Thursday’s Workwear Report: Framed Velvet Jacket

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

We’re all excited that spring is coming — we can’t wait to pull out our pastels and our happy bright colors. I’m with you, but I’ll also note that now is a great time to snap up winter things like cashmere sweaters and velvet jackets if you’re looking, because they’re all going on deep sale. Macy’s has a number of velvet jackets on sale right now, including this pretty, framed velvet jacket from Tommy Hilfiger. Of course, you probably won’t wear it until November, but you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll like a velvet jacket for the office — and for holiday parties and as a topper for dresses and going out, etc. They’re a lot of fun. Macy’s has several options right now in lucky sizes, so take a peek around. The pictured jacket is on sale for $56.94 at Macy’s. Framed Velvet Jacket

Two plus-size options are here and here.

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  1. Whoever styled that velvet jacket for the photo should rethink their choices.

    I’m seriously grouchy this morning. Hopefully I’ll be able to escape for a run outside in the sunshine this afternoon. I had planned to go this morning before work, but someone had an “emergency” which turned out to be a simple miscommunication, which wouldn’t have been a thing at all if she had read the freaking email. Ugh.

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe I’m not seeing what you’re seeing. What is so bad about this photo? I get that the waist on the pants seems quite high, but what else?

      • Underneath is just… two boring staple-type pieces. Makes the jacket look like a matronly Talbots piece. If they’d styled it with, say, gray skinny jeans and a blousy, silky layer, it would be much more appealing to me anyway!

      • I think it’s that it’s an okay picture, except if you’re trying to sell the jacket, it’s a bit hard to see because it blends in with the dark pants. And with the model’s arms down by her side, it makes it tougher to understand the fit.

        Sometimes I wish companies would just post clothing photos like a series of mug shots: front-facing, side view, etc. Some websites are much better about this than others.

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t see it either.

      • Is it just my computer screen? It looks like a deeply black jacket and brownish beige pants that look pretty terrible together.

        • Wow. Those pants are def black!

        • I saw black pants the first time, but scrolled back up after I read your comment. For me it looks like black pants with a brownish tint – I can see how they don’t look good together since the velvet is truer black on my screen.

          • This is what I see as well, black pants but definitely brown tinged black, while the jacket is a true (or maybe more blue based) black.

        • Huh, they definitely look black to me!

  2. going off the pill-- what to expect? :

    I stopped the pill one month ago. So far, I haven’t noticed many changes except I’m slightly oilier and sweatier.

    when does the horrible acne start? Should I expect to drop a cup size? I’ve heard so many horror stories. I’m bracing myself and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    • Anonymous :

      You may be lucky, and not have either of those. I didn’t.

      How long had you been on it? How old are you now?.

    • lawsuited :

      When I stopped taking the pill after taking it consistently for 15 years, the only side effect I saw was the return of PMS symptoms (mood swings, cramps) that the pill had previously curbed.

      • +1

        Bra size and weight didn’t change, skin was maybe just a tiny bit more acne prone but maybe not. The major difference for me was the return of helacious cramps.

    • I had nothing but positive effects! H0pefully you are in the same boat.

    • I didn’t experience any changes of that nature, but OMG the cramps! Stock up on Advil…

    • I was on the pill for almost 16 years before I went off and I had zero issues. Magically my skin got better and my periods were lighter. No weight/bust changes. Sounds like you might be lucky too.

    • Anonymous :

      They’re stories. Everyone is different. I wouldn’t really devote time to worry about it.

    • anon a mouse :

      My cup size went up and I felt really sick.

      …Oh, I was pregnant.

    • Try some strength training to cheer yourself up! Now that you’re off the pill, studies have show you’ll have an easier time gaining muscle :)

    • Anonymous :

      Ummm nothing? It’s not always a big deal

    • going off the pill-- what to expect? :

      Thanks, all. No chance of pregnancy. I’m 36 and was on it for the last couple years, off for a few, snd on it for a decade in my 20s. Had a bad experience with acne the last time I went off it, but if I remember right, it started fairly quickly, like within a week or two of stopping. Maybe I’ve just stabilized with age.

      There’s something weirdly freeing about going off it because this time I know it’s for good. It gave me a lot of peace of mind in my 20s, but st this point in my life I’ll use something else for protection in my next relationship.

    • The only effect I had was an occasional metallic smell and that my anxiety improved significantly.

    • I didn’t get a period for 7 months. But that’s pretty rare. I think side effects are rarer than you think – they’re not exactly uncommon, but I think most women don’t experience any adverse effects.

    • I had a noticeable increase in drive, but my migraines got worse.

    • LifeScienceMBA :

      The only side effect I had was hair loss, which started after about 2 months and lastest for maybe 2-3 months. I was shedding like crazy, but it was only temporary. I read that it’s because the pill simulates pregnancy, which itself slows hair growth and therefore hair is falling out less quickly. Once you go off the pill, your body goes back to normal mode and resumes quicker hair growth, with “old” hair falling out more quickly.
      Other than that, I wish I had gotten off it earlier. My love life just got soooo much better.

      • +1 to increase in drive. I’m also take wellbutrin so all this time I just assumed that was the problem. I’d been on the pill since I was 15 and I don’t ever remember loss of drive being discussed as a side effect. I noticed an immediate improvement in drive and feeling less blah all the time when I stopped taking it.

        • *I also take*

        • Isn’t loss of drive one of the most commonly discussed side effects of the pill? I would say it’s in the top 3 I’ve heard about, along with mood swings and weight gain. And I also experienced it.

  3. Apparently I have gained weight. Not very much, but enough to pop out of my bras and seats of clothing. I’ve never really had to lose weight before. Any tips, other than eat less and work out more?

    • Just more specific advice – cut carbs, not protein, and make sure you are eating healthy fats and drinking lots of water. On the workout front, make sure you are doing some weight training and not just cardio. If two months of good effort doesn’t yield any results then check with your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on – no subclinical hypothyroidism or anything like that.

      • +1

        Cut carbs generally, and specifically cut out sugar as completely as possible. I still eat fruit when I’m trying to lose weight, but added sugar goes. As does alcohol, which is processed as sugar. Replace the calories with fat (full fat yogurt, avocado, a slice of cheese for a snack if you’re really starving, etc.), but still make sure you overall have a calorie deficit. Though, the deficit doesn’t need to be huge. You don’t need to do anything extreme like cut back to 1200/day or something.

    • Water. When I edge up a bit, I drink half my bodyweight weight in ozs or more of water (which I should be doing anyway) and it really helps slough off added weight.

    • Suddenly pay attention to food portions. This is what I have to do every few years as my metabolism changes. It is easy and surprisingly effective.

    • i've been there :

      Eat different things. If you haven’t already, cut added sugar, simple carbs, snacktreats like cheeze its, crackers, and chips that bear a striking resemblance to food but don’t actually do much for you.

    • Stop drinking for a few weeks.

    • Anon dieter :

      Consider downloading one of the very many food/exercise tracker apps on your phone. I find that recording everything I’m eating is invaluable to keeping me “honest” and actually losing weight. It will also give you a better sense of appropriate portion sizes. Many of the apps have features that make tracking very simple, such as the ability to search for foods such as restaurant meals and log them, scan bar codes, save frequent meals, etc.

    • Senior Attorney :

      It’s extreme, but some people on this board recommended Whole30 a while back (google it for details) and I started it 10 days ago and couldn’t be happier. It really is helping me re-set my relationship with food and I’ve dropped a few pounds already.

    • Jitterbug :

      I’m in the same boat. My clothing has gotten tight and, according to a doctor visit back in December, I’m technically overweight now.

      Here’s what I’ve been doing:

      – got a Fitbit for Christmas, and set my calorie goal as the main goal to focus on each day. 10k steps is easy peasy, 2,135 calories is something I have to work on sometimes. and paying attention to the calorie burn helps me decide whether I can treat myself. I also listen to the reminders to take 250 steps each hour, I feel like that’s been helping.

      – avoiding snacking in the evening, unless I’m too hungry to fall asleep

      – doing squats and pushups in the kitchen when I’m waiting for something to heat, boil, etc.

    • Read The Obesity Code. I’m a physician and this was a game changer for me.

  4. I’m spending one night in San Fran next month with my husband. Looking for suggestions for a nice hotel and dinner. It’s essentially a long layover – we fly in, spend the night, then have to be back at the airport by mid afternoon the next day. We love good food (and are semi-adventurous eaters, though he prefers veggie and fish to meat). We’ve both been there before but not in several years. We just want to spend some quality time together but nothing too crazy so we’re not burnt out for the rest of our trip.

    Several years ago I planned a week in Charleston/Savannah based solely on the recs from the hive and everything was so good that since then my husband has revered this site!

    • Anonymous :

      What area are you staying in/want to stay in? And is this a weeknight/weekend night?

      • Open to any area, keeping in mind that we are coming from/heading back to the airport. It’s a Friday night.

        • Anonymous :

          Campton Place is one of my favorite restaurants in SF, if you want a fancy, multi-course meal. It’s in the Taj Campton hotel. I haven’t stayed in the hotel but have heard good things and in terms of a relaxing evening, it’s hard to beat dining and staying in the same place.

    • Hotels can be random depending on events here, so I’d book now. I’m personally partial to the old classics – The Fairmont and the Mark Hopkins atop Nob Hill – very Hitchcock and classic. For a more modern feeling, Hotel Vitale on the Embarcadero is lovely too (and I think they do rooftop yoga). So many restaurants here – recently have loved The Progress (sister to State Bird, which is an almost impossible reservation) but it’s creative food, always love Zuni Cafe (classic spot for roasted chicken, and get a drink at Hotel Biron (not really a hotel but hidden-ish wine bar in the alley next door) beforehand, Tartine Manufactory is on my list – new spot from the famous bakery people, oh and I love Frances in the Castro for a romantic meal, but reservations can be hard to get. Make reservations anywhere you choose and do it now – a month out is about right for a hope of a table at a decent hour.

    • I like the Hotel Vitale. It’s on the Embarcadero, very close to the Farmer’s market, good Bart Access (although I generally still think cabbing it/Uber is faster to the airport). You can walk to Union Square, take Muni to Fisherman’s Wharf if you want to do touristy stuff. I would have dinner your first night in the Mission, which is a quick ride down market/Mission. I don’t love the Union Square area for hotels, athough there are a lot of them, because it is very close to the Tenderloin which is a very dangerous area of SF, and a little scary at night.

      If I only had one day in SF and I had a Sat AM, I would wake up, go to the Ferry Terminal Farmer’s Market and sample all the things/have breakfast, take an Uber to Crissy Field, take all the Photos by the Golden Gate and hike Land’s End. If I had a little more time, I would have an Uber take me to the Legion of Honor and take more pix, stop at Taste Wine Bar (they bring Napa to the city and a friend owns it). Then I would wander around the Marina or Cow Hollow before heading back to my hotel and hopping to the airport. No traffic, SFO is about 20 mins from the City. With traffic can be up to 40. On a Satursday afternoon, I would budget 40 just to be safe. I left SF about three years ago, so I am not up on what the coolest restaurants are now, but I would check San Francisco Magazine and 7×7 magazine for the latest, and I am sure some West Coast ladies will chime in soon.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      You could also head south bay and stay somewhere there. For example Baume in Palo Alto is amazing, Two Michelin stars. If you go there hold back judgement when you see the restaurant is located in basically a strip mall (next to a kinkos) until you go inside and have your meal- Menlo park to the airport takes about 30 minutes which is the same as getting to San Francisco from the city.

      • omg, PLEASE don’t go to Palo Alto if you’re in SF for one night. Baume is indeed an excellent restaurant, but there are plenty of equally as good or better restaurants in the city itself and there are many, many more options there. Plus, Palo Alto is Surburbia Central. I live in PA and it’s a nice place to live (except for the cost of living and traffic) but I can’t imagine being in SF for less than a full day and heading out of town to visit Palo Alto, unless I had a person I was visiting there. Even if you had five or six days in SF, I would recommend a day trip to Napa or Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz, I wouldn’t recommend going to Palo Alto. It’s just not a place tourists visit (except for maybe the Stanford campus, which is definitely not something you want to see at night).

        It’s also much more convenient to get between SFO and the city than it is to get between SFO and Palo Alto. To get to Palo Alto from SFO you have to take BART to Caltrain, which can take more than two hours if the schedules don’t align well. Or you have to take an airport shuttle that takes forever or pay $$$$ for a cab. From SFO to the city is an easy, quick BART ride.

      • Yeah–I worked near CA Ave and lived in Menlo Park forever, but…just no. I love Palo Alto, but I cannot endorse this!

      • I think going to PA instead of SF is a great idea! Palo Alto has great restaurants and excellent hotels (it is, after all, suburbia for rich people who don’t always want to drive an hour to the city). If you are looking for something different (and free!), Stanford has a free Rodin museum on campus. There’s an aviation museum on the way to the airport too.

      • LondonLeisureYear :

        Haha – I think I was just assuming things differently. Like I figured they would be flying in during rush hour. That they were probably not be wanting to deal with the BART so an Uber Pool to Palo Alto is 25 bucks. And then figured they would be headed out pretty early in the morning since it was just a layover. So they wouldn’t actually get to see much of SF. I love SF, but if you are just looking for a good dinner and a bed to sleep in….it doesn’t really matter if you are in SF or not. Its not like you will get to see the city. And haha if I was in Palo Alto I would book a late night couples massage at Watercourse Way before having to fly out the next day.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Dottie’s True Blue Cafe for breakfast the next morning! You’ll have to stand in line but it will be worth it!

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Boulevard for dinner is excellent. Hotels in SF are stupidly expensive. But I second the recommendation to stay somewhere like the Fairmont or the Huntington on Nob Hill. Big Four in the Huntington is great for some quiet relaxing drinks.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I recently stayed at the Hotel Vitale and loved it. Had dinner at the Slanted Door (based on recs from here) and also loved it.

    • I love Coqueta on the Embarcadero for dinner – delicious tapas. Also love Park Tavern for brunch (or lunch or dinner of course!).

      I live in the city so I don’t have much first hand experience of hotels, but multiple people have recommended The Clift to me.

    • Potomac Ave :

      I just ate at Poesia in Castro last Tuesday. Great italian.

    • A hotel we’ve stayed at is the Hotel Carlton on Sutter Street. Their Saha restaurant has fabulous breakfasts.

  5. Anonymous :

    Can anyone provide advice on finding an employment lawyer in NYC for a consult?
    I wrote yesterday but it was kind of late in the day- I’ve been chronicling a hostile workplace situation here over the last couple of months, and it finally got to the point where I had a breakdown, my SO practically carried me to an emergency appointment with a psychiatrist, and I was told to go on medical leave and take short term disability. I’m getting great treatment now and it’s truly a good thing.
    The stress-related breakdown was mainly from a bullying boss who targeted me after I made a suggestion that was favored by management, but I’ve also been s*xually harassed by an engineer who was wasted at 3pm, and the CEO’s wife showed me nude photos and grabbed my butt at the company holiday party. Just overall insanity. Oh, and there’s no HR for a 100 person company.
    I’m focused on getting better now, but I figure I should at least look into my options from a legal standpoint, and I’m not really sure where to look or how to start.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I missed responding to you last night, but I wanted to say that I am horrified by what you have been going through and think that you have been nothing short of heroic throughout this ordeal. Best of luck to you going forward.

