Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Fringed Tweed Skirt

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

This pink, red, and white tweed skirt is part of an OdlR skirt suit, but as Tim Gunn would say, it’s a lot of look — I prefer the skirt by itself, perhaps paired with a spring-y white top for work. The inventory on the $1200 skirt seems to be dwindling — they’re down to lucky sizes — but do check out some of our comps if you like the look, as well as our most recent discussion on wearing tweed in summer. Happy Monday! Fringed Tweed Skirt

This McQueen skirt is a pretty good dupe, and hey, only $1075 — meanwhile, this $150 tweed skirt is on sale, has a ton of sizes left, and is the right mix of conservative and girly fun. Talbots also has a ton of tweed skirts in a range of sizes. On the super affordable end of things, this pink Halogen tweed skirt is only $47, if a bit short — know your office! This pretty blue one is also low priced but along the lines of “cute but short.” This $20 one is only available in lucky size 12. (Its green sister has more sizes left but is $40.)

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  1. Shampoo recs :

    I want to up my shampoo game. My hair is fine, dark dark brown- almost black (in the Irish way, not the Asian way, for texture reference), and not color treated. It doesn’t hold style well. Not stringy exactly but benefits from product and volumizing type shampoos.

    I have a birthday and the birth of my last coming up. I can’t buy anything to wear, all food makes me have horrific heartburn, and while I’d love more stuff for my garden (actual, outdoor), I can’t bend over to garden much so I’m at the mercy of what I can cajole my family to plant for me :-).

    So, I want to upgrade my shampoo. No budget. Go crazy with your recs.

    Also, what shampoo do the men in your life use? DH uses my drugstore brand Trememmee right now, but when that runs out I’m not letting him near my $$ shampoo. He also has opposite hair from me and while I’m sure my volumizing shampoo does nothing for his thick crazy high volume hair, he uses t anyway ;). He can’t just use 2:1 head and shoulders as his hair really needs conditioner, even when it’s kept very short. (Lucky for our girls, they all got his hair not mine!!!).

    • Anonymous :

      Shampoo doesn’t really matter as much as conditioner and styling products.

      • I used to believe this until recently when the assistant at my hairstylist’s used a volumizing shampoo on my thick straight hair. My stylist was having problems cutting my hair, because it was getting puffy as it dried. We didn’t figure out it was the shampoo until my cut was done, but my hair was puffy for days, even after I shampooed and conditioned it at home.

        OP, no specific recs for you since you want the opposite of what I do. But definitely look for a volumizing shampoo made for salon professionals.

      • Shampoo recs :

        Fair- I mean styling products generally :-). I’m not so wow’d by my hair after a haircut that I want to go with the brand my stylist uses- I forget off the top of my head what it is. So looking for other options!

    • I like the lush shampoo bars. I have fine strands but lots of hair and I find that they don’t weigh my hair down as much.

    • Anonymous :

      My hair sounds similar to yours in texture. For overpriced shampoo/conditioner duos that make me happy, I prefer Aveda’s rosemary mint and Bliss’ lemon sage

    • Baconpancakes :

      Ha, when I was at Ulta I asked my SO if he wanted me to pick him up any shampoo, and he asked for something that smelled like tea tree and was thickening (he will be bald by 40, bless him) and the only shampoo that exists like that is the Paul Mitchell $20/bottle shampoo. So his shampoo is almost as expensive as mine!

      I use what they sell at my salon, Davines Nounou shampoo. I love the smell, I like to give my stylist friend the commission, and my current bottle, from early February, is barely 1/3 empty.

    • Anonymous :

      Living Proof volumizing shampoo is supposed to be amazing

      • Can confirm. Use the Living Proof Full line, shampoo and conditioner, and experiment with some of the styling products, too.

      • Can also confirm. I find it a bit drying after awhile, so I alternate with the Living Proof moisture shampoo. I find that it does not weigh down my fine hair.

    • Same hair type, and when it was longer, I liked Redken’s Body Full shampoo. It’s not super splurgy, but it’s effective.

    • OP – Just curious – are you currently using drugstore products to volumize? What are they? I have similar texture to you and am interested in volumizing, but I don’t want to spend $$$.

      • Housecounsel :

        I find that cheap mousse – the Aussie brand – works just fine, but I also really like the Kenra salon brand of mousse.

      • I use the John Freida volume spray. I apply to the roots while my hair is damp and then blow dry my hair upside down. This is not drugstore, but a powder texturizer like Osis Dust It or Redken Powder Grip can help with volume. After styling my hair, I lift up the top layer and sprinkle a little bit of powder. Then rub it in and it gives more lift to the hair. A little bit goes a long way.

    • I have fine, black hair and love the Aveda’s Invati shampoo and conditioner. It’s for thinning hair so not sure that applies to you, but it’s the only shampoo I have found that makes my fine hair look better. It’s pretty pricey though.

    • When a friend of mine was pregnant with her last, and wanted to treat herself, she went the route of expensive face creams. Just a suggestion. Might make more of a difference than shampoo, although it sounds like you are legitimately looking for something that will make a difference in your hair.

    • I have similar hair and use many shampoos because my hair gets very tired of overly repeated products, but get compliments on my hair on the days I use Arrojo Shine Luxe.

    • Oribe shampoo for magnificent volume works and smells incredible.

    • Shampoo recs :

      Thanks for all these suggestions! I may try a few. Honestly I’m just at the point in pregnancy where I’m not buying anything (due in a month, and it’s our last) but I want to splurge on something for myself. I don’t need a work bag or jewelry and dammit if I can’t have better smelling shampoo. Maybe that helps my hair not look so…tired. A gal can hope!

    • I have fine curly hair (ringlet, fine, and gets frizzy). I just spent 24 bucks -Canadian dollars– if that makes difference on Loma moisturizing shampoo. I use very little, it lasts about a year or so — love it! I have Deva curl shampo (lo poo) as well, and I prefer this one!

    • Anonymous :

      I have hair like yours (though now color it) and really like Kerastase. It’s stupidly expensive, but then I don’t waste it!

    • I have very similar hair. It’s about an inch or two above my shoulders, and pin straight. If it’s humid, my hair goes flat – no frizz. None of the products I use are high end; I haven’t found much difference when I tried more expensive brands.

      It actually seems to help if I condition first and then shampoo. I use the OGX Coconut Milk shampoo and conditioner. It’s not volumizing, if that’s a show stopper for you. Then I use Herbal Essences tousling mousse and blow dry with my head upside down. I get a decent amount of volume that way. If you’re looking for curl, maybe try hot rollers; they work wonders for me. I’ve also found that a smaller curling iron gives me better hold. I use a 3/4″ iron. To hold a style, I need a decently strong hairspray; I’m liking Aussie’s Sun Touched Shine right now.

  2. Awkward Dinner Party :

    I need a script to gently ask a friend not to cook for a group. We’re planning a weekend getaway with some friends soon, and one guy always insists on cooking dinner for everyone one night. This would be nice, except that he’s a horrible cook and a jerk to be around while he’s cooking (otherwise he’s very pleasant). He always cooks the same “signature” menu, it’s mostly inedible, and it takes him 4-5 hours of banging around the kitchen in the rental house while grouching that no one helps and yelling at people when they try to help for doing things “wrong.” It really kills about half a day of the vacation, which is only a weekend long anyway. When we’ve tried approaches like “You don’t have to spend your vacation cooking for us! How about we get takeout/grill out/order pizza?” he’s said that he wants to cook for everyone as an act of service. We’ve even tried saying “Oh sorry, we made reservations to go out for Fancy Date Night that evening” but he reschedules his dinner for a time that everyone can be there. How can I say PLEASE DON’T DO THIS without hurting his feelings?

    • There’s no way to do this without hurting feelings, but it’s your vacation too and if you want to go and not eat the food, you suck it up and tell them. I think you can try and soften the blow by making it about food preference rather than the other stuff like being a jerk while cooking, but it is what it is.

    • Why do you travel with this guy? He sounds awful. If he’s the SO of a friend or family member, can that person be the one to tell him his to cool it?

    • Anonymous :

      Does he have to be invited? He sounds awful.

