Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Half-Sleeve Fit-and-Flare Dress

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

This really cute dress from Lafayette 148 New York comes in a number of colors, although the “delft,” a sort of navy gray, has the most sizes left. It’s a flattering, easy-to-wear, fit-and-flare dress that’s also very elegant and sophisticated, and I like the bias seams and hidden back zip. The price range for various options at Neiman Marcus is $174-$328: lucky sizes for $174 here, and a sleeveless lucky size version for $191 in the lighter blue. Also, check this out at NM Last Call for $134. Half-Sleeve Fit-and-Flare Dress

Here’s a plus-size option, also from Lafayette 148 New York (on sale at Bloomingdale’s).

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  1. Long/Series Podcasts? :

    I’m scheduled to fly to the US on one of the flights that can no longer have electronics other than cell phones in the cabin, so there go my plans to work on the flight. Any suggestions for long podcasts or series I should download to my phone ahead of time?

    • Anonymous :

      TED talks?

    • S in Chicago :

      Why not a book on tape? Time flies if you’re really into something. Less breaks between mean you’re less likely to notice the time.When I’m flying and not working, that’s actually my preference over watching movies. Slip on an eye mask and it’s heaven.

    • Thanks so far, and I can see I should have given more detail —

      I find Ted talks too hit-or-miss for something like this. Yes, I loved Serial, but I’m generally not a huge fan of law/legal stuff. Although I am fascinated by the US Supreme Court.

      I’m usually into history, science (how do they do x?-type of things), and finance/economy (although not too technical), but this could be a great chance to branch out! Goodness knows I’ll have the time…

      • Might make more sense to download an audiobook then. I think there was a good thread here the other day about science/tech books, and most of them should have audio versions.

      • Since you’re fascinated by the Supreme Court, what about the More Perfect podcast? There are only a handful of episodes, mostly about historical cases and the stories behind them.

        • Delta Dawn :

          Another Supreme Court suggestion– I recently read May It Please the Court, a book about some of the most significant oral arguments heard by SCOTUS since 1955. I don’t know if there’s an audiobook, but it was originally a book-and-tape set that included excerpts from the audio transcripts. I read it on a flight and really enjoyed it.

        • Anonymous :

          The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin is also a fascinating book about the Supreme Court

          • +1 – I love The Nine. Might be a little dated at this point, but still really great.

      • Anonymous :

        More Perfect, Marketplace, Planet Money, Radiolab, 99% Invisible, Twenty Thousand Hertz, StartUp Podcast

      • Hardcore History has really long podcasts about various historical events — the WWI one is really good.

        • YES. They are long and excellent; time will fly. Loved the recent series on the Persian empires.

        • Anon in Academia :

          Thirded! My favorites are the Blueprint for Armageddon and Death Throes of the Republic series. Time will fly.

      • Anonymous :

        I suggest a Michael Lewis audio book. Boomerang might be to your liking.

      • JuniorMinion :

        Freakonomics podcast, Waking up with Sam Harris, Dear Sugar, Death S*x and Money

      • Backstory is pretty excellent: weekly podcast hosted by three history professors, with episodes themed by topic but spanning a wide time range (colonial US through modern era). Episodes are usually around 45m long, and there’s enough of a back catalogue that you could just download ones that are focused on topics you’re interested in and have more than enough for an extra long flight. It is all US focused, not sure if that’s a pro or con for you.

        I’ve heard that Revolutions and Emperors of Rome are also good history podcast options, but I haven’t listened enough to rec them personally. Revolutions in particular might be a good option bc it’s got several ~30m episodes focused on one revolutionary period, with between 20 and 50 episodes per revolution. (I’ve wanted to get into it, but haven’t had time for an epic binge listen recently.)

        Also seconding More Perfect, Planet Money, and Radiolab. Gimlet podcasts are also pretty good: Science Vs, Reply All, StartUp, etc

      • Bill Bryson A History of Nearly Everything – best science book for a lay audience that I’ve read. (actually any of his longer works – At Home is another favorite).

      • Download “Amicus” podcasts or get books on tape like “The Nine” or “The Oath” – these are more story-based. If you want more interesting facts, “Advice and Consent” is good, but not a story for a book on tape, more a book to read.

        Non-scotus related, I <3 Bryson's History of Nearly Everything. So entertaining!

      • The British History Podcast is great and there are 2oo+ episodes. It’s up to Alfred the Great at this point.

      • Elon Musk biography, Hamilton book, anything by Po Bronson or Malcom Gladwell.

      • I love “How I Built This” – entrepreneurial stories behind big brands told by their founders (Zappos, Kate Spade, Dry Bar, etc.)

      • I really enjoy Stuff You Missed in History Class.

    • The History Chicks are great!

    • Anonymous :

      Podcasts – Missing Richard Simmons (so good I’m addicted), Sawbones (crazy medical history), My Favourite Murder (hilarious true crime stories), Who Weekly (hilarious celeb gossip).

    • Podcaster :

      Radiolab is an awesome podcast that often have science-y themes. Love it.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      The West Wing podcast with Josh Malina!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Will your flight have its own electronic system? The last time I flew international (coach) each seat had a TV with many on demand movies and shows. If your work involved reading or editing docs, could you print some out to work on the old school way? I did that on a recent domestic flight just because I didn’t want to lug my laptop with me.

      BTW – there are so many issues with this no edict and I anxiously await more info. I don’t think it’s safe to have laptops stowed (battery fire issues) and it’s really odd that cell phones are exempt from this. I understand legally they have to exempt medical devices but that’s even weirder. My cpap has a more complex computer than my laptop.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Yea, I find this edict strange since they always stress no spare lithium ion batteries in checked bags due to fire hazard.

      • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/03/21/trump-wont-allow-you-to-use-ipads-or-laptops-on-certain-airlines-heres-the-underlying-story/?tid=pm_pop

      • I assume this is in response to intelligence – not that all laptops are dangerous, but that they know SOME laptops have been engineered to work as explosive devices.

        • Then why not ban them from all flights, if they are such a risk? After all, it’s not just certain airlines/airports that have to comply with the liquids ban.

      • Yeah, if you’re flying from Dubai to New York or whatever the plane is going to have a really nice entertainment system of its own. You could also bring paperback books.

    • Which airline does not allow for laptops on the flight? Will you check your laptop then? Given my luck with items being stolen out of my luggage this worries me.

      • Yeah I hesitated to speak up because OP said it like it’s common knowledge – but what the actual f is this about not being able to take electronics on flights?? Is this a thing now?

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          It’s only flights to US originating from certain countries:

          • People with flights from Middle Eastern countries aren’t allowed to travel with laptops unless they check them in.

            Everyone else is free to do so though.

          • The whole thing is so weird and illogical to me. You can bring the electronics on all flights leaving the US, just not on certain inbound flights. Because nobody has ever used a plane that took off from a US airport in a terrorist attack on the US…..

          • Everyone knows brown people with iPads are terrorists!

          • @ Anon 11:20

            It’s not illogical if the intelligence is that there is a co-conspirator working at security (TSAA equivalent) in one of those airports which would help items (ie. laptop modified for improper purposes) get through.

            This reminds me of the ban on liquids and thermos’. It seems to be in response to a specific threat.

          • Actually I read it is both inbound and outbound from the US on certain ME carriers


          • Again, if this is in response to a serious, tech-based threat, why not ALL airlines? After all, there are likely to be ISIS sympathizers in France and Germany, why not ban laptops on flights from those countries?

            This is more bulls-t security theater, with a soupcon of, not quite racism, but something along those lines.

          • But, as someone noted above, it’s only certain airlines from certain countries. This makes no sense because the screening for a Delta or American flight from those airports is exactly the same. Making it airline-specific, not airport-specific, just makes it seem protectionist and/or discriminatory.

          • Anonymous :

            @SC, I don’t know enough to form an opinion about whether policy is reasonable or not, but it’s for all flights into the US originating from 10 specific airports. There are no US carriers that have flights from the US to those airports which is why US-based airlines are not affected. It’s not like a Delta flight from Dubai is ok but an Emirates flight from Dubai is not ok, because there is no Delta flight from Dubai or any other targeted airport.

          • Anon 11:54 :

            @ Anon 2:12

            That’s why I’m thinking that maybe the security in one of those airports failed a test by US agents (like they were able to bring something through that they shouldn’t have been) or that they have intelligence on a possible threat.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      If you have the Netflix app you can download shows/movies to watch even without internet

    • Download a binge-able TV series on AmazonVideo (or, Netflix now has a limited download capability), pack an external battery (if they still let you), and bingewatch your way through your transoceanic flight :)

    • The producers of Serial are dropping the whole season of their new series S-Town this month.

  2. In-House in Houston :

    Did you ever listen to Serial? It’s fascinating. I even sat in my garage on several occasions just to finish it.

  3. Wake up lights :

    Can anyone recommend one of those alarm-clock wake-up lights? It looks like the most popular one on Amazon is from Philips, but the reviews say it glows overnight and doesn’t let you have a completely dark room. Are there any that are totally dark until it’s time to start doing the wake-up light?

    Also, have you found that these lights actually help?

    • I have this older model (bought at costco in 2013 ish?) and it does not glow overnight. I really, really like it- I’m not sure if its just the bright light or the “sun light” but now I’ve accustomed myself to waking up when the room is bright. In hotel rooms, now, I make sure that I turn on a light as soon as my alarm goes off, and that’s been a good signal to me to get going.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      We have a Phillips and it is totally dark at night until it starts to slowly glow.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Sorry – hit post too soon. We bought it for my husband (I have no issues waking up) and he says it is ok but not life-changing (for him).

      • I have the basic Lumie version. It does click on which wakes me up before it starts to glow but I’m quite a sensitive sleeper. I really like it, even the click is a much more gentle wake up than a normal alarm.

    • I have a Lumie alarm clock that is totally dark at night, has a thirty minute sunrise, and the option to include either radio or nature sounds at the end of the sunrise. I love it and have noticed a really remarkable shift in my mood and awakeness (that’s a word….haha) since using it. It can be a bit of a chore to figure out how to program at first…once you do, though, it is great. I saved the instruction book just in case.

    • Wake up lights :

      Thank you for the responses so far! Would you mind letting me know specific models?

    • The Philips clock doesn’t glow at night, unless you turn the light on.

    • I have a Phillips one (the middle model I think) and I love it. It doesn’t glow but you can see the time in orange overnight – I don’t know if that’s a problem for you?

      It has changed my life – I went from someone who could never wake up in the morning to someone who wakes up as soon as the radio part goes off. The wakeup is also more gentle and doesn’t feel as jarring or alarming as my old alarm.

      • Is there no way to turn off the orange clock on the Philips so it is completely dark?

        • I think you can adjust the display contrast (dim it), but I don’t know that you can turn it off completely. With my model (one of the cyndrical ones), I could just turn it so the clock faced the wall if it bothered me.

          • You can’t turn it off completely, but i’ve piled books in front of mine so it’s less visible.

          • Yeah, it’s the clock display which can be bright at night. I have a kleenex box pushed against my clock to block the orange glow.
            Other problems with my model are that the button labels are hard to see. I stuck scotch tape around the light face and used a sharpie marker to make new, more visible labels.
            I hate the alarm sound options. They are all too relaxing – I wish there was a “beep” mode. I still use my phone as a backup, because I’m worried I will still sleep through the Phillips alarm.
            Last complaint is no AM radio.
            Other than those things (all minor and fix-able for me), I really love the alarm. I’m a super heavy sleeper, and the wake-up light makes it so much easier to get up in the morning.