      • Thank you!!! The support here has seriously meant a lot to me. I wish I could go into more detail because I’m pretty proud of how I’ve handled several incidents in particular, but I’m just glad it’s coming to a close :)

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      NELA is the national associations of plaintiffs’ employment lawyers and there are sub chapters in each state and major city. I found the NY one and they have an email/phone number to get a referral. I’m going to paste the link rather than the contact info to avoid them getting $pammed.

      Good luck!

  6. Anonymous :

    Do you think quitting your full-time job and joining a temp agency, doing their jobs, will be career suicide? I just don’t like being in the same office, in the same desk, every single day.

    • What? Yes. Temp agency = not a career. For most people, it is a stop-gap.

      Maybe look at freelance opportunities in your industry? Consulting?

      Then again, I’m the wrong person to ask. I’m super risk adverse and really enjoy my steady paycheck, 401K, bonus/equity, etc.

    • I’m not really sure what you mean by “career suicide.” This doesn’t sound like a career, really, given what I know about temp agencies. It’s a series of short-term gigs.

      This has a few serious drawbacks, which I’m sure you already know. You don’t get benefits (health insurance, 401K/employer match, paid days off, etc). Every single temp agency I’ve ever dealt with (we hire from them to fill short term vacancies) do not provide any of that for their employees — they’re basically contractors, and they’re hoping to be picked up by the employer hiring them for the temp gig.

      I’m not sure what you do for a living, but I also think that this looks really weird on a resume, and doesn’t allow you to have the benefit of a good, long-term (or medium term, necessarily) reference for your work if you ever decide to make a change to a more traditional employment setup. To me, it would look like you were either A) flighty and didn’t want to be tied down or B) no one would hire you to do long-term work.

      TL;DR: I wouldn’t do it. I think it would be career suicide.

    • What industry are you in and how long have you been working in it? Sound like you need more interesting work or a different environment. Can you financially handle periods between placements if you go the temp route?

    • Baconpancakes :

      By definition, you would not be making a career, but piecing together jobs, so it would literally be career suicide.

      But it sounds like you might do well to consider changing careers to one where you travel or work on site sometimes, or do different projects. Like anon above, im also risk adverse, but I also don’t think consulting is as magic as most people say it is, because the hustle gets in the way of the actual job most of the time. If you’re confortable sharing, what’s your field? There might be something related that you could transition into that would make you happier.

      • Anonymous :


        • Anonymous :

          Can you switch to an auditing-type position, where you are on-site at clients on a rotating basis? That might be more travel away from home.

        • My cousin hated being married to an accountant, because he traveled to clients so much. I don’t know if that’s a specialization or a seniority thing, but it is a possibility somehow. Are you in the bowels of a big accounting firm? Maybe there is someone above you who would feel comfortable with you doing some of their travel/a certain kind of trip.

        • Do you have someone to support you financially? Are you a CPA or headed in that direction? How much experience do you have? Do you know how to use all the major accounting and bookkeeping software?

          I temped with accountemps before I got my “real” job while I was taking some classes. I enjoyed it and it was good experience, but here’s the deal:

          – a lot of companies want someone to stay for a long time, so it’s not necessarily going to be a bunch of jumping from thing to thing every couple of months. One of my “temp” assignments lasted over a year. One was a 3 month maternity leave coverage. Both were part time.
          – placements are hit or miss. I had one that kept pushing back the start date. Nothing is guaranteed. I was placed right away because I looked and sounded educated and professional. A lot of people are never placed.
          – every company has a different way of doing things. Yeah, a journal entry is a journal entry, but you have to have an idea of how companies code things in their software. That can take a long time to learn, and often times training is extremely minimal. With my maternity leave placement I never fully learned how to code things in their software, which was very frustrating.
          – you are not going to be paid much- I made $9 an hour at one job (bookkeeping) and $14 at the other (staff accountant). If you’re used to making good money, that kind of pay cut is going to be hard.
          – you will not have benefits. I was on my husband’s insurance.
          – you are treated like a temp sometimes. I was not allowed to put my food in the refrigerator at one job I had. I mean, come on. I think they had had some bad experiences with temps in the past so they had all these really bizarre strict rules.

          The great thing about accounting is that its a lot more flexible than other careers. At least it has been for me. I don’t think this would be career suicide, but I agree that you should look into being an external auditor. That way you could get what you’re looking for (a change of scenery) without the negative aspects of temping.

          If I were independently wealthy and bored I might temp. Otherwise, it was fun to do for a while, but I prefer the upsides of regular employment at this point in my life.

    • If you’ve never done temp work before, I suggest you _really think_ about benefits too before you take this leap. Do you enjoy getting paid vacation and holidays now? Because as a temp, a three day weekend means that you get 80% of your pay for the week, full stop. You may not have access to a 401(k) or may only have access if you’ve worked a certain number of hours in the past X period of time. You may have access to health care coverage, but I guarantee you that it’s bare bones, and frankly, don’t be counting on the ACA/state exchanges to be around much longer, depending on where you live. Those are very real considerations unless you have someone else’s income in your family (spouse, partner, etc.) and can piggyback off of that person’s healthcare. Also, in my own experience, being a temp can be THE WORST because you are given the worst desk/office/boss/computer etc. because, hey, you’re “just the temp.” You may or may not be included socially too. Everyone going for an offsite? Not you–you’re “just the temp.” etc.

    • There are other ways than temp jobs to make sure you’re not chained to the same desk every day. Look into consulting and other work that requires travel.

    • Jitterbug :

      Consider this: if you temp long-term and then decide to go back to working full-time somewhere, it may be very difficult unless you happen to temp for a company that decides they want to hire you. Hiring managers want to see a history of stability; they can forgive some brief temping, especially you’ve been trying to make ends meet after a layoff, but if you willingly temp for many years you’ll look like a flight risk.

    • Consider talking to a recruiter about consulting opportunities. I recently changed jobs and used a recruiter (I’m also in accounting). They had me talk to someone in their consulting department, even though I wasn’t initially interested in it, but it sounded pretty good to me. They help you find a job, you do it for awhile, and then they help you find a new job. The pay for me would have been better, even taking into consideration things like no benefits or 401K. I might have done it, but I ended up getting a normal job shortly after. My new job actually hires tons of accounting consultants, who come in to work on special projects and they will be here for a few weeks to a few years.

  7. Such pride for my home state! This is the most Minnesotan thing ever. Of course everything is solved with some hotdish.

    I also love it because often on here we hear “don’t bring cookies to work!” but hey there is Senator Al Franken in an apron!

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      I saw this too!!! Haha it must be making the rounds with Minnesotans. Made me laugh!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Love this!

    • Baconpancakes :

      I think it would be great if EVERYONE brought cookies to work! (Or casserole or chili or guacamole or roast turkey.) That’s ideal, really, a world where we don’t have to pretend we’re not domestic in order to not look weak, because everyone aspires to being domestic and being a great cook. More delicious food for everyone!

      • Agreed! And it does seem that stereotypical women’s hobbies are treated as trivial (baking, fashion, home design, gardening) but no one judges stereotypical men’s hobbies (fantasy sports, video games, etc).

        At least baking produces something of value (delicious, delicious cake!)

        • I think plenty of women judge fantasy sports and video games (I certainly do). Meanwhile, the only people I hear saying not to bake are women. So I feel like women actually are just internalizing things a lot more than men ever would and trying to make their conduct fit this idealized version in their own heads.

        • I agree. I really appreciated the way this author highlighted how articles about minimalism never talk about the tools in the garage:

        • I mean yeah. Like of course women’s hobbies are judged as trivial. Welcome to the history of the world. this happens with careers too – as women take over male-dominated fields the pay drops and they begin to be seen as less prestigious.

        • Im in moderation for a link but yes this is the history of the world. if it is valuable to women it is frivolous, if men are interested in it it is very important. (see fashion, computer programing, biology, and how the value we have placed on them has changed depending on who is interested)

      • Jitterbug :

        Because I work in talent acquisition, I’ve often thought of making candied dates (get it? like candidates?) to bring in for the recruiters . . . but they look difficult to make, and require a lot of ingredients that look hard to find. Too much work.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Wait. So many questions. I need more information here. First, “hotdish”? Is this just an adjective or do you just call casseroles hotdishes in the midwest? It says the winner’s had bear from someone’s hunting trip? You can eat bear?! What do you guys do in the midwest?

      • Casserole is called hotdish mostly just in Minnesota, I think. Everyone else just has casserole.

        What else would you do with a bear?

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Stuff it and display it somewhere, or run away from the large scary animal? I don’t know, I never really thought about eating a large omnivore. The animals I eat are firmly in the herbivore category. What does it taste like?

          • Don’t know – haven’t ever had it. It’s not nearly as common as venison.

            And I don’t think we actually have grizzlies in MN, or Wisconsin for that matter. Grizzlies are further west. We do get some black bears though, especially further north.

          • I’ve had bear. Kind of like stringy, gamy beef.

          • fatty. i like it.

        • Patricia Gardiner :

          Of course! Just like on Oregon Trail!

      • In the midwest we shoot the grizzlies when they wander into our schools, and then we bake them into casseroles.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yes! One of the adorable idiosyncratic things about the upper Midwest. Hotdish=casserole. And apparently bear tastes really nutty, because they eat a lot of nuts. But it is super fatty and can be stringy.

      • LondonLeisureYear :

        Hotdish is another word for casserole.

        Most traditionally it includes a the mixing of a condensed soup (such as mushroom) with vegetables and meat and topped with tater tots heated until bubbling and is served in a church basement.

        I have never eaten bear…and I am as midwest as it gets. My wedding was an announcement on Prairie Home Companion and I grew up serving lutefisk dinner and working in the jello room. But it doesn’t surprise me that it got thrown in. We are a resourceful people in the midwest. And do just about anything for a pun!

        • Mmmm….tater tot hot dish.

        • Chicago gal :

          I grew up in Chicago and have no idea what any of these things are. Goes to show how varied the midwest is!

          • I’m from Minnesota and this is why we do not consider Chicago to be the real Midwest ;)

          • +1

          • Chicago gal :

            Chiming in to say that neither do I, except that everywhere else in the country calls us the Midwest. It’s weird because unless we are talking LA or NY, I live in a bigger city than all the other places.

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            Do you know about paczki? Its suuuuch a thing in Michigan but I hadn’t heard about it despite living in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois until I moved there for college. The midwest is a funny place.

          • LondonLeisureYear, how did you know know about paczki? It was everywhere in the Chicago area when I was growing up! I think in WI it’s more in the Milwaukee area than the rest of the state.

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            They are polish in origin so that would make sense that its in Milwaukee but not the rest of the state. I learned about it in Michigan when I was there for college because its literally everywhere. Billboards advertising, people line up at 4:30 AM to get them, every work someone brings in a box, there are a bunch of eating contests etc Its such a thing!

          • Chicago gal :

            Yes, but that is because there is a massive Polish population in Chicago. They are not in the rest of Illinois, to my knowledge, only in places with a Polishh population like in Chicago and not year-round. We just had them in the office because of Fat Tuesday and then again for Pulaski day.

          • Anonymous :

            Is paczki a mix of ground meat and root vegetables (rutabega, turnips, etc.) that are baked in a pastry? Because I think every nationalities that settled in the Midwest/Plains states had a different version. MN has pasties on the Iron Range (up North), Nebraska has runzas, etc. The name (and the vegetable used) are usually what vary.

          • Potomac Ave :

            @anonymous, no, that’s a patsy in Michigan (the UP).

            A paczki is a polish pastry (similar to donut) filled with plum jelly (traditionally), also can have raspberry/custard. Delicious.

        • One of my dad’s co-workers went bear hunting, and was giving it away to everyone he knew. He had an entire freezer full of it and would never go through it otherwise. The bear was pretty tasty! It made a really great stew.

      • Bears are big. What else would you do with all that meat? I mean, if you’re gonna shoot it in the first place, then it’d be wasteful not to butcher it. It’s not my favorite thing to eat, and the flavor is definitely affected by what they eat: a bear that mostly eats berries and nuts is going to taste way different than one that gets into garbage cans all the time.

        Where I went to undergrad (a bit west of MN), bears would sometimes wander into town, get down into the university neighborhood, and then get scared and climb a tree. And then you’d be walking home from class and have to go around 6th street because the Fish & Wildlife guys were crap shots with the tranquilizer darts.

        So yeah, if you have bear questions, ask away.
        (I’m mostly a lurker, but work is slow today and I apparently possess specialized knowledge that’s temporarily in demand, so I’ll play :) )

        • This comment and your specialized knowledge and experience are making my day. I went to grad school in Minneapolis but never saw a bear. Large rabbits (who would look in my basement apartment windows), cats and pot belly pigs walked on leash, but no bears.

          • I also did eat hotdish, without wild game of any kind, including on an early date at a guy’s house on one memorable occasion.

          • Yeah, Minneapolis is a proper city. Would be super problematic to have large wildlife roaming around there … though I just had a mental image of bears in the Mall of America, and nearly lost it. My undergrad uni was like 15 min from a designated wilderness area, and is sort of a pocket town of college bohemian hippies plopped in the middle of mountains and wildlife. Pro tip: deer are just as dangerous to pedestrians as they are to cars, do not approach them when walking home from the bars.

          • Though there was that one time there was a black bear sighting in one of the NE suburbs (White Bear Lake, I think – no it’s not named for a polar bear). But that’s about 10-20 miles from Minneapolis proper.

            You do get turkeys in Minneapolis, though (downtown and neighborhoods)

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        The way I explain it to my non-Minnesotan friends: In Minnesota, you put hotdish into a casserole.

      • Anonymous :

        What else do we do? We play duck, duck, grey duck!

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          haha so true! I moved to Minnesota about the age I started babysitting and the kiddos I babysat were so confused when I said let’s play “Duck Duck Goose!”

    • I bring cookies to work, as well as cakes and pies and trifles. I love to bake so much I went to culinary school just for the fun of it. And I love to spend Sunday afternoons baking with my daughter (or baking while she plays with measuring cups in the floor – she’s 2). But no way am I going to constantly eat all those desserts.

      Most of my coworkers are male, but I don’t feel I get any negative perceptions from them due to bringing in baked goods. I’m very confident at work, and I know and they know that I am good at my job. The baking isn’t seen as weak and domestic, its just a hobby I share.

      • The best baker in our office is the second most senior attorney. But he makes incredible pies, cinnamon rolls, tarts, etc. We all love when he brings stuff in!

      • Anonymous :

        I am a pro-am baker (haven’t been to culinary school, but have gotten really good at it and cater orders in my community by word of mouth referral) but I am reluctant to bring baked goods in to work since I started my new job, even though we do have a leadership team of women and our VP-equivalent woman brings in things occasionally. I did win my agency cupcake war competition, though that seemed different because it was for charity than just bringing it to leave around our team’s suite?

    • Former MNer :

      I moved from MN after college, lost my Fargo style accent for the most part, cheer for my no local sports teams, but cannot and will not quit using the term hotdish. Except for green been casserole, for some reason that is the only acceptable use of the word casserole. I don’t know why…

    • Franken 2020!

    • Minnesota also has something called “meat raffles.” You buy a ticket in a dive bar, spin the wheel, and get to take home the meat you land on.

