer and knee high boots.

    • I wear leggings all the time. I’m extremely short so a lot of shirts are long enough to cover my butt/front even if they aren’t technically tunics, and I own a few tank tops that work well under shorts tops. I think buying the right leggings is key – the nordstrom zella leggings are my favorite and 100% opaque. Just be brutally honest with yourself about whether or not your butt is showing through the leggings.

    • For those of you on the leggings are pants team, please buy the right size of compression leggings. If you size down or wear your vanity size they will be sheerer than you think. Ask a friend and have her check you out in broad daylight. This is one of those areas where we could all use someone to say “honey, no” if necessary.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Something long enough to cover my butt. Leggings, oversized sweaters/tunics, boots, and sunglasses is basically the Angelino weekend winter uniform.

  8. Good morning, Rettes! A two-part question for you:

    I’m starting my dream job a week from today (!!) and I’d love your best advice for getting off on the right foot in a new job.

    Also, I’m leaving a really toxic environment and I’m questioning my ability to do this job, even though I know I’m ideally qualified and this role is perfect fit for me. Any tips for shaking off the toxic-culture-caused doubts?

    • Good for you for finding a better job!
      Go to the blog at Ask A Manager (dot) org and search for “PTSD” or something similar. Her archives include a post titled “Are you haunted by your last bad job?”

    • Frozen Peach :

      Congrats!! I highly recommend “Great on the Job” by Jodi Glickman. And “How to be Useful” by Megan Hustad. Your life is about to get sooooooo much better.

  9. OMG the mice are back in my house. I’m not sure where they hang out (crawl space / storm cellar, which has a foundation that is always settling in a way that lets them sneak in), but I’ve seen signs of them upstairs.

    Has anyone used a cat in suburbia (of a city big enough for an NFL team, so it’s not like we live in the country) for mice and had success? We’d keep the cat indoors (we have hawks and owls and maybe a neighborhood possum (which might try for the cat) and also lots of chipmunks).

    I am allergic to cats (mildly), but loathe mice, so I’m OK medicating. I imagine anything with shorter hair would be OK (or OKish). Yes? No?

    I had a cat on a 6-month loan while the owners were on a Fullbright or something and my allergies adjusted by the time the cat left. I’ve never picked a cat from scratch. I imagine shelters don’t say “is a good mouser.”

    • You’re right that it’s going to be really hard to tell if a cat is going to be a good hunter. Also, this probably goes without saying, but get a cat because you want a companion for life, not just the hunting part. That aside, I think the closest you can get is find a cat that plays a lot with you when you go to the shelter. Oh, and also a really good kitty will probably try to bring you the mice it kills as presents…so…something else to consider :)

      • I might be OK with that (the gifts). Otherwise, I find them with live maggots bursting out of them in the storm cellar.

        I’d be with a pet. I’ve never sought one before just b/c I think I’m too busy (but, man, it’s a cat, not a bunch of high-energy dogs that actually need several hours of your time each day), but I enjoyed my former cat boarder.

        • Most cats are awesome for busy people. I say most because there are definitely needier ones but again, hard to tell. Your chores are basically fill food dish and clean litter box daily. Depends on the cat, but I can also leave mine for 2-3 nights alone without any huge issues (although she’s not happy about it).

          • As a contrasting story, my cat is incredibly demanding but also a hunter. He wants regular playtime and gets very grumpy if he feels like he hasn’t had his quota of snuggles. Every cat is different and I’d worry that a mellow house cat might not be a great hunter.

          • I have multiple cats, and my “hunter cat” is definitely not my mellow housecat. Mellow housecat is very interested in me, wants to snuggle, etc. Hunter cat is also sweet, but very interested in play/toys, and less in snuggles. She has a terrifying habit of playing with her toy mice by using her side claw to throw them in the air, then pounce and bite.

            We had mice exactly once, and she used to bring me presents. Once in bed. It was less than optimal.

          • Cb, this is also my cat. Well, he’s never caught a mouse, but I’ve also never had a mouse problem so I don’t know if he would or not. Mostly, he catches and then shreds bugs, which is fairly gross. He’s also very very vocal and demanding about his snuggles, and in the past he has rage peed on clothes I left on the floor, though he hasn’t done that in a few years.

            Anyway, point is, I think it’s a myth that you don’t have to pay any attention to cats. You do. They’re just not _as_ high maintenance as dogs. OP, I’m not sure that if pest control is your primary reason for getting a pet, you should really get a pet.

    • Anonymous :

      Ummm maybe try calling pest control first? They can figure out what the problem is and fix it.

    • A cat will almost certainly solve your mouse problem. I have always had cats, I have never had mice (and I have lived in places where mice were a thing initially). The mice usually just leave from the scent of the cat.

      I also have mild cat allergies and my allergies generally adjust and I’m fine as long as the cat doesn’t sleep on my pillow (some will try). If you can, try to get a slightly older cat because it’s hard to predict shedding with a kitten. But by 6 months plus, it’s pretty easy to see if this is going to be an excessive shedder. For meds during the adjustment period I found that half a Zyrtec or your allergy pill of choice usually did the trick for me.

      • Oh, and I’d say most cats are excellent mousers. There are always exceptions but it’s so instinctual that it’s really hard to find one that wouldn’t be. The only cats I’ve known that weren’t were either very pedigreed and thus not nearly as “wild” as most non-purebred cats, were declawed and thus not as able/willing to hunt, or had some other trauma.

        • I may have the exception that proves the rule, who started her life as a stray kitten. Apparently she was with her mom long enough for the lessons on “how to catch a mouse,” but not for “how to kill a mouse.” So when she finds a mouse she grabs it, and then brings it over and sets it down at my feet (alive and terrified). I assume she’s looking for me to show her how to finish it off…needless to say, that hasn’t happened.

        • I may have the exception that proves the rule, who started her life as a stray kitten. Apparently she was with her mom long enough for the lessons on “how to catch a mouse,” but not “how to kill a mouse.” So when she finds a mouse she grabs it, and then brings it over and sets it down at my feet (alive and terrified). I assume she’s looking for me to show her how to finish it off…needless to say, that hasn’t happened.

          So, essentially, my cat is trying to populate my house with mice.

      • My purebred cat is not a great hunter (but she killed roaches occasionally when we lived in NY) and the smell of a cat is apparently enough to deter mice. The upstairs neighbors in my apartment complex (who also had bedbugs for maximum NYC apartment gross out bingo) had mice and the cat successfully kept them out of our unit.

    • The shelters might actually be able to tell you if it’s a mouser, or at least they can steer you towards a cat that was likely born feral, rather than born in a shelter (many rescued cats arrive pregnant) or abandoned.

      Shame about the mice! Lots of advice on Google, which is where I first came across the idea that mice hate peppermint. It sounded hokey, but the local farmwives confirmed it’s true. Pure peppermint oil works best, don’t bother with peppermint flavoring. But to protect you clothing, you can fold in a stuck of gum, still in the individual foil wrapper.

      If you go for traps, make sure they are oriented to the wall correctly (Google it-easier than me trying to explain here) But nothing works better than mouse-proof containts for all your food.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks!

        I think the mice come inside when it is cold. They aren’t able to eat anything (food is highly containered and/or in the refrigerator (even things that people don’t typically refrigerate, like cookies and chocolate)). At first, this was because of the roaches. But comes in handy for mice.

        Living in the ATL is tough, y’all!

    • Pest Control HR :

      I would call an pest control company, most offer free inspections. They should be able to identify where the mice are getting in. Small holes can be filled with copper mesh or that spray insulation. If it’s a huge job there are companies that will do what’s called a rodent reparation, but we sell that when the holes are too big for just mesh or foam. If you get a contract with an pest control company they should be entering the crawl space to place rodent controls or bait & mouse traps are easily available and you can put them out in the crawl space. The worst part is checking and removing dead rodents.

    • You might be better off calling pest control to seal up access points where mice would enter.

      • We’ve tried. We’ve had the masonry touched up. I think it’s that it’s a 100 year old frankenhouse built on clay soil and as soon as something shifts ever so slightly, they’re back.

        And we have pest service already (so I will probably have to poison them all and then stop cold turkey and then get a cat so that there is no risk of poisoning the cat).

        My local neighbors just regard it as a perpetual battle. I’m a newbie and just so tired of feeling invaded by the wildlife (which is totally incontinent and nasty).

        • In your situation, then, I’d say a cat is an awesome choice, if you’re otherwise OK with pets. :)

          I posted above about my mouser-cat who caught mice when we first moved to our rural area. Since the first month or so, she hasn’t had opportunity to catch anything, I think because her scent scares away rodents, as others have pointed out. I know non-cat having neighbors have issues with mice in my area. We’ve had nothing for about 4.5 years now.

    • My cat does a very good job with mouse control, but not 100%. We have to supplement with having pest control come by once a year / every 2 years. With the combo, we never find mice in the house anymore. Or living mice, at least. We do find dead mice from time to time, usually ritually slayed by our otherwise sweet little cat.

      As for finding a cat that is a good mouser, I’ve heard that female cats are better than male cats, and that smaller, leaner cats are better at hunting (or maybe they are small & lean because they like playing hunting games – hard to say). I wouldn’t go for a straight hunter / barn cat though – they tend towards being feral. Look for a friendly, social cat who loves chasing things.

      • My best mouser is big, stocky female cat. But she’s an oddball anyway.

        I’ve found that, growing up, the rules of thumb you set out are pretty true. :) All my good mousers have been female, anyway.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Depending on how far away you are from a really rural area, and if you know anyone through your network, but the most reliable way to get a good mouser is to get a kitten from a barn cat mouser’s litter. My mother’s cat was gifted to her by her dairy-owning friend, and that cat is a) the best cat ever, and b) a fantastic hunter. A mouse wouldn’t dare step foot in her house.