          • I’ve actually conditioned myself to now respond to the sound of birds chirping like a beeping alarm… not so great when it’s actual birds chirping and I find them inexplicably irritating because I can’t hit the snooze button for them.

    • Waking up to light makes a huge difference for me. I used to have a Lumie lamp and recently replaced it with a magiclight. It is a smart lightbulb controlled by an app on my phone.

  4. Hello Hive;
    Work life balance vent and call for ideas.
    This is the 4th week that I work 80 hours (luckily no weekend work) on a very challenging strategy project.
    This means that even when I am not working, I cannot shut down my brain and go to sleep.
    I feel bad for myself and for the AC working with me. The partners on the case acknowledged that this is one of the most uncomfortable cases they have done and my workstream is very unstructured with a lot of scope creep and yield loss because the client keeps changing their mind. They feel sorry for me “let me know how I can help” and “it’s important that you take 3-4 hours off one night per week for your sustainability” but I am just dead mentally (again it’s not just the hours, it’s continuous rumination about work).
    I slept 3 hours sunday night and 3 hours Monday.
    I have a steering committee until 7PM on Friday, after which I travel back to home city and crash on bed at 10PM.
    I want to recover this weekend (also clean my apartment).
    Any ideas of something nice and indulgent I could do to treat myself? I tried manicure a couple weeks ago and ended up taking a conf call during the thing so not so relaxing.
    Any ideas? No budget constraint (from getting ice cream to buying jewelry), I just can’t travel.

    • Hire someone to clean your apartment. Seriously, that’s the last thing you should be doing. Use Handy or TaskRabbit or whatever so it’s not a bother to schedule it. And then sleep, exercise, and get a good meal in.

    • Anonymous :

      You definitely need to outsource everything you can. Get groceries/meals delivered, get a cleaning lady, and commit to turning your phone off this weekend.

    • Anonymous :

      Baby hedgehog videos on youtube? Nothing but pure joy.

      I knit on the plane b/c it lets my mind wander all over while I’m doing something that soothes my restlessness.

      If you’re still feeling spendy, something eucalyptus-scented can be relaxing. Or order from Bliss Spa or Kiehl’s?

    • Anonymous :

      What about a weekend in a local hotel? Order room service and sleep!

    • Anonymous :

      Hire a cleaning service and do a spa treatment that involve water so you definitely can’t answer your phone – vichy shower thing?

    • Anonymous :

      The answer for me would be some combination of fancy exercise class that I normally wouldn’t shell out the $ for, massage, eat/cook fancy food and drinks with friends.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I find a few hours at a spa, especially one with a water circuit, can feel like a week in Aruba if I am really tired and stressed out and then I sleep super well that night as well.

    • Anonymous :

      Long term, therapy. You need to learn how to turn your brain off and sleep, even when life is stressful

    • I’d consider asking your primary care doctor for a short-term prescription for a sleeping aid. During really busy work periods not getting sleep due to ruminating/anxiety is what runs me down the quickest.

    • Go on a long walk/run somewhere pretty and don’t take your phone.

    • A day on the couch with naps, take out and Netflix. While I find long bike rides clear my head, when I’m exhausted time alone with the phone turned off is what I need to recharge.

  5. This is what feminism looks like :

    Following up on the weekend thread. Feminism isn’t about being liked or putting everyone else’s opinion first, and anyone who has actually read her comments will find that she is completely open and welcoming to transwomen in feminism. You wouldn’t know it from reading the sensationalist headlines.

    “I didn’t apologise because I don’t think I have anything to apologise for,” she said on Monday. “What’s interesting to me is this is in many ways about language and I think it also illustrates the less pleasant aspects of the American left, that there sometimes is a kind of language orthodoxy that you’re supposed to participate in, and when you don’t there’s a kind of backlash that gets very personal and very hostile and very closed to debate.”


    • Thanks for sharing that. I just read her book Americanah and I found it absolutely stunning.

    • Thank you! I’ve only learned of Chimanda Ngozi Adichie in the past few weeks. I have 2 of her books on waitlist through my library. I can’t wait to read her works!

  6. What do you do with sleeves like this? I always feel like by not covering my elbows, they’re somehow highlighting my upper arms (not something I want to highlight)

    • Agreed, I much prefer 3/4th length or long that I can then push or roll up to the elbow. Above the elbow but below short sleeve looks odd on me.

    • You wear them? I’m not sure I get the question. I don’t think elbows need to be covered or that anyone pauses and thinks about someone else’s elbows. I think the proportion looks fine.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      What about a cuff style bracelet to catch attention and draw the eye downward and away from your upper arms (if you really are concerned about that issue).

    • Counterpoint: I am constantly pushing sleeves up to around my elbows because I feel like long sleeves get in the way. Three-quarter sleeves are particularly frustrating because they are just long enough to irritate me but usually don’t stay pushed/rolled up very well. These sleeves are perfect for me!

    • Wear them? What do you mean “do” with them?

    • cake batter :

      I think my arms look much bulkier in elbow sleeves like this than sleeveless or 3/4 sleeve. I hate elbow length.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      It’s my favorite sleeve length! I would suggest you invest in giant tattoos that are risky in traditional short sleeves, but which are securely covered in elbow length ones, and then wear such sleeves and look polished and professional.

  7. Pants help :

    I’m having a hard time finding pants that fit. I’m generally a size 10 or 12 or 31/32 in jeans. I’m a pear shape, with thicker thighs and behind. Other than jeans, all of the pants I try gap in the waist and look bad in my legs. Sometimes it feels like the material is too thin and my thighs are bumpy. I know I will probably need to get any pants tailored, but any suggestions for a starting point?

    • I’ve found Ann Taylor’s Kate style to fit well.

    • anon a mouse :

      I am shaped like you and have had good luck with the Loft Julie fit pants. They come in a variety of materials so you may need to try a few to see what works best for you.

      • +1

        You need mid-rise “curvy fit” line pants. High rise are the worst for us, and will leave gaping waists.

        Loft Julie also works for me. NYDJ also fit, but we’re not flattering on me. For jeans, I have had good luck with the moderately priced Nordstrom line Treasure & Bond.

        You need to find the right rise/cut. I used to tailor my pants waists, but then learned that didn’t work as well and after ruining a $275 pair of pants I look for curvier lines.

        • +100000 to “high rise are the worst”

          If I had a dime for every time I saw high rise pants recommended to pear shaped women…

      • Agree with Loft Julie fit!

    • Anonymous :


      • IME, NYDJ are built for apples, not pears. They may fit okay – there’s a lot of stretch in the fabric – but they don’t flatter across the thighs and crotch.

        OP – Not sure if Banana still makes curvy fit pants, but my body is similar to yours, and I have some of their older work pants in the “Jackson” fit which looked great and needed no tailoring.

        • Pear here and I have a pear of NYDJ. They are . . . meh. The rise is borderline mom jeans (on me) and I’d like some more room in the seat and thighs. The best pants / jeans have a bit of a contour waist that is higher in the back but dips slightly in front. I wouldn’t buy another pair.

          Second the Jackson. The Logans aren’t bad, but the Jacksons were better.

        • +1 for weird fit on pear shape. I always wind up with an odd extra bit of space in the lower-stomach/front of crotch area on NYDJ pants- I don’t have a large stomach, just full thighs and rear end. Feels really odd to have that front part be somewhat saggy.

    • I’ve had good luck with the logan fit pants from BR. I still have to take the waist in, but it’s not a complete restructure. And the rise is high enough to get around the butt but not so high that they are mom jeans / begin to camel-toe in front.

      I hate pants generally, but love these.

      Also, for casual, many Athleta pants styles work for me (yay elastic) and also their skorts. Wouldn’t have thunk it and I do not look like their models.

      • I have a similar figure, and nearly all of my pants are from Banana Republic. It’s about an even split between the Logan fit and the Ryan fit for me. I try to buy the lined pants where the exist, because I feel like it smooths the bumps on my legs out a little bit.

    • Pants for pears :

      I’m about a size smaller than you but the same shape and I found a pair of Emerson Rose slacks at Nordstroms that fit well without being inappropriate for the work environment. I remember I tried on a pair of curvy fit pants from Loft that fit well, but they didn’t have real pockets so I didn’t get them.
      For jeans I only buy Levi’s now – they’re usually 98% cotton and they have everything from high rise skinny jeans (which actually fit me well!) to relaxed bootcut jeans. With sales you can find a pair for under $50, or under $100 full price.

    • I know I’m the neighborhood Boden shill (not really, just a huge fan!) but somehow their pants magically fit my extremely booty-ful, small waisted body. Their sizes run just a tad large at the top end (an Old Navy or Gap 14/16 might be 12 at Boden, depending on the pant. The quality of their clothes is unmatched by anything I have worn from a mall in a very long time.

      The Richmond, Hampton (knit), and Bistro are my absolute faves.

    • I love Democracy’s jeans because they have a really wide flexible waistband that works perfectly with curvy figures.

  8. Anyone have recommendations for a great chili recipe with a mild to moderate spiciness level? I am totally open to different meats/unusual ingredients.

    • Midwestern Consitutent :

      I have a recipe for chili that calls for saffron and shallots that I just adore. It’s not online, but if you send me an email at dailyshowchica [at] yahoo.com, I can email you the recipe when I get home from work today. It’s from a firefighters’ chili cookbook, I think.

    • This is the chili recipe that I use that you could definitely up the spiciness factor on. I typically only use two tablespoons of chili powder because I prefer hearty over spicy, but it’s simple.


    • I make this every couple of weeks.

      After I saute the meat with the veggies, I throw everything in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

    • This is my go-to chili recipe.


      Also, if you can find it, get really good chili powder. I get mine from Penzeys. Anything a step up from the usual McCormicks etc. will make a huge difference in flavor.

    • Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili Awesomeness :

      I make a black bean and sweet potato chili that is awesome. I use chicken stock, so its not totally veggie/vegan, but you could make it that way. You can also add meat and its good that way too.

      Its best to use dried black beans, soaked overnight, but canned will work in a pinch. You will have to let it slow cook all day if you use the dried beans (you know its done with the beans are totally tender)

      Roast sweet potatoes — toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and brown sugar (skin on or off, either way is fine)

      While roasting, sauté veggies in olive oil until cooked down (carrot, onion, garlic, celery, red/orange/yellow bell pepper, zucchini and/or summer squash; can also add kale or spinach if you want). And seasonings: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, chipotle. You will continuing adding the seasonings throughout the cooking process.

      Add a bottle of beer — I like a pumpkin beer in the fall and something a little lighter in spring/summer — and let it cook down.

      Add chipotle in adobo. I usually chop up one of the chipotle peppers and add a bit of the sauce for spicy but not super spicy. you can add more to taste.

      Add drained black beans and season.

      Add a big can of crushed tomatoes and a regular can of stewed tomatoes (and can add some tomato paste if it needs more).

      Add roasted sweet potatoes. season everything again.

      Add a box (4 cups) of chicken stock. fill the empty box with water and use throughout the day to add liquid. May need more than one box.

      let everything cook together on medium heat uncovered for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10 min or so.

      reduce heat, let simmer for rest of the day (at least 4-5 hours), stirring and adding water as needed. Taste periodically and add additional seasoning as desired.