      It’s an odd / awesome place, Minnesota.

      • Wildkitten :

        I went to a Minnesota baby shower where we had a meat raffle but instead of spinning the wheel you guessed the due date and won meat if you were right.

    • My husband bakes brownies for his co-workers which is good for equilibrium, although I think they are received with significantly more fanfare because he is a man.

  8. Books please :

    I know we do this a lot but I need bookbrecommenda5ions for an upcoming beach vacation. But I hardly get to read anymore so want something slightly more literary than a beach read or guilty pleasure. But something that will hold interest plot wise. I like literary fiction, doesn’t need to be recent but I have many classics covered. Novel, not short story. Any suggestions?

    • Books please :

      Aaah typos. Sorry, on phone. Obviously meant book recommendations. I am literate, really.

      • Paging Bunkster :

        Bunkster, I always enjoy your book recommendations very much and would love to have a link to your current Google spreadsheet. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind
      The Girl with the Tangerine Scarf
      Silas Marner

    • Commonwealth (although I needed a post-it to keep the characters straight)
      Tana French’s mystery novels
      The Muse
      The Summer Before the War
      Crazy Rich Asians

      • LondonLeisureYear :

        I really liked The Summer Before the War, Crazy Rich Asians, and Eligible but I would put all firmly in the fluff / beach read category.

        • KateMiddletown :

          I want to shout from the rooftops how much I enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians and the sequel China Rich Girlfriend. I am sOOO looking forward to the movie, esp since it was announced Constance Wu will be playing the female lead!

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            Me too! I am also looking forward to the 3rd book in the series too which comes out this spring.

      • Anonymous :

        I’ve only read the last two on this list, but I would definitely classify them as fluffy beach reads. Although I guess Eligible has the Jane Austen connection.

        • Ahh, totally skimmed and misinterpreted it as ‘more literary beach reads’ or ‘lit fiction light’

          I like literary fiction (unless written by angsty 40 something male New Yorkers -meh!) but I want something a bit more immediately engrossing for holiday reading.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Eligible. It’s got the Austen AND is a total beach read.

    • The Fifth Season.

    • The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing

    • Anonymous :

      Have you read Brideshead Revisited? Just read it on a beach trip and it was great.

    • The Girls
      Like Water for Chocolate
      Kavalier and Clay – longer than a beach read, but I could very easily see myself happily reading it on a beach
      10th of December
      Where’d You Go Bernadette?

    • Baconpancakes :

      All female authors, spanning genres:

      A Severed Wasp -Madeline L’Engle
      The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
      Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver
      Round House – Louise Erdrich
      When I Lived In Modern Times – Linda Grant
      The Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaugh
      A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

      • I loved Round House! But it deals with heavy topics (racism, assault, murder) so it may not be great for a vacation read.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Basically every book by Native American authors is depressing, but Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie are so amazing and I want everyone to read them anyway, and bring that narrative back to the table.

          • We read Love Medicine (Edrich) in high school, and remember actually kind of liking it (which was not the norm for most of the books on the list). I remember it being a bit sad, but not uber depressing (but I was also only a high school, may have missed things). So there’s a backlist if you don’t want to jump into Edrich with Round House.

            But yes, Round House (which is on my TBR pile) has heavy topics.

    • I would suggest Brooklyn, As the Great World Spins, Transatlantic, Bel Canto, Flight Behavior, Prodigal Summer, or The Night Circus (more fluffy).

      • Let the Great World Spin is one of my all-time favorites! I was actually mad at the book for finishing, because I wanted to keep reading it forever.

    • A Gentleman in Moscow is – hands down – the best book I’ve read in the past year. And everyone I recommended it to agrees.

      I read Swimming Lessons last week on my beach vacation and it was really good. Commonwealth is good, too.

      And here are 3 other literary fiction suggestions:
      The Dry
      Under the Influence
      Enchanted Isles

      • I loved loved loved Rules of Civility, but I cannot for the life of me get into A Gentleman in Moscow. Your post has inspired me to try again… I finally gave up and moved on to other books, but maybe I will go back and try to finish it.

    • I second Kavalier and Clay, Where’d You Go Bernadette?, Tana French’s mystery novels (start with In the Woods), Bel Canto, anything by Louise Erdrich, and The Night Circus. I loathed Deborah Harkness’s books and would have been so upset to have those as my only option on a vacation, but ymmv.

      Additional recs from female authors:
      Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)
      Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
      God Help the Child (Toni Morrison)
      Frog Music (Emma Donoghue)

      I am also not a short story person, but two recent-ish volumes have made me think that maybe some short stories are okay:
      Astray (Emma Donoghue)
      Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Karen Russell)

      Also, since I’ve already given recs that you didn’t want, I’ll suggest the same book I’ve suggested to everyone since I’ve read it: Book of Ages by Jill Lepore. Part memoir, part history, part historiography–if you have any interest in American history or women’s history, it’s worth checking out.

      • It sounds like we have similar taste in books, so I have to recommend A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She’s Sorry- both by Friederich Backman (probably butchered this spelling, but bother are bestsellers and should be easy to find). These were two of my favorite books that I read in 2016.

    • I just read and really enjoyed A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Perfect literary beach read.

    • In the mood :

      The woman in white by Wilkie Collins, although it’s a classic.

    • The Nightingale- Kristin Hannah
      Second the recommendations for Eligible
      The Nest- Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
      Circling the Sun- Paula McClain
      Fates and Furies- Lauren Groff
      Station Eleven- Emily St. John Mandel
      Kitchens of the Great Midwest- J. Ryan Stradal

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        So many of these are on my reading list. I looooooooooved Nightingale and Station Eleven.
        Picked up Kitchens of the Great Midwest at my local coffee shop’s Little Free Library for one of my reading challenge books this year.

      • Loved the Nightingale and Circling the Sun!

    • Commonwealth – Ann Patchett (or Bel Canto as suggested above)
      Modern Lovers- Emma Straub

    • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Each section references a different classic, so it’s fun to reread those in conjunction.

    • All the Light We Cannot See – won the Pulitzer Prize last year and the plot sucks you in. I read the entire thing in one sitting (a 10 hour transatlantic flight) and it was so so good.

    • Underground Airlines!!!!

    • Delta Dawn :

      The Girls is the best book I’ve read so far this year. All the Light We Cannot See is good. Eligible is good and, like others have mentioned above, more of a light beach read. I read Hidden Bodies and didn’t love it. I am partway through Swans of Fifth Avenue and have really liked it so far. Almost a light beach read but a little more substantial. I am also partway through The Nest and am enjoying it so far.

    • I’m like you. I read so infrequently that I don’t want to waste my time with a book that isn’t excellent, and I think I’m really picky. I recently enjoyed My Brilliant Friend. Well reviewed by all of the highbrow types. One reviewer said, imagine if Jane Austen were angry. (But it still reads like a very well written beach read, if that makes sense.) Highly recommend.

  9. How would you deal with a friend (let’s call her A) who feels left out of the group when no one is in fact leaving her out? We’ve been friends since high school, but she recently sent a series of long texts to me and B and C, the other friends in the group, saying that she’s really hurt because she feels like she’s the last to find out anything. She wants to talk it out.

    The truth of the matter is that (1) for the most part, either nothing is really going on (so there’s nothing to tell) and (2) when it comes to major life events like quitting a job, etc, I for one prefer to keep things to myself until there’s something I’m enthusiastic about and (3) I share some things with some friends, and other things with other friends. There’s no conspiracy. No “leaving out”. Just people, well, growing up and dealing with their lives, having different groups of friends, and not having as much time or inclination to share as much as before. I and B and C concur; this doesn’t mean that friendships matter less or that A is less important.

    We’ve also had words because she cannot. Let. Things. Be. To give an example – she thinks I should celebrate a particular event. I’m going through a difficult patch and I don’t feel like celebrating anything. She writes me a long text about gratitude and how good my life is, and that I should therefore celebrate the event. I know I have a lot to be grateful for. I just don’t need a celebration to show it. It ends in tears (hers, not mine).

    I’m sufficiently irritated that I don’t feel I want to talk it out. To me, it’s really simple – someone needs to grow up and realise that she can’t expect to be the centre of everyone’s universe. I also feel that she thinks her need to know things and be right about things trumps everyone else’s feelings and comfort about sharing. So in summary, I don’t think she’s actually being a good friend or has any right or basis to be upset about anything.

    I’m also dealing with a major transition (that I’d rather not talk about, at least not to most people) and I don’t feel that I can be patient or compassionate to someone who is in my view, being childish and self-absorbed. I don’t know if it’s a momentary thing, but right now I’m completely indifferent to whether she sticks around or not. The only thing I’m concerned about is the group – and whether I should, as a matter of decency, make an effort.

    Am I just being self-absorbed? Cruel, even? Does anyone know how to force yourself to be patient and compassionate in this situation?

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Do you still want to be friends with her? It sounds like a lot of work to be friends with her.

    • Just set firm boundaries. You don’t need to cut off the friendship entirely, but you also don’t need to pander to her when she’s being unreasonable. She may be going through a hard time and will eventually figure out adult friendship dynamics, and you’ll be glad you didn’t totally cut her off.

    • “A, I’m not leaving you out. I also don’t see any need to talk this out. I’m not comfortable sharing more than I currently do.”

    • You’re asking the wrong question. The question shouldn’t be, “Am I being self-absorbed?” Maybe you are, idk. It’s pretty natural to be a lot less tolerant of BS when you’re going through a tough time, even if it’s the kind of BS that doesn’t normally bother you.

      I can’t tell from your post whether your friend is awful, or going through a tough time herself, or whether you’re being harder on her than normal. But I don’t think it matters much. If you haven’t told her about whatever’s going on in your life then you should, at least at a high level like you have here, and hopefully she will back off. If she doesn’t, though, then you’ll need to set boundaries. Enlist B and C to help. Don’t let A make you feel guilty for not being a good friend to her when she’s clearly not being a good friend to you. It’s trite but – don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.

    • “Someone needs to grow up and realize she can’t be the center of everyone else’s universe.” Is there really anything in your power to change this?

      Regardless of whether she is out of line or you just don’t have the capacity for dealing with her (or somewhere in the middle), it sounds like this friendship isn’t working. Each of your expectations sound mismatched relative to the other’s. That’s OK, expectations don’t always need to match at any given time. But it sounds like it’s all about her, and that’s not OK. It is acceptable to step away from situations you don’t have the power to improve, and it sounds like a lot of the burden is on her to be less demanding.

    • What gets me here is that she is causing problems and then turns around and cries about it.

      I recently had a friend come to me crying because she didn’t like something I had done and how she had felt. She made herself the victim in her mind after I very thoughtfully came to the hard decision of setting some boundaries. Not to sound jaded, but I think the crying is a means of manipulating you into doing what she wants you to do and underscoring her need to make it about her. This is fixable, but is it worth the effort right now? Is this something you can put on the back burner until you have more energy to devote to it?

    • She sounds like a real piece of work. I’d pull back majorly. Is most of your communication via text? Can you stop responding as quickly and as much?

      • I think this is good advice, but I always end up cutting people out entirely because I hate leaving things unresolved and it causes me more stress to selectively/belatedly respond to people.

    • Yeah, I was A a couple years ago. I was going through some stuff and not dealing with it nearly as well as I thought I was, and changing friendship dynamics (which were natural because friendships change) felt like THE END OF THE FREAKING WORLD to me. Ironically, I behaved pretty much as A is behaving and, wonder of wonders, instead of convincing the friends I was inappropriately taking my sh*t out on to stop “leaving me out”, my behavior really put the kibosh on a couple of friendships that were really important to me. It’s been several years but I still regret the way I acted.

      As far as what that means for how you should respond to A, I don’t think you have to put up with her if you don’t want to. I think you could actually just say to her exactly what you typed in points (1) through (3) and that would be a completely fair thing to say. She might not take it that well, but I don’t think that would be your fault.

      • Jitterbug :

        *nod nod* A reminds me of myself when I was 21. I fancied myself part of a friend group, I slowly realized they were doing stuff and not inviting me, and instead of letting it go I fussed and sulked about it which a) made people less inclined to want me around, not more, and b) made my actual friends feel unappreciated.

    • Brunchaholic :

      I agree with a lot of what everyone else is saying, but I have to point out – you say that you’re not leaving A out on purpose and it’s in her head, but then have a lengthy explanation of all of the reasons that you’re irritated with her. Now I don’t blame you – she sounds exhausting, but it also sounds to me like she is picking up on negativity that 100% is there, so it’s a little bit contradictory and I think unfair to dismiss her complaints as completely out of bounds (even if you aren’t conscious about your behavior or intending to hurt her). I might be wrong, but do you think it would be more accurate to say that you are not intentionally and/or maliciously leaving her out of things, but she has a point in observing that your friendship is changing, which is totally natural. It sounds like you’re more comfortable with the transition than she is and she’s trying to cling to something that isn’t there anymore. And it doesn’t sound like you necessarily want it to be the way that it was before.

      Frustratingly, I’m not sure if it’s actually helpful to air these kinds of things out. It seems like the kind of thing that people realize and get comfortable with at different paces and it’s just awkward and difficult when friends aren’t on the same page. I’m not sure anything you said or did would magically make friend A understand, but that’s my two cents…

      • This makes sense as well – I guess I just feel like I’ve made an effort to keep my (irritated) responses to the minimum, and I usually say very little so as not to provoke another barrage of “advice” that I don’t want or need. But I can see how this could be taken the wrong way.

        Yeah, I do have the same feeling about airing things out – it rarely works and I don’t want to deal with yet another argument. But I get the feeling that I might not have a choice…

    • hey, OP here. Thanks for all your views.

      I have to be honest – no, I don’t rally want or need to be friends with A. I think she is neither a positive presence or influence? But then I do value my relationships with B and C, and it’s in that spirit that I feel I should at least try to be kind. But I’m also aware that people change, and maybe people should be given chances.

      But yes, boundaries. I don’t think it’s my job to educate or change her, but I think I can manage to say, somewhat kindly, that she needs to recognise that friendship is not about proving you’re right, or satisfying your need to know things about people.

  10. Looking for a light weight utility/military jacket in olive or khaki with a little stretch. Nordstrom has ones I like, but none with stretch. White House Black Market has one with stretch but I don’t love it and it’s backordered.

    • espresso bean :

      Try Asos! I saw a very cute one there this week that fits your description.

    • Shopaholic :

      Check Zara!

    • Minnie Beebe :

      What about that J Crew jacket that everyone seems to have? Downtown Field Jacket? I don’t know if it’s got any stretch, but it’s a nice jacket.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I got one from JCrew Factory in dark purple but it doesn’t have any stretch. It is pretty comfortable though.

    • Like this?–39-s-adventurer-ripstop-scouting-jacket/21104588/_/A-ebSku_0110102500000080__21104588_catalog10002_en__US_EBSite?showProducts=&backToCat=Women&previousPage=LNAV&tab=women&color=573

    • Old Navy. Really. Theirs this season is super cute.

    • LL Bean has a couple, but I think you need to look under their “sale” section.

  11. Heading to the Bahamas in June and trying to decide between Small Hope Bay Lodge, Staniel Cay Yacht Club or splurging on Tiamo Resort. Any recommendations? Should I be looking elsewhere? Looking for small/quiet/outdoorsy place. Not scuba divers but love snorkeling and kayaking.

