Thursday’s Workwear Report: Flounced-Sleeve Ponte Sheath Dress

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

This looks like a great basic dress for work. I like the wide neckline, the substantial structure to the dress, and the hidden back zip, as well as the fact that it comes in three size ranges: regular (2-20), petite (2P-16P), and plus (12W-24W). It also has 40+ reviews with an average of 4.3 out of 5. The dress is available in indigo, lapis, and black (although the black will ship “on or before 3/17”) — and note that it’s labeled “dry clean” and not “dry clean only.” Originally $129, it’s on sale for $96, and you can take off an additional 25% during Talbots’ Spring Style Event. Flounced-Sleeve Ponte Sheath Dress

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  1. The creepiest thing happened this week. Over the weekend, I realized I needed a better fitting pair of glasses and looked at Warby Parker’s location in Washington DC. I live 4 or 5 hours from DC, but was going to be in the area soon. All I did was look at their store location page. I did not provide any information about myself or call the store. I also looked at Google Maps to see how far the store was from the hotel where we would be staying. Well, 4 days later, I received my very first piece of mail ever from Warby Parker and it said “There’s a Warby Parker store in your very own backyard! Visit us at: [insert address for store 40 minutes from house].” WTH? Mind you, I live in a very down market zip code. So I doubt we are the target market for WP. This is soooo creepy. I looked up how to change tracking and privacy settings on Google Chrome. Here’s the most helpful article I found.

    If anyone else has any other suggestions, I’m all ears

    • Anonymous :

      Short of going off the grid, our lives are only going to become more and more and more integrated in this way. I just try and embrace it. Like I have friends who won’t use activity trackers or the Tile app or other things like that because of privacy concerns – I figure they are getting this data one way or another, it might as well benefit me in the process.

      • I had to make a Save the Date for work and used a Canva wedding template and now I keep getting wedding themed sponsored Facebook ads…

    • It is creepy. Computers give me the feeling of being spied on all the time now. I sent someone an email with a link to an item she was looking for. That item started showing up in the ads on websites. (Jokes on them! I never wanted it to begin with.) And Cortana! You can’t turn it off.

    • Anonymous :

      Unfortunately I work in advertising and I can tell you short of clearing your cache every 5 minutes or always browsing in incognito, that’s the level of tracking that’s going to happen. It has less to do with chrome (though logging into your google account on any device gives Google definitive proof that that’s who is browsing the device), and more to do with tracking on every single website you go to. There are tracking pixels on pretty much everything you do, and the amount of selling of info and cross pollination is just a reality now. I agree with anonymous at 9:04, if I’m going to get ads, at least they might be more relevant to my interests if I embrace it a little.

    • Marshmallow :

      Firefox makes a phone browser called Focus that prevents all tracking. But then you also lose the ability to have bookmarks, frequently visited sites, etc. Unfortunately I think this is the new normal.

    • 1) Use the Ghostery extension on Chrome –
      2) Never, ever log into third-party sites using Facebook or Google. If you do that, all of the info you give to those sites will be combined to make one fat profile of you.

      • ^^^Number 2 is HUGE. Also, use a throwaway email address to sign up/log in whenever you’re not absolutely sure you’ll use a site again. If you’re buying something online and you don’t think you’ll shop from that site again, see if they have guest checkout before you create an account.

    • Thanks for posting this. I received a Warby Parker flyer through the mail yesterday and thought it was creepy. I had only once visited their website at work but using my Chrome profile and it showed to my house 2 weeks later.

    • Anonshmanon :

      You can do some things. For tracking through those social media pixels, you can install the privacy badger browser extension. Using a different browser for your facebook and/or your email than for your websurfing helps.
      Whatever steps you take, they will probably feel tedious, but it makes sense to me to be aware that we are paying a price for super useful things like google mail.
      Someone here recommended the podcast Note to Self recently, and they just did a nice series on data privacy.

    • I have the same thing happen every time I go to the Boden website–I just go to look because it’s discussed so much here, I don’t see anything I want to try, and 3 days later I’ve got a catalog in the mail. Seems like a waste of paper and shipping costs, because as a 20something, a physical catalog is certainly not going to be the thing that moves my purchase decision needle.

    • I guess I don’t think that’s creepy. That’s just . . . the way it works now? You know why it happened, it’s not secretive and just doesn’t seem malicious to me. But yeah, everything we do ever is tracked when we conduct our lives on the internet.

      • S in Chicago :

        Agreed. I think it’s no big deal. If anything, it’s adding more convenience to life. If I’m interested in something, I like the idea of folks working to send me stuff versus me always having to track it down. Don’t really see what’s so “creepy.” Sort of like discovering if I watch football, there’s going to be a lot of beer commercials pushed out. Just the nature of targeted marketing.

    • Anonymous :

      We need better privacy laws.

    • I had this exact same thing happen! I have visited the WP website a few times but have never put in my info or purchased anything, and I also received mail from them yesterday! So creepy!

      • Anonymous :

        I just got one too but have never visited the WP site. I now suspect it’s a tracker on this s!te considering how many people received one.

  2. Anonymous :

    Sometimes it is difficult to empathize with people. I see a simple solution that would fix problems.

    For example, we have plenty of Mexicans sneaking into the country. Lets just deport them all. There are shootings by Muslims every couple of months. Let’s just ban them from coming into the country.

    I am afraid that when I step up and defend the rights of these groups of people, there may be another attack in a few months. How do you guys stand for what’s right? I see some of you post so passionately about your ethics.

    • FOOEY on your position. You can NOT ban entire peoples. That is discrimination. Beside’s, there are plenty of white peeople who are NUTSO who are already in this country. Witness the shootings we’ve had by all of those white males who were off base. Mabye they should be deported also, but to where? Guantomomo? Again, FOOEY on your ideas!

    • I know you are a troll :

      As a mexican reader, very infrequent commenter, I think if the US stopped using illegal drugs, then the situation south of the border would improve very much (peace will lead to prosperity in my opinion) and that will help with the illegal inmigrant flux problem. Stopping the flux of weapons from the US to Mexico won’t harm either.

      I know you are just trolling, but I am tired of the drug issue never being discussed.

      • Anonymous :

        I am not trolling. I want to know what all of your opinions are on this issue. When something doesn’t affect me personally, it is harder to empathize. I have to make the decision in my mind to stand up for what’s right and it is not always easy. Others seem to have no problem standing up for people and protecting them (especially on this site). This may be due to the large number of lawyers here. Either way, I do not think that this topic is trolling.

        • Of course it’s harder to empathize with groups or issues that don’t affect you personally–that’s a human condition, and it’s great that you recognize that and are working on it. I would suggest spending more time existing with the perspectives and voices of the group you’re trying to empathize with. So for immigration, go read every piece you can find written by an immigrant author, that addresses the immigrant experience. Read fiction. Watch documentaries. Or find outreach events in your community–my city’s largest mosque has been sponsoring a Meet a Muslim-type series recently.

        • How does it not personally affect you?

          I’m not Muslim, but I am a person of faith. Banning a religion scares me. The US was founded on freedom of religion/no state-sponsored religion, and people can practice any faith (or no faith) that they want. Respecting religion is part of the foundation of our country.

          I’m not Mexican, but I know that saying an entire nationality are “bad hombres”, “rapists”, or “murderers” is inhumane. I am a human.

        • Two movies include Sin Nombre and A Day without a Mexican.

          Remember, nobody wants to be judged by the worst people of their group.

        • Anonymous :

          Only caring about yourself and not being able to empathize with others is the archetype Trump voter. It also sounds like a sociopath to me, but I’m not a doctor…

      • I know you are a troll :

        Oh, and by mexican I mean actually living in Mexico. I am not an illegal inmigrant in the US. Anyway, I am white (white mexicans are a thing too) so probably you would like me until you knew my views.

      • Anonymous :


      • This. Mexicans are no longer just migrating for economic reasons, the violence because of the drug situation there is truly terrifying.

      • Anonymous :

        I am ashamed that the rampant need for/addiction to drugs in my country is leading to such chaos and cruelty in other nations. We need a society that does not steer people into despair or towards the quick-fix, here-take-a-pill-to-feel-better trap.

        Easy to say. Hard to achieve. I don’t even know if legalization or decriminalization is the right choice! On the one hand, you deflate all that money & power being chased by the dealers. On the other hand, does it make it easier for users to get addicted?

    • First of all, here are some fun facts: the number of Mexicans immigrating (both legally and illegally) has declined in recent years and shootings by Muslims is much much lower than shootings by people of other faiths in this country. Not sure where youre getting your stats from but they are extremely wrong.

      I would start by looking for non partisan news sites that are reputable to get some factual info about whats going on in this country (and the world). Then start opening up your circle by talking to people you think of as ‘other’. Its easy for a lot of people to not care about certain issues until it directly effects them (i.e. the homophobic dad whose mind is opened up when his son comes out, the racist grandma who realizes the horrors of her views when she has a biracial granddaughter, etc etc).

      I cant really tell if youre trolling or not but looking beyond yourself/your own experiences and privileges is a good first step IMO.

    • I have a difficult time standing up in the moment, and saying the perfect thing. I have social anxiety and when people are aggressive and argumentative about their sweeping generalizations, that makes it even more difficult.

      So keep just a couple simple responses in you back pocket.

      Why do you think that?
      What evidence do you have of that?

      I don’t agree.

      And sometimes, just turning mid-sentence and walking away when someone is ranting is good to start.

    • Because at the base of these ideas, it simply isn’t logical. People are more likely to die in car accidents than anything else. Let’s ban cars. White males are more likely to commit mass murder/terrorism/really super creepy stuff like locking women in basements–let’s round them all up and put them in camps.

      I mean, come on. This is life. You have to accept some level of risk. The only risk they don’t accept is brown people, and that’s the definition of racism.

    • Anonymous :

      Um what? Those statements aren’t logical at all. If my own personal safety was priority I’d ban white men from this country entirely. But we don’t do that. Because it’s wrong.

      I start by trying really hard not to be a hateful person and to be open and tolerant. Then, when I see people being hateful I say “no that’s wrong.”

      It’s not rocket science.

    • Anonymous :

      “There are shootings by Muslims every couple of months.”

      This isn’t a thing. Shooting by white males? Sure. Maybe we should ban them from having guns. More women are killed every year by their domestic partners then die in terrorist attacks.

      • But instead, we are making it easier for them (white males). My state just did away with concealed carry permits. No, that doesn’t mean you can no longer carry concealed. It means you don’t need to apply for a permit to do so!

        • Exactly. When people talk about gun rights theyre usually talking about rights for their white male counterparts…

          I still will never fully understand how we have allowed it to get this far as a country (thanks NRA!). Sad! Indeed…

          • I personally think that every young black man in this country who owns a gun should join the NRA. Watch all the old racist white guy members’ heads explode. Ahhh. A girl can dream.

          • The NRA lost whatever shred of credibility it had when it didn’t come down on the St. Paul police department like a ton of bricks over Philando Castile’s shooting. Gun rights are for white people.

          • “Gun rights are for white people.” truer words have never been spoken

    • Anonymous :

      I’m much more afraid of school shootings. My mom and sister are teachers. I have nieces and nephews in school. Should we ban schools?

    • Facts and snark are how I’d respond to that:

    • lost academic :

      Do you have the same problems with husbands?

    • You’ll probably feel a lot safer once you realize you live in one of the safest countries in the world and that all of these people you are so scared of are fleeing violence largely caused by our country’s economic and military policies.

    • Maybe you need to reconsider your “us” and your “them.”

      I think it’s easier for me to empathize because I know, on a fundamental level, that *I am the same as* whomever you are talking about, Muslims, people from Mexico, refugees from wherever. Partially because of my family history (refugees from a persecuted religion), partially because of my life experiences (growing up in So Cal you can’t other-ize Mexican immigrants, I am not straight, etc.), and partially from my belief system, which teaches me that those differences have no effect on a person’s humanity.

      Remember MLK, not the color of their skin but the content of their character? I am not doing a kumbaya color blindness thing — of course going through life as a person with certain characteristics means people have different experiences than I do — but that doesn’t change our fundamental equality and shared humanity. Knowing that we are all the same on that level makes it impossible not to empathize.

    • I’m kind of enjoying how everyone is taking your comments seriously. Wasn’t there a very similar post to this months ago?

      • If you coded comments on this s*te, there would be a lot of repeats. 1) Help I hate being a lawyer, how do I go in-house. 2) How does my pregnancy impact my job search. 3) Some variation on we’re TTC. 4) How do I invest? 5) Find me a carryon-sized piece of luggage. 6) Is Lo & Sons really worth it? 7) OG or OMG? 8) Do you wear fleece tights?

        • You forgot “I need an idea for a warm babymoon location that doesn’t have Zika”

          • Dangit, I knew I was missing a gimme.

          • nasty woman :

            Lol. +1,000

            Also, “tell me about your IUD.”


            “Confirm that bride/bridesmaid’s action is sane/insane.” Interestingly, it appears we have reached a consensus that an invitation is NOT a summons, as we haven’t seen as many “do I have to go to this wedding” questions as we used to. But maybe that’s just ’cause it’s not wedding season yet.

          • bahaha, yes, I was about to chime in – what about “is this bride unreasonable?”

        • ponte python's flying circus :

          9. “MM LaFleur – worth it? Fit advice please.”
          10. “How do I become a morning person?”
          11. ELLEN (welcome back!)

        • LOL!

        • Senior Attorney :

          9) Are water bottles/crutches/flat shoes/curvy figures professional?

          • Ha, SA! (Though this morning while I was getting dressed and waffling between feeling flyAF in my new dress and feeling like “ugh I don’t look professional because I’m not thin” I was wishing that this s*te, or some other one, featured pictures of non-skinny women looking professional. I realized I don’t have any image of how non-thin+professional looks, so it’s hard to be sure I’m ‘doing it right.’)

          • Calibrachoa :

            Clearly we need to start a #plussizepro hashtag or something!

          • Don’t forget blonde hair!

          • Senior Attorney :

            Right and I realized I forgot curly hair, too!

        • Add “My husband is not pulling his weight (w/r/t household tasks or contributing to family income because he wants to play all day), how can I talk to him/suggest counseling?”

        • hahahaha

        • Best thread

        • Oh man this sub-thread is killer. I’m dying.

      • Here’s a problem I need help with.

        Now I will argue with all of your suggestions.

      • LOL touche! I mean that it jogged my memory as being word-for-word. But I love the Corpo3yy3 bingo my comment inspired.

    • Net migration from Mexico is zero. It’s not Mexicans coming to this country, it’s Central Americans fleeing their home countries. If you’re going to be a racist bigot, at least get your facts right.

    • I think you are posing the question wrong.

      Policy should not be about what’s best – that assumes that people are logical, will follow the rules, make informed choices, etc. Any doctor or a sociologist will tell you that you are wrong about that. You should assume that people do not always do whats best for them, often do not make informed choices, are not logical, often do not follow the rules, that they are real people. Then you should make policies that are the “least bad” choice, and will bring improvement over our current position. This is where Americans are often blinded by their ideology, and are not paradigmatic enough. You can’t breed a new breed of logical, good, smart, good decision making, lawful humans. USSR already tried that. It tried very very hard for over 80 years (3 generations), and if failed miserably. You have to work with what you have. That’s why if you want to reduce abortions – you provide people with free and easily accessible birth control, and offer it right after delivery to teen moms. If you want to prevent HIV, you don’t tell people not to have sex – that doesn’t work, you give them PreEP. If you want people to save for retirement, you either start 401K for them by default, or better yet you institute country wide pension system.
      Terrorism is a hard question to tackle, and my homeland (Russia) has suffered from it beginning in the 90s. The spark for it was Russian war in Chechnya. And it has gone on since on and off, on and off. I also witnessed probably the biggest terrorist action in super peaceful and law abiding Japan in the modern history – a cult spread nerve gas in Tokyo subway. Many people died and got hurt. Perpetrators were all Japanese, headed by Japanese, and we still don’t really know why they did what they did. It was senseless and defies explanations. I think that one strong spark for current global terrorism was US’s involvement in Afghanistan in 80’s (when CIA trained Osama Bin Ladden to fight Russians), in the 90’s in Iraq, then in Somalia, then again in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think one way to reduce terrorism in US, would be to simply stop oversees wars. Stopping immigration is a wrong choice (I’m biased though, since I’m an immigrant), because one of the reasons US has done so well is because it Brain-Drained other countries. I think tampering down inflammatory political rhetoric would help, because I think that rhetoric can become intrusive thoughts in some mentally ill people, and push them over the edge. But realistically I don’t know how that could be done.

      • Anonymous :

        This is a great post. Agreed. (And the first point re: people not being rational actors reminds me of similar arguments in both economics and philosophy.)

    • I also sometimes struggle with empathizing with some groups of people. Particularly those who are relentlessly poorly informed about serious national problems, and result to simple-minded, bigoted slogans in lieu of thoughtful discussions of complicated policy. I really should work on that.

    • WhyIMarch :

      GO AWAY TROLL. Why even respond to what is clearly a troll? I miss the report post button.

  3. Yay Kat and Kate! I LOVE this sheathe dress, and it is perfect b/c it completely cover’s my top so there is NO peekeing in by FRANK. The manageing partner may not want to subsidize it b/c he knows the Judge likes to see “just a little more of me”, tho the Judge is MARRIED and would never think to actually do anything untoward to me. He is the true gentelman in court also, always refering to me as Miss Barshevsky, never Ellen! YAY!!!