    • This Neelys’ chili recipe is fantastic. It’s been my go-to for almost five years now. Lots of flavor but not spicy. I’ve served it to different groups a number of times and it’s always a hit.


    • I don’t use a recipe. I saute a chopped,lightly salted onion for a bit, then I add the spices – about 2 capfuls of Gebhardt’s chili powder and half that much cumin, and stir that around over high heat to kind of toast the spices. Then I add a pound of ground meat – I usually use bison – and more salt. Get the pink off the meat and get it broken up the way I want and add boiling water (I have the tea kettle going for this) to just above the meat, and put the lid on and simmer for a bit. Probably 30 min to an hour. Then I add a can of beans. Drained if plain beans, or if you’re on the west coast and can get S&W pinquitos, add the beans including the liquid. Let cook a bit longer for the flavors to come together.

      No tomatoes in chili in my opinion.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Look for a recipe with a lot of cumin. Cumin is the secret to great chili! Also I like to use several different kinds of beans — like light and dark kidney beans and black beans. It makes it look more interesting.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I’ll try to remember to post my recipe when I get home.

      • Yes, I took my spices for chili from an Eating Well chili recipe, but it’s basically chili powder and cumin. I also use stew meat rather than ground beef and I use black beans. This is just because I don’t like ground beef in tomato sauce and I don’t like kidney beans.

        • Senior Attorney :

          That’s basically mine: chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and a splash of hot sauce.

    • http://atlantishome.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/07/spicy-three-bean-chili.html

      If you want it less spicy, skip the chipotle chiles.

    • This is my absolute favorite chili recipe. It says spicy, but it’s really more moderately spicy and of course you can leave certain things out if you’d like. I think it’s the addition of apple cider vinegar that really makes this great. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spicy-Two-Bean-Vegetarian-Chili-107274#ixzz1GQj6oHjg

    • This one is DH and my’s favorite. We’re not into spicy chili at all, so we leave out the peppers and jalapeno, but you can add some or all of them in for a little more kick. And it’s made in the slow cooker, so I prep it in the morning and come home to perfect chili!


  9. I’m considering an L shaped desk for a home office. I use this office for work and for personal work, and I could really use the extra surface area. L shaped desks seem to have gone out with the giant tuscan furniture trends of the early 2000’s- are these still available anywhere? Have you used one at home- would you rather just have a regular desk and a credenza instead?

    • I have an l-shaped desk and find it slightly awkward. Depending on the nature of your work, you might consider a desk for working at the computer and a smaller table/chair or comfy chair for paper based work. I have a tiny conference table in my office and am surprised how much I use it when I need to get away from the screen.

    • Who knew there were office furniture trends? I don’t have a home office, but I absolutely love the space of an L-shaped desk at work. I much prefer it over a smaller computer desk and other unattached surfaces.

    • I just ordered one and felt the same. Very difficult to find. I went with fewer drawers because I think that will maximize the desk space. We ordered from a local company though. It was pretty pricey and I am guessing it’s not real wood.

    • WriterKate :

      I have an L shaped desk from Room & Board and love it. It is just steel legs and the wood top, which is exactly what I wanted so I could move around for different tasks without hitting my feet on drawers.

  10. Anonymous :

    Does anyone really have it together? Is confidence a myth?

    I’m in my mid-30s. I’ve always felt like a disaster but I thought one day I would grow up and be a Real Adult. I looked up to confident people. You know the type – people who can work a room at a networking event, speak to a crowd without sweating or umm-ing or talking too fast, get awkwardly put on the spot and come up with the perfect quip to break the tension. But the older I get the more I realize that these people have the same insecurities I do. The eminent judge who threw up before every oral argument when he still practiced. The rainmaker who feels like an impostor because her book is just barely seven figures. The working mom who does EVERYTHING – even hand decorates her own cupcakes – but cries in her office every day from the pressure and sleep deprivation. That goal I had of becoming a confident, well-adjusted adult – is that attainable? Does anyone have it all figured out?

    • I don’t have it all figured out, but what I think will eventually work (if I can get there) is choosing what’s important to me and forgetting about all the other crap. For example, fashion is not important to me, so it takes up unnecessary brain space to ponder over an outfit and try to keep up with style. I’m working on building a uniform of sorts that I can just wear and forget about.

      Also, public speaking skills can mask a lot of insecurities. I debated in college and now everyone I work with thinks I’m some sort of genius thinker because I can express ideas well. They don’t realize that I’m often terrified to speak up and say anything controversial.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I don’t think so. I had that realization recently as well- the person I thought had it the most together in my life told me he was just good at faking it. Some people are better at faking it than others, and some people are more confident than others, but I think everyone struggles at times with confidence or pressure or feeling like not enough or having no idea what to do next.

      • I often feel the same way. OP, do not fret over this. We can NOT all be “Ms. Everything” to all people. We must achieve balance in our work/personal lives. I also work to hard, and do NOT have time for a personal life. I wish I could find a guy to marry me, but all I have been able to locate are guys that want to know how much money I make and whether I am willing to go to bed with them on the first date. FOOEY on these loser’s! Dad says to be wary of men that are gold diggers. He is SO right!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I will add, however, that I am very comfortable saying “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” It’s something my first supervisor asked me to work on, rather than just saying “I don’t know.” It’s something the military does and I think it’s an incredible way of building credibility while also being comfortable with not knowing.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I don’t have it together at all and would struggle to keep a plant alive. However, that being said given I didn’t have great parenting I spent a lot of time looking at friends’ parents trying to figure out what good parenting looked like. What I personally found was that there is a direct correlation between giving less f*cks about what society thinks of your choices and happiness / confidence. Everyone I know that is very well-adjusted has prioritized their life to devote time to the things that are important to them and does a very good job setting boundaries / drawing lines in the sand. This isn’t to say that they have no struggles, just that they aren’t running themselves ragged (much like your 3rd example).

      • Yes – this. I was at my most insecure and unhappy with I was chasing prestige and competing for “busyness.”

        I did a career 180 and became genuinely happy, as I had more time to do more than just work and sleep. I don’t have the huge house or big title that I would have had if I stayed in my prior career, but I am FAR happier. As result, I feel really incredibly confident in my daily life because it really works for me. I don’t know if I appear to have it all together, but I don’t really care.

        I also recognize that I come from a place of privilege – I was able to make this choice, which a lot of people would not have been able to do for financial or other reasons.

        • JuniorMinion :

          I applaud your choice to do whats right for you! I know your personal situation involved downsizing financially, but I think there is a version of this story that can play out in many ways. In my family my mother drove herself crazy being the “perfect” mother and having the “perfect” house / yard / car / decorating scheme often at the expense of what would have been more prudent financial decisions.

      • +1 to Junior Minion. Giving less f*cks is the best life advice I ever heard.

    • Part of having it all figured out means acknowledging and accepting that life isn’t always perfect and easy and being at peace with that. So what if you get really nervous before an oral argument or you have a quick cry because you are sleep deprived and your boss is being unreasonable? That’s part of being human. You can still be confident about your abilities. I think we get too far inside our own heads about feeling like things must be perfect all the time because if they are not then we are failures. I’m pretty darn happy with my imperfect life. I’d call it a success.

      • This is how I feel as well. I don’t have everything I want (I work more than I’d like to, and I’m single) but I’ve gotten to a place where I don’t have to have everything right where I want it to be to feel like my life is on a good path.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This, I think.

        I was going to say that my Lovely Husband is so well-adjusted that sometimes I just shake my head in wonderment. And yet he’s not perfect, of course. He has a slight phobia about talking on the phone, he’s not as organized as he’d like to be about household stuff, and a few other things like that. And his life has been far from perfect — most notably his first wife had breast cancer for ten years and passed away in her late 50s. But he’s happy with himself and his life.

        I swear sometimes I think it’s just how you’re hardwired. I’m hardwired for neurosis and angst but I do my best to be more like LH and it’s getting easier.

    • Life is a daily struggle and sacrifice. We all make different choices.

      The people I know who truly are relaxed and seem together and confident are incredibly rich with stay at home wives (smart and beautiful and totally organized) and supportive extended families nearby to help with kids. And these extended families are oddly free of divorce. They are my TV family equivalents. A rare bird. I feel like a freak I their presence.

      Yet, they are still hit with the occasional disasters that throw life into a tailspin. For example, my crazy rich cousin (inherited, but he is also smart and works hard) whose stay at home wife died tragically young of breast cancer. And the downsizing/job loss, that also hit them with aging. But then they just “retire early” with financial security and remarry much younger wives who will nurse them in their older years. Yeah, it’s nice to have no financial worries…..and be male, I guess! But maybe they are still insecure that everyone knows Dad’s money pays for everything. Who knows?

    • Still waiting to turn into a real adult. I’m 32. I look at my friends who have their lives together – careers, travel, houses, cars, husbands, 401k – and I feel like a loser.

    • I don’t have it together at all–like, at all. But, I’m still fairly confident. I just choose to focus on the things I’m good at and understand that the things I suck at are part of the package. For example, I care a lot and feel a lot of ownership of the cases I work on. That can be annoying to people, but is it really something I should change when it makes me better at what I do?

      There’s a certain amount of just not giving a sh!t too and, I think, understanding that people aren’t focused on you nearly as much as you think. I joined a gym about a year ago. I’m very overweight and working on that. The other day, this thin, fit woman came up to me and told me that she just wanted to say she thought I was fantastic and hoped I kept it up–that she had weighed 250 pounds and been too self conscious to join a gym so she worked out at home until she was good enough. That breaks my heart. I’m at the gym to get stronger and healthier. So, I just decided I don’t care. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel self conscious sometimes, but I remind myself that people aren’t judging me. They mostly aren’t paying attention to me at all. They have their own issues. And if they are judging me, that says a lot about them and nothing about me.

      TL;DR–I just fake it until it feels real.

    • Nope I don’t think anyone has it all figured out. Although this reminds me of a funny story of a now ex-friend. She was crying on my floor, an absolute mess because her BF had just dumped her. She started wailing about how good my relationship was (true) and how my life was perfect (not true), so in an attempt to make her feel better, I said “I have a great relationship, that’s true, but my career stuff is such a mess right now and I definitely don’t have it all figured out. I don’t think anyone has it all, and certainly not at our age.” And she looked at me and said very defiantly “Well, *you* may not, but *I* have it all”….yup, she was actually trying to one-up me while she was sitting on my floor sobbing about her life.
      That’s not why we’re ex-friends but it’s one of the more extreme examples of her narcissism.

    • I am 34 years old. I am married, I have 3 kids, a mortgage, a retirement account, and have been a lawyer for almost 9 years (I have also done many oral arguments in our state appellate courts and I don’t throw up before them, but I am always super nervous. My co-workers, including the ones I trust and ask for honest feedback, tell me I do not come across as nervous, but I feel like I am shaking the entire time.) I did not feel like a real adult until recently when I had to start taking care of my mother and realized that it’s just me (and my husband. He is wonderful.) But there is no longer an “adultier adult.” That is me. I still feel like everything will come crashing down any second. Everyone always tells me I have it all together, and it might look that way from the outside, but inside I am constantly anxious and worried.

      • Delta Dawn :

        I had this same realization– I was at a family gathering when I realized that DH and I were the most (only?) able-bodied adults there. Everyone else either needed help getting up the stairs or needed a diaper change. That’s when I knew I was a real adult, ready or not. It’s not so much that I have it all together; it’s just that now I’m the one who has to help other people, which makes me feel adult-ier.