    • Pale Girl Snorkeling :

      My preference is for just about anywhere in the Abacos chain of islands. The Sea of Abaco is lovely for kayaking and there are several excellent snorkeling places nearby. I’m headed to Treasure Cay and Hope Town next week and I can’t wait to hang out at the Treasure beach which is one of the top ten in the world according to National Geographic!

      • Thanks! any recommendations for where to stay? It seems like there are a million places and I’m a bit overwhelmed with the options.

  12. After months of longing for a carry-all tote that would fit my lunch, heels, and school materials/laptop (part-time MBA student + full-time analyst), I finally took people’s advice here and got the Dagne Dover and all I can say is THANK YOU. (I considered the Lo & Sons bags but just don’t like their look as much) The bag holds everything and looks great, and I can tell it will hold up for a long time. I’ve already gotten compliments on it, and I have to say I think it’s more attractive in person than on the website. The only downside is the weight of the bag, but I would much rather carry one heavy, fashionable bag than multiple smaller bags (which is what I was doing before). Thanks again, everyone!

    • This is going to sound weird, but my Dagne is my main bag as well. I had a DEXA scan done recently and they told me I carry more than 2 pounds of muscle on the left side of my torso than my right — then asked if I carry a purse (I’m right-handed and bag goes over my right shoulder!) So, just think about rotating the sides you carry it on if you don’t already do so consciously.

    • How do you fit your lunch? I have avoided more structured bags because I often carry containers that should lie flat as much as possible rather than go on their sides, and I can’t seem to make that work in something with more rigid sides.

      • lawsuited :

        I’m not the OP, but I use a slim bento lunch box.

      • I either use small tupperware that can fit right-side-up on the bottom of the bag, or I use really well-sealed tupperware that I stick on its side.

    • What size Dagne Dover did you get? I am looking at them now. Trying to figure out what size would be best. The Legend looks huge.

  13. I’m looking for recommendations for good work shoes (pumps and flats) from members of the hive who have bunions. I can wear Dansko clogs, but they look strange with skirts and are too clunky for my office (big law firm). I welcome any recommendations for avoiding foot pain and accommodating the bunions while still looking professional.

    • Aquazzura if you can afford it or find them on sale. There are a lot of over the top shoes but scroll through the pompoms and sparkles. And, I say this as someone with dreadful dancer’s feet.

      • OMG, why do I think my life will be perfect with these? #GirlCrushing hard here.

      • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

        Dreadful dancer feet is right. It looks so cool when I’m balancing my entire body weight on my toes, but I’m gonna be buying some podiatrist a yacht one of these days.

        OP, I like Clarks and Naturalizer. Wide toe boxes in many styles, good padding, and they have some good professional styles.

    • Walking Cradles and Vionic.

    • Dansko makes non-clogs that are still nice and wide in the toes.

    • Check out the blog barking dog shoes…she has lots of good suggestions about brands and styles. I have small bunions one is larger, and I have a custom orthodic that I wear with some(though not all shoes). I wear fly of london shoes…they are more’funky,’ but I work un a casual workplace. I have clarks, naot, and some booties by cobb hill. Some more unique brands I am lusting after are audley of london shoes, camper, and hispanitas. Some of the.most comfy shoes I have worn, have been made in spain, so for some reason, they work well with my bunion. Good luck!

      • Oh, and the brand wonders, and el naturalista (both made in Spain I think) are good. I have tried them on, and almost bought, but the store did not have the right size and colour. Also, try earthies/ earth shoes. Some have neat designs.

  14. Escape plan :

    My BigLaw escape plan was to get to a point where I could do a BA-to-RN program at a local state university. [I have small kids. All I really want is a job with a hard stop. I could be a pilot or anything else as long as the job wasn’t 24/7.]

    I was talking with a former ER nurse the other night (now she sells real estate) who said that it was basically a really stressful 12-hour job followed by 3 hours of paperwork, so it was 15 hours and she really hated it. [And then there was a different person who was in commercial leasing who basically said that her job is ultra flexible, but it is 100% commission, very old boys network, and not really awesome either.]

    At any rate, I feel like I need to do a lot networking to find some sort of unicorn alternative job.

    OTOH, in BigLaw I can go to the bathroom whenever I want (which many unicorn jobs seem to lose).

    • What about public health nursing or public health administration? Public health nurses have M-F 9-5 hours in some locations – e.g. well baby visits, BF support and vaccinations. Not sure if this is a thing in the USA as well?

      On other public health stuff – my sister is a research manager at a university hospital with predictable hours. She has an MSc and post-grad courses in business. She’s responsible for coordinating the various research work that’s ongoing – e.g. has everyone gotten their submissions in on time for this month’s ethics committee, did the funding flow from that donor yet to pay xyz grad student or is bridge funding necessary, press releases to ensure good coverage of hospital’s research work.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Are you opposed to going in house? Not a total hard stop, but plenty of in house gigs have a culture of 9 to 5. Mine is more like 9 to 6:30, but I have never once worked weekends or stayed here past 9 pm. And I rarely see any emails after 7 pm or on weekends.

      • I’m in finance, so working for a big bank has been awful for one friend (they are trying to save on outside counsel bills by having in-house do all of the work and also travel and have no hiring budget; more work for less pay) and really great for another (until they suddenly sacked a bunch of people). So while it might happen, I think I’d need to have a fallback plan for that. Being a cost center would be scary for me.

        I had originally thought I’d like to teach, but it seems that being an adjunct is awful and I’m not pedigreed enough to get hired FT (top half of my class at top 50 law school).

      • Rainbow Hair :

        You CAN jump industries though, if you network your butt off. I did a lot of pharmaceutical litigation, then other commercial and real estate litigation with a touch of pharma-related compliance, and now I’m in-house at a not-for-profit in an industry that was totally new to me when I started. I work 8 am – 5 pm, have great benefits and a decent salary, and people definitely know the difference between an emergency and not. I pee whenever I want. (The “cost center” thing is on my radar, but I am constantly thinking about ways to be worth much more than my salary — mostly by helping my employer stay out of trouble!)

    • Have you thought about working in higher ed/law school administration (if you are close to a law school)? I am in law admissions and my job, aside from the travel season, has a strong office-hours culture. I know the career services office is similar, and has even less travel.

    • You spoke to one nurse and concluded the profession isn’t for you? Consider that there are all kinds of nursing jobs. My mother has worked 20 yrs in hospital nursing, and while she winds up working 7-8 she has not once had to stay three extra hours.

      But I honestly don’t understand throwing away your tears of education and training just to get a 9-5. Go part time or reduced hours. Work for an insurance company. Move to a small firm.

      • Yeah – not all legal jobs are the same, so why would all nursing jobs be the same. You probably talked to one of the most stressful versions of nursing, and then applied that characterization across the board.

      • lawsuited :

        The hours for hospital nurses are very different from those who work in clinics or doctors offices. If working in a clinic or office that was only open from 9 to 5, your work hours would be very finite. Hospitals are open 24/7 so night shifts and long hours are more likely.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Yup, this is super true. One of my sisters is a nurse working the overnight shift at a hospital paying her dues there. My stepmom was a nurse at a clinic with completely regular hours during the day. A friend of mine is a life flight nurse and spends a lot of time on call. Tons of variety!

    • Look for state government or university (non-faculty) jobs. I work at a public university, and pretty much all the administrative staff and low-level managers work 40 hours, hard stop (directors/VPs work more). I sometimes do a little work (think one or two hours, not the BigLaw definition of “a little work”) on the weekend just because I enjoy what I do and I don’t have that many other demands on my time. And my boss is always shocked and horrified when he finds out.

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 to government

        There are all kinds of government jobs with amazing benefits and decent hours

        • Anonymous :

          I’m not in law but in another traditionally round-the-clock field and I work for the government now. I work a hard 80 hours in a week, never more than 10 hours a day or before 6 am or after 6 pm. Rarely will check email on nights/weekends with no expectation to. And my work is meaningful and I love it! (but I make less than I would be making in the private sector)

    • ER nursing isn’t the only kind of nursing.

      • But also it doesn’t sound like you’re that into nursing anyway.

      • Escape plan :

        She looked at me when talking about the paperwork. It was like I had 3 heads. She suggested that I was pretty stupid to not realize all of the paperwork that nursing entails and that it is extra and that I was naive for thinking that nursing would ever be a good job. Since she’s the nurse and I’m not, how am I to know (I’d never heard that before).

        It was like people thinking that practicing law is like TV law.

        Another friend is a nurse anethetist and has never mentioned the whole work + paperwork thing; ditto another nurse friend. I get that there are notes you take and every job has some paperwork. The 15-hour shift was new. My doctor friends do 24 hour shifts but I hadn’t heard of nurses doing more than 12s.

        I only fell into law b/c I had a BA in a bad economy (and had seen lawyers on TV). So it wasn’t what I expected but it worked out. But all said, I’d do something different were I 22 again.

        • Honestly, a lot of nursing is grunt work, at least according to all the nurses I know. Better nursing jobs (like being a nurse anesthetist) require furthering your education.

          • Plus the fact that OP would be entry level again. You’re not going to get the cushy nursing jobs right out of nursing school.

        • Meg March :

          This is going to vary so much on the type of nursing and the employer. My best friend is a nurse, and she works 12 hour shifts, and there is paperwork, but the paperwork is all done during the 12 hour shift.

        • Nudibranch :

          Nursing is not an easy job. Around here, they work 12 hour shifts. The job market is tight and entry-level nurses find work on the night shift. More experienced nurses who can pick and choose gravitate to the day shift or office work.

          You need to research this more. Please do more than just talk to one person. Nursing is not a unicorn job.

        • Well, in talking about nursing as your exit plan, did you perhaps inadvertently suggest that you perceived nursing as an “easy” job? She probably found it insulting.

    • Anonymous :

      I quit my legal career to pursue a BSN this semester. Like you, I want the hard stop. My legal niche was getting commoditized to the point where my actualization rate was 70%. It sucked. So many hours of working for free! I went to part-time, interviewed for in-house positions, looked into other legal careers, and decided that I just didn’t want to be a lawyer.

      Here’s the thing: they pay you for the extra hours. As a nurse (and not like the doctors), you are still on the clock. In fact, they’ll even pay overtime and night-time and weekend rates for you to do the paperwork. It’s not like law where you don’t get to bill for recording your time.

      If you go into a hospital setting, you do all the paperwork during your shift as it comes up. Most nurses leave 30-45 minutes after their shift “ends” but it’s nowhere near 3 hours.

      If you are interested in nursing, I highly recommend volunteering at one of the hospitals in your area. It’s a good way to see nurses in their environment and how hospitals work. Plus, you get to meet other volunteers who are interested in various medical careers or who have retired from their medical careers. It’s a great way to learn about area schools, different hospitals, and opportunities that you might not know about (airline nurses!). I have a regular 4 hour shift on the weekend and I sign up to volunteer for special events as they come up.

    • Anonymous :

      I am in a non-medical position in healthcare– there are SO MANY different kinds of RN jobs! Not just ED. Primary care, specialty care, pre- and post-op… Many of those are day shift. Can be hard to get established and you might have start as on-call, but if you are seriously considering nursing, don’t change your mind just because of one ED anecdote.
      I am a former lawyer now in a solidly 8-5 job, so I would say look in healthcare beyond nursing! Compliance, HR, management could all be possibilities.

  15. Real Estate :

    Posted late yesterday so trying again this morning.

    Has anyone encountered a situation where you’ve put in an offer on a piece of real estate and the sellers genuinely seem to not want to sell the property? It is priced way, way above market and we have done a ton of comps research, etc to support our offer. The property has been for sale for almost a year because the pricing is so wrong, and apparently the sellers won’t budge. One of them literally comes over to the property every day to pick up sticks out of the yard, and apparently the fact that it’s “well kept” has drastically increased the value in their minds.

    Unfortunately for us, this particular weirdo property is ideal for our purposes, so I’m trying to brainstorm/ get creative about ways to get the sellers to come around. So far I’ve got suggesting that we split the costs of a new independent appraisal. I would love to hear similar stories or any ideas you have!

    • Yes.

      They may have bought so high that they can’t sell for less?

      I put an offer in for a place that had been on and off the market at the asking price. They countered! I just think they maybe had a scare (divorce? health? financial?) and when the scare passed, the motivation to sell passed.

      Of course, it’s back on the market now.

    • I’d move on for now. You need a willing seller. It’s likely to get pulled from the market and relisted later so you may get another chance at it.

      • Real Estate :

        It’s been on the market for almost a year as it is. We definitely aren’t going to hold up our plans, but we’ve invested enough into preparing a loan application while our offer was on the table that I’m not ready to quit yet. I figure we might as well try to strike a deal with them, as we start looking for alternatives more aggressively. We will be waiting and watching no matter what.

        We have looked up the records on the property and it doesn’t have any mortgages on it.

        • It is co-owned? One person may need X to pay off their other debts, divorce settlement, etc.

        • That makes it even worse. They basically have no carrying costs then but the taxes. A mortgage would be helpful to you in this situation.

    • We dealt with sellers like this when we bought our house. They had a price in mind and they weren’t interested in selling for anything less – they’d rather hold onto it. We had an independent appraisal done but still ended up paying $15K more than assessed and the assessment was high. If a market is hot, some sellers will put a property on the market to test the waters and have no actual interest in selling unless they get full ask.

      Independent appraisal is a good idea in that it may help them come back down to reality. If they are pushing the upkeep angle, try emphasizing that you appreciate it’s so well kept and you look forward to maintaining that to try and establish a shared values vibe.

    • Didn’t you say that this property was a family business for many years? So, sellers are probably emotionally attached to it. Can you appeal to that? You hear stories about people writing letters to reluctant sellers in the residential context, maybe it will work in a commercial setting too. Getting that personal touch may open them up to revisiting the price.

    • Yup. Sometimes it’s a mental thing for them, sometimes it’s a financial thing you don’t know about. We had one house that was outrageously priced and it was because it was the daughter selling for her mother– and the daughter got the proceeds. Wasn’t much incentive for her to sell quickly and she much preferred to get top dollar. Took over a year to sell.

      We out an offer on a house once and they kept rejecting it. Turns out it was a woman who had reverse mortgaged and was underwater and in a nursing home. Her kids didn’t want to pay the difference. It sat and sat and two years later sold for $10k less than we offered (plus 2 years of carrying costs…)

      • We put an offer in on a For Sale By Owner house, next door to our in-laws. The couple knew us, knew it would be perfect for us, and it was fresh on the market. We offered $215,000 on their $239,000 asking. They completely scoffed at our offer and insisted that this house was their retirement, they couldn’t go for that low…on and on. We asked that they keep us in mind.

        16 months later they sold it to another couple for $210,000.

        I really don’t understand sellers who hold out for more money. If people aren’t pouncing on it within the first 3 months it’s not going to go for asking. Just forget it.

    • I don’t understand why you feel entitled to buy this property. Who cares why they don’t want to sell? Maybe the property is worth what they think if you’re so desperate for it!

      • Real Estate :

        I don’t understand why you think I feel entitled. I specifically asked for creative ideas, not said I deserve the property or that I am going to try to force something. I obviously care why they don’t want to sell, because I want to buy it. And if they didn’t want to sell, why list it at all and keep it on the market for so long?