      • Awkward Dinner Party :

        He’s actually a really good friend and a great guy otherwise! Cooking just turns him into a monster. I don’t want to lose a friend over his moments of insanity, but I don’t want those moments to ruin a vacation.

        • “Friend, I want this to be a vacation for you too, and putting you on dinner duty turns you into a grouch. How about you take responsibility for X (thing he’s good at) this time around instead?”

          Can you just be straightforward with him? And give him something else to do to contribute?

          • Yes. Don’t make it about the food. Say that it takes hours out of his vacation, and that it appears to stress him out. If he insists on cooking, ask that he make something really easy that he can perhaps prepare in advance – soup, lasagna, homemade spaghetti sauce, etc.

    • Anonymous :

      What time do you arrive on the first day? If you just arrive shortly before dinner can you do up a schedule of who’s cooking when and put him on the first day so you can get this over with or it forces him to switch to something similar? Or can you do up a schedule that puts him in charge of breakfast one day instead?

      Another alternative is to call it a ‘new receipes weekend’ or something – everyone has to cook a new receipe that they haven’t made for the group before. Hopefully it’s just the one meal that he’s awful at making? You can rave about new receipe and he can make that on future vacations?

    • Anonymous :

      Focus on the time factor. “We appreciate that you want to cook an elaborate meal for everyone, but we’re only here for a weekend and we don’t want to lose you for 4 hours!” This might not work if he’s in denial about how much time it takes him to cook so ymmv.

      And then schedule dinner out and/or potlucks for the other 2 dinners. First day there? Everyone has to bring a pre-made dish. Specifically state that no one should be cooking at the rental, there’s just no time! His act of service can be whatever fancy meal he feels like bringing. That he can cook on his own time. Second night, go out to dinner.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’m dying to know what this terrible menu is.

      No idea what to do your friend though. You have my sympathy.

      • Awkward Dinner Party :

        The menu itself wouldn’t be too terrible if it were cooked properly, but it’s this:
        Hamburger Steak with Onions (usually burnt outside and raw inside with onions mostly raw)
        Macaroni and Cheese (Seems hard to mess up, but he mixes shredded cheddar with cooked pasta and nothing else and bakes it. Result is dry and weirdly crunchy.)
        Smashed or mashed potatoes (Skin is left on and sometimes he mashes and purees them all the way into gluey mashed potatoes, other times he leaves them in irregular lumps. There is no seasoning.)
        Green Beans (Cooked in frying pan and usually burnt or crunchy raw. One time he added garlic, which promptly burned, and declared it meant his recipes were not to be altered)

        • Anonymous :

          this is too funny

        • Anonymous :

          Just tell him no. “Actually this year we are going to do something different.”

        • Anonymous :

          Someone needs to film this. Along with the housemates’ reactions, including your best Jim Halpert looks at the camera.

        • Blame it on everyone else. Either so-and-so is too picky, or everyone has suddenly turned vegetarian, allergic to onions, legumes, gluten and dairy. So sorry! You can’t cook for them! Let’s go out.

          This sounds horrible and hilarious.

          Good luck!!

        • So I think you need to come up with a meal schedule with your other friends ahead of time and email it to everyone. He will not be on the list. You could put him in charge of wine or buying dessert or something like that.

        • biglawanon :

          Just wow. Also, LOL at “declared it meant his recipes were not to be altered”

          I think he sounds like a jerk too.

    • Anonymous :

      You can’t.

    • Anonymous :

      If it’s only a weekend, it seems easy enough to avoid. Say you want to try x restaurant and y restaurant, and oops, that’s two nights. Or say you want to cook, or that you want a certain type of takeout. If he insists say no thanks, we’d prefer the other option. Or redirect him to cook brunch, maybe…

    • anon a mouse :

      Friend, you’ve been so kind to spend so much of your time in the past cooking for us, but we want you to get a break, too! We’re going to share the cooking burden so we are doing [potluck, dinners out] this year. We appreciate you and want everyone to have a chance to relax in the limited time we have together.

    • Linda from HR :

      “4-5 hours of banging around the kitchen in the rental house while grouching that no one helps and yelling at people when they try to help for doing things “wrong.””

      I have family members like this, I love them to death and they’re great people in general, but they tend to take on too much in the kitchen and get frustrated. They’re either angry that no one’s helping or mad that people are trying to help but getting in the way. It always stresses me out when this happens. Sometimes I think people use cooking as an outlet for their stress and anger, and once that stuff is released through cooking it’s hard to control.

      I wish I had advice, but I’m also not sure what to say to people who do this, because I’m not usually in a position where I can say anything. Maybe something like “We appreciate you wanting to make a meal for all of us, but the dishes you make aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, could we have some input next time? And I gotta say, the way you behave in the kitchen really stresses us out, and we’re here to relax, so if you can’t keep your cool while cooking, it may be better if the meals are more of a group effort.”

      Maybe Captain Awkward, or Lizzie Post over at Awesome Etiquette would have a better script. I was channeling her, but I’m not even sure I could say it.

    • I think unfortunately there is no way to avoid some hurt feelings. Honesty in this is the best policy. A gentle look friend we love vacationing with you and we have such a good time but as much as you love to cook for all of us, we just dont love it as much as you. Lets XYZ instead. When he resists you have to stand firm and insist that although he likes to prepare this meal, its not his strong suit.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Right, it sounds like “you not wanting him to cook” is what’s going to hurt his feelings, no matter how it’s phrased. Shift your goal to “How can I say this kindly?” which is a lot simpler, and then just cross your fingers that he gets over it.

    • How about this for a script? “Hey friend, just letting you know, no need to prepare to cook this year. I’ve talked to a few people and the consensus is we’d prefer to go out to try X and Y restaurants.” Or “We’re going to order in so we can spend more time hiking/drinking/shopping whatever as a group.”

      If he protests: “Make us dinner another time. The group wants to go out/order in.” Then stop talking.

      Do others feel the same, or is this just you? I think you might want some buy in/back up before you go head to head with this guy who doesn’t seem to pick up on vibes.

  3. Can anyone give me a gut check on calorie counts/dieting please? I’m on my fitness pal to log in my food/water, and they’re advising me to stay at 1200 calories a day to lose about 1lb/week. Is it me or is that a bit low? I’d read 1500 calories a day for a moderately active woman is more accurate (and they do of course add calories on days I work out).
    I’m 35, work out about 4-5 times a week and looking to lose the 8-10lbs that bad food choices + the pill put on seemingly overnight, so going from 143 back to 133-135, which is my sweet spot.

    • AlexisFaye :

      My understanding is that even if you work out if you have a desk job you probably aren’t actually moderately active. I’m almost identical in goals (start/end weight)/age/etc. and that is what I’m eating for. : \


      • Anonymous :

        This. 1300 might also work but at 1500 you likely won’t lose unless you up your activity.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes 1200 is right. And if you eat all of your calories on the days you exercise, you’re probably not going to lose like you’d like to. MFP gives me 500-1k extra calories a day from tracking my workouts. I know from experience that if I eat all those calories, I might maintain my weight (if I’m lucky) but I’m definitely not losing. It’s so so hard.

      • Yup, this is my experience also. It’s a struggle because if you work out hard, 1200 calories doesn’t feel sufficient.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I was always grumpy trying to do calorie counts on MyFitnessPal, and it never worked for me, but YMMV.

    • Anonymous :

      Same exact boat here, including weight and amount to lose. I’ve been using myfitnesspal but it’s depressing and I’m going nowhere. I just tried cutting out carbs and refined sugars last week and that is already making a difference in how I feel. mfp tells me the same, 1200 calories, and I agree with the above anon that you can’t eat more if you work out. I feel your pain :(

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re tracking all of your exercise calories and aren’t active otherwise you should choose sedentary, fyi. The moderate activity level accounts for that extra energy spent, so if you pick moderate and add your exercise calories it’s kind of like counting them twice.

      I think it automatically just recommends 1200 regardless because it’s the lowest, you can probably eat 1500 and still lose weight.