  4. How you got here :

    How many of you guys believe youre where you are today (in your career but maybe even personal life too) due to the prestige of your school/connections rather than your resume/work experience alone? I went to a big state uni with great smaller programs/research opportunities I took advantage of and ended up networking hardcore through various alums to get where I am (5 years out of undergrad at a great research institute). I’m happy with where I am but sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if I pushed harder to go to an ivy or smaller private school with more connections…

    • First Year Anon :

      I mean this nicely, but why do you want to know the answer to this? You can’t change the past. I understand if it is just curiosity, and I have definitely had similar thoughts, but really all it does is hinder your motivation to get out there and work hard towards your goals.

      • +1

        Why are you perseverating on something like this?

        THAT is the question you should be asking yourself.

      • It was just curiosity. My cousin has been deciding if she wants to go to an expensive ivy or our state uni for undergrad and she was asking me for advice on what she should do – so it got me thinking lately if it really matters at the end of day as a whole… But youre totally right that focusing on it too much could hinder motivation to work towards your own goals…

        • I think it depends on what she wants to major in. State universities can have huge alumni associations that can be better for networking than an ivy, but it depends on where you want to live and what you want to do.

          • I think it might also depend on what her ultimate career goal is. If she wants to be a Supreme Court Justice, an ivy education (and top 3 law school) is probably more likely to yield that result. If she wants a decent job in a field she enjoys? A state school is probably fine. And she could go to a more prestigious school for grad school.

    • Zero, based on prestige. I don’t currently do anything related to my undergrad degree (southern ACC public university) and am 15 years out with a professional degree, so no one cares. I went to a fourth tier law school, so absolutely no prestige there.

      That said, I am very happy with where I am now and I wouldn’t be in this geographical location (which I love) without having come here for law school. I work hard and I network like CRAZY. I also am someone people find personable and easy to work with (so I am told). Those things have had a far greater impact on my career than any name recognition of where I went to school.

    • Anonymous :

      I went to a big state u with a strong and loyal alumni network – nowhere near the prestige of an Ivy, but a solid education. I don’t know that I would have ended up on this exact path without it. I’m 5 years out of undergrad (I was an early grad, Fall 2011, started work in Feb 2012) and have a job I love in the civil service.

      I don’t regret my choice of school, though if I could do this all again I would do ROTC.

      • Anonymous :

        That also said, if I was doing this today, I would prioritize low debt load over prestige for sure. A friend had a sister going off to college deciding between a good school where she got a FULL RIDE and Fordham. Liberal arts degree. Their parents were very generously covering the cost of attendance at the local state school, which would have let her out of the full ride school with no debt. She wanted a liberal arts degree.

        I have another good friend here with similar debt load to me (undergrad + master’s, no parental help) and we were both just imploring her to take the full ride. You don’t understand the value of that at 18. I sure didn’t.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, yeah. I went to Harvard (my parents paid 100%) and I know for a fact it has opened several professional doors for me. I got a full ride scholarship to a Top 30 law school and the law school admissions officer told me point blank that it was because of where I went to undergrad. They get a lot of applicants with good grades and test scores, but they don’t get many applicants from Harvard. My parents weren’t giving me any money for grad school, so that scholarship has made a huge difference to my quality of life and to what jobs I’ve been able to take (e.g., I left Big Law after 4 years with a nice financial cushion because I didn’t have a huge loan burden hanging over my head). And I know I got my first Big Law job because of Harvard. I was no-offered at my summer place and had to apply to firms as a 3L, which is tricky, especially coming from a non-top tier law school. The partner who ended up hiring me for his team told me that it was the Harvard on my resume that caught his eye and made him want to bring me in for an interview. (The same reasoning could apply if I’d gone to State U undergrad and then Harvard Law but I don’t think that path is as easy or common as a lot of people headed to state schools seem to think it is, so I still think the best bet if the financials make sense is to go to the best undergrad you can get into.)

      • I would counter that by saying that I’m the State U undergrad (full ride, no debt) and T-14 law school (approx. half scholarship), and there were many people in my law school class in a similar situation. It’s not necessarily easy to make that jump, but it’s common – good grades from any school + good LSAT will get you into a top law school. I’ve also found that the name/reputation of the law school matters significantly more than undergrad and definitely helped me get a clerkship and Big Law job outside of my home state

      • Yeah… if you can do an Ivy or a public Ivy, and you want to go into a field where having graduated from a brand-name school matters,* then I think it’s worth it.

        *Wild card: does going to an Ivy-type school make you more likely to go into fields or seek out employers where the brand name of your school matters?

        • I meant to add, “if you can do an Ivy or public Ivy without going into crushing debt.”

          Obviously, I understand that isn’t the case for many people.

        • JuniorMinion :

          Having gone through the financial aid system at an Ivy, I will say that the only people in crushing debt are those whose parents have high incomes / savings and refuse to contribute to their education. My parents were up on this scale somewhere (ie upset they would be considered responsible for funding college in the eyes of the government).

          I think at my prior school you go for free (with <$20k in total student loan debt) if your parents make less than $100k and there is a sliding scale of financial aid from $100k – ~$250k or so of family income. I hate seeing people not apply to schools they'd love to go to thinking that the sticker price is what they will pay.

          • +1 million to this. I went to H/Y/S and I know many people whose parents didn’t pay for 100% of their education or even close, but none of them had loans. They all got need-based aid from the school. If your parents make less than $100k your family won’t owe a dime. I actually think taking on loans to pay for school is way more common at less prestigious schools.

          • lost academic :

            +1 million

            I might also comment that there’s a difference between leaning on a strong and loyal alumni network for a school (e.g. large public U) vs being able to trade either within a large region or nationally/internationally on a reputation. My university happens to have that kind of reach and so I didn’t need to connect with an alumnus of my university to reap the benefits. Again – you can’t necessarily quantify or predict the how and when of that influence.

          • This whole “If you make under X, this college is free” thing is super weird to me. A colleague did the math when his kid was applying to some of these schools and with his just under $100k salary and his wife’s $30k salary, they were over the threshold for free college and their expected contribution was actually more than his wife’s after-tax income. She quit her job, and with his income alone, they were eligible for free college. That’s insane to me. I understand the goal of helping people who can’t afford college, but I don’t think it should work out so that it’s financially beneficial to quit your job. (Also we live in a super LCOL area, so people earning $100k are actually extremely well off and could easily pay for college out of pocket. I think the threshold should be adjusted based on where you live because $100k in rural Arkansas is orders of magnitude different from $100k in NYC.)

          • Agreed, though I will say that many of my friends from all across the income spectrum graduated from Ivies with some (not crushing) debt. I was lucky enough to not have any debt coming out, but my parents had saved some and I also worked at work-study jobs/as an RA, so that helped a lot.

            It was, in the end, significantly cheaper for me to go to an Ivy than my state flagship.

        • 100%

          I call this “achievement culture.” If you go to Harvard / Stanford /Yale, I think it is unlikely that you become a preschool teacher or junior high basketball coach or a detective (or enter the military) even if you would be the best one ever. You go to Goldman Sachs. At least to start with.

          Maybe you do Teach For America and then law school. But you’re probably not a lifer in education.

          • Hmm this is a really interesting perspective. At my state uni I was in the scholars program and I also participated in a few fellowships where I made most of my friends/connections/jobs etc. So there was definitely an achievement culture within my group of friends in this program (which overall was about 10-20% of the school) which really helped get me where I am today.

            And since graduating I’ve noticed the places of employment/law school, med school etc of my friends from uni didnt differ much from some of the ivy friends I have…

        • +1 to the achievement culture

          H/Y/S/MIT/UChicago/etc. create a culture of where many students/grads feel like they have to use their degree to do something prestigious they could not have done if they went somewhere else. The underlying (unfortunate) logic is that the acceptance rates are so low that if you “waste” your degree doing something that you could have done after going to a “no-name” school, your spot should have gone to someone who didn’t get in that would have pursued the prestigious opportunities that now may not be as available to them. It’s awful and I strongly disagree with it, but it’s the environment at those schools (undergrad and grad). It’s easy to tell students to ignore that and follow their passion, but achievement culture coupled with imposter syndrome at those schools is an incubator for sending people to prestigious positions where the ivy/ivy caliber name matters regardless of whether that’s what they actually want.

          Ask me how I know….

          • I think this might be true right out of college, but I went to one of those schools and am now just over 10 years out, and many of my friends have left the prestigious field to follow their passions. I have college friends who are yoga teachers, freelance writers, stay at home parents and travel agents. I also have three friends who did TFA right after college and stayed in education, all three of them are still teaching K-12 school now. They are not as common as the doctors/lawyers/engineers/finance people but I do know plenty of people who didn’t choose that path or who left it pretty early on.

          • JuniorMinion :

            I have sometimes wondered if this is correlation or causation…. I never wanted to go back to where I grew up. In order to do that I needed to get my foot in the door to a workplace and foot the bill for moving to some other place. Some of the business fields like finance are upbringing blind in this respect as they pay you enough as an intern to live wherever the job is, they don’t care what you wear in terms of designer duds (know some folks working in fashion who saw some of this), they give you a relocation package so you can move full time to wherever the job is (the startup costs in NYC are pretty crazy), and assist you with housing / pay you well enough to build savings / a career as a young person.

            Personally, even if I wanted to be a journalist / fashion / publishing intern I could never have done it as I couldn’t have lived / eaten. Additionally, a large part of the reason I chose to go to an Ivy was to not have to be in the place I grew up / financial situation of my parents so I was focused on getting a job with a lot of income growth potential.

            I guess in summary I fit into your bucket, but only because the whole purpose of me going to an Ivy league school was to get a better paying job than I could get from State U.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I think it is so situational and depends on what your other options are. I went to an Ivy, and am in a career field that values such things (finance). At this point I doubt people care too much about what I did in undergrad, but I definitely got my first job from on campus recruiting at said Ivy, and I do think the brand of that Ivy helped me to move across the country and get some job looks even though I didn’t go to one of the local schools here. For me it was worth it. I also got some level of financial aid which ended up not making my Ivy tons more expensive than state school. Additionally I grew up in a small town (~10k households) in a state sometimes referred to as the Bermuda triangle between NYC and Boston. Given the lack of employers in the state and the lack of a really well respected public college outside the state, I was hesitant to go through the state system.

      My general rule of thumb is if you want to work in finance / consulting / Silicon Valley / insert other specific field here where they recruit from certain schools it behooves you to go to one of those schools. I will say that I saw people get value from Ivy / Stanford / MIT / Caltech / what we used to call in finance recruiting the “Public Ivies” (UVA, UMich, Berkeley, UCLA etc.). I would not have forked over the tuition $$$ for a small liberal arts college (just on an ROI basis alone).

      • Agreed. I’m in finance and went to one of the public Ivies listed, and I’m really confident it opened doors for me that would not have opened otherwise.

      • Does it matter if your public ivy is in the SEC (so UVA vs William & Mary)?

        • UVA is in the ACC and William and Mary is in the CAA. There are no “public Ivies” in the SEC. I’m not sure why athletic conference would matter here–is there a particular reason you were asking?

          Also, dying over here at the thought of UVA football in the SEC. We’re not even in a particularly competitive football conference and we already get whaled on by everyone.

          • Obs not a football person!

            But I get that some people are big into this and maybe it makes a school better known (so UVA over Haverford/Amherst size school)? I know that Pittsburgh’s and Buffalo’s coaches went to W&M though. Maybe VA Tech b/c it is big and well-known?

            IDK how much this matters, but it may matter to the person hiring you if they aren’t familiar with a smaller school. Everyone has heard of Harvard (but Leland Stanford Junior University threw me the first time I read it that way — is it a junior college? I kid, I kid!).

    • I think it depends on where “The Man” in your local area went to college.

      I live in a small city in the south and “the man” (i.e. the local business owners/partners in law firms/whatever) went to the local state university for the most part. So taking a few classes at the local state university was a much better thing for my career than my expensive fancy liberal arts school that boasted about all its “connections”. The people who were really connected were the professors at state school who were friends with the local “Man”. Not the professors in my ivory tower undergrad institution.

    • lost academic :

      I’ve been told to my face that certain opportunities were made available to me purely on the prestige of my undergraduate institution. The majority of what I did after getting those chances had nothing to do with it, but one of the biggest chances I got was an interview at my first consulting firm that would not have been available to me otherwise. I see tons of people advocating against going to a pricier school and choosing a ‘cheaper’ state university (sticker price vs real dollar cost aside) because they don’t think this will matter. It really can. But you can’t always judge how or when it will. It’s a risk you take, and you take it at a pretty young age.

      • Just to humor us, where did you go?

        If it’s HYP and Stanford, I think that those are the gold standard. But in a hard science, it might matter a lot less. In something like working for McKinsey, it probably matters (and matters how well you did and what, exactly, you did).

        For some other jobs, a mouth-breather from HYP gets an interview just b/c of HYP. Not that that’s fair, but that’s how it is. I have a job like that and those kids from HYP may not fare any better than Phi Beta Kappa State U kids (who probably had the credentials enough to be contenders for HYP even if they were rejected — those schools reject more smart kids than they let in).

        • Anonymous :

          Not the OP but funny story– I have a non HYP undergrad; got a full ride at a top 50 school and took it although it was the least “prestigious”. During my interview to get into HYP med school, I was asked why I didn’t go there for undergrad. “I wasn’t accepted.” Ended up getting in so now I have an HYP MD. As an alumnus I contribute far more to non-HYP undergrad than to my med school.

      • I’ve had people tell me that because I was in Teach For America. First job post-commitment at a top financial services firm. Never had an impact thereafter.

    • Curious about these answers as my daughter is a junior in high school looking at colleges. Do you choose the best school you can get in, or the one that offers the most money? We won’t qualify for need-based aid but also don’t have the funds to pay $60k/year for each kid to go to college (government lawyers who spent years paying off our own debt . . .). She wants to go to MIT and might get in, but they offer only need-based aid, so even if she could get in, would we want to pay $60k/year when she could go to a good state U program for way less? I don’t know.

      • JuniorMinion :

        In my experience it depends on which state you are in / what you want to do. I am living in Texas, and UT or A&M engineering will get you a look with any major employer in Houston / Dallas, however the majority of the employers are looking for CS / ECE / MechE / Petroleum engineers.

        However, this is not true in every state / with every state U. All the state programs are not created equal unfortunately. In my prior life in NYC we (oddly) hired from a bunch of state schools in the midwest / south / california but not at all from the Northeast state schools.

        • CS/SE husband :

          Super late to this thread, but commenting anyway :) My husband did a CS/SE degree and became a software engineer with a huge company in Silicon Valley straight out of college. He really wanted to go to MIT or Carnegie Melon, but got a full ride to State U, which he took before applying to MIT. He graduated debt-free, and State U actually has a well-respected program in State for his degree. He ended up at Massive Tech Company, surrounded by several Ivy/public Ivy grads, and fared wonderfully. The difference is that he had zero debt, while they were slaving away to pay off their loans. He ended up doing a professional certificate at Stanford because Massive Tech Company has a partnership that allowed him to be automatically accepted and paid for, so now he’s got “continuing education” from Stanford. This helped him exactly…. never, but he feels proud to have the name on his resume. Basically, he kicked butt in his career with no help from a brand name school, and didn’t find his H/Y/S colleagues to be particularly smarter or more hard working than him. They’re smart, they do a fine job, but he wasn’t way out of his league with State U degree.

      • When it comes to fields like engineering and sciences sometimes state schools are just as good if not better than some ivies (MIT and Stanford are probably exceptions though…). It really depends on what she wants to do. Also take into account that her interests are likely to shift or change entirely once she starts school.

        For example, a lot of my friends at my large state research uni were pre-med/engineering and the pre med kids studied their butts off, got great MCAT scores and most got into the top 20 med schools with scholarships (super rare). In addition, a lot of nearby consulting companies (DMV area) recruited from our engineering school so many did not have a problem getting high paying jobs before graduation day.

        If she gets into a pricey school, wait and see if they offer her aid/scholarships. If she able to get into a school like MIT then she is likely to get double that or fully waived tuition at the nearby state school (most of my STEM friends had offers from other schools like that but ended up taking the state school scholarship). However, if your state school is weak in STEM and thats what she wants to do then a school like MIT is probably much better in the long run.

        • +1 to this

          My cousin’s kid is in NC and wants to go into a particular engineering field. For him, it was NC State vs . . . MIT /CalTech (but only if close to free)? Duke doesn’t really do engineering (I realize it does, but it’s not really what it could be) and neither does UNC. UNCC has a good program also. Since he wants to stay local as a grownup and hates winter, NC State it is.

          Parents are nurse / EMT.

      • I studied engineering at Big State U (Michigan, in my case), and we had recruiters for pretty much every major company come to the college of engineering. Many of the Big 10 schools have similarly good engineering programs, and engineers are highly recruited out of college.

        I’m really thankful that I ended up going to an in-state school, and don’t have student loans. It gave me a lot of freedom when I graduated from college. At 17, I didn’t really appreciate the difference between having debt or not, but now that I’m 29, I’m really grateful.

      • In my experience, more and more engineers are getting their MS now in addition to their BS. She should do her undergrad at a good State U, and then “upgrade” to MIT or wherever it may be for her graduate degree. Big name universities will get you places nationwide, but if you’re staying in state after graduation, the state universities will be just as good. For example, you don’t need to go to Cal Tech or Stanford in California. Berkeley is just as great for prospective employersthere. But if you’re in Georgia, a degree from Georgia Tech might ring a bell better than a degree from Berkeley.