        And no, I wouldn’t describe us as desperate. Just not willing to throw away a ton of effort yet, and trying to think outside the box. The property is very unusual and unique, and several things about it that are downsides for most buyers we see as right for what we want to do.

        • Offer the asking price then if you want it so bad.

        • I’m not Anon at 10:29 but I think it’s odd that you’ve posted twice about how the sellers won’t sell to you at your much-less-than-asking offer and you’re acting like this is the weirdest thing in the world. It’s not.

          It does come across a little bit like you think you’re entitled to the property at this price, and the sellers are being unreasonable for not letting it go at that price. Maybe they have some comps that support their price. Maybe they are just in no rush to sell so they don’t care about the comps and figure that eventually they’ll find a buyer that wants it bad enough that they offer more than it’s worth (and honestly it sounds like that buyer might be you). Maybe they have a weird sentimental attachment to the property and want to sell it to someone they like and don’t feel like they click with you. Real estate buyers and sellers are almost never perfectly rational.

        • They do want to sell. for the price they are asking for it.

    • Yes, some people are unreasonable, don’t want to sell, only want to sell for an unrealistic price, etc. There’s nothing you can do about it.

    • If the seller doesn’t want to sell (for whatever reason), they aren’t going to. No appraisal is going to change their mind.

    • You can send a letter to the seller along with your offer that explains why you love the house and how it would be perfect for your family. If the owners have a sentimental attachment to the house knowing that it’s going to “good people” might help soften their position.

      9 times out of 10, money talks and the owners could care less. I had a friend who went the letter route because the owners (kids selling their childhood home after mom passed) seemed more sentimental to her realtor. They went with cash-in-hand offer from a house flipper. Go figure.

      • I hate this trend. Ohhhh fun another way for housing to be discriminatory!

        • I could see that, but there is no 10b5 on these letters. I assume that no one wants to live in a house that the market views as a teardown (oh, we love these people who want to stay in our hovel instead of scraping and rebuilding). I’d take an all-cash offer any day b/c my market is so hot that things are bound to not appraise at some point.

    • My mom is a very successful realtor with nearly thirty years under her belt. I echo what everyone is saying here–you need an actual willing seller. But the way that this typically works is that you put in an offer, and then your realtors powwow and you get a counteroffer back. The realtors can backdoor powwow and seller’s realtor cans say, “I truly believe sellers will not go lower than listing price – y,” which is a clue about where they are. If the seller’s realor cannot provide this information or says that the seller is firm, I would be inclined to believe this. Further, if the other side is not even willing to dignify your offer with a counteroffer, then absolutely, you do not have a seller that is a willing and ready seller AT YOUR PRICE. They are communicating that they believe the price is where it’s listed, even if that’s unrealistic/not market. They get to set the market and wait, if they so choose. Just because you have a life and a timeline doesn’t mean they in any way need to meet you halfway. Ball’s in their court.

      • Frozen Peach :

        They counteroffered yesterday at the list price. So at least they countered…

        • And what they are telling you us they won’t go below list price. If you really want it, offer list price, regardless of whether that’s what it appraises for. I think that’s a bad idea and you should walk, but that’s how you get the property here.

    • Go forward with your loan application so that when the time is right on the right house, you will be ready to move fast and will be attractive buyers because you have done full underwriting.

      There are plenty of other houses. Move on. Maybe they will come back to you and try to re-engage. Maybe not.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      It could be someone trying to meet the minimum obligations of a legal agreement. I’ve seen settlements that say you will “try to sell your house” and apply the proceeds to x. Or a divorce agreement that says one party can live in the house until it sells and they just over price it out of market. Those are usually poorly worded agreements but there are a lot of people out there doing shady “attempts” to sell that actually do not want to sell.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      There’s a lovely (beautiful but needs so much work) house in my town that’s been on the market for about $100k over what it should be, for two years. I brought it up to my realtor and she just laughed. Seems like they only want to sell it if they can make a ton of money, so they won’t sell it for now.

    • You’re asking for advice on how to get somebody to change their mind so you get what you want and that just . . . isn’t always possible. I don’t think it’s going to happen here.

      • And to expand on that, it seems like you’re looking for the perfect solution, where if you just find the right combination of words and actions they’ll change their minds. And that doesn’t exist in the world, no matter how much you might want it to.

    • It sounds like you’ve only had one offer and one counter-offer, right? Or well actually, there’s a list price, you made an offer, and they then didn’t come down off the list price? The negotiation has just started, essentially. I would go back to them and say that you don’t consider the list price a real counter-offer and show them your appraisals if they haven’t already seen them. If they have, refer to the appraisals and ask that they reconsider their position.

      And be prepared to just walk away. If their pricing is really that far off and they won’t negotiate, just walk away. If they’re this obstinate with the next bidder(s), the property will still be on the market in another six months and you might be able to try again.

      Caveat: this is based on my experience in negotiating settlement agreements, not real estate, but I think the principles are the same.

      • Thank you for this kind and reasonable response. I guess I’m having a hard time understanding why this has been met with such… hostility. Obviously I understand that they don’t have to sell it to us. I am trying to brainstorm things we can try before we walk away.

        I don’t think this is the weirdest thing in the world, far from it, but I am struggling to understand. I hear everyone that these sellers may just not be rational or understandable, which believe you me, most of my family can be categorized that way so I’m very familiar with the trait, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to feel that I’ve done everything I can. Kind of like marriage counseling before you file for divorce?

        • Also, I understand that many of the commenters here have so much money to their names that a purchase like this is pocket change, but it is our life savings and is a huge deal to our family. So I apologize if caring about it comes across as entitled or looking for the perfect solution. I’ve never bought real estate before, neither has anyone else who I trust to give me advice, and I thought this was a good place to ask for help.

          • Anonymous :

            Ouch. This is a little of that defensiveness other people may have picked up on. I don’t think it’s so much entitlement; more a naivete about how real estate transactions work. Can lead a horse to water and all that. That’s why most of the people (politely) suggested you just move on (especially if you’re talking about sinking money into an appraisal that many of us think is unlikely to work, and may in fact benefit the next person who does buy the place).

          • Or not. I don’t make six figures, but I have worked in real estate and I also have purchased real estate. I have seen these types of situations first hand and they almost never work out for the buyer unless the buyer is willing to meet the seller right where they want to be. Even then, the sellers in situations like these tend to make the whole transaction a pain and it’s certainly not a situation that I would recommend for a first-time property buyer.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      We have been trying to be the 10 acres beside us for 4 years now. There are 5 siblings that own the property now and they think they will be rich from it. It has been on the market over 5 years and we are their only offer! But there is always one (it seems to change back and forth) that wants to hold out for hundreds of thousands more. No advice, but I feel your pain.

  16. Boomerang? :

    My parents left rural America (like a town of 2,000) after scraping by to go to State U and settle in a generic big city farther-out suburb (Essex County NJ; Fredericksburg, VA, sort of place). Very achievement culture environment to grow up in. Now I’m in BigLaw (so my small children are growing up in a tiny but very expensive house close in like Arlington VA or Weehawken NJ). You can see how each generation has opportunities the other didn’t. But this is a crazy rat race! I envy the town of 2,000 where people aren’t going nuts all the time. I get that I don’t drive 20 miles to the WalMart (and that not everyone Amazon Prime’s a lot of stuff so I don’t drive to my 2-mile away Target all that often).

    But while my city has lots of cool things, I’d probably have more time to enjoy them if I just pull the plug on BigLaw, move to a nearby town to my cousins (who are still on the farm) that has 10,000 people (and its own Walmart!), buy a house for cash, accept that I might have to homeschool a bit to supplement that very basic local schools, and hope for the best with college.

    But I feel like I am spinning so fast that I don’t want to scale back (which would just be spinning slower).

    My parents might flip out (they left the farm for a reason). Has anyone else thought of boomeranging like this?

    • I think you are spinning so fast that you are losing the forest for the trees. Wanting out of the BigLaw rat race is one thing, deciding to move to a small town where you have never lived in something else entirely.

      If you want to move to small town, do it because you want to be there, not because you are running away from BigLaw. I would try a job change in your current location before you move to an entirely new place.

      Before you do anything related to moving house, talk honestly with your cousins and parents about the pros and cons of where they are.

      • What does this mean? Losing the forest for the trees? My teacher’s always said that and I NEVER could figure this out. I was to embarased to ask anyone, but figure that the HIVE is NOT so judgementeal that they would call me out for askeing? Isnt the forest FULL of trees, and if so, how could you loose the forest? FOOEY! Why can’t these expreseions be clearer! HELP!

    • I grew up in a one-stoplight town in rural Pennsylvania (<250 kids in my graduating class, and my school district was geographically large.) Our closest "big city" was Scranton/Dickson City. I cut and run for the city as soon as I could — in my case, I settled in D.C. and live in a "close in" suburb.

      You could not pay me any amount of money or dollars saved in cost of living to go back to small town life. People romanticize it but the reality is small towns are plagued still with a lot of issues — under and unemployment, dying industries (coal, in my case), gangs and drugs leaking from the big city, and just the rooted good old racism and myopic small-mindedness that comes from being so insulted from… diversity. The town both sides of my family are from is even worse on all these counts.

      FWIW, my BFF from forever (we have known each other 20+ years per back of the napkin calculations I did to do to write her character witness recommendation) is in BigLaw in a lower-cost-of-living but still large East Coast city, and she agrees with me.

      I'm sure my parents did what they thought was best at the time. You do you, but if you never really lived this life – the grass is not always greener.

      • +1 – small towns have issues, just like big cities do. I say this as having lived in and moved out of a small town in my childhood, going to college in a small town, visiting family in small towns, living in big cities and BIG cities.

        If NYC is too much, look for metro areas that aren’t so dense. Minneapolis-St. Paul comes to mind (because I live here) but I’m sure there are other examples.

      • I grew up in a large city but my fiance did not and we live in a large city now. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a big piece of land and see the stars at night (I grew up in Suburbia), but even with cost of living going up, he would never move back. Why? Opportunities.

        I graduated from an ivy a year early because I had so many AP credits coming into school. My high school had art class, music class, every sport you could imagine, several foreign languages, technology and coding classes, and yes, several AP options. In the summers, I held office jobs that built on previous office jobs and now, over a decade out of high school, I maintain friendships with those bosses and peers. All but one of my graduating class went on to a four year college, the one being someone who decided to go to a two-year college and take over the family landscaping business. I guess it can feel like a rat race but I had a very happy childhood and despite the riches around us, my parents made sure to keep us level-headed and taught us money management from an early age, part of which is determining what is necessary and is worth saving for and what is a stupid expenditure or will drown you in debt. My fiance has pointed out clear lines from my schools to networking to future jobs and other random perks like a seat on a private plane and invitations to exclusive events that end up being great networking events for us, giving us more business.

        My fiance grew up in a small, sweet town but had to work exceptionally hard to be where he is now because he didn’t have all the opportunities I did. They actually did not even have a stop light in their town or even a high school, so their school commute was nearly 45 minutes. They did not have AP classes, only one language (Spanish) and only for two years because the teacher was learning at the same time she was teaching it, no music classes except for a small drumline/marching band, and no art classes. He hasn’t read Shakespeare and learned pretty early in high school that he was better at math than the math teacher. They had (and still do not have) college counselors. Many of his peers stayed in their hometown. Many have opioid addictions and many are single mothers. Most do not have college degrees. His parents found a tutor from a nearby community college to teach him more advanced math and his parents also became his de facto college counselors. The hospitals are not always well staffed or using the best technology. His aunt had a stroke and they had to wait 2 days for a scan because the doctor was not back yet from his rounds throughout the county and the nurses had their hands tied. Jobs are not great unless you drive an hour out (which his parents do). The biggest thing he will say about the differences between my schools and his schools (until he got into State U), was that my schools “prepared us for the world” and his schools “bided their time in their Small Town.” Don’t get me wrong- his siblings have two MBAs and a PhD between them and are exceptionally successful and smart, but the only other kids from his hometown that are successful are others that have left town. Anyway, something to think about.

        • Boomerang? :

          That’s probably how my dad sees it.

        • Counterpoint. My ex-h grew up in a town of 10,000, but went to a private school (like $4k per year, super LCOLA) with AP classes and arts and where everyone went to college. Most of his close friends have moved back to run the bank/open a boutique/open a restaurant and raise their families with a super chill lifestyle where kids still run around in the summer until the sun goes down. It’s super idyllic, but you ARE two hours from a Target lol.

          • Anonymous :

            This is a bit different from OP’s situation though. She’s talking about moving back to a town that’s five times smaller than that. 2.000 is really a tiny town but 10 000 is large town or very small city which may have more amenities (boutiques/restaurants) if it is the main centre for the small towns around it..

          • That would be nice but unfortunately no one is revitalizing his hometown. The main street is boarded up and buildings literally crumbling, which for my suburban/urban upbringing was eye-opening that buildings would just sit there for decades unused and left to decay. Where I grew up, they are immediately bought with a new business moving in or torn down with some “monstrosity eyesore” being put up in its place that people complain about until they learn to love their smoothies or whatever. Sometimes I think we should open a restaurant in his hometown- it would be the second one in town! – but he shuts it down. Going back to him is going backwards.

    • You realize there are options between NYC big law and middle of nowhere farm right?

      • In moderation but yes, this.

      • Boomerang? :

        I realize that, but I’m. in NYC finance, so no one really cares about this elsewhere (and if they do, slowing down from 90 mph to 70 mph suggests to me that 90 mph is a lurking possibility). And I’m OK never dealing with LIBOR again. I assume that I could retool over time and hang out a shingle as a general business lawyer or do some gainful work (like be a court administrator or paralegal). But I so just so done.right now

        • Like, literally there are firms in Morristown where you could do transactional work and live in Sussex or Hunterdon counties with enough room for a horse. You’ll make less money, but not peanuts. You could work in house at Peapack-Gladstone bank. You could get a job at Verizon. There is so much more than big law.

        • You have so many options. Your blinders aren’t letting you see straight. You can go just about anywhere. And even though you will make less, your cost of living will drop dramatically, your stress will drop dramatically and you will have a happier life.

          Remember, you are setting a model for “normalcy” for your kids.

        • Jersey Girl :

          Lowenstein Sandler? McCarter and English? You could work in Newark and live in Maplewood/Chatham/Summit.

          • Boomerang? :

            IIRC McCarter’s rep was that they’d work you as hard as NYC but pay you like you’re not. Plus, it’s the same housing market. So I’m not sure it’s northern NJ for the win.

            Maybe it’s not true anymore? But I can recall NJ practitioners just really weeping that NYC got all the big raises, drove up home prices, and they were pretty static (or dealing with pharma, where it makes sense to be closer to clients).

          • Nope. You will not work anywhere near as hard at McCarter than in the city. People are just whiny. Chatham and Summit are really expensive, but if you go farther west there are more reasonable spots.

          • Jersey Girl :

            I’m in NYC Biglaw so haven’t experienced it myself, but my contacts at the two big NJ firms kind of overblow the complaints. Boo hoo, I worked until 9 twice last week. Really? Because I worked until 9 twice last week, and until 11 the other three days. I honestly don’t think it’s as bad as NYC.

            That said, I also have a couple of friends working in med mal or plantiff-side smaller firms, and their work/life balance is drastically better. One is in the suburbs north of NYC, the other is in the South Jersey/ Philly suburbs area. A true small firm in a suburb might be a good option.