      • It definitely doesn’t recommend 1200 for everyone. It’s not one size fits all. I’m quite tall and it started me around 1700. Now that I’ve lost 45 pounds it’s got me down to 1460. It is based on your height, weight, gender, and reported activity level.

    • I personally can never eat 1200, that’s just too low for me and I wind up cranky. If you want to stick to that, you might consider intermittent fasting. That way you skip breakfast and have 600 calories each for lunch and dinner, which will feel more satiating. Either that or bump up to 1500. I do about 1600 with intermittent fasting and have lost 10 pounds in the last year very easily, with minimal exercise.

      • AlexisFaye :

        I will say I think it depends where you have to start/finish. If you’re just looking at the last 10 vanity pounds, your body fights you pretty hard (i’m looking at you, set point). If you have more to lose, I think you can be…less deliberate.

        That being said, I find that if I eat very low carb and up my fat when I’m “cranky” it helps. For instance, last night I wanted to binge on carbs while stressing out and working late, but opted for a few bites of cheese. Didn’t have to eat nearly as much but the fat helped a lot.

        Drink. More. Water.

    • I’ve been calorie counting for about 5-6 weeks now and we seem to have somewhat similar stats (I work out, albeit not too intensely, about 4-5x a week doing mostly light to medium intensity cardio, and MFP would also have recommended ~1200 calorie intake a day). I’ve had okay luck so far (about 1 lb/week loss in the first 4 weeks, but it’s slowing down significantly now that I’m closer to my old “set point” weight) shooting for closer to 1350-1450 in intake a day on weekdays (but not worrying about what I eat on weekends and getting closer to 1800/day then), but not eating back my exercise calories.

      1200 would definitely leave me extremely cranky and hangry all the time, it just wouldn’t be sustainable for me.

    • What are you eating per day now? Can you log your last couple of day’s food, then subtract 300-500 from that? I’m almost 6ft tall and 1200 calories would leave me starving.

    • MFP also recommends certain macros to hit along with the calorie count. You aren’t going to reach your goals by calorie count alone (especially if you only do cardio for exercise with a sedentary job). You need to hit the macros and introduce strength training and that will help with the progress.

    • 1500 for a moderately active person is maintenance level. If you want to lose weight, 1200 is right. If you’re having trouble with being hungry, I suggest adjusting your macros to cut carbs and add fat. It will make you feel fuller longer.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Depends on what “work out” means for you and depends on what your goal truly is – is it to just see 135 on the scale or is it to have some sort of aesthetic / body comp goals? 1200 in my experience leads to too much muscle loss with the fat loss thus undercutting body comp goals. Also this whole eating back exercise calories MFP recommends is hard to enact as it way overweights calories burned through cardio and way underweights the metabolic effects of strength training.

      I can’t speak to your situation – only to mine. I am 5’5″ and I was eating 1200 – 1400 cals / day through the end of college. I weighed 145 lbs but clearly had little muscle mass and couldn’t seem to lose the extra weight around my midsection. I currently am a serious lifter and eat 2100 – 2400 cals / day. I’m doing more of a recomp so focusing on eating enough protein and eating high quality carbs around my workouts along with tracking / making good choices. I’m currently ~170 lbs and wearing the same size – I’m just distributed differently and am much more muscular. This is not to say that my way is the way – just my story.

    • Thanks all, I feel like I’m drinking SO much water, but a good reminder to keep it up. Yes, the issue is on my heavy cardio days I am STARVING after, and an extra 100-200 calories would really help. I also find that upping my protein (instead of more carbs as I’d prefer) does help with feelings of fullness.
      I also have mild issues when the app informs me to ‘watch my sugar consumption’ when I log in an apple for lunch (really app? really? would you rather I revert back to my handful of jelly beans?). Sigh.

      • Anonymous. :

        This is why I hate MFP. I use Fooducate, which I prefer because it takes into account the quality of your calories. Everything else is pretty much the same as MFP- input current weight, goals, etc, and track your food and exercise. But Fooducate grades the food you input on what they claim is a basis of it being processed/unprocessed and nutrient dense. An apple gets an A, non-fat yogurt with fake fruit flavoring and added sugars gets a C+. You can track the quality of your food with a grade average alongside your calorie goals and weight.

    • biglawanon :

      These estimates don’t take into account variances in BMR and other variables. So if you have a higher than normal BMR, it could be pretty off. My husband used the MFP rec, and was dropping 3-5 lbs a week instead of 1-2 and had to increase his intake. Also seconding the person to see what you eat now – I have counted mine, and I eat somewhere between 2500-3000 a day. I would starve on 1200.

    • Putting in a plug for consulting with a registered dietitian. I had been following MFP’s recommendations for quite some time and the result would be that I’d drop a few pounds and then gain it back + a few other pounds (probably largely because the calorie target was too low and so then I’d end up going over on weekends or some days because I was so hungry). About 6 weeks ago I started seeing a registered dietitian (it’s covered by my insurance) and discovered that the calorie recommendation that MFP was giving me was way too low. Since I started working with the RD, I’ve lost 5.5 pounds in 6 weeks. She helped me determine the optimal amount of calories for my body and how to best set the MFP settings so that I get an accurate idea of how many extra calories I should eat on days where I exercise.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I’ve successfully lost almost 4st with MFP, but I set my goal to only lose 0.5lb a week. I think 1200 is just too low to keep up for long. I was given about 1460, which felt right. I did lose more than the projected 0.5lb most weeks.

    • coffeecoffee :

      Hi, hope you’re still reading! 1200 may or may not be too low for you, depending on many things, including height, age, how hard you are working out, etc. I have had my resting metabolic rate tested and I’d burn 1685 calories laying in bed all day, but I’m also 5’9″ and crossfit hard 5 days a week. In my experience, MFP gives low estimates of the amount of both calories and protein that women need. I would suggest you find the IIFYM Women page on Facebook and use their cupcake chart to find a good amount of calories to start with. If you can’t find that, you can also do IIFYM dot com. You can adjust from there. Good luck!

  4. Anonymous :

    I kind of love this skirt. It’s like lawyer meets festival wear. I’d pair it with a blousy white top, a wrap bracelet, pink studs made of some kind of natural material (maybe mother of pearl? or fabric covered studs?) and nude for me pumps.

    I’m so confused by the shoes though. It looks like Cinderella’s sisters trying to shove their foot into the glass slipper.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Also confused by the shoes. they look SO uncomfortable.

    • The shoes are just normal heels – there is a clear plastic making up the rest of the shoe.

      But yes, they do LOOK uncomfortable, so I’m not sure what the point of the clear part is…

    • I kind of love the shoes. When I was a little tiny girl in the early 1960s my mom had a pair of shoes very similar to this only the non-clear parts were RED. I loved those shoes…

  5. Pull on skirts :

    Any recs for work appropriate pull on skirts that have room for a constantly size changing tummy and @$$. I cant find anything not frumpy under $100. Would appreciate links but can also look up if you can tell me the brand and name. I’m size 10 to 16 depending on the brand and the day!! TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      My tummy is why I have given up on skirts. They just don’t work for me. Dresses and pants only.

    • Anonymous :

      We need more info.
      What is it that the skirts over $100 have that make them feel not frumpy to you?

    • Anonymous :

      Generally, higher end, pricey clothes aren’t pull on. It’s something of a pet peeve of mine – why does this scoop neck ponte dress have an ill fitting back zipper? It doesn’t need a zipper! Anyway. I will be following for recs but I think you’re going to have to buy zip up skirts in a couple of sizes.

      Lularoe’s skirts look cute but ymmv on work appropriateness. I’ve also had luck with Lands End skirts.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have two pull on pencil skirts but I bought them ages ago. One is a Target knock off of the Nordstrom skirt in teal when that was all the rage. The other is a black pin striped skirt from NY & Co. that I think I bought in undergrad which would have been 13 years ago. I still get compliments on it.

    • check out the Amanda and Chelsea brand on Nordstrom rack – they have lots of skirts that fit the bill.

    • Check out this skirt from Calvin Klein.


      It has a wide waistband and a higher rise so it camouflages a mid-week bloat.