      Short-hair barn cats (the mutt-looking cats) are the best for allergies, as well, in my experience. The motley-looking striped rough fur cats are the ones who bother my allergies the least. Both my mom’s cat and my boyfriend’s have this same muddy brown striped coloring. Tortoise shell and all-black cats with silky fur are the worst.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I never thought about this but I do find that my one friend’s “mutt” cat bothers me much less that my other friend’s enormous, very richly furred Maine Coon. Never put it together until now, thanks!

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I have a large orange and white that is short haired and all my friends with allergies are miserable around him. He is extra allergenic. One friend has her own long haired cat that she’s fine around but mine gets her sneezing like crazy.

    • If you are allergic to cats, this could get…. Bad. I got more allergic overtime with exposure, not less.

      I would buy the high frequency noise emitters, plug them in every room where you have seen mice and make sure they are not blocked by walls /furniture etc… from emitting in the directions needed, and then plug up the holes where they are entering. Check your basement, under sinks near pipes, along floorboards where gaps exist big enough for mice to enter.

      The noise emitters at amazing when you use them correctly. Most people do not, explaining the mixed review nine.

    • Pen and Pencil :

      You might actually be able to find a shelter that will tell you if the cat was feral or not! Look at no-kill shelters or “fancier” shelters. I know my local no-kill has four cat rooms, an elder room, an adult room, a FIV+ room, and a room for cats that “need a little more socializing”. These cats could be a great fit for you because they most likely won’t be that needy of your attention. In general though, most cats have the instinct. Even my couch potato has gone after mice (and got caught on a stick trap trying to get one…oops). Another thing you might consider is straight up asking a shelter if they need fosters for cats who need more socializing. You could help socialize the cat while also taking care of your mouse problem!

      • Anonymous :

        Fostering is a great idea. It will also allow you to figure out if your really want a cat or not. Or you could test drive a few cats until you find one who fits well into your family and your mousing needs. I have fostered cats and kittens and it’s a really easy way to volunteer. Plus, I got to see some kittens born in my house on Superbowl Sunday!

    • Only get a cat if you also want a cat, but a cat should help.

      You can guess by how aggressively they go for toys which ones have a stronger prey drive. Female cats typically have stronger prey drive. They also won’t mellow out by being spayed the way a tomcat will mellow out after being neutered.

      There are cats that are more of mousers and cats that are more of birders (though it’s not like birders and mice get along). I think of the small/squat, lean body type as more of a mouser look, as someone else said. I like the advice to adopt a barn cat’s kitten if you want to be sure you’ve got a mouser!

      Cat allergies seem to come and go and get better and worse for people. I think the issue is usually shed skin rather than fur, but short, heavy fur helps for keeping things clean (long, fluffy, or generally flyaway fur tends to float and spread allergens–not to mention cat hairs–everywhere). Keeping things clean will be good for keeping mice away too, I guess. Maybe have some back-up options in mind (whether it’s allergy therapy, a safe outdoor space, or a rehoming plan for the cat) just in case the allergies get obstructively worse (though, again, cat allergies can spring up out of the blue, or vanish, IME).

      I love it when someone is able to provide an opportunity for cats to do what they were born for! I hope it works out.

      • Constant Reader :

        Yeah, I’d take a toy to the shelter (those feathery ones at the end of a long springy stick would be good, or a laser pointer, or even that ipad game for cats) and test the cat’s reaction. We have a non-feral “killer instinct” cat that we got as a kitten, and when something is moving, it’s as though she can’t stop herself from pouncing — anything that moves like a mouse or insect consumes all her attention. She’s also very social, both with us and with the dog (she “hunts” him too) and prefers in the room with us or the dog at all times (will yowl when left behind when my husband takes the dog out). She enjoys killing shoelaces when no mice are available.

    • Have you considered fostering a cat from the local shelter? That could let you try out different cats both for allergic reactions and mousing ability. And if you end up realizing that having a cat is not for you, you can just stop fostering, which is way easier than rehoming a cat.

      I agree with Anon up above about peppermint oil – you can put it on cotton balls and wad it into access points. It’s very effective.

    • I think its a natural instinct. I adopted a 3 month old kitten who had never lived anywhere but a shelter. When I got her home she immediately started flipping out over the birds and squirrels outside our windows. She even makes this insane clicking sound when she sits in the window and tracks them (she’s indoors only). I think that even the presence of a cat will keep mice away.

      Go adopt an adorable little murderer!

    • Peppermint oil does indeed repel mice. I put it on cotton balls. It doesn’t kill them, though, and you have to keep refreshing it after a few days. Which makes your home smell like Santa’s workshop…

    • Adopt an adult cat who was formerly a stray or feral. It will be a great mouser. Preferably female because a male who reached adulthood before being fixed may still spray urine (found out the hard way)

    • My husband and I both have cat allergies but only with certain cats, and they get worse, not better over time. A quick and dirty, though unpleasant way to figure this out might be to play with the cat you’re thinking of adopting and then rub your hands on your face. My mom’s one cat is fine, but the other will make me miserably itchy and sneezy if we’re in the same room for too long.

  10. Is it ridiculous to book an appointment with a personal shopper to just buy jeans? Mine are almost dead. I went to Nordstrom over the weekend to look for new ones and retreated in disarray. I have no idea what I want.

    Also, all of my clothing is wearing out at the same time! Goodbye jeans, black flats, and favorite pair of black work pants.

    • Not ridiculous! That’s how I got mine!

    • Anonymous :

      So my grandmother always said: buy outfits.

      I’d say yes: book appointment.
      But also: ask person to pull a couple of extra pieces and some shoes for nice going-out jeans outfit and maybe a business look with jeans.

      Maybe you just buy two pairs (so your spare pair is nice, too), but you may have more mental options lined up and/or a couple of completer pieces. It’s nice to have periodic new outfits instead of just pieces.

    • Anonymous :


    • Call Nordstrom! I had a great experience with their personal shoppers.

    • Shopaholic :

      No buying jeans is a pain so I would definitely get all the help you can.

    • Do you have a denim boutique near you? I don’t it’s ridiculous to use a Nordstrom PS for this, but you could probably walk in to a denim boutique type store and do the same thing.

      • We’ve got two, but they only do menswear.

        • There aren’t any women’s boutiques on Cary Street anymore? The first time I bought designer jeans I went to a couple of different shops on Cary Street and tried on literally everything they had until I found what I liked.

          • There are women’s boutiques on Cary, but none of them focus on jeans and I don’t feel like dealing with the consignment roulette…Clementine is usually my first stop for everything, though :)

          • I think the point of the personal shopper is that hopefully you don’t have to go to multiple stores and try on everything.

          • Clementine was my favorite when I was at UR!

          • Just chiming in to say… yay, fellow UR Spider!

    • Thanks for the validation! It doesn’t look like my local has a personal shopping service (WTF) but I’m going to call and ask if they can pull stuff for me anyway. Otherwise, does anyone have a stylist they like at Tysons or Pentagon City?

      • That store doesn’t have the best denim selection anyway.

        • I was simultaneously underwhelmed and overwhelmed on Sunday, and I usually love shopping so it was a weird feeling. Looks like a road trip is in my future. Any thoughts on which to go with?

          • I don’t know about jeans specifically, but I think the Tyson’s Nordstrom is better than Pentagon City in pretty much every way.

          • I mean, I think Tyson’s is better than Pentagon City in pretty much every way in general. ;) (besides proximity to my house, sadly)

      • It may be too late, but I’ve had great luck shopping with Nataley Shea, who is at both Pentagon and Tysons.

      • Senior Attorney :

        If you can be a little patient and don’t mind spending some money, you might want to try Trunk Club. They’re owned by Nordstrom and the stylists have been pretty great for both my husband and me. They could put together an all- or mostly-jeans trunk for you, I bet.

    • Not ridiculous. That’s how I’ve bought every pair for the last 10 years.

  11. anonymous :

    I think I realized today that a beloved pair of pants is a little too tight in the hips, causing some whiskering. I’m the same size I’ve always been, so I think I just wasn’t as attuned to how pants are supposed to fit when I bought these. They’re pretty comfortable, and I think they’d only have to be let out a touch in order to actually work. Does anyone know if a tailor can let out pants in the hips? If they let out the seat a bit, would that help, or is that an entirely different problem?

    • anon a mouse :

      There’s probably not enough fabric in the seam to let out at the hip — and even if there is, it’s probably not worth it. It would mess up the lines of the pants. Better to either rebuy one size up and get them taken in at the waist, or see if shapewear would solve the issue.

      • +1 – most RTW pants won’t have the seam allowance to take them out. If you are lucky, there may be extra fabric built into the back center seam – that’s where menswear will build in fabric exactly for this purpose (tailoring waist/hip of pants). But I don’t think it’s as common with women’s clothing.

    • This is a problem of sizing and not for the tailor. Can’t be corrected without rebuilding the pants and doesn’t make financial sense.

      Size up. Also think about your shape and maybe a slightly higher rise or curve cut could help.

      But keep the pants of course! If you are like me, I fluctuate all of my weight loss/gain in my hips and thighs. And I’m pretty small. But gaining 5 lbs (which is a common fluctuation for me) means I go up or down a size. So I always have pants of a couple sizes in my closet.

  12. Philadelphia? :

    We’ll be in Philly for the weekend with our 2 year old. I had planned mostly indoor activities thinking it would be cold, but looks like it will be nice! We won’t be checking out a lot of the historic sites since DH and I have been many times and DS is too young to understand it all. We would like to stay in a walkable area near food and parks – where should we stay?