            As for the housing market: I think your options open up immensely once you’re driving to work somewhere in NJ instead of trying to be right on top of public transportation. There are lovely areas of my current city (which sounds like it might be where you live, or very close) that are easily 30% cheaper because they don’t have access to a direct NYC train. You could also take a look at the Westfield/Cranford area.

          • Anon in NYC :

            There are more firms in NJ than those two. Especially for an experienced transactional attorney! Plus NJ has tons of industry, if you wanted to go in-house.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            med mal has way better work/life balance, and way, way worse pay.

            I’d just leave the north east entirely. Maybe Charlotte? They have a lot of finance-related things.

    • Buy a weekend/vacation house in the interim?

      • This has really helped me with my wanting to escape. My sig other lives about an hour outside DC in a rural, rather depressed area (read: affordable and lacking amenities). There are always deer in his yard, there’s a little stream on the edge of his property, and we’re surrounded by woods and water. It’s AMAZING. I come back every weekend feeling totally refreshed.

        His 3/2/2000 house on an acre costs the same as my 2/1/900 condo in a close-in suburb.

    • I think about it all the time, but my parents were kind of the boomerang ones. Grandparents grew up on farms, moved to city. My parents went back to the farm (where I grew up). Now I live in a city. I do miss the more relaxed pace of life in the farmland, and the closeness of the community, and playing in the woods and streams as a kid. I would love to live on a little farm myself, but I know that with that lifestyle also comes lower income jobs, poor schools, communities with conservative politics, and a lack of cultural events and entertainment. Its not worth it to me. It was hard for me to make it away from the farm and to a city, and I’m glad I can give my daughter privileges I never had.

    • JuniorMinion :

      So, I grew up in a town like this (~10,000 households which is how people talked about it because obviously only failures don’t have kids / get married, eyeroll), because my mother made the choice that she wanted to live in her hometown and be a stay at home mom and live on less money.

      I think this depends on who you / your kids are. My parents ended up having to send me to a private high school that offered financial aid because the public schools were going to send their 12 year old to school with sophomores (!!) in high school due to the public school quality. I never fit in with the kids in the town I grew up in, because I liked to read / listen to classical music and then at some point I became that girl who goes to that other school and dresses weird (we had a different dress code – worth noting the social pariah effect of this tends to be less with boys in my anecdotal experience). Additionally, I missed out on seeing people be engaged and engaging about their work until I ended up in the private high school / college. Work, to the people I grew up with, was this drudgery to be done as few hours as possible and no one spent time on things like professional development etc. In summary, the bucolic (a word which people would have made fun of me for using where I grew up) small town life has some serious drawbacks and often doesn’t match up to the imagination.

      I would maybe look into ways that you can opt out of the current rat race that seems to be exhausting you? I get work stress is tough to work around but sometimes the pressure to keep up with peers can be exhausting as well.

      • “the public schools were going to send their 12 year old to school with sophomores (!!) in high school” Um…middle school? Am I missing something?

        • JuniorMinion :

          Based on my test scores / reading comprehension levels administrators placed me in 10th grade level classes in a bunch of subjects and their plan was to bus me to the high school everyday for most of my classes. When my parents complained and asked if there wasn’t any way I could just do one on one study / extra enrichment and remain with age appropriate peers (somewhat for safety reasons – there were some gang issues in the HS) the school district claimed that they were not prepared to do that and that my parents should really look into alternative schooling for me.

        • Tech Comm Geek :

          I’m assuming the school district’s response to a gifted student was simply keep jumping grades. Until recently, that was the only was many schools responded to gifted/advanced students.

          My parents moved me to private school after the public school I was in wanted to make me a 6 year old 3rd grader.

    • Southern Anon :

      I grew up in rural Alabama. I now live in a city of about 250,000. It’s perfect. Super cheap, everything is convenient, traffic is not bad, decent restaurants, people don’t work insane big city hours for the most part. If I want to go hang out with someone, the farthest I have to drive is about 20 minutes. No way in hell I’d move to a smaller town. We don’t have a Nordstrom, but if I really want that I can drive to Atlanta.

      • This is my city size too. I love it. Lots of stuff to do but no pressure for insane big city work hours.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, I grew up in Montana and now live in the Midwest in a city of about 400,000. It’s not aesthetically gorgeous like the area I grew up in, but my kids have friends whose families vary widely in background, culture, social class, and religion, we have a great zoo and a good cultural scene, we have lots of LGBTQ friends in our circle, there’s a couple of very good local universities. There’s good ethnic food. We don’t have a meth problem. My hometown is economically depressed with no way to get an education unless you leave, and very few employment options if you stay. It does have a meth problem. It has one Chinese restaurant.

    • Frozen Peach :

      I know well the achievement culture you’re talking about, and I’m very, very familiar with the ways that it can be just as toxic as the typical problems in a small town. I don’t think exploring your options geographically is giving up or selling out or any of those things. When I was ready to get out of BigLaw, I found a job with a mid-size regional firm in a city with more family and friends and a lower COL. Still a city, but a much more manageable and slower-paced (comparatively) lifestyle with a lot more flexibility and diversity. That achievement culture is still around, but it isn’t the only option.

    • Boomerang? :

      I do want to go back to tiny town. We lived there briefly as a child and I spent about 1/3 of my summers / college breaks there (closer to go there than go all the way home — think southern VA). I love it. I love the way the air smells after it rains. I love how we really support local cultural offerings (much more than you’d think) and the local community. I feel that I know people there and that it is truly my home (so much so that I got married there).

      So I don’t want to randomly go somewhere else (like Roanoke or Richmond or random New Jersey / PA / elsewhere in the world). I want to go there.

      I get that I might be wrong. But I cannot imagine 5-10 more years of my current life and to get my extended family back (and have my children have that sense of family that I only got fleetingly; now my children fleetingly get me (and extended family much less so than I did)).

      It’s not like my friends from India or China or Russia, where home is very far, they may no longer speak the language well, and it would be giving up so much of what their parents left for. I’m just going down I-95 a bit :)

      • But the options are not just “tiny town” or “I cannot imagine 5-10 more years of my current life”. Find adequate job in the nearest small/medium city. Buy a vacation spot in tiny town. Work 9-5 M-F in small city/medium. Spend many weekends/Christmas/Easter in tiny town doing the lovely vacationy things you remember from your childhood – family dinners on Saturdays etc.

      • You love being on vacation there as a child. You aren’t looking at this as an adult in reality.

        • Yup. You know why I love Houston? Because the only time I ever went there was to visit my sister on college spring break. We only did fun things. Life was great when I was in Houston. Every store was a boutique in the Rice village. Every beverage was a margarita. But would I want to move to Houston with all of it’s daily realities and expect it to be nothing but fun shopping and delicious drinks? Nope.

          You have to separate fantasy from reality. I think you’re so burned out, OP, that you are having a hard time doing that.

      • Real talk, as someone living in a rural community like the one you describe (and working in a far outer burb): How long has it been since you actually spent a lot of time in the tiny town? How long since you’ve spent more than a week in an area where Walmart is your primary grocery and everything option?

        I get wanting to slow down. I’m not saying you stay where you are forever, or keep your big law job (there are lots of other options, as others have said). But I worry that you’re making an emotional decision, and not really thinking about what it’s like to live there long-term. I love some things about living out here. Others (like the fact that it takes me 40 minutes to get anywhere to buy decent clothes, etc) are really trying. Un and under employment are very big problems out here. It’s not nearly as pastoral and rosy I remembered as a kid (and the hours are still long, when you factor in commute time to get to a decent paying job, etc).

        And I wouldn’t have kids living where I do, based upon the quality of the schools.

    • You are definitely in grass is always greener mode. Don’t make any huge decisions right now!

    • Anonymous :

      I am from a small town (~2000)…and although I have no plans to return, I think there are plenty of benefits of growing up there. It feels like many of the commentators are making gross generalizations based on stereotypes. Sure, no place is perfect. But I loved spending my days playing outside, being a big fish in a small town (e.g., being the smartest kid in my class without having to work super hard), and learning real-world skills that weren’t necessarily tied to achievement culture. I also think my development there taught me a lot about how “middle america” lives and gives me a deep cultural understanding (see, donald trump) which my friends who grew up in fancier places will never understand. Between books and the internet, your kids can be just as well-educated as prep schools kids. My siblings and I all attended fancy schools (including Yale), and from what I understand, our rural background was actually a form of “diversity” that helped in the application process.

      Nature rules!

      • ALX emily :

        As someone who grew up in a miserable town in southern VA – every time this comes up, it just reinforces that there are good middle-of-nowhere towns and bad ones. I would definitely have been happier if I were growing up in the same town with the internet/smartphones (but also might have gotten into more trouble, which I was desperate to do), but it is still fundamentally a dying place with people who have literally no interest in any kind of cultural understanding even of themselves, much less outsiders.

  17. inlaws & kids :

    My husband is an only child. His parents and only living grandparent live a 4.5 hour flight away. His parents are perfectly healthy and wealthy (ie can travel). His grandmother is getting on in years, but is capable of travel, though she does not.

    My parents, only living grandmother, and one sibling live a ~3 hour drive away. My other sibling lives a 3 hour flight away.

    When our first was born, we made The Trek to my in-laws to visit them and introduce the baby to great grandma and we tried to fly down once per year to visit. Fast forward, and now we have a second (6 months) and the older one is in preschool. My inlaws came up to meet the baby, and my MIL is here now for a visit. The entire time, she WILL NOT STOP dropping not-subtle hints that she wants us to fly the baby to see her mother. I have told DH after being driven mad by planning these trips that all future visits to His Family are on him to schedule. I’ll do logistics, but he has to pick a date/time, get time off work, etc. and bring it to me for planning. He is uninterested in doing it, nor does he really want to schlep two kids across the country for a week.

    So- to what extent do I / should I intervene and figure out when to fly our entourage to see DH’s family? This is a priority for no one but my MIL. And, I get this. I made it a priority for my grandmother (who lives a 3-4 hour drive away) to meet the baby. I white-knuckled through the drive, booked the hotel, etc etc and told DH it was important and he could come or stay home (he came). But I can’t even get DH to say “yes, we should go visit” much less deal with timing or planning. I schedule time every few months (maybe 3x a year) to get down to see my family but just don’t feel like it’s on me to get our family to see DH’s family. My older one facetimes with them and would like to visit conceptually, but isn’t really missing out.

    How guilty do I need to feel here?

    • Ask your husband why he’s a horrible person who doesn’t care if his kids meet their great-grandmother, or if he does care why he thinks you have to do everything?

      • JuniorMinion :

        I feel like calling him a horrible person is a bit uncalled for. There are tons of reasons he could not care. Maybe she was always mean to him.

        My husband has parents he doesn’t really involve in our lives and is pretty harsh with. In the beginning I questioned this. Now that I know more of his history and more about his parents I entirely understand why he is unwilling to go out of his way all that much for them.

      • I could see my mother guilt-tripping me about this (in regards to her, or her parents) and I just could not give a shit less if she or her parents met my child (or “their grandchild,” as she’ll inevitably refer to said progeny.)

        Doesn’t make me a horrible person. I just know my boundaries and what levels of crazy I am willing to deal with.

    • Not at all! Basically you have told DH that you are not just willing to go but willing to plan and execute the whole thing and all he has to do is find the right time on the calendar. The right time has not yet been found. That is not on you!

      “Oh, yes, MIL, we’ve been thinking of trying to find a time for a visit. It’s a big undertaking with the kids, so DH is looking at the calendar.” Repeat as needed.

    • You don’t. His mom. His grandmother. His to handle.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’d make it clear to MIL that she needs to talk to husband. Say something like “that sounds fun. I handle all the planning for trips on my side of the family and husband handles planning the trips to his side. Sometimes he needs a reminder to get vacation time or book tickets far enough in advance. It would be great if you nagged him about it instead of me.”

    • Sorry, I don’t have kids so take this with a giant grain of salt, but look at it this wAy- your kids, their great grandmother, and schedule it. I have really wonderful memories of my great grandma (she was very nice and lived in a different region where my grandfather grew up, and that gave me picture of my family that I didn’t have before). Your oldest might benefit from the visit!

      • This…my tendency is to stand on the principle but my GG lived a 5 hour flight away and my parents made every effort to ensure I could see her / have a relationship with her. She passed away recently (at 107) and despite the distance, we brought so much joy to each other’s lives.

        • Or you could have a cranky. unpleasant, massively anxious, negative nelly grandmother like mine who no one wanted to spend time with!

      • +1 It’s very important to me that my kids have relationships with all of their relatives – both my side and my husband’s. My family is a car ride away, his is a long roadtrip or flight away. I aim for my kiddos to see both families three times per year and I just plan it.

        Thanksgiving and Christmas are guaranteed one visit for each side. Then there is a summer trip over Memorial Day/July 4th/Labor day to visit to the further away family. Last, my in laws make an effort to come to our town once a year also.

        The key is to plan it like any other vacation or work travel.

        • +1. If family is a priority, stop making it about his vs. mine and plan the trip for your children. I get his vs. hers when you’re fresh newlyweds, but you guys have presumably been married for a while now. If you want your children to know their great-grandmother, arrange the visit. If you don’t care if they know her, for various reasons, that’s fine, own that, but don’t whine about your husband not planning the trip – you’re married and family is joint.

      • Yeah, I was assuming from the OP’s tone–about how GG could but doesn’t travel, about how this visit is only important to MIL–that GG was not interested in the kids and/or not someone with whom OP’s kids could build a loving relationship. If those things aren’t true, then I like Anon’s re-framing.

    • I would arrange for one short trip so new baby meets great-grandmother. This will go a long way with your MIL who probably wants her to meet the baby before she passes. For any visits thereafter, totally on DH. If MIL mentions visits, always reference that DH will take care of arrangements.

      Your MIL may feel it’s your role to arrange this as traditionally women have done this kind of emotional labor but it’s DH’s job. Your DH would never feel obligated to ensure the contact with your family.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      You say the grandmother can travel but doesn’t. Could you and your husband help her book a trip to visit you instead? That seems to make much more sense.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Wait, your MIL is presently visiting you and bugging you about planning a trip? Tell her that she should ask your husband!

    • lawsuited :

      You should not feel guilty about this at all. If your in-laws raise it with you again, say “Sure, that sounds like a nice idea. You should take to [husband] about organizing that.”

    • full of ideas :

      Tell your MIL to work with DH to plan the trip. Let him deal with her regardless if that means there will or won’t be a trip.

  18. I travel for work frequently and it just occurred to me that maybe I should be leaving a tip for the housekeeping staff. I always leave a small tip when I stay in a hotel on my own dime, but I have never done so during work travel. I figured that the tip was probably factored into the corporate rate for the hotel room, but I just realized today that that probably isn’t the case. Am I expected to tip out of my own pocket for this? I travel 3 weeks out of 4 so this would definitely add up each year. There’s no way to tip housekeeping staff using the company credit card in the way you can tip at a restaurant, so I’m not sure what the expectation is.

    • I always leave a tip out of pocket. It is definitely not factored into the corporate rate. For most Western countries, I do $3-$5 a day, depending on what cash I have on hand.