    • I have a skirt like this one from Ann Taylor. TBH it’s not a great fit on me (a little tight in the hips, loose in the waist) but maybe it’ll work for you.

  6. Housecounsel :

    I have tried everything, high-end and not, and I always come back to Pantene for shampoo and conditioner. My hair is fine and prone to frizz. I do love the smell of Goldwell. I love Moroccan Oil, but not the shampoo and conditioner.

  7. Georgetown :

    Possibly a long shot, but curious if anyone here is a Georgetown MSFS graduate? Or attended another program in the School or Foreign Service? I’m heavily weighing two programs (MSFS vs. SSP). I posted on grad forums but always appreciate the thoughts from the hive.

    • I went to Georgetown for another masters program in a totally different school, and I noticed that SFS folks were highly competitive with each other in a way that my program was not. I don’t know if that is helpful information for you — it could be that all programs of this type are that way. But I was kind of taken aback by how cutthroat it seemed compared to the very collaborative atmosphere of my program (MPP).

    • I did not find the MSFS program cutthroat or competitive at all, but can’t speak to the SFS undergrad program. It could also vary by year and group dynamics, I suppose. We aren’t ranked against each other for anything (no forced curve, for ex), so I’m not sure what there would be to compete for, to be honest. I really liked my fellow students; the level of seminar discussion was quite high and I found most (but not all) my fellow students to be smart and engaged. Some were jerks, but I tend to want to vote someone off the island in just about any group of 15+. I thought most of the professors were great, and particularly enjoyed those who were currently or recently employed. (Less so the academics nattering on about one theory or another.) The workload was manageable and generally interesting.

      Classmates went to development, private sector, other govt jobs…many going into govt went the PMF route to start. On the govt side, graduates ended up all over, from FAA to DHS to State to Defense to the Hill.

      • Thank you for your reply! I am excited to have found a grad so I hope you don’t mind a few questions. What do you think about the MSFS program as compared to the SSP program? I’ve read that the MSFS is the “golden child” program and it does seem more rigorous in both the requirements and faculty. Does the SSP program measure up to it? Is it seen as the lesser of the two? My ultimate goal is to work in intelligence but I’m very interested in politics and international affairs overall and I am more drawn to the MSFS program, but my draw back is that it is only offered full time and I’m very hesitant to quit my job to go back to school.

        • MSFS grad :

          Uh, I’d never heard of the SSP program. I just looked it up on Google. As with any professional degree, one consideration may be recognition of the degree, as well as what you want to do with the degree and if you need it at all. I don’t know if anyone would really care in the real world. If at all possible, find someone in the intel or related fields and ask if anyone would care if your degree from Georgetown was SSP or MSFS. You’ll need to answer the “would it make a real difference in hiring me” vs “do I want to give up my job.”

  8. How do you know if you have a wheat sensitivity? I’ve been doing a super low carb diet for almost two months. Within days of cutting carbs, I noticed I was much less puffy and I lost a bunch of water weight.

    I drank a beer over the weekend – one beer was within my carb limit for the day – and I was pretty puffy for the rest of the night. I drank water and tea and it went away by the morning. I haven’t reacted this way to anything else on the diet. I’ve had alcohol (vodka or red wine), other carbs like fruits and veggies, but no other wheat products. Is this just a beer thing or is it wheat related? I’ll definitely bring it up with my doctor the next time I go, but any advice on how to either test this myself or questions to ask would be appreciated.

    • Getting a little bloated from wheat and isn’t a sensitivity. Thatsnormsl.

      • I should’ve specified – it’s not just belly bloat (which I think is normal) it’s also in my hands and feet (which seems less than normal? maybe?). It’s significant enough that my rings and shoes are uncomfortable but probably not noticeable to anyone but me.

    • I dunno – does the why really matter? Sounds like the solution is to not drink beer.

      • Well I’m wondering if it’s just beer or if it’s wheat more generally. Avoiding beer is one thing, avoiding wheat is a chore. Obviously if I have to then I do, though.

        • Then isn’t the test to reintroduce wheat and see what happens? I don’t think the doctor is going to have any better insight based on one incident – my guess it the doc would have you eat some wheat and see how you react.

        • Obviously you don’t have to you just need to stop being such a fusspot and deal with being slightly bloated. This is a side effect of unnecessarily restricting your diet to begin with.

    • There isn’t a test for this. Some people just tolerate certain foods better than others. DH can eat all the cheese he wants and it doesn’t bother him. My tummy gets upset/bloaty if I eat too much aged cheese.

      Skin prick tests are for allergy to the protein in wheat. You’re not allergic to wheat protein and you aren’t celiac based on the fact that your only symptoms are puffiness/bloat.

    • You could do a IGg test which measures food sensitivities. I cut out wheat/gluten about 6 months ago and feel a million times better. You probably have a minor sensitivity – it may be worth cutting it out and see how you feel.

    • AlexisFaye :

      Carbs make you bloaty. That’s why there’s a whole discussion in keto groups about the “whoosh” weight loss/water loss that you get when you first start. If you’re doing low carb, then you consume carbs, you will totally notice the puff/swelling. My ankles get super fat, super fast…

    • So there’s wheat sensitivity aka celiac, intolerance to fermentable carbohydrates aka FODMAPs, and just regular high carb==bloat. I’d bet you have either the 2nd or the 3rd- if you had actual wheat sensitivity you’d know. It’s probably worth checking out the rest of the FODMAP list and seeing if anything on that list other than wheat affects you.

      • I wouldn’t classify Celiacs as a wheat sensitivity – it’s a gluten intolerance which actively kills the cilia in your intestines that allows you to absorb nutrients.

        A sensitivity is more lowkey than an allergic reaction. Celiacs is more on par with a severe allergy (though more chronic and less acute).

        FODMAP issues are often resolved by eliminating most typical sources of gluten. Also, Gluten and Wheat are not interchangeable terms – yes, wheat means gluten is present, but gluten doesn’t mean wheat is present.

        • Celiac disease is not wheat insensitivity. It’s an autoimmune disease, and those of us who have it can’t eat gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
          It’s also not true that you will know if you have celiac disease. I had no idea until I was 18, and a cousin was diagnosed. Then we all got tested because it’s a genetic thing, and BOOM! Turns out I have “silent celiac”- no symptoms but still causing a lot of intestinal damage.

          • +1. I was misdiagnosed with IBS and limped along taking medication to address symptoms until I ended up with severe osteoporosis at 40. Now entirely GF and doing well. Celiac isn’t about bloating and carbs; I gained weight after eliminating gluten and healing so that I could absorb nutrients properly.

      • Agree that its unlikely that you are sensitive to wheat if your first reaction was to beer because wheat is found in so many foods outside of traditional carbs (e.g. soy sauce).

        Celiac’s Disease is more than a sensitivity: it is an autoimmune reaction to wheat, barley and rye. For some people it causes major, noticeable symptoms, but other people may not realize they have it until a family member is diagnosed and they themselves are tested. The only way to get tested is to actively eat gluten and have a blood test as a first step.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      FWIW beer makes me bloated like nothing else.

  9. Waterproof Phone Case :

    Can anyone recommend a good waterproof case for iPhones? Not everyday case but something to put your phone in when you’re going out paddleboarding, tubing, kayaking?

    • I ordered a Lifeproof case from Amazon. I tested it under the sink faucet (empty, no phone inside) and it worked fine, but I forgot it in the hotel when we went kayaking so no real world review to offer.

    • We use those phone pouches/dry bags that you can find on Amazon. Plenty of colors, sizes and floating options

  10. For the poster looking for advice over the weekend on her son and his possibly abusive girlfriend, point him to loveisrespect.org and have him take some of the tests there. They cover many different types of abuse, and it’s generally a good resource for you too.

  11. Sausage Casing Help :

    Ugh — thanks to some foot surgery, I’ve been not exercising for a couple of seasons. And I’m a size heavier in the seat / thighs. In the winter, I missed this due to the elastic effects of tights and maybe just bigger or floatier dresses. The warm weather is unforgiving. No pants fit. Underwear tummy elastic placement cuts through things in a way that is obvious and unflattering.

    What Spanx product do I need — can’t have VPL issues (or legs that roll up) but needs a high waist that won’t roll down.