    • A little off the beaten path, but University City/West Philly is great. Clark Park at 43rd and Baltimore Ave. has playgrounds, walking path, lots of grass, and a farmer’s market on Saturdays. Lots of awesome food nearby too – Dock Street Brewery, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, little breakfast places and coffee shops, great ethnic food (Indian, Ethiopian, Laotian, Vietnamese)

      • +1. I will add that both the zoo and Fairmount Park are easily accessible from West Philly, too. Check out the Please Touch Museum!

      • Do you enjoy vacationing in the hood? Who the heck stays in West Philadelphia?? And yes I know what I’m talking about – lived at Penn for 7 yrs not long ago.

        • Lol, you seem like one of those Penn people who never ventured much past 40th St. I’m from Philadelphia and lived in West Philly for two years (yes, while going to Penn for grad school) and it remains my favorite neighborhood I’ve lived in. I always felt safe and it’s a great community.

        • I also like the Kimpton although it is very trendy. The Westin is nice, as is the Courtyard near city hall (that is typically where I stay). There is also a Residence Inn literally next door to the Courtyard, but the rooms are a little older although you would have a little kitchenette. The prices are generally the same. Philly isn’t that big so from any of those you could walk to the Franklin Institute, Please Touch, or Rittenhouse Square, or a quick Uber to the Zoo or the more historic sites in Old City. I would not stay in West Philly. I have stayed at the Sheraton up that way for work and University City is nice, but I wouldn’t want to be that far West for my home base.

      • I’m thoroughly disappointed in the lack of Fresh Prince jokes

    • There are lots of reasonable options in Center City, but my favorite is Hotel Palomar, a Kimpton hotel. It’s a block away from Rittenhouse Square and super convenient to everything in Center City.

      • That’s my favorite hotel in philly too! They have free hot cocoa and free cocktail hour!

      • Triangle Pose :

        Also my favorite – they will give you a fish to keep you company in your room! Housekeeping feeds it and you watch it swim around.

    • Rittenhouse Square

    • By “stay” do you mean you don’t have accommodations yet? Or where to plan to hang out?

      For neighborhoods to stay in, Rittenhouse and Washington Square fit your criteria nicely, though hotels are pricey. If you’re doing an AirBnb, look at Fitler Square too — there’s an awesome playground next to the river.

      – There’s a skating rink next to City Hall (the Rothman Ice Rink) as well as on the Delaware (the Blue Cross RiverRink)
      – Please Touch Museum is indoors but fantastic for little ones
      – If you just want to go for a nice long city walk, I’d recommend looping from Rittenhouse to Washington Square (or past it further into Society Hill) via Pine and perhaps back on Walnut if you want to duck into any stores.
      – You could also walk from Center City up the Ben Franklin Parkway to the art museum. Cheeseball Rocky stuff optional.
      – We have a good bikeshare program (takes credit cards) – go for a spin on the Schuylkill Banks Trail

    • The key question (IMO) is what do you consider walkable (2 blocks? 2 miles?) and how comfortable are you with taking busses/subways. I’ve honestly only stayed in one hotel ever b/c I’ve lived here most of my life.

      The area around Clark Park is a lovely neighborhood, definitely not touristy at all. It is a bit far from Center City, and I’m not sure what it would be like for visitors who want to be able to see a lot of things. I probably wouldn’t choose or recommend it for a first visit to Philly, more for a return visit. Just my 2cents though.

      I used to live in Rittenhouse and while it has a lot going for it, I think both food and lodging up there is often overpriced and overcrowded. If you want a quieter area to stay and still have access to everything, I would look at staying closer to Washington Square. My in-laws like the Morris House hotel (though they obviously aren’t staying with kids, so I can’t speak to that part of it). It is more of a boutique type place. It is 1/2 a block from Washington Square, which I like b/c it isn’t as crowded as Rittenhouse but has a similar feel. It is a little less festive b/c it has the tomb of the unknown Revolutionary soldier. There are plenty of food options within 2-5 blocks from that area from neighborhood pizza joints to fancy sushi at Morimoto. Lots of busses run east-west in that area if you want to check out the scene west of Broad or to the east in Old City. It is about a 15 minute walk to Chinatown or Reading Terminal from that area for further eating adventures.

      Another good option would be to pick a hotel close to City Hall/Convention Center so you are really central to everything and can easily travel in any direction by foot, bus, or rail. Dilworth Plaza at City Hall is a popular outdoor spot, though in the winter most of the draw is the ice skating rink.

      For outdoor attractions (other than neighborhood playgrounds) that are kid-appropriate I would recommend the Zoo & Smith Playground. Neither of those are really in walking distance from places to stay (even the recommended area of West Philly isn’t really that close to the Zoo that I would walk). Smith can be accessed by bus but I’ve never tried it. The Zoo can be accessed by bus from Center City or via the Girard Avenue Trolley (which is kindof an attraction in itself as they use old-style trolley cars rather than the bus-like ones on the other lines). You can connect with the Trolley fairly easily from the Broad Street Subway if you stay in Center City.

      Other outdoor stuff would include walks along either river. Walking along Boathouse Row just West of the Art Museum (also accessible on Rt 38 bus) is popular. It is close to the Fairmount neighborhood where there are some cute places to eat. Penn’s Landing area can be hit or miss (much nicer in summer when Spruce Harbor Park is open) but if your kid likes boats it is pretty entertaining and you can hit the Seaport Museum and go on the Olympia and submarine Becuna as part of that ticket (they are both docked at Spruce Harbor). Definitely chillier by the water though along the Delaware and the wind can be uncomfortable. Not really anywhere to eat along the river (esp. in winter) but its close to Old City at one end and Headhouse Square at the other, both of which have lots of food options. Old City has hotels as well, including the other Kimpton (Hotel Monaco).

      I think wherever you stay you will have lots of options — it is a very walkable city and there is plenty to see (though less outdoor stuff this time of year honestly). Good luck!

  13. I was very excited to see that Neiman Marcus last call is expanding its in-store selection to include plus-sizes!!

    As a plus-size woman, it’s always so frustrating to not be able to go into a store to try something on or see what it looks like in person. Glad to see some companies are finally realizing that a huge portion of the market is being under-served.

    • http://wwd.com/business-news/retail/neiman-marcus-to-trial-plus-size-departments-at-last-call-10786910/

    • Anonymous :

      If I ran a store, I would cater to tall, plus, and plus-petite people. I am a person who likes to make $ and I just see it as a market that no one caters to and is wildly underserved.

      [If you are a 2, you have options and might just shop sales. Others probably grab things full-price so they don’t lose their sole option.]

      If Austin Scarlet can do it . . .

      • Don’t forget tall-borderline plus sized/tall-plus-sized people. Apparently we do not exist or if we do, we have never needed business formal or casual clothing.

      • It’s absolutely true – I wear narrow shoes, and even though I’m a budget-conscious sale-shopper in every other aspect of my life, I buy my shoes full price as soon as the new season comes out (from the one company I know that sells high quality reasonably stylish narrow shoes).

      • Midwest Mama :

        Yep, and I’ll even venture to say that the tall selection is more limited than plus sizes in store. As in, there is not a single store in my medium sized town where I could buy a tall sized blazer/jacket/full suit. But there are several that carry plus sizes and also stand alone plus size stores.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Someone needs to cater to tall but not husky men too! There are plenty of big and tall stores but not skinny and tall stores!

      • No, size 2 cannot always shop sales, because size 2 always sells out quickly and is not left when things go on sale. Especially size 2 tall. And don’t even get me started on narrow shoes. We all need clothing that is adequately stocked in all sizes, including petite and tall in a full range of sizes, and shoes that come in widths.

        • Yes! Totally agree.

          I used to work at a thrift store and the standard size shoppers could really pick and choose. We took in any plus / tall / etc. clothes that a standard person might pass on b/c we knew that those would still be gone in a flash b/c the demand is so high.

          Don’t get me started on narrow shoes. I come from people with skiis for feet.

          Where are the greedy people? You could have our $$$!

    • Oh I didn’t know this! Wish they would do in the regular non last call stores. Neiman Marcus has been great for my Eileen fisher addiction but they have had to accept lots of free returns from me too. If you’re not going to carry my size in store, what do you expect? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  14. Anonymous :

    Is it reasonable to ask a cleaning service to just clean certain rooms? We have a biweekly cleaning service that charges by the hour. When we hired them, I asked them to omit our formal living room, which is almost never used, and our downstairs half bath, which is literally never used, from their regular cleaning schedule. They are supposed to clean our kitchen, dining room, mudroom, two home offices, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a TV room and a set of stairs, so they’re cleaning 80-90% of our house. They’ve assigned us a new person lately and the last three or four times she came these rooms have been cleaned. I’ve been communicating with the manager (who is not the cleaning person) about it, at first extremely politely (“Oh, sorry if I didn’t make it clear, we only want XYZ rooms cleaned”) and eventually more forcefully (“We have repeatedly requested these rooms not be cleaned, we’re not paying for time spent cleaning them”, etc). Each time she assures us it wont’ happen again. This most recent time, the cleaning person herself asked me rooms we want cleaned, and I pointed them out to her (she comes at 8 am so we let her in before we leave for work but we do not stay to supervise her). Her English is not good, but I pointed at each room and said “Yes” or “No,” nodding appropriately so I really thought she understood. We came home last night to find every room in our house had been cleaned.
    Normally I would fire a service that can’t follow directions, but maybe it’s not reasonable to expect them to only do certain rooms? But in that case I wish they would tell me that, instead of agreeing to do it and then not doing it.

    • That sounds annoying but if they are otherwise good, maybe something to address? What about post-it notes on the doors as a more visible reminder?