      • Do you do $3-5/day for nicer hotels too? I’m fortunate to be able to stay in nice hotels for work travel and wasn’t sure if I should do a few dollars per day they clean (I usually don’t need them to clean during my stay) or if it should be a % of the cost of the room.

        • I do this amount for all hotels…but now I think of it, they’re generally all a similar level of “nice business hotel”. Do you mean nice like a Four Seasons (where I leave 3-5 still if I stay) or nice like an all-inclusive?

      • Senior Attorney :

        I do $5 per guest per night even in nice hotels.

    • I travel often for work and I definitely tip the housekeeping staff in cash and get it reimbursed. My online reimbursement program for my company allows this (there’s a little section for gratuities/misc and it’s explicitly allowed in our travel policy. Maybe check with HR?

    • When I travel for work I write myself a receipt on hotel stationary for the tip (I usually leave a big tip on the last day, rather than one every day… but I also generally don’t let them clean it during the week). When I worked somewhere that required photos of receipts, I would take a picture of the cash next to my handwritten receipt. No one ever questioned it.

    • We get the federal per diem for meals and incidental expenses, and it includes $5 a day specifically designated for “incidental expenses” including tips.

    • Marshmallow :

      I always tip $3-5 per day out of pocket… it never occurred to me that I could expense cash. Of course I can! Thanks Hive.

    • I travel for corporate business 50-60% of the time. I always tip $5. Sometimes I tip $10. I don’t ask for reimbursement on cash due to receipt issue. Sometimes I leave my $5 target gift cards instead (the kind they give you when you buy sale items) if there is a Target in that locale.

      However, I consider tipping in hotels as a social justice contribution. At many of the hotels I stay at the housekeepers are lower paid, often immigrant, women. They work hard. Very hard. I am fortunate enough to be able to “spare” $5 per hotel stay. It does add up. It does eat into my budget – but I think about the budget of the (mostly) women who clean my room and I suck it up. I cut my own budget and drink less alcohol and Starbucks. For many, many women this means a lot. I tip daily (not at the end of check-out). The thank you notes I get from them sometimes breaks my heart because it clearly makes a difference for them and it makes significantly less difference for me and my wallet.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I had a super brief stint as a housekeeper in a motel. It was really hard physical work. I always tip because I know exactly how hard that work is and how little it pays.

        I’d try to expense it for business travel, if possible.

  19. donating clothes & taxes :

    I’ve seen the debate here “do I donate or do I consign/tagsale all my unwanted clothes.” For those that donate, a question– my simple googling makes it seem like I can’t take a deduction for >$500 in items without getting some kind of letter from the organization (beyond the standard goodwill type receipt). Is this the case?

    I have *bags* (like, 8-10 garbage bags full) of halfway decent clothes that just don’t fit anymore as I’ve changed sizes (ann taylor / loft quality items, at least 10 suits, plus tons of shirts/jackets/tops). A quick look at some of the valuation pages tells me I’ll be well above that $500 mark. Am I misreading the rules here, or do y’all just take a < $500 deduction? Or get some kind of letter from the charity?

    • You can claim over $500 in donated goods, you just have to file a Form 8283. You don’t need to (and probably cant) get a letter from a thrift store assigning value to your goods. The IRS has a chart on their website with what they consider to be “reasonable” amounts to deduct. So if you want to make this as easy on yourself/your accountant as possible, make a list of the number of each items (e.g. 20 shirts, 14 blazers, etc). and multiply by the reasonable deduction amount.

      • You will need a receipt that you donated the items, but you will be the one that assigns them value.

      • Tax software will handle the valuation and Form 8283 for you if you enter the types and condition of each item. It’s kind of a pain but worth it.

        • Marshmallow :

          Yes, I used TurboTax and they have a built-in table with the estimated value of things. I just typed in the number of pants/dresses/etc. and it did all the math.

        • Minnie Beebe :

          Intuit has an app called “It’s Deductable” that does all of this work for you. If you use Turbo Tax, you log in with your Turbo Tax ID, and it dumps the information directly into your return. I just enter the items into the app as I bag them up for donation.

          It. Is. Amazing.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes. It’s the best.

          • Ok, good. I use Its Deductible. I just didn’t realize that fed into the form I needed. I always take a photo of all the clothes and keep a list of all items, and staple both to the receipt from goodwill.

            Perfect! Loading up the car today.

    • It’s easy to get the letter from a charity (google Salvation Army – donation guide). Regardless, I would donate the suits/work clothes to someplace that helps women find jobs. Lots of the “work” clothes donated are really out of date/style.

    • Break your donation up into batches. Donate a bag a month and get receipts. Salvation Army and Goodwill hand you receipts automatically in my area. You would still need to claim less than $500 on taxes or get your stuff appraised I believe – but I am not a tax expert.

  20. Crossbody recs :

    Need recs for a nice crossbody other than the Pearl (which is currently my first choice but not currently on sale – GAH). I need something with enough organization for sightseeing, but looks presentable and “nice”. For safety reasons, some good zipper pockets are a must. Also something that I won’t have to worry about getting scratched/dirty. I’m going on some mostly work + some fun trips to Europe and need a bag that will work for both. Budget anything under $300.

    • I went with the MZ Wallace Abbey in Black – b/c everything tends to get dirty when I travel, and nylon cleans much better than leather (even black leather).

    • Marshmallow :

      Hold out for a sale on the Pearl! I love mine passionately. It holds SO MUCH but somehow never looks overstuffed.

      • Crossbody recs :

        I might have to do this! Do you think it would feel too big for running around a city sightseeing? I normally don’t carry anything and use pockets for phone/map/money, but I won’t always have access to jacket pockets this time around.

        • Marshmallow :

          Nope, it’s not too big for sightseeing. It’s quite comfortable to wear all day and doesn’t get in the way. I got mine on some ridiculous sale that felt like I was stealing from L&S, I think it was 40% or 50% off. They have sales fairly frequently, so I’d hold out.

    • Wildkitten :

      I have a Cole Haan crossbody that is bigger than the Pearl and I love it. I don’t see the exact one, but they have many.

    • I just checked out the Pearl (since I’m normally not a fan of the Lo and Sons bags that get recommended here) and it says it’s $248, within your budget. Am I crazy or is it more expensive in other countries? It does look really nice.

  21. Might be a little late in the morning post but: If you guys could have done one thing differently in your career/personal life what would it be? Also for a positive spin, what choice hard choice did you make in the past that really worked out for the best in the long run?

    • I wish I had learned early on how to deal with failure: having coworkers who lied/sabotaged you. How to define yourself based on things other than your job (which doesn’t last forever.) How to build a networking base to catch you if/when you need a new job.

    • Hard choice: that time I didn’t move to Boston to marry that guy that I’d wanted since I was 15. Sheesh. Still happily and permanently ensconced in another city with the life I actually want, not the life I thought I was supposed to follow.

      I’m not sure what I would have done differently. Maybe filed an official complaint about the clergyperson who tried to convince the whole church I was evil? I suppose I still could, though . . .

    • When I applied for grad school for classical languages (yeah, like Latin) in my early 20s, I decided I would not go if I didn’t get funding. THANK GOD I DIDN’T GET FUNDING. What a moronic decision that would have been. I had taught Latin for a year at a prep school but hated it so much. I thought that going to grad school was the answer. I was devastated about not going at the time, but ended up going into finance instead, kind of on a whim. Now I have a job I love and make enough money to support myself.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Mine would just to be easier on myself. I was really hard on myself in high school and college to succeed. But I did very well and everything has ended up how it’s supposed to. A big thing I’m thankful for was not dating in high school and college. I really just focused on me and getting to a good place, and that’s helped me enormously as an adult.

    • Different:
      Career – gone to nursing school instead of law school
      Personal – done more therapy homework earlier on

      Hard choice that worked out:
      Career – moved back to central PA without a job
      Personal – ending various relationships (friendship and otherwise)

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Different professional thing: Realized that my high need for change can be a positive when consulting.
      Different personal thing: Been diagnosed with ADHD and understood how much of my anxiety and imposter feelings stemmed from my brain desperately trying to track things.

      Hard choice that worked out: I started graduate school for my career change in January 2009. In March 2009 I was laid off from the small investment firm I was working for. As the end of the semester approached, there were just no jobs to even apply for. We looked hard at the budget and considered the extended unemployment and cobra supplementation I was eligible for. I went to graduate school full time, while still keeping a minimal job search going. This let me re-enter the workforce in January 2011 in my new field and hit the ground running. Those two years were tight and scary sometimes, but it has completely paid off.

    • I would do ROTC in college and take the scholarship/commission (and less debt/GI Bill/all of that.) I ended up working in the military industry for 5 years so have a good idea what my career would have looked like, and am still considering trying to direct commission in to the reserves of my field.


    • Worked in a C elegans/Drosophila genetics lab in grad school instead of a mouse/human genetics lab.

      Too specific?

      For personal life…… Started taking anxiety meds/treatment approaches early in life?

      • I am really curious about the lab differences! If it won’t out you, can you say more about why this choice would have made a difference? (Not a science person, so forgive me if the answer should be obvious.)

        • Studying the genetics of complex behavioral traits and genetic diseases in humans can be challenging because you cannot mate humans at will (!), control their environments, and they have very long developmental courses.

          But a worm or a fruit fly…… where we have cloned/identified every gene in their genome already… And it has a very very short reproductive cycle and life span, is happy to live in a dish with a bunch of siblings, doesn’t cost too much to maintain and amazingly…. It has a ton of genetic similarities to higher animals like us and can actually do complex behaviors….. It is much much much easier to do interesting and powerful experiences that actually extrapolate to humans. I kid you not.

          So when a certain Republican congressman mocks the National Institute of Healh for funding a research project involving the mating behavior of the fruit fly, he is displaying not only his ignorance but defunding research that practically could never be done in humans. And it teaches us a lot about human behavior.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Done differently: Run away from my former husband after the first date.

      Hard choice that worked out great: Going out early in the morning, four years ago TODAY, and renting myself an apartment so I could leave him. I have such an amazing life now that I could never have dreamed of back then, and it’s all because I finally found the courage to get up and go.

    • New Tampanian :

      Done Differently:
      Career – demanded more money to start
      Personal – Stopped drinking sooner

      Hard Choices:
      Career – Saying no the first time my now current boss asked if I wanted to work with him because the money was so so low. A couple years later I ended up working for him for $20k more.

      Personal – Stopped drinking. My life has gotten significantly better for me since I decided to stop drinking 9 months ago. It was not the easiest decision especially because it meant cutting out certain people from my life but I am MUCH happier.

    • Different:
      Career – I wish I’d studied harder in college; I completely wasted my undergrad academic experience.
      Personal – I wish I’d stood up for myself more in my first marriage and pushed my ex-husband to deal with his mental health issues.

      Hard choice that worked out:
      Career – Going to law school at night while working full-time; best decision of my life.
      Personal – Leaving my ex-husband and moving to a new city; incredibly hard but my life is so radically better now.

    • Anonymous :

      Different choice: I might have timed my second kid differently (except, of course, he’d be a totally different person – I don’t mean I want that.) Finishing my graduate program after the first kid would have put me on the job market at a much, MUCH better time. Instead I stretched it out a bit to have the second baby. But he’s pretty great, so. I think a lot about how I have a kind of modest career instead of a great career and that was one of those roll of the dice decisions that clearly had an impact.

      Hard choice: getting divorced. Should have done it earlier, but we’re through it now, and I’m so happily partnered now it’s probably annoying to people around me. Today’s our anniversary, actually, and although we aren’t married or living together I jokingly asked to re-up the contract this morning, and he laughed.

  22. Anyone have a good book recommendation for buying a home for the first time? Thanks in advance!

  23. Anyone live in Greenwich CT? I live in Manhattan with my husband and two little kids. We’re not looking to move now, but are thinking ahead a few years to Kindergarten and wanting more space, blah blah blah. I’m biased against Greenwich, as it seems like it might be a little stuck up and boring, but I recognize this is based on a CT stereotype and I’m hoping I’m totally wrong here. My husband is excited about it for a variety of reasons.

    • I grew up very near Greenwich! It is a little stuck up and boring. In my experience Fairfield County is both a lovely place to grow up and a lovely place to move away from once you’re grown up.

      The area is beautiful and the schools are generally very good (and very achievement-focused, which is different from being good). Lots of quality youth programs, especially if your kids are sporty or musical. Be prepared to drive all the time, because walking/biking/transit is not a thing. You may become people who own a riding mower.

      What is your husband excited about? I think the calculus changes pretty significantly if you already have family in the area or if you would wind up with basically no commute.

    • What are his reasons? Of the wealthy white Connecticut suburbs it’s pretty up there in terms of consumerism, whiteness, and keeping up with the Jonses.

      • Being near the water, schools, decent commute to the city for work…

        Neither of us knows much about the suburbs of CT/NY.

        • A good way to check out communities is to spend a weekend there. Drive in on Saturday morning. do whatever you’d do if you lived there – park/swimming pool/errand at drugstore. Go for a walk in neighborhoods that you like. Stay overnight in a hotel or B+B, go out for breakfast in the town, do your grocery shopping, drive home. It will give you the flavor of a place and it’s really only the cost of the overnight in the hotel which is minimal.

        • I think there are a lot of other options that you could explore that would give you more diversity, less snootiness, similarly good schools and a decent commute.

    • Greenwich is like Rory Gilmore’s grandparents extrapolated into a town. But it’s a nice place for kids!

      Also look into Westchester! That’s where I’m from, so I’m biased, but there is more variety, still excellent schools, small towns, close to the city (everyone works in the city), you can find a lot of the (restaurants, stores, etc) you would find in the city there.

      • Ha! That’s how I was thinking of it. I have also been thinking Westchester sounds better for me.

        • I thought I posted but might have been eaten, I really like the river towns of Westchester (Hastings to Tarrytown). This will be a tortured analogy, but they feel more (very gentrified) Brooklyn while Greenwich is more Park Ave

      • Anonymous :

        “Greenwich is like Rory Gilmore’s grandparents extrapolated into a town” is the best description I’ve ever heard of Greenwich.

    • Anonymous :

      Based on the couple people I knew who grew up there, binge-drinking and drugs are very popular among the local high school students. Maybe that’s true in all the wealthy NYC suburbs though.

    • Not sure what your constraints are but I recently traded Brooklyn for the river towns in Westchester and have been really pleased. I go to Greenwich frequently for work but much prefer the vibe of my area

  24. Personal Victory! :

    I need to share this silly but HUGE personal victory for me…

    Today I received a completely clean “bill of dental health” from my dentist! This has not happened (the no cavities part) since I was in middle school. Last year I finally made the decision to max out my FSA and get ALL of the work done that needed to happen (nothing cosmetic, all necessary for oral health). I am SO HAPPY this morning. *Happy Dancing All Day*

    • JuniorMinion :

      Congratulations! I know its not a public victory, but healthcare victories like this are important!

    • Congratulations! That is my dream. I always seem to have something no matter what I do, but I am so very happy for you.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Hooray! Smile, smile, smile!!

      • Last visit I just had a tiny cavity to get filled – didn’t even need freezing to do it! Much better than the last few years.

  25. Shout out to those that commented on how to style the hot pink blazer the other day. I bought one on deep discount from the Limited and I hadn’t worn it yet because I wasn’t sure how to style it. I took the suggestion to wear it with a black and white top and black pants and I love the look! It’s amazing what I good outfit can do for your day sometimes!