    I figure it is easier to try Spanx than to replace clothes for what is hopefully a temporary thing (went biking (non-impact yay) and swimming this weekend, so hopefully I’m turning the coner on this).

    • I am you. I like the Assets brand of Spanx, you can get them at Kohls and sometime Target. They are cheaper than regular Spanx, but still decent quality, in my opinion. I find that they don’t roll and provide just enough compression to make things look better (I only wear them under dresses and skirts, not pants) without making me feel like I need to tear them off at the end of the day.

      My sympathies. I just looked up a calculator to see how many calories I’d need to eat a day to lose just 1 lb a week and it’s… depressing.

    • Anonymous :

      Spanx has a high-waist mid-thigh short, but I find that shapewear redistributes such that it doesn’t help me fit into pants and mostly makes it harder. I wear only with dresses (and I don’t wear skirts).

  12. Air Fryer? :

    I received an Air Fryer for Mother’s Day. This is OK with me, so please don’t judge that.

    I am looking for blogs, cookbooks, sources for air fryer tips, tricks, recipes, etc.

    Also, although I am in the US and the product shipped from USA, the degrees are in Celsius. Is this usual? Does anyone have an easy conversion mneumonic? All I recall is that 16 Celsius = 61 Farhenheit.

    • The true equation is C=5/9*(F-32), but that’s an annoyingly complex equation. Easier approximation is C= (F-30)/2 o

      • or…you can have Google convert it for you – that’s usually my double check.

        Also -40 is the same temp in both C and F. Though that’s not terribly useful for a fryer.

        Other unhelpful conversions (though they can be used to help remember the approximation…)
        0C=32F (Freezing point of water)
        100C=212F (Boiling point of water)

    • we have one and actually love it. things like frozen fries and frozen tater tots are really good — anything that’s typically deep fried but that you can technically “bake in oven.” my husband made good breaded shrimp and chicken fingers. I’d also try chicken fingers breaded with pretzel crumbs. sorry, no specific recipe links just a general enodoresment

    • Skinnytaste has a lot of recipes for it.

  13. I posted a couple weeks ago about wanting to go blonde from brunette. I had ombre/bayalage so my the blonde started about halfway down and blended into the brown. I did the rest yesterday, my stylist brought my highlights up to almost the root and left a shadowed root. She was able to blend the colors really nicely. Thanks to everyone that gave advice!

  14. If you’ve been avoiding wheat and then suddenly have it, anyone could react badly since your digestive enzymes for wheat will have been reduced by the absence in your diet. A medical evaluation for wheat sensitivity/allergy requires you to have it in your diet for several weeks before it can be tested for.

    But if it’s something that concerns you, then you should by all means talk to your doctor!

  15. White pants :

    It’s that time of year……. White jeans/pants advice for those of us with junk in the trunk?

    Still searching for a flattering pair after years of failures. Would love something that works with pear shapes and doesn’t highlight my cellulite. I wear anything from a 2 in a curvy line to an 8, depending on the brand.

    • Loft had a couple of options that are a decent thickness.

    • Talbots Flawless Fit – I have the ankle jeans but it comes in a lot of iterations (bootcut, boyfriend, etc)

      • Oh, also AT and Levis – mine are from previous years but am also a hourglasss/pear and they work for me.

    • I bought a pair of the Calvin Klein Skinny Curvy in white on Amazon for $33. They’re thick enough that they don’t show lumps and bumps and generally pretty flattering for the price point.

    • Target’s new line of denim has a great pair of mid-rise skinny jeans that are super flattering on me and very thick. I’m tall and have junk in the trunk and loooove them. They’re also under $30 so super cheap.

    • I am surprisingly happy with Old Navy white denim this year. They have a version that’s “clean” and is supposed to repel stains. I’m happy to say that with a toddler, it does seem to be working.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      For two years I searched for opaque white jeans. I ended up with cropped jeans from Madewell and bootcut jeans from AG.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I think I’ve bought every pair of white jeans on the planet over the past decade at most price points… I LOVE Gap’s Mid Rise True Skinny Curvy Jeans. They’re $69.95 with 40% off today. I like that they’re opaque and the material is nice and cottony, but with enough stretch to be resilient.

  16. Atlanta recs for dinner?

    I’m in Atlanta starting tomorrow for a conference, and will have tomorrow night free for dinner with a friend who’s also attending. We’re at the Hyatt Regency downtown (which from my limited recollection of Atlanta is in a pretty generic area). Any recs for a good place in walking distance, veg-friendly?

    And any great bars for the evenings?


    • There isn’t much in terms of great restaurants or nightlife near your hotel. I’d take an Uber from your hotel and head up to Virginia Highlands (Murphy’s, La Tavola) or Midtown (South City Kitchen, Miller Union, or Pasta di Pulcinella, but there are a ton of great options). For great nightlife, I’d try Midtown around Crescent Ave or Cypress St. Pub, but TBH Tuesday is pretty low key just about anywhere in town.

    • The only really good option in that area is White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, which is directly across the street. However, it may be completely booked for that exact reason – see if you can get a reservation. Other than that, you’ll need to hop in an uber. Places within a close uber from you that are vegetarian-friendly and that I’d recommend:

      -Herban Fix (awesome vegan restaurant, mostly Asian, I’m a meat-eater but I love it)
      -South City Kitchen (sort of our OG New South restaurant)
      -Empire State South (I recommend eating a bunch of things off the appetizer menu – I think it’s better/more interesting than the entree menu. Good cocktails. Also New South.)

      What kind of bars do you like? That really affects the recommendations. Crescent Ave in Midtown is mostly clubs and so not my preferred scene at all, although there’s a very good Irish bar called Ri Ra (which also has good food).

      • Thanks so much.

        For bars, I’m just thinking of places that are nearby for the after-the-conference-and-reception hangouts. Not clubby, a place to have a good c*tail or interesting bear and catch up with colleagues. But honestly for those hotel bars are usually fine for that kind of thing . . .

        • I think the bar in your hotel is Polaris, which is actually pretty cool. Other than that, the bar at White Oak should be good. Downtown is unfortunately the only area of town that has some risk of purse-snatching, so I wouldn’t wander around too much after dark.

    • Long comment in mod, sigh.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      There’s not much downtown. Midtown has plenty of great options including Ecco.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I had a lovely meal at The Optimist in Atlanta.

      • Anonymous :

        The Optimist is great. OP, there are a lot of good places near there in West Midtown- JCT Kitchen, Miller Union, Cooks and Soldiers. If you head east from downtown about 1.5 miles you’ll hit the Inman Park neighborhood, which has lots of good restaurants/bars in a central location and a pretty vibrant atmosphere in the evenings. Easy to walk from place to place, too. (Definitely Uber.)

    • Thanks to all who responded. Look like we’ll head to Midtown!

      • Not sure my long comment will ever appear but the short version was: White Oak Kitchen and C*cktails (directly across from your hotel) is very good. But you may need a reservation given that it’s the only really good option down there. Otherwise, yes, uber to Midtown.

  17. We are having a scheduled c-section in a few weeks — my MIL is going to be staying with us for about 10 days to help out and my mother is local (so will be helping out after that). For our first baby, I prepared a lot of frozen crockpot meals to use in the first few weeks/months, but found most were kind of mushy and not what I wanted to eat.

    Any recipes you love that we could either make it advance and freeze or that are easy and last long enough that it’d be helpful to have one of our mothers cook for us (they’ve offered)? Looking for delicious but moderately healthy (or at least a mix!). No dietary restrictions. Thanks!

    • I’m single so I freeze extra portions of meals all the time and I also think crock pot meals are gross. Stir fries and pasta freeze really well.

    • Ina Garten’s pastitsio. I can verify that it will make it 8 weeks in the freezer with no ill effects, but it probably only is “healthy” in smaller portions with a greek salad. Still, delish and freezes really well.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        THIS IS THE RIGHT ANSWER! Husband and I haven’t made lasagna in years because we keep making pastitsio instead. You can use parm instead of the kasseri if you can’t find it.