        • I don’t know about other big name universities but MIT doesn’t really give masters degrees in engineering except to its undergraduate students (there’s a program where you earn your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years). MIT pretty much only takes students from non-MIT schools for its PhD programs and getting into those is harder than getting into a top college for undergrad, and definitely not something that’s likely to work out even with excellent grades from a state school.

          • Okay so not MIT… Carnegie Mellon and Stanford then? I personally know friends who got accepted for MS programs.

    • I think it’s a mix of both. I went to a college where everyone says “Oh wow, X School” about it. My law school was a top school, too, but I find law school really impresses fellow alumni (even if it is a T14 school). I know for a fact it has opened doors because I have been BCCd on networking emails where the subject line is “X School alumnus you have to meet” or whatever. I worked my a$$ off at that school, though, (also really helps to have a strong GPA from there) and then again in law school.

      In contrast, my fiance went to a state school. It is a great school (with a lot of successful alumni), but it doesn’t get the “oh wow” because it is a state school. He also worked his a$$ off and landed a really good job after college and has been in that industry ever since. Granted I left biglaw, but he still made more than me when I was in biglaw. Now that I’m in-house he makes more than twice as much as I do and has been promoted a lot. Now when people hear his job title they say “oh wow.” He is extremely smart and talented, but he grew up in a smaller town where the high school didn’t have AP classes and went to college at the same time as two other siblings, so he relied on scholarships, jobs, and in-state tuition and graduated debt-free.

      I also know a bunch of people who went to my fancy “oh wow” school and they are floundering, bopping around from odd job to odd job or their parents’ lifeline. Last I heard one of them walks dogs and lives at his parents’ home in Scarsdale. Another one went from being a 6th-year senior to a barista, then a shopgirl, and now a pilates teacher. Their parents would have been far better off not paying that expensive tuition and sending them to a state school, given that they don’t really use their degree.

      All this is to say, a school can open a lot of doors, but you still have to work hard at it.

    • I definitely got my first BigLaw job (an NYC law firm) because I went to Columbia — that’s why they interviewed me, etc. etc.

      Though I think that Columbia really only got me that far. I spoke to recruiters in Chicago who told me “we’re really looking only for *top* academic credentials” (I was in the top of my class all three years at CLS so…?) — I think they would’ve vastly preferred someone who went to a local school. Every now and then the knowledge that I went to a fancy law school makes people who weren’t taking me seriously start to, but those people sucked both before and after they knew where I went to school.

    • I didn’t go to an Ivy League school, but I went to a top-20 liberal arts school, and I don’t think it helped me get a single job that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. My small liberal arts college (NESCAC) is only known in certain areas of the country and among certain types of people (to be honest, wealthier people who care about prestigious college rankings). Many people I interviewed with for jobs probably would have to Google it to know anything about it, even though it is an excellent school that’s very competitive. Alumni connections have never helped me. Some of my peers went on to high-level jobs at awesome organizations, which is impressive. Others work as camp counselors and ski bums and beer sales representatives.

      • Yeah, if you’re going NESCAC, the only ones that matter from this perspective are Amherst and Williams. “Top 20” does not equal prestigious.

    • People in my small bumf * c k state are impressed with my Big Name masters degree (it’s not an Ivy but lots of people mistake it for one) but I know I would have gotten my jobs without it, too. So, I don’t think it’s gotten me anywhere other than impressing some coworkers.

      • Anonymous :

        I am almost relieved that I went to Obscure State U when I run around looking like a hot mess at home(working FT with two kids in big law). It’s not like I’ll ever get “bless her heart, I know whe went to [HYP], but look at her: she is wearing socks with her Crocs.” Now it’s just: bless her heart.

    • Jitterbug :

      Working in recruiting, I’ve definitely encountered hiring managers who like candidates from certain schools, but it has less to do with overall prestige and more to do with their experiences with candidates from those schools, and sometimes the strength of specific degree programs plays into it.

      That said, employers care about what you can do. They want to see hands-on experience with applicable job skills, and that usually comes from internships, on-campus office or research jobs (or helpdesk, if you’re IT bound), or in some cases senior projects. For most people, a degree from a fancy school will mean nothing without skills. There are employers with training programs for recent grads without a whole lot of experience (especially in sales or recruiting) but in many if not most fields, employers want recent grads who can hit the ground running.

      • lost academic :

        Also probably a good place to point out that the prestige of a school and its previous relationship with certain companies and their competitors is a driver of the job and internship opportunities available and targeted at those students. It’s a meritocracy, sure… after you realize that the same recruiters either aren’t at the smaller state schools or maybe just once, as opposed to doing informational sessions, fall internship interviews, spring internships, sponsoring events, new grad interviews…. they’re courting students from one place and mildly interested in others. It’s another item to consider, or dismiss.

    • I went to a state school for undergrad and a fourth tier state law school. I had very little debt, but I had to be very focused about getting relevant experience to my field, asking for help when job searching, and being very networking-oriented. I’ve had to take a lot more initiative in my career than the lawyers I know who’ve gone to better schools (e.g., directly applying to law firms for a summer associateship because they didn’t do OCI at my school, reaching out to a partner that I wanted to work for and letting him know I’d like to work for him, publishing articles related to my industry, starting a regular happy hour for lawyers in my practice area). Oddly enough, I think my background has served me very well. I started from a position of feeling like I needed to prove myself, and I’ve worked much harder and been much more strategic than I think I would’ve been if I’d gone to an Ivy.

      This is all just to say that I generally recommend that prospective law students take on as few loans as they can, even if that means going to a less prestigious school. If you go to a less prestigious school though, I think it’s important that it’s in the geographic area in which you’d like to work. And you’ll need to figure out early what type of job and practice area you’d like to target and then be very focused on laying the groundwork while you’re in school. IMO going to a less prestigious school tends to only work well for people who take it very seriously and are realistic about how to best position themselves for specific career opportunities.

  5. Summer shoes :

    I’m looking for new summer/spring shoes to wear at work. I’m so sick of my ballet flats, but I don’t want to wear clunky shoes and definitely no heels. I was thinking of trying out an ankle summery boot, but does that get too hot? I wear different shoes to commute, but my flats are getting sweaty after I just walk around the office a bit. Any alternatives I’m not thinking of?

    For style reference, I wear mostly pencil skirts and blouses in the summer.

    • First Year Anon :

      I have shoes with perforations/cutouts in them (it was trendy recently). I think they are professional and it helps cut down on the sweaty feet problem.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’ve been thinking about this as well. I was considering perforated oxfords, but I’d love other ideas.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I bought d’Orsay flats last year for this reason.

    • How about something like this?

      CL by Chinese Laundry Women’s Studio Super Sued Pointed Toe Flat, Dark Taupe, 7.5 M US

    • I’ve started wearing cute oxfords with no-show socks with my pencil skirts and dresses. I have a navy leather pair from DSW that are super comfortable. I get a lot of compliments on the look.

      • I agree. I have a heeled oxford that I love to wear to work. This one looks cute to me and seems like it would be nice for Spring in the “ballet” color:

      • I’d love recommendations for good no-slip no-show socks to wear with oxfords! I end up wearing nylon knee-highs because I can’t find a no-show sock that doesn’t slip down.

    • Open toed low wedges?

  6. Okay guys, I need your best recommendations for a travel steamer!

    • lost academic :

      Amazon keeps nicely up to date with the best models. I’d start there.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I got the one from the lady who invented the mop they made a movie about with Jennifer Lawrence (blanking on the name) and I like it a lot. Super cheap but I like it about a million times better than my expensive stand steamer.

      Okay broke down and Googled — Joy Mangano My Little Steamer. $19.99 before coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond.

      • +1 for Joy Mangano. I lost my first one and am on my second. Bring it everywhere. When taken apart it takes up very little room (I stuff it between cubes or rolled clothes) and does a bang up job. It’s my only steamer.

        If you buy it at BB&B you can get 20% off with their coupon.

      • Mop movie tangent: while trying to pick a movie a friend said to me, “You want to make me watch a movie about a mop? My precious time? Spent watching a movie about a woman and her mop!?”

    • I have been very happy with My Little Steamer. I use it at home and traveling – don’t even own a big steamer.

    • lawsuited :

      The Rowenta travel iron also works as a steamer and is fantastic.

    • Jiffy e-steamer the only one I have ever had that did not have lots of squirting water spots

  7. Any Vegan/Vegetarians Here? :

    I’ve been limiting meat to about 2 times a month and fish to once a week and feel pretty good about my health/impact on the planet. At some point I’d like to go full vegetarian/vegan but I’m doing at a slower pace since I know recidivism is really common for vegans/vegetarians and shrimp and cheese are my weaknesses. Anyone on here vegan or vegetarian (or ‘plant based’)? If so why and did you find it hard to transition or did you stop altogether?

    • There are quite a few of us here! I am vegetarian, but try to eat vegan sometimes too. I stopped eating meat/fish because I could no longer square it in my mind with my love for animals. I buy eggs and dairy from a small local farm where I get the meat for my dog’s food.

      I stopped cold turkey. It wasn’t hard at all for me. I gave myself permission to start as a pescetarian, but didn’t find it necessary. FWIW, I do not eat meat substitute products and very rarely eat tofu. I wanted to stay away from foods with fillers as well.

      I highly recommend the cookbooks Thug Kitchen puts out, as well as Veganomicon (recommended to me here).

      • Ohh I’ve seen Veganomicon everywhere, I’ll check that out.

        Also I dont like meat substitute products either (as well as cheese substitutes, like COME ON its just not the same) but I loveee tofu.

        • I’m with you! Luckily, the small Menonnite farm where I buy my animal products also makes delicious cheese. :) The animals are well cared for and get to wander around the fields, which makes me feel better about it. I am not perfect, but I try my best!

      • Baby Vegan :

        I have been vegan for about 6 months now. I started it due to health concerns (history of hormonal cancer that is significant enough that my doctors had concerns about the exposure to hormones in most of our main-stream meat/dairy supply). Once I started researching it and implementing it, the lifestyle became more about my impact on the planet and my love for animals. I do find it difficult when traveling/at conferences at times, but for the most part have adapted nicely and I am learning to plan better for situations where options may be difficult to find. I thought I would really miss meat and cheese, but the thought of it now tends to gross me out.

        • Really? Interesting…. Your oncologist recommended this, or your primary care doctor? It isn’t mainstream.

    • Many are successful, but it may take just a little bit more thought/organization initially. There are also nutritional issues for some, so be sure to let your doctor know when you change (although I find docs know very little about nutrition).

      My friends who were unsuccessful had health/nutrition issues that forced them back to some animal proteins. One had Celiac’s and some food anxiety issues, and became severely malnourished on her vegan diet. Two friends developed B12 deficiency with neurologic symptoms because they weren’t in supplements. One reversed her symptoms by adding B12 supplements, but unfortunately passed this deficiency to her infant she was nursing. Another friends has some long standing residual problems.

      I do have several friends successful with plant based diets. Weight gain is sometimes an issue.

      • Oh yes! Important point about making sure you add appropriate supplements. I take a B-complex vitamin daily for B12 purposes. My iron levels have been great and I otherwise am very healthy per my doc/annual physical.

      • When I got bloodwork done recently they didnt point out any abnormalities so maybe I wont need supplements? Then again, I should probably go to a nutritionist…

        My issue that I totally fine when I’m at home (I only rarely by fish and I dont buy dairy or meat) but I’m so easily swayed/tempted sometimes when I go out to eat =(

        • FWIW, I had no abnormalities pointed out to me until this past year when I was very low in B12. I knew I needed to take the supplement but had been very lackadaisical about it. I got my three months of injections and now I am sure to take it every day even though I eat eggs at least twice a week and yogurt three to four times. I may have absorption issues generally, but I would still bring it up to your doc in the conversation regarding what you would need to supplement if you go veggie/vegan.

          • I got bloodwork done during my annual physical exam a couple of months ago and casually mentioned that I dont eat much meat anymore and she said I was fine when she saw my results. But yeah I think it would be better to bring it up to a (doc nutritionist?) in a few months and ask specifically about supplements and stuff like that.

          • Sometimes you need to be proactive. Next visit, ask specifically about the levels you are interested in. My doc was led never check these things if I didn’t ask. They are pretty low on the totem pole to a typical doc who is thrilled that I’m not obese and haven’t developed type 2 diabetes yet…. Remember, docs aren’t really trained in basic nutrition.

            So we need to think of the big picture for ourselves.

            Doc nutritionists are very hard to find and I found many hospital based nutritionists poorly trained in this arena.

            My friends who developed B12 deficiency really shook me up. One had developed a sleep disorder, neuropathy, and walking problems, and these were slow to reverse… All from low B12.

        • Doctors do not check b12 levels routinely. So you need to tell your doctor if you change your diet, and especially is you are vegan. At a minimum, you need to take B12 supplement. Is you are cutting dairy and don’t get sufficient sun exposure, vitamin D will likely be low. And for many, iron will drop (which is a risk for us anyway as women while we menstruate). I have accepted being borderline anemic due to my dietary choices, and I supplement B12 and vitamin D. My doctor keeps any eye on all of these levels.

          It is also not good to blindly take supplements without following your levels, as there are risks to too much of some vitamins as well. Iron can also give you unpleasant side effects (stomach upset, constipation for some – vitronC can help avoid this).

          Speaking of bowels (bleh!), while some people seem to see improvement there with more beans / lentils etc… it can vary and I have a friend you struggles the other way. It depends on your diet / body.

          Do a little reading about nutrition and vegan/vegetarian diets. You do need to be on top of this one.

        • If you eat some animal products (dairy, eggs) you probably don’t need supplements. I have been a vegetarian for decades and my iron and b12 have always come back with very good results (with one exception – I had gastritis and low but not dangerously low b12 for a month). Part of it is genetics – some people are more susceptible to anemia than others, but it can also be compounded by GI issues, the type of foods you eat and the combinations you eat them in, whether or not you give blood, etc.

      • This is absolute bullshit. Vegans and vegetarians are scientifically proven to be healthier and weigh LESS. Supplementation is pretty idiot proof too, just take your b12.

        • So…. I guess all of B12 deficient friends are idiots. Thanks for that. PhD idiots, nonetheless!

          And “some” do gain wait. I didn’t. But my colleague (who eats a lot more carbs on her vegan diet) did.

          Just something to be aware of.

          We’re not attacking “you”.

          • It kind sounds like your friends all had some type of eating disorder. Vegan diets are commonly used as cover for EDs. Most people on these diets would lose weight (unless you’re a junk food vegetarian/vegan) when coming from a standard american diet, making it more appealing to people with disordered eating patterns. If you approach it thoughtfully, which the Op is doing, you’re not going to become malnourished and fat. Someone with a history of EDs or who is prone to them should be careful, though.

          • Anonymous :

            Nope, they didn’t have an eating disorder. Just busy, not careful in balancing meals/nutrients, and maybe it was their biology and they weren’t absorbing. Vegan (one loosely vegan). One was overweight, and a fabulous cook. The other didn’t like to cook, and ate a lot of the same thing. They just didn’t take B12 regularly.

            Just trying to educate on the basic issues.

    • I was vegetarian for a while, but it didn’t work for me, so I guess I’m the example you shouldn’t follow :) I stopped eating meat and fish because of ethical and environmental concerns. I already cooked almost exclusively vegetarian because touching raw meat grosses me out, so it was more a question of what I ate at friends’ houses or ordered at restaurants. (I will say that veganism was always a big nope for me–I love butter, cheese, and honey too much for that to be a lifestyle I could live with.)

      I would probably still be vegetarian if it wasn’t for my history with ED. Designating certain foods as off-limits ended up being really triggering for me–the last time I actually engaged in disordered eating patterns was the time I was the strictest about vegetarianism. Because of my specific issues and my specific triggers, being a vegetarian was not good for my health. So I’m back to being an omnivore, even though I still eat vegetarian most of the time. I do cook fish more often now, and have been easing into cooking meat since I moved in with my SO, who is a committed carnivore. I aim for a Mark Bittman-esque “vegetarian (often vegan) until 5pm” and mostly get there.

      • Thats really interesting. The past few months I’ve been sucked into the world of vegan youtubers (mostly for meal prep/recipe ideas and theres sometimes drama lol) and almost all of them have a history of ED and how the diet ‘healed them’. I appreciate their perspective but at the end of the day they’re ultimately spouting pseudo science which I really believe is dangerous for their large (primarily young) following.

        I’m glad youre following the best diet that works for you and your health :-)

        • Yeah, be careful about those stories.

          My friends with eating disorders who went vegetarian are not.. doing well. One I would describe as skeletal…. An awful combination of disordered “healthy” no-sugar vegetarian eating and severe nutritional deficiencies. She also serves as a “mentor” for several online eating disorder groups, which is just end f*cked up.

          That being said, there are many many very healthy people eating tasty nutritious veg diets. Just make sure you know your motivations, read up (not just bloggers….), and take your supplements.

        • The Balanced Blonde (formerly the Blonde Vegan) has a really good counterpoint to the “healing ED via veganism” narrative, if anyone is interested.

          I am so totally pro-vegetarianism and veganism. I just think it’s also important to remember that for all of the really great reasons to become vegan or vegetarian, there are also reasons why it may not work for everyone. And if that ends up being you, that’s okay! There are still so many ways to mindfully nourish your body in ways that align with your values. I feel like the vegan movement in particular is so all-or-nothing…like either you’re a vegan, or you hate animals and the planet and are a horrible person who should become a vegan ASAP.

