Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Fit & Flare Dress

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

We’re featuring this Talbots dress in plus sizes but it also comes in misses, petites, and woman petites. It apparently may have some fit issues for some customers, so if you decide to order it, take note of Talbots’ return policy. This looks like a great basic because it has sleeves and a wide scoopneck and just enough of a fitted look to be really versatile — you could dress it up or dress it down. I like the indigo color, and I also like how it’s paired with red shoes, but that’s me. The dress is machine washable and has a concealed back zipper. It’s $149 at Talbots, but keep an eye out for their frequent sales. Fit & Flare Dress

(Don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Talbots!)

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  1. Need suggestions for things to include in a care package for an aunt who is going through chemo. Her hearing and vision have been affected, so that rules out books and music.

    • Soft socks, cookies, sheet masks for her face.

    • Soft socks, Chapstick, a warm blanket, cozy cardigan, unscented lotion, something help her pass the time. When my aunt went through chemo last year, I also sent her flowers on her first day of radiation, and a card telling her how much she means to me a few weeks later.

    • +1 to soft socks/slippers and a blanket. Perhaps nice PJs and a robe in case she isn’t feeling up to getting dressed but may still get visitors?
      Unscented lotion, calming sheet masks or heating pads (the hooty owl one might be nice) also seem to be good options.

    • In-House in Houston :

      My sister is going through chemo….everything already mentioned is good. My sister loves lemon drops, the old fashion kind. They help settle her stomach. If she’s lost/losing her hair, maybe a knitted hat or something to keep her head warm, or a fun baseball hat? I know my sister really appreciates things that make her feel normal and not like she’s a cancer patient. What would you get her if she didn’t have cancer?

      • YES – If you’re still reading, I second the “favorite small hard candy” thing. Lemon Drops are great. Also the little Italian candies you get in restaurants (look up Puntini).

    • Electric blanket. Not necessarily for when she is having chemo but for at home. Cancer patients get very cold.

    • One of those microwaveable thingies that goes around your neck.

      • +1 to this because chemo patients are often so cold. Also, plastic spoons and forks. Food starts tasting very strange and we found plastic silverwear helped reduce that. Metal forks tasted terrible. And pediatlite can help too.

    • If she’s having trouble with nausea, unflavored toothpaste can be a really welcome gift – when my aunt was getting chemo, this was huge for her. It took some sleuthing to find something, but it really made a difference for her.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I was on chemo-strength meds and the only thing I could do was peppermint flavored toothpaste. I think the texture of unflavored toothpaste would have made me throw up, but the peppermint wasn’t tolerable.

        My own reccs: A poncho. It’s a step above a blanket and can be worn out of the house, but is still very, very warm and cuddly. Hooty the Microwaveable Owl. Graham crackers in snack-sized packs- they were sweet enough to boost my blood sugar when I couldn’t keep anything down but was shaky, but bland enough I could keep them down. Honey Maid has stay-fresh packs that I carried everywhere, but their lunch snack packs also worked. A heating pad to wrap around the infusion line to warm up the meds as they go in- especially if she’s receiving hydration before an infusion, a liter of saline chills you to the bone. Pretty much anything in the world of hygge as long as it doesn’t have any scent. Face wipes (I like Garnier micellar wipes, no rinse required), Evian face spray, and non-alcoholic hand sanitizer. I like babyganics. A Vogmask if she’s going to be immunocompromised. Fuzzy socks/moccasins/Uggs. Microwaveable slippers. A book of short stories- I had a hard time staying focused on reading anything more I was so sick and tired, but short stories were manageable because they didn’t take long to read. A Netflix subscription. A microfiber blanket.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Someone posted this before

  2. Baconpancakes :

    Happy Singles Awareness Day!

    I missed the money discussion yesterday, but it got me thinking – how and where do you keep your emergency fund, and why? Do some people keep it in low-risk investments, keeping a market-correction buffer (say, 20-30%)? If you do, would you say you have a high risk tolerance? I have a fairly low risk tolerance, but I’m starting to feel silly for keeping a huge chunk of cash in savings, even at 2% (at Ally), when my Vanguard account is making so much (barring the past week).

    • Ally account

    • Anonymous :

      I keep it in a savings account. The whole point is to be able to absolutely rely on it in a real emergency. I have 6 months of bills. The rest I invest in either high risk (retirement, the bulk of my savings) or lower risk (my maybe house fund) but for my actual emergency fund I would never invest it.

      • +1 My emergency funds (one personal, one for the house) are savings accounts. I have a small amount (compare to many here) of money in a robo-advisor account, and the rest is in my 401k.

    • Anonymous :

      The definition of an emergency fund is money you can rely on in an emergency, so that seems to rule out stocks if you still want to consider it an emergency fund. Now you could certainly choose to keep a smaller emergency fund in a savings account or similar vehicle and transfer the rest of your savings to riskier investments, but you wouldn’t have the same safety cushion.

    • I keep 10k in the savings account tied to my checking and the rest in a brokerage account. That same brokerage account contains cash I will eventually use for house renovations and car replacement, but both of those items are far enough in the future and optional.

      My theory is that most emergencies would get thrown on a credit card at point of sale and I would pay off the credit card with my actual cash when the statement cuts. For emergencies where a credit card isn’t available, the money in my checking/savings account may not be accessible either. For those situations, I keep a few thousand in cash on hand as well.

      Also, this is my situation now that my emergency savings and market buffer is fully funded. While I was building up emergency savings, it was all in my savings account.

    • In-House in Houston :

      I set up an account at a local credit union, completely separate from my primary banking. I don’t have an ATM card for it, so I have to go into a branch if I need to make a withdrawal, but I can send money to it online. It’s worked great! I have auto-deduct from my paycheck that goes into it. I usually forget about it until I get a quarterly bank statement. I’ve been doing it this way for years and there’s a very healthy amount in there. Gives me real peace of mind.

    • Nope. The emergency fund should not bear market risk. Cash is the way to go.

    • We have $50k just sitting in the bank in a savings account. I think it’s only 1% or so interest. I’m risk averse and my husband is even more so, so it’s important to us to have a chunk of money that is immediately accessible and 100% secure, even if it’s not keeping pace with inflation. My husband has as close to a guaranteed income stream as possible (tenured professor) so rather than calculating an e-fund number based on a certain number of months of living expenses, we tried to come up with the biggest “emergency” expense we could think of that wouldn’t be covered by insurance (a new car), and doubled the number we’d expect to spend on that.

    • Currently we are doing $20k in savings and $30k in index funds. In a true emergency, I wouldn’t care if I had to sell at a loss. Most emergencies can either be cash flowed or the $20k would cover it. Once we are past some particular life circumstances that might require tapping that $20k, I’m going to go down to $10k and the rest in index funds.

    • We keep 3 months of expenses in Ally and 3 months in Vanguard Wellesley (something like 2/3 stocks, 1/3 bonds). I feel secure knowing that I can tap Roth IRAs in a true emergency (another 3-4 months). To be perfectly honest, though, our parents are both financially secure, and if there were truly, truly a disaster, we could tap into them, and that lessens the worry somewhat. If they weren’t, I would definitely go to 6 months in cash.

  3. Anonymous :

    Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day!

  4. Interviewing in warm weather? :

    How much do you think about the seasonality of your clothes when you’re on the job market? I live in a mid-sized Southern city (that is, not Atlanta) where women tend to dress a bit more femininely. For instance, my current boss has a short-sleeved, pink, ruffled blazer she wears in the summer. I would not wear that for… several reasons. But as a non-southerner, I’m always aware of cultural fit issues. Do you think I should throw a couple of candy-colored blouses into my interview-wear rotation? Or am I okay sticking to my charcoal suits and white blouses?

    • I’m also in a mid-sized Southern city, and I think you are fine with your traditional suits and blouses. I have several folks I work with who love the more feminine styles, but there also plenty of people who only wear black or gray.

    • Charcoal and white is a bit blah even in winter in NYC. I don’t think you need to go Easter egg pastel but a little color or personality would be good anywhere.

    • As a southerner, wear what you’re comfortable in. There is absolutely no requirement to dress like a teenager when interviewing. And not all southern women wear short-sleeved, pink, ruffled blazers. There is a fair amount of Lily, but if that’s not you, it’s not you and that’s ok.

    • Baconpancakes :

      In winter, I’d go with jewel tones, which might be more comfortable for you. What colors do you wear for non-interview situations with charcoal grey? Those should probably be fine for shirt colors with a charcoal suit.

    • Southerner and I love to wear bright colors but I stick to the basics when interviewing.

      • +1. Err on the side of conservative. Can you pull off pastels for the blouses if you want a non-white?

    • In my experience, the more feminine and bright colors are left for once you have settled into a workplace. Wear standard interview clothes and you’re fine. The only caveat is a recommendation to stay away from black on black, as a bit morbid, and stay away from white button down with black suit, as you’ll look like a waiter.

  5. Altering a blazer :

    I know, in principle, that the solution to a blazer that’s too wide/boxy at the waist is tailoring. But whenever I see a blazer that I’d be interested in having tailored, the front pockets are placed so close to the side seams that taking them in is nearly impossible (and my tailor refuses to try).

    How do other people get around this? Any recommendations for a brand whose blazers *don’t* have annoying pocket placement, and so are easily alterable?

    • Potential solutions are jackets with back seams, jackets with patch pockets that a good tailor can move (yes, it can be done and look good, although it is not cheap), and blazers without pockets. Also bespoke, but that gets spendy fast.

    • Different anon :

      Have you asked about adding faux princess seams/darts?

    • Thanks for the replies. I will try to look for patch pockets.

      I have gone down the back seam/princess seam route before (as well as adjusting the side seam by taking in only material from the back and not from the front). It kind of works, but the objection (IMO) is that there is still a lot of excess material on the front of the blazer which hangs awkwardly for the 90% of the time when the blazer is unbuttoned . . . .

  6. Anonymous :

    Anyone in tech? Thoughts on bootcamps as a means to facilitate career change?

    • Anonymous :

      Realized this might be a bit vague. I’m looking more specifically at data analytics (or maybe ux/ui). I have some professional experience, but am looking to change roles.

      • Do you have a local coworking space? I know quite a few people who have changed careers by attending weekend classes or bootcamps there. They get the education in the new field, and make the networking connections with the teachers/helpers to get a new job

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        Boot camps can be handy for actually learning the skills you need. To actually demonstrate your skills, find a volunteer or open source project to participate in. That will let you provide direct evidence that you can do the work you want to do.

    • Check out Insight Data Science Fellows. Not sure if you qualify but it’s a well regarded program.

    • blueberries :

      I’d look really hard at the backgrounds and outcomes for the students of the particular bootcamps you’re considering. I’d look not just at where they end up working, but also what they’re doing, what they’re paid, and if they’re brought on as employees as contractors. Talk to a bunch if you can.

  7. Orlando vaca for adults :

    Good morning Hive,

    Husband is being sent to a conference in Orlando at the end of this month. I will be going with him and working remotely during the day while he is in his sessions, but we will be free in the evenings for fun, and are planning to stay some extra days to enjoy some warm weather and a much-needed break from our New England climate. I haven’t been to Orlando since I was a teen when my family did the whole Disney trip (not looking for that), so I’m looking for recc’s on restaurants and attractions for 2 adults in their early 30s. We are planning a day at universal, but otherwise, I haven’t planned anything. DH will have a rental car, but I’d prefer not to spend lengthy time driving to a destination, due to our abbreviated trip.

    Thanks for all your suggestions!