    • I don’t think it’s a myth, I feel pretty together most of the time but I also just don’t spend much (if any) energy worrying about what other people are thinking of me. I realized a long time ago no one is thinking about me, and if they are, oh well, that doesn’t really impact me unless I let it. So I just do my thing and feel pretty confident most of the time. (We all have days.)

    • This is a common sentiment and really interesting one – what a privilege and a curse to be in the modern age where there is truly a multiplicity of choice. I’m sure in the 1800s when one’s life path was taken for granted because of the family you were born into, gender, or tiny provincial town limited options. Where social norms were ‘everyone does XYZ in that order, feeds the chickens every day, and dies before 60’. Part of why you feel how you feel is the permission you and society have given yourself to make your own choices, and sometimes there’s never a right choice only a preferred choice. Your friends with kids and a house are missing out on things too (like wild adventures or the ability to pour all of themselves into work or a passion) and they know it. It’s all about finding the right choices for yourself. If you can get comfortable with your choices you won’t feel like a kid anymore (and honestly why does anyone in their 30s not own their adulthood???)

      • Anonymous also :

        Your last parenthetical statement hits the nail on the head. I know someone in her thirties who relies on her mother to pay for her vacations, clean her house and yard, stock her fridge, etc. This someone very, very often makes statements along the lines of “I can’t…”, “…don’t want to adult today”, “the grown-ups this and that”. It makes me want to scream at her that she is responsible for what she is wallowing in, and her excuses are getting old. How has it become acceptable to deny adult responsibility at 30 years old?

        Her attitude has bothered me for ages.

        You solved it for me- she isn’t comfortable with her choices (allowing her mother to control her life, for instance).

        • I get where you’re coming from and I also get that complaining about “not wanting to adult today” or whatever can just be a form of venting. But honestly, I’m tired of this original question about whether anybody else feels like this. If you have ever spent any time on the internet, then you know that most people feel insecure about various aspects of their life at some point or another. If you need a gold star and pat on the back for living life like a normal person, go to a therapist or something. I’m tired of reading the same boring conversation all the time.

          • That’s so funny! I’m tired of hearing about good restaurants in Nashville and how much people have in their retirement funds. You know what I do? I just click “collapse replies” and then I don’t have to participate in the conversations that bore me Hope that helps!

    • I think I am more confident than most people. I am not anxious about things that happen in life and I really don’t get a lot of insecurities that people have. Maybe people spend time thinking about someone they want to be instead of being who they are. I dislike the way people feel the need to talk negatively about themselves. I feel like there’s always someone angling about how people who appear to have it all are secretly falling apart (not true) or there’s a need to encourage people to share their insecurities so that they feel better about their own. I used to be a TA in a difficult lab-based class and even in that situation it was hilarious how everyone pretended that they knew what they were doing. Very few people did and it would all be revealed when I went up to them and asked a few questions about what they were working on. It’s a lot of posturing and people comparing some imaginary future self (who knows a thing, has had 8 years to prepare for some work assignment instead of the actual allotted time, is skinnier, is a millionaire, etc) with who they are. Accept the present instead of worrying about what might be – easier said than done, I guess.

      • I agree that people who seem to have it together aren’t secretly falling apart, and I don’t think it is necessarily helpful to share insecurities because that causes us to dwell on the negative.

        But I can always use your reminder to accept the present and not worry too much about the future. There’s always room for improvement.

      • PrettyPrimadonna :

        I feel like there’s always someone angling about how people who appear to have it all are secretly falling apart (not true)…

        SO MUCH THIS.

      • ” I dislike the way people feel the need to talk negatively about themselves. I feel like there’s always someone angling about how people who appear to have it all are secretly falling apart (not true) or there’s a need to encourage people to share their insecurities so that they feel better about their own.”

        My thoughts exactly! It reminds of that scene in mean girls when everyone said one thing they hate about themselves. Like, why is that necessary?

        Maybe I look like I have my sh!t together because I spend time and energy and making sure it IS together. I think about what may happen, I plan ahead, and I make contingency plans. Is my life perfect? Absolutely not, but when something goes wrong, I don’t freak out and let it make me feel like my whole life is falling apart. There’s so much more to feel grateful about, so I do that instead.

        And that’s all there is to it. Don’t pressure me to talk about what I dislike in my life so you can feel better.

        • Funny that there are so many typos in a post about having my sh!t together. Ah, c’est la vie.

        • Anonymous :

          Yup. Agreed. I work very, very hard to actually have my shit together. But I also, despite being a Hero Working Mom, don’t hand decorate cupcakes because that’s not a priority for me. Sure, I could add a bunch more tasks to my plate and then not succeed at doing all of them and feel like I’m failing. But I don’t. And of course sometimes things go wrong – but I accept that it is what it is, correct course as much as I can, and move on. There’s bad days, certainly, but it doesn’t mean that my life is falling apart.

        • I actually thought this question was asking how do people feel like they have it together, as demonstrated by all the great responses about not comparing yourself to others, owning your own choices, choosing what is important for yourself, and not asking for a struggle competition on how no one has it together.

    • My 2 cents is that you really have to find what works for you and your family. While another family may look perfect, you have to recognize that what they do might not work for you.

    • I wouldn’t say I have it ALL figured out, but on the mom front, I decided to be a “good enough” mom and that has worked for me. My kids seem happy and well adjusted. They know mom travels sometimes, doesn’t go to PTA meetings, and loves them to pieces.

      I have found it’s OK to also be a “good enough” professional and no one will die. I don’t expect perfection from my team, so why would I dwell on my own imperfections?

      • I’ll add an anecdote. When I first started working, I needed a bag to carry work files to and from work, so I bought something that looked like a briefcase. I felt like SUCH an impostor carrying it! I called my mom, who was about 48 at the time and asked, “how old were you when you started feeling like a grownup?” Her response – “I’ll let you know when it happens.”

    • Last week, I was advising some one from another team how to solve the problem that a high profile customer was facing. I had never worked on that technology before and had no idea what to do. My manager just put me on that (She does a lot of that swim or sink things). I just told the person I was working with that I don’t know how to do that, I have never heard of that thing before and I will get help from a person who knows (and was incredibly busy) and help him. I didn’t think much about what I said, but started working on the problem.

      Then in an hour my manager summoned me. That person I was working with escalated it to his higher manager complaining about my manager that she has assigned a person who didn’t know anything about the technology to advise him. My manager and another senior person make me sit down and tell me that I shouldn’t say I don’t know in front of those people. I should act confident. They said I always know what I am doing (even though I genuinely don’t know). I could go back to my team and get help, but I shouldn’t say I didn’t know something in front of other teams.

      I have mixed feelings about this though. I am bad at acting confident because I feel like a fraud doing that. Either I am confident or not confident about something. All my team members are very confident. But this dialog with my manager got me thinking of my team members are really as confident as I think they are or just faking it.

      • TorontoNewbie :

        Wait this is internal? That seems very odd to me. Why would you pretend you know a piece of technology? You’re just going to fumble at it and take longer. I can *maybe* see if you were in front of a client at the time.

        • According to my manager…any team other than our team is our customer even if is internal to the company !

    • Marshmallow :

      I feel pretty confident most days– at least in my job, my relationship, my personal choices. Sure I have some financial things to work out and don’t yet have the challenge of kids. But I do not second-guess myself in professional or social situations. I’m 29 and comfortable calling myself an adult.

      The number of friends my age and older who still rely on their parents for their basic needs/wants just boggles my mind. No wonder you don’t feel like a grown-up. (Not directed at you, OP– I think what you refer to as “feeling adult” really is a confidence thing.)

    • I think the first step to confidence and feeling like you have your $ together is to stop comparing your life to other people’s lives. You’ll never feel like you have it all if you are using someone else’s “all” as a bar. Not to mention, why do we need to have it all? Why can’t we be good enough? Why can’t our lives be good enough? What someone else owns doesn’t affect me, unless I let it. Someone else’s debt or lack thereof doesn’t affect me, unless I let it. Someone else taking “nicer” vacations than me doesn’t affect me, unless I let it. I am the only one who has control over how these things make me feel. I have decided and make a conscious effort to not compare myself to others. I LIKE MY LIFE!

      I DGAF what my friends have and they don’t DGAF what I have. We don’t compare ourselves like that. I also DGAF what other people do or what they think of me. I pay my own bills. I support myself. I contribute to retirement. I am confident. I am good at my job. I have great friendships. I am honest and upfront with people. I am comfortable with and in my body. I know who I am and I am not apologetic about it. Make no mistake though, I went through lots of therapy and tears and anguish to get here.

      Do I get overwhelmed sometimes? Of course. Do I want to exercise more? Of course. Do I want to have a cleaner house? Of course. Do I want to spend more time with my bf, dog, horse, friends, etc.? Of course. But I don’t let any of those thoughts consume me because my life is good just the way it is! When we allow ourselves to think we aren’t real adults, we write our own story. GDR I am an adult.


    • I am reading The Art of Happiness about the Dalai Llama and starting to realize…none of what I worry about is THAT important. It just isn’t. I am glad I had this ah-ha moment before something catastrophic happened. It just rained yesterday and I was reading. Check it out though. So amazing.

    • Confidence is a learned skill. Like anything, some people are born with more talent at it than others. But I think it’s a skill all the same.

      To me there are a few key components to it: 1) Don’t put yourself down. For those of us who were raised by hyper-critical narcissists, this is difficult to learn to do, but it can be learned. 2) Acknowledge when you actually aren’t good at something and just let that go. I am terrible at throwing and catching. I am a good runner. The former doesn’t mean the latter is less meaningful. No one is good at everything and when you’re not good at something and it’s not important to your life, just don’t care about that thing. 3) Actually, just let things go generally. Comparing yourself to others; comparing yourself to some imaginary stepford-version of yourself that has a spotless house, is a size 2, and is amazing at everything. If your goal is truly to be a “confident” adult, you won’t ever get there by comparison. Decide what you care about, care about those things, and let the rest go.

  11. I think the people who look like they have it all together in every aspect of their lives have 2 things going on: (1) The areas where they are insecure/not confident are either so different than yours that you never think to notice, or are not particularly visible; (2) They are good at disguising their discomfort, which is a skill you can practice. For an example of #1, I genuinely enjoy public speaking and am energized by the crowd. On the other hand, my stomach rolls at the thought of scheduling my babysitter or contacting our housekeeper (and both of them are the nicest people), to the extent that I make my husband handle those communications 100%. But that particular insecurity is not something that anyone in my life would ever know about it. At most they might think that my husband and I have a healthy division of labor or that my job keeps me too busy to handle mundane household chores, and not suspect that I am ridiculous in this one area.

    • +1 yeah I can work a crowd but I cannot go to a new place to workout without the same anxiety meds someone needs to fly.

  12. I had an epiphany that cute loafers could solve all of my shoe issues this season! Any recommendations for cute, comfortable loafers for under $150?

    • I LOVE loafers! My favorite pairs don’t all fit in your under $150 requirements, but they are Pikolinos, Vince Camuto (perforated smoking loafer on sale at Nordstrom right now), Paul Green, Nicole (brand, not style name).

    • I love my GH bass ones, and Cole Haan are super-comfy (watch for a sale)

      • +1 for Cole Haan. They are SO COMFORTABLE, and I like the ones with the different colored sole, which adds a bit of quirkiness.