    • I have been a vegetarian since I was a teenager. It’s easy for me because the thought of meat really grosses me out. It’s going to be harder if you crave meat or other animal products. To reduce your consumption, figure out *why* you crave those items. Is it because you don’t feel actually full if you don’t eat meat? If so, add more plant-based fats to your diet, like avocado, coconut, olive oil, etc. Is it because you just like the taste of those specific items? If that’s it, find plant-based foods with similar umami flavor profiles – grilled or smoked portabello mushrooms, for instance, or vegan “tuna salad” if you like seafood.

      Overall though, if you are trying to become vegetarian for environmental/ethical reasons, I think you might be more successful if you focus on eating less meat/seafood/animal products and only from ethical sources instead of cutting them out altogether. If you’re buying all of your animal products at your local farmer’s market and indulging in them once a week, that’s a heck of a lot better than being vegetarian for 2 months and then going back to eating mass-produced meat every day for a month.

      • +1

        A lot of wisdom here.

      • Second paragraph is my approach to this. I am careful about where I buy meat, and cook it about once a week or less for dinner (so I end up consuming meat maybe … a dozen meals per month). Breakfast and lunch are almost exclusively vegetarian, exceptions pretty well limited to times I’m not in control of the menu. I love meat and don’t want to give it up, but I also love the environment and have serious concerns about mass produced meat. My compromise is both cut back and consider sources. I haven’t found this at all difficult to stick with, whereas I know vegetarianism would be hard for me.

      • I know someone who gained quite a bit of weight as a vegan b/c Fritos were the only delicious thing left. Being a more mindful person may be a middle ground.

      • If I was a rich movie star and had a personal chef/dietician, I would be vegan in a heartbeat.

  8. Big Law Junior :

    Good morning big law associates! I need some advice. When I started working things were incredibly slow, leading to a debilitating fear of having 0 hours. Then I was put on a case that went to 11 i.e. nothing but work and sleep. Now things are…good? There’s always more that could be done, but isn’t immediate, so I’m never sure if it’s ok to stop. Is 9 hours enough? Does it need to be over 10? I stress about whether or not I look like I am working enough, despite the fact that my hours are on track for bonus now. No one has ever said anything to me to suggest that I’m not working hard enough, so this is all my internally imposed Type A personality. Which leads to my questions:

    What is your weekly average for billables? What year/group are you? Are these feelings just normal for big law?

    • Anonymous :

      I always aimed for 200 a month when I was busy, because there were bound to be slow periods (I don’t think I ever hit 2400 in one calendar year, but I definitely had a 12 month span where I billed 200+ every month, which was brutal). Aiming for 200 per month usually put me in the 2100-2200 hour/year range which was sort of the minimum at my firm if you wanted to be seen as a top performer, even though our official minimum was much lower. That translates to a little less than 10 hours most workdays if you’re trying to keep your weekends clear.
      Yes, these feelings are totally normal in Big Law.

    • Marshmallow :

      Same as Anonymous: I aimed for around 200 but wound up blowing past that regularly during those “only sleep and work” periods you describe. That made up for slower months that were more in the 170 neighborhood. If you’re routinely only billing the exact amount you’d need for bonus, I’d see if you can take on a smaller case or even some pro bono. If you’re normally a little above, I think you’re fine.

    • what’s “enough” is a super ymmv issue – among firms, offices, practice groups and even levels (e.g., a junior doing 200 hrs of month on a document review versus a mid/senior doing 170 a month juggling several cases.) can you ask someone in your office about what they are doing?

      Fear of too much work/not enough is a pervasive issue as an associate in biglaw.

      My “normal” (admittedly in relatively human practice groups at relatively humane firms) has been in the 170 hr/mo. range, with some months much higher (200+) and some months lower (140) due to lack of work or time off. … but if you’re in a firm that expects 2500 a year from associates, (1) figure that out ASAP, and (2) adjust accordingly so you’re billing 200+ a month.

    • This is very group-dependent. When I was an associate, I was anywhere from 2200-2400. But that oscillated WILDLY. In my experience, it was very okay to peace out at 5 if you weren’t on a deal – both firms I have worked at have been big on enjoying the down time when you can. But some firms aren’t like that.

      As a partner, I bill anywhere from 170-220 in a month, with 50-75 hours of client development on top of that.

      I’ve spent my entire career in corporate practices.

      • Big Law Junior :

        I clearly jinxed myself by asking this, but thank you all for your comments! Having some guidance is helpful – mostly to make me feel I’m less crazy. I think I’m doing ok, I’m averaging over 200, but after billing more than 100 over that, it just feels weird. Thanks again!

  9. Bridal Dresses :

    Two wedding dress questions…

    I keep reading articles that say you need “at least” three dress fittings. Why? I bought my dress online and it fits well off the rack – but of course there are some small adjustments to be made (shorten straps, add bra cups, maybe take in waist if I lose a little weight). The dress is pretty simple – short, no train or bustling. It does have a corset-like internal bodice – just a little boning and soft. My wedding is late June. Can I plan for just one trip to the tailor, in late May?

    Second, the dress is A-line and a little limp/flat. It’s also slightly see-through (has pockets in the lining that are visible through the top). I think the obvious answer here is a petticoat to give the dress some lift / festive poufiness. How do I go about finding (an inexpensive) one? Amazon has some that are very inexpensive and pretty cheap material, but does the quality really matter as it’s an undergarment? Can the petticoat be altered to align with the hem’s dress? And can a tailor sew a petticoat into a dress? Having visions of it slipping on my waist and poking out too far from the bottom of the dress. Basically, no clue about petticoats.

    • lost academic :

      I think 3 fittings looks like this traditionally: fitting 1, when you’re choosing and trying on the samples. Fitting 2, when you get the actual dress that will be YOURS and decide on the alterations. Fitting 3, to make sure those were the right alterations and you’re all done (maybe a bit of a mod if there’ve been changes). Maybe I’m wrong?

    • Heyo, just had my first fitting! Have you ever been a bridesmaid? About 98% of my clothes fit me off the rack, except for bridesmaid dresses. Even when I order my “street size,” they were always too big and definitely too long. My wedding dress was the same. It needs an inch taken in, also needs some extra lining to even out color (sheer paneling trend in bridal is still going strong), and needs to be hemmed and bustled. Mine is strapless so I want to make sure I am not hiking it up all night, so it’s important to me that it fit perfectly on top. It is also a goal for my b0*bs to look ‘nice’ – not pushed up and gaudy, but not flat, which a tight dress can do. My first fitting was taking it in around the waist. When I go back next, the lining should be added, and (assuming it fits right around the waist/bodice), they will cut the hem and create the bustle. By the third fitting, it will be closer to the wedding, so hopefully only minor tweaks. I only pay for work that is actually done, not how many visits. Now that spring is coming up, their schedule is filling up, too, so while they could achieve it all in a rush order, I am trying to give the seamstress time. It sounds like you can probably have your dress ready in 1-2 fittings, but I would still give plenty of time at the first fitting (for your lining, petticoat, etc.) and put the second one closer.

    • Fitting one- measuring, pinning, trying on with petticoat.

      Fitting two- try on with basted alterations to bodice, pin hem

      Fitting three- try on final.

      You don’t just go in and they sew it all at once, and you can’t hem a gown correctly until the bodice is fitted because that will change the length.

    • I think you would be better off going once in late April/early May so that you have time to go back again if the alterations aren’t quite right. I think you’ll regret it if you only allocate enough time for one fitting and then it doesn’t fit quite right.

      You should be able to buy a slip for the dress at the bridal salon where you purchased your dress. They come in varying amounts of volume, so you can make the dress as poofy as you want. These don’t really need to be sewn in, but can be hemmed. If you have a floor length gown, you will want one of these even if you don’t need the volume – having the slip there helps keep the dress from tangling around your legs as you walk.

    • That’s funny, I was just looking at this last night! My tailor’s website said that ideally you should bring your dress at least 12 weeks before the wedding date, and that anything less than 6 weeks would be considered a rush order and cost extra. Taking that into account, you should probably start calling and make your first appointment in April at the absolute latest.

      For petticoats, I ordered one off of Amazon to try it on, since I was allowed to return it for free. I tried an Undercover Bridal petticoat which was OK but not quite the right shape for my dress. They’re just tulle on the bottom, so your tailor should be able to trim it with scissors to get it to the right length for your dress. They can also depouf it by cutting out some of the tulle. I will probably end up buying one from David’s Bridal, since I think you can try them on in the store, or from the Undercover Bridal website since they had many more options than the one or two on Amazon prime. The reviews on some of the cheap Chinese brands on Amazon seemed ok but they sounded like they ran quite short.

    • Anonymous :

      This is definitely a time when you want to add more buffer than you think you need. In my experience, the best tailors had a wait time to get an appointment, so don’t wait – call now! And allow time for three, one to come in and get it pinned and describe what you want, once to be sure it fits properly, and a third just in case the second wasn’t quite right. Most alterationists aren’t going to charge you for a third visit if you don’t need it (I can’t think of anyone who would, but you never know). Also, mine was not a flat fee per dress or per visit. She charged me based on what I needed done, so really no reason to limit visits.

    • May is too late. Most bridal tailors need a few months. And yes, they can add volume and coverage to the bottom by sewing it in or you can buy a separate piece.

  10. Anyone else limping through the finish line this week? I’ve been slammed at work for last two weeks, then had a really busy weekend, and so all I’ve been able to give this week is the bare minimum required for survival. My hair looks like crap today (it’s usually cooperative so I have no skills to fix it), my nailpolish is so chipped you could use it as a case study in How Not to Corpore**e, I have a zit (I never get zits), I might need to take my dog to the vet (my dog never gets sick), and it rained for the exact 10 minutes I was outside this morning. Without a raincoat or umbrella, because of course. I think I have a hangover from my life.

    • Anonymous :

      My job has been a trash fire the last two weeks. I left in tears yesterday, and I was upset because I had to leave for a non-negotiable appointment but I had been working with my boss and I felt like that made her doubt my commitment. (she had known all day I was leaving early but I still felt like shit). I overslept this morning so feel frumpy today. Etc. Etc. I really do relate.

      The bright light at the end of the tunnel is that I am leaving tomorrow at 3:30 to fly to California and get out of dodge for a little bit. Dodge being DC.

    • Hi!! I have a first-class ticket on the struggle bus right now.

    • I had a workshop on Wednesday that normally happens on Friday and apparently just decided I was in weekend mode. I had a doctor’s appointment mid-morning and we’ve been hit with a massive storm so I’m “working” from home but haven’t been able to get started properly. Have done some bits around the house, figure if I can get some things off my weekend list, I can carve out some writing time on Saturday am.

    • Are you me? I am having the exact same day– hair, nail polish, zit, vet (cat instead of dog), and rain. I am probably going to allow myself to leave work a few minutes early and just texted my best friend for a night of wine + reality tv.

    • I’ve been in the office for exactly 2 hours this week (Monday) — otherwise, I’ve been at home, laid up with a raging case of strep throat. It’s totally thrown off my entire week! I’m finally on meds and feeling a teeny bit better, but still not well enough to go to work today. It’s killing me. I’ll be back tomorrow (and I’ve been working from home) but FOUR DAYS OUT?!?! That feels like a lifetime. And my husband has had to pull kid duty with our three littles which is never easy for anyone to solo parent. Blerg.

      • My 11 year old was down for a full 7 days with strep throat last week. I was shocked at how much it wiped her out! Just piping up to say to take care of yourself because it’s scary/annoying/miserable to wake up and spend yet another day being unable to leave the couch because you can’t seem to kick it.

        Hang in there!

    • I’m there too. My hair is a mess, I’m frustrated because I haven’t been losing weight despite my diet/exercise efforts, I’m having second thoughts about the guy I’ve been dating and don’t really want to see him tonight… I feel like it’s just one of those days and I’m in a terrible mood.

      • Can you nicely reschedule your date? No one likes getting canceled on, sure, but maybe it would be better to take it easy and have some alone time tonight so you’re not forcing yourself to put on a happy face.

        • TO Lawyer :

          Ya I decided to cancel it. Even if my feelings are just because of my bad mood, I don’t want to fake it and I’d much rather have couch time tonight!

      • Me too with the not losing weight. I’m averaging about 400 calories a day below my maintenance target and I GAINED 2 pounds this week. I don’t have PMS. I lift weights with a trainer 2x a week, eat almost no carbs, do cardio 1 or 2x a week and yoga or a long (like over an hour) walk every week. I think my years of dieting have messed up my metabolism so much that I’d have to eat 1000 calories a day to lose 1 pound a week. Ugh.

        No answers, just comeriseration.

        • TO Lawyer :

          I have no idea… My trainer has suggested that maybe I need to eat more? So I’m trying to increase the protein… It’s frustrating though, especially since I’m depriving myself of junk food and wine.

          Commiseration definitely – maybe it’ll kick in eventually and the pounds will melt off soon for both of us?

    • I feel you! Caffeine is the sole reason I’m functional at work today…. hoping the rest of day and tomorrow are slow so I can go home early and recuperate with sleep and netflix

    • I’m counting down the hours until [drink of some sort? don’t have the brains to figure it out yet] tomorrow evening.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Amen to that. We had houseguests all weekend and at the beginning of the week. So glad to see them, so glad our weekend has very little on the calendar…

      I’m really craving some time alone that isn’t in my office. Work has been nuts, home life has been crazy, I AM SO OVER FEBRUARY. You know it’s a tough spell when you really, really get excited because of Thursday night TV.

    • I woke up this morning and for a brief, glorious moment I thought it was Saturday. Then I realized it wasn’t even Friday.

    • I sliced off a piece of my finger this morning while prepping dinner for tonight. Lesson learned: mandolines shouldn’t be used when you’re rushing.

  11. Uber's culture :

    I’m not exactly surprised by this but still nauseating to read

    • Uber's culture :

      Their “apology” also strikes me as garbage. They developed this culture, how are they so surprised it exists.

      • I agree with your comments about the culture, but I can’t really think of what they could have said in their apology that would have been better. They condemned what happened to Susan Fowler in very strong terms and said they would investigate ASAP – what more could they say?

        • Uber's culture :

          What they said is fine I guess, corporate wise expecially. I think I’m more upset about their “surprise” and “shock” than at the apology directly. They could have said “we have noticed this problem in our culture and will investigate X” instead of “how could this have happened? oh my!”

  12. Storm Doris is causing all kinds of issues today. But at least I’m complaining about something that isn’t politics!

  13. BabyAssociate :

    I love the neckline of this dress but I HATE the sleeves! Please tell me these are going to go out of style soon…

  14. Off-key Valkyrie :

    Following yesterday’s jewelry thread, can anyone recommend a translucent grey or black stone? I can’t wear earrings unless they are all gold, so I need a single neutral pair that will match most of my wardrobe, and I’ve never cared for the look of diamond or clear crystal.

    • Anonymouse :

      Not translucent, but what about labradorite?

    • I have a pair of onyx studs that sound like what you’re looking for, but I always feel kind of Hot Topic-y when I wear them for some reason. Have you thought about black or gray pearls?

    • Try searching for rutilated quartz. I was going to recommend something like the link below, but the posts are gold vermeil, not solid gold.

      • Off-key Valkyrie :

        Oh how pretty! Exactly what I was looking for, I’ll hunt around for similar with better posts.

        • I LOVE rutilated quartz – it’s very versatile IMO. In fact, I am wearing a RQ pendant from that jeweler today! It has become my go to necklace. I lost one of my RQ earrings and am going to see if a local jeweler can make me a match or make it into a ring or something.

      • Ooooh. I need new earrings like I need a hole in the head, but those are beautiful.

    • Moonstone, which also is inexpensive.

      • Hey! Well, thanks for not calling me “cheap.” Seriously, moonstone jewelry is lovely. (I’m more about the Wilkie Collins novel.)

      • Mrs. Jones :

        +1. Just got some locally-crafted moonstone earrings and love them.

    • Off-key Valkyrie :

      I’m genuinely not trying to be difficult, but I wore a lot of labradorite and moonstone in my 90s west coast hippie era-does anyone have suggestions how I could avoid that vibe? I still usually wear jeans to work, and use words like vibe…

      • I think it’s all about the setting. Hippy-dippy jewelry usually has a more ornate setting, with swirls or balls of silver – or gold, but it’s usually silver – or leaf/feather details, maybe some oxidation to “antique” it. A more modern setting is simpler, like a clean, polished bezel.

        Modern example:

        Hippy example:

        • Off-key Valkyrie :

          Haha! Yep, I think I had those hippie ones in high school. I still like them, just not for work.

        • Ha! I tell myself my “hippie” reads “witchy” because I wear it with otherwise #OfficeGoth stylez…

      • I have a pair of dark blue sapphire studs I wear a lot more than I was expecting and I think they go well with jeans. Not black but may still fit with what you’re looking for

    • I like a mix of edgy and classic, but you might try looking at raw black diamond druzzy earrings. I have a raw black diamond engagement ring (faceted) and love the hazy, smokiness of it. Etsy might be a good place to start.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have a pair of Tahitian pearl earring on a small diamond huggie/hoop, and I cannot believe how often I wear them.

      • SFAttorney :

        Me too but the pearls were on a small gold hoop. I had them for years and lost one of them recently. I need to replace them. They were very versatile.

    • Grey topaz (or london blue topaz) are both gorgeous. Dark gray pearl studs in an interesting setting would also be beautiful and go with everything.

  15. Can anyone comment on the quality of Everlane’s silk? I’d like to get a top to wear under suits, but I don’t want to dry clean all the time and I was wondering if they will hold up to handwashing. Thanks!

    • I handwash mine in a bucket of cold water and woolite and then air dry and it’s held up well. Plus it’s in the ecru color which is quite light.