    • Anonymous :

      Disney. It’s why Orlando exists. Spend a night at Epcot. Go to Downton Disney. Get dinner at the Polynesian and watch the fireworks, no ticket necessary.

      • Anonymous :

        Agreed. Animal Kingdom too.

      • Disney Pro :

        if you really don’t want to go to the parks – definitely hit up Disney Springs (formerly downtown disney) It will be totally different than you remember. Lots of amazing restaurants, drinking. Shopping if you’re into that.

        I personally love Art Smiths Homecoming and The Boathouse. I find Paddlefish to be meh.
        Irish entertainment – dancing and music – at Raglan Road is GREAT.

        on property – GO TO JELLYROLLZ. dueling piano bar – the guys are all phenomenal musicians. I enjoy the people watching (people getting sloppy after conference days, adults on family vacations letting loose. bachelor-ette parties. it’s just amazing.)

        outside of the disney property I really enjoy Sea Dog Brewing Co – it’s nothing fancy, but delicious beers. they have games. solid people. get the pretzels.

        there are attractions outside of the parks, but honestly, I think as an adult you’ll find them underwhelming. sure, there are a lot of museums in Orlando and NYT recently did a 36 Hours In Orlando. but, above poster is right. Orlando exists because of schlocky parks stuff.

        also I’d urge to at least rethink this: go to Epcot. get some drinks and food around the world. Rose and Crown, delicious margaritas in Mexico. Enjoy the cultural aspect of it, the musicians, the theming, etc. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how happy it makes you. It is completely different to experience Epcot as an adult, versus when you’re a teenager and you don’t really give a crap because there aren’t as many ‘thrill rides’ in that park.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I had a really memorable (if somewhat blurry) night at Jellyrollz. It is *such* a good time.

        • Orlando vaca for adults :

          You have given me tons of great info! It sounds like Jellyrollz is a going to be a must!

      • Orlando vaca for adults :

        I will definitely look into all of your suggestions. I hadn’t considered the food aspect of Epcot as an adult, which is really appealing. Thank you!

        • Disney Pro :

          you got it! I assumed your husbands conference is on a disney property, which keeps you closer to all that stuff, and also kind of makes you “stuck” there. because Orlando traffic is heinous.

          full disclosure, I am an adult who goes to disney world a lot – like 2-3 x a year and I don’t have kids. the weather + food and drink element of it is crucial for me, and as a result I spend a lot of time at Epcot, sunning myself with an adult beverage in hand, people-watching sweaty adults and laughing at children : )

        • The food at Epcot is oddly amazing – there a generally three levels of cuisine of each type, so I’d clearly recommend going to the most expensive/upscale level for the best food.

          The Moroccan food was so good – there was a dish on the menu that I’d never even seen at other restaurants – I actually asked why and our waiter explained that the staff for the restaurant, from cook to servers, actually comes from the country of the cuisine being served.

          I think I worked my way through almost all of the higher end offerings and was not disappointed (I’ve lived in LA and NYC and traveled a lot, so I’ve eaten a lot of good stuff ;0 ).

      • I haven’t been to Disney World since they changed over from the Wishes fireworks show, but my understanding is that the new fireworks show involves a lot of projection on the castle, and it’s not as good from the various hotels near Magic Kingdom (Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Contemporary). If that’s true, it’s too bad because I loved catching the fireworks from the restaurants at those hotels.

        • I was just at Disney last week, we were in Frontierland for the fireworks so I didn’t get to see the display on the castle, but the fireworks themselves were still awesome.

    • Professional development :

      What’s lengthy? You can be at the beach in 75 minutes, if you wanted to do that for a day while he’s at a conference.

      Downtown Disney is always an option (especially Ghiradhelli, yum!), Epcot is a fun evening (festival of the arts might still be going on?), Universal Citywalk, dinner at any of the Disney resorts… We didn’t get to the Star Wars virtual reality experience. but I wish we had.

      I just did something similar and it was a ton of fun to get away for a few days. Word of warning though, check the weather — there was a cold snap one day and it was in the 40s! Which would have been fine if I had my winter coat, which I didn’t…. so maybe pack one more layer than you think you need.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Go to Harry Potter world!

      • Orlando vaca for adults :

        That is one of the only firm plans I have so far!! We will definitely be nerding out there for a day :)

      • Agree! It’s so much better than the version in LA! But get there early and use early entrance if you can – it was soooo crowded when we went, even during middle of the week off-season

    • I haven’t personally been, but I’ve heard Winter Park is nice for a break from Disney for adults.

      Also, if you like baseball, the Braves do spring training at Disney WW of Sports, and it’s super-fun and very cheap.

    • Calibrachoa :

      I was just in Orlando a few weeks ago, and the absolute highlight of the trip was Kennedy space center. If you like history, space, technology, or big falcon rockets, it’s totally worth the trip. (and, coco beach is just around the corner!)

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Kennedy Space Center is awesome, but it’s an hour from Orlando, so depending on your definition of lengthy drive, be aware of that. (If you do go, check the schedule the day before because there are a lot of timed talks/shows and you should map our your schedule ahead of time to maximize experience)

    • Orlando traffic is awful and it can take forever to get anywhere, so I’d stick close to your hotel in the evenings. Where are you staying during the conference?

      Winter Park is a nice enough neighborhood with a botanical garden, some decent restaurants, etc., but I wouldn’t call it a vacation destination. It is just a residential area that isn’t a theme park.

      If you really aren’t into Disney, I’d get a hotel somewhere on the Space Coast (Cocoa Beach, Melbourne Beach, etc.) for the extra days and do the Kennedy Space Center and the beach instead of staying in Orlando. I am a total space nerd, but I love the Kennedy Space Center and especially the new-ish space shuttle Atlantis display. If you are lucky and the timing works out, you can sometimes even catch a rocket launch.

    • I visit family in Orlando pretty frequently. I enjoy the theme parks, but I know it’s not for everyone. But outside of the theme parks, Orlando is really not that exciting–basically, it’s mostly sprawling suburbs. Winter Park can be nice to walk around, and the Chef’s Table at the Edgewater is considered one of the best restaurants. For a full day, I’d suggest you jump in the car and drive somewhere. You can be at a beach in an hour and a half. The Kennedy Space Center is an hour away.

    • As someone who recently moved from Orlando, my husband and I loved the food at Black Bean Deli and Hawkers, and the gelatis at Jeremiah’s. Benjamin French Bakery has some of the best croissant breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. Depending on where you are staying, Yellow Dog Eats is a funky place with good food. We enjoyed people watching at the Wine Room in Winter Park (it’s one of those places with the card/dispenser systems) and they have a very good wild mushroom flatbread. 4Rivers is good if you’re in the mood for BBQ. Can you tell we like to eat?Winter Park also has a great farmer’s market if you’re in the area on Saturday. The path around Lake Baldwin is nice if you want to walk or run. It’s generally not very busy and much better than Lake Eola. If you wanted to do the downtown/Lake Eola scene, there is a fairly new World of Beer, which my husband always enjoyed, with a great patio that overlooks Lake Eola. There is also a wine bar across the street from Lake Eola. There is a new Performing Arts Center downtown. We never got the chance to go before we moved, but we heard good things. Traffic never bothered us too much, it’s no different than any other city – avoiding rush hour makes a big difference especially if you’re staying near the parks.

    • When in florida, gatorland.

  8. Anonymous :

    I’m so giddy for Valentine’s Day this year. After 5 years of being single I have plans with a guy who lights me up inside.

    • Same! 5 years single here too. I was never into Valentine’s but SO is excited and I bought us matching MeUndies as a cheesy yet practical gift. He’s going to love it!

    • Yay! Have a great time!!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Aw, yay!

      I have mostly been neutral on Valentines Day (except as an excuse to share wine/ice cream with my dude), BUT this year my daughter is super into it, and I guess it’s contagious! She wore a cute outfit to preschool so I’m wearing a pink dress and slightly fancier than usual makeup, and I’m in a pretty great mood!

      • Valentine’s day is the anniversary of a very sad loss for my husband, and I never really got into the spirit even before meeting him, so we’ve always mostly ignored it or it’s felt blah for us as a couple.

        Having children has 1,000% reinserted the joy into the day for us. I *love* how excited they get for the Valentine’s at school, and seeing them light up at the $4 flowers I got for us from the grocery store! My kids each pick out and wrap gifts for each other, and seeing that joy between them gives me life! Old me would be shocked to see that I have heart garlands strung up, and I actually love buying silly, sweet gifts for my kids and husband (rainboots for spring, slippers, new PJs, etc.). I now love having a silly sweet day where we can just love on each other with no pressure.

    • My Valentine’s Day joy has been quashed by the fact that it’s also Ash Wednesday and so I’m (a) fasting and (b) have to make it to church in the middle of the day. Sigh…

    • Patricia Gardiner :

      Yay! I love the way you describe him – lights me up inside! Have a great time!

  9. Professional development :

    I work in the automobile/vehicles space in a professional overhead role (I’m not a subject matter expert like an engineer, my function works closely with legal though I’m not a lawyer).

    My manager has suggested I take advantage of our training budget to get some technical training and help me a better asset to my org because I am great at the job-specifics of my role already (according to her!) Any ideas? I’m thinking maybe something related to cybersecurity? Trying to think a little outside of the box here.

  10. Anonymous :

    Help me shop! I am looking to add a couple of long sleeved sheath dresses to my work wardrobe and struggling to find them. Ideally some kind of wool blend, black/ grey/ jewel tones, and tailored but simple. Under $200 if possible. TIA!

    • Long-sleeve sheath dresses seem much harder to find than sleeveless but here’s one:

    • Anonymous :

      short sleeves:

      I had this in a different color and always got compliments. I miss it now.

      Not wool, but what about the MMLF Etsuko or something from Of Mercer? I have a lovely sleeved wool dress from them that is lined.

      • How does Of Mercer compare to MMLF in terms of fit, quality, etc? I haven’t been enamored with MMLF but have not tried anything from Of Mercer.

        • Very good quality, IMO.

          I am a pear, so I have to get tops taken it (which my tailor did easily since the zipper is in the back). I love that they line their wool stuff.

          I saw their “maternity” /maternity-friendly offering and loved them too (even though I am done having kids).

    • Anonymous :

      Boden Fleur dress is elbow-length (not wool, although it looks quite dressy). Boden has several dresses that meet a few but not all of your criteria, actually.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Oh I know the answer! Ellen Tracy makes a number of lovely sleeved dresses, tailored but simple, and well within your price range.

      Following up with specifics.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      they’re sometimes available in a nice port color, and emerald…

  11. Anonymous :

    I think this dress looks like something I’d wear to the beach, not the office.

    • Anonymous :

      Are you a nun in 1920? This is not a beach dress.

    • Huh, really? I typically wear a swimsuit at the beach. This dress would be completely appropriate in my business casual law office.

    • Anonymous :

      Lol what? This is perfectly office appropriate. Sleeves! Reasonable hemline! And neckline! And A-line (won’t wrinkle after a day of sitting, more flattering over the tummy than sheaths, usually more comfortable)! This dress is pretty much a gold standard.

      • Yeah, I think this dress looks great for the office. I would throw on a fitted blazer or a statement necklace to jazz it up a bit but totally office appropriate.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I think the fabric is what she’s talking about – looks like a cotton sundress material

      • and the cut — it looks sort of like a landsend cover-up (or any cover up that will actually block the sun and isn’t just a cute diaphanous robe that leaves your chest totally exposed to sunburn). but I think it could work as a normal dress as well.

        • OP here, and yes, that was my initial reaction-it looks like a cover up to wear over my bathing suit to the beach. I also live near the beach, go there to walk my dog all the time, don’t always swim, and I’d wear a t-shirt type dress like this.