    • Honestly we had our moms just cook a lot of fresh meals and make extra portions, so we could eat for a few days. I didn’t do any freezer meals before DD was born and it worked out fine. DH supplemented with rotisserie chickens and prepared sides from the grocery store, or he just cooked while I took care of the baby. I would have a lot of snacks on hand if you are planning to nurse because I would get hungry in the middle of the night still even though I was no longer pregnant!

    • I’m usually not a lasagna person, but this was out of this world delicious. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/butternut-squash-and-mushroom-lasagna

      Google Fanny Farmer Meatloaf. I make it without the ketchup and just make gravy (tip is that if you freeze it in slices and defrost a slice, you can make gravy and warm up the slices in the gravy).

      Also, if you like beans, google Smitten Kitchen black bean ragout. The beans freeze well. I make that and put a fried egg on top.

    • Frozen stuff: soups and chili from the crockpot freeze well but everything else gets mushy. Muffins are good because you can eat them one at a time. Also, spaghetti sauce (meat plus tomatoes, no veggies because they turn to mush). You might find this gross but PBJ sandwiches freeze remarkably well in the original bag the bread came in. You can make several loaves of PBJ and just pull out a sandwich when you’re hungry. Don’t discount things you can buy and freeze directly: deli meat, frozen veggies and fruits, pizza, etc.

      I would ask the mothers to do what I think of as “bottleneck” work – the steps leading up to the part where the pan of whatever goes into the oven or on to the stove, and/or the shopping. Get them to lay in a supply of non-perishables so you don’t have to shop for them for a while. Are there sauces or marinades you like a lot? Ask the mothers to make/buy a huge batch and freeze it in one-dinner amounts. Thaw, douse the chicken, put the chicken into the oven. Do you like to have a smoothie at breakfast? Ask the mothers to sort frozen fruits and whatever into one-smoothie batches. Dump it all into the blender when you want one. You can freeze an entire (heavily wrapped) uncooked lasagna and stuff it into the oven still frozen when you’re ready.

    • We are expecting our first in 4 weeks. We did this prep this weekend for instant pot. It was time consuming but worth it. I havent actually tried any of the food but the recipes looked pretty good.


    • Veronica Mars :

      My favorite freezer meals are all comfort food meals (so we’ll actually want to eat them). My favorites: chicken enchiladas (https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chicken-chile-enchiladas-223930); baked ziti (https://www.maggianos.com/blog/little-italy-favorites-taylor-street-baked-ziti-recipe); crack sandwiches (https://dineanddish.net/2009/08/impressing-the-in-laws-recipe-oven-ham-sammies/); and there’s a local pizza place that makes huge, delicious veggie pizzas so sometimes I’ll order an extra pizza to go, wrap each of the pieces in foil and freeze in plastic bags. I then put the foil-wrapped pieces in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes until reheated. But I only do that for super busy periods/surgeries.

    • Small pans of baked food that you can prepare and freeze before cooking is great; primarily lasagnas and casseroles. Then you have fresh cooked foods that you can just pop out the freezer into the oven.

      Alternatively, in busy periods of life, it always works to have your mother, MIL or spouse go to the grocery store and get precleaned lettuce in a bag, baked rotisserie chicken, and some bakery French bread for an instant healthy meal.

    • Here is what we put together for our freezer meals:
      – breakfast burritos
      – protein muffins
      – single serve soups in ziplocs, specifically I did tortellini (pre-made tortellini) with greens and chickpeas
      – quinoa cheese broccoli turkey casserole

      We also kept handheld snacks on hand, like granola bars and cheese sticks.

      My biggest piece of advice is to make healthy stuff with veggies and protein. Your body is recovering, so you need to nourish it.

    • My mom left us with a couple of pasta and ground beef bakes (less yummy) and several frozen meatloafs (with vegetables mixed in – green pepper, onion, tomato). The meatloaf was amazing. I have multiple frozen soup portions, but I just can’t get excited about soup, so I wouldn’t advocate for that. Frankly, we relied on a lot of stouffer’s mac & cheese, frozen lasagna and stuffed bell peppers. The downside for me about freezer food generally is that it takes forever (like an hour minimum) to cook even defrosted (assuming you remembered to defrost it). And in those days I couldn’t predict when I would be hungry, so it made it kind of frustrating. More helpful? Weekly grocery delivery, often with selections from the prepared foods section that could be microwaved in under 5 minutes. Also steam in a bag frozen veggies.

    • Thanks for all of these great recipes/tips! I am generally thinking of these dishes as something we’d add fresh veggies to on the side, but it’s still nice to have something other than 100 portions of lasagna (which I love and will do on a more limited scale this time around) since pizza is also a good go-to for delivery. I am definitely a “real meal” kind of gal so it helps to have real foods on hand!

    • This was my pregnancy freezer meal list. The best stuff was the shredded / pulled meat (each serving preseasoned in one of a few different ways that I like it) that I could throw into a tortilla or between buns or on top of a salad if I had the luxury of two hands or DH could throw into a casserole; the oatmeal squares which really helped with lactation; and the salmon scones and meatloaf squares made amazing quick lunches. Pot pie was delicious but hard to eat. Meaty marinara sauce and gravy were great for husband to make really quick pasta but also a little hard for me to eat one handed. The burritos were terrible, I would never bother making my own again – just buy premade.

      – Tomatillo chili – 1 big serving
      – Shredded chicken – 3 servings
      – Shredded lamb – 3 servings
      – Turkey marinara sauce – 2 servings
      – Salmon, baked – 1 serving
      – Salmon cakes – 4 servings (2 ea)
      – Salmon chowder – 1 serving
      – Split pea soup – 1 serving
      – Gravy – huge bag
      – Squid, raw, cleaned – 2 servings
      – Turkey meatloaf – 2 bags, 4 servings
      – Turkey meatballs – 6 bags, 3 servings
      – Bean/ sausage burritos – 16 small pieces
      – Egg/ sausage burritos – 19 pieces
      – Oatmeal squares cherry – 16 pieces
      – Oatmeal squares plain – 16 pieces
      – Oatmeal squares cheesy – 16 pieces
      – Pulled pork – 6 dinners
      – Chicken pot pie – 4 dinners
      – Salmon dill scones – 6 scones
      – Salted salmon – 4 servings

  18. WHY am I in mod for trying twice to post about grad school?! It’s infuriating because once it is approved hours later it is at the top of the thread and no one ever sees it! Good gracious. Ladies, please be on the lookout for two nearly identical posts about a grad school that this s i t e apparently doesn’t like.

    • Would be great if moderated posts would post at the bottom of the thread when they are released from moderation

  19. San Francisco problems? :

    My husband and I are headed to San Francisco. We are going to the Monterey area and then planned to spend 3 days in the city at one of the Marriotts near Union Square, probably the JW or the Marquis.

    I was aware of SF’s homelessness problem, but didn’t think much of it until I came across some recent news articles talking about how dirty that area of the city (even near the nicer hotels) can be with needles, trash, human waste in the streets, etc. The articles make it sound really unpleasant, TBH. I’m wondering if I’m overreacting or whether we should reconsider our plans.

    • I think a lot of people will tell you that you are over reacting. I really don’t like the city at all. It’s dirty, ugly, and there’s nothing to do.

      • I agree. I used to live in the Bay Area but was never a fan of SF itself. The south bay has much better (warmer) weather and the city really is gross and has gotten noticeably worse in the last few years (I returned for work this past fall and was really shocked at how unpleasant the area was – I stayed in the Union Square Marriott, fwiw). My in-laws live in NYC and I live in the Chicago area, so I am not unfamiliar with large cities. I think SF is much dirtier and grosser than either of those cities and I would personally never vacation there.

    • Nonny Mouse :

      I think the prettier areas of SF are north or west (Presidio, Richmond, Sunset) but there really isn’t a lot to “do” unless you want to take short hikes in the parks (Golden Gate, Presidio). It really depends on what you want to see – I think for someone who enjoys wandering and taking in cities, SF is pretty unimpressive because everything is spread way apart and the filth and homelessness IS a real issue (I say this as a New Yorker of over a decade who has never had any problems with “dirty cities” until living a few months in SF). Union Square is probably the worst of it, too – one block in the wrong direction and you’re literally watching someone shoot up.