    • I’m wearing my black silk blouse today. I (gasp) machine-wash in the delicate cycle, hang dry. No issues and it’s been in regular rotation for more than a year.

    • I’ve been handwashing my Everlane silk too with no problems. Honestly, I feel like the quality of their fabrics is a lot higher than you can get at the same price point from most traditional retail and I’ve been very happy with their silk in particular (J Crew’s silk lately has felt pretty funky and Ann Taylor’s is basically non-existent).

  16. Vicarious Coat Shopping :

    I’m in need of a spring jacket – something that fits my business casual small college campus office, possibly with hood. I’d love a color or pattern rather than dark neutral. Not sure what style – I’m a plus-size hour glass and a trench/waist-tie never look right; they get bunchy or puffy in the wrong places. Budget is under $100. Bonus points if I can order online with free shipping/free returns.

    • I have a older version of the Boden Mac that I really like a lot: It’s $150, but 20% off. I normally wear a 16, but sized down to a 14 and it’s still very roomy.

      • I also have this jacket, and I get tons of compliments on it:

      • Vicarious Coat Shopping :

        Thanks! Both of those are very cute. I really like the Boden.

    • Anonymous :

      I am a similar shape and I love swing/a-line jackets.

    • Athleta has had some really cute jackets lately.

  17. Anonymous4 :

    A question of email etiquette. I am mid-level in my department but my position requires that I routinely interact with the President of the college. I have always addressed her as “President XYZ.” She has never invited me to address her by her given name. I have noticed, however, that in emails she signs using only her given name (no surname, no title).

    I should continue to address her as President XYZ, correct? Until there is an invitation to use her given name?

    • I use how someone signs an email as an indicator of how to address them. So if she signs her emails “given name” I would address future emails to “given name.” I think I would continue addressing her as President XYZ in person though until she says otherwise.

    • I had a similar situation and continued to call her Dr. Soandso. She was also a medical doctor. Even though she signed emails her first name I never felt comfortable and she never invited me to call her by her first name.

      • Anonymous4 :

        Using a formal title feels clunky, but also feels appropriate. Seems like my instinct to remain with her title and surname is correct.

        • I’m also mid-level but interact with senior leadership all the time. The former head of my agency was a doctor (the Ph.D. kind) as well as the formal title of head of agency, and I always called him by his first name in email.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I feel like the email signature is an invitation to use the given name. I often receive emails addressed to me using my title, and if I sign with my first name that means that’s how I want you to address me. If I sign with my initials, that means you should continue to use my title. (I can’t bring myself to sign using my title.)

      • Senior Attorney :

        Although if I’m feeling super fancy I use a signature block with my title.

      • Anonymous4 :

        Thanks for this insight. I’m very new on the job, and while most of my campus is pretty casual, I find the President herself to be more formal. My colleagues don’t seem to be consistent in how the refer to her, which has made things more challenging.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Is calling her something like “Pres” an option? Sometimes people use a shortened version of my title and that works well.

  18. ContractingWoes :

    Just need to vent:

    A recruiter reached out to me about a ideal job, that needed a quick-fill, and told me they’d already won the work (government contracting). I go on to have a great phone screen with the manager… who informs me they they want to submit my resume for work they haven’t won yet. Unclear whether the initial recruiter was confused about multiple task orders or if some sort of bait and switch occurred, but I’m just really bummed out that I have to wait another 3+ weeks to learn if the company even wins the contract. (I did sign the LOI, because if they do win it, I absolutely want it.) I hate hate hate where I presently work and was ready to consider giving less than 2 weeks notice to accommodate the quick-fill and get out ASAP. I’ve been job hunting for months and, while I’ve been getting interviews, they’ve all resulted in either junk offers or realizing that the positions wouldn’t further my goals. I was really excited to be potentially… done.

    Thanks for listening to me vent (and the inside baseball).

    • I’m still a relative newbie when it comes to government contracting, but my immediate thought is that they presumably won a contract vehicle but still need to submit for the actual work. Small companies in particular love to tout their contract vehicle wins and often use misleading terms to suggest they won, for example, a $10 million contract when, in fact, they won a $10 million contract vehicle and may never come close to actually winning $10 million of work to fill the vehicle.

    • The worst. Contracting is so complicated. I actually got in to it with a friend of mine who had signed a contingent offer because he did not understand what that meant and was making life choices based on that, and then snapped at me when I tried to explain it to him.

      I like being a fed now, but contracting has it’s benefits. Sending you good juju!!

  19. Anonymous :

    Maybe the costume/fine jewelry thread was a harbinger, but I got a terrible rash from a necklace yesterday. I got a long, costume necklace from Izod for Christmas. I’ve worn it 2 other times without issue, but yesterday, I realized I was developing a rash after a few hours. I took it off, but I nonetheless woke up with an even angrier, red, bumpy rash all around my neck.

    Very disappointing! I assume the finish wore off, but on the 3rd wear? I’ve never had a neck rash, although cheap earrings do bother me occasionally.

    • Anonymous4 :

      Is it possible the material reacted with lotion or some other cosmetic? It could explain why you haven’t reacted before.

  20. Looking for a beach vacation spot for the first week in May from D.C. DH and I are happy to sink in with booze and books and good food, with no adventuring necessary. Any suggestions for somewhere to totally unplug and decompress?

    • Cancun is a quick flight from DC and has beautiful beaches. We went to the Live Aqua resort there which is an adults-only all-inclusive and thought it was one of the most relaxing vacations we’ve ever taken, and we’ve been all over the place.

    • Roatan Honduras — Mayan Princess or Infinity Bay

  21. Marshmallow :

    I forgot to put on perfume this morning and feel super weird at work. We’ve probably had this conversation before but I can’t remember one recently: does anyone have a go-to fragrance or do you switch it up? What makes a perfume appropriate for work, or not? Obviously too much of any scent is too much, but I’m thinking about the scent notes here.

    For the past few months I’ve been on a Nirvana Rose kick. I usually only wear one spritz so I think you can only smell it if you get really into my personal space (so, not my coworkers). I like that it’s kind of dark and woodsy but still a little bit floral.

    • I’m team no perfume at work. I used to wear one spritz and a secretary who had a perfume sensitivity still couldn’t ride the elevator with me in the morning.

      • blueberries :

        +1 team no perfume at work. Some fragrances pose a respiratory problem for me, but I’m reluctant to ask someone to change something so personal unless it’ll put me in the hospital. There are a lot of people like me.

    • Anonymous4 :

      I have two scents I enjoy: Vera Wang Princess & Versace Versense. Both of them are relatively light scents as I don’t care for anything too dark or heavy. I find that heavy musks seem to be the most distracting to me in the workspace, and also seem to be the most likely to permeate.

      • Anonymous4 :

        Bah, in moderation presumably for saying Vera [email protected]

        I’m also a one spritz gal, and personally find musky scents or something that is predominantly one note (like the heavy rose perfume my grandmother wore) to be the most distracting in the workplace.

    • +1. I used to wear perfume until I had a boss with multiple chemical sensitivities and asthma. She politely asked we not wear any perfume or use scented products, and I realized how harmful these products were to her health.

    • No perfume at work. I stopped many, many years ago.

      It isn’t as subtle as you think. You are desensitized because you smell them closely/often. Others can pick it up if they sit in your old chair, when you walk by etc…

    • I don’t think of perfume as a professional thing to wear. I don’t wear it to work.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I didn’t think anyone wore perfume to the office anymore.

      • Yeah loads of us do. Nearly all the women in my office. I’d def stop if someone asked me to but until they do? Nope.

        • No one wears perfume/cologne in my law firm office except for some staff who then get asked nicely to stop. It isn’t professional anymore.

          • Lol. Okay. Your firm speaks for us all.

          • +1 It’s tacky at work. And offensive to many noses (who are trapped with you involuntarily for 8 hours…in contrast to your SO and friends who I’m sure all think your scent is divine or like you enough to put up with it).

          • I haven’t noticed anyone wearing perfume at work. Not sure if that means no one does, or if it means most people opt for super subtle scents and/or application no one really notices unless they’re in someone’s personal space.

            Personally, I only wear perfume if I’m getting really dressed up to go out, but I wear body mist most days; I do that thing where you spray it in front of you and then step through it, and adjust the number of spritzes based on how strong the scent is

        • +1 Lots and lots of people do.

        • PrettyPrimadonna :

          Same. I wear Vera Wang to work. Gucci Flora after work.

      • Nobody has worn perfume in any of the offices I’ve worked at. I have asthma and am extremely sensitive to it, so I’d notice if someone was wearing even a spritz. I’m 30 and none of my friends wear perfume to work (most don’t wear it at all, but definitely not to work).

        • Anonymous :

          So you have asthma and the world has to stop using perfume. Give me a break.

          • I’ll assume that you’re joking, because the asthmatic’s life-sustaining need to _breathe_ wins out over the perfume user’s desire to smell distinctive.
            Have you ever watched somebody have an asthma attack? They gasp and wheeze and feel like they’ve been hit by a truck when it’s finally over. For this the fragrance industry pushes its products? FOOEY.

      • TupeloHoney :

        No one in my office does. We’re technically a fragrance free workplace, but it’s a self-policing policy.

      • lawsuited :

        Lots of people wear perfume to work. I know a few people who don’t because they work in scent-free workplaces, but I’d say I know a lot more who do.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Also team no perfume at work (or ever, for me personally).

    • I hate when people wear perfume at work. What is the point? It gives me a headache.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I wear perfume every day, just one spritz at the back of my neck under my hair on work days. I rotate between three scents (although I used to be super-promiscuous with perfumes!) – Coco for date night/special occasions (something about dabbing the stopper on my pulse points makes me feel very glam), Burburry Classic for work and Bvlgari Green Tea for weekends.

    • I wear perfume but I also work from home. I have a main one that I wear most of the time and a second one that I pull out on occasion for variety (it used to be what I wore every day but I felt like I “grew out” of it, I just put it on for nights out). But I’m running low on my regular scent and I’m pretty sure it got discontinued! So I don’t know what I will do.

    • I’m so confused by all the “no perfume at work” comment. I always wear perfume and cannot imagine someone saying its not professional (a personal choice, ok). fwiw, I’m a BigLaw partner.

      • You grew up when wearing perfume was normal and common for women. Times have changed.

        • Not really.

        • I’m 28 and wore perfume every day between 23 and 27, when they stopped making the perfume that I loved. I would still wear a light spritz every day if I could find another one I like as much.

          When/if I find a substitute, of course I would stop if someone asked me to because of a sensitivity of allergy.

          • That’s the problem though – you’re putting the burden on someone else to be “bossy.” Many people do not react very well to people telling them, don’t do X, even if it’s for a legitimate reason, and certainly not if it’s more of a preference (I’d prefer to not have a runny nose all day) than a real health hazard (I legit can’t breathe).

          • If it’s just a preference, you don’t ask. You deal with it. Quit whining.

          • It’s impossible to live your life in a way that will accommodate every single personal preference from every single other human. I worked in a school where one student had such a severe allergy to peppermint that peppermints were banned. I was perfectly happy to get rid of the tin of Altoids in my desk, but I’m not going through the rest of my life mint-free (or nut-free, or shellfish-free, or whatever-free) because of the chance that someone out there is either allergic or doesn’t like it. And I mean, where do you draw the line? No perfume? No scented lotions? Unscented soap in the office bathrooms and kitchens? What about deodorant? Toothpaste? Shampoo or body wash? Scented detergent? Dryer sheets? Can I no longer use a lavender sachet in my sweater drawer? What about the cedar blocks I keep in wool coat pockets?

            I understand where you’re coming from, I really do–my mom has always had fragrance sensitivities and gets splitting headaches from walking by someplace like Hollister. It just gets ridiculous so quickly.

          • The difference is that colognes and perfumes are chemically designed to be long-lasting scents. In fact, smelling strongly for a long period of time is their ONLY purpose. We all grow nose-blind to scents that are around us all the time or are native to us. So if you think only you can smell your perfume, I’m sorry to report that science has proven you wrong:

            What it boils down to is that you think your smell smells better than others’, so you think vanilla smells better than someone else’s second-day hair. Those of us that are sensitive smellers (I actually participated in a study as a ‘super nose’) smell them all and your Flower Bomb perfume smells just as bad (albeit different) from the coworker’s microwaved fish. (I had a coworker who used to do this too!! Whyyyyy?!)

          • Obviously none of us here can stop you and you can double down all you want, but it is rude.

          • So funny! I’m 32 and I’ve only ever worked in scent-free environments. Like, clearly posted signage and notes in the employee handbook. People who wore fragrances that others could detect were politely reminded of the policy.

            Maybe it’s because I’ve only worked in big companies in major urban centers but I’m pretty sure this is the way things are trending.

            (and yes, scent-free means you are supposed to avoid scented body wash, etc, but as long as no one can smell it at a normal human distance from you, no one will know you used it and say anything. So people avoid perfume and scented lotions, but no one has ever mentioned my coconut body wash or my dryer sheets- I’m pretty sure you would have to be inches from my skin to smell them)

        • Also a Biglaw partner, also wear perfume daily, and I’m in my mid-30s.

        • lawsuited :

          Maybe times have changed very recently, but I’m 30 and have worn perfume most days since I was 18 or so.

      • Marshmallow :

        I think it’s still pretty normal and common for the women I know to wear perfume, just not HEAVY perfume. Many of the men I know also wear cologne.

        • Here’s the thing….I don’t want to smell my coworkers….even a little bit. I don’t care if you do one spritz. i can still smell it. I can smell it when I walk in your office and when you walk down the hall. I can definitely smell it when I’m next to you.

          You of course can still wear your scent. Just be aware that (1) most people notice it and (2) many people don’t enjoy it. Much as I don’t enjoy bad breath, body odor, or flatulence. It’s honestly all the same to me.

          • Amen.

          • You’re smelling something from me princess. Whether it’s Earl Gray and Cucumber, the scent of my deodorant, the fragrance of my shampoo, my body odor, or last nights garlic.

            I give not a flying f if you like it. I prob don’t like you because you’re santinmonious and entitled. If requested by HR or a coworker not to wear fragrance I’ll comply. If not, suck it up sulky sensitive Susan.

          • Well, I also wish one of my coworkers would respond to emails in less than three days, wonder why another one wears leggings as pants to work, and wish another one would stop microwaving fish in the breakroom. People are always going to do things that get on other people’s nerves. It is, alas, part of the human condition.

            Again, it’s different if you have a legitimate sensitivity or allergy and have asked people to stop, and they keep doing it.

          • Frozen Peach :

            This is actually why I wear a light scent. Sometimes I would rather people smell Frozen Pond than “I accidentally walked out in my stinky pair of black flats” or “I had garlic for lunch”.

            And I’d rather smell hand lotion, hand sanitizer, light perfume than I would smell someone’s lunch break cigarette or Indian buffet outing.

          • emeralds, preach!

          • Y’all are comparing annoyances/preferences to actual medical problems. Nice. I would rather smell your lunch or BO but for the most part, I can’t actually smell someone’s breath. I’m not making out with my coworkers, what are you all doing at your offices?

          • Anonymous :

            11:50….reading fail much? I get that people like you don’t give a flying f. I just find it humorous that Marshmallow seems to think she’s not bothering anyone and possibly delighting everyone around her because her scent isn’t “HEAVY.” People do notice and it does bother people.

            I wish I were a princess because I would wave my wand and have angry people like you taken somewhere else.

    • Frozen Peach :

      I wear a light scent everyday– usually one of the Demeter blends like Firefly, Frozen Pond, Mountain Air, Thunderstorm.

      I think perfume is perfectly professional as long as you’re not working closely with someone who has chemical sensitivities and, more importantly, as long as you’re not drenched in a scent / drenched in a scent that makes you smell like you should be at da club.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I always wear The Noir by La Labo. Love love love love it. You might like it–it’s got some cedar notes, and I’d definitely describe it as dark.

    • You really should not wear perfume at work. All of you who pinky-promise-swear nobody can smell it except you are delusional. I literally have to take 2-3 different kinds of medications to calm down the inevitable migraine, tension headache, sinus headache, and sneezing/coughing fit I get from walking past someone who wears perfume, no matter how subtle it is. Same for scented lotions and body spray. I can detect perfume on the jacket you wore when you sprayed perfume on yourself two weeks ago and haven’t worn perfume since.

      • LOL second sentence. So true.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Godzilla, that is a serious sensitivity you have going on there and you absolutely be accommodated in the workplace insofar as that is even possible. I ask this sincerely, how do you manage public transit or airplanes? That must be terrible.

        • It’s great that I’m an engineer and work with mostly engineers. No engineers wear cologne or perfume. The very few who do are new and I have someone subtly tell them that it’s not the best idea to wear scents at work (my allergy and headache issues are well known). If I ever move into a non-technical position, I would probably request my manager to instruct everyone not to wear scents. Some bottles of scented lotions have been creeping up in the womens’ room and it makes me ragey. Thankfully, there is no lingering odor so I haven’t raised a stink, ha.

          Public transit, I move away from offending person. See also women with very fragrant hair products. I will give up my seat, change cars, etc. Even mouth-breathing or covering my face with a scarf is not enough. I haven’t come across an odorous flight neighbor yet (claws crossed) but I would ask the flight attendant to move. There is just no way I could be not in murderous PAIN sitting next to someone wearing scents.

          I will say that colognes used to be not offensive but they’re now made with the same garbage that women’s perfumes are made of. Alas.

          Bodies are so interesting – these scents smell *VERY YUCKY BAD* to my snout. Some self-preservation mode that’s developed?