    • cake batter :

      What a funny comment. I wear similar dresses all the time to my government office. If anything, it’s a little plain, but it’s certainly not a beach dress.

    • I think the fit in this image might be causing OP to say that? The width of the sleeve–the fact that they don’t appear tailored on her–could make it look like a fancy t-shirt dress (?), BUT I don’t really think even that makes it a beach dress.

      • biglawanon :

        Yeah, I think it might be this. My instant reaction was that is both frumpy and too casual (and yes, looks like a T-shirt dress), but a different/better fit would help.

  12. Survey on Little Luxuries :

    What luxuries are within your means, but never become a priority in your budget?

    Mine is salon treatments for body hair. I think about it every time I shave in the shower- but somehow I just can’t bring myself to spend the money when I could keep doing it myself.

    • A big house. We could afford a house twice as expensive as the one we’re in now, but I like our “starter” house just fine.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I can’t believe that I just spent $300+ at European Wax Center to buy a pass but could have purchased the first round of laser for bikini line for the same. Facepalm.

    • Getting my hair professionally colored in a salon. No way I’m going to the salon every 3 weeks to get that done. My hair is jet black so it’s easy enough to just do it at home and cover the gray that way.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Eyebrow waxing, and replacing things instead of trying to fix/clean them first. My obsession with spot treating and washing our shower curtain instead of buying a new one is perhaps unreasonable. My SO certainly thinks so, anyway.

      Also a bigger house. Our mortgage is less than 10% of our take home, so we’re thinking about buying a similarly sized and priced house as an investment property with the extra we’re saving.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Seamless/UberEATS/Mediocre take-out for weeknight dinner.

      I can afford it but meh, I would rather spend that money on fine dining when it’s a time I can enjoy at a nice restaurant than get mediocre take-out because I’m lazy and tired on a weeknight. I’d rather make a meat/cheese/veggie plate than order something.

      Now that I think about, same for $7-$10 for lunch on workdays. No thanks.

    • Massage, facial, expensive wine.

    • Regular manicures, facials, food delivery boxes, personal trainer. I realized how much I enjoy cooking from scratch during the weeknights as a ‘hard stop’ to my workday and the boxes weren’t unusual enough to justify the cost to me. I am also SO hard on my hands and nails and gels destroyed my natural nails. Now, a personal trainer I could probably use but I just can’t make myself pull the trigger.

    • A better house that isn’t falling apart (or a complete reno of the one we have). Replacing cars more often than every 12 years. Nice vacations.

      I would like to have some of these things, but my husband does not agree.

    • A fancy car. I can’t bring myself to pay more than $35k for a car, but lots of my peers (sr exec) are driving $70k-$100k+ cars. Maybe they’re leased?

    • I actually enjoy doing my own eyebrows so I never get them done.

      • Do you have a good strategy for this? I do this, but after four months or so they start growing weird and out of shape, even if I’m following the shape the professional made.

        • I don’t shape them really because they’re already sparse from over-plucking in the 90s. Natural brows are more on trend anyway. I just tweeze the stray hairs and leave my natural shape alone. Every few weeks I’ll use a spoolie and brow scissors to trim the hairs short so they’re not scraggly.

    • Fancy cars. I could easily afford a BMW or something at a similar price point, but I like my old Toyota – it’s reliable and I have a lot of sentimental attachment to it, since it’s been with me through so many life events. And when it finally dies I’ll probably just replace it with a new Toyota, not a luxury car.

      • Same. I definitely would like a more luxurious car, but I think my next one will still be a non luxury brand with upgraded features. I also like the fact that I paid it off in 3 years.

    • Lolz. Ladies. A house is not a little luxury.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Regular manicures. I can’t stand the time it takes and my polish always gets ruined in a couple days’ time. I mostly end up doing my nails myself.

    • Dining out for anything other than a major treat/special occasion. We just never do it.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I could probably afford to get my nails done, but will probably never do it. I grew up thinking of it as something that crazy-rich people do, and I don’t understand the etiquette, and I generally feel weird about people doing personal things for me, and overall the idea makes me kind of anxious, which seems to defeat part of the purpose.

      • Anonymous :

        I wish I had the patience or skill to do my own nails. I always end up with polish on my face.

        • I don’t end up with polish on my face, but it looks like I let a toddler do it when I try to paint my own nails.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            I basically only wear clear nail polish, so take this fwiw, but I find it helps to block out time for Nail Painting Time and give myself permission to go s l o w l y and let each coat dry forever (usually while watching TV).

    • Anonymous :

      Nice shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $80 on a pair of shoes. I don’t wear heels, which I think plays into it (maybe?) But I just can’t imagine spending more than $80 on shoes.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      A new car. My car is over 20 years old, but still runs and I’ve had it since I was 16 and love it and refuse to get a new one.

    • Regular massages and pedicures. I am super picky about my fingernails, so I do those myself, but don’t mind sitting and letting someone else do my feet. I love massages and could afford one a month, but I just don’t do it.

    • biglawanon :

      Professional manis/pedis/waxing instead of doing all this myself. Doing some housework on my own. I’d say not going to expensive restaurants, but they aren’t my thing anyways. I like cooking and the kabob shops down the street.

      Not so little luxuries:

      My car is indisputably a POS, but I can’t seem to pull the trigger on replacing it.

      I live in a 3BR condo with four kids + husband instead of a big house. We want to retire at some point.

  13. Anon Lawyer :

    I just bought a condo. Any advice on decorating, etc. for first-time homebuyers?

    • Pick out something you really like all the colors in–for me it’s a landscape painting–and use it as your starting place. It could be a rug, a pillow, curtains, art, but it should be something you love and won’t get tired of. You can make all your other choices based on it.

      Also, paint, while making a huge difference in the way your place looks, is also relatively cheap and easy to change if you get tired of it.

      Also, also, everything doesn’t have to be bought new. Etsy, Ebay, Craigslist are your friend.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Enjoy the emptiness. Don’t rush to fill it with stuff once you’ve got the basics (a place to sit, a place to eat, a place to sleep). My personal strategy is to find a cheap version of whatever I’m thinking about buying, usually second-hand, and not worry about it having scratches or falling apart, and if I decide I do love the piece’s style, replacing it with a nicer version when I find the right one. Eg: we had a small, falling-apart, round, blonde wood table we bought from a friend for 20 dollars. After using it for a year, and deciding the color and basic idea was right, we replaced it with a larger handmade table with leaves from Gat Creek, and it makes me happy every time I look at it.

      For ideas, obviously Pinterest, and Houzz. I also recommend Roomstyler for planning out layouts of furniture without buying pieces (it is a time suck, though!).

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I’ve done this in my apartment. My first apartment was sparse- I could have afforded more decor, but I just didn’t know what I liked. I’m in my third apartment now since 2013 and it feels like home.

        One thing that’s really helped me nail down my style is to pin anything I like to a “spaces” board on Pinterest, even if it’s not practical for my space. I have about 300 pins on that board and almost all of them feature light pink, coral, white, grey, black, and birch. That’s pretty much my apartment decor, even if I don’t have all of the amazing little things and beautiful couches that Pinterest photos have.

        Lighting is also really important.

        Lastly, I rarely buy/acquire stuff I don’t think I’ll love for a long time, unless I need it. I lived without an armchair for 4 years because I wanted a very specific look and didn’t want to get something good enough. The chair I wanted came up on Craigslist and I snagged it.

    • Go slow. I’m the opposite of Baconpancakes although I think her advice is solid- I didn’t buy anything I couldn’t see keeping for a long time, but also I just then didn’t have a fully decorated apartment for a while which I was okay with.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Ha – we first went through a period with no table, and decided that it was not worth waiting to find the perfect one! To be clear, I don’t recommend buying meh art or side tables while you’re figuring out the right ones, but I also don’t recommend sitting in the dark because you don’t have the perfect lamp!

        • Rainbow Hair :

          We still don’t have a table that makes any sense in our kitchen (like, our kitchen has benches at a right angle, and our table that we bought at a garage sale 7 years ago is round) because my dude is …one day… going to make the perfect table. Don’t be me! Buy a table!

      • We bought our house in April 2014 and it’s still not fully furnished and that’s ok. We’ll find the rest of the pieces eventually.

    • Take your time and find things you really, really love.

    • Take it slow! If you go shopping for furniture/decor and just buy things that you like… you will likely end up with a home that will look very 2018 in a few years. Many ppl think that they are just “buying what they like” but if it is on the shelf in a retail establishment it is part of a larger trend and will look dated. Look at designers instead of catalogues, designers still are in the business of selling something, but there is more of an individual touch. Buy shelter magazines, books, look at websites. Find rooms you like and think about exactly what you like about them. Is is the coziness? clean lines? color? placement of the art?

      Think about hiring a decorator too. There are basic consultation services that cost less than a low-end sofa. She/he could save you from an expensive mistake.

    • It takes time, don’t rush it if you don’t know what you want. Also, buying a cheap sofa usually does not pay off. That is one place where it’s worth it to spend the money.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I tend to agree, although my IKEA Karlstad sofa continues to be a good purchase even though it wasn’t expensive.

        • Anon in NYC :

          I’ve had very good luck with my ikea couches. Both have lasted an extraordinary amount of time for how inexpensive they were.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      If there are any where you live, wander used/vintage furniture stores. It will help you get a feel for what really speaks to you — outside of those perfectly staged new furniture shops. And you’ll save money (and the planet!) if you find something that you love there.

    • biglawanon :

      Can you use anything you already have? Or at least just replace those pieces are you find things you like?

      Imo, decorating stores/magazines/websites have WAY too much stuff in small spaces. Don’t be afraid of open space and minimalism is that is more your thing.

  14. Two Cents :

    I’m getting tired of Mint always running into technical problems and am thinking of switching to Penny. Any feedback on Penny?

    • No feedback on Penny but I have the same problems with Mint. Also it keeps flagging my paycheck as an unusual entry…

      • Mint flags my rent check as unusual. After 3 years of the same monthly rent.

        At least they finally stopped with the passive aggressive “You might want to look into that” e-mails.

        It also drives me crazy that there’s no alternative to dual authentication with a cell phone.

        And the interface for correcting miscategorized expenditures is awful.

        I would love to hear of a superior alternative!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ve never heard of Penny but the technical problems with Mint are usually do to something on the financial institutions end so you’d have the same problem with any aggregation software.

  15. Legally Brunette :

    Who is doing the challenge today?

    This is such a classic look, and while it’s primarily a winter look it can also be great in warmer months with a short-sleeved blouse. As with our other sheath dress challenges, it should be noted that you can do this look with any kind of a dress — but we’re suggesting you do it with your classic suiting sheath dress so you can try to get more versatility out of a single dress. A few other notes:

    This look is great as a layered look — a necklace, a belt, a blazer or cardigan all layered on top of the dress can be great.

    You can do it with a crisp collar, but note Jean’s look in the example from Extra Petite where she wears a drapey blouse with a sheath dress. For a more casual look you can also layer a thin turtleneck or even a thin scoopneck under a sheath dress.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I love what I’m wearing. Long sleeved black and white top (sort of animal print but not quite), sleeveless black dress with an inseam waist, long gold necklace, and Indian gold jhimkis (sort of like chandelier earrings — I’ve been trying to wear more of my Indian blingy jewelry to work). Oh and leopard heels.

      I’ve never done the blouse under dress look but I really like it. I love how these challenges force me to shop my closet for different outfits.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      My limit on sheath dress outfits has essentially been hit. I’ll try this, but I’m giving it one shot.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Well, it isn’t horrible, I suppose.