      If you’re into hiking, I might recommend spending some time in Marin, or if you just want something relaxing go to Napa or Sonoma. Unless there’s something specific that you want to do in SF, I’d just skip it tbh.

      • I live in NYC. I do think downtown SF is dirtier/grimier than most parts of NYC. But, there are plenty of beautiful parts of SF that are farther away from the downtown area.

      • Wow — people shoot up in public? I am from NYC and can remember the Dinkins administration (and vaguely Koch being mayor). I am used to having to hose off the sidewalk in the morning b/c of human waste. And overnight prostitution along 14th street in DC. But I am not used to this.

        • Nonny Mouse :

          Yep. Lived in NYC for 10+ years, never felt unsafe walking around at any hour of the day/night. Lived in SF for 6 months, watched a guy get chased down the street in Nob Hill by a mentally ill homeless man. I actually bought pepper spray for the first time ever while I was living there.

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          I think this is a newer issue in many places with the opioid epidemic. For a survey sample of one, I walked past an alley near my home in Chicago and saw a woman shooting up the other month (I was in Bucktown, FWIW). I’m used to a lot, but that definitely threw me for a loop to witness firsthand.

    • Is there a reason you want to stay in Union Square? I’ve stayed at those Marriotts when attending conferences at the Moscone Center and they’re perfectly fine and safe feeling, but the neighborhood isn’t all that interesting and there definitely are lots of homeless people, human waste, etc. They’re not necessarily a bad place to use as a base for exploring the city, but if you have specific ideas in mind, there might be nicer places to stay.

      • San Francisco problems? :

        We’re looking for a base to explore the city and also trying to use up a bunch of Marriott rewards points. The nicer Marriotts seem to all be in the Union Square area, although there is also one in Fisherman’s Wharf (I’m not sure if that’s better or worse, though.)

        • TBH, I’ve stayed at the JW Marriott in Union Square and it’s a perfectly fine hotel, but it’s not as nice as other JW’s that I’ve stayed at.

        • Nerfmobile :

          Fisherman’s Wharf is super touristy, but pretty far away from much in the city. If you want to explore the waterfront/take ferries/see Coit Tower/go to OMSI, then it’s a decent choice. Otherwise, I suggest the Marquis over the JW or the Grand unless you intend to spend both days in hardcore shopping. The Marquis is closer to Market Street, where you can catch BART and the main MUNI lines.

          I live elsewhere, but regularly visit SF for work. I’ve never been too worried about walking or taking public transit around much of the city, most of the time. Do be careful in the area between Union Square and the Civic Center, and south of Market in that region. Otherwise, it’s a messy city but not horrifying.

    • If you are sticking with a hotel (instead of AirBNB) I’d suggest staying at the Fairmont or the Interconnetinetal Mark Hopkins instead of the Marriotts. Price point are around the same, but they are in a much prettier neighborhood (ok, wealthy land of yuppiedom). You’ll be within walking distance of most things (I’d advise uber back up the hill), including a trader joes if you want to stock up on cheaper alcohol for your hotel room.

      • San Francisco problems? :

        I usually use AirBNBs anymore, but it’s a last minute trip and we have a bunch of Marriott rewards points we wanted to use.

    • The area right around the hotel is nothing great but we stayed at the JW and this is what we chose to do.All very touristy but we liked it okay. I would probably choose the hotel near the Wharf next time because I liked that area more for walking around than the area around the JW.

      Take the street car to the end of its run. Take ferry to Sausalito and have lunch. Walk around Ferry building and have oysters. Went to Haight and Ashbury neighborhood and popped in and out of stores just browsing. Did Alcatraz Tour. Walked along Fishermans Wharf.

    • That part of SF is disgusting. Do yourself a favor and stay somewhere that isn’t a constant assault on the eyes, nose, and ears.

    • Anonymous :

      You could also bail on the city and stay at the Marriott in Napa to explore wine country. It’s a totally different experience but still fun.

      I’ve lived in Boston, DC, and NYC, and San Francisco is definitely the dirtiest and most challenging of all of them. There’s a lot of gorgeous natural beauty mixed with a lot of homelessness, aggressive street behavior, and filth. I was actually pretty shocked when I first moved to SF. Honestly, Manhattan feels like Disneyland by comparison. I don’t love that fact about me – I wish I could be more blase about the whole thing – but I really do find it heartbreaking and I think it makes it difficult to be in SF.

    • Of Counsel :

      Wow – San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the world and I visit regularly and would not have recognized it from the descriptions here. You will be fine. The problem with the area immediately around Union Square is that (as noted) it borders the Tenderloin and the Civic Center/Van Ness area, which can be pretty sketchy while Union Square itself is overrun with tourists and people who try to sell stuff to tourists. Do not walk west! If you want to go north, follow the cable car line.

      There is so much to do and a lot depends on your interests and the weather. If there is any chance of nice weather, I highly recommend Alcatraz, but you need to book in advance. The boats leave from near the Ferry Building, which is a great place to browse and eat. Another day can be spent at Golden Gate Park, Fort Mason or the Presidio. If it is really nice, I love to visit the Legion of Honor Museum and then walk the Lands End trail. Go north out of the City to Muir Woods. Take a walking tour of Chinatown. Visit City Lights Bookstore. In my opinion, Fishermans’ Wharf and Pier 39 are overpriced tourist traps with terrible food so I do not recommend.

      And seriously, pull up a map. Identify the area called the Tenderloin and stay out. There is no reason to be there. Civic Center/Van Ness are not as bad and the Asian Art Museum is well worth a visit, but try to avoid after working hours. If you area really concerned, Uber. And relax and have fun.

      • +1. I don’t live in SF, but I visit there regularly and absolutely love the city. I don’t think it’s dirtier than NYC (having lived in NYC over a decade). Like any city, SF has bad neighborhoods and overly touristy areas. I’ve managed to avoid both when choosing where to stay. I think the SF neighborhoods that are nicer are actually more pleasant than most parts of NYC. I usually stay in Noe Valley, Duboce Triangle, or the Mission (the western part) and haven’t had these issues at all. There aren’t huge hotels in those neighborhoods (that I know of), but I stay with friends or in AirBnB’s. I would never stay in Union Square. Why go to a gorgeous city near an ocean and stay in the middle of the business center downtown? I guess you have to decide whether you’d rather stay in a large hotel or in a nicer neighborhood. I’d save your points and use them for another trip. You can Uber to tourist sites.

    • Anonymous :

      Union Square is full of homeless who will bother you, ask you for money, etc… I wouldn’t not stay in that area.There are nice hotels and good shopping nearby. Just be aware. SF in general has a real homeless problem that hurts it as a destination.

    • DoesntBelongHere :

      I would use your hotel as a base from which to visit Marin (it’s sunny up here!), Napa, and Berkeley. Plenty to do and different from Monterey.

  20. San Francisco problems? :

    My husband and I are going to San Francisco for the first time. We are planning to spend a few days near Monterey and then a few days in the city itself, staying at one of the Marriotts which seem to be near Union Square – probably JW but could also do the Marquis or another one.

    I recently saw several news articles talking about problems in that area, even affecting the areas by the nicer hotels. They describe aggressive panhandling, lots of trash, needles, and even human waste in the streets. It sounds pretty unpleasant TBH. I’m wondering if it’s really that bad and whether we should reconsider our plans.

  21. Cardigan/Jardigan :

    Any recs for a white jardigan? MM Lafleur’s is ecru, not white.

  22. I occasionally get a single hard white bump on the side of my nose or near my eye. The last time I had one, I was a the derm for something else and she just gave it a little zap with something and the hard white spot fell right out. I’m not currently seeing a derm. I don’t even know what the thing is called to request it be zapped out. Is there at an home method to getting rid of these things? What are they called? It’s not a white head.