      • +1 GH bass! I got a pair from my mom years upon years ago and wear them constantly.

    • I think Everlane has loafers at about that price range?

  13. Beauty Questions :

    Good morning ladies, a few beauty related questions: (1) Does anyone have a makeup bag that they love? A travel/smaller type one that you can fit into a back pack or a purse. I have a random one I got from Nordstrom rack years ago, looking to get something new. It holds random beauty things like a compact, lip gloss/stick, tweezers, nail file, bobby pins, hair ties, etc. (2) has anyone had any sort of non invasive cosmetic procedure to get rid of crows feet? Botox or something similar? (3) similar to #2, what other non invasive beauty treatments are people getting? IPL light facials? lasers? chemical peels?

    • I use a pencil pouch from etsy. Mine doesn’t quite hold a compact because I carry multiple lipsticks but I choose lipsticks over powder.

  14. How do you make yourself take it slow with someone? I’m recently out of a fairly long and at times terrible relationship. I started dating pretty soon after the breakup mostly to distract myself. I did the online dating thing for 3 years before I met the last guy (I didn’t meet him that way) so I definitely wasn’t expecting anything. I just wanted people to do things with.

    Well I met someone last month. He’s kind. Our time together is easy. Being with him is like coming home. And the LGPs are out of this world. All that angst I’ve experienced in other relationships just isn’t there. I don’t have to wonder if he’s into me, he tells me. He wants to make time for me. He helps around the house. In every other relationship I’ve always felt like I’m pulling at my partner to do pretty common sense things; I’d think, well maybe X isn’t common sense to him like it is to me so if I just communicate effectively enough he’ll see why X is important and he’ll do it, which means his failure to do X is really just my failure to communicate. There’s none of that with the new guy (so far).

    The problem is, I’m not sure I’m ready for this. He isn’t pushing for a relationship or a commitment or even a DTR but I’m concerned that it’s coming. I know how hard it is to find someone as great as him and I don’t want to let him go. I also don’t want to start getting my hopes up; maybe he’s secretly just as much a disaster as the last umpteen men and I just haven’t found out yet. What if I have blinders on because I’m emotionally vulnerable? What do I do here? Am I freaking out for no reason (yes, probably)?

    • Well, he and your budding relationship sound lovely.

      But I hate being pushed when I’m freaking out, so – are you freaking out for no reason? Probably not; you’re just out of a sometimes terrible relationship, and you probably haven’t sorted out all of your emotions about that yet. I assume he knows you’re recently broken up? I think it’s good he isn’t pushing for a relationship or a commitment or a DTR, and if he brings it up, I think you can be honest with him – you’re really enjoying your time together so far, and you want to see where it goes (if that’s accurate).

      As far as taking it “slow,” I don’t know. You could go on dates with other guys if that would help… or you can try to fill time with hobbies, other friends, other activities, just to make sure you still have a full life in addition to this guy. I guess my main advice would be to make sure you’re not just slotting new guy into the space in your life left by old guy, if that makes sense.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Going on dates with other guys is the only thing that really signals to my brain to put the brakes on picking out china patterns. If he’s “helping around the house,” though, that sounds like you’re already pretty serious, and have moved from the “dating” period to the “relationship” period.

        I’m not sure what to tell you – pulling back from a relationship never seems to work. It tends to end the relationship for me. Can you make yourself less available? Sign up for some evening classes, so you actually only have two nights a week to see him? Join a book club or schedule a weekly standing girls’ night? Start a board game night with friends?

        • By helping around the house I mean I cook and he does the dishes. He’s not doing my grocery shopping for me or anything.

    • I’m not the one to advise on taking it slow – I married my husband 6 months after we met because the relationship was perfect for me. My advice is every relationship is different so treat then that way. If this one is right and feels good, don’t place an artificial pace on it because you think you have to. All relationships fail until they don’t.

    • In all my previous relationships, I had let guys take the lead on the pace of things. I didn’t believe in “rules” or games per se, but I was afraid of scaring off a guy by being too interested, or thinking that guys who expressed interest early on weren’t very secure and would be clingy or something.

      Then I started dating my husband. It felt like you describe: It was easy. No angst. He volunteered his feelings, etc. After just a few days, I initiated the discussion that made our relationship exclusive (I said something like, “I don’t want to date other people. Do you?”). After about two weeks he said I love you. It felt fast and I thought about it for a little while, whether it was a bad sign. Then I realized everything else seemed right and the timing wasn’t important.

      We still got married “slow.” Dated for a year and a half before getting engaged, another year and a half until the wedding. We were in our 30s.

      TLDR: I think it’s OK to trust your instincts, however they lead you. It won’t guarantee the relationship will work, but relationships do require a little faith. And revisit those instincts throughout; you don’t have to leave them at the door.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. When I started dating my husband it was SO EASY, we said I love you right away, etc. I had only been out of my prior relationship for a couple of months, but I don’t think that had any bearing on how fast we moved. We dated for about 3.5 years before we got married.

      • +2. We didn’t say I love you for a while, but my now-husband and I were talking marriage and baby names a couple of weeks in and basically living together after less than a month. We didn’t get engaged until we’d been together for 2 years and didn’t get married for another 1.5 years after that.

    • The secret is to have a life and to continue living it. If you make time to see him one or two nights a week that’s great, but if it’s most to all nights then whoa there, what are you even doing. If it’s the first thing though, why are you so worried about being in a relationship with someone you like? It sounds like you really enjoy this person, so go live in the moment and have fun dating him. If you’re looking for someone you might like better keep dating, but if you think he’s great I don’t see a need to keep searching when you’ve already found what you want.

      • Yeah we spent 3 nights in a row together recently. We both had to work in between so it’s not like we were together for 72 hours straight. But it was nice. And easy. And at the same time felt like a lot. Maybe I need to cut it back to 2-3 nights a week.

    • DTR?

    • When I met my now husband, I was 24 and remember feeling a sense of panic mixed with exhilaration. I loved spending tons of time with him, and he stated he wanted a relationship right away, while I wanted to take it slow. After about a month, I embraced the fear, and went along for the ride. Fast forward 20+ years and we are still together. For me, it is normal to panic even when I really like someone ( even with friends…I just like to feel comfortable, and it takes me a while). We still spend tons of time together everyday, and enjoy each other’s company.

  15. Insecurities about Motherhood :

    Many years ago, a then-close friend told me I wouldn’t make a good mother. At the time I was in my early 20s and kids weren’t on my horizon at all (I wasn’t even sure I wanted them) but the comment still stung. She and I drifted apart mostly for other reasons and haven’t really been in touch except through Facebook in years, although if I ever found myself in her city (we live ~2000 miles apart) I’d probably email to see if she was free for lunch or coffee, mostly out of a sense of obligation to keep up a formerly close friendship. DH and I are getting ready to TTC now and can’t stop thinking about her comment, mostly because I wonder if there’s a grain of truth to it. I have no experience with kids or babies (no younger siblings, never baby sat) and a few of my other friends have (much more gently) expressed surprise that I would want to have a baby. When I told a close friend we were TTC soon she said something to me like “Wow, I didn’t think you’d ever have kids” (I’m 33 which is only slightly older than average for a first baby in my friend group – it’s not like I’m 45 and trying for a miracle baby) and another friend said she was surprised that I’m interested in being a mom because I never seemed maternal. I’m definitely Type A and have a Big Career but so do most of my friends and they have/want kids, so I’m not sure what is giving off this anti-maternal vibe. I think I’m a loving person and I’ve kept a dog alive and happy for a few years now (not the same I know, but it’s not like I’m some kind of unfeeling sociopath who can’t nurture anything). Advice for getting past these comments/insecurities? No good can come from contacting the old friend to talk about how much her comment hurt me, right?

    • Nonsense. Being a good mother means putting the work in (both the work of parenting, and the work of self-reflection to figure out over time how to be an even better parent). It seems abundantly clear to me from your post that you have no problem whatsoever with hard work or self-reflection, and since you want to be a mother, you’ll do great. Your early 20s are a world away, and your “friend” was full of it even then. She’s wrong, and you don’t need to hear that from her. Have your baby and enjoy.

    • I don’t think contacting your old friend will help you, because it seems like your insecurities are being fed by other sources as well.

      Here’s the thing: someone telling you “you would be a good mother” or “you would be a bad mother” are both useless. Obviously the former is nicer to hear than the latter, but both are useless. 1) There are so many ways to be a good or bad mother than no one can possibly predict what kind of mother you will be. 2) Being a good or bad mother is not pre-determined at the outset – you will wake up every day for many, many years and decide what kind of mother to be. Sensible people know this, so you should be taking either comment with piles of salt.

      I think the fact that you’re concerned with being the best mother you can be is a great sign. Best of luck!

    • I had those concerns too. Actually, it was my mom who made similar comments. I don’t believe she intended them to sting or be hurtful, but she was “surprised” that I wanted kids because I had a Big Career, had been with DH for 10 years with no sign of wanting kids, and had never been the “maternal type.” My oldest is six, and I am still trying to shake off her comments, even though she now tells me that I am an amazing mother.

      If I could go back to the me who first absorbed those comments (while TTC and pregnant), this is what I would say: I wanted kids. DH wanted kids. No one else’s opinions matter on this, at all. No one else knows the pull that I feel to be a mom. I threw myself into parenthood just like I did with everything else, with my whole heart and with all of my resources. I would not go back and change that decision for the world. My kids are not perfect, but they are pretty awesome little human beings.

    • I strongly dislike babies. I find them gross and stinky. Except my own. Something about having my own baby was totally different – I completely clicked and connected with being a mom. Don’t worry about your frenemy. You’ll be fine.

    • You can do it.

      I have several friends that were not the most classically “maternal” to my inexperienced eyes. One was very type A, and also self absorbed and judgemental. Another was just a disorganized mess, and I couldn’t see a child survive…. Another actively withdrew with “ewwwww!” When she saw kids. Just so different from me, who babysat all the time in my youth and always looked forward to having kids.

      But you know what? All 3 of my friends are incredible mothers, totally devoted to their kids who are amazing. And I am single without kids!

      You will be a great Mom.

    • I think people tend to make a correlation between “loves babies” and “will be a great mom” but the former is not a pre-req for the latter. My mom loves to tell a story about how at her baby shower, someone handed her a baby and everyone was absolutely horrified when she declined to hold it and said she didn’t like babies. When she told me this story, she said, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, “Well, I didn’t like other people’s babies at all but of course I knew I would adore my own baby.”
      She was (is) the world’s best mom.

      If you want to be a good mom, you will be. Your first friend is a jerk and I’d try to assume good intentions about the other friends’ comments. They may just be surprised you want a baby because they haven’t seen you all gaga for babies before. That doesn’t mean they think you’ll be a bad mom. Surprise at seeing you express interest in something that you haven’t expressed interest in before isn’t a negative judgment and I’d try not to interpret it that way.

    • Ouch, I’m sorry you’re getting those comments. You just need to be confident in your choice to have children. You’ve excelled in other areas of your life; motherhood will be no different. Personally I would find it difficult to hold back a snarky comment in return…

    • What makes someone a great mom is that they care about being there and doing the best job they can, every day. Not a perfect job, because that’s not possible. But the fact that you want to be a mom and want to put the time and investment into it is really important.