        Black fleece tights, black Lucky ankle boots, black turtleneck, grey and white and black patterned sweatshirt/t-shirt dress because business casual and I’ve worn all of my sheath dresses already for this challenge.

        I tried it with two fit and flare dresses but it seems like this look only works with really specific necklines to not Modest is Hottest-ish. I don’t have an issue with that style in the least, but it’s not my style inspiration and I don’t feel best in it.

    • Your outfit sounds hella cute. I’m skipping today because as a Tall i don’t have a sheath dress collection – I tend to wear separates – and besides I have a pretty silk skirt with roses on it for vday.

    • Senior Attorney :

      This is where I hit the wall. I have no dresses that are appropriate for wearing over a blouse.

      So I am celebrating Valentine’s Day by wearing my bright pink pants and blazer together!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        This would have been a better idea than my outfit. Or wearing my red blazer. Or my pink sweater. Or really anything but this disaster I’m wearing.

    • Nerfmobile :

      I don’t have much in the way of sheath dresses or collared shirts. So I’m feeling like I’m really mashing up today and the next couple of days of challenges with my outfit.

      My dress is.a silly wrap dress. The base color is plum, with a floral print in pinky-to-white, black, and a light tealish color. I picked up the teal/green by wearing a sleeveless knit top in sea foam green with a v-neck that echoes the shape of the V created by the wrap. Over it I am wearing a seafoam green cardigan, and then I have on teal tights.

  16. Anonymous :

    This dress reminds me of a question I wanted to ask here. Why do designers put zippers in items that you can easily slip on over your head? This dress is a knit and has a neckline plenty big enough to stick my head through. Why does it have a zipper?

    • I don’t like slipping things over my head because I get dressed last. My hair and makeup are done by the time I am getting dressed and I run the risk of getting makeup on whatever it is that I am pulling over my head, or deodorant streaks on the clothing, adding wrinkles to certain materials after I have steamed them, etc.

      Perhaps those concerns have something to do with it?

      • Triangle Pose :

        Yep to getting dressed last.

      • Also get dressed last. If I am wearing something where I have to pull it over my head and it’s a tight fit, I have to put it on first and then top it with my robe to make sure I don’t get makeup on it.

    • I like options when putting on dresses, thanks. I have a big head. I also like to get dressed after I’ve done my hair and makeup and I don’t want to use one of those mesh makeup bags over my head like the one my grandmother got from the CarolWright catalog.

      • +1 Big Head and most scoop necks dont fit me, or I have to drag them down bit by bit over my head rather than at one go. I prefer to have openings. That said, I prefer buttons to zippers.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Because a pullover style looks more casuall and the designer is likely trying to signal that it is a work dress. Work dresses are not t-shirts and a zipper helps to signal that.

      • I get the signalling, but there are plenty of work dresses that are pullovers. I hate exposed zippers b/c they usually wind up with cold metal on my back and all zippers have potential for itchy/scratchies. And some full length or longer zippers hit us short-torso people in a way that they bounce up off of our bottoms leading to something that looks like a poorly-concealed tail. Plus I have longer hair that often would conceal shorter zippers.

        TL;DR: looks are overrated. No me gusta zippers.

        • Anon, come on. :

          Eh, there are plenty of zippers that are not metal and not exposed. Is it the fit of the dress that is the issue and not the zipper? Because I don’t think the dress fits you well if the zipper is sticking up the way your describe…
          Have you tried Boden? Those dresses seem to fit short torso people, have hidden zippers that are not made of metal. Pullover dresses are generally going to be made of cotton-y or stretchy material any they might be marketed as “work dresses” but I think a lot of times they just look like t-shirt dresses.

    • I am really curvy. What sometimes fits in a more restrictive fabric (so, not this dress) won’t just slip over my head, because it won’t slip over my boobs or hips. The zipper allows things to be fitted and tailored to a curve, in my experience.

      Can you just…not unzip the zipper if you don’t want to use it?

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Absolutely yes.

      • Re not using the zipper – idk what it is about my proportions (short and curvy), but zippers in dresses bubble down my back or stick out at the bottom like a tail. I always have to get them tailored. Which is fine for a workhorse dress but a knit? I love the feel of knits but even nice ones tend to pill after a couple months’ wear. I’m not going through the trouble and expense of extensive tailoring for a piece that won’t look sharp in 6 months.

        • On me, that bubble is caused by the torso not fitting quite right more so than the presence of a zipper. I’m a short waisted hourglass and dresses don’t always hit my waist in the right place.

          • I am shortwaisted and any full length zipper will hit me wrong. There are petite clothes, why not petite zippers?

          • The zipper isn’t the problem, the zipper bubble is a symptom of an overall fit problem. Get the dress tailored to fit correctly through the midsection and the zipper bubble disappears.

          • Triangle Pose :

            Yep. The dress doesn’t fit. It’s not the zipper. Petite dresses do tend to have petite zippers IME.

        • That bubble situation sounds annoying! I have had that in some cases, too, with a weirdly fitting torso or waist proportion.

        • It means the torso is too long for you and your hips flare out where the dress expects you to still have a waist. Have you tried petite sizing?

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Huh. This explains a lot.

          • +1 I have this shape and also this problem with zippers.

            But I have long legs, so I can’t usually get away with petite skirt lengths. I confess to having covered some zipper weirdness with a jacket or a sweater before, but really I need to find a good tailor.

    • Usually it is tailored enough in the middle so that pulling it over your head would be difficult, even with a big neck.

    • Generally because there is waist shaping and it’s nkt easy to get over your head with that. If it were straight up and down like a true t shirt dress it wouldn’t have a zipper.

  17. KateMiddletown :

    I need to replenish my black tights/nude hose collection and I’m specifically looking for support hose. Any suggestions for compression-type hose/tights? (Bonus if maternity…!)

    • Legally Brunette :

      Spanx maternity tights. The best!

    • I really like the spanx maternity tights. I think I got them at Target. Lasted me thru two pregnancies so worth the money.

    • cake batter :

      Can’t speak for the maternity variety, but the regular Spanx opaque black tights wear like iron. I have two pairs and have been wearing them for 2-3 years (!!!) and they’re just now starting to show wear. They’ll prob last me through the end of this winter, and I’ll toss and replace.

      • How much do these suck you in? Can you sit and breathe comfortably? And do they roll down?

        • cake batter :

          Oh yes, definitely can sit and breathe comfortably. They stay up reasonably well for me – might fall at the waistline just a touch after walking a ton, but not terrible. They’re really nice for smoothing my shape (i.e. not compression or minimizing, just making everything look smooth). And you can buy them at Target, so there’s that.

    • I have a pair of Dr Scholls that are amazing – they are a bit stretched as I wore them throughout my pregnancy. Also marks and spencer has a huge selection and I believe shipping to the us is quite reasonable.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Wait… what? Did we know you were expecting??

      • Fifth in line to the crown!

      • KateMiddletown :

        It’s early yet, but no, this is the first I’ve made mention! Unfortunately I tend to get those varicose veins reallly early. It’s v glam and royal.

  18. Beleagured Counsel :

    Litigators, can you give me your best tips for dealing with truly awful opposing counsel? I mean, aggressive, combative, loud, unprofessional, rude, bad faith, wrong about many many things bad? I’ve never dealt with someone like this before as my niche practice area is generally collegial. I will have to spend several days in a room with this person and judge, and I’m worried about what they might pull and that I might lose my sh*t.

    • At some point I very calmly say, “you’re yelling at me, please don’t yell.” Then if they turn it on me in a gendered way, I calmly disagree and turn back to the matter at hand. It’s not a foolproof solution, but can calm things down a bit.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Less is more with that type, I have found. The judge will see through the shenanigans, to the point where you might not even have to say anything.

      As for general contact, everything in writing. Everything.

    • They probably won’t act that way in front of a judge. I’m always surprised by how cordial and genuine some super jerky people can pretend to be when the judge is in the room. Be prepared for that so you don’t grimace when s/he says things like “my friends on the other side.”

      If they are jerky in front of the judge, let them dig their own grave, they won’t need your help with that. Watch out for misrepresentations so you can correct them, but don’t call them a liar (unless it’s so egregious they should be disciplined for it). Say things like, “Your Honor, I’d like to clarify.” Poker face is important here too. I know I have trouble controlling my face so I try to look very intent about taking notes when the other side is spouting nonsense. And you already know this, but never speak directly to counsel, always talk to the judge.

    • Focus on the kind of complaints that are irrefutable, address those points as calmly as you possibly can, and especially if there is a transcript, make sure that you are narrating what is happening so that it is clear for the transcript. Things like, “please lower your voice” or “please stop interrupting” or “allow me to finish.”

      • Prosecutor :

        This. I’m a prosecutor and the private criminal defense bar in my area has several of these types. Stay calm, and be impeccably prepared. And be prepared to politely (but forcefully) stand up for yourself is opposing counsel is talking over you, misrepresenting things on the record, etc. As a young attorney, I tended to shrink up when dealing with these types, so I had to prepare myself psychologically to deal with them. Be prepared for him to try to cut you off/interrupt you, try and hustle you into doing stupid things, make outrageous claims on the record – and have a plan in place ahead of time for how you’re going to respond when he does those things.

    • I tend to find these people are awful over email and then timid via telephone or in person. Good to communicate mostly in writing, but if things really get crazy a call or a conversation in front of the judge might help. You have my sympathy–that kind of behavior is so unnecessary!

    • anon associate :

      I wonder if you’re dealing with my former boss.

      1.) Remember that no one can read tone on a depo transcript. Keep all of your comments to an absolute minimum and let OC make himself look like a jerk on the record. (There’s a great transcript out there where the poker-faced, always chill-appearing partner I work for is called a “total a**hole” by nasty OC, and he replies, “OC, I didn’t catch that. Would you mind repeating it for the court reporter?”)
      2.) Remember that the judge may/will eventually see all of this, and how good it will feel to look like the mature adult in the room while he looks like a jerk
      3.) Write every email as if it will be an exhibit to a motion to compel (or response)
      4.) I take it as a personal challenge to keep my poker face and be totally chill. I also do kill ’em with kindness sometimes- I actually recently wore down a jerk OC this way and he’s been much much nicer despite coming out of the gate swinging and being a tool.
      5.) Very calmly during a depo if he’s pushing on some issue- “I’d be happy to call chambers so we could get the judge to weigh in. Just let me know if that’s something you ‘d like to do now, or we can table this issue until after we finish the depo.”
      6.) My secretary lets me go to her to vent my anger to commiserate, or before I reply to nasty emails. I’ll also write out the replies I *really* want to send to OC and send them to her instead. That way I can get my fuming out.

    • As a baby lawyer I had an opposing counsel who I’d swear was using me as an emotional punching bag. He would scream and yell at me over the phone over nonsense (like yelling at me about how his family hated him and stuff. Uh, dude, I can see why.). I’d put the receiver as far away from myself as possible and when the yelling stopped, I would respond. The case ultimately settled in an unremarkable fashion but he made me really miserable.

      Years later when I was getting married, my MIL let us know that a friend of hers wanted to send us a gift, and did not want an invitation to the wedding because she knew she could not attend. We got a lovely card in the mail with a VERY large check inside. As it turns out, this very nice friend of MIL was the jerk’s wife and his name was on the check. Thanks, jerk! I’ll consider that payment for the abuse I took. I deposited it with much glee.