    • Woo hoo! I completely agree re: a good outfit and what it can do for your day! My outfit today makes me feel like a BOSS (despite having to clean diarrhea off the dog and spilling part of my lunch on it while packing this morning while wearing it).

    • Comment in moderation AGAIN. Short version – so glad you are enjoying it! ~ CountC

  26. Another request for bag recommendation, but I’m looking for an “every day” bag / tote for running around on errands/weekends.

    Not something looking like a sport bag you take to the gym. Something still stylish looking, that I could carry to say….. a doctor’s appointment in the city. I guess I mean still biz casual appropriate. I don’t want to pay a fortune for it, since it should be something I don’t feel bad about dropping on the floor or getting dirty. But I want light, as my current bags are too heavy. I strongly dislike the Nordstrom Pliage.

    This is what I currently use (I have the same bag in two colors) and really like them…. Nordstrom’s ever popular vegan reversible tote. Just too heavy.

    • H&M or Old Navy would be good places to look.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      I have a black leather tote from J Crew that I really like. That exact one isn’t available any longer, but it’s basically the same as Madewell’s Transport tote (or it looks similar based on website photos) –It’s a very simple, large, reasonably lightweight leather tote, unlined/unpadded, with no top closure. I don’t carry mine all that often for that reason (I prefer a zip top for subway/bus) but it’s a nice one to have in my arsenal.

      I also really like my Le Pliage bag (olive, with the olive handles) and it’s what I would’ve recommended if hadn’t said you hated them. :)

  27. What do you wear when it’s too warm for a puffer coat but not warm enough for a trench? I’ve always worn wool coats during that temperature range but the wind blows right through and I end up cold. I feel like I should have mastered this by now but I haven’t. Anyone have advice or suggestions? TIA!

  28. spin me up :

    I want to try a spin class, but I’ve never been to one before and I’m semi-out of shape (I go to the gym 2-3x a week, but don’t do anything nearly as aerobically intense as a class would be and I don’t eat particularly well). I’m in NYC and am a little intimidated by what seems available since I’d be going alone and would likely have to go at peak hours pre/post-work, including showering there. I really just want music and instructions, don’t care for dancing. Any suggestions? Preferably UWS or Midtown West unless there’s a secret spin place above 137th that I haven’t heard of.

    • I love Flywheel. I haven’t been to a studio in NYC, but compared to SoulCycle here in DC it is less of a fashion show/body show-off (everyone wears shirts, unlike at SoulCycle), involves less “dancing” on the bike, and the instructions are more accessible to beginners because you get very clear metrics on your bike regarding your speed and distance.

      • +1 for Flywheel over SoulCycle. Started it in DC, kept up with it in Atlanta with good results. Flywheel has stadium seating so you can see the instructor better, and they are good with helping beginners set up. And while there are a lot of regulars, it doesn’t have the same body competitiveness of SoulCycle. I stay off the leaderboard in class, but if you are more competitive, it is fun to see how hard you are working compared to everyone else.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Love Flywheel. I’ve been to a bunch of their studios in NYC (including the UWS) and the staff is uniformly very nice and helpful. If you tell them it’s your first time they will help you set up your bike, explain how the system works, etc. You might have a bit of a wait for showers, but I’ve usually found people to be pretty respectful of not taking too much time/space in the pre-work rush.

        There is also a Cyc in midtown now, but I would check out Flywheel first.

      • Anonymous :

        Thanks! I like the sound of this, will plan to try out in the next week or so.

    • Wildkitten :

      I sit in the back and only pedal as hard as I want to. I went to the Soulcycle UWS on like 96th street and it was $20 for the first class and the second class was free. So it’s a good way to try it out. Tell them it’s your first time and they’ll set up the bike for you, and also tell you that when the instructor tells you to use the weights it’s like two songs until it’s over. I absolutely look stupid doing the up down parts but everyone is so busy looking cool that they don’t care what I look like. Also I sit in the back so nobody is looking at me anyway.

  29. Has anyone has experience losing weight with PCOS? I have always been bigger, and realistically I need to lose about 75 lbs to be ‘sort of chubby’ and 100 lbs to be in a healthy range. I have had several changes recently, including getting a mental health diagnosis and started on medication which probably has a lot to do with my current weight. I am in a routine of working out 45-75 mins a day 4-5 times a week for the past three months. This typically is about half weights and half cardio. You would expect that I would have lost weight right? I have lost 15 lbs over 6 months, 10 lbs of which is from when I started metformin. I count calories and typically eat 1400-1700 calories a day.

    I feel like I am doing everything right, but my weight still won’t budge. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. My PCP told me the exercise is exactly what she wants me doing. I go see a PT for a ligament that has flared up and they agree I am doing the right thing. It isn’t like I am eating a gallon of ice cream a night. I am frustrated and losing motivation at this point.

    • You’re not doing anything wrong. Your body wants to be a higher weight. There are worse things than that.

    • Anonymous :

      1400 seems like a very low amount of calories. Are you working with a registered dietitian to refine your diet?
      Exercise is great and builds health but most significant weight loss comes from food choices. Write down every single thing you eat. Focus on eating real food and mostly plants. Avoid asparatame/sweeteners.

      Change your cardio from steady state to HIIT and ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietician who can help you adjust your diet accordingly. It’s best to determine what kind of plan will be sustainable for you long term and stick with that vs. looking for quick weight loss. Weight loss is most sustainable when it occurs at a rate of 2lbs a week or less. Are you an abstainer or a moderator when it comes to foods? These things will affect how you approach your diet. And I mean diet in the sense of figure out how you will have to eat for the rest of your life to maintain your health – not a quick fix weight loss diet.

      • It depends on height. I don’t think 1400 is that low for a lot of women (looking to lose weight, not maintain).

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, I’m 5′ 10″ so I forget that a petite woman would be likely requiring fewer calories. That said, a drastic change in calories can slow the body’s metabolism when it sends the body signals of food scarcity. It’s best to eat slightly less than is required for weight maintenance that way when the loss portion is done, there is not a drastic adjustment for maintenance and no rebound gain.

      • I don’t personally have experience but I’ve seen numerous posts on MyFitnessPal about this. *Normally*, a calorie deficit is what you would go for but for those with PCOS, I’ve come to learn that cutting out carbs (in addition to the calorie deficit) is important as well.

        I also recommend (if you haven’t already) getting a food scale and weighing your food. Eye-balling is notoriously inaccurate and measuring food using cups is also inaccurate. Even if you decide to not stick with weighing food in the long term (although I would recommend that), it’s a good idea to at least weigh your food for a few days so you have an accurate picture of how much you are eating and adjust from there.

        Also, I know it’s frustrating to be working out and making better food choices and not to see the weight fly off. But other than the scale, are you losing inches? Do your clothes feel much better? My weight loss stalled as I got closer to my goal weight and was feeling a bit discouraged. I took a break from the deficit to eat at maintenance for awhile. Still worked out (lifting with some T25) consistently. It was a welcome surprise when I took some measurements and found I’d lost 1-2 inches here and there. Note that the scale didn’t really move down all that much..maybe a pound?

        BTW, congrats on the weight loss! It sounds like you’ve been losing 2 lbs a month, which is no small feat.

    • That is so frustrating, I’m sorry. I don’t have PCOS experience, but is it possible you are misjudging your portions? Whenever I get stuck, I take out my food scale to make sure I’m eating the proper serving size.

      I hope you find the answers you are looking for soon!

      • Anonymous :

        This. Food scale plus baking cup measures (1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup) are key tools to stay on track.

        • Anonymous :

          Food scales are important — the scale being way more accurate than measuring cups (have you ever weighed out peanut butter?) but that’s not everything with PCOS. The reality is it can just be really, really slow due to hormone imbalances and blood sugar issues and a suppressed metabolism.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I know this is controversial, but if you are 100 pounds overweight you may want to look into weight loss surgery. I had a sleeve gastrectomy seven years ago (seven years ago tomorrow, in fact) and it was without a doubt the best thing I have ever done for myself. It works:

      Just a thought. Email me at seniorattorney1 at gmail if you want to talk about it.

      • Anonymous :

        I always ignore “The Well” as they’re really opinion pieces.

        • Anonymous :

          Did you even click on the link? It cites a lot of medical studies. All op-eds aren’t bad just because they’re not straight up reporting.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, so, I’ve lost 70 pounds with PCOS and have probably 20-30 to go — OP’s “sort of chubby” down to “thin” or whatever. If I could do it again, I would have weight loss surgery. I have a friend who started “losing weight” at the same time and she had bypass, and at times I envy her (at times I don’t, because as she describes it, she signed a deal with the devil and occassionally has to pay on that loan.) My progress has taken me about 4 years, and I still backslide at times, and I am still terrified of waking up one day 270 pounds again. I know WLS wouldn’t 100% prevent that, but I think maybe with it I’d be 100% at my goal, or have less risk of regain – even with all the surgery risks. By the time I looked in to surgery, I “wasn’t fat enough” (the irony) – so cosigned to SA’s suggestion.

        There are studies that show PCOS can suppress your metabolism far, far below that of a normal woman of your size/weight and this all made a lot of sense for me.

        WLS not withstanding, I find I do best on a combo of metformin xr + spironolactone + vyvanse (or now, adderall) — the last piece being something I started for ADHD in the last year or so, but absolutely helps with weight control because it kills most people’s appetites. I used to do paleo, then low carb — did the best on low carb, especially my sugar numbers. I dabble in Renaissance Periodization/macros now that my A1C is in normal range.

        I am also really active – mostly CrossFit, and via that some combination of weightlifting/conditioning/yoga when I must.

        You’re welcome to email me also at dcrette112 at gmail. It is complicated and confusing and frustrating, and I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer for you than “it took me 4 years and I still fight it.”

    • Anonymous :

      I’m so sorry – that is very difficult to do.

      I lost about 40 lbs with PCOS through a combination of increasing exercise (I moved to a large city and sold my car – for reasons unrelated to weight loss!), found an exercise that I enjoy (never thought I’d enjoy running – the trick for me was spending time outside) and finally acknowledging and receiving treatment for depression.

      My experience has been that once I got over a “hurdle” (for me that was about 165 lbs) it was much easier to lose the weight as the PCOS was more under control.

      It’s hard but possible so don’t give up!

    • Anonymous :

      Normally calories-in, calories-out works for weightloss, but it’s a struggle with PCOS. My friend had very good results following a ketogenic diet (low carb, high fat), which is suggested for conditions with insulin resistance.

    • I know you said you’re on metformin but that doesn’t necessarily mean your hormones are in balance yet. PCOS is a complicated syndrome and if your hormones are way out of whack the standard “rules” for losing weight might not work for you. If you’re seeing a PCP now, consider switching to an OB/GYN or endocrinologist that specializes in PCOS.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, you need to worry a lot about insulin resistance. Low carb, low gi, etc will have way better results than calorie restriction alone. I think there is a forum somewhere (somewhere on Reddit?) where a lot of people have had success with that approach.

      • +1

        Insulin resistance can be very difficult to combat, and it’s considerably more complicated than calories in-calories out. Eating 1400-1700 a day that’s a really incomplete picture WRT how your macronutrient balance is affecting your insulin levels.

        I also just want to say, be kind to yourself. You _have_ lost weight. You’ve lost 15 pounds! That’s a good thing! You’re discounting that as though it’s nothing because it hasn’t happened as quickly as you think it should. You are doing everything right, and you are getting results. Good for you.

      • Coach Laura :

        Agreed. PCOS calls for low carb- cut out wheat, rice, white potatoes, sugar. Eat good protein, lots of nuts, beans, avocados, olive oils. You could adopt a Paleo or Whole30 or South Beach diet. Check PubMed for studies on weight loss and improvements in blood glucose, LDL etc. 20 grams of carbs a day is the max used in several studies.

        I would ask your PCP for a referral to a dietitian specializing in diabetes.

      • Not all PCOS reacts to insulin the same way, though. My sister has PCOS and never went on metformin. Like anything, there are degrees. IF you want real answers, talk to your doctor, do blood tests. A blanket elimination of carbs and sugars isn’t necessarily the answer.

        • Coach Laura :

          Not to be argumentative but your sister isn’t on metaformin and so her situation is different. The OP is and still isn’t losing weight and asked for help. Seeing a specialist would be good but going on a low carb plan isn’t like taking snake oil so it is something she could try.

    • Wildkitten :

      PCOS is special and you should definitely talk to an RD.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have PCOS and the only thing that has *ever* worked for me for weight loss is a combination of metformin, regular exercise and a low, low carb diet (no potatoes, grains, rice or sugar at all – literally meat, eggs, vegetables, full fat cheese and cream but no yogurt, occasional nuts and a few raspberries plus vodka/soda or dry wine and coffee).

    • This is late, but I have a bad case of PCOS. I’m mid-weight loss with WW right now, down 15 lbs in 2 months and losing more each week. I also lost an initial 50 lbs with WW 2 years ago.

      I’m barely exercising at them moment (thanks 14 hour work days!), so this most recent loss is 99% food driven. And I’m eating everything – carbs, sugars, protein, you name it. So, clearly excluding any one thing isn’t the answer for me personally. My 50 lb lost also coincided with picking up running and eventually ruining a (very slow) half marathon.

      Consider a registered dietitian. I was going to do that at my endocrinologist’s recommendation, but I went the WW route first because it was familiar and I’d already been successful. I should mention that I’m also on metformin as we’re TTC. I was not on metformin for the 50b loss five years ago.

    • Anon for this :

      What worked for me was metformin + 1200 calories a day net + limiting my foods to 3 servings each of protein/vegetables/fruit. I allowed coffee creamer & a little chocolate in my net calories.

      You are exercising a lot and that is great for PCOS. Try cutting out the carbs and be sure the calories you burn exercising are accounted for in your calories. It could be your burning more than you think and with the calorie restriction too, your body thinks its in starvation mode.

      I found MyFitnessPay to work well for me in tracking calories (in) and exercise (out).

      It worked for me…lost 75 pounds in 11 months.

    • Weight losing anon :

      This usually inspires a lot of argument, but have you explored a low-fat whole foods plant-based diet? I’m talking about the kind of eating described in the documentary Forks Over Knives and the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I struggle with PCOS and related endocrine/IR issues and it is the ONLY thing that has ever worked for me long term. I have lost a ton of weight (and I am able to keep it off with only moderate effort). Even more importantly for me, I found my cycles becoming more regular, my moods stabilized in happy mode, and my food addiction tendencies going away.

      It appears extreme at first, but I find it was easy after the initial learning period and I much prefer it to medications and the way I feel when eating low-carb/high-fat. It’s also easy to keep doing it when you see how quickly the weight falls off.

      If you want to share an email address (I don’t have one to share that isn’t my full name), I’d be happy to email you with more info.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes. I’ve done this diet and really like it. I used The only reason I’m not still doing is that it is really hard when you eat out a lot and/or live with an omnivore.

        And on a slight tangent, my theory of diet is that can eat anything you want (starch a la McDougall/Fuhrman, All the Meat a la paleo, etc) but you can’t eat everything you want. You have to choose.

    • full of ideas :

      Maybe space your meals out into 6-10 snacks to stop your body from thinkimg you’re in a situation where you should be storing energy (ie starving)? Also, be sure to drink tons of water! Good luck

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