  23. Any advice on how to deal with family members who are always keeping up with the Joneses? I know the obvious answer is to ignore but I have been close friends with my brother and sister in law for over a decade so this is a little stickier. I was close with her when they were dating and that continued after they got married. This whole situation is hard because my SIL is probably my closest friend but I can’t handle their keeping up with the Joneses and materialistic attitudes any longer. I really don’t want to come off like I am judging them – everyone is different, but that is just the thing…as we have grown up and are now in our late twenties and early thirties, I realize I don’t value “things” like they do and I instead value experiences. I am younger than they are so I am only coming to realize this now. But the constant bragging (in my opinion) about X name brand product, their wealth, how much money they are making because they followed X career paths which they believe are superior to most others based on salary, their cars, house, pool, on top of complaining about things like bad service (in their opinion) or “lesser” products…is wearing on me. It seems like every day I am fielding either a bragging text or complaining text where I have to give a generic “that’s so cool!” or “wow I can’t believe that” response. I feel like I need to distance myself but given the history and otherwise decent friendship, I’m having a hard time with it.

    • Add into rotation, ‘I don’t understand’

      ‘Is that something that is important to you?’


      This sucks and you’re not going to change them.

    • I think that you need to work on accepting that people change and so do friendships and SIL might not be the best person to be your closest friend anymore. You can still love her and your brother and not want to be absolute best friends with them.

      • Piggybacking on OP’s post – do you have any advice on how to do this? Is it putting energy on meeting new people/friends? It only comes with time? I’m dealing with something similar and although I do have a few great friends and awesome SO, I do feel a bit of a hole in my heart by not having a bff in my life like I used to.

    • Or…just don’t respond to those types of text comments? Find other go-to topics of conversation.

      I mean it’s also okay to stop thinking of yourselves as best friends. Friendships absolutely change over the course of your life – people grow up/apart, have different interests, etc. Since she’s family, there’s a vested interest in keeping the peace, so you aren’t going to phase her out altogether – but would it be out of place to push back?

      “Eh, I don’t think Job A is really that much better than Job B -they just have different priorities. Job A pays a lot, but also demands a lot of hours/education. That’s not the right choice for everyone.”
      “Can you imagine if everyone had the same job? We need all types of jobs to make the world run – doesn’t mean any person is better than another.”

      Those work better in person than over text , though.

    • you don’t need to fake excitement, try changing the topic instead.

      • This. Start by downgrading your excitement. Answer any of these types of texts wit a “nice :)” Same/similar response every time.

        Start talking about what you are interested in – hobbies, movies, sports events, whatever

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yep. Not every text requires a response.

        And also you could stop judging them so hard.

    • Overscene :

      Try “good for you”.
      Also, a scene I saw in the lobby of my public elementary school:
      Dad #1 sighs. He says to another dad, yeah, I got to visit the new hospital. They really want me to donate something to name a floor. Ugh.
      Dad #2 (clearly out of his league here): Heh. What floor, the basement?
      Dad #1 makes a joke, too, conceding maybe he’d give enough for a bathroom. Conversation continues, Dad #1 shows his phone to #2. #2 says: Oh, cool, you went golfing.
      #1: yeah, I was at the tournament Name Brand Local course, did you recognize [that’s our local professional NFL quarterback]?
      #2: No, I didn’t recognize him!

      #1 had clearly picked the wrong audience to brag to. #2 had no idea who the celebrity was, or what do with so much money. I wanted to cheer #2 up and be like, yeah, #1 is a d o u sh e, but I couldn’t, you know? But I think those tactics of, oh, what’s that? might help

    • You might find it helpful to re-frame your thinking here. They are making choices that wouldn’t make you happy, and that you feel are wrong. But their choices make them happy. And you can choose to be happy about their happiness. The same way that I am happy when my brother’s sports team wins – don’t care about it, but happy that something that he perceives as good has happened to him. Especially since this is all low-key stuff that doesn’t require a huge response and basically doesn’t hurt anyone.

    • Anonymous :

      A dose of presume good intentions might help you here. Sometimes things come off as braggy even when you really don’t mean them too. There’s an audience issue to an extent. But you should be able to talk to your closest friend about important life events – like buying a house with a pool – without fearing that your friend is going to think you’re bragging just by talking about it. I mean, you feel comfortable talking to her about the awesome experiences you’re able to do because you’re not house poor right?

      If she’s saying rude things like, omg why would you get a Toyota, only a Mercedes will do! then absolutely call her on her rudeness. Same thing if she’s dominating the conversation with #firstworldproblems. Poke fun at her! Omg your life is soooo hard whatever will you do now that your cleaning lady is out on maternity leave that you’re not even paying her for??? Or if she gets really obnoxious maybe talk to her? You’re her closest friend, you can tell her, dude you’re getting real bougie knock it off.

    • In my experience, cool successful people don’t brag about their wealth or success. They do cool stuff with it instead and you only find out if you really really ask. All this is to say that, most likely, your B + SIL are insecure in their own choices. Especially being so categorical about the “right” career path and the “right” products screams “validate me!!!”. So I’d start with recognizing that: you are one of their best friends and they want your validation. From here, you have choices on how to treat that signal they are sending you. Either don’t engage and do what Anonymous @12:36 suggested, or actively engage and try to get them into a more comprehensive conversation around their choices. If you get them to admit that they are wrong on one of the things currently considered untouchable, the chances are they will stop seeking your validation.

  24. Billable Hour :

    I posted last week about my firm’s billing practices that make it impossible to meet our requirements and have decided to start job searching. Thanks for all the commentary last week! Follow up question- is explaining (without TOO much detail) that the billing practices make it impossible for associates to make their hours be an okay reason to give in interviews for leaving after a VERY short time? I otherwise like the firm- but I don’t want to be held to an impossible standard and fear I will be let go eventually

    • I wouldn’t give this reason, find some other plausible reason – it otherwise sounds like you’re criticizing management decisions of your current firm. Everyone knows people leave work environments for negative reasons, no one wants to hear it.

      • second — you can’t do anything that might come off as bad-mouthing your current employer

    • I’d stick with it’s not a good fit. Any benign reasons besides the billing? No room for advancement? Distance?

    • Don’t. Just say you are looking for different opportunities, etc. If your firm has as much turnover as you say it does, then everyone will know why you’re leaving anyway.

      If they don’t know, and you complain about it, you may come off as “weak.” Complaining about billing practices (without you going into detail, which is not going to happen in an interview) is going to make it sound like you can’t hack being an attorney.

  25. backing up texts? :

    Does anyone know how to back up text messages on an iphone besides icloud? specific app recs would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Panel Interview :

    I have an interview this week and may finally get to leave my toxic workplace (yay!) Any great interview tips you’d like to share?

    I have a hunch this may be a panel interview aka multiple candidates being interviewed at once. Has anyone encountered this for an attorney position? Any tips or advice you’d like to share specifically for this?


    • I thought panel interviews are where there is one candidate being interviewed by several interviewers at once, not several candidates being interviewed at once. I’ve never heard of the latter.

      • Anonymous :

        This. We always have three lawyers interview and score. Never heard of multiple candidates being interviewed together.

    • Not in law, but the only places I have heard of multiple candidate panel interviews being done were very toxic environments…make sure you aren’t blinded by the possibility of leaving one toxic environment and end up in another one. As far as interview tips go, Ask A Manager has a free interview prep ebook (you have to give your email address to get it, but she sends out emails infrequently) that has been super helpful for me in the past.

  27. Anonymous :

    Can we talk about the Wing? Is anyone a member? Is it worth it? What’s the application process like? I see that they’re coming to my city, and filled out the app on a whim- but now i’m concerned that I might not be accepted, given the lack of thought I put into answering each question. Even if I do get accepted (WHY do I care about this?!), I’m hoping that the experience, collaboration, and workspace are worth it- it’s a huge expense. Has anyone here joined in NYC or SF?

    • Also curious. Related I stumbled across Ellevate and was impressed with some of the events they’re putting on. Any experiences here?

  28. Don’t touch it. I did once and got a huge cherry angioma which left a scar when I had it lasered off. The lasering will cost more than whatever they do to remove the original bump, I am sure.

  29. Anon prof :

    The blogger at Wardrobe Oxygen joined the one in DC and blogged about it. (For the Wing question above since my phone is being funky)

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