      • This can be very situation specific, but a few thoughts:

        (1) I do not let people raise their voices to me – anyone, ever. I might make an exception for a sitting judge if that ever happened, but I have called out opposing counsel, bosses and co-workers. I do it nicely if the situation warrants (“You may not realize this, but you are raising your voice. I would really appreciate it if you would not yell at me.”) I do it less nicely when it does not (“Counsel, do not yell at me. . . . If you yell at me again I am going to hang up.” Followed by: “I am hanging up. You can call back when you are prepared to be civil.”) I have also told opposing counsel that given the tenor of our discussions I would prefer he communicate by email.

        (2) Second everything Anon Associate said above – especially the part about treating every email like it might be an exhibit. That can include stating things (both in email and on the record in deposition) that you want the court to know. If counsel is yelling at a deposition or is constantly interrupting, call it out (nicely) and ask him to stop. If you are insisting on email or if something is misstated in an email, call it out (nicely). Don’t drop to their level because it will not impress the judge, but don’t let it go without comment either.

        (3) If they bring up age with the implication that you don’t know what you are doing because you are younger, call that out too.

        Good luck! I once had to quit a job because my boss (a woman) screamed at me all the time and I refuse to be treated that way (and I had the resources to leave without another job lined up.)

    • Beleaguered Counsel :

      Thanks everyone!

    • KateMiddletown :

      Also, go look up some of Lisa Vanderpump’s greatest hits on RHOBH. She is the master of keeping it cool when others are flying off the handle.

    • Cosign getting everything in writing from these kind of people and knowing that you need to respond with professionalism and courtesy despite whatever vitriol they write because it could be an exhibit.

      I also refuse to spend my time listening to someone who is yelling at me. There is no place for yelling, curing, or personal insults when dealing with opposing counsel. I will tell belligerent opposing counsel I will be ending our call if they continue to yell and that we can talk when they are going to behave like a professional. A good way to end a conversation like this is, “This conversation is no longer productive. Perhaps we can reschedule for another time.”

      Another tactic I have used in depositions with yelling men (I have yet to be yelled at by female opposing counsel, so I have only used this tactic with hot head males) is to disarm them by looking at them worriedly and then very politely telling them that I can see they are getting emotional/they seem upset and then offer to allow them to take a break if they need one in order to calm down. No man likes being told he is emotional (because that’s our area, right?), so he will nearly always snap that he doesn’t need a break, but will start to behave. I have also used this tactic on the phone by offering to reschedule the call for another time since I can see they are upset/emotional and I understand if they might need to end the call.

      • I agree with Anon wholeheartedly! I also use the approach of saying something along the lines of “I’m sorry to have brought this up, I did not realize this was such a sensitive topic for you.” It doesn’t always calm them down but it makes me feel better!

  19. Anon for this :

    TW weight/diet…

    I got married about 6 months ago, and in the 6 months since have gained 30 lbs!

    I lost about 5 pounds for my wedding, so this isn’t just an adjustment to pre-wedding weight. I weigh more than I ever have and am overweight for my height.

    Went to the doctor who ran a lot of blood work and said everything is normal. She said I’m just eating more due to being newly wed. I am generally mindful of eating, and don’t think my habits have changed very much. We lived together before marriage and have pretty standard eating routines. But obviously, I must be eating a lot more!

    I intend to start tracking my calorie intake and exercise more – a combo that has worked for me in the past – but to add a little complication to the matter, we are TTC. Should I just diet and exercise as usual despite TTC? I guess it shouldn’t make a huge difference. But I have a bad mindset of, “if I’m about to be pregnant and gain weight anyways, what’s the point?” Have any of you successfully lost weight while TTC or early in pregnancy?

    • Anonymous :

      Can you look at it as getting yourself as healthy as possible while TTC instead of strictly a weight loss journey?

      I have never been pregnant, or TTC, so take this with a grain of salt.

    • Anonymous :

      There is no reason at all not to diet and exercise while TTC! Don’t do a crazy starvation diet but absolutely set yourself up for the healthiest pregnancy possible by trying to lose a little of the extra!

    • Anonymous :

      “if I’m about to be pregnant and gain weight anyways, what’s the point?”

      This is not a great mindset. I was similar on my first and ended up gaining 60lbs. It is HARD to get that to come off when you are busy with a newborn and then just back to work and don’t have much time to exercise. Plus you can’t diet in the same way if you are BF because it can cut your supply.

      Focus on healthy eating and being active. I found that after I moved in with DH, I was regularly eating too much because he or I were splitting the food we cooked in half when we served. To maintain my weight I need to eat less than him. When I ate the same amount, I gained slowly but consistently. Add in a daily apple danish habit and the weight piled on.

      • the yellow one is the sun :

        Agreed that I wish I hadn’t been so blase about the weight gain and slowing down with my first pregnancies. Not everyone experiences that much-touted breastfeeding loss! I and some friends actually could not lose the last 15 or so pounds until after we stopped nursing. Numbers aside, pregnancy and delivery (however you do it) takes a serious toll on your body – the fitter and stronger you are, the better.

        Finally, being active is really good for your fertility! Exercise could actually help you conceive faster, if you have any sort of hormonal or even slight PCOS issues.

      • + 1

        I was very healthy going into my pregnancies, but when I was pregnant with my second I just ate Like potato chips and a grilled cheese sandwich every day. And now, two years later, I find it very hard to lose those last 10 pounds. Pregnancy is absolutely the time to indulge somewhat, but sometimes there is too much of a good thing.

    • You can diet and exercise while TTC but don’t try to lose weight in early pregnancy. Even if you’re significantly overweight the doctor will want you to focus on not gaining a ton, rather than trying to lose weight.

    • Anonymous :

      If you get pg, you typically don’t gain a lot of wait, if any, until the back half, so you might as well be as health as you can now. Good habits and routines are what one always needs anyway.

      PG gain is usually just 25 pounds, YMMV, but I wouldn’t think that you’d want to be 25 above where you are now.

      • Not necessarily. I only gained 20 pounds, but it was 8 pounds in the first trimester (4-14 weeks) and 12 pounds in the first part of the second trimester (14-22 weeks). I gained 0 pounds after 22 weeks, even though that’s when the baby did most of her growing.

        A lot of women don’t gain in the first trimester because of severe nausea but if you’re lucky enough to not get morning sickness you will probably gain at least a few pounds rather quickly. Some women also find that the only way to keep nausea at by is constantly eating carbs.

    • I lost 40 lbs while TTC/going through fertility treatments. I’m now gaining more than I should while pregnant, but the benefit of having gone through the weight loss successfully pre-pregnancy is that I’m in a really good, healthy mindset for post-pregnancy. Aka, I lost it once, I can 100% lose it again.

      • Anon for this :

        That’s great! Would you mind sharing a bit about how you managed to lose that much?

        • 9 months of Weight Watchers and only walking (actually cancelled my gym membership when I joined WW). I was following the plan religiously until I was 6 weeks pregnant. I also have PCOS and other infertility issues that generally cause weight gain and/or challenges to weight loss (spent 2 years with my RE and did multiple surgeries and rounds of fertility treatments). Despite all of that, I was able to lose with Weight Watchers. FWIW, I wasn’t obese, not in actuality or by BMI standards, but was uncomfortably overweight.

          • How much walking? I think I need to do this.

          • After 4 consecutive weeks of weight loss bought a fitbit – a simple one, just counting steps and sleep (do you see a theme here? if it’s too complicated, too expensive, I’m not going to get on board…).

            I oh so boldly reduced the fitbit default goal of 10,000 steps to 7,500 because I needed a goal that I could actually hit on a regular basis, considering my desk job and commute that doesn’t require much walking. I made sure to hit my goal daily and did about 20-25 mins of walking with my dog in the neighborhood in the evening, probably 5x/week, regardless of whether I hit my goal before the walk or not. Usually one day on the weekend I’d walk around a lake near me, about 3 miles/50-60 mins. But nothing that made me ever dread having to workout. I used to run half marathons, do crossfit competitively, etc. I’m a very all-or-nothing type person, but “all” often leads to something being unsustainable in the long run (or injury, but I digress..). I put my all into simply walking.

            WW’s mantra is “move more”. Not pay more, not buy expensive/cute workout clothes, not go to SoulCycle/Orange Theory/CrossFit, etc. , not workout to the point you want to puke (all things I’d tried before, but found wholly unsustainable) just move.more. So, I took that to heart. I’m in Boston. On cold winter days I go to the mall, do some light shopping/browsing but just walk. I join DH at Home Depot and while he’s looking for obscure little item, I walk up and down all the aisles (at a casual pace in normal clothes, but I’m walking and moving). I also got museum passes to the MFA for free from my library one Saturday and DH I and walked for like 4 hours.

          • Thanks. I always worked out until the point of wanting to puke too (no wonder I stopped). I actually love walking, so I love the idea that walking could be all I need to do right now.

        • Response in mod. Ugh.

          Short answer: WW. More to come…

    • If anything, I could really focus on eating healthy and trying to lose weight now before getting pregnant. If you’re already overweight your doctor will want you to gain much less than the standard 25 pounds (my SIL was advised to gain no more than 15 pounds, which I imagine is just very hard). Also studies have shown that it’s harder to get pregnant when you’re overweight, so all the more reason to get into better shape now.

      Intermittent fasting has worked well for me — just skip breakfast and your morning snack (if any) and eat a solid lunch and dinner every day. I lost 10 pounds doing this, very easily and with no calorie counting or much working out. Reddit has a good page with tips, also the book called The Obesity Code.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Your SIL’s doctor is a terrible physician and she should have seriously changed doctors. That advice for overweight women is outdated and almost impossible since the baby would likely be at least half that, plus placenta, fluids and the uterus itself.

        • That’s very common advice actually.

          • I was nearly underweight when I got pregnant, and was advised to gain exactly 22 lbs. I managed to gain around 18 and my baby weighed more than 8 pounds. So I am assuming my doctor would probably have told an overweight woman to gain very little or nothing.

          • I’m overweight and currently pregnant with my second and was told to gain no more than 17 pounds, plus or minus a few. Not sure where you’re getting your advice from.

        • She doesn’t mention her SIL’s weight. For obese women the standard weight gain recommendation is 11-20 lbs. Per Health Canada, CDC, and American College of OBGYNS:

          So that’s not a ‘terrible physician’. That’s standard medical advice.

        • I was also overweight and my doctor gave me similar advice. A body is going to do what it is going to do, but I certainly didn’t need to worry about maintaining fat stores or adding more because I was treating this like a free pass for unhealthy eating.

        • You’re wrong here. I was 100 pounds overweight when I got pregnant I was urged to not gain weight during my pregnancy. I lost 15 pounds my first trimester from eating “normal” (obviously I wasn’t eating “normal” to be 100 pounds overweight). I put back on that 15 pounds over the 2nd and 3rd trimester. I had a perfectly healthy, normal weight child.

          And FWIW, I’ve lost, and maintained, a 75 pound weight loss since pregnancy.

        • 15 lbs is the standard medical advice if you were “obese” based on BMI pre-pregnancy. If you’re just overweight, 20-25 pounds is fine but they won’t want you gaining 30+.

          It’s not impossible by any means. I had an average body type, gained 16 pounds, had an 8 lb baby and had no problem breastfeeding. And I noticed plenty of extra jiggle in my rear and thighs, I definitely wasn’t “all belly.”

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I always forget to consider that the advice of US doctors as it relates to pregnancy is so different to what we generally get in Canada. The recent discussions we have had here have made it obvious that there is a different approach on most fronts, including what is safe to eat and do etc.

          • The advice is the same in Canada. See the Health Canada link above.

          • Lol, nope. It’s standard medical advice not to gain a lot of weight when you’re overweight and pregnant. When I lived in Europe I heard the same.