          • Godzilla, I participated in a study and was told I have a “super nose” – in other words, I am really good at smelling. I can smell if you are about to be sick/fighting an infection, I can smell what kind of alcohol my fiance drank, I can smell exactly what in the fridge has gone bad, and I can smell a difference in my body odor if I am losing weight or not. I can typically smell who has just walked by even if I don’t know just by a combination of their scents.

            I agree- for some reason, women’s perfumes over the years have added a chemical that upnotes them as extremely cloyingly sweet, whereas men’s cologne (which maintains a deeper base note typically) is without and usually not as much of a problem. I think it is because of the trend among women’s perfumes to cater to younger women, who favor a more floral scent, than a more sophisticated palate that may prefer varying layers of deeper smells. Perfumes are also now made to have a longer shelf life, whereas before a perfume could go bad much more quickly. I also think there has been a demand in perfumes to last longer and smell *more* than just a couple inches away (the feeling of getting more bang for your buck), so that has also contributed. It is my understanding that decades ago, if you wore perfume it was subtle such that only those very close to you could smell it. They also did not have spray nozzles, distributing the droplets more evenly, so you really only got the one drop that you probably conserved because it was a luxury item.

            I also change seats if someone on public transportation has a lot of perfume – but mostly I just walk more as it is a bigger problem in the morning. It is not a problem on airplanes because the air pressure diminishes our sense of smell. It’s why even the most gourmet airplane food still tastes “bad” or dull. Because of what the air pressure does to our sense of smell and taste (and smell is a huge part of taste). Combine that with the dryness of the air, it dulls the nose’s ability to pick up on smells.

    • I don’t think of this as a question of professionalism so much as just politeness. I have both asthma and allergies and strong scents really do bother me. From the comments above I don’t think I’m alone in that. My boss’s assistant uses a lot of scent and when she walks into my office I can smell it for a good 30 seconds after she leaves. I don’t think it’s unprofessional; why would it be? I do think it’s just a little bit rude, akin to invading someone else’s personal space. I haven’t said anything to her because her scent in particular doesn’t send me into sneezing fits, but that does happen to me sometimes with others and when it does I say something.

    • I almost always wear perfume and cycle through a few different scents. I love wearing indie scents, like Olo out of Portland (Dark Wave, Victory Wolf and Toji). Also love getting random decanted scents from The Perfumed Court. I also will occasionally wear my husband’s favorite cologne, Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford. No one has ever asked me to not wear it, but you would need to be in my personal space to smell me. I think the “no perfume squad” is unusual. Naturally if someone around me had an allergy, I would try to accommodate but that is not the norm in most offices. I am very turned off by people who wear strong scents, though. I don’t want to smell you from three feet away, or after you have left the room.

    • I like Nirvana Rose but it has a lot of silage on me. Have you tried Jo malone English Pear and Freesia? To me, the Jo malone is a more work-friendly version of Nirvana Rose.

      • Marshmallow :

        Ooh, have not tried it but I will! I haven’t owned any Jo Malone but I’ve liked the ones I’ve smelled.

        I just learned a new word because I had no idea what “silage” was. Yeah, the NR does seem a little more intense than other perfumes I have worn, hence only one tiny spritz. But the only comments I’ve ever gotten on it have been when I literally hug people. I’ve asked my husband and sister whether they can smell it from two or three feet away and they say no.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          I am not a perfume person at all, but a friend gave me Jo Malone cardamom and something (mimosa, maybe?) for christmas last year and it’s amazing. (though I’m in the no perfume at work camp, so for after hours only).

    • Ps you’re a regular. I’m surprised you wandered into the perfume wars!

      I wish my coworker didn’t have halitosis so strong I can smell it when he’s talking to someone else. It literally turns my stomach but, no, I’m not going to turn him in to HR. I am going to keep wearing my one spritz of Chloe and will retreat into sniffing my wrist deeply when I catch a whiff of Jim.

      You cannot police everything that offends you in the world.

      • Marshmallow :

        Bah haha, I recalled vaguely some discussion from a while ago but had no idea the battles lines were this strongly drawn!

        • IDGAF about the debate raging above. I enjoy wearing scents and I’ll keep doing it until someone nicely asks me to stop because it hurts their head.

          Like Anon above I also wear it to bury the dirty scents of my asinine coworkers – their food, their farts, etc.

          I go through a rotation of
          Dior Jadore
          Dolce – by D&G
          Laila – the essence of norway!

      • I’m laughing at this entire thread. I’m currently battling a headache because the M-F’ING CANDLES are battling for dominance of our office. We have apple spice, something that smells like BO mixed with Secret Deodorant, and coconuts all mixing together in the hallways.

        I’ll take perfume over candles any day.

    • I’m in camp “no perfume at work.” I have a pretty sensitive nose and I find most perfume to be as distracting in a work context as BO. I’m an in-house lawyer and no one in my office wears perfume. I do notice it lingering in the office building elevator from time to time though.

    • Anonymous :

      I live in Asia and we all wear perfume at work. No one seems to have allergies or has yet complained.
      I’d pick a light citrus/ floral.

  22. Nelly Yuki :

    My cat needs to take a pill (antibiotic) twice a day for a week. Despite not seeming to be the brightest crayon in the box, she is crafty in her refusals. If I put it in a Greenie pill pocket, she eats the treat and spits the pill back out. I tried to grind it up in wet cat food, but she must have noticed because she hasn’t eaten much of it. Any other ideas?

    • Off-key Valkyrie :

      Grab her by the scruff of the neck and pitch it down her throat? It’s not as violent as it sounds, and cats can’t easily spit things out.
      Otherwise, cheese.

      • I would kneel on the floor, put kitty between my knees facing outward, scratch her little head, pet her little neck, and then gently tilt her head up, pry her jaws open with my left hand and toss the pill in with my right. I would then squirt a tiny bit of water in her mouth, close her mouth and hold her head up (like straight up) and pet her throat until she swallowed. She never liked it but eventually she gave in to it.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      You need a pill gun. It’s the only thing that worked with my cats when I had to give them meds as kittens (because kitten mouths are tiny)–it’s basically a long syringe looking thing that you pop the pill in one end, stick in throat, and shoot it out. We got ours from the vet, but google shows they’re pretty widely available in pet stores.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Also, watch the you tube videos for instruction, though I swear the cats in most of those are heavily doped up because no way they’re that calm naturally.

      • Yes, pill guns or pill poppers are really helpful. I also suggest wrapping your cat in a towel first so they can’t scratch the daylights out of you to get away. There are tutorial videos on Youtube on how to do this.

      • lost academic :

        I remember in the 80s when this is how you gave your kids pills. Parents – anyone still use something like that?

    • Sorry but you just sort of have to shove it down her throat. Your vet can show you how to do it safely.

      You might also ask if there’s a liquid form. They’ll give you a syringe-looking thing you fill with the medicine and then stick in the cat’s mouth to administer it. My cat is a terrible pill taker and this method is safer for me and less traumatic for him, ime.

      • Agree. YouTube videos are good for instructions. It also helps to pet her throat after getting the pill/liquid in to make her swallow.

    • Put it in the back of her mouth. We have to do this with my dog. She’s smart and will eat around the pill if we put it in a lump of pumpkin, or take it in and spit it out. It’s actually really funny to watch, but incredibly frustrating. DH just holds her mouth open and shoves it in.

    • lost academic :

      There’s nice videos on youtube. Scruff cat, lay in lap, breathe over her nose to get her to open her mouth, pop it in. Or hold her jaw open. Also, you can ask if they’ll formulate in a liquid.

    • Maybe too late now, but there’s an antibiotic shot called Convenia that we’ve been fortunate enough to get for our cats versus a pill. It’s a one-time shot but a little expensive. My vet trusts me to give it, so it’s $60 to buy it; not sure what it would be to have a tech administer it.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      My vet taught me to gently squeeze the hinge of the jaw to force the cat’s jaw open, after which I stuff the pill as far back in the mouth as I can and then place the formerly pill-containing hand under the chin to close the mouth and encourage swallowing. I’m about 90% effective with this technique, meaning the cat doesn’t immediately spit the pill back out again and give me a dirty look.

      I will say that the cat gets a pill pretty much every day, so at this point he’s somewhat resigned to his terrible, horrible no good very bad fate. It does make it easier.


    • Follow Fishie’s advice about basically straddling the cat on the floor. You need to be at the correct angle to be able to get the pill in so that it must be swallowed, and straddling on the floor was the only thing that worked for me.

      Also, a pill gun, preferably one with a soft tip so that you don’t have to worry about hurting the cat with the pill gun/shooter. These are great. I used them for almost a year for my cat who had cancer and needed steroids and tummy meds twice a day. She did great and never minded the pills.

  23. I have this dress and really love it. I know the sleeves are a trend that won’t last forever, but it’s flattering on my post partum body. (The bell draws attention away from my tummy). I’m a size 12, FYI.

    • Coach Laura :

      I love Talbots sheath dresses, usually purchased at steep discounts. I think you could remove the flounce on the sleeves if/when you get tired of them.

  24. Advice to begin investing? My lack of knowledge in this area is embarrassing. But my emergency fund is comfortably funded, I’m maxing out my 401k, and saving around $1000/month on top of that. With my $2000 tax refund I think I want to open a brokerage account, and add maybe $200 to it monthly. Not a huge amount, but I think it’s enough for a beginner?

    Recently married, no kids (but planned within next 3 years), I’m 27 and pretty risk tolerant.

    Goals here are to learn about investing and begin to maybe make a little more money over the long term. Other than eventual college savings for kids, no long-term savings goals. I’m comfortable with my current retirement savings, already own a house, etc. Main expenses in the next 5 years are home renos and daycare.

    How do I start? Firm recommendations? I see Vanguard listed here often, but it’s not an option for me (work at a bank and it’s not one of our approved firms – but many other major brokers are).

    • Schwab is excellent, as well.

    • YNAB has a PDF tutorial I found helpful.

    • Is Fidelity one of your bank’s approved firms? I’ve been very happy with them and they offer many low-cost index fund options.

    • anon a mouse :

      I use Vanguard and love it, but friends use Schwab and are happy with it if that’s on your list.

      Just getting started is the hardest part. Start with just putting your initial deposit into a mutual fund that tracks the market, and get your automatic contributions set up. Then, once you have the money in place, you can read up on whether you want to put money in other types of funds or individual stocks. I recommend the Bogleheads Guide. It’s got a simple strategy, and you may decide it’s not for you, but it’s a great overview of the market.

    • Fidelity if it’s an option. If you just want to start out — I’d start with IVW — a Blackrock ETF which is an S&P Growth ETF (so it tracks the S&P 500 but only the growth stocks – so it consists of the top 320 out of those 500 companies). A touch riskier than the S&P alone, but with greater upside potential. If you don’t want to track just S&P growth stocks and would rather track the entire S&P — buy IVV. Both IVW and IVV are sold on the market, so you can buy them whether you’re with Fidelity or Schwab or any other broker – though with Fidelity, you pay no commission to buy those.

    • I would read Smart Women Finish Rich (Bach), or Get a Financial Life by (Kobliner). Both excellent, quick, informative reads. Good luck!

  25. Talk to me about drafting a will? First kiddo is almost here, so H and I need one. We are high earners but our savings are uncomplicated – no family trusts, just a savings account, mutual funds, and one house/mortgage. We’re both lawyers but have zero knowledge/experience in estate planning. Is this something we can do ourselves or should we hire someone? If the latter, any recommendations in the DC area?

    • DH and I are not lawyers, so we had to outsource this task, but his lawyer brother also outsourced (which I was admittedly surprised by!). BIL felt more comfortable having someone else handle it as a second set of eyes. Good luck — it’s not that hard of a task and feels REALLY good once you’re done.

    • Not a lawyer, but I’d hire someone. You’ll especially want to make sure that all the worst-case-scenario stuff about guardianship and assets is for kiddo is in place, so I think the peace of mind for that is worth the lawyer fees.

      Also, in case you haven’t already, sit down with your partner and a nice bottle of wine and talk about end-of-life planning. (The Conversation Project is a good resource for some things to think through. And in case this applies to you, note that different states have different rules about heeding a pregnant person’s end-of-life plans.) You should get these preferences on paper at the same time as you draft your will–your lawyer will probably talk to you about assigning medical power of attorney, but you likely aren’t going to want to think through all the implications while sitting there during a billable hour.

    • I am a contract lawyer and I hired a friend who was a general practitioner and regularly did basic estate law to do it. I had done one will way back in the day and didn’t feel comfortable doing my own. Our situation also wasn’t complicated and it cost us around $200. In a few years I will probably have them done by an estate attorney (runs around $500 in my LCOL city).

    • Anon in NYC :

      Personally, I would hire someone. I am a lawyer, but not an estate lawyer, and we paid a lawyer to set up all of this stuff. We have a really basic estate and it was very easy and uncomplicated. The meeting took about 45 minutes, he drafted the paperwork, we met with him again to go over it and sign it, and it was done. We paid less than $1,000 (in NYC, so no DC recommendations).

    • Piggybacking on this – would people mind sharing how much they paid to have a will done? My husband and I were looking into outsourcing it a few years ago, and I got two quotes back from different lawyers for ~$3000 (Boston). That seemed really high so I ended up doing it myself (I’m a lawyer, but in a different field). Is that the going rate or were those quotes high?

      • That’s how much ours was at a big firm in Philly. We’re pre-kid but partner has a pretty significant family trust that needed some complicated arrangements. (Which is why we went ahead and dealt with it all now.)

      • That was what I was quoted in Silicon Valley, for an absurdly simple will (no real property, no trusts, no debt – just 401ks and some cash savings) and one of the lawyers I spoke to said “I can’t charge less than $3k for a will but this is so simple you’re better off just getting a form online and completing it” so that’s what we did.

        • Senior Attorney :

          California and presumably other states have statutory wills. You can download the form and fill it out and boom! Done. You do have to read the instructions carefully (there are a couple of traps for the unwary) but it’s a good option if your estate is otherwise pretty simple and you are mainly concerned about naming a guardian for your child.

    • Hire someone. We are two lawyers as well and like you thought we didn’t have that much complicated stuff going on, it turned out if we died at the same time, our life insurance payouts would put our estate over our state’s limits for whatever tax protection was available, so it would be beneficial to set up some sort of trust. It seemed to be all pretty state specific and nuanced (as someone who learned about wills/trusts only for the bar exam and then promptly forgot all of it) so I am glad we had an expert go through our options. He also coordinated things like guardianship paperwork for the kid, powers of attorney, living wills, etc. It wasn’t cheap but I feel good with the peace of mind. Not in DC though, sorry!

    • Anon Estate Attorney :

      Absolutely hire an estate attorney. Not a general practitioner, but an estate attorney. I’ve seen so many wills prepared by general practitioners or attorneys who think a will is simple and mess things up. Go to a qualified attorney and get a Will, POA, and living will/advance directive. Also think about a guardian for your child and a trustee and remember to double check your benenficiary designations on all accounts and life insurance.

  26. Fancy Candles :

    Random morning question: guys whats the deal with these $68 Dipthyque candles? Are they really that great? I dont get the hype or the price tag…

    • Baies is my favorite smell. That said, I admit I’m buying into the hype and am willing to spend money on frivolous things like this.

      • My favorite, too. I am someone that cannot stand most scents and find a lot of them to be too cloyingly, chemically sweet. To the point that I have to re-gift or throw out most of the candles people give me. Baies smells great in the house, fills it up with scent without it being ‘too much,’ has a much deeper but subtle scent, and the scent remains for a while in a subtle way after you blow it out. It also gives off a light scent if you take the cover off without even lighting it, which I appreciate in a high quality candle. Voluspa is too strong and too chemical to me, which is also why I can’t go to most Anthropologie stores.

        • That’s so funny! My mom is also very sensitive to fragrance. Her employees are forbidden from wearing perfume. ( I know…) My jaw dropped when she stuck her nose in my (unlit) baies to inhale and tell me how good it smelled.

          • Yes! I have heard similar from others with sensitive noses. If I had enough power to forbid people from wearing perfume, I would! But sometimes you are in an elevator with someone in the morning and it I have had days-long migraines triggered by candles and people’s perfumes, but for whatever reason Baies does not do that. It smells incredible and does not give me a migraine, so I will buy. And I think part of what makes the price worthwhile is the fact that the subtle smells lingers, too. The only other candle smell I can handle is the Ralph Lauren holiday candle, which I stock up on when they go on sale in January. Everything else is like chemicals to me. Same goes for perfume, there is only one I can wear that doesn’t give me migraines and same for my fiance’s cologne.

          • Good to know about the Ralph Lauren candle- too early for my mom’s Xmas present? Haha – she’s a really tough boss but she runs an ice cream store and her employees are high schoolers (and you know how important smell is to high schoolers). Anyway I guess we answered the OPs question. Baies or bust!

    • I don’t either. I’ve been happy with Voluspa and Simpatico.

      • I should add that I’m also super sensitive to scents/perfumes and haven’t had trouble with these two. But I admit I can’t go into Anthropologie either!

    • Delta Dawn :

      I have wondered about this too. I have Baies on my wish list, but I can’t make myself spend that much. I do love Capri Blue in Volcano, and they’re half as expensive.

    • Yes, they are. My husband has terrible allergies and is very fragrance-sensitive, so no more candles for me, but oh man – I really enjoyed these pre-husband!

      If he ever has a like a month long trip for work, I’m totally buying candles and wearing Shalimar while he’s gone.