      I liked kids and was good with kids when I was younger and everyone told me, “oh, you’ll be such a good mom! I can picture you having tons of kids!” Well, I had one, and honestly, that was enough. I never seriously entertained notions of having more kids or being a SAHM. Just not me. So other people’s perceptions of you really don’t mean jack, when you get right down to it. I love my kid like crazy and he loves me. He’s a functional human being going through his own daily challenges and struggles but for now he seems okay. That’s just about the best I can hope for.

      I know it’s hard to let comments like that go, but I wouldn’t waste any more time thinking about it. I almost guarantee you if you contact your friend, she either legitimately won’t remember saying that to you, or she’ll deny she said it, so you won’t get any answers. If you have the drive and desire to be a mom, that will help you be a good mom. Don’t spend too much more time thinking about it. Hugs.

    • Anonanonan :

      Oh wow your old friend sounds petty, don’t contact her.
      And you seem like a decent, responsible human being, so I’m sure you’ll be a great mother.
      Even your current friends don’t sound too nice… but assume best intentions I suppose.

    • My high school BFF once told my mom she’d better enjoy her grandkids from my older brother because I’m too selfish to ever have children. Now 15+ years later I like my life and idk if I want to risk messing it up by having kids and maybe my BFF was right all along.

    • Legally Brunette :

      The fact that you’re even concerned about this tells me that you’ll be a good mother. One of my closest friends is very career driven and was worried that she didn’t have a maternal instinct. She now has identical twin girls and is a wonderful mom. People often say stupid, untrue things — don’t pay that comment any mind.

    • I have a friend that I’ve known since we were children. She knew I never wanted kids (still don’t), but I don’t remember us ever discussing her having kids. Although I would NEVER have said it to her or to anyone else, of all my friends, she is the one that I would have expected to enjoy that the least, based on her personality and preferences. (And, I would have thought that I had a pretty good perspective – we’ve known one another nearly 30 years, traveled together and even briefly lived in a house share together.)

      A few years ago she got married, and now has a toddler. For a variety of (mostly unplanned) reasons, she is currently staying at home full-time with her child. I recently spent a day with her and her family. And, my expectations were totally wrong. She is just different around her daughter than she has ever been with other people – adults or children. I’m not saying it is perfect – she admits to some frustrations – but she is a great, loving mother. I suspect she is still less likely to coo over random babies than other friends of ours, but that doesn’t mean that she isn’t doing a wonderful job raising her own child.

    • I was a lot like you. Didn’t think I wanted kids. Achievement oriented. Didn’t love other peoples kids or ooh over them or fight to hold them or hear my biological clock. Until I changed my mind and wanted kids. And guess what, I still hate baby showers and I never go out of my way to hold other people’s babies but damn do I love my kids. They are 12 and 14 now and of course there are bad days (especially with the 12 year old girl) but last night I had to buy my son shoes and my daughter wanted to come and going to the mall (which I hate) turned out to be really fun, and they were/are amazing and good company and I love them with a capacity that I never knew I had. And when they were babies I felt a new kind of expansive love and care and protectiveness that I had never felt for anyone before. And actually as they get older and I learn from them more about human nature I think being a parent makes me even better at work because 1) almost all parents like to talk about their kids and it gives you something in common with people and 2) parenting has made me more tolerant and patient and made me a better supervisor, better worker and I hope, a better person.
      You got this. There are a lot of ways to be a good mom. I still suck at some parts of it but I have happy confident children who are finding their own path.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh no. Do not contact her. Move on. One person said a thoughtless mean thing to you a decade ago. You have got to figure out how to get over it.

    • I feel for you and I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I hate to say this, but you very well might have to deal with these insensitive comments and worse when you become a mom. For whatever reason, motherhood is a divisive thing for certain people. In particular I think career women get a hard time from a certain type of woman who has decided that motherhood is HER thing. (Which, objectively, is absurd).

      I have posted here before about a family member saying some things about me as a mom that truly hurt me and destroyed our relationship. But deep down? I know I’m not a bad mother and I think you know that too. The best you can do is to keep on doing you. Don’t contact this woman, her opinion doesn’t matter, she doesn’t know you any better than you know yourself.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I do not love babies in general, and I am a pretty darn good mom, and I love the heck out of my baby. I think that the first anon nails it: you can put in the work. It’s an ongoing process, for me, trying to live up to my kid, trying to be the mom I want her to have. But I do it, in lots of ways: therapy therapy therapy, learning how to integrate my personality and strengths into parenting (I am more project-oriented than hang-out oriented, so I come up with age appropriate projects/activities we can do together), and reminding myself that I’m a role model (so consciously modeling the behaviors I would like her absorb as a norm – including hard work). If you want this kid, and you want to be a good mother, and you’re willing to do the work (and I hear yes from you on all of this) you’ll do great!

      (And eff that friend. Don’t contact her.)

  16. Onset Quarter Life Crisis :

    How do you guys balance having a plan for your life and letting go and seeing what works? Ive done so much strategizing/trial and error that I’m now on Plan D. I’m content and slowly exiting out of entry level but kind of exhausted. And also I’ve had so many duds for dates/relationships it makes me kind of want to say F it and stop caring. I’m in my mid-late 20s so I’m sure its normal/expected. And friends are moving around in so many different directions just as confused. And yes, I’m in therapy and its helpful but just would like some insight or anecdotes about how you guys got through this phase of life.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I had a Plan that fell through rather epically. And then I landed in a place with no plan, but I saw that I have a lot of good traits and skills and a support system and knowledge… And it was kind of great?

      So now I try to make smart, forward-thinking choices, but I try to let go of controlling the outcome of those choices. Did I do the best I could with what I had at the time? Yeap. Then what more can I ask of myself? Life doesn’t play out like a chess game, and you can’t see the future. Too much strategizing is counter-productive.

      A friend told me that her goals in dating were to have fun, learn something, and behave in a way she could be proud of. I think those are great goals because they’re within your control (maybe not the ‘have fun’ part, but you can always write a hilarious email to your friends about it afterward)!

  17. Tax issues :

    I’m a law student that just got a letter from the IRS that I owe around 5k for a previous year’s taxes. For a law student, that’s a lot of money, and something I cannot currently afford. I worked at a nonprofit the summer before law school that claimed I also worked there for my 1L summer. I did not. I called the organization and spoke to their new account who told me that the previous accountant, now deceased, took all of the 2014 numbers and just copied them for 2015. Apparently several people have similar problems, and they plan on correcting it on their end soon, but are still waiting for documents from the deceased accountant’s records. I asked for them to send me an email explaining this so I could reference it in my reply to the IRS, but they haven’t sent it. I’ve left another message asking for this explanation in writing.

    There’s an additional complication with numbers. For ease, according to my W-2 in 2014, I made 15k. The IRS correction says that this organization paid me 13k. When the new accountant said that they numbers were just copied, I pointed out that they are different. They looked at their records and said that I should have made 16,5K in 2014, not 15k, but that since its a small amount, they won’t correct it. I have no record of this additional 1,500. Is the accountant right that there’s no need to correct this since it’s small? I don’t want to pay taxes on money I didn’t earn, but I also don’t want to have this hang over my head.

    Lastly, I made an appointment with someone at H&R Block to help me with the reply process to the IRS. There’s another issue duplication issue from the IRS, so I am seeking advice on another issue as well, though it’s not as messy as this one. How much should I anticipate remediation of this situation to cost? I know having someone do your taxes costs quite a bit. I’m not sure what the range is for this unique type of service. Hoping it’s not a lot!

    • I would go to a real accountant not H&R Block. H&R Block employees are not CPAs. They’re basically just people who have had a few hours of training on using TurboTax. Some are significantly better than the average citizen at doing taxes, some are not, but for a situation like this where there have already been numerous errors and you’re trying to straighten it out, you need a CPA. Cost depends on what’s involved and how expensive your location is, but I can’t imagine it would cost more than a couple hundred dollars up front to get them taking charge of the situation communicating with the IRS.
      Sorry, this sounds miserable. I’d be livid at the non-profit. What an eff-up.

      • +1 I’d handle it myself before I went to H&R Block in this situation.

      • +1 You need a CPA.

      • Diana Barry :

        +100. Do not go to H&R Block, you need a real CPA.

        While you are waiting for the nonprofit to get back to you, call the IRS (you may be on hold for a long time) and lay out the situation. They may offer you a payment plan right away, so you wouldn’t have to pony up the whole $5K while waiting for the situation to get straightened out.

    • Did H&R Block prep your taxes for the year in question? If not, I would not trust correcting/addressing this with them at all. Find a local tax accountant for this and stay far away from H&R Block.

    • Don’t go to HR Block EVER! Go to a CPA and have them help you out with this.

    • This may be a scam! I got a similar letter and then found out it was a scam. Be careful!

    • +1 – do not go to HR Block. Does your law school have a tax clinic? This is a classic tax controversy case – you might be able to talk to some of the students/professor in the clinic to help you figure it out on your own.

      Otherwise, yes, find a CPA or tax attorney to help you straighten out how much you owe. And if you end up owing anything, you won’t have to pay it all at one. You are a perfect candidate for a payment plan.

    • If I am understanding the situation correctly, your former employer reported income to the IRS that you were never actually paid and the IRS is trying to tax you on that income. If that is the case, you do not owe anything. You should contact the IRS, explain the situation, give them the name and contact information for the person who told you that a mistake had been made, and ask them how they would like you to proceed. You do not need a CPA to prepare a revised return for income you did not receive.

      With regard to the other issue, I am confused. They paid you $15K, reported $13K to the IRS and “should” have paid you $16.5K? Did you pay taxes on $13K or $15K?

  18. Tax issues :

    Oh jeez lots of typos. Sorry, I’m on my phone! Autocorrect and the tiny text window got the best of me.

  19. Ladies, how do you care for your shoes like booties, etc, things you wear outside? I keep all of my office shoes at the office generally, so they are only indoors and last a pretty long time (about 3-4 years for midprice heels and wedges with very rare outdoor/event wear). But my booties and other casual shoes seem to get destroyed in 6 months. I don’t do anything to care for them other than wash off scuffs with a damp paper towel – other than resoling (which is often not cost effective – 40 on a 50 shoe) – what can I do?

    • So, a $50 shoe, if you wear it outside all the time, won’t last that long. Perhaps you need more sturdy shoes. Or if you are doing a lot of walking, and maybe you are hard on shoes (scuff? Drag?) this will be the norm and maybe you need a different kind of outdoor shoe.

      And there is no way a sole should wear out in 6 months. How much walking are you doing?

      All I do with my shoes is wipe off obvious dirt, maybe once a year clean leather/polish, and take to cobbler to fix heels when needed. I have never needed to re-sole a shoe, but I absolutely repair heels on $25 shoes I bought on sale if they fit me well, I love them, and the rest of the shoe is otherwise fine.

      Maybe you need a good pair of sneakers or walking shoes, not booties for daily wear?

    • Marshmallow :

      +1 a $50 shoe that you wear outside just isn’t going to last long.

      I have only two or three pairs of boots/booties that I wear outside in winter weather, but they are all quality shoes (not crazy, like $200) so they’ve lasted four or five years so far. Every month or two during the winter, I wipe them off with a paper towel, apply leather lotion, and then spray with a waterproof protectant. They usually need resoling once every year or two, which costs about $40-50.

      Yeah, I’m also surprised that you’re wearing all the way through a sole in six months, even on a cheap shoe. There isn’t much you can do to protect a sole except rotate your shoes so you’re not wearing it every day, and make sure you don’t drag your feet. This is not what you want to hear, but re-soling is pretty much the only option.