          • The guidelines are the same in Canada and the US.

    • Focus on cleaning up your diet and committing to an exercise routine before you get pregnant, but don’t worry about the weight too much unless it’s truly the result of binges or something you can cut out. Being a fit, healthy weight in pregnancy is associated with better health outcomes for mother and child, and exercising throughout your pregnancy is even better.

    • I got married in September of last year at my heaviest. We started TTC immediately and were incredibly lucky to get pregnant in November. Now, I’m 14 weeks and already buying maternity clothes and/or normal clothes that are a couples sizes bigger than normal. I’ve only gained 2 pounds, but my weight has already redistributed to my midsection. My midwife wants me to try to mindfully gain weight because I’m already overweight. She said ideally try to only gain 15 pounds, but that’s just what they tell women as a ballpark number. Also, the more weight I put on, statistically, the bigger the concern becomes regarding gestational diabetes. In hindsight, I wish I would have lost some of the weight before getting pregnant only so I wouldn’t be outgrowing my clothes just yet. I’d start eating healthier and getting a basic exercise routine in place now while you are TTC. But all of that will go out the window during your first trimester if you are one of us lucky ones with miserable all day nausea and food aversions.

      • If it makes you feel better, I didn’t gain any weight in the first trimester and gained <20 pounds total and I still had to buy maternity clothes right away…like 8-10 weeks in. Some people just bloat up in the abdomen in early pregnancy, and it also depends on how fitted your pre-pregnancy clothes were and how comfortable you are with things being tight in your midsection. Buying maternity clothes really early is not necessarily an indication you'll get huge or gain a lot.

    • agreeing with the cleaning up your diet. I’m currently pregnant and have been so nauseous throughout that while i would love to be eating more vegetables and lean protein, i can’t keep that stuff down, so i’ve been eating junk. i haven’t gained that much weight, but i do wish i was eating healthier things for my baby. Maybe also take a month off or wait a month to TTC so you can develop some of these healthier habits? Obviously you aren’t going to lose 30lbs in a month, but maybe you could lose 5.

    • I’m not sure the numbers on the scale during pregnancy are that related to how you eat or how quickly you’ll return to your pre-pregnancy weight. I ate whatever I wanted and only gained 20 pounds, but despite losing almost 15 pounds in the hospital (baby + placenta + fluid etc.) I really struggled to lose the last bit and was consistently 5-10 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight until I stopped nursing. I have friends who ate much healthier and gained 40 pounds and 55 pounds respectively, but they lost it all very fast and were back to their pre-preg weights (or lower) within 2 or 3 months of delivery. I think a big difference was they had a lot more water retention (swelling) than I did, and that comes off instantly. Fat is a lot harder to take off and the number on the scale doesn’t necessarily tell you how much is water vs fat.

    • What kind of a doctor did you see? A general practitioner might not be the best person to flag subtle hormonal changes that can lead to weight gain. I have a thyroid condition and PCOS and was only able to get my weight stabilized by aggressive treatment with an endocrinologist and an integrated medicine physician who specializes in thyroid disorders. 30 pounds in 6 months seems like it could be a flag for something going on chemically with you. If standard weight loss efforts don’t seem to have an impact, it might be worth following up more aggressively with a specialist. Trust me, I spent years being told that I must just be eating too much when that was not the issue at all.

      • PCOS and hypothyroid :

        I’m so encouraged to hear this. I gained weight on the BC pill that I am struggling to lose now. Is there anything you found particularly helpful that I should be asking my doctor about (if you don’t mind sharing)? (I have an appt. with a functional medicine doctor coming up, and I’d like to ask for help with this specifically.)

        • I’ve had the best results with doctors who are really willing to work with you to adjust medications to find what actually gives you the best results – not just what gets you over the clinical threshold into “normal.” I found my integrated medicine physician by looking for doctors who would prescribe natural desiccated thyroid (as opposed to synthetic thyroid), which has indeed given me better results.

          • +1. Adding T3 to synthroid (which is basically similar though not the same as taking natural thyroid) was a game changer for me.

          • Thank you! I know that this doctor prescribes “combination therapy” thyroid, so I will definitely bring this up.

    • One thing that I noticed is my spouse and I would eat about the same portions, but he’s twice my physical size! Now we split things about 1/3 to 2/3 for me and him, respectively.

    • This is just my experience, so take it with a grain of salt.

      A few months before we were TTC, I completely changed my diet and fitness regime. I started tracking calories, lifted heavy, and did more HIIT. The result was I lost 15 pounds, felt better, and I think it may have actually helped me get pg. Because I changed the way I approached diet and fitness, I had no complications and was able to continue some physical activity until the last month. (I stopped working out because I was just tired all the time.) I also was very conscious of what I ate, when I wasn’t sick to my stomach. The end result was that my birthing experience was easy, my recovery was a breeze, and I lost the weight (20lbs) in two months (granted, the last three pounds came off because of food poisoning).

      TLDR; I recommend dieting and working out as if you are NOT pg. Ultimately, it may be better for you.

  20. Anonymous :

    How do you wear skinny jeans with chelsea boots or other boots that extend past the ankle onto the calf? I was trying a bunch of different options and couldn’t find one that didn’t feel funny. My first thought was just to tuck my jeans into the boot – maybe my jeans aren’t quite tight enough at the bottom because there was still some bunching around my legs. I also tried cuffing them as well as just pulling the jean all the way out and leaving it intentionally bunched up. Everything looked funny to me. Is the answer that I just need shorter or tighter jeans??

    • You tuck your jeans into your boots. If your jeans are bunching strangely, try tucking them into your socks.

      • Can you link to pics of some blogger, etc. doing this in a good way?

        Having flashbacks to 1985.

        • Your socks don’t stick out of your boots… you wouldn’t be able to see it in a picture. It stops your jeans from bunching if they’re too big at the ankle.

    • I tuck my jeans into my boots. I wear skinny jeans and don’t have a problem with bunching, but cuffing and tucking jeans into socks may help. I mainly wear Gap skinny jeans, legging jeans from Old Navy and the skinny Rockstar style from Old Navy.

      On a related note, I’ve found that with booties I like the bottom of the pant to hit right at the top of the boot. I fold the hem underneath to the right length. I’m not really a fan of the scrunchy jean look.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Yeah, this is why I’ll never love the chelsea boot or any “ankle” boot that extends into the calf as a look. I think it just makes for a less polished look than skinny jeans with flats or boots that truly are ankle boots. I think it cuts the calf visually at an odd place if you’re wearing tights or bare leggs and it makes jeans or pants lay oddly.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Same. I try to keep my booties below that stickyoutty bump on my ankle, because I just can’t make the taller ones make any sense.

    • I wear my ankle length jeans with higher shaft booties with a narrow shaft that hugs my leg with black/dark socks that match. I only wear black jeans, and mostly black booties. So the interface of the bootie/pants is clean, with a matching sock underneath to hide any gap with movement.

      I have one pair of black skinny jeans that is longer. For those, sometimes I roll up the jeans, again with black socks. They are also so slender at the ankle that I can actually slip them into my booties. These approaches look better if you have a bootie that is not as narrow at the shaft, which can look a bit “sloppy” to my eye. Because rolled/tucked pants look more sloppy casual, in a good way.

      I hate the bootie with short length pants and bare skin showing. Especially in winter. Not a good look unless you are a blogger, and people would side-eye you where I live where winter is cold.

      Maybe you don’t like your looks because the boots have a lower shaft? More gap? Or they are gaping too much at the ankle?

      I also think the look is better with a heel.

  21. Rant ahead. I am “second in command” on a huge project that requires a ton of client communication. Most of this is my job. The project director is demanding that I cc him on every single e-mail, presumably so he can monitor exactly what I am doing and exactly when. For example, if we have an internal project update meeting that generates action items, he wants to see that I have gone back to my office and executed all of the action items immediately, even if they don’t need to be done right away and I have higher-priority things to do or the timing is not right for some other reason.

    This guy is also lazy AF and immediately discounts any idea that is not his own. He will not do anything for himself. He refuses to locate any project files on the server and demands that I e-mail him whatever files he needs. He put together a sloppy project timeline with most of the dates obviously wrong. I told him to check the dates. He told me to correct the dates myself. I do not even know what dates he really wants, just that it’s not possible for a future event to occur in the past. He refuses to go over ideas for materials or deliverables before I actually put them together, then invariably hates my idea when he sees the finished product and then throws it out and tells me to redo it some other way, which could have been avoided if we’d just gone over the idea before I invested time in developing the product.

    I am at the end of my rope here. Management has been less than helpful, and things are about to get worse because our boss is retiring and will not be replaced so we will all be reporting to an absentee VP who as far as anyone can tell does absolutely zero work and has no idea what is going on in the organization. I am not in a position to change jobs. I just want to quit and become a SAHM, but that’s not possible for a variety of reasons.

    • Are you sure you’re “not in a position to change jobs?” Because I can’t think of a better reason to do so. Even if it means taking a lateral role or even a downgrade, anything sounds better than this.

      • +1

      • My job is so ridiculously specialized that there are only a handful of places in the entire country where I could work, and my current employer’s MO is to get terribly resentful and give lousy references when someone leaves, so I don’t think I could ever get another job. I also don’t want to uproot my family.

        • Ok, then you might need to think bigger picture. What you’re saying is, “I can’t ever leave this company because I only know how to do X and my employer will always give poor references.” Do you want to spend the rest of your life with this terrible company “at the end of your rope?” If not and you do want a change, you’ll need to figure out how to make a move. That may mean cross-training, taking broadening classes or certifications, or just simply looking at your resume with fresh eyes and saying, “Well, X involves a lot of Y and I could do Y at other places.” Good luck.

          • Job change :

            Not all skills are transferable, or at least, most employers don’t view specialized skills as transferable.

    • Sorry about this, I know I’d be loosing my mind. In college my sister had to do a lot of group projects for which they were assigned one grade. Since she often was paired with others who had lower standards or skill sets than she did she use to get annoyed and then took on the burden of doing everything properly, that is, saying to them I’ll hand in, do the final formatting, check, and then she would fix everyone’s mistakes and get the A marks she wanted. It was a huge time investment, she didn’t get extra credit for extra work, but the tangible project came out the way she wanted. If I were in your shoes I would weigh the result of the outcome of doing things this way, or just doing the minimum you need to get by and see what has the better result. E.g if things to awry will you be held accountable or risk loosing your job. Good luck, it’s a tough situation to be in.

  22. How do I find an accountability partner? I have colleagues I can count on for kvetching and/or pep talks, but I need someone at my level (or comparable) who is a neutral third party. We would only answer to our career & personal goals. Lots of articles on finding a mentor, but is that process/role similar enough?

  23. To the poster from last week who posted about how hard it was getting started with WW and eating within her points in the first few days…

    I lost 30 lbs 5 years ago on WW, but hop on the plan every now and again when an extra 5-7 lbs creeps back on. I just rejoined on Monday…and today I accidentally ate my entire daily points for breakfast! Turns out, half a box of Special K (“it’s diet cereal, there’s only 3 points per serving!”) and unsweetened almond milk (“there’s only 1 pt per serving!”) really adds up! haha So anyways, track your food so that you can LEARN to make those healthier choices, which is what WW is all about. Even those of us who’ve been around the plan for years still forget and need coaching :) Good luck on your journey!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Thank you! I think the “go back on it when weight creeps up” plan is a good life plan, and hearing from other people who do that is a huge relief. My primary experience with WW up til this point is my friend’s mother, who has tracked and obsessed over every single bite she has taken for 35 years, although she’s been at her goal weight for 30 of those years. She’s a group leader, and is evangelical about tracking every day, forever. Her attitude combined with the Lifetime Members success stories on the website you can only access after you’ve joined (which all talk about tracking every day, forever) is what had me anxious about it.