    • Um, it is completely reasonable to expect them to follow your directions in this respect. Would you pay a lawn service to mow your backyard if you only hired them to mow the front? Tell them that if they can’t sort this out, you’re going to fire them and see how that works.

    • Disclaimer that I’ve had a lot of problems finding a good cleaning service so my tolerance for this sort of thing is pretty high. How long do you estimate it takes her to clean the two rooms you don’t want her to clean? 30 minutes? An hour? Tell the service that you’re going to deduct x minutes from the total. Or negotiate a flat rate instead of paying by the hour. Tbh though I’d pay a 10-15% premium just to retain a good service that didn’t do the kind of weird sh!t I’ve had happen to my house.

    • Our last cleaning woman spoke almost no English and had no issue understanding that we didn’t want two of our bedrooms, our unfinished basement, or our laundry room cleaned. We have a new service, and they also didn’t have an issue with us asking them not to clean those rooms. We pay a flat rate (with both the former cleaning person and the new service), so there is an incentive for them to not clean extra rooms for which they will not be paid.

    • What language does the cleaning woman speak? I have had good luck using google translate to communicate when the other person and I don’t speak the same language. I type what I want to say into it on my phone, hand over the phone so they can read it, and they type a reply. I’ve also used google translate to text with air bnb hosts in countries where I don’t speak the language and we had no trouble understanding each other.

    • lost academic :

      No, that’s what we do – if a room is being reorganized or messy for a reason and there’s no utility to trying to clean it (usually a home office or a spare room) we ask that they not clean it and they do not.

  15. Mole removal :

    I had to get a mole removed and biopsied yesterday. How common is that? I have some moles (not a ton) and got a lot of sun exposure growing up. I’m wondering if I need to be concerned (is it typical to biopsy every questionable mole?) or if this is more routine.

    • If it’s not standard procedure, it certainly should be – anything and everything removed from your body needs to be biopsied.

      Anecdata: FIL had an unsightly mole removed 8 years ago and it was not biopsied. He now has stage 4 melanoma and the doctors are 99% sure that mole is “mole zero”, if you will. They can’t prove it without having the mole to test, which they don’t obviously, and so we’ll never know with 100% certainty what the source is. Without knowing the pathology of the source, mapping a treatment plan is that much more challenging. His case is an extreme case, but my god, please commit to having everything biopsied that’s removed. It’s a nerve-racking few hours/days between the removal and results, but it’s well worth it to either get peace of mind knowing it’s nothing/normal OR to have identified something problematic as early as possible.

    • If it’s concerning enough to remove then it needs to be biopsied as a precaution. Heck my cat had cystic acne and the vet biopsied one of the cysts just to be sure. So, super routine ime.

    • I had two moles removed at 18. Neither were suspicious at the time (had characteristics that would be problematic down the line), but they were biopsied nonetheless. I also had a lump removed from my bre$t at 21, and it was also biopsied. As anon said, I think it is standard to biopsy if it is removed. You did the safe and right thing!

    • Very routine. Every mole that I’ve had removed, including for cosmetic reasons, has been biopsied. And I’ve had a ton of moles removed.

    • I’ve had 3 moles removed and never had an issue with any of them.

    • Super common (at least for me, the Fairest Skinned Person Alive). I go to the derm every 6-12 months and I always end up having one mole removed and biopsied. It’s pretty painless and all of mine have come back normal.

    • Constant Reader :

      Yeah, my dermatologist routinely takes moles or even just burns spots off and biopsies everything. I’m at very high risk (hello, Fairest Skinned Person Alive) with lots of peeling sunburns as a child. Totally normal and indicates your doctor is conscientious.

    • Everything that comes off your skin should be evaluated by a pathologist, with maybe the exception of skin tags (which is what I assumed you mean by “biopsied”). I’ve worked in oncology for the past 10 years and most hospitals have strict policies on what kind of specimen can be discarded without being analysed. A dermatologist’s office might not have this as formalized but it’s absolutely best practice to have moles analysed when removed

  16. Best outfits :

    I’m looking for some new professional style inspiration and I thought it might be fun to do an outfit recall game – recall an outfit either you or someone you admire work that just looked amazing. Anyone in?

    I once saw a speaker who wore a grey tweed skirt, a beautiful yellow silk shell, and a simple but rich-looking black sweater over it with an interesting cut. Hair was in a French twist and I think the heels were purple. It all looked simple, elegant, and interesting without being distracting from the speech. I think the key was in the fit!

    • As a baby lawyer (about ten years ago) I saw a woman walking up the steps of 60 centre street in a perfect plaid pantsuit and flats. She carried a simple briefcase-style tote and somehow the whole thing looked elegant and feminine. It was the fit and, sadly, the fact that she was tall and slim.

      That presenters outfit sounds amazing.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      My supervisor last spring came in in a black and white checked long pencil skirt (it was from Old Navy) a floral top with pinks and yellows and purples and green (also Old Navy) and a purple cardigan that was the same shade as was in the top. I think she had on nude or black heels, no tights, and her hair was up. I know both of the items were from Old Navy because I was there that weekend and tried them on- the skirt looked awful on me. We have almost the same style- a few weeks ago, I saw her walking by my office and realized we were wearing the same sweater. Hers was grey. Mine was black. It was only a matter of time.

      My mentor owns a bright pink coat, JCrew- I think it’s the Regent from a few years ago? I don’t even notice what she’s wearing when she’s wearing it I want the coat so badly.

      Last, I’m always really in awe of pattern mixing, because I just can’t do it.

    • I was at an off-campus meeting last week and one of the hosts was wearing this flawless Chanel-style gray tweed pencil skirt, with a deep orange short-sleeve mock-neck sweater, tights, and black high-heeled booties. She looked on-trend and flawless.

  17. Another skin care question… I had been using Paula’s Choice Weekly Resurfacing 10% AHA and I noticed some breakouts along my hairline. I had added in some other new things, so I wasn’t entirely sure what was causing the breakouts. After a couple of months of not using the AHA and changing nothing else, I tried it again over the weekend, and I got some breakouts at my hairline. So, does anyone have any suggestions on what I should try? I have very dry skin, which rarely breaks out, and I’m mid-30s.

    • A 10% AHA seems high if your skin is already dry, no? Why not drop down to a lower concentration?

    • Minnie Beebe :

      I break out horribly from products which contain Panthenol (aka Pro Vitamin B5) – could this be the culprit?

  18. Ever since being in a car accident I have had pulsing in my ears intermittently. I’ve been to the doctor. They thought it was perhaps blood pressure, but that has not panned out. It’s driving me crazy so I am going to back to a different doc to try to get a second opinion. Has anyone had this happen?

    • I think strained neck muscles or other neck problems can cause this. If the car accident hurt your neck, that might be what is going on.

    • Sounds like it could be tinnitus. You should see an ENT.

      • Although I will add that my tinnitus comes and goes and has for the last 19 years, so you may just have to wait it out.

    • How bad was the car accident? Was it high impact? Or was there a sudden stop so your head kind of jolted back and forth? Did you have head trauma?

      When you hear the pulsing, does it correlate with the beating of your heart?

      Any other symptoms that are new?

      I would see a very good general neurologist. If you mention your city, I’ll suggest a place to go.

      It most likely is a mild symptom of a little trauma to the head/brain like a mild concussion that should improve with time. But a very very unlikely but possibility is there was an injury to the blood vessel connections in the head, and you would need a spcial MRI to detect that.

      • Patricia Gardiner :

        Second this. If you have pulsatile tinnitus (being able to hear your heartbeat in your ears) since a bad car accident you need an MRI with blood vessel imaging. An arterio-venous-dural fistula could cause this.

    • I had a car accident where we hit someone head on going 70MPH and the airbag explosion made me lose hearing for about 5 minutes and caused intermittent ringing and hearing loss for about a year (decreased throughout the year). The chiropractor helped the most. But definitely seek all options before you settle if you weren’t at fault!

    • There’s an unusual thing called intracranial hypertension that causes your symptom. Be sure to ask them to check for that. It’s not blood but extra spinal fluid that causes this particular thing.

  19. I came a bit late to yesterday’s discussion of skincare. I’ve been using the Body Shop Aloe Vera night cream for sensitive skin and am really liking it for my dry skin (made worse by a cold climate). They’ve always got good sales on and I like that they are cruelty free.

  20. I’m feeling mixed-up. My boyfriend of almost a year, whom I love a lot, said he wanted to talk about our future. He said that from his perspective, what will determine whether he wants to break up or move toward marriage is if we can resolve the following issue.

    He says he often can’t tell what I’m thinking/feeling, which he’s usually good at with other people. He says I seem distracted, or like I’m keeping things inside, or possibly pushing something out of my mind instead of engaging with it. As a result something doesn’t feel right to him and it makes him feel anxious. (He’s pretty sensitive in general.)

    Anyway, it’s not the first time he’s said something of this kind, but this was the most direct statement. If I’m willing to agree that this is true of me and work to change it, he wants to keep dating. If not, he would want to break up. He’s not interested in changing himself/the way he reacts to me, though is happy to keep talking about it.

    No one else has told me they’ve felt this about me, but it could be true. I had a rough childhood, which my boyfriend knows, as we’ve talked about it in a lot of detail. Growing up I had to be emotionally self-sufficient and hide any emotion/vulnerability. This likely had some lasting effect. But I don’t feel emotionally guarded with my boyfriend. I feel pretty open and aware of when I’m sad/happy/frustrated/etc. and usually tell him about it. But I guess he feels like I have more emotions or emotional needs I’m not acknowledging and might not even be fully aware of. Sometimes he’ll say “it seems like something’s on your mind,” and I’m like, “not really, just tired/thinking about some trivial work thing.” If I really am burying some serious emotion, I’m not even aware of it.