    • Anonymous :

      I walk about 3-5 miles a day with commute and general getting around (big US city). Looks like I would need to buy more expensive shoes if I expect them to last, and still expect to resole them for $40/50 every year or two. Not sure this is cost effective when I can just buy new shoes. Bummer! I was hoping there was a solution.

      • 3-5 miles a day is a lot of walking. Booties are fashion shoes, not practical walking shoes, in most cases. Invest in a better quality walking shoe/bootie style if you prefer, or wear gym shoes or the equivalent for your commute.

        And maybe…. re-assess how you are walking. Are you dragging your feet?

    • I wear tennis shoes for commuting, which takes the stress off my other casual shoes. My shoes that get beat up the quickest tend to be boots and booties. To care for them, I spray them with a leather/suede waterproofing spray once yearly and try to avoid wearing them on days in the winter where there is a lot of fresh salt on the ground.

      If the leather uppers are in good condition, I will resole my shoes regardless of the original purchase price. I obviously liked them enough to buy them, I want to keep them, and I also want to avoid the environmental impact of throwing out an old pair and buying a new pair.

  20. Suggestions for pants that are in between traditional dress pants and jeans? My office is too casual for the former, too formal for the latter. I need tall/long sizes. Towards the cheaper end of the spectrum, but doesn’t have to be super budget. Old Navy is great for me for denim, but their non-denim pants don’t fit me right for some reason.

    • I have had good luck with some Boden pants in their long lengths. I do a skinny cigarette pant to fit in between. I also went to Nordstrom and did a personal shopping session to find a few pairs of black pants that weren’t trousers. It was difficult to get the length right on an ankle style but I found two cropper pairs that I like in the warm weather.

    • Loft skinny ankle pants. Wait for sales, and get a credit card to get 15% more off.

    • Midwest Mama :

      I’m tall and need talls/longs and love Old Navy Pixie ankle pants, but the chino type not the dress type. Obviously it depends on your body type, but for me, the chinos fit wonderfully whereas the regular pixies are too tight and stretchy and fit more like leggings. Even sizing up doesn’t seem to help; it just makes the waist bigger. I have the Pixie chinos in three colors and wear them all the time to my fairly casual office.

      • Ooh thanks I’ll have to try the chinos. I had ordered the regular pixie and I had exactly the problem you described – even going up two sizes they still fit like leggings and looked way too tight for the office. And thanks Ck for the tip about Loft!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Gap bistretch skinny ankle pants. I think they Hans them in long. They come in a bunch of prints and I like them wayyyyyyy more than my one pair of Pixies.

      • I just bought a bunch of these too. They are the only skinny pants that fit my straight figure.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Same. I have….hm. 5 pairs, 6 if you count the one I dropped a McDonald’s hashbrown on and permanently grease-stained. Lesson learned: Don’t merge while eating a hashbrown just because you’re running late.

        Side note: If anyone has any awesome ideas about how to get grease out of a pair of pants (I’ve tried Oxyclean, dish soap, and washing them), I’d be very grateful.

        • Did you use Dawn, or just any old dish soap? Dawn works the best on grease.

        • Put baking soda on the spot. Enough to cover the entire area in a thick layer. Leave it to sit overnight. The powder will absorb the grease.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I used Dawn. The special grease-fighting kind. No dice.

            I’ll try that, Ann! I love these pants, so I want to save them, and Gap doesn’t carry the color anymore. :(

        • Dry clean. Or Martha Stewart has a system that I have to look up every time (I only use it when Dawn fails me).

    • Loft sells tall pants.

    • I love Boden’s 7/8 pants. Ankle length, and they usually have tall option. They come in all their cuts and fabrics and colors and I buy them on sale for <$50. I think they hold up much better than cheaper pairs (Loft, Old Navy, etc.).

    • Another vote for Gap bistretch ankle pants. Like you, I love Old Navy denim but their regular pants (the Pixie) don’t fit me right.

    • Corduroys! I am a shortie so I can’t help you on specific sources, sorry.

  21. Is it just me, or does the new airline electronics ban go against everything we’ve previously been told about checking electronics in bags.

    Can some tech-saavy ladies from the hive please explain?

    • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/03/21/trump-wont-allow-you-to-use-ipads-or-laptops-on-certain-airlines-heres-the-underlying-story/?tid=pm_pop

    • This is what CNN said:
      Isn’t it dangerous to put electronic devices in checked baggage?
      Safety experts and regulators have long warned that batteries shipped in bulk could constitute a fire risk that ultimately could bring down an aircraft. The International Civil Aviation Organization advised global regulators last year to ban carrying bulk shipments of such batteries in the cargo holds of passenger jets.
      But electronics spread out across a person’s luggage pose far less of a threat than palettes of lithium batteries, according to a U.S. aviation official.

      • Also you know the ban is just for flights from 10 specific airports, none of which any US carriers fly to, right? If your’e flying on a US airline or to anywhere except North Africa or the Middle East, there’s no change to what you can bring on board.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          That doesn’t make the issue non-important.

        • A lot of flights connect through those countries. I’ve flown on Emirates and Turkish Air multiple times connecting through these countries but not having them as my final destination (to Asia and Africa). It’s irritating because I like to use my iPad to watch movies and TV shows with my husband, and those are really long flights!

        • Turkey is also on the list.

    • I replied above to the poster who asked how she’d entertain herself on one of these flights.

      This ban doesn’t mean the US has decided that laptops are safer in checked bags. It means they have credible intelligence that people from the countries named are planning to alter a laptop into an explosive device.

      I am a liberal who is uncomfortable with travel bans based on race or religion, but I’m perfectly comfortable with and even grateful for specific, pointed travel restrictions based intelligence.

      • Is this really based on intelligence though? I assumed it was just Trump being Trump.

        • I don’t work in the intelligence community but my understanding from reading several sources is that this isn’t a Trump Tantrum, it’s based on a specific, known threat.

          • There are published reports that the UK will announce a similar ban which also makes me feel more comfortable that this is reaction to real intelligence instead of racism.

      • I think the comment about the ban being possibly trade-related is interesting… there’s long been complaints about US airlines being pummeled by state-subsidized Middle Eastern airlines. Take Emirates to Milan, and note the difference.

        My concern would be, if there’s credible intelligence that a laptop or other large electronic could be modified into an explosive, do I really want it in the cargo hold either? I don’t see how this would make the flight safer. The cargo is still close enough for a remote detonator, which doesn’t have to be large, and could be a cell phone (fun tidbit I learned from my previous life in security).

        I don’t personally fly that area often, though I have taken the Emirates leg to Milan (stopover on way to Dubai, and I highly recommend). But, I also know consultant friends that are on the Dubai route, so I’m sure they’re pretty unhappy with the ban.

        • Concur re: location.

          It’s the same “intelligence” that says you can’t bring your full bottle of liquid through security in case it is a threat, but you can toss it into a trash bin at the security line, arguable the most congested place in the airport. If it was a threat, that’s not a great way to handle it.

  22. Sturdy dressy shoes :

    I am a lawyer ‘rette working on a case that will require me to attend several building site inspections. I am looking for shoes that are both sturdy (closed toe, high vamp so foot cannot slip out, sole that has some traction) but still looks somewhat like a dress shoe as I will try to keep the rest of the outfit professional. I’d prefer a little bit of a heel (like 1.5″) but flat is ok too; high heels are out. General and specific recommendations welcome!

    • Haven’t tried them in years and years (since I abandoned restaurant jobs I held in undergrad), but if you’re willing to buy a specific pair, and top priority is to minimize potential accidents, try Shoes for Crews. Non-slip, very sturdy, comfortable for long days, and, at least in my day, there were some Hostess-style shoes that had small heels.

    • I’ve been living in a pair of Clark ankle booties this winter. Closed toe, rubber sole, very comfy.

    • lost academic :

      Did you check to see if you needed a steel or safety toe, or a rated nonslip? Red Wings makes a nice Oxford. Ariat makes some steel toe clogs. I see other options by Rockport for instance.

      My strong suggestion is to not worry about tying your outfit together on an inspection. Safety is what matters. You can keep your outfit professional and still wear the right shoe – and if you’re that torn up about it, change into them when you arrive if it’s going to be just a small part of your day.

    • I bought a pair of Ecco ankle boots in January and have worn them nearly every day since then. They have a 1.5″ rubber heel and work perfectly with dress pants.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m a construction litigator. I have job site shoes. They are not cute. You may end up climbing ladders, walking through piles of nails, climbing on roofs, navigating through mud. Most people change shoes at the site. It’s seriously about safety and functionality and knowing that will make you look more professional.

    • I would look at Danskos – they have lots of nice, non-clog options.

    • S in Chicago :

      Munro American (Nordstrom and Zappos carries). Lots of styles but my favorite look like a Mary Jane with a slight wedge. Seriously more comfortable than some of my sneakers. My tradeshoe go-to.

  23. I just had my yearly review with my team lead and I am feeling really disappointed in the conversation and in my results, to the point where I have a lump in my throat and find it hard to get on with my work. I just graduated college last year and am hoping for advice from more experienced ladies.

    During my mid-year review I received an above-average rating and was told I was the top performing graduate in my team, but this time I was told others had caught up and while my technical work is still impeccable I am lacking self-confidence and communications skills (in terms of emerging as a leader to my peers etc).

    Part of this criticism is justified (I am the type who prefers to work alone and dislikes confrontation so speaking up in meetings etc does not always seem worth it even when I have something to contribute) but I also think some of it is due to factors outside my control: I am the only foreign nationality/ non-native English speaker in my team, one of two women only (team of ~20), and find it hard to “fit in” as the culture at my Big Four firm is very much party/nights out/getting drunk together which I honestly don’t enjoy.

    This is making me consider even more strongly my idea of going back to school in September (I lam not in the US – can pay out of pocket if I keep a part-time job) as I feel I would do better in a research environment than a consulting one and I always wanted to do a masters (and possibly a PhD down the line). But still, I wonder how much I need to work on my confidence/leadership skills and how to do that??

    I thought I was killing it at work and turns out not really

    • This is probably a “know your office” thing to some degree, but at my former Big Law firm, about 75% of female junior associates were told they were lacking self-confidence and leadership qualities (and most of the other 25% received comments they were difficult to get along with or too assertive – you simply cannot win). It just seems to be a standard complaint about junior women and I wouldn’t worry too much about it if your overall rating is satisfactory or above. I got those comments for a couple years, but they went away after a while. I didn’t do anything different really, I think people just got to know me and liked me and so they perceived me in a different way. But by all means work on speaking up in meetings if you feel like you have something to contribute!

    • Depends on what you want to do eventually. “Leadership” has become a weird buzzword, like it’s the ultimate trait that everyone should strive for. But we can only have so many “leaders” in the world, and there are plenty of people who are not “leaders” but nevertheless have very successful, fulfilling careers.

      From what you describe, it sounds like you don’t have ambitions to manage or lead a team, but would rather focus on your area of expertise and work as a solo contributor. That can be a great path to pursue and can lead you to be an expert in a specific area, typically with less time and energy devoted to office politics and climbing the ladder.

      So, rather than worrying about your review, it sounds like you should consider what attributes are important to you and where you want to go, and also think carefully if your current position is likely to support that. It may be that you stay in consulting as a subject matter expert, or maybe you go back to school and get an additional degree, or maybe you get a different job with your current degree. Lots of options!