      • No need to be anxious about it. For some people, they NEED to count every bite every day. For me, once I hit my (reasonable, maintainable) goal weight, I bought clothes, and I use my clothes as a guideline. (And, um, new clothes are expensive, so it’s a nice trigger, too.) So when my clothes get tight, I know it’s time to take a closer look at what I’m eating. I typically fall into a trap of “oh, it’s organic/not very processed, so it must be healthy” – nope, there are plenty of calories in Kind bars, etc. Hopping back on the program to see – whoa, that new Kind bar that I’ve fallen in love with and been eating 2 a day of is 8 points each – is super helpful in helping me shed those few pounds and get back on track. I often only have to join for a month to re-train myself…because I hop back on before things get out of hand. I wish you so much good luck. It’s so amazing to lose the weight.

        • I just discovered that they make mini Kind bars!

        • Eeertmeert :

          Yes to some folks needing the tracking to maintain the loss. That’s not me or my mom’s experience, but props to those who recognize their needs.
          There is room for all types on wW. Definitely see what your experience is before judging based on someone else. :)

      • Keep in mind that the Lifetime Members stories on the webs*te is designed to make you think you need to keep paying for WW forever. :)

        • Actually once you reach Lifetime Member status (ie reached and maintain goal weight for a certain period of time, I think 6 mths) it is free. But you have to keep going in for an official weigh every 3 mths I believe.

        • Anonymous :

          Lifetime Members don’t pay as long as they weigh in at set intervals. The stories are there to emphasize that WW is not a crash diet but about sustainable lifelong weight loss.

          The hardest thing about WW for me was accepting that if I wanted to maintain my weight loss I would have to continue to pay attention to what I ate (not obsessively track but pay close attention). I wanted to lose the weight and go back to eating like I did as a skinny 16 year old. Youth is totally wasted on the young. Wish I could get back the hollow leg I had during my teenage years.

  24. I have the fall 2017 version of the featured dress in three colors and it’s great. I like it much better than the Land’s End dresses.

  25. NoVA ladies – seeking housing advice. Good friends with 3 children are moving to Alexandria. While I also live in Alex, I don’t have kids, so I’m not much help re: schools. Their children are 5, 3, and 1 and they’d like to stay around $3k per month in housing. Thanks for any advice!

    • I’m not sure what your question is. But generally the schools in Alexandria get a bum rap compared with Arlington for lower test scores, but they have really engaged parents who love the schools. Their options will be driven by how tied they are to a particular school district and how many bedrooms they need. I can’t imagine they could find a 4-BR on that budget in Lyles-Crouch (the highest-rated school). They should visit schools or look on some of the local message boards to go beyond the test scores.

    • Are they in Alex City or the Alex portion of Fairfax County? One is APS and the other is FCPS (which tends to have higher scores).

    • That budget sounds challenging. We pay almost $2k for a 1br in Alexandria. Granted, it’s metro-accessible.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Back in 2009, we rented in a smaller complex near the Van Dorn station. There were lots of families around and while I can’t speak for the schools, the library was great and there were several nearby parks.

        I just looked it up and a 3-bedroom in that complex (it’s a Dittmar property) goes for $2,300.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I think I’m in mod, and I can’t speak for schools, but the area around Van Dorn station is a little more affordable. No clue about schools, though.

  26. Of Counsel :

    I love this dress as pictured and really wish the neckline in the Misses version looked the same! Does anyone have it in Misses? Is the neckline as high as it looks on the website?

  27. MIL communication question.

    My MIL often (like 2-3 times per conversation) will start a topic by saying “Oh, you must be doing XYZ, right?” — except she is nearly always incorrect. XYZ can be anything from “traveling a ton for work” to “buying lots of pink tops” to “eating lots of candy because of Halloween” (on this last one, she knows I’m losing weight). I feel terrible telling her she’s wrong (though I don’t say it like that! More like “oh no actually, I don’t really have to travel in this role” or similar) and don’t want to feel argumentative when we’re chatting… but I don’t feel like keeping up with a stream of innocuous lies, either. WWYD?

    • Why has this comment been in moderation for 40 minutes?

    • I have friends/relatives like this and I find it’s really just them asking whether I am doing XYZ, phrased in an odd way. I usually reply with “Sometimes! But right now I’m buying lots of blue tops / trying to avoid candy because I’m losing weight / working out of our home office for a few months.”

    • It sounds like it’s just the way she talks. I don’t think you need to tip toe around her.

    • Yes, this is kind of a vocal tic of sorts. I know someone who does this. I take it more like…. “you know what I mean….” and ignore them when it is irrelevant to the conversation flow. And then just nod…. yes? no? kinda?…. But if it is totally out of left field and cray I say…. “Not really! I never travel for work, thank goodness, and that’s why I love my job!”

      What I’m saying is, try not to take it personally. Which is hard when it comes from MIL… ;)

      • I know right?!? To me it feels like she’s saying “this is what I think you should be doing” as opposed to “what are you doing” — which probably contributes to the argumentative/weird feelings.

    • Anonymous :

      I would just respond as if she asked “Do you have to travel a lot for work?” instead of the “you must be…” formulation that she apparently is in the habit of using.

      • Anonymous :

        This. It’s just an odd way of talking, but she’s making conversation with you . I wouldn’t read anything into it or take it literally as if she is saying she knows what’s going on in your life. We all do strange stuff, and have patterns we fall into that others might find unusual.

    • Anonymous :

      Why do you feel terrible saying “nope no travel now!” That’s just you being weird. Stop it.

      • +1 You’re making this way more weird than it needs to be. You’re reading things into it that aren’t there. She is just trying to ask about your life.

    • Sounds like she’s just trying to make conversation and doesn’t know how so she makes these statements to try to get a conversation going.

    • Thanks all… I’ll try not to feel like an adverse witness when we’re chatting :)

      • the yellow one is the sun :

        Just posting in solidarity – my MIL does this too and it’s really hard not to get frustrated! It makes me feel like she knows nothing about me and remembers nothing I say, and I always feel backed into this defensive, corrective posture. Previous posters saying this is a verbal tic and a way to make conversation is actually a really helpful way to frame it. Maybe I can remember that and not get so irritated in the future! (It’s good to have goals.)

  28. Anon (Re Libido) :

    Thank you for your comments yesterday. You guys offered good ideas to consider, but more than that, you helped me feel much less lonely and sad. Thank you!

  29. Is anyone else doing Beachbody’s 80 Day Obsession? I am on Day 4, and I’m curious if those of you who are further along in Phase 2 are seeing results.

  30. AnonForThis :

    How sustainable is it to have a job that requires a fair amount of travel (30-50%) while pregnant and after giving birth? I like my job, but I don’t know a single woman who has given birth while in this type of role. I’m wondering if I will regret trying to keep this schedule or if I will regret giving it up.

    • Do you have a partner and how do they feel about the travel? What is their work schedule like and does it also include travel? Will they be ok with solo parenting that much (assuming this is overnight travel). Do they have the flexibility for time off for sick days, doctor appts, etc? I’m a consultant (no kids) and in my firm you can only sustain that kind of travel if you have a partner who picks up the slack when you are gone and has the flexibility you won’t have. And does so willingly. Not to stereotype but most of the women in my firm move to lower travel roles after having children (often to the detriment of their careers) because their husbands are not willing to take the lead on parenting.

      • My husband is wonderful, he has a fairly demanding job but said he is willing to step back if I want him to. He would definitely do it without resentment and will be a great dad. I always thought that I would be the one to be able to stay at home more with kids, but now I’m not sure if it’s because of a genuine desire or because I’ve internalized societal expectations.

        • Betty White :

          I would just say that you may find your reality is different once the baby is born. I always thought I’d want to stay home, at least part time, and then realized that I definitely do not (as much as I love my baby!).

    • Depends on your childcare arrangements. Do you have a supportive partner who wants to pick up the slack and has the job flexibility to do it? What are your exit strategies/ ie is there a compelling reason not to try it and see?

      • AnonForThis :

        I do have a reason not to try and see – due to some changes in my local industry, I have a fair number of lower-travel job opportunities open to me now, with several people reaching out to me to fill these roles. In a year these exact opportunities will no longer be available. They are definitely less appealing than my current job, but would be a great, stable, long-term role and if I’m looking for less travel it would be a good opportunity. The only problem is that now I can’t decide what I want.

        • Dont lean out before you have to lean out. If these are “definitely less appealing” than your current role, there will be other things that come around a year from now.

    • I don’t want to encourage you to leave before you leave, but I think it would be tough to do that much travel while pregnant and even tougher with a newborn. I had a pretty easy pregnancy and still found traveling (even in the supposedly blissful second trimester) a lot more exhausting than normal. I didn’t sleep as well as I did at home, it was a struggle to find healthy food and a way to exercise on the road (I took exactly one business trip and gained 5 pounds that week, compared to about 1 pound/week when I was home, even though I was far from a super healthy eater at home) and it was annoying constantly having to find bathrooms on the go. I normally really enjoy business travel but I came home from that trip so relieved that I didn’t have to travel again for the rest of my pregnancy. YMMV though if you already travel all the time and are more used to it.

      I also didn’t feel comfortable traveling after the point of viability (~26 weeks or so) because the idea of being in a strange city for three months with baby in an NICU was incredibly daunting from both a financial and logistical perspective. My doctor could be wrong but she told me that insurance would cover baby’s hospitalization costs, but not the cost of me and/or my husband living there, and having to put ourselves up for 3 months in a HCOL city would not have been an easy thing for our budget to accommodate.

      After giving birth, there’s no way I could have handled either me or my husband having that much travel.

      • You are correct about insurance not covering your cost to be near baby. My good friend works in a NICU in a tourist destination and has seen many people end up in this situation during the babymoon or other vacation. There are some options like Ronald McDonald houses to temporarily stay in for low or no cost. For people that can’t be away from their job, other kids, or can’t afford temporary housing, they go back home and come back when baby is ready to be discharged. There are volunteers that give those babies lots of love. I can’t imagine how hard it is on the parents.

    • It only works if there’s another parent or caretaker with enough flexibility to do all pick up, drop off, and sick days while you’re travelling. And you have to be comfortable with knowing that you will miss some things (dr appts, school events, etc.) B-feeding is likely out, or otherwise a MASSIVE pain to keep up with pumping on the road, sending milk back via fed ex or carrying a cooler at all times, etc.

      For some, that’s no big deal. For me, I couldn’t make it work and found a non-travel job when my kid was about 6 months old.

      Travelling while pregnant was NBD for me, but I had a super easy pregnancy. I flew 2 -3 times a week until 34 weeks.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. I managed pumping for a year with each kid and it is still an inconvenience to pump at work 3x/day without having to travel or move the pump at all.

        I was also high risk and was at my baby shower in another state when I went into labor, so #1 was born in a different hospital with resulting complications for me, and after that my OB cautioned me not to travel during #2 and #3 pregnancies.

    • Betty White :

      My job is about 25% travel (or was before I had kids and sort of forced it down a bit). I found it tiring when I was pregnant, but doable. The first year after your baby is born will make travel very tough, especially if you plan to breastfeed. For me, the hardest part was trying to manage pumping on the road, traveling while pumping (i.e. figuring out where/when I could pump every three hours), getting my milk back home, and having enough milk stored up for the baby to live on while I was away. That was much harder than I expected.