    So I guess I’m struggling to figure out: is this true? How would I know if it was? And if so, how do you change it? If I were convinced this is true and that it’s a problem, I would be willing to try to change it–although it’s not bothering me, it also doesn’t feel like a fundamental part of who I am. I just can’t tell if this is a reasonable thing for him to be upset about or some nebulous “there’s something vaguely wrong with you” thing I’ll never be able to surmount.

    • How does he respond when you tell him that you’re not thinking anything of consequence, just work nonsense?

      Couple of things. One, it’s not awesome that he’s not taking you at your word. Maybe you’re just quiet when you’re tired. Instead of accepting that, he’s convinced himself that you must be withdrawn. We can speculate about why he thinks that, but regardless of the reason it’s not cool that he can’t just accept you as you are. Two, he’s so opposed to accepting you as you are that he has turned it around on you and made the situation – that he created – your fault. You have to fix yourself and he’s not interested in changing the way he reacts. But this whole thing is all about how he reacts. He’s created a no-win situation whereby you’re always the bad guy. Does he do this with other things? Three, this could speak to a deeper incompatibility. Does he need a constant dialogue to feel connected, but you just sort of want to chill? Maybe you could work on meeting him at his love language.

      • I wanted to add – the rough childhood issue raised a bit of a yellow flag for me. I don’t want to read too much into it, but his attitude comes off like he’s convinced himself that you’re emotionally damaged and so he can never really trust when you say you’re just tired, etc. because that’s just your emotional scars talking. I was with a guy like this. My reactions were never valid because they were grounded in past trauma; everything was a me problem not an us problem or a him problem and he felt zero responsibility to help fix it.

        • Hmm, interesting points, thanks. He believes that I’m not willingly hiding my emotions…but he thinks there’s something buried that I’m not even aware of. The situation in your second post is a possibility.

          • I’d be rather annoyed with an SO who was convinced that there was “something buried.”

          • Yeah, I’m a bit annoyed. But, not being someone who has super strong emotional reactions…I’m only mildly annoyed and still trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

          • lost academic :

            That’s a lot more him than you. And this is a dealbreaker?

        • NewRecruit :

          +1. ALL OF THIS.^^^^

    • I’m a naturally private / calm / introverted person and it sounds like you are too. I had a boyfriend like this once, who always thought I needed to express my emotions more openly, and it was So Exhausting. In his case, he was into psychology so he always thought everyone had more that they needed to share, even though I really didn’t have some secret emotional fountain that I was bottling up. We had so many conversations like the ones you’re describing (“What’s wrong?” “Nothing, I’m just watching the Bachelor.” “No, but what are you thinking? You look worried.” “I’m not. I’m just trying to relax.” “Relax from what? Are you stressed?” etc etc forever).

      In the end, we simply weren’t compatible and we broke up. I’m not saying this is the case for you, but if you’re asking how to change a basic part of your personality, that’s probably a big sign that this isn’t the right match for either of you.

      • This does sound a bit like him…

        • lost academic :

          Almost sounds like he’s got trust issues. He can’t take you at your word. He doesn’t believe you.

          Does HE have some past trauma or emotional experiences that are causing his doubt? Sounds to me like he should unpack his feelings within himself first.

    • I think this might be a situation where you would both benefit from couple’s therapy, if you and he are willing to go that route. There are clearly two different narratives here. Maybe you are burying your emotions and are detached and distracted, and maybe your boyfriend needs to learn to trust that you’re open about the important stuff and he doesn’t need to know about every fleeting thought or emotion. But mostly, it sounds like there’s a communication problem between the two of you, not a problem with just you.

      • I reread OP’s post and realized she said they’ve been dating less than a year. I’d probably just move on instead of invest more at that point in a relationship.

      • Thanks. I agree it is a communication problem, I don’t know if he would agree with that.

    • If you want to see if this can work, I’d go with couples therapy. If he’s not willing to address this as a collaborative process about how you both communicate, then I wouldn’t be interested in trying to fix myself.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Honestly that sounds like he’s got some hangups. I felt the way he did in previous relationship. I was 100% projecting. He can’t believe you aren’t experiencing emotional highs and lows the way he does. He needs to take you at your word.

      That said, I think everyone can benefit from some talk therapy now and again. It’s possible you are burying some stuff as you mentioned your history of burying emotions, but if you don’t think you’re hiding anything, I believe you.

      • He has hangups for sure (and will admit that). But yeah he’s not taking me at my word that as far as I know, nothing more is going on.

    • I have a few thoughts compounding on what everyone else said about him taking you at your word. Is there a trusted friend you can talk to about their perception of your emoting? Even a sibling. Also, independent of this situation, maybe some individual therapy could be helpful. It’s refreshing that he’s blunt with you but also unfair that everything hinges you on you. This issue does not seem like a major character flaw or a hindrance to a relationship but it could just be incompatibility.

    • Honestly, I don’t think he’s doing it on purpose, but I think he’s gaslighting you a bit here. He’s making you doubt whether or not the way you process emotion is legitimate and that’s not cool.

      As others have suggested, couples therapy might be in order if you want to continue with this relationship. But in my opinion (based solely on your post and a JD not an MD so take it with as many grains of salt as you like) it sounds like he’s the one who has a bit of work to do here, not you. He needs to figure out how to believe you when you tell him how you feel. You don’t need to change the way you process emotion.

      • Agreed, but…what if the way I process emotion really isn’t healthy? What if there really is something wrong that he’s seeing and I’m not? I don’t feel like I can rule it out.

        • Like Torin, this is my issue with the way you’re describing your relationship. He’s making you doubt yourself. Maybe you don’t process emotions 100% the Grade A, therapist-approved, healthy way… but so what? I’m not sure anyone does. And who made him the authority, anyway?

          I’d actually recommend going to see a therapist individually before I went to a couples therapist.

          • lost academic :


            You don’t have to be perfect for what he’s doing to be wrong.

          • THIS!

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            This. Even if there is something going on, he’s gaslighting you into thinking you’re broken and need to fix it because of it- no one is 100% perfect at emotions. No one. He’s asking you to be his idea of perfect, and making you think that’s something wrong with YOU. It’s not.

        • It’s a fair question to ask, for sure.

          FWIW, I think you’re being very fair-minded about this, way more than I would be. I’d tell him not to let the door hit him on the @ss on his way out. I hope he’s worthy of you!

        • If you want to figure that out, see a therapist. If you don’t want to do that, talk to your loved ones and get their perspective, and then sit down and evaluate the evidence yourself. Also, we’re all unhealthy in some way. Not everything rises to the level of so emotionally unhealthy something needs to be done about it right now.

          I also find that some people make assumptions about how other people operate. For example, my husband had some early childhood traumatic-ish experiences and he has had people in the past insist that he MUST feel a certain way about it, and if he says no then he must be in denial because how could someone experience x and not feel y? Everyone deals differently. Just because the expression (or the feelings themselves) don’t match what someone else expects doesn’t mean you have some secret issues or are in denial. Do you honestly think that the way you handle emotions is healthy enough? Do any of your close trusted loved ones have major concerns? If not then move along. Certainly don’t trust the judgment of someone you’ve been dating for less than a year over your own or other trusted folks in your life.

    • My experience with this has been that he was the one who wasn’t opening up (about his concerns, his interpretations of things he thought he knew about me/what having a rough background is even like, anxieties that stemmed from times when I really wasn’t well, etc., and–most of all–his insecurities about being able to help/fix things, which of course is not really what I wanted from him anyway). This isn’t to say that I didn’t have an issue with being too emotionally guarded (in fact, you sound like you’re responding much more rationally to someone trying to “read you,” which felt immensely intrusive to me!), but it was definitely a thing to work out between both of us over time.

      I also can’t help but wonder if your bf can really read other people that well, or if he’s just much more invested in what you are thinking and feeling (both because he cares about you, but also if he feels that your inner well-being reflects on him in some way, and if this is one of the things he is sensitive about)?

      In general, and a little ironically, framing a relationship issue as a “just you” issue sounds defensive or self-protective to me. Since he’s still open to talking, there may be more to talk about, not so much about changes either of you need to make, but just to understand each other in terms of relationship, communication, boundaries, and intimacy.

      What I wouldn’t do is second-guess yourself about your own thoughts and feelings or what you want from the relationship!!

      • Thanks, this is really helpful and insightful.

        • Nudibranch :

          Maybe this is an Introvert/Extrovert thing? If you like being quiet and he wants someone who communicates all the time, that could be part of what he’s asking for? If so, maybe he’s just really unaware of how this plays in for couples?

          Maybe he needs to read “The Power of Introverts” or just do some web-surfing?

    • Boy do I ever not like his setup of the discussion. “I need to know if you’re going to stop being who you are before I determine whether we are going to break up or get married.”

      Hairs on the back of my neck literally stood up. Proceed with extreme caution. This is a controlling behavior.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Same. I don’t know enough to say if he’s abusive, but it definitely reminds me of an ex I had who pretty much told me “It’s all you, not me, never me, and you need to fix it or I’m out.” The constant pressure to be enough, change, be exactly who he wanted, do better, be better, be perfect was….exhausting and I’m quite frankly tearing up even thinking about it. It’s an abusive BEHAVIOR, even if he’s not abusive overall.

  21. I’m taking a girls’ trip to Sedona with my sister in late April/early May. Does the hive have any recommendations for great places to stay? A good pool is a priority. Any other recommendations for restaurants and nearby wineries are welcome, too! We’re spending most of our trip doing outdoorsy stuff (hiking, biking, balloon ride, maybe kayaking) but are trying to build in some chill time, too.