    • Anonymous :

      I would say two things:

      1) Ask your team lead for suggestions to improve your communications skills. Ask him if there’s a class, group, or book he would recommend for you. Let him know that you are being proactive.

      2) Speak up during meetings when you have a contribution. This is on you!

      Also – it sounds like you are killing it, technically. Keep doing what you’re doing there.

      • Agree with this. Also, keep in mind you are a new graduate. These things are learned/improved upon over time. Schools do not do a good job at preparing students for the real world of working. It makes me sad when supervisors and managers don’t do more to help their teams improve. Hopefully your supervisor is willing to assist you, especially since you want to improve.

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t quit a good job instead of doing the work to figure out that contributing in a meeting isn’t a confrontation and is part of your job. That’s a skill that you will always need.

    • lawsuited :

      You only graduated college last year! You should not be surprised or hurt that a few areas for improvement were identified after your first year of professional work. Areas for improvement are likely to be identified every year for many years of your career, and it’s not a reason to quit and move into a different field of study or industry. You certainly can consider a move if you have other compelling reasons for doing so, but the fact that you didn’t completely ace your new profession in one year is not a reason to do that, I don’t think.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m further along in my career than you, but still struggling with being assertive and owning leadership roles. It might sound silly, but I have affirmations that I start every day with. They’re in the present tense, positive statements about myself as a professional. Just reminding myself of positive things I can believe about myself in the office helps me build up that confidence.

  24. How does one handle job applications while on vacation? I’ve been passively looking for a while, and 2 very exciting opportunities have just opened up. The problem is that I’ve leaving the country for the next two weeks on vacation with my family. I will have access to wifi in hotels and have my phone to check email for most nights, but the nature of the trip’s activities are not conducive to taking a laptop/interviewing via skype.
    I plan to apply before I leave anyway and hope that the timeline works out, but is this something I need to mention upfront in my cover letter?

    • Usually you don’t get an interview scheduled that quickly after applying. I wouldn’t mention it in the cover letter. If you get an invitation to interview while you are on vacation, just tell them your situation and schedule it for after you get back. Maybe consider an out-of-office type email for your personal email if there’s a chance you’ll be away from email for more than 24 hours.

    • Two weeks is an insanely short amount of time when it comes to hiring timelines. Apply and don’t bring it up unless it becomes a problem.

  25. Sloan Sabbith :

    Psa: Target has pink pants that look like the BR pink pants from a few weeks ago. No stretch (at all), but a thick fabric and a nice color.

  26. Can any Brits or friends/family of Brits recommend a s!te I can send a gift through as a gifter from the US? I would like to send a gift to my cousin for housewarming and would prefer to do so from an English s!te so that she can return it if need be. They got married recently, but the registry is deactivated. Harrods is down or not loading for some reason for me.

  27. Lots of threads on pants. I’m a tall and entry-level plus sized and have never regularly worn pants to work because I can’t find them long enough (you can choose big or tall, but apparently not both.)

    Thankfully now that ankle pants are back in style, I have more options. I’ve been wearing a pair of these pants: Eileen Fisher Crepe Ankle Pants, which I bought from nordstrom. I love them. Now I understand why women wear pants to work! It’s so easy. I just ordered a second pair.

    They’re $178 which I know is not cheap, but they look professional, are comfortable, and they look like new after washing.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I am generally a dress wearer but Eloquii Kady fit ankle pants are amazing and start at size 12 and come in three lengths. They are around $80 but there is almost always a sale. The fit is excellent and the fabric is thick enough to give a smooth line. They are honestly amazing – try them!

  28. Anyone use the Deciem line of skincare? One just opened close to me and the price point looks mighty nice.

    • Marshmallow :

      I have used a few things from The Ordinary (a Deciem brand) with generally good results. I really like the 2% advanced retinol serum. I’m also using the hyaluronic acid serum right now– I like it for the moisture, but it is a little sticky. My husband, who has oily skin, likes the niacinimide and zinc serum. Duds for me were the tetraisopalmitate vitamin C oil (pilled when layered with moisturizer), and the Buffet (felt nice, but no discernible results).

  29. Videographer for Wedding? :

    Hey Ladies,

    In the midst of wedding planning, and trying to do so on a budget. What are your thoughts on videography at weddings? Photography is very important to us, and we have hired a very good one. We originally thought no need for a videographer, but now we’re kind of second guessing ourselves and wondering if we’ll regret it if we don’t. Thoughts?


    • Depends at how comfortable you are on video. I didn’t because I knew it would make me feel really self conscious.

    • Know yourself. We didn’t hire a videographer because (1) neither of us are very excited about watching ourselves on screen, (2) it was a big expense, (3) videography always seemed much more intrusive than photography, and (4) we preferred to hire two photographers to be able to capture both specific posed photos as well as more candid shots / tent all lit up from afar type shots.

      My artistic uncle volunteered (we didn’t ask) to tape our ceremony, so he was holding a small camera during that time. We’ve never watched it, 10 years later, so I definitely don’t regret the choice!

    • I think you should hire a videographer or at least ask a friend to take some video if budget is a concern. We didn’t because I hate, hate how I sound and look on camera but now I really regret it. We lost the paper where we wrote down our wedding vows and my dad’s father-of-the bride speech was extemporaneous, and I’m sad I no longer have the content of those speeches.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Same here. We didn’t think we wanted a video and now I regret not having one. I have snippets of video from friends’ phones and I treasure them but it’s not the same!

    • It’s my biggest wedding regret and I tell all my friends to consider it. I didn’t give it a second thought when budgeting because we were spending a fortune on a great photographer, but I should have. I don’t know that I needed to spend a ton of money for the fancy 3-5 minute music video that everyone seems to get these days, but I really wish I had a good quality video of the ceremony, the dances (DH and I took lessons and the iphone video I have isn’t great), and the speeches. I remember thinking that the ceremony was beautiful and well-done, but I couldn’t tell you anything about what was actually said or how the music sounded because I was so caught up in the moment at the time. If you don’t want to budget for it, could you ask a close friend to sit in a prime position and video the parts that mean the most to you on a real camera? The new iphones are a big improvement from when I got married so you may not even need a real camera, just a good angle!

      • A good friend used a go-pro hidden near where the officiant was standing to record her ceremony and it came out really well.

      • Anonymous :

        Music video? I now loathe the wedding industrial complex even more.

        No, you don’t need a videographer. Unless you are a reality-show-level narcissist.

        This is just a day. If your wedding is so complex you can’t pay attention, simplify it.

    • I got married 10 years ago and didn’t get a videographer. A friend recorded it for us anyway, and I still haven’t gotten around to watching it.

      But I’m also the person who doesn’t post a picture of every vacation on Facebook, who doesn’t hold on to “things” as memories, and in general live a more non-documented life. I don’t have any pictures of graduating from high school. I skipped my college graduation ceremony. I have one photo album – 40 photos – for each of my kids first years, and that’s it. I’m okay that I don’t remember the exact words in anyone’s speeches at my wedding. I remember the feeling of love for the whole day, and that’s really all I need.

      You may need more than that, and that’s okay. But think about what kind of person you are, and how much you document (or wish you documented) other big moments in your life. That will likely guide you.

    • I cared zero about it, didn’t have one, and am confident I never would have watched it if I had.

    • I thought it was silly and was against it, then decided that life is short and parents/extended family might not be around forever, and what a lovely way to capture a moment in life when we were all together for one day. It’s not perfect and it did capture one or two things I wish it didn’t, but that’s life. It’s much more real than the photos that were taken that day, and now 8 years out I’m really glad to have it.

    • I would get a videographer. Maybe you will think it’s a waste and never watch the video. BUT if it turns out you do want to go back and re-live a speech or a moment of the day, and you don’t have a video you’ll regret it.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      My husband feels uncomfortable enough in photos and video would have just made him feel stressed and anxious. I was “meh” so that decided it. We completely skipped video and I have not thought about it since. I cannot imagine ever watching it, to be honest.

    • Get a video :

      We debated about a videographer, and eventually decided to go with a cheap vendor. We usually pull out the video on our anniversary, and jokingly gauge the strength of our love by how long we can make it through the video before we take the celebration into the bedroom. My DH also filmed the proposal, so we start with that… the first year we didn’t even make it to the wedding video and had to watch it later. All that to say, it’s really fun to watch it once a year and remember how fun it was to get married and how much we love each other. It sparks mushy, sentimental feelings for us, and gives us a “thing” to jumpstart the celebration. I also loved watching my parents’ wedding video to see how they looked/sounded etc. when they were young and in love. I don’t plan to have kids, but I think my wedding video will be a fun memento during family get-togethers when we all pull out the old footage from when we were kids/graduations/milestones. I wouldn’t spend a ton on an artsy video, but a recording of the ceremony, speeches, and traditional wedding activities is nice to have.

    • Personally I don’t like them because I think they make a wedding feel like a reality TV show. I would spend the money on a photographer & ask a friend to video your ceremony & toasts on an iphone. There are a bunch of great editing apps (my favorite is 8MM) for video on the phone, so you can get some of that artsy video feeling if you like that sort of thing. It’s just a lot less intrusive to have a friend film than a big video set-up and you get the same impact – a recording of what was said.

    • I have a wedding video and have watched it maybe twice. When I remember my wedding I like to remember th emotion and excitement and sense of fun. When I watch the video I focus on how weird my voice sounds or how my dress bunched up a little at the waist in the back and stuff like that. It’s a VHS and it can stay in the VHS graveyard cabinet.

    • We almost didn’t do it, but my MIL offered to pay so we let her. I’m really glad we did! While I was ultimately happy with both videographer and photographer, i felt like the video captured more of the feel of the day than the pictures. My kids like to watch the video but wouldn’t sit still to look at pictures.
      We basically ignored the videographer and definitely didn’t do anything just because we were videotaped.

    • I received a larger-than-expected bonus a few months before our wedding, so I used the “extra” money to book a videographer (I think we ended up spending like $3k?). DH complained about it at the time and was really concerned that they’d be intrusive or disruptive to the day, so once I found someone I liked, I stressed that we wanted our footage to be as candid and natural as possible. Our videographer did an awesome job – the only times we even knew she was there was when we were doing our posed portrait photos with the photographer, and she’d occasionally ask us to walk a bit or do a different pose or action.

      We got a 5-6 minute beautifully edited “highlight” reel (we’ve been married 2 years and I still watch it occasionally) and a 60-70 minute partially edited video with some of our getting ready footage, our ceremony, toasts, some dancing at the reception, etc. It is much more “real” than our wedding photos (which are beautiful, but DH and I don’t normally gaze into each others’ eyes during sunset in the middle of a vineyard). I especially love our reception footage – DH and I both looked so happy and were having such a good time, and it’s so nice to go back and see. Also, there is a fair amount of your wedding you don’t see (like I didn’t see any of our bridal party walk down the aisle, and there was some funny dance floor footage that I’d missed), so it was cool to go back and watch that after the fact.

  30. I didn’t get a videographer, and have zero regrets. The pictures are plenty for remembering that night (along with stories from my friends). We instead chose to splurge on open bar and food. Which means that everyone was sh*tfaced, and we probably didn’t need video evidence of that hanging around anyway.

  31. Neutral Nail Polished :

    I’m looking for more neutral nail polishes for everyday wear. I love Essie’s Mademoiselle and Butter London’s All Hail the Queen.
    What are your favorites?

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