  27. NYC area rentals? :

    Looking for an apartment (preferably 2 bedroom/2 bath) with an easy commute to NYC (financial district). A quiet, walkable neighborhood would be nice (although I do have a car). Any location suggestions? Considering northern New Jersey near a ferry/path train, Long Island, etc., but would like more ideas. I’m not sure which areas to look at or if better deals can be found a little farther out without too dreadful of a commute.

    • Budget? At a glance I’d say Jersey City. Incredibly easy commute to the financial district by Path or ferry, loads of rental stock. In most of the new buildings you’ll get a gym and a pool, no broker fee, no first last and a full month security deposit. I live here and love it. Great restaurants and bars, love the waterfront paths for jogging, super vibrant community.

      • NYC area rentals :

        So far I’ve seen prices starting around 3k/mo, so I guess I’m developing that expectation (?). I’ll look further at Jersey City. It sounds promising.

        • I highly recommend living near Grove St or Exchange place versus Newport. Newport is a soulless cookie cutter development. Also, FYI it is 89% south Asian.

          18 Park is a gorgeous new building, 225 grand is slightly older but in a great location. The One and The Morgan are really nice. Parking in any of the building garages runs around $225 a month.

          • NYC area rentals :

            Thank you!

          • Jersey City Rocks :

            FYI, there is lots of street parking available near The One and The Morgan (they are a few blocks apart). No need to buy garage parking, unlike some of the more built up areas.

      • I had the best cheeseburger of my life at the Light Horse Tavern in JC. I dream about it. Big ups for Jersey City.

    • Anon in NYC :

      How much do you want to spend, and what is your preferred commute?

      • NYC area rentals :

        As a starting point: about 3k/mo, an hour commute. Open to learning about additional options, will consider a longer commute at a lower price.

        • Anon in NYC :

          At 3k/mo, I think you can probably find a 2 bedroom in Jersey City (maybe a 1 bath, instead of a 2 bath). Do you want a more suburban environment or are you open to Brooklyn/Queens? Only reason I’m asking is because you mentioned LI.

    • Depending on your budget, near the Newport stop on the PATH is a nice areas right near the water.

      If you choose to live near the ferry, just ask around about reliability/the experience overall. One of my friends did that and had a much harder time than she expected.

    • Brooklyn heights to Wall Street is an amazing commute and fits your neighborhood wants. Super spendy though…

    • Jersey City Rocks :

      Move here! You want to be near the Grove Street PATH station. Newport is very commercialized and all built up by one developer, so it doesn’t have much soul. But, the water is pretty. Suggestions near Grove Street: Charles & Co, The Morgan, Liberty Harbor (slightly farther walk), brownstones near Van Vorst Park or the Paulus Hook neighborhood. If you post an email I’d be happy to email you more suggestions/ discuss the neighborhood. We’ve been here going on five years and love it.

      The PATH commute is super easy to the financial district. Five minutes underground and you pop right up in WTC.

      • When I was in Newport, I mostly ended up near Grove St anyway (or in Hoboken) when I went out anyway. Agree that JC is a great place to live.

    • Jersey City is super cute, and you get a TON of space for your money, compared to NYC.

    • I really love Sunset Park in Brooklyn. There aren’t many ‘luxury’ buildings yet if that’s what you’re after, but there are some beautiful row houses right near the park itself, which is beautiful and has a perfect view of the skyline. Rent is among the best deals in NYC. The 36th street stop has a couple of express trains and you could take the local directly to FiDi in a half hour. Also there’s outlet shopping and Costco within walking distance. Highly recommended if you don’t mind quiet, low-key, un-trendy.

    • Coach Laura :

      Check out the NYTimes’s “living in” archives. Real Estate section online. They profile cities and neighborhoods- Weehawken, Hudson Square- in and around NY and talk about commute times etc. I don’t live anywhere near NY but love to read about neighborhoods.

    • Upper Manhattan is great if you want to live in the city. There’s a lot of large, pre-war apartments, and it’s a diverse, walkable area with few chain stores, lovely parks, and lots of mom & pop places. You can find a 2 bedroom place for $2-3K easily.

  28. Has anybody aggressively greened their house? I’m not talking about rebuilding to LEED certification but rather about making other changes–solar panels, rain collection, low-flow plumbing, etc.–to increase the resource efficiency of the existing structure.

    I’d like to start digging into this work but I’m not entirely sure where to start or which guides/suppliers to trust. Your experience would be helpful!

    • My mom recently got solar panels for her house and is looking to get one of those rain collectors for when she starts gardening again during the spring/summer season. I believe she went through her county government which gave her a discount, huge tax write off, and low interest loan. But she only had a few companies to choose from and it was a long process because the company was horrible at communication but in the end she’s really happy about it. I’d shop around for a company before going through with it and make sure you understand how it works (i.e. if there is not enough solar energy generated then they use electric and you have to pay for that).

      As for rain collectors, you can just get those at home depot and theyre great!

    • Me Me Me! I just started one thing at a time. Energy efficient window film, low flow faucets etc. I didn’t trust any single source I just tried to find a consensus to avoid individual biases of sites. Usually if something was well reviewed by 3-5 reputable sources I just went with it.

      • Would you mind sharing what these projects cost you and how much you think they saved you in energy use? I have double-paned windows, so for example how much extra on top of that do you think the window film adds in terms of insulation?

        My house had no insulation in the attic (why previous owners?!?) when I bought it. I installed about 24 inches of blow-in in the attic a year and a half ago, which I think has likely paid for itself in energy savings at this point.

    • No advice, but following because I want to do solar panels for our house some day. We’ve done two big house renovations already so my husband has put a moratorium on any more until we hit a certain savings goal, but then I’m going to really investigate it. Our state is not that sunny so I believe the solar energy generated would only be about half of our total energy needs, so it would take a long time for them to be worth it in terms of money saved, but I want to do it anyway to help the environment.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I don’t know if I would characterize it as “aggressive” but we disconnected our downspouts and then got rainbarrels at the front and back of the house with hoses for garden watering, replaced all windows, switched to tankless hot water heating, installed a super high efficiency natural gas furnace, blew insulation into the attic and spray foam insulated the entire basement including the basement ceiling. I feel like the spray foam and the tankless water made the biggest differences but ymmv.

    • Interested in the responses. I’ve looked at rain collecting, but our rain tends to come in huge spurts, so I would need to make sure the overflow device will drain far enough from my house to be effective. My 100 year old house already comes with effectively low flow plumbing, but what I would love more than anything is a proper gray water system. Nothing makes me feel more like a first world schmuck than flushing my toilet with fresh water.

      • AMEN to the first-world schmuck in a 100-year-old house. :)

      • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

        Look into downspout diverters. When the rain barrel is full, there’s backpressure from the barrel, so water goes right down the downspout as it should and then off to wherever your downspouts end.

    • We haven’t aggressively greened but have solar panels, a smart thermostat, and energy efficient windows and doors. Ceiling fans are also great at using heat/A.C. more efficiently. Look into free/cheap resources offered by your city or state. We had a rain garden put in for next to nothing.

  29. I know a lot of you guys use the Strong Lifts app to gain strength. It’s worked but almost too well — they now want me to squat with 60 pounds, which I’m not comfortable doing at home with either a bar or barbells because 60 pounds is more than my deadlift — just picking them up, let alone getting under them, I worry I’m going to hurt myself. Where do I go from here? I really do not want to have to go to the gym to use the squat rack all the time — part of the appeal is it’s just picking up a few weights for a few minutes. Is there something I can buy at home, or a new app, workout, Beachbody/other DVD thing, YouTube channel you like? I have a set of adjustable barbells that go from 5-52 pounds and my husband’s bar with enough weights to go to 100# I think.

    • If they want you to back squat, then a rack is really safest. However, look up “snatch technique”, which is a powerlifting move to get the bar up and to your chest. At that point you can easily front squat and drop the bar on front of you if you get wobbly/need to bail out. And try not to think of it as scary because it’s heavier than your deadlift, the speed/power of a snatch will surprise you. It also looks like you can get a very very basic rack to get under on amazon for 70-90 dollars.

      • AnonInfinity :

        +1 if you want to back squat.

        If you don’t want to back squat, you could try a goblet squat instead and do the rest of the app as prescribed.

      • Anonymous :

        If you want to get the bar to your chest, you want to look for cleans/clean technique, not the snatch :-)

        • Anon at 11:07 :

          Thanks for the catch :) clearly posted before coffee had kicked in! I’ll save it by saying both are great to learn for getting more comfortable around weights/bars

      • Weightlifting move, not powerlifting move :)

    • JuniorMinion :

      You could potentially use dumbbells for this – might make you feel a bit better than using the barbell. Can use the same modified snatch to get the dumbbells up to your shoulders.

    • My lack of grip strength lowers my deadlift weight FWIW even though I know my back/legs can handle more weight. I think that the Strong Curves program has an at-home program in the book so maybe check that routine out.

      • Shenandoah :

        Try a hook grip or mixed grip – only do mixed when it becomes too heavy to do a regular grip. Hook grip will take some getting used to though.

      • Anonymous :

        Try using the hook grip – wrap your thumb around the bar then your fingers around your thumb (google for pics). Your thumb may hurt/go a little numb but it comes back and it makes it much easier to hold on to the bar! You could also try lifting straps, but I’d be hesitant to let my deadlift outpace my grip by too much.

    • One legged pistol squats?

    • Anonymous :

      Weighted squat options besides the back squat:
      -Front squat (either in the front rack with your hands still under the bar, or with your arms straight out in front of you, a la frankenstein)
      -DB goblet squat
      -DB front squat (dumbbells on your shoulders)
      -Zercher squat

      You might also consider an alternative like a bulgarian split squat or walking db lunges, which I find even harder than squatting.

      I’d suggest practicing bailing regardless of what option you choose so if you find you don’t feel safe with the movement at any point, you can get out from under it.

      I’d also just get a squat rack if you can justify it — you will very quickly surpass 60 pounds on your squat (and deadlift) and won’t regret having it, if you are enjoying lifting.

    • 1) I think you’re confusing dumbbells for barbells. Your husband’s “bar” is a barbell of some sort. Weights you hold in each hand are dumbbells.
      2) What have you been doing to this point? What did you do at your last workout when you had to back squat 55lbs? What is keeping you from doing the same maneuver?
      3) Do you have atypical levers? Meaning, a really long torso and shorter legs? Otherwise, it’s unusual for your squat to outpace your deadlift. If it’s a grip issue, get straps. It’s awesome that you are lifting, but this is not a weight where your deadlift should be stalling (unless you are very small). Are your squats at least to parallel? Do not mean to be accusatory, it’s just surprising when the squat outpaces the deadlift so it’s worth looking into.

      If you have dumbbells and really do not want to go to a gym, I would just goblet squat with the heaviest dumbbell you can, or maybe put two very large dumbbells on your shoulders by cleaning them to your chest. If you plan to make this a long-term hobby and are committed to learning the big 3, then a real barbell/weight set/squat rack may be worth it.

      r/xxfitness is a great resource for a lot of these issues, too, especially if you do not have someone to check your form in person (experienced lifter or trainer). Good luck!

  30. Do general practitioners treat TMJ? Can/will dentists do anything other than a mouth guard. I have always been a teeth grinder but it has gotten much worse (daily pain in my jaw and my jaw pops every time I open it). I have used an OTC mouth guard for years and will probably need a crown in the next year so I’m not interested in paying for a custom mouth guard at this time. I am trying to figure out which practitioner (doctor or dentist) I need an appointment with.

    • anon a mouse :

      My TMJ was treated by an ENT who specialized in throat/mouth issues. Bonus, it was covered by medical insurance (not dental).

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Just get the custom mouth guard. They can be made to fit over upper or lower teeth, so get one made for the part of your mouth that doesn’t need the crown. OTC guards are not as effective. Also, even if your guard was on the set of teeth that will need the crown, the guard can be ground to fit the crown after the fact. It’s just a hunk of plastic…

      • +1 Also, if your OTC mouth guard is a rubbery/”chewy” material, it’s making your TMJ worse. Spend the money on a mouth guard now or spend it on surgery in a few years.

    • Oil in Houston :

      you need a orthodontist for that, depending on severity, they might consider surgery fyi

    • You need a specialized person. If for some reason you don’t want to go the medical route, you could also try trigger point therapy (massage). You really should get the mouth guard though, you don’t want to damage your teeth while you’re sleeping.

    • Dentist plus a good physical therapist who does manual therapy

  31. Please tell me about Instructional Design :

    I saw an Instructional Designer post on a previous thread and would love to learn more about this profession!

    I’d like to know more about instructional design. In particular, are full-time jobs common in this field or is it a lot of temp/contract work? And what would training to become an instructional designer look like? Do I need to have content knowledge in a specific area? I already have an MA in English, and I’ve taught a little but don’t have a teaching certificate. Where would I start? Would learning the technology be enough, or would I need to get a degree like A Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Learning Design and Technology? Just starting to think about this and would appreciate any input.

    • Anonymouse :

      It really depends. Are you wanting a corporate role (usually associated with HR/Training & Development), or working for an educational institution, or a government role? Also, it will depend on your area. If there are several universities in your area that offer master’s degrees specifically in that area, it may be harder for you to find a position unless you’re a star networker. (This has been my experience. I have a master’s in History, several years’ full-time teaching experience (non-certified), and have worked with several different LMSs. I’ve gotten a few interviews for Instructional Design positions but no offers.) Teaching experience is definitely useful, and I wouldn’t think you need to be certified (that mostly matters for K12 positions). What I’d focus on is getting additional teaching experience, particularly with adult learners, since ‘Adult Learning Principles’ is frequently mentioned on the job postings I’ve seen. Also common is ‘experience with Learning Management Systems and e-Learning Technologies’–Adobe Captivate seems popular. You could check with your local vo-tech institutions to see if they offer training in programs like that.
      For more information, I’d check out the Association for Talent Development’s website.

      • Anonymouse :

        I forgot to mention–one way to get experience working with adult learners (and diverse populations) would be to check with your local library or community college about evening ESL or Civics/Citizenship courses.

        • Please tell me about Instructional Design :

          These are great questions and I appreciate the link, thanks. I’m not sure what type of role would be the best fit (with my content knowledge being English), but I’m open to all of those. I could definitely get more teaching experience and learn the technology. But I’m not sure about the job market for instructional design and whether I’d be competitive enough. I’d like to find something more stable/profitable than adjuncting or other non-certified teaching gigs, so it’s difficult to muster enthusiasm to do more of that without a clear goal. I am in an area like you describe above and moved cross country to be here — so no local network to speak of (wondering if taking on-campus classes and seeking out more teaching experience would help enough).

    • I manage a team of 18 instructional designers. Getting into the field depends on the model used in company training departments, and the kind of training that needs to be developed.

      1. Subject matter experts get trained as instructional designers and develop the content (we use this model, field is tax and tax theory). If you aren’t a SME, I wouldn’t hire you at my current company because the field requires deep knowledge, not just a working acquaintance with the topics.

      2. Instructional designers work with SMEs and the ID writes the training (have used this at other companies I worked at, and in some very specialized, technical fields). Companies who use this model are probably going to be your best bet.

      As for training, yes, there are degrees and certification programs available. You can also find resources online to learn more about things like the ADDIE model, or Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation. One of my favorite online resources is the Performance Juxtaposition (google it, not linking so this hopefully stays out of moderation).

      Hope that helps a little bit :)

      • Please tell me about Instructional Design :

        Thanks, good to know that the 2nd kind of IDs do exist. I do wish I were a SME though :). I’ll check out Performance Juxtaposition. It does look helpful at a glance.

    • Instructional Designer :

      Super late on this (had meetings all day) but want to reply.

      In particular, are full-time jobs common in this field or is it a lot of temp/contract work?
      It depends on the area. In large organizations that have to offer a lot of training, it’s more common for IDs to be direct employees, full-time. In places where there aren’t a lot of large companies, it’s more common for it to be contract work. Some IDs prefer to work contract as it allows them to work on different projects all the time on their own schedule and within the confines of their own experience; I know a couple of people in my area who do this.

      And what would training to become an instructional designer look like? Do I need to have content knowledge in a specific area?
      In general you need a master’s degree in instructional design, instructional theory, organization learning, or a similar field. My organization will only hire IDs who have a master’s.
      Generally the whole idea with ID is that you hire IDs to work with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and the IDs develop training that is either delivered by a SME, or a trainer. Being an expert in a subject does not mean someone is capable of becoming a good instructional designer. And good instructional designers (or SMEs) are not always good trainers. Those are different skill sets. I was a trainer for years and I like training, but I work with IDs who have minimal training experience and they are very good at ID.

      The other factor is that there is a real movement away from instructor-led training (synchronous training led by a trainer in a classroom) and towards e-learning and also what’s called “knowledge ecosystems” which use things like wiki sites, blog posts, videos, mobile apps, etc. to facilitate learning on the learner’s own time, on-demand, whenever information is needed. Knowing how to produce different kinds of content is going to be more important, in the future, than learning how to design/develop instructor-led training.

      I already have an MA in English, and I’ve taught a little but don’t have a teaching certificate. Where would I start? Would learning the technology be enough, or would I need to get a degree like A Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Learning Design and Technology?
      Honestly, it’s going to be tough without a master’s or certificate in an ID-related field. I don’t think your Master’s in English is going to work (it wouldn’t in my organization). However, I do think a certificate program would be okay in lieu of a master’s. Especially if you can learn Captivate or Storyline, and ALSO learn to do graphics in Photoshop and Illustrator, you will be in high demand. Throw in programming in Java or HTML 5 and you can write your own ticket or set up your own very lucrative consultancy, once you have finished projects (done for a client, not on spec) to show. The combination of someone who can design learning and also complete an e-learning project soup-to-nuts is tough to find. My current development plan includes shoring up my skills in Photoshop and Illustrator (I learned them loooong ago but haven’t used them regularly in years) so I can design my own graphics for Captivate projects, and also do things like interactive infographics. I’m also learning about user experience (UX) as that’s becoming an important part of e-learning development. With the move towards e-learning there’s a lot of pressure for IDs to have graphics-development skills and programming skills; more like web developers than traditional IDs. If you’re not comfortable with that, your job prospects may be limited in the future.