    • Oil in Houston :

      we stayed at the amara hotel, they had free yoga in the morning, was pretty cool, and great views too

    • I stayed at the enchantment resort with girlfriends and loved it. Don’t be put off by the name. Lovely place with and indoor and outdoor pool. Lots of yoga, hiking, probably other activities too.

      • I’ve been following it on FB after another (non-sponsored) blogger I follow went… it looks AMAZING and is absolutely on my “places to go” list.

        • Not trying to snark, but how do you know it wasn’t sponsored? The vast majority of bl0ggers are terrible about following ethical disclosure rules. Yes, theoretically if the stay was comped s/he should have to say as much in the post, but I follow tons of people who get obviously free things and don’t breathe a word about it. I even follow people who have argued that they only need to disclose “sponsored” things, i.e., when they were actually paid cash to write the review, but don’t need to disclose freebies.

          • I realize that, yes, thank you. I follow lots and lots of blogs, and I can say with near total certainty that she’s not sponsored. She has a small-to-very small following on her personal instagram which she uses for her weight watchers journal. Hardly sponsor-worthy material. Calling her a ‘blogger’ is actually generous on my part. No website. No email address/contact info. Just a food-journal-insta account that doubles as a personal account.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I love Sedona! My best recommendation is Elote for dinner. They don’t take reservations, but if you get there a little before they open, you can be in the first seating. If you do have to wait, put your name on the list and go to the little bar on the side where you can get a prickly pear margarita and a bowl of popcorn. There are nice little areas to wait outside, and it should be good weather in while you are there. And make sure you order the actual elote! Also love the Red Rock Café; they have a giant cinnamon roll that is delicious.

      • Elote is great but do not go starving. The wait was like an hour when we went on a Tuesday night.

        I would also recommend El Rincon and Javelina for good Mexican food.

        Also, I recommend a drive up to flagstaff though that amazing forrest. And from there you’re not that far to the grand canyon which i definitely worth a day trip if you’ve never been.

        If you do end up near Flagstaff (which was really cute and enjoyable) definitely eat at MartAnne’s Cafe. It was our favorite meal of the trip.

      • Thank you! That sounds wonderful.

    • I went on a solo trip last Nov – stayed a the Amara which was great BUT I wish the traffic situation around there was better on weekends, did lots of hiking (loved Cathedral Rock, not so much Devil’s Bridge), ate at and enjoyed: Elote, Mariposa, and the restaurant at the Amara. I also liked the Wildflower Cafe (I think?) for breakfast as it had fantastic views.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Second Amara. AMAZING pool. :) Excellent service too.

  22. children and after-school nannies :

    I have two in elementary school now (where there is after school care). In a couple of years, in middle school, there is no after-school care (school is out at 3:30 and some activities last until 4:30). I probably could get home by 6, but working from home doesn’t work for me unless I provide zero child interaction and oversight (and zero cooking).

    I am thinking that we could really use an after-school driving nanny from the first year we have a middle schooler until (at least) the younger one is old enough to drive (she’d be a junior in high school). I think that this would be good and have child oversight / transportation / and maybe starting dinner done every thing.

    I don’t know anyone with older kids (who is also a working mom in a two-working parent household). Is this pretty much what people do? Our school for middle school is something that they can’t walk or bike to and we live so close in that many of our neighbors have either no kids or ones that are significantly older/younger, so no hope of carpooling in a couple of years.

    • Yes, I had an after school nanny for several years, for the reasons you have described. My only caution is that we basically had to hire a new person every year. It seemed like a great job for a college student, but they always seemed to have classes at some point (so not available 5 days a week), so we had to find someone who was available daily but was only interested in part time work. Those folks were harder to come by and seemed to only last a year.

    • School bus? Most of my friends had two working parents, and I don’t know anyone that had a nanny in middle school. I can’t even imagine having a nanny as a high school sophomore, that would be absolutely mortifying. We all took the bus home from school and were alone for an hour or two until our parents get home. If you live close to the school, another parent might also be willing to drop your kids off, even if it’s not a carpool in the traditional sense where you take turns driving.

      • Yeah, I stayed home alone at this age and was responsible for getting my own snack, not getting into trouble, doing my homework, etc.

        (Actually, I stayed home alone after school from about age 9 on.)

      • Yes, is there a school bus?

        I played a lot of sports in school and took the late bus home afterwards starting in 7th grade. I’d usually get home around 6pm. Both my parents would get home around 6:30ish then we’d make dinner together and eat at 7pm. I was an only child but many of my friends with younger siblings would look after their younger siblings after school.

        If I didn’t have sports, I’d take the bus home and just hang out solo until they came home. I was a pretty good/boring kid though so I was never really into much trouble.

      • Our middle school is grades 5-8, which starts younger than the middle school I went to. Although I was watching my younger brother (8) when I was 11 while my parents went out to the occasional dinner, I’d not be as comfortable leaving an 11 year old in charge every day for several hours. It sounds like the OP’s other issue is transportation to afterschool activities.

    • If you can find one, yes, get one. This is the reason we got an au pair – school dismisses at 2:30, I travel, and it is SO helpful to have live in help for sick days/snow days/the random 2 weeks off in winter. It is a committment to screen/review/match with one, and it may not be right for your family but it has been so so helpful for us as a 2-working parent family with no local family to help.

    • Can they get a ride with another family (maybe you could pay them, or take their kids in the morning in return) or take the school bus and just be alone in the afternoon? I was home alone for around that much time starting at a much younger age (3rd grade). Is that not done anymore?

      • Yes, it’s not really done anymore. Someone would call CPS if they knew my 3rd grader was home alone. It’s ridiculous but true now. I don’t worry about leaving my child in a locked car in nice weather while I run into the drugstore; I worry about the meddler that would report it.

        • I worry about this with my dog. I once left my dog in the car in 60 degree weather to run into CVS for five minutes. I know car temperatures can get a lot hotter than outside temperatures, but when it’s literally 60 degrees outside, the car is not going to get uncomfortably hot, let alone deadly, in a few minutes. When I got outside, there was someone trying to break into my car to “free” my dog. My dog was completely fine except she was freaked out about the stranger trying to invade her car.

        • I was baby-sitting in middle school. So is that not done anymore? How old do you have to be to be a baby-sitter now – college?

          • children and after-school nannies :

            In my ‘hood, girls in 7th-8th grade babysit neighborhood smaller kids a lot (but on evenings / weekends). The usual family deal is that they can get an iPhone when they can pay for it (and when they are sitting down the street, they need one and need one to help organize their business/schedule).

            And they babysit on our street so both grownups can drink and you don’t worry that a drunk person will be driving your kid home. They text that they are leaving, the parent steps out onto their porch, and all is good.

        • I believe third graders are no longer left alone, but she’s talking about nannies until her YOUNGEST is driving at 16. That means she’s talking about hiring nannies for a high school sophomore, and at least one kid who is even older.

        • Wow that is ridiculous, my sympathies for having to deal with that! I was taking the subway alone in middle school when I went to visit friends/family in NY, thats a big cultural change in less than 20 years. FWIW I was an after school nanny for a while (although for elementary school aged kids) and I liked that job a lot. The mom would leave me recipes and I cooked dinner for the family most days that I was there, and did a little bit of tidying up when there was free time, sometimes I went grocery shopping for them (when I was aloe with the younger kid), so I feel like the family got a lot from what they were paying me – well above market babysitting prices but still not a ton. The one thing I did not like is that the dad would come home and demand that I fix him a plate and then not let me leave until the mom got home, it was really uncomfortable for me (they did pay me for that time but….ew).

          • children and after-school nannies :

            I totally hear you! I very much ran free as a kid and was riding my bike two towns over in middle school and pretty much came home to be fed.

            Where we live, we can walk to a lot, but the middle and high schools are in car-dependent areas with no sidewalks (WTF city planners???), so unless they only go to school and come straight home, it’s more for their transportation needs. They are otherwise great schools with a lot of activities and clubs that I would have liked to have had.

            I look at it this way: it has been hard to get my kids riding bikes b/c they go to an after school program (no bikes) rather than coming home until it’s dark out. And they are in day camps all summer. I’d like them to get to be home on occasion. My mom taught school, so her schedule synced up with ours. Mine is just awful. Hiring a helper is the price of my staying in the workforce. I’ve been lucky for 8 years that school/work/home have been all close together. But middle school is coming . . .

          • MargaretO :

            Yeah its obviously 100% worth it to pay for good childcare so that you can work – it just sucks that you have to do it for so long!

      • Yup, I was home alone starting in fourth grade (and my mom was a SAHM until I was in elementary school, so I never even went to daycare). It seems like parents today are way more overprotective than they were 20 years ago.

        • It’s not about being over-protective. It’s about some old biddy who has watched too much hysterical 24 hours news who reports you to the police for being neglectful. It’s about PSAs on the radio that tell you to call the police or break a car open to “save” a child inside even in mild weather.

      • Remember that today, kids are doing lots of extracurriculars – which someone has to take them to! So it’s not like they can just come home and be home like we used to. So that’s when it becomes critical to have after-school help.

    • One of the families at The Kid’s old school had this set up — they had an eighth grader, a fifth grader, and a preschooler at the time. The nanny picked up the eighth grader at his school and then the fifth grader at her school and gave them snacks in the car (packed the night before) and then took the older kids to their activities, made sure they did homework, started dinner, etc. The mom picked up the preschooler on her way home and took over at about 6:15 p.m., although sometimes the nanny would still be out at activities with the older kids.

      Her tip was to find a college student from a local college (so more people living at home still) who was studying early childhood or education. She has had great luck with finding good people. One of my law professors also had this arrangement; she used first years who wanted to pick up some cash (although that may not be so easy these days). Just keep in mind the cost, because pay + taxes + gas card adds up fast.