      BUT I only breastfed for the first year. So between that and maternity leave (at least for me), it wasn’t THAT long of a period of time to try to take a backseat on travel. I was lucky that my job sort of let me get away with it. Not sure they really noticed since I control a lot of my schedule.

      When we have our second, I plan to avoid whatever travel I can for the first six months I’m back and then keep the rest to a minimum until the baby is one. We’ll see if that’s possible. I would find it very hard to do 50% on the road and, to echo what others have said, you need a spouse with a very flexible schedule and/or family in the area who can do the same to make that work.

      • Betty White :

        I should add that I have had very easy pregnancies. Not sure that travel is manageable if your experience is different from mine. Things that were hard: finding food I could eat on the road (not impossible but harder), carrying suitcases up subway stairs (when visiting NYC) and/or putting them into the overhead (people weren’t as helpful as I imagined they would be), and just overall fatigue from walking a lot or sitting still all day in meetings.

    • Is an aupair, night nanny, or other live-in help available? Does your office offer a benefit of free overnight shipping of milk that some consulting firms now offer? This, combined with a slightly shorter but standard BF period (a year or so) and a non-traveling spouse could make this entirely doable.

    • I did it, but with caveats:

      1. My husband had a non travel job
      2. My boss was a working mom, who understood my general need for flexibility (while still traveling often). For example, I asked and was allowed to work from home exclusively when not traveling (there was an office local to me but my team wasn’t based there, so it was just workspace for me).
      3. This went out the window when I had my second for many different reasons.

      But with one, it was fine. I flew until (33ish weeks) and while I returned to work at 3 months, I didn’t travel again until 4 months. DH did pickup/dropoff at daycare and baby was in daycare for a lot of hours (7:30-5-6:30). He basically had to pick her up, feed her, wash her and put her down.

      I typically pre-packed everything before I left (outfits, bottles/meals, etc) for the entire time I was gone. DH could have managed without this, but I felt like it helped.

      When I was in town, I was the primary on pickup/dropoff/sick days and I worked from home which made this extra possible.

      Honestly, it was totally fine.

      • Oh- and I did a ton of BFing, though baby got formula too. I brought my pump and brought a good 75% of my milk home from trips (I did dump some). Depends a bit of your travel is 5 days in a row per month, or 1-2 days a week every week.

        I had a milk stash built up before I went back to work that helped buffer as well.

    • I wasn’t at 30-50% but did a fair amount of traveling while pregnant and as a mom of babies. I pumped and dumped to keep up my milk supply. My sister fedexed her pumped milk home but I was ok with formula supplementation while I was on the road.

      My husband was and is an equal partner and parent so that’s what made it work. It was a great thing to have him so involved when our kids were babies, because now that they are teens he is still an equal parent. I see too many friends and coworkers whose husbands regard parenting as primarily mom’s job and I think it’s a shame, for both parents.

    • can’t speak to the post birth part, but i am currently pregnant and my first trimester was miserable. I’m now well into the second and still throw up once a day, but it is better than the 5-9 times during my first trimester. i never previously had any motion sickness, but flying during my first trimester was also torture for me, as was sitting in the backseat of a car. again, i have friends who never felt sick at all, but for me this would’ve been awful

    • AnonForThis :

      Thank you all so much for your thoughts and experience! I’m so grateful to have a place to ask these kinds of questions and to get such thoughtful, honest replies. It’s definitely given me a lot to think about.

  31. Rainbow Hair :

    Everything is getting m0derated, but I’m gonna keep trying!

    I like this post, just for how *basic* it is, and how it’s exactly what everyone in my professional world needs to read. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “sorry, Rainbow!” after something that did not offend me at all…

    But because of my deep deep fear of not being ‘the cool girl’ I will do nothing with it but post it here.

  32. can someone please help find a non payless version of this shoe?

    would prefer real leather but love the height and toe shape. thank you!

    • similar

      FWIW I have similar Payless shoes –their comfort line–and they are remarkably comfortable and long wearing.

  33. Supporting a friend through a breakup question. My friend is/was in a relationship with a guy who’s a terrible fit for her. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just so clearly not what she’s looking for I don’t understand why she went on a first date with him. She must’ve seen him as an improvement project. Throughout their relationship, she complained endlessly about him and I would tell her, this is who he is so either accept it or leave. It’s put a strain on our friendship because she feels like I haven’t supported her through a difficult time, while I feel like I’m not going to listen to you constantly b * t c h about a problem of your own creation.

    Now she’s broken up with him and she’s devastated. She has said that doesn’t want to hear, you’re doing the right thing!, because she knows that’s how everyone feels. I want to focus on her feelings of hurt and disappointment. Advice on how to do that? Things not to say? Emotion-driven conversations don’t come naturally to me so I’m pretty out of my element here.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’ve probably said this here before, but when I broke up with someone similar (but I looooved him) my dad compared it to losing a limb. Like, maybe it was cancerous or gangrenous or whatever, and it really really really had to go. And you’ll be fine without it. In fact you’ll be much better than with it! But that doesn’t mean that the loss of it doesn’t really really hurt.

    • Anonymous :

      She’s got a lot of feelings to sort out – coming to realization that it wasn’t a good match, why did she waste so much, etc. etc. So she’s got the soundtrack going in her brain. and probably doesn’t want the chorus.

      She is having to adjust to a new normal, and that might be the best way to help. Ask her what she needs – does she want a distraction or someone to just listen? You might tell her that you are best for distraction duties vs listening duties, but do what feels comfortable. This is not about fixing anything for her, or telling her it’s for the best – its about helping her process all the things she’s feeling right now.

  34. Honestly, just repeat “I am here for you, what do you need” and maybe take her to do active things to distract her (a run, concert, etc.) because weighing in on that relationship either in support of or against will only do your friendship harm, especially if she ends up doing the opposite of your support.

  35. Ever get the feeling that women (married with kids) are nice to you surface level but condescending when you think about how they act/what they say re your life? (I don’t mean ALL or even most wives/moms as I have tons of friends who are.) Was talking to a coworker at work who is friendly but leaves me with that impression every time. We have a long weekend — I’m headed to Atlanta where I lived before I moved to dc 2 yrs ago and she’s gives me the most condescending, eye rolling “why?” Um – bc I want to? Why are you headed to LA – bc a vacation only counts with husbands and kids? I’m a chill, in one ear out the other person so I normally don’t even notice if people acting rude but something about this woman every time. IDK – ever seen anything similar?

    • What? I am having such a hard time understanding what your complaint is here.

    • Yes. It’s not just that vacation doesn’t count unless you’re married and have kids – it’s the attitude that you don’t need/deserve a vacation because you have no responsibilities or stress. I always want to tell these people, if you hate your life so much then maybe you should do something about it? Instead of hating on other people who have the life you want?

      • Anonymous :

        Bless your heart.

      • Anonymous :

        Definitely experienced this from coworkers before – along the lines of what do YOU even need a vacation from? And in my workplace there tends to be some envy when a single person can pack a bag and go for 4 days without planning it down to the last $, packing for 4 people, hauling toddlers to the airport at 7 am and dealing with them for a 4 hour flight. To which my response is – shrug – it’s about choices.

    • Sounds like your problem is with this particular woman, not married women with kids in general.

    • I think this might be an individual situation, not a single vs. MWK situation. As in, your coworker and you just don’t get along. You yourself said you have lots of MWK friends.

    • Yes but it’s usally the person and not something that happens when you become a wife or mother.

      • Anonymous :

        This. Bet you before the husband and kids came along, she was a b on other things and always thought her way was best.

    • Agree with others. Just be work polite with this women and let it go. No sharing, if she rubs you the wrong way.

      • Yes, if someone at work is snobby/annoying about stuff you do in your personal time or personal decisions you make, stop discussing them with this person.

    • I’m reading it as if she’s being snobby about your destination.

      • Anonymous :

        It’s happened before – NYC and Miami which are better than ATL. Not to mention on a whole host of non travel things.

      • Anonymous :

        This. I assumed she had a problem with Atlanta not you. To be honest, I don’t really think of Atlanta as a ‘vacation destination’.

        Don’t people usually travel way more before they have kids? Most of my travel was when I was childless and single. Definitely harder to pull off a spontanous weekend away with three kids in tow.

    • Anonymous :

      Yup. Your life doesn’t matter if you’re not a married mother.

      • What? Nice generalization.

      • Anonymous :

        Nope, it’s the opposite. If you are a married mother you have to work harder, put in more face time, and be more productive than a man or a single woman to prove that you are dedicated and not distracted by motherhood. At least that’s how it works in my office.

        • Anonymous :

          You chose to marry and have kids. Deal with the downsides of that without being rude to anyone not on your boat.

          • Anonymous :

            I’m not rude to anyone, all the men are a-holes to me.

          • Anonymous :

            Time to look for a new job then – you’re allowed to bear kids and vacation without put downs.

    • Hmm I’m married with kids and I’m usually pretty envious of my single friends’ vacation plans because they go to cool places that are too much of a hassle and too expensive with kids. I also imagine that they actually get to relax on vacation. But I’m happy for them, not snotty about it.

      I think this woman gets under your skin for reasons other than being married with kids. There are good ones and bad ones in any category.

      • Anonymous :

        Lol. This. I envy how my single friends can just pick up and go — whether it’s a cool destination or not, they aren’t worried about budgeting or dealing with a husband saying – really 1k for this, is it worth it?? Not to mention on vacation they’re not worrying about the availability of chicken fingers everywhere they go.

    • Anonymous :

      No never. Like maybe one person one but as a generalization about married women with kids? Nope. If anything sometimes they are openly wistful about single life but even that not often

    • Are you asking if some women/people are rude? Yes, of course some are. It was a bit hard to understand your paragraph, but I don’t see any examples that it has to do with being a wife or mom or even a woman. Some people are condescending. Some people aren’t nice. If I said I was going to Atlanta and someone said “Why?”, I’d say “Because I love it! Can’t wait! Why do you ask?”

    • This woman sounds rude, but I think it’s kind of weird that you made the jump to “women who are married with kids are condescending” especially since you yourself said you know plenty of nice moms. Her travel comment is totally unrelated to marriage and children and even if she’s being rude about that stuff, it’s more likely just that she’s a rude person in general.

    • I feel similarly, but it’s a broader complaint. Generally the answer to “Why [you decided to do something in your personal life]?” is, “Because I want to,” right? Or maybe your choice is the best given the circumstances. When people ask this with a certain tone, it comes across as rude. When the tone is neutral, perhaps they are making conversation.

      Pesh is right. Some people are rude.

  36. What’s the etiquette on work baby shower thank you notes? Are individual hand written notes required? The gift was generous but given as a group gift so I can’t really say “Dear Jane, Thanks for the XYZ.” Is it weird to bring in thank you cookies or something? I don’t want to get in a situation where the thank yous go back and forth endlessly but I think people would appreciate a group card + treats more than individual cards.

    • No on individual cards for group gifts. Bring in a group card and treats and email everyone a thanks for the shower, treats in the break room. Put the card next to the cookies.

    • I thinking sending an email is sufficient.

    • Group treats sounds like a great idea, along with a pic of the baby and a thank you card sent by you after the birth.

  37. Professional development :

    Tailors in DC? Need general alterations made to a bridesmaids dress, and a zipper replaced on another dress. I was going to go to Cheryl Lofton, who has done all my friends’ wedding dresses, but not sure if it’s “overkill”? Bonus points for Arlington/Navy Yard.

  38. Chicago spas? :

    My sister and I will be in Chicago next weekend and we’re hoping to book some sort of spa treatment. Maybe a sauna, massage, manicure. Any recommendations on good places?

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