      I love what I do and think it’s a great career, but I started out as a writer, graphic artist and document production specialist – not as a trainer. I like what I do in part because it allows me to synthesize a lot of skills I’ve learned over the course of my career. I love information and I love organizing it in a way that helps people learn critical skills. But working with SMEs can be stressful, a lot of people don’t understand why they “need” ID (“I can just make a PowerPoint presentation and deliver a 6-hour class and that will be fine” is something I’ve heard), and it can be difficult to figure out how to present technical content in an understandable way – by the time you learn what you need to know about a topic, sometimes you know as much as SME! I would talk to some IRL IDs about their jobs before making any kind of big leap into paying for more education.

  32. So I’m headed to the Turks and Caicos this Saturday with my family. We’ll be there for a week. We’re staying at Long Bay Beach in Providenciales, which is a big kitesurfing area, but is also quieter than the rest of the island. It’s about 2 miles from Grace Bay.

    Thought I’d ask if anyone has any recommendations of things to do…

    Our group ranges from my parents, who are in their 70’s, but active (my dad is learning to kitesurf) to my nephews (the younger one is 2). There are 5 adults, 2 children and a babysitter.

    • I actually enjoyed the conch farm and kids might like that. Snorkeling at the national park on Grace Bay was really fun – saw turtles and rays every time we went. We had a dinner at bella luna which was a pretty environment and decent italian food. The “fish fry” at grace bay was a little cheesy but fun music and good “fair” food atmosphere.

  33. Anonymouse :

    I’ve been in need for a new work bag for some time and love the look of the Cuyana Zippered Tote. Anyone have one and can speak about the quality/durability?

    • This is my boss’ everyday work bag (for the past 2 years) and she swears by it. I’ve been thinking of getting one myself recently…

    • I have one and it’s awesome. I’ve been using it every day for over a year now and it’s holding up great.

    • I’ve used it daily for a few years too – great for work; it’s light & big – you can fit a large laptop & lunch, but it doesn’t look ridiculous. Good handle drop, nice quality, looks pretty new despite daily bang-around use.

    • Just adding to the chorus, but yes, love mine too.

  34. Dating question – how egregiously does a guy have to behave before you’ll cancel an already-planned first date with him?

    Over the weekend, I scheduled a date with a guy for tonight. Since then, he’s been sort of generally getting on my nerves. He’ll text “hi” randomly throughout the day even if we’ve already texted that day. He called me without an invitation to do so. On our first phone call, he complained that another girl canceled their date at the last minute and he assumed that “her boyfriend must’ve found out.” He “jokingly” called me weak – jk lol! – when I told him I’m proud to be SO CLOSE to benching 100 lbs with 3 sets of 15 reps. I just… don’t want to spend time with this person but I feel like it’s rude to bow out at this point. Advice?

    • Dude sounds like a jerk. If you don’t think you want to still go on the date with him, go ahead and cancel. Certainly don’t go through with it just because you’re worried it would be rude otherwise.

    • Dating is one of the few areas in my life where I don’t sacrifice my time/sanity for the sake of not being seen as rude. I don’t think the texting/calling you is necessarily egregious but I don’t like dating people who make jokes at my expense.

      Don’t waste your time/energy on someone who is being rude before you’ve even met!

      I would cancel your date and move on without a second thought.

      • +10000

        Texting etiquette (WRT saying “hi” randomly) can be so hard to judge and I’d be willing to give him some leeway, but the “joke” about you being weak? Eff this guy. Cancel. He was rude first and you don’t have to put up with it.

    • Granting you permission to cancel and to cut him out for good. Doesn’t have to be egregious; you are uncomfortable and in dating that is all that matters. Bye!

    • First Year Anon :

      Bow out. Why waste your time.

    • I agree with other commenters that if you don’t want to go, then don’t.
      I’m curious, though, about whether men would think about things in terms of when they’re “allowed” to do something. Not to be critical of the OP- I see this kind of thing on here and IRL all the time. Why are we trying so hard to conform to “rules” that don’t seem to work for us? I realize no one actually thinks they’re doing this, but with so many questions like this, I wonder if there’s an element of this going on.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      If you don’t like him and he’s getting on your nerves now, having to spend any time with him isn’t going to make that better. Bow out (and then block his #…).

    • TupeloHoney :

      I think there are enough “pink flags” here for me to cancel (or frankly, ghost). Do you have mutual friends or is this a total stranger? Also, if you don’t cancel this date, and you decide after the first date you’re done, you’re potentially signing up for days or weeks of “so now that we’ve been on a date, when is the next one? why are you ignoring me? i thought we had a good time” etc etc.

      • Even if the guy’s a jerk, ghosting is rude. Send a simple text to make a clean cut: I’m sorry, but I’ve decided I’m not interested in pursuing anything with you.

        • Yeah, I mean if I ghost him at this point he’s probably going to show up for the date. I don’t want to stand someone up.

        • TupeloHoney :

          You’re right, I agree. I think it’s ok to cancel and not respond to anything after that though, which I somewhat see as ghosting. But if no date had been scheduled, I think it’s totally fine to go quiet.

          • Anonymous :

            I disagree. Even if there’s no date scheduled, ghosting is cowardly and demonstrates a lack of basic respect for the other person. If someone keeps trying to contact you and you’re not interested, say plainly that you’re not interested before resorting to radio silence.

          • Agree with Anon @ 2:05. It’s just being a decent human to say hey, this isn’t a match for me, I wish you the best of luck. It takes 30 seconds and the other person can go on their way. I had a date last weekend that I knew almost immediately wasn’t going anywhere. I finished my glass of wine and then said to him, I want to be honest with you, this isn’t a match for me. I really appreciate your time and I wish you the best of luck. We ended up having a really good conversation about that generally thing and how frustrating it is that a good number of people aren’t up front about things. He clearly appreciated it and there was no awkwardness about it. Two adults, acting like adults, and extending common courtesy and respect.

    • Do you want to die alone? Srsly what is wrong with you. The horrors he texted you hi when you’d already texted that day? You bragged to a stranger who gently teased you in reply?

      • I kinda agree with this.

        But what I gathered from your personality because of your complaints, it may not gel with this guy regardless.

        So I also vote for cancelling.

      • Clearly a troll but in case anyone else is wondering – we were talking about our shared interest in lifting. He shared his numbers first, which are obviously much higher than mine. I said upper body strength has definitely been a challenge but I’m really proud that I’m almost at 100 lbs. He then made his “weak” comment. I’m a runner and I can’t imagine ever poking fun at someone’s time. You support and encourage each other. Maybe it’s different with lifters but I don’t like this bro-ishness in someone I’m trying to date.

      • My comment disappeared but I wanted to say – I wasn’t bragging, we were talking about our shared interest in lifting and he told me his numbers first (much higher than mine). I said that upper body strength has been a struggle for me but I’m proud of my progress, he asked what I’m lifting, and that’s when I mentioned the 100 lbs and he called me weak. I’m a runner; I would never poke fun at someone’s time like that.

        • BeenThatGuy :

          If he’s a lifter, a female with 3 X 15 (not 5, 15) at 100 pounds is a serious, serious accomplishment! For that reason alone, I would cancel. Even if he has a quirky sense of humor, and that was funny to him, it’s not to you.

          Simply text him and say you feel like you’re not “jelling”with him over text and wish him well.

          • Anonymous :

            Seriously, 3×15 with 100 pounds!? I am otherwise strong (close to 300 pounds for my DL and squat, before I injured my knee recently anyway) and my 1 rep max on bench is like…. 125 pounds? on a good day?

            I wonder if maybe he’s not as in to it and he claims and just knows enough to be oblivious/offensive. Regardless. NEXT.

      • Brunette Elle Woods :

        Dying alone sounds pretty good when compared to going on a date with this dude. I was done when he talked about a date with another girl. That’s a huge red flag to me even if he’s trying to impress you. That’s childish, immature and shows that he is insecure. Not someone you want to be involved with.

    • Just cancel and dont waste anymore precious time on him. You are well within your right to do so. And not to call you out specifically but this just so messed up that women are made to feel this way when men have no problem ghosting a girl out of nowhere just because hes not into her or gets bored….

    • He’s not for you, cancel.

      But overall — I’d chill. He texts you hi after already having texted once that day? People have to be “invited” to call you? Get a grip. I’m sure you’re young but that’s how the phone used to work — you’d pick up and call; you’d either reach the person at a convenient moment or you wouldn’t. You didn’t first have to ask if it was ok to call and then call . . . .

      • I’m 33, not that young. In this day and age, yes, it’s a bit odd to call someone you’ve never spoken to or met without setting up a time to chat. If that was the only thing that was kind of off then nbd. But combined with the random “hi” texts multiple times a day, his apparent inability to let it go that some girl froma dating app canceled their first date at the last minute – idk I’m getting a weird vibe.

        • For what it’s worth, I think 33 is the sweet spot between not being fully comfortable with the phone or with text.

          • Agree. I just turned 33 and I would probably call someone without texting first. I sure did in high school!!

            I also do often text “u around?” To friends before I call.

      • TupeloHoney :

        Well, I think that OP’s reaction to his calling unexpectedly is more a symptom of her general disinterest in him. If I really really liked a guy, I would get excited about an unannounced call or text, but if I already kind of had a “meh” feeling about him, I would see those same behaviors as kind of annoying.

    • Online dating is all about following your instincts, and what you’ve described would weird me out too. I’d cancel.

    • If set up through friends – I’d go on the date – they obivously thought there was a reason you might connect

      If online – cancel if you don’t feel comfortable.

      I wouldn’t be weirded out by that amount of calling/texting if he was friend of a friend but I would be with an online internet stranger person.

    • Online Dating :

      Of the things that you have mentioned, discussing a date with another woman is the one that would annoy me the most. The others probably would not, especially if I liked the guy. But I think that shows that what you do and don’t like in dating is so subjective – things that you don’t like about a guy you don’t like are often things you might find endearing in a guy you do like. While I don’t think that what you have described would be dealbreakers for me, I do think that the fact that they annoy you is evidence that you are not a good match.

      • Good points.

        I wasn’t thrilled that he was discussing another woman period. I’m super not thrilled about his unflattering assumption about her. He had no reason to think she had a boyfriend. If something like that happened to me, I would assume my prospective date met someone through the dating service. I wouldn’t jump straight to, he must’ve been cheating. That’s a pretty big logical leap and makes me wonder if he’s one of those people who sees cheating in everything his partner does.

      • I’m an online dating veteran from back in the day (almost 20 years ago when it was brand new). If I’d refused to have a date with a guy who talked about his ex, I wouldn’t have had any dates at all.

        (and I had a lot of dates! the men:women ratios were like 10:1. but they all talked about their exes. I played a lot of armchair therapist at nice restaurants.)

    • Anonymous :

      At best he sounds immature (the teasing, awkward lack of phone etiquette) and insecure (boyfriend comment). Don’t feel bad about canceling. You’re not making things up. If it makes you feel better, tell yourself you’re saving him money and time too.

    • Meh, I’d give him a chance. Maybe he’s awkward during the “getting to know you” stage prior to a date. One date won’t kill you, and it’s not about being polite, it’s about giving someone the chance to change your opinion face to face.

    • lost academic :

      Girl no.

      Just cancel.

      What a tool.

    • The “weak” comment would make me wonder if he would make similar comments in the future. It’s a thoughtless and inconsiderate thing to say even if he thought he was being ‘funny’. It’s indicative of a certain mindset. Save yourself from having to dump him later by cancelling now.

  35. Trust your gut and cancel. ***K politeness.

  36. new job and vacation :

    Just started a new job in December, thoughts on taking time off in August? It would be 8 work days. I think it’s ok culturally in my office but it’s hard to tell so soon. I’m taking 2 days off in between now and then (one at a time) but does it look bad? I would need to put in the time now to get my plane ticket.

    • It’s probably fine if people regularly take 1.5 weeks off at a time, but I wouldn’t put in the request now. You don’t need to buy a plane ticket six months in advance. The optimal time to buy a ticket is about four months out for international, two months out for domestic. I think if you started in December making the request in April or May for 8 days off in August would be less jarring than making the request in February.

      • new job and vacation :

        Yes, I was thinking it would look better to wait but my husband found an amazing deal on tickets. I think you are right, though.

    • Anonymous :

      It doesn’t look bad, unless you work in one of those insane offices where everyone hates life. I would put it in now.

      • Anonymous :

        Eh, my office is pretty laid back (we get a lot of PTO and everyone takes all of it and most people work 40-45 hours per week at most) but 8 workdays off at once is still a lot since that means you’re OOO for almost two weeks. One week (5 workdays) off at a time is the norm and any more than that would raise eyebrows, especially for a new employee.

        • Anonymous :

          But isn’t that just because most people take one week vacations instead of two weeks? It might a couple more days than the norm, but why is it an issue? I could see it being a problem if you’re in charge of some important activity that has a key deliverable during the time she’ll be out.

          • Anonymous :

            No, I think it’s more because people see a one-week absence as short enough that the person’s projects can just slide until they return, but if you’re talking about a two week vacation then you have to start handing things off to other people to get covered. I also think 8 days is almost the worst amount of time to take off – you’re not getting the benefits of two full weeks off or the extra weekend, but it’s long enough that people are going to figure you’re not going to get anything done in that little two-day week (because you probably aren’t) and so they’re going to think of it as a two-week vacation.

    • Anonymous :

      You know your workplace best, but in mine this would be no big deal to request now. Any reasonable manager is going to realize that August is a ways away and if you have the vacation days, they are part of your package to use.

    • How much vacation are you allotted? Do you have a separate sick bank? Is it a use it or lose it policy or do days roll over?

      In my office, eight working days would be considered a long vacation. Five days with weekends on either side is more common, but most people are in the long weekend camp and tie them in with holidays. At ten years in, I will be taking my longest vacation of seven working days and it is for a sort of one off opportunity.

      I would ask a coworker or supervisor you trust and get a read from them.

    • I started a new job in January and my boss and I talked about vacations yesterday, she was encouraging me to go to Costa Rica this fall, which would be at least a week-long trip. The culture at this organization is that people are encouraged to take their vacation time and apparently, not taking at least a full week off a year is weird. It’s all dependent on your organization, and also whatever projects are going on. If you know now there may be a major deadline coming up in August or September, I wouldn’t ask for time off. But by the time people have been at an organization 8 months it’s totally fine to take the time off.

      I once worked for an organization where you did not accrue any vacation – zip, zil, nada – your first year. On your one-year anniversary you’d get 40 hours put in your leave bank, but up till then you had no available time off other than sick time. It was like they expected no one would have a family reunion, spring break trip with a child, or Christmas trip to see parents their first year. Our turnover rate for new employees was huge.

    • Anonymous :

      Is this a joke? Just take the time off.

      Your leave is part of your compensation!

  37. How does Cuyana sizing compare to other brands?

  38. Gearing up the nerve to quit my miserable job within the next week, without a new job prospect to fall back on. The situation is unsustainable — my company seems to be forcing me out to eliminate my team and cut costs, and it’s working. I cannot continue to work here. Any words of advice/warning from others who have quit without a backup plan before?

    • Anonymous :

      If you can, don’t do it unless you think you will be fired vs. eliminated. Let them eliminate you and then you will have a sympathetic story to tell new employers. Quit and you look like a quitter.

      • They won’t fire me. My guess is that they’re waiting for their next annual purge to deem me and my team unnecessary. That’s at least 6 months from now.

        • In that case, I’d stay and just start job searching at work. Don’t feel bad about being checked out and doing whatever you need to stay sane. But from an outside perspective, it’ll be easier to find another job if you are not unemployed, and it makes more financial sense too.

          • I agree and I’m currently in the same boat. I’m done with my job and focused on applying for jobs. If they won’t fire you, cut back and spend your time looking for another position. Worst case scenario, you get fired or laid off and have unemployment as a cushion. That’s my plan. Also, network as much as you can!

    • If they fire you, usually you are eligible for unemployment, whereas that is tough or impossible to get if you quit.

      I have been where you are. It totally sucks. But seriously, stay until you are forced out. Not just for unemployment, but also as others have said, it sounds better to new employers that you were “laid off” or RIF’d or whatever, than that you quit because you couldn’t take it anymore. There will always be a question in their mind of whether the situation was really that bad, or you’re just a primadonna.

  39. Don’t let them win. Stay, focus on anything else that you can and work to find a new job. Finding a new job is now your new part-time job. Make them have to get rid of you and if they do, hopefully it comes with severance. I just escaped a similar situation and am now coaching others who are still there. You can do this. Keep taking home that money – you are earning it. Document everything and go to HR if you can – that will buy you time until you can find something else.

    • There’s also something to be said for protecting your mental health when you’re in an unsustainable situation. It sounds like the OP is at that point.

      • That’s exactly where I am. The frustration caused by all of this is killing my ability to focus my remaining energy into job searching and networking. My husband has been advocating for me to stick it out as long as possible until I find something new, but even he’s on board with me getting out of here as soon as I can.

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