    • I had an after-school babysitter like this for years. She was a college student and would come pick me up from school, take me home, and do her homework while providing me with some minimal supervision or homework assistance as needed. I was a low-key, independent kid who didn’t need a ton of oversight, so in retrospect it was probably a 10/10 employment situation for her!

    • Yes! We have done this for five years now (mine are now 11 and 13), 3 days a week (I do pick-ups the other days – I’m a professor and thus relatively flexible to do that). It has been a real life-saver. We found a wonderful woman who is a writer and part-time teacher (in the mornings), and so it worked well for her schedule to work from 3:30-6 3 days a week. She also takes them to the orthodontist, to pick up school supplies or groceries, and to baseball practice or piano lessons. It has been wonderful. The trick is finding the right person, who is 100% reliable and who hopefully can work long-term (that’s why I didn’t go with a college student).

    • Even if you want your kids to be baby-sat, I’d probably still see if they can take the school bus home. Finding a high school or college student to supervise middle schoolers for a couple of hours is going to be much easier and cheaper than finding an adult you trust to drive your kids.

    • When I was in middle school, we took the bus home (or the late/sports bus, or a friend’s mom) and then cooked dinner ourselves. It was ready when our parents came home – though sometimes we didn’t and our parents cooked dinner, it was just later. It might be a little much when the kid is 11, but by 13 they can definitely handle it. Your kids will be much more mature in middle school than you think.

    • children and after-school nannies :

      Thanks for all of the thoughts!

      My thinking is that to get from my office (downtown center city) to the middle school, I’d need to leave work by 4 every day (which would put me needing to catch up too much on work later). There is a bus if you do no after school activities, but it seems that the late/activities bus leaves around 5 and could take 1.5 hours before it gets to where we live (sprawling southern city) because it combines several routes (it’s not neighborhood-driven). A lot of other activities (music lessons) are not offered at school and you need to drive there (or do on Saturdays). And dinner’s not going to make itself if I’m driving all over. It’s stressful already. And I travel for work / have evening events that just help on the logistics side would be great.

      I don’t think of it as a babysitter, more like a driver and friendly responsible person who can get them established in the homework-first habit. And maybe run them to the orthodontist and pick up something at the store.

      My kids have been on a bus *to* school since they were 5, so they are used to that. I think they’d take the bus if they were coming straight home. But even now, with a couple of kiddie clubs at school, they have things 2-3 days a week (chess, soccer, language clubs) for an hour. We’ve given up not-at-school activities during the week b/c work always had a crisis / it was rush hour driving with a car full of hangry people / just no.


    • Anonymous :

      This is what I do. My child’s school doesn’t have busing available, and he’ll be at this school through high school. Child is in fifth grade. School out at 3. I have a part-time nanny who picks him up, takes him home and stays with him until about 6:30. I’ll keep this arrangement for a couple of years, and eventually, will have to figure out the transportation situation as he won’t need someone to stay there with him for ever.

    • anon prof :

      I’m late to this thread, but I’ll add that I know lots of families that hire a nanny whose main function is drive the kids to their after-school activities (and to their summer activities). Most of these nannies are college students. We live in the Atlanta suburbs, and there is no way for kids to get to their activities absent an adult driving them. I have a flexible-enough job that I’m home soon after school gets out, and I then hustle like mad to get a snack into kid and make sure his homework gets done before we’re off to a sports practice or lesson. It feels ridiculous a lot of the time, but most upper middle class families I know in my area have a mom who works part time, a SAHM or a nanny because of after-school activities.

    • We’ve had a 3:30 -6:30 pm nanny Monday- Thursday for a long time. If I need her to stay later, she will. If I come home before 6:30 she gets to leave but still gets paid the whole amount no matter what. She also cleans my house during that time for an additional fee. She picks them up and drives them where they need to go for activities. Its hard to find someone awesome for only 12-15 hours a week but I think I did because 1) I pay well, 2) she gets her 12 hours pay no matter what 3) she gets a $15 mileage fee no matter whether she drives or not and 4) we are on the same page re priorities: e.g. she will stay late if I have a work meeting but if its something docial and she needs to go home with her kids I won’t do it. When she needs to go out of town and leave on a Thursday or a Monday, she just lets me know and I make it work. She’s been doing this now for 4 or more years and I think we’ll keep it till both kids can drive. What she does is clean other peoples houses in the day then come over and do my kids stuff in the afternoon.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I have four kids in school and have a nanny/household helper that comes from 1pm-8pm. It is wonderful. My kids are 13/13/7/5. My kids are all within walking distance to school and all after-school activities. The teenagers go on their own now, but the nanny handles getting them to and from stuff.

      I would completely trust my older boys to look after the younger ones, but I don’t want to cut into their extracurricular time. I recently have let the boys all go out together without a parent to the park/to get pizza during the day on the weekend very close to home, and I am still afraid some idiot with nothing else better to do will call child services.

  23. Following on yesterday’s tattoo conversation — I have one I have to go in for a touch-up on. I believe the touch-up is free (and I don’t think it was my fault or the artist’s fault – this is the first one of my mine and second from that shop and first time I have ever had an issue) — should I tip when I go in for this?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      My first tattoo was from a friend of mine while she was still apprenticing – it was only her third piece on a real live person. Apprentice tattoos are (often) free but I still tipped her. So, maybe tip a nominal amount based on the time it takes and/or the shop minimum?

    • Yes, definitely tip – they will be spending their time on your for no charge. Doesn’t need to be anything crazy, but yes, please leave something. Same when my hairdresser does a no charge touchup like bang trim or neck cleanup (I have a pixie).

  24. Baconpancakes :

    I have some serious jealousy going on. My friend is about to leave for a month-long trip overseas. Her software-developer husband is working in the foreign country, so she’s just joining him and traveling the country for the month. This is a little over a year after their month-long honeymoon. He supported her while she was in grad school, and now she works for a museum. I am actually happy for her, but dang. I have really mixed feelings about it, while still being absolutely jealous.

    • I have much more flexibility for travel and money for travel than many of my friends and siblings. The best thing they do is to be honest about it. Rather than pretend to be 100% happy for me – my sister just comes out and says “This is no fair. I am jealous.” and doesn’t hold it over me but is honest about it. Its much harder with my friends with 3 kids who are struggling with a job and aren’t honest with me about how they feel, because it slowly creates tension.

      Also just to note: i have health issues and my life is not perfect. It just looks that way sometimes on FB and I actually am very careful to edit what I put up there because I do not want this stuff to create a divide.

      • You seem very considerate, but imo it’s pretty awful to feel like you have to edit what you put on fb because you don’t want to make others feel bad. Of course people share only happy things on social media that goes out to everyone they’ve ever known. That’s what it’s for. You don’t air your dirty laundry to high school friends you haven’t spoken to in 20 years. If you’re in a bad place in your life then stay off of fb/insta/etc. Like what I’m doing today because I don’t want to see the v-day stuff everyone is sharing with their SO.

        • I think I do it as a way to stay relatable. 95% of my friends are penny pinching right now to buy homes or if their car gets wrecked, they don’t have an emergency fund, or are calling me crying because they wish they could take off time to be home with their babies but can’t afford it, or are trying to get pregnant and need IVF and can’t afford it. My husband and I could not work another day in our life and be fine. I love these people and love being friends with them, and I don’t think its crazy that I am careful about what I share to maintain those relationships without creating the divide between us to be more. They don’t need to know every time we eat at a 3 Michelin star restaurant, because they go out to eat a total of three times a year.

    • So, uh, be jealous? There’s nothing wrong with being jealous. Unfollow her on social media and move on with your life.

      • Baconpancakes :

        It’s more the mixture of being jealous that she’s basically supported by her husband, whose job has a lot of flexibility and is high-paying, allowing them to travel a lot and letting her not worry about pursuing a career with a lot of earning potential or responsibilities, and feeling that I absolutely want a career where I have responsibilities and my own money.

        • I feel you. My cousin is a SAHW to her husband, who himself doesn’t hold down a regular job but has a massive trust fund from his parents. I know rationally that I would not want this life – the dependence on both the husband and the in-laws, the lack of interesting career, the pressure to keep up with other “ladies who lunch” in her social circle – but it is insanely hard to see all the photos of their constant bucket list vacations. Seriously, in the last year alone, they went to Bora Bora, on a luxury African safari, and on a fancy cruise to Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard, where they saw polar bears. If I’m lucky, I might get to see all those things in my lifetime – they saw them all in less than a year.

          • And they are terrible people. If they were nice, I would still be jealous but I would at least feel a smidge of happiness for them. But I cannot think of anyone I know who deserves this lifestyle less.

          • I don’t know if I could process that many luxury vacations in a single year. Half of the fun for me is the buildup and anticipation of going somewhere awesome, so it has to be just “whatever” to them by now.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Wow. SO’s income plus mine means we can probably take one fairly luxurious vacation a year, one cheaper vacation a year (camping, sharing a house with friends, etc), and a few long weekends at a BnB or at a friend’s wedding. It would be great to visit all those places, but the vacation burnout would be real.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Also, it would be a full-time job to plan all those! We have a travel agent for a family trip to Alaska in May, but I keep going behind her and changing the plans because her idea of a relaxing vacation is my idea of mind-numbingly boring. Yeah, the best restaurant is a shack across town from our hotel, but I’d much rather eat at a shack known for amazing reindeer burgers and local beer than have ANOTHER plate of decent salmon at the sanitized hotel restaurant.

          • I think they do a lot of mostly all-inclusive things like cruises and safaris, where you choose your itinerary and tour operator and then don’t really have to do much additional planning, but I agree that planning independent travel that many times per year would be exhausting and I love travel planning. I avoid travel agents for exactly the reason you mentioned.

          • I used to be super-jealous of SAHWs/SAHMs, until I ran a program for women over 50 who were trying to learn job skills to get back into the workforce. Every one was a SAHW/SAHM whose marriage had failed (in a couple cases, their husbands had died) and they were either totally lost as to what to do next, or they were frantic because they had no money. Even women who had married wealthy men were not safe, because usually their husbands had either spent the money behind their wife’s back, or hidden assets in places that were hard to access.

            Let me tell you, there are very few companies who will hire someone over 50 whose last work experience was over 10 years ago – no matter what the woman’s qualifications were. We tried and tried to get connections for our clients; people were just flat out not interested. There was also just this general sense among so many of the clients that they had wasted or misspent their life. One woman told me “all I’ve done for 20 years is clean the house and go to Costco. I never did anything for myself.” They would ask me questions about my job and I could tell they felt like they had missed out on something. It was sad.

            So, your cousin’s life may not be all sunshine and roses. Especially as she gets older. I hope her marriage works out, because I’ve seen what happens with the alternative. Meanwhile, you’re building something for yourself – a career – that you can feel good about and that will hopefully support you till retirement. That’s something, most definitely.

          • “She Thinks He’ll Keep Her” remains on point for the demographic you’re describing.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Amen to that. It is a risky thing to hitch your wagon to somebody else’s star. It’s great when it works out, but there are many things that can happen and a lot of them are completely outside your control.

        • I’m about to embark on a (hopefully temporary) period of SAHW-dom and I’m freaking out. We’re relocating for my husband’s job, and we’ve decided that I’ll take some time off to deal with some lingering health issues before pursuing full-time employment again (I may do some part-time or contract work during this period). Financially, I don’t technically “need” to work, though my income does allow us to save more and indulge in some fun purchases and experiences without budgeting.

          Honestly? I’m 50% excited for the break and the positives of that time off for my well-being and for DH and I, and 50% freaking out. I think me not working is the right thing for us right now, but I worry about him getting hit by a bus, and about never, ever going back to work or being professionally successful again. I consider myself a feminist, but then I also worry that I’m a hypocrite for walking away from my 10+ year career to be supported by my husband. Long story short, I feel very fortunate but also very anxious about the position I’m in.

  25. Blonde Lawyer :

    I’m going to have free solo day and night in Vegas, staying at the Luxor in March. I’ll also have a rental car but I would prefer things in walking distance. Assume I’l be free from noon on Friday through that night. I’m flying out Saturday morning so I don’t want to do anything too wild. I’ll also probably want to stay mostly sober since I’ll be alone. I’m thinking of walking the strip, people watching, shopping, maybe a service or two at a spa. Where should I get dinner? I might just wing it but sometimes people here have awesome suggestions of things I wouldn’t want to miss.

    I’ve been to Vegas a few times in the past but always with a big group.

    • I really enjoyed the Venetian’s indoor mall area- lots of great restaurants/shopping and it was fun for people watching too. I didn’t bother with trying to catch a show, but maybe that would be fun? Single tickets are probably much much easier to get than pairs.

      • Venetian is usually my preferred on strip shopping. Fashion Show mall is another option and as well as Planet Hollywood. Just depends on which brands you’re looking for.

    • I enjoy sitting on the patio or just inside at Mon Ami Gabi and enjoying dinner while watching the Bellagio fountains. I also like walking through the Conservatory at the Bellagio.

      • +1 Mon Ami Gabi. I also like Scarpetta and Bouchon (and Picasso, but that’s $$$$ fine dining).

    • Anonymous :

      Agree with the others on the Venetian for shopping. There or Bellagio are nice for wandering.

      I travel there for work all the time and am generally alone. I had a great dinner at the new Momofuku in the Cosmo the other night. I’d highly recommend the bar there as a solo diner. I really liked Harvest in the Bellagio too; it is pricey, but they have a good happy hour special.

      I usually wander the Strip a bit on my own, never felt weird about that. I stumbled into Brooklyn Bowl once with a co-worker because we passed by and they were having a free Talib Kweli show! I’d check out that place – seemed like they have lots of free, good shows.

      If you are willing to drive out of town, Red Rocks for hiking/walking/looking around from your car is my favorite thing there. And then you’ll be in the car and can stop at any of the very awesome Korean/Hawaiian restaurants in non-Strip Vegas.

      • You weren’t there for DRI, were you? I stayed at Cosmo last week for the Product Liability conference.

        Brooklyn Bowl does get some good shows. I saw Adam Ant there on Friday night. Bellagio is also my favorite for wandering. It has a nice fine art gallery. Caesar’s Forum Shops aren’t bad either. I talked a friend into riding the High Roller Ferris wheel, which was touristy but fun.

        • Anonymous :

          Nope, I was there for an online marketing conference last month and several gaming industry conferences in the months preceding.

          I’m jealous about the High Roller. I want to do it but when I tried to go one evening it was $50! I have limits. But that was how I found Brooklyn Bowl. So all’s well that ends well.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t like Venetian at all, it’s tired and a bit dated.

      I love Aria, their spa is great, and Bardot is my single most favorite restaurant ever. The best shopping is at Crystals.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Thanks everyone!

    • If you haven’t done it, the roller coaster in NYNY is really fun — and walking distance from the Luxor.

  26. Does anyone have a recommendation for a light-control shapewear camisole? Preferably one where you can still wear a bra underneath, but one with built-in cups would work (I wear wirefree bras anyway). I hate being squeezed all day (like with heavy Spanx) but as I get older, I realize I feel more comfortable with a little tummy coverage under my tops.

  27. Self Acceptance :

    I am going through a rough patch in professional life and I realize most of struggle comes from me being self-critical. It is almost like I want to prove myself (may be to others too) that I am something by attaining a specific position (of authority, which commands lot of respect ) in my career. It is my dream. I feel the intense sense of failure when that dream is threatened and I become very self critical (thoughts about not being good enough, not trying hard enough) at that point.

    I have realized that it comes from deep rooted insecurities. These insecurities are hidden from my awareness as I am generally successful in my career. However, there have been a couple of set backs and I have been very hard on myself. I am in so much turmoil and confusion. Intellectually, I don’t want to give so much importance to my job/career. So, I let myself stay in the state of turmoil to understand why I was so disturbed for something that I don’t give so much importance to. A couple of days back, things started becoming clear. I am amazed that I am deriving so much self-worth and validation from my work. I want to let go of this and be at peace with myself. I want to stop proving anything to any one (including myself) and just accept myself as I am, with all the short comings and ugly bits.

    I know this is a something of a continuous process and this has been a long standing issue for me (starting from the time I hit puberty). I used to kind of hate myself (hate the way I looked, hated my hair, hated that I am over weight, hated my skin etc which I think is the cause of over dependence on work for self-assurance). I checked if that hate still exists. I see that hating myself has disappeared. In fact I felt it is crazy to hate myself. I am not sure what brought about that change (may be age, may be different priorities at this point of life, may be I have grown to accept that part of myself as I am).

    However, I want to know from you wise ladies who have made progress in this front. I have been amazed many times from the insight I get from the comments here. I am open for your advice. I will be busy at work today. So I may not be able to respond in time to the comments. Thanks in advance.

    • No major wisdom here, just moral support from another person working on similar issues. It sounds like you are making progress. If it helps you, I have this: We humans differ in our individual strengths (and weaknesses) but we are all alike in that we deserve respect and courtesy from others _and_ ourselves. So don’t hate on yourself–you don’t deserve it!

      (If you’re really doing something you don’t like, stop doing it. But don’t hate yourself or anyone else for being born any particular way.)

      I hope your day at work is a good one.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s helpful to remember that many career paths are not linear. Setbacks could be seen as opportunities in disguise.

      I’d also keep checking that the dream job still remains a dream job. Do you actually want to do the work that title entails (be honest), or has it’s just become a shortcut for success in your mind? It really is okay to change your mind after having been in the profession or seeing other people in the role.

    • anon for this :

      I have dealt with these exact issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy, particularly with someone who works often with overachievers, and Brene Brown (try Daring Greatly).

      There is hope. These things can be fixed and once you identify the causes and thought patterns it’ll be like a hundred lightbulbs going off. I have almost zero work today so unfortunately can’t post a decent response right now (maybe later on), but please know that it is possible to live a life without shame and self-hate. While still crushing it and being awesome.

  28. Market correction :

    My 401K is up 29% year-over-year. As much as I’m enjoying the increases, I’m worried about the inevitable drop. Trying to remind myself that I’m mid-30s and i’ll see lots of peaks and valleys before retirement – right? Anyone else have good strategies for not letting themselves get hung up on the day-to-day?

    • You’re up 29% YTD? Or 29% since you started investing?

      In any event – yes – don’t check it every day. Remember that at 35-ish you’re playing the long game – if it crashes in the next yr – you still aren’t retiring for 30 more yrs. If you’re really nervous – you could change your allocation a bit to include more bonds, esp, if you’re 100% equity right now.

      • Market correction :

        I’m up 29% from Feb 14, 2016 to Feb 14, 2017.

        • Got it. I feel like I check my total and know my YTD but beyond that I don’t keep track of returns so as not to get too “excited.” Just keep buying -if the market downturns, the same funds are on sale.

        • Anonymous :

          Does that just include the returns on the investment, or does it also reflect your contributions over the last year?

          • Not the person with the 29% return – but technically a return should only reflect the market return, not contributions or matches that may have been received.

          • Market correction :

            It does not include contributions during that period – just market return.

          • Wildkitten :

            My retirement account groups